Yes, the City Government is legally responsible for the injuries provided that it has control and supervision over the road where the manhole is located. Under Article 2189 of the Civil Code of the Philippines states:
“Art. 2189. Provinces, cities and municipalities shall be liable for damages for the death of, or injuries suffered by, any person by reason of the defective condition of roads, streets, bridges, public buildings and other public works under their control and supervision.”
This law unquestionably forces the City Government that has control and supervision over the road where the open manhole is situated.
Ownership of the faulty manhole or other public works is not necessary as the law only needs that the LGU should exercise control and supervision over the same. Accordingly, the basic requirements to hold the LGU liable for damages are: (i) the control and supervision of the local government unit in the defective public works; and, (ii) the injuries sustained by an individual that was caused by the defective public works.