G.R. No. 128607, 31 January 2000, 324 SCRA 147
The passenger jeepney driven by Mallari Jr. and owned by Mallari Sr. collided with the delivery van of Bulletinalong the National Highway in Brgy. San Pablo, Dinalupihan, Bataan. Mallari Jr. testified that he went to the leftlane of the highway and overtook a Fiera which had stopped on the right lane. Before he passed by the Fiera, hesaw the van of Bulletin coming from the opposite direction. It was driven by one Felix Angeles. The collisionoccurred after Mallari Jr. overtook the Fiera while negotiating a curve in the highway. The impact caused thejeepney to turn around and fall on its left side resulting in injuries to its passengers one of whom was Israel Reyeswho eventually died due to the gravity of his injuries.
Claudia Reyes, the widow of Israel Reyes, filed a complaint for damages against Mallari Sr. and Mallari Jr., andalso against Bulletin, its driver Felix Angeles, and the N.V. Netherlands Insurance Co. The complaint alleged thatthe collision which resulted in the death of Israel was caused by the fault and negligence of both drivers of thepassenger jeepney and the Bulletin Isuzu delivery van.
WON Mallari Jr. and Mallari Sr. are liable for the death of Israel.
Yes.The collision occurred immediately after Mallari Jr. overtook a vehicle in front of it while traversing a curve onthe highway. This act of overtaking was in clear violation of Sec. 41, pars. (a) and (b), of RA 4136 as amended,otherwise known as The Land Transportation and Traffic Code. A driver abandoning his proper lane for thepurpose of overtaking another vehicle in an ordinary situation has the duty to see to it that the road is clear and notto proceed if he cannot do so in safety. When a motor vehicle is approaching or rounding a curve, there is specialnecessity for keeping to the right side of the road and the driver does not have the right to drive on the left handside relying upon having time to turn to the right if a car approaching from the opposite direction comes into view.
Mallari Jr. already saw that the Bulletin delivery van was coming from the opposite direction and failing toconsider the speed thereof since it was still dark at 5:00 o’clock in the morning mindlessly occupied the left laneand overtook 2 vehicles in front of it at a curve in the highway. Clearly, the proximate cause of the collisionresulting in the death of Israel was the sole negligence of the driver of the passenger jeepney, Mallari Jr., whorecklessly operated and drove his jeepney in a lane where overtaking was not allowed by traffic rules. Under Art.2185 of the Civil Code, unless there is proof to the contrary, it is presumed that a person driving a motor vehiclehas been negligent if at the time of the mishap he was violating a traffic regulation. Mallaris failed to presentsatisfactory evidence to overcome this legal presumption.
The negligence and recklessness of the driver of the passenger jeepney is binding against Mallari Sr., whoadmittedly was the owner of the passenger jeepney engaged as a common carrier, considering the fact that in anaction based on contract of carriage, the court need not make an express finding of fault or negligence on the partof the carrier in order to hold it responsible for the payment of damages sought by the passenger.
(See Arts. 1755,1756 and 1759 for the rationale of common carrier’s liability).
*Case digest by Hipolito R. Bael, LLB-III, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2018-2019