G.R. No. L-37750, 19 May 1978, 83 SCRA 361


Atty. Leovigildo Tandog and Rogelio Tiro bought tickets for Tagbiliran City via the port of Cebu. Since many passengers were bound for Surigao, “M/S Sweet Hope” would not be proceeding to Bohol. They went to the proper branch office and were relocated to “M/S Sweet Town” where they were forced to agree “to hide at the cargo section to avoid inspection of the officers of the Philippines Coastguard.” They were exposed to the scorching heat of the sun and the dust coming from the ship’s cargo of corn grits and their tickets were not honored so they had to purchase a new one. Because of the terrible experience they had, they sued Sweet Lines for damages and for breach of contract of carriage before the Court of First Instance of Misamis Oriental who dismissed the complaint for improper venue. A motion was premised on the condition printed at the back of the tickets and was later dismissed. Hence this instant petition for prohibition for preliminary injunction.


Whether or not, a common carrier engaged in inter-island shipping stipulate thru condition printed at the back of passage tickets to its vessels that any and all actions arising out of the contract of carriage should be filed only in a particular province or city.


No. Actions arising out of the contract of carriage should be filed not only in a particular province or city. Contract of adhesions are not the kind of contract where the parties sit down to deliberate, discuss and agree specifically on all its terms, but rather, one which respondents took no part at all in preparing. It is only imposed upon them when they paid for the fare for the freight they wanted to ship.
We find and hold that Condition No. 14 printed at the back of the passage tickets should be held as void and unenforceable for the following reasons:
1. Circumstances obligation in the inter-island ship will prejudice rights and interests of innumerable passengers in different parts of the country who, under Condition No. 14, will have to file suits against petitioner only in the City of Cebu;
2. Subversive of public policy on transfers of venue of actions; and
3. Philosophy underlying the provisions of transfers of venue of actions is the convenience of the plaintiffs as well as his witnesses and to promote the ends of justice.
Hence, petition for prohibition is hereby dismissed. The restraining order is LIFTED and SET ASIDE.

*Case digest by Maria Novie Taruc, LLB-IV, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2018-2019