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Torts and Damages Case Digest: Civil Aeronautics Administration v. Court of Appeals (1988)

G.R. No. L-51806 November 8, 1988
Lessons Applicable: Negligence

  • December 13, 1968: Ernest E. Simke , Honorary Consul Geileral of Israel in the Philippines, with several other persons went to the Manila International Airport to meet his future son-in-law
  • In order to get a better view of the incoming passengers, he and his group proceeded to the viewing deck or terrace of the airport.
  • While walking on the terrace filled with other people, he slipped over an elevation about 4 inches high at the far end of the terrace.
    • He fell on his back and broke his thigh bone.
  • December 14, 1968: he was operated for 3 hours
  • RTC: favored Simke
  • CA: affirmed
ISSUE: W/N Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) was negligent as the entity empowered "to administer, operate, manage, control, maintain and develop the Manila International Airport

  • National Airports Corporation is dead and the Civil Aeronautics Administration is its heir or legal representative, acting by the law of its creation upon its own rights and in its own name.  The better practice there should have been to make the Civil Aeronautics Administration the third party defendant instead of the National Airports Corporation.
  • CAA as an agency is not immune from suit, it being engaged in functions pertaining to a private entity
  • This Court during its ocular inspection also observed the dangerous and defective condition of the open terrace which has remained unrepaired through the years. It has observed the lack of maintenance and upkeep of the MIA terrace, typical of many government buildings and offices. Aside from the litter allowed to accumulate in the terrace, pot holes cause by missing tiles remained unrepaired and unattented. The inclination itself is an architectural anomaly for as stated by the said witness, it is neither a ramp because a ramp is an inclined surface in such a way that it will prevent people or pedestrians from sliding.
  • Article 1173 of the Civil Code, "(t)he fault or negligence of the obligor consists in the omission of that diligence which is required by the nature of the obligation and corresponds with the circumstances of the person, of the time and of the place."
  • Here, the obligation of the CAA in maintaining the viewing deck, a facility open to the public, requires that CAA insure the safety of the viewers using it. 
  • Contributory negligence under Article 2179 of the Civil Code contemplates a negligent act or omission on the part of the plaintiff, which although not the proximate cause of his injury, contributed to his own damage, the proximate cause of the plaintiffs own injury being the defendant's lack of due care -none here