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Wheretheaccusedwerechargedwithseparatecrimesof

carnapping and murder, they cannot be convicted of the


qualified carnapping constitutive of the various crimes
allegedinthetwoinformationswithoutrunningafoulofthe
constitutionalrighttobeinformedofthenatureandcause
of the accusation against them. (People vs. Ubaldo, 342
SCRA338[2000])
o0o

G.R.No.179337.April30,2008.*

JOSEPH SALUDAGA, petitioner, vs. FAR EASTERN


UNIVERSITY and EDILBERTO C. DE JESUS in his
capacityasPresidentofFEU,respondents.
Colleges and Universities; Obligations and Contracts; Where a
student is enrolled in an educational institution, there is created a
contractual obligation between the two partiesthe student is
obliged to comply with the rules and regulations of the school while
the latter, as a learning institution, is mandated to impart
knowledge and equip its students with the necessary skills to
pursue higher education or a profession, as well as to ensure and
take adequate steps to maintain peace and order within the
campus.It is undisputed that petitioner was enrolled as a
sophomore law student in respondent FEU. As such, there was
created a contractual obligation between the two parties. On
petitioners part, he was obliged to comply with the rules and
regulationsoftheschool.Ontheotherhand,respondentFEU,asa
learninginstitutionismandatedtoimpartknowledgeandequipits
students with the necessary skills to pursue higher education or a
profession. At the same time, it is obliged to ensure and take
adequatestepstomaintainpeaceandorderwithinthecampus.Itis
settledthatinculpacontractual,themereproofoftheexistenceof
thecontractandthefailureofitscompliancejustify,primafacie,a
correspondingrightofrelief.Intheinstantcase,wefindthat,when
_______________
*THIRDDIVISION.

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Saludaga vs. Far Eastern University

petitionerwasshotinsidethecampusbynolessthesecurityguard

whowashiredtomaintainpeaceandsecurethepremises,thereisa
prima facie showing that respondents failed to comply with its
obligationtoprovideasafeandsecureenvironmenttoitsstudents.
Same; Same; Security Guards; A learning institution should
not be allowed to completely relinquish or abdicate security matters
in its premises to the security agency it hiredto do so would result
to contracting away its inherent obligation to ensure a safe learning
environment for its students.Respondentsalsofailedtoshowthat
they undertook steps to ascertain and confirm that the security
guardsassignedtothemactuallypossessthequalificationsrequired
in the Security Service Agreement. It was not proven that they
examined the clearances, psychiatric test results, 201 files, and
othervitaldocumentsenumeratedinitscontractwithGalaxy.Total
reliance on the security agency about these matters or failure to
check the papers stating the qualifications of the guards is
negligenceonthepartofrespondents.Alearninginstitutionshould
notbeallowedtocompletelyrelinquishorabdicatesecuritymatters
initspremisestothesecurityagencyithired.Todosowouldresult
tocontractingawayitsinherentobligationtoensureasafelearning
environmentforitsstudents.
Same; Same; Force Majeure; An act of God cannot be invoked to
protect a person who has failed to take steps to forestall the possible
adverse consequences of such a loss.Respondents defense of force
majeure must fail. In order for force majeure to be considered,
respondents must show that no negligence or misconduct was
committedthatmayhaveoccasionedtheloss.AnactofGodcannot
be invoked to protect a person who has failed to take steps to
forestall the possible adverse consequences of such a loss. Ones
negligence may have concurred with an act of God in producing
damage and injury to another; nonetheless, showing that the
immediate or proximate cause of the damage or injury was a
fortuitous event would not exempt one from liability. When the
effect is found to be partly the result of a persons participation
whetherbyactiveintervention,neglectorfailuretoactthewhole
occurrence is humanized and removed from the rules applicable to
actsofGod.
Same; Same; Negligence; For breach of contract due to negligence in
providing a safe learning environment, an educational institution
is liable to petitioner for damages.Article1170oftheCivil
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Saludaga vs. Far Eastern University


Code provides that those who are negligent in the performance of
their obligations are liable for damages. Accordingly, for breach of
contract due to negligence in providing a safe learning
environment,respondentFEUisliabletopetitionerfordamages.It
is essential in the award of damages that the claimant must have
satisfactorily proven during the trial the existence of the factual
basis of the damages and its causal connection to defendants acts.
In the instant case, it was established that petitioner spent
P35,298.25 for his hospitalization and other medical expenses.
While the trial court correctly imposed interest on said amount,
however, the case at bar involves an obligation arising from a

