THE Court of Appeals has given the Quezon City regional trial court the go signal to hear the civil case filed against television network ABS-CBN Corporation in connection with the death of a mother and her six-year-old daughter sometime in 2002.
In an 11-page decision written by Associate Justice Leoncia Real-Dimagiba and concurred in by Associate Justices Amelita To–lentino and Ricardo Rosario, the CA’s Fourth Division denied ABS-CBN’s petition that asked the appeals court to halt the lower court from proceeding with the complaint for damages filed by one Manolito Roxas seeking an order from the court for ABS-CBN to pay him P17.34 million in damages for the death of his wife, Estela, and daughter, Pauline.
On March 11, 2002, Antonio Magat was driving a Nissan Power van registered in the name of the network when it slammed into the Roxas family’s car.
Estela and Pauline were declared dead on arrival by the New Era General Hospital, while Roxas and his two-year-old daughter Olline survived.
The complaint averred that ABS-CBN repeatedly ignored Roxas’ demands for, among others, indemnification for the deaths of his loved ones.
The broadcast firm elevated the issue before the CA and pleaded for the issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO) after the lower court in 2010 denied the defenses they put up.
“The assailed orders dated June 25 2010 and October 4, 2010 are hereby affirmed. The Court a quo (RTC) is hereby directed to hear the case with reasonable dispatch until its termination,” the appeals tribunal pointed out.
The CA said “the main aim of motor vehicle registration is to identify the owner so that if any accident happens, or that any damage or injury is caused by the vehicle on the public highways, responsibility therefor can be fixed in a definite individual, the registered owner.”
It further said “[t]he fact that petitioner (ABS-CBN) is the registered owner of the vehicle being driven by Magat during the accident is sufficient to hold petitioner liable under the Article 2180 (in relation to Article 2176) of the Civil Code.