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TitleTan v. Standard Vacuum
Tags Common Law Government Justice Legal Concepts
File Size77.4 KB
Total Pages3
Document Text Contents
Page 1

G.R. No. L-4160 July 29, 1952

ANITA TAN, plaintiff-appellant,

Alberto R. de Joya for appellant.
Ross, Selph, Carrascoso and Janda for appellees Standard Vacuum Oil Company, Sto. Domingo
and Rico.
Arnaldo J. Guzman for appellee Rural Transit Co.


Anita Tan is the owner of the house of strong materials based in the City of Manila, Philippines. On
May 3, 1949, the Standard Vacuum Oil Company ordered the delivery to the Rural Transit Company
at its garage at Rizal Avenue Extension, City of Manila, of 1,925 gallons of gasoline using a gasoline
tank-truck trailer. The truck was driven by Julito Sto. Domingo, who was helped Igmidio Rico. While
the gasoline was being discharged to the underground tank, it caught fire, whereupon Julito Sto.
Domingo drove the truck across the Rizal Avenue Extension and upon reaching the middle of the
street he abondoned the truck with continued moving to the opposite side of the first street causing
the buildings on that side to be burned and detroyed. The house of Anita Tan was among those
destroyed and for its repair she spent P12,000.

As an aftermath of the fire, Julito Sto. Domingo and Imigidio Rico were charged with arson through
reckless imprudence in the Court of First Instance of Manila where, after trial, both were acquitted,
the court holding that their negligence was not proven and the fire was due to an unfortunate

Anita Tan then brought the action against the Standard Vacuum Oil Company and the Rural Transit
Company;, including the two employees, seeking to recover the damages she has suffered for the
destruction of her house.

Defendants filed separate motions to dismiss alleging in substance that (a) plaintiff's action is barred
by prior judgment and (b) plaintiff's complaint states no cause of action; and this motion having been
sustained, plaintiff elevated the case to this Court imputing eight errors to the court a quo.

The record discloses that the lower court dismissed this case in view of the acquittal of the two
employees of defendant Standard Vacuum Oil Company who were charged with arson through
reckless imprudence in the Court of First Instance of Manila. In concluding that accused were not
guilty of the acts charged because of the fire was accidental, the court made the following findings:
"the accused Imigidio Rico cannot in any manner be held responsible for the fire to the three houses
and goods therein above mentioned. He was not the cause of it, and he took all the necessary
precautions against such contingency as he was confronted with. The evidence throws no light on
the cause of fire. The witnesses for the prosecution and for the defense testified that they did not
know what caused the fire. It was unfortunate accident for which the accused Iigmidio Rico cannot
be held responsible." And a similar finding was made with respect to the other accused that the
information filed against the accused by the Fiscal contains an itemized statement of the damages
suffered by the victims, including the one suffered by Anita Tan, thereby indicating the intention of the
prosecution to demand indemnity from the accused in the same action, but that notwithstanding this
statement with respect to damages, Anita Tan did not make any reservation of her right to file a
separate civil action against the accused as required by the Rules of Court Rule 107, section 1-(a).

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