Castilex Industrial Corp. v. Vasquez

   Castilex Industrial Corp. v. Vasquez, 

G.R. No. 132266, 

December 21, 1999

DOCTRINE: Negligent acts of employees, whether or not the employer is engaged in a

business or industry, are covered under Art. 2180 so long as they were acting within the

scope of their assigned task, even though committed neither in the service of the

branches nor on the occasion of their functions. For, admittedly, employees oftentimes

wear different hats. They perform functions which are beyond their office, title or

designation but which, nevertheless, are still within the call of duty. Under the fifth

paragraph of Article 2180, whether or not engaged in any business or industry, an

employer is liable for the torts committed by employees within the scope of his assigned

tasks. But it is necessary to establish the employer-employee relationship; once this is

done, the plaintiff must show, to hold the employer liable, that the employee was acting

within the scope of his assigned task when the tort complained of was committed. It is

only then that the employer may find it necessary to interpose the defense of due

diligence in the selection and supervision of the employee.

FACTS: Petitioner’s manager Benjamin Abad was driving a company-owned car that

collided with the motorcycle of Romeo Vasquez, causing the latter’s death. A criminal

case was filed against Abad, which was dismissed. Subsequently, Vasquez’s parents

commenced an action for damages against herein petitioner and Abad wherein the RTC

ruled in favor of the spouses, ordering Abad and Castilex to pay solidarily. Castilex and

Abad appealed separately; the CA affirmed the RTC. Both ruled that Abad’s act of

driving a company-issued vehicle is within the scope of his assigned tasks regardless of

the time and circumstances, but the CA held that the liability of Castilex is vicarious only

and not solidary. Thus, Castilex filed the instant petition.


(1) Whether or not the RTC and CA are correct in holding that the act of driving a

company issued vehicle registered under the name of the employer is within the

scope of Abad’s assigned task, thus his employer must be held liable.

(2) Whether or not Castilex should be held vicariously liable for Vasquez’s death due

to the negligent operation by its managerial employee of a company-issued



(1) No. Absolutely hard and fast rule can be stated which will furnish the complete

answer to the problem of whether at a given moment, an employee is engaged in his

employer's business in the operation of a motor vehicle, so as to fix liability upon the

employer because of the employee's action or inaction; but rather, the result varies with

each state of facts. The Court had the occasion to hold that acts done within the scope

of the employee's assigned tasks includes "any act done by an employee in furtherance

of the interests of the employer or for the account of the employer at the time of the

infliction of the injury or damages.”

(2) No. The mere fact that Abad was using a service vehicle at the time of the injurious

incident is not of itself sufficient to charge petitioner with liability for the negligent

operation of said vehicle unless it appears that he was operating the vehicle within the

course or scope of his employment. Here, Abad was engaged in affairs of his own on a

personal purpose not in line with his duties at the time he figured in the accident. It was

at 2AM, way beyond the normal working hours. His working day had ended and his

overtime work had already been completed. His being at a place known as “haven for

prostitutes, pimps, and drug pushers and addicts” had no connection to petitioner’s

business, neither had it any relation to his duties as a manager. Rather, using the

service vehicle even for personal purposes was a form of fringe benefit or one of the

perks attached to his position.

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