OBLIGATIONS AND CONTRACTS- FORTUITOUS EVENT, Robbery
Robbery per se is not a fortuitous event.
In Sicam, et al. v. Jorge, et al., G.R. No. 159617, August 8, 2007, Lulu Jorge pawned several pieces of jewelry with Agencia de R.C. Sicam to secure a loan in the amount of P59,500.00. It was alleged that two armed men entered the pawnshop and took away whatever cash and jewelry found inside the pawnshop vault. It was reported to the police. She sued for damages but Sicam interposed the defense of fortuitous event, alleging that there was robbery. The SC brushed aside the contention and said:
Robbery per se, just like carnapping, is not a fortuitous event. It does not foreclose the possibility of negligence on his part.
In a case similarly situated, it was ruled that:
“It is not a defense for a repaid shop of motor vehicles to escape liability simply because the damage or loss of a thing lawfully placed in its possession was due to carnapping. Carnapping per se cannot be considered as a fortuitous event. The fact that a thing was unlawfully and forcefully taken from another’s rightful possession, as in cases of carnapping, does not automatically give rise to a fortuitous event. To be considered as such, carnapping entails more than the mere forceful taking of another’s property. It must be proved and established that the event was an act of God or was done solely by third parties and that neither the claimant nor the person alleged to be negligent has any participation. In accordance with the Rules of Evidence, the burden of proving that the loss was due to a fortuitous event rests on him who invokes it – which in this case is the private respondent. However, other than the police report of the alleged carnapping incident, no other evidence was presented by private respondent to the effect that the incident was not due to its fault. A police report of an alleged crime, to which only private respondent is privy, does not suffice to establish the carnapping. Neither does it prove that there was no fault on the party of private respondent notwithstanding the parties’ agreement at the pre-trial that the car was carnapped. Carnapping does not foreclose the possibility of fault or negligence on the part of private respondent. (Co. v. CA, 353 Phil. 305 (1998); Sicam, et al. v. Jorge, et al., G.R. No. 159617, August 8, 2007).
In another case, it was held that to be relieved from civil liability of returning the pendant under Article 1174 of the Civil Code, it would only be sufficient that the unforeseen event, the robbery, took place without any concurrent fault on the debtor’s part, and this can be done by preponderance of evidence; that o be free from liability for reason of fortuitous event, the debtor must, in addition to the case itself, be free from any concurrent or contributory fault or negligence. (Sicam, et al. v. Jorge, et al., supra.).