Negligence in performance of obligation

Negligence, or culpa, may be understood as any voluntary act or omission, there being no malice, which prevents the normal fulfillment of an obligation.[1] The provision in Article 1173 of the Civil Code says that negligence is the omission of the diligence required by the nature of the obligation and that which corresponds with the circumstances of the persons, of the time and of the place.[2] In Cortes v. Manila Railroad Company,[3] the Supreme Court held that negligence is the want of care required by the circumstances.Paragraph 2 of the Article 1173 states that if the law or contracts does not state the required diligence, the diligence of a good father of family shall be employed. The test of negligence was held by the Supreme Court in the case of Mandarin Villa Inc. v. CA.[4], to wit:
“Whether or not the defendant, in doing the alleged negligent act, observed the reasonable care and caution, which an ordinary and prudent person would have used in the same situation.” If not, then he is guilty of negligence 

Moreover, negligence may be viewed in two aspects: a) culpa aquiliana, or negligence which by itself is the source of an obligation between the parties not formally bound before by any pre-existing contract; and b) culpa contractual, or negligence merely incidental in the performance of an obligation. In culpa aquiliana, the negligence of the defendant must be proven. On the other hand, in culpa contractual, the proof of the existence of the contract and of its breach or non-fulfillment is sufficient prima facie to warrant recovery. 


[1] De Leon. (2014). Obligations and Contracts.

[2] Rabuya. (2019). Obligations and Contracts.

[3] Cortes vs. Manila Railroad Company, 27 SCRA 674 (1969); Valenzuela vs. Court of Appeals, 253 SCRA 303 (1996); Smith Bell Dodwell Shipping Agency Corp. vs. Borja, 383 SCRA 341 (2002).

[4] G.R. No. 119850 (1996).

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