G.R. No. L-50076, 14 September 1990, 189 SCRA 605
Petitioners are passengers of Philippines Airlines, Inc. (PAL) who attempts to recover from the later the value of jewelries and other valuables and money taken from them by four (4) armed men on board the latter’s airplane while on a flight from Mactan City to Manila as well as moral an exemplary damages, attorney’s fees an litigation expenses.
While the petitioners were on board flight Fokker Friendship PIC 536 plane, a senior NBI agent, Villarin was also in the same flight and notice a certain “Zaldy”, who was a suspect of the killing of Judge Valdez. He was believed to have three (3) companions on board the same plane. Villarin tried to scribble a message to the pilot requesting the former to contact the NBI duty agents in Manila to meet the said plane because Zaldy was also on the same flight. The plane captain then informed an explained to Agent Villarin that he could not send the said message because it would be heard by all ground aircraft stations. The two men were not able to discuss further when Zaldy stood behind them, leaving Captain Bonnevie to stand up and went back to the cockpit. After throwing ugly looks to Villarin, an exchange of gunshots ensued between the agent and the robbers. The armed men then declared hold-up an ordered the pilot not to send SOS and divested all the passenger’s belongings. Quisumbing was one of the those passengers who was divested of jewelries an cash in the total of P18,650.00 and later suffers shock because a gun had been pointed at him by one of the hold-uppers.
Demands were then made on PAL by Quisumbing to indemnify them for the loss but the airline company refuse to submit an averred that it is not liable to them in law and in fact.
Whether or not PAL has the obligation to indemnify Quisumbing.
No. PAL has no obligation to indemnify the petitioners with respect to their loss. The CFI and CA had carefully analyzed the records in relation to the memoranda and other pleadings of the parties. The evidences failed to prove that PAL had failed to comply with the applicable regulations or universally accepted and observe procedures to preclude hijacking. The Court also agrees that PAL did not fail to take certain steps in assessing a passenger which may mingle with force majeure as an active and cooperative cause.
The petition is denied and the appealed decision is affirmed with cost against petitioners.
*Case digest by Maria Novie Taruc, LLB-IV, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2018-2019