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[G.R. No. 130003.

October 20, 2004]



JONAS AONUEVO, petitioner vs.
HON. COURT OF APPEALS and JEROME VILLAGRACIA, respondent
Tinga, J.

FACTS

Villagracia was traveling along Boni Ave. on his bicycle, while Aonuevo,
traversing the opposite lane was driving a Lancer car owned by Procter and Gamble
Inc., the employer of Aonuevos brother. Aonuevo was in the course of making a left
turn towards Libertad Street when the collision occurred. Villagracia sustained serious
injuries and had to undergo four operations.
Villagracia instituted an action for damages against P&G Phils., Inc. and
Aonuevo before the RTC. He had also filed a criminal complaint against Aonuevo
before the Metropolitan Trial Court of Mandaluyong, but the latter was subsequently
acquitted of the criminal charge. Aonuevo claims that Villagracia violated traffic
regulations when he failed to register his bicycle or install safety gadgets. He posits that
Article 2185 of the Civil Code applies by analogy.
Article 2185. Unless there is proof to the contrary, it is presumed that a person
driving a motor vehicle has been negligent if at the time of the mishap he was
violating any traffic regulation.

1. W/N Art. 2185 of the New Civil Code should apply to non-motorized vehicles, making
Villagracia presumptively negligent --> N

There is pertinent basis for segregating between motorized and non-motorized
vehicles. A motorized vehicle, unimpeded by the limitations in physical exertion. is
capable of greater speeds and acceleration than non-motorized vehicles. At the same
time, motorized vehicles are more capable in inflicting greater injury or damage in the
event of an accident or collision. This is due to a combination of factors peculiar to the
motor vehicle, such as the greater speed, its relative greater bulk of mass, and greater
combustibility due to the use of fuel.

2. W/N Villagracia was negligent for failure to comply with traffic regulations --> N
The existence of negligence in a given case is not determined by the personal
judgment of the actor in a given situation, but rather, it is the law which determines what
would be reckless or negligent. Aonuevo asserts that Villagracia was negligent as the
latter had transgressed traffic regulations. However, Aonuevo was speeding as he
made the left turn, and such negligent act was the proximate cause of the accident.
Even assuming that Aonuevo had failed to see Villagracia because the bicycle was not
equipped with headlights, such lapse on the cyclists part would not have acquitted the
driver of his duty to slow down as he proceeded to make the left turn.

3. W/N Villagracia is guilty of contributory negligence --> N
As between Aonuevo and Villagracia, the lower courts adjudged Aonuevo as
solely responsible for the accident. The petition does not demonstrate why this finding
should be reversed. It is hard to imagine that the same result would not have occurred
even if Villagracias bicycle had been equipped with safety equipment.

Bianca Danica Santiago Villarama