The Court of Appeals has paved the way for the Taguig City Regional Trial Court to proceed with the trial of the P30-million damage suit filed by a businesswoman against the Ayala-owned real estate developer Alveo Land Corp.
Included in the suit is one of the country’s top construction companies and a gas supplier in connection with the 2013 explosion at Two Serendra residential condominium that left four people dead.
The appellate court’s Eight Division sustained the decision of Taguig City RTC Branch 271 Presiding Judge Paz Esperanza Cortes denying the motion filed by Alveo Land, Makati Development Corp. and Bonifacio Gas Corp. seeking the dismissal of the complaint filed by Marianne Cayton.
The appellate court ruled there was no grave abuse of discretion on the part of the trial court when it refused to dismiss Cayton’s complaint.
Cayton is the owner of 501B, which was badly damaged during the explosion that probers said was due to the gas leaks caused by the “unauthorized movement” of a gas range during repairs and the “negligence” of parties concerned.
Among those killed was Angelito San Juan, a tenant at Cayton’s unit when the incident occurred on May 31, 2013.
In seeking the dismissal of the complaint, Alveo Land, MDC and Bonifacio Gas insisted that Cayton failed to state a cause of action against them considering that under Article 2179 of the Civil Code, the petitioner may not claim for damages since she herself was the proximate cause of her injury.
The petitioners cited an inter-agency task force report that said the cause of the gas leak was the unauthorized movement of the gas range in Cayton’s unit during its renovation.
However, the CA disagreed with the petitioners, saying it was their negligence that led to the explosion.
The appellate court noted that the petitioners’ introduction of a new, highly sensitive LPG system in Two Serendra for the use of their tenants in their individual units without providing sufficient safeguards to prevent “occasional negligence” was “an act of actionable negligence” despite the intervening acts” on the part of Cayton and those that conducted the renovation of her unit.
“Obviously, Cayton and the other tenants of Two Serendra had no participation in the introduction or installation of the LPG system within the entire Two Serendra complex as the same was even part of the project’s selling point to their then prospective buyers, the court said.
“Petitioners’ negligence caused an explosion which was caused by an LPG leak that went undetected for 13 hours, and for petitioners to shift the blame to the victim is only adding insult to Cayton’s injury.”
Associate Justices Ramon Bato Jr. and Ramon Cruz concurred with the ruling.