Loadmasters Customs Services Inc v. Glodel Brokerage Corporation,
GR No. 179446, 19 January 2011
On August 28, 2001, R&B Insurance issued Marine Policy No. MN-00105/2001 in favor of Columbia to insure the shipment of 132 bundles of electric copper cathodes against All Risks. On August 28, 2001, the cargoes were shipped on board the vessel “Richard Rey” from Isabela, Leyte, to Pier 10, North Harbor, Manila. They arrived on the same date.
Columbia engaged the services of Glodel for the release and withdrawal of the cargoes from the pier and the subsequent delivery to its warehouses/plants. Glodel, in turn, engaged the services of Loadmasters for the use of its delivery trucks to transport the cargoes to Columbia’s warehouses/plants in Bulacan and Valenzuela City.
The goods were loaded on board twelve (12) trucks owned by Loadmasters, driven by its employed drivers and accompanied by its employed truck helpers. Six (6) truckloads of copper cathodes were to be delivered to Balagtas, Bulacan, while the other six (6) truckloads were destined for Lawang Bato, Valenzuela City. The cargoes in six truckloads for Lawang Bato were duly delivered in Columbia’s warehouses there. Of the six (6) trucks en route to Balagtas, Bulacan, however, only five (5) reached the destination. One (1) truck, loaded with 11 bundles or 232 pieces of copper cathodes, failed to deliver its cargo.
Later on, the said truck was recovered but without the copper cathodes. Because of this incident, Columbia filed with R&B Insurance a claim for insurance indemnity. After the requisite investigation and adjustment, R&B Insurance paid Columbia the amount of ₱1,896,789.62 as insurance indemnity.
R&B Insurance, thereafter, filed a complaint for damages against both Loadmasters and Glodel before the Regional Trial Court claiming that it had been subrogated “to the right of the consignee to recover from the party/parties who may be held legally liable for the loss.”
On November 19, 2003, the RTC rendered a decision holding Glodel liable for damages for the loss of the subject cargo and dismissing Loadmasters’ counterclaim for damages and attorney’s fees against R&B Insurance.
Both R&B Insurance and Glodel appealed the RTC decision to the CA.
The CA partly granted the petition. It held that Loadmasters is liable for whatever liability Glodel owes to R&B Insurance considering that Loadmasters is an agent of Glodel. As to Glodel’s appeal to be absolved from any liability, it was dismissed by the CA.
Hence, Loadmasters filed this present petition for review on certiorari before this Court.
1. Can Petitioner Loadmasters be held liable to Respondent Glodel in spite of the fact that the latter respondent Glodel did not file a cross-claim against it (Loadmasters)?
2. Under the set of facts established and undisputed in the case, can petitioner Loadmasters be legally considered as an Agent of respondent Glodel?
1. No. Glodel cannot succeed in seeking judicial sanction against Loadmasters because the records disclose that it did not properly interpose a cross-claim against the latter. Glodel did not even pray that Loadmasters be liable for any and all claims that it may be adjudged liable in favor of R&B Insurance. Under the Rules, a compulsory counterclaim, or a cross-claim, not set up shall be barred. Thus, a cross-claim cannot be set up for the first time on appeal.
However, the Court is of the view that both Loadmasters and Glodel are jointly and severally liable to R & B Insurance for the loss of the subject cargo. Under Article 2194 of the New Civil Code, “the responsibility of two or more persons who are liable for a quasi-delict is solidary.”
2. No. There exists no principal-agent relationship between Glodel and Loadmasters.
Article 1868 of the Civil Code provides: “By the contract of agency a person binds himself to render some service or to do something in representation or on behalf of another, with the consent or authority of the latter.”
Accordingly, there can be no contract of agency between the parties. Loadmasters never represented Glodel. Neither was it ever authorized to make such representation. It is a settled rule that the basis for agency is representation, that is, the agent acts for and on behalf of the principal on matters within the scope of his authority and said acts have the same legal effect as if they were personally executed by the principal. On the part of the principal, there must be an actual intention to appoint or an intention naturally inferable from his words or actions, while on the part of the agent, there must be an intention to accept the appointment and act on it. Such mutual intent is not obtaining in this case.
As to issue of common carrier
Loadmasters is a common carrier because it is engaged in the business of transporting goods by land, through its trucking service. It is a common carrier as distinguished from a private carrier wherein the carriage is generally undertaken by special agreement and it does not hold itself out to carry goods for the general public. The distinction is significant in the sense that “the rights and obligations of the parties to a contract of private carriage are governed principally by their stipulations, not by the law on common carriers.”
In the present case, there is no indication that the undertaking in the contract between Loadmasters and Glodel was private in character. There is no showing that Loadmasters solely and exclusively rendered services to Glodel.
In fact, Loadmasters admitted that it is a common carrier.
Glodel is also considered a common carrier. In its Memorandum, it states that it “is a corporation duly organized and existing under the laws of the Republic of the Philippines and is engaged in the business of customs brokering.” It cannot be considered otherwise because as held by this Court in Schmitz Transport & Brokerage Corporation v. Transport Venture, Inc., a customs broker is also regarded as a common carrier, the transportation of goods being an integral part of its business.
Vogue Vernal Orcullo is a Certified Public Accountant by profession and a 5th year law student of MSU Law – Iligan Campus. He used to teach Accounting subjects at Saint Michael’s College before finally settling into a full-time law student on his graduating year. He enjoys the study of law the same way that he goes crazy about Maria Sharapova and Novak Djokovic. He was an interim EIC of The Nexus before taking post as an Associate Editor while serving as the Supreme Law Student Council (SLSC) President. Currently, he gives webinars on labor laws so that employees would know about their rights. Surely, this man doesn’t know when to stop even when his plate is already full.