I borrowed my friend’s motorbike for a week. Three days later, his bike was forcibly taken by two armed men while being driven by my neighbor who had borrowed the bike from me. Can I be held liable for damages?
By agreeing to lend you his motorbike, you and your friend entered into a contract of loan. This contract is particularly called a commodatum in accordance with the provision of Article 1933 of the New Civil Code of the Philippines, which provides:
“Art. 1933. By the contract of loan, one of the parties delivers to another, either something not consumable so that the latter may use the same for a certain time and return it, in which case the contract is called a commodatum; xxx
Commodatum is essentially gratuitous.
As a borrower, it is your obligation to take good care of the thing loaned to you and shall pay the ordinary expenses for its use and preservation. In the event that the thing loaned is lost because of unforeseen or fortuitous events, the borrower may still be held liable under the following circumstances:
“Art. 1942. The bailee is liable for the loss of the thing, even if it should be through a fortuitous event:
(1) If he devotes the thing to any purpose different from that for which it has been loaned;
(2) If he keeps it longer than the period stipulated, or after the accomplishment of the use for which the commodatum has been constituted;
(3) If the thing loaned has been delivered with appraisal of its value, unless there is a stipulation exempting the bailee from responsibility in case of a fortuitous event;
(4) If he lends or leases the thing to a third person, who is not a member of his household;
(5) If, being able to save either the thing borrowed or his own thing, he chose to save the latter.”
It is clear from the foregoing that you are liable for the loss of the motorbike, which was loaned to you by your friend. By letting your neighbor use the motorbike, you opened yourself to be held liable in case something wrong happens to the motorbike.
Again, we find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed or elaborated.
We hope that we were able to guide you with our opinion on the matter.
Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to email@example.com