Like us on Facebook

Please wait..10 Seconds Cancel

Transportation Law Case Digest: Ganzon v. CA (1988)

G.R. No. L-48757   May 30, 1988
Lessons Applicable: Actionable Document
Laws Cited: Art. 1736,Art. 1734 

FACTS: Gelacio > Ganzon (via Capt. Niza) > Lighter “Batman” (common carrier)  (loaded half)
  • November 28, 1956: Gelacio Tumambing (Gelacio) contracted the services of of Mauro B. Ganzon to haul 305 tons of scrap iron from Mariveles, Bataan, to the port of Manila on board the light LCT “Batman”
  • December 1, 1956: Gelacio delivered the scrap iron to Filomeno Niza, captain of the lighter, for loading which was actually begun on the same date by the crew of the lighter under the captain’s supervisor.
  • When about half of the scrap iron was already loaded, Mayor Jose Advincula of Mariveles, Bataan arrived and demanded P5000 from Gelacio
    • Upon resisting, the Mayor fired at Gelacio so he had to be taken to the hospital
    • Loading of the scrap iron was resumed
  • December 4, 1956: Acting Mayor Basilio Rub (Rub), accompanied by 3 policemen, ordered captain Filomeno Niza and his crew to dump the scrap iron where the lighter was docked
    • Later on Rub had taken custody of the scrap iron
  • RTC: in favor of Gelacio and against Ganzon
ISSUE: W/N Ganzon should be held liable under the contract of carriage

HELD: YES. Petition is DENIED.
  • Ganzon thru his employees, actually received the scraps is freely admitted. 
  • Pursuant to Art. 1736, such extraordinary responsibility would cease only upon the delivery, actual or constructive, by the carrier to the consignee, or to the person who has a right to receive them. 
  • The fact that part of the shipment had not been loaded on board the lighter did not impair the said contract of transportation as the goods remained in the custody and control of the carrier, albeit still unloaded.
  • failed to show that the loss of the scraps was due to any of the following causes enumerated in Article 1734 of the Civil Code, namely:

(1) Flood, storm, earthquake, lightning, or other natural disaster or calamity;
(2) Act of the public enemy in war, whether international or civil;
(3) Act or omission of the shipper or owner of the goods;
(4) The character of the goods or defects in the packing or in the containers;
(5) Order or act of competent public authority.
Hence, the petitioner is presumed to have been at fault or to have acted negligently. 
  • By reason of this presumption, the court is not even required to make an express finding of fault or negligence before it could hold the petitioner answerable for the breach of the contract of carriage. 
    • exempted from any liability had he been able to prove that he observed extraordinary diligence in the vigilance over the goods in his custody, according to all the circumstances of the case, or that the loss was due to an unforeseen event or to force majeure. As it was, there was hardly any attempt on the part of the petitioner to prove that he exercised such extraordinary diligence.
  • We cannot sustain the theory of caso fortuito - "order or act of competent public authority"(Art. 1174 of the Civil Code)
    • no authority or power of the acting mayor to issue such an order was given in evidence. Neither has it been shown that the cargo of scrap iron belonged to the Municipality of Mariveles. 
      • Ganzon was not duty bound to obey the illegal order to dump into the sea the scrap iron. 
      • Moreover, there is absence of sufficient proof that the issuance of the same order was attended with such force or intimidation as to completely overpower the will of the petitioner's employees. The mere difficulty in the fullfilment of the obligation is not considered force majeure