[Answer/discuss the question below, or see 2017 bar exam Civil Law Instructions; 2017 Labor Law Questions: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, and 15; See also 2017 Bar Exam: Information, Discussions, Tips, Questions and Results]
Jovencio operated a school bus to ferry his two sons and five of their schoolmates from their houses to their school, and back. The parents of the five schoolmates paid for the service. One morning, Porfirio, the driver, took a short cut on the way to school because he was running late, and drove across an unmanned railway crossing. At the time, Porfirio was wearing earphones because he loved to hear loud music while driving. As he crossed the railway tracks, a speeding PNR train loudly blared its horn to warn Porfirio, but the latter did not hear the horn because of the loud music. The train inevitably rammed into the school bus. The strong impact of the collision between the school bus and the train resulted in the instant death of one of the classmates of Jovencio’s younger son.
The parents of the fatality sued Jovencio for damages based on culpa contractual alleging that Jovencio was a common carrier; Porfirio for being negligent; and the PNR for damages based on culpa aquiliana.
Jovencio denied being a common carrier. He insisted that he had exercised the diligence of a good father of a family in supervising Porfirio, claiming that the latter had had no history of negligence or recklessness before the fatal accident.
(a) Did his operation of the school bus service for a limited clientele render Jovencio a common carrier? Explain your answer. (3%)
(b) In accordance with your answer to the preceding question, state the degree of diligence to be observed by Jovencio, and the consequences thereof. Explain your answer. (3%)
(c) Assuming that the fatality was a minor of only 15 years of age who had no earning capacity at the time of his death because he was still a student in high school, and the trial court is minded to award indemnity, what may possibly be the legal and factual justifications for the award of loss of earning capacity? Explain your answer. (4%)