According to the trial court, there was no dispute that petitioner William Tiu was engaged in business as a common carrier, in view of his admission that D’ Rough Rider passenger bus which figured in the accident was owned by him
Petitioner Laspiñas promptly applied the brakes and swerved to the left to avoid hitting the truck head-on, but despite his efforts to avoid damage to property and physical injuries on the passengers, the right side portion of the bus hit the cargo truck’s left rear.
cargo truck marked "Condor Hollow Blocks and General Merchandise"
was loaded with firewood in Bogo, Cebu and left for Cebu City. Upon reaching Sitio Aggies, Poblacion, Compostela, Cebu, just as the truck passed over a bridge, one of its rear tires exploded.
The driver, Sergio Pedrano, then parked along the right side of the national highway and removed the damaged tire to have it vulcanized at a nearby shop, about 700 meters away.
Pedrano left his helper, Jose Mitante, Jr. to keep watch over the stalled vehicle, and instructed the latter to place a spare tire six fathoms away
behind the stalled truck to serve as a warning for oncoming vehicles. The truck’s tail lights were also left on.
At about 4:45 a.m., D’ Rough Riders passenger bus
driven by Virgilio Te Laspiñas was cruising along the national highway of Sitio Aggies, Poblacion, Compostela, Cebu. The passenger bus was also bound for Cebu City
Among its passengers were the Spouses Pedro A. Arriesgado and Felisa Pepito Arriesgado, who were seated at the right side of the bus, about three (3) or four (4) places from the front seat.
As the bus was approaching the bridge, Laspiñas saw the stalled truck, which was then about 25 meters away.
He applied the breaks and tried to swerve to the left to avoid hitting the truck. But it was too late; the bus rammed into the truck’s left rear.
The impact damaged the right side of the bus and left several passengers injured. Pedro Arriesgado lost consciousness and suffered a fracture in his right colles.
His wife, Felisa, was brought to the Danao City Hospital. She was later transferred to the Southern Island Medical Center where she died shortly thereafter.
Respondent Pedro A. Arriesgado then filed a complaint for breach of contract of carriage, damages and attorney’s fees before the Regional Trial Court
against the petitioners, D’ Rough Riders bus operator William Tiu and his driver, Virgilio Te Laspiñas on May 27, 1987. The respondent alleged that the passenger bus in question was cruising at a fast and high speed along the national road, and that petitioner Laspiñas did not take precautionary measures to avoid the accident.
The respondent prayed that judgment be rendered in his favor and that the petitioners be condemned to pay the following damages
The petitioners, for their part, filed a Third-Party Complaint
against the following: respondent Philippine Phoenix Surety and Insurance, Inc. (PPSII), petitioner Tiu’s insurer; respondent Benjamin Condor, the registered owner of the cargo truck; and respondent Sergio Pedrano, the driver of the truck.
The respondent PPSII, for its part, admitted that it had an existing contract with petitioner Tiu, but averred that it had already attended to and settled the claims of those who were injured during the incident.
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