2013 (Mercantile Law) Bar Exam Questions: Essay Question 9

[Answer/discuss the question below. Or check Mercantile Law Instructions; Mercantile Law Essay Questions: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 10; Mercantile Multiple Choice Questions: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15; See also 2013 Bar Exam: Information, Discussions, Tips, Questions and Results]


Fil-Asia Air Flight 916 was on a scheduled passenger flight from Manila when it crashed as it landed at the Cagayan de Oro airport the pilot miscalculated the plane’s approach and undershot the runway. Of the 150 people on board, ten (10) passengers died at the crash scene.

Of the ten who died, one was a passenger who managed to leave the plane but was run over by an ambulance coming to the rescue. Another was an airline employee who hitched a free ride to Cagayan de Oro and who was not in the passenger manifest.

It appears from the Civil Aeronautics Authority investigation that the co-pilot who had control of the plane’s landing had less than the required flying and landing time experience, and should not have been in control of the plane at the time. He was allowed to fly as a co-pilot because of the scarcity of pilots — Philippine pilots have been recruited by foreign airlines under vastly improved flying terms and wages so that newer and less trained pilots are being locally deployed. The main pilot, on the other hand, had a very high level of blood alcohol at the time of the crash.

You are part of the team that the victims hired to handle the case for them asa group. In your case conference, the following questions came up:

(A) Explain the causes of action legally possible under the given facts against the
airline and the pilots; whom will you specifically implead in these causes of action? (5%)

(B) How will you handle the cases of the passenger run overby the ambulance and the
airline employee allowed to hitch a free ride to Cagayan de Oro? (3%)


  1. A. Against the airline breach of contract, as to the pilots culpa aquiliana. Sa breach only the airline but sa culpa aquiliana the pilots and the airline company for its subsidiary liability B. The free riding airline employee should be included as one of the plaintifss since under the definition or elements of common carrier hindi naman kasali ang payment of fare because it could be gratuitous, as to the passenger who was ran over he should be included also and i based it on the discussion of proximate cause since the crash landing is the PC of the death of the passenger

    1. Correction and supplement: in culpa aquiliana i impleaded the airline company because of its vicarious libality, sa culpa criminal ko pala nilagay ang subsidiary liability ng employer

  2. Feeling ko nung ginagawa ng examiner ang question na to, nakatutok siya sa Asiana Air flight last July! Kaloka ang facts, kapareho ng actual crash yung nasagasaan ng truck na passenger sa youtube! :-O

    1. Tarush! Korek mars, ang funny nga nitey! Parang may movie din na ganitey ang peg, tawa lang akesh ng tawa nung bar sa question na itey. Tegi kung tegi lang. Torts ang approch ko ditey, wiz masyado Transpo.

  3. A.
    In Duavit vs. The Hon. Court of Appeals, et al., the Supreme Court have stressed the need of first establishing the existence of an employer-employee relationship before an employer may be vicariously liable under Article 2180 of the Civil Code.
    When an injury is caused by the negligence of an employee, there instantly arises a presumption of law that there was negligence on the part of the employer either in the selection of the employee or in the supervision over him after such selection. The presumption, however, may be rebutted by a clear showing on the part of the employer that it has exercised the care and diligence of a good father of a family in the selection and supervision of his employee.
    Hence, to escape solidary liability for the quasi-delict committed by its pilots, it is imperative that Fil Asia Air must adduce sufficient proof that it exercised such degree of care. However, in this case Fil Asia failed to overcome such presumption. Its pilots were negligent per se.
    Ergo, for the pilots negligence, they are primarily liable to the death and injuries sustained by its passengers under Article 2176 of the Civil Code. Fil Asia is also primarily liable under Article 2180 of the same code which explicitly provides that employers shall be liable for the damages caused by their employees. Under the aforesaid provision, all that is required is that the employee, by his negligence, committed a quasi-delict which caused damage to another, and this suffices to hold the employer primarily and solidarity responsible for the tortious act of the employee. Fil Asia, however, can demand from the pilots reimbursement of the amount which it will have to pay the offended party’s claim.
    It should be noted that the proximate cause of the accident was the crashing of the plane, hence Fil Asia is still deemed responsible for the death of the passenger who was run over by the ambulance.
    In the case of the free riding employee, the Supreme Court in the case of Filamer Christian Institute v IAC, reiterates that supervision includes the formulation of suitable rules and regulations for the guidance of its employees and the issuance of proper instructions intended for the protection of the public and persons with whom the employer has relations through his employees.

    An employer is expected to impose upon its employees the necessary discipline called for in the performance of any act indispensable to the business and beneficial to their employer.

    In the present case, Fil Asia has not shown that it has set forth such rules and guidelines as would prohibit any one of its employees from taking a free ride or prohibiting its pilots from taking them in.
    Hence, Fil Asia may be held liable as employers under the general principle of respondeat superior.

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