contract and not a loan or forbearance of money. As such, the


proper rate of legal interest is six percent (6%) per annum of the
amount demanded. Such interest shall continue to run from the
filing of the complaint until the finality of this Decision. After this
Decision becomes final and executory, the applicable rate shall be
twelvepercent(12%)per annumuntilitssatisfaction.
Same; Same; Same; Damages; Trial courts must guard against the
award of exorbitant damages; they should exercise balanced,
restrained and measured objectivity to avoid suspicion that it was
due to passion, prejudice, or corruption on the part of the trial
court.As regards the award of moral damages, there is no hard
andfastruleinthedeterminationofwhatwouldbeafairamount
of moral damages since each case must be governed by its own
peculiar circumstances. The testimony of petitioner about his
physical suffering, mental anguish, fright, serious anxiety, and
moral shock resulting from the shooting incident justify the award
of moral damages. However, moral damages are in the category of
an award designed to compensate the claimant for actual injury
sufferedandnottoimposeapenaltyonthewrongdoer.Theaward
is not meant to enrich the complainant at the expense of the
defendant, but to enable the injured party to obtain means,
diversion, or amusements that will serve to obviate the moral
suffering he has undergone. It is aimed at the restoration, within
thelimitsofthepossible,ofthespiritualstatusquoante,andshould
be proportionate to the suffering inflicted. Trial courts must then
guard against the award of exorbitant damages; they should
exercise balanced, restrained and measured objectivity to avoid
suspicionthatitwasduetopassion,prejudice,orcorruptiononthe
partofthetrialcourt.Wedeemitjustandreason
744

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SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
Saludaga vs. Far Eastern University

ableunderthecircumstancestoawardpetitionermoraldamagesin
theamountofP100,000.00.
Same; Same; Same; Same; Corporation Law; A corporation is
invested by law with a personality separate and distinct from those
of the persons composing it, such that, save for certain exceptions,
corporate officers who entered into contracts in behalf of the
corporation cannot be held personally liable for the liabilities of the
latter.We note that the trial court held respondent De Jesus
solidarilyliablewithrespondentFEU.InPowton Conglomerate, Inc.
v. Agcolicol,400SCRA523(2003),weheldthat:[A]corporationis
investedbylawwithapersonalityseparateanddistinctfromthose
of the persons composing it, such that, save for certain exceptions,
corporate officers who entered into contracts in behalf of the
corporationcannotbeheldpersonallyliablefortheliabilitiesofthe
latter. Personal liability of a corporate director, trustee or officer
along(althoughnotnecessarily)withthecorporationmaysovalidly
attach,asarule,onlywhen(1)heassentstoapatentlyunlawful
act of the corporation, or when he is guilty of bad faith or gross
negligence in directing its affairs, or when there is a conflict of
interest resulting in damages to the corporation, its stockholders or
other persons; (2) he consents to the issuance of watered down
stocks or who, having knowledge thereof, does not forthwith file

with the corporate secretary his written objection thereto; (3) he


agrees to hold himself personally and solidarily liable with the
corporation; or (4) he is made by a specific provision of law
personally answerable for his corporate action. None of the
foregoing exceptions was established in the instant case; hence,
respondent De Jesus should not be held solidarily liable with
respondentFEU.
Same; Labor Law; Security Guards; Where the security agency
recruits, hires and assigns the works of its watchmen or security
guards to a client, the employer of such guards or watchmen is such
agency, and not the client, since the latter has no hand in selecting
the security guardsthe duty to observe the diligence of a good
father of a family cannot be demanded from the said client.We
agree with the findings of the Court of Appeals that respondents
cannotbeheldliablefordamagesunderArt.2180oftheCivilCode
becauserespondentsarenottheemployersofRosete.Thelatterwas
employed by Galaxy. The instructions issued by respondents
SecurityConsultanttoGalaxyanditssecurityguardsareordinarily
nomorethanre
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Saludaga vs. Far Eastern University


questscommonlyenvisagedinthecontractforservicesenteredinto
byaprincipalandasecurityagency.Theycannotbeconstruedas
the element of control as to treat respondents as the employers of
Rosete.AsheldinMercury Drug Corporation v. Libunao,434SCRA
404 (2004): In Soliman, Jr. v. Tuazon, 209 SCRA 47 (1992), we
heldthatwherethesecurityagencyrecruits,hiresandassignsthe
worksofitswatchmenorsecurityguardstoaclient,theemployerof
such guards or watchmen is such agency, and not the client, since
the latter has no hand in selecting the security guards. Thus, the
dutytoobservethediligenceofagoodfatherofafamilycannotbe
demandedfromthesaidclient.
Actions; Pleadings and Practice; ThirdParty Complaints; The
thirdparty complaint is a procedural device whereby a third party
who is neither a party nor privy to the act or deed complained of by
the plaintiff, may be brought into the case with leave of court, by the
defendant, who acts as thirdparty plaintiff to enforce against such
thirdparty defendant a right for contribution, indemnity,
subrogation or any other relief, in respect of the plaintiffs claim.
WenowcometorespondentsThirdPartyClaimagainstGalaxy.In
Firestone Tire and Rubber Company of the Philippines v.
Tempongko, 27 SCRA 418 (1969), we held that: The thirdparty
complaint is, therefore, a procedural device whereby a third party
whoisneitherapartynorprivytotheactordeedcomplainedofby
the plaintiff, may be brought into the case with leave of court, by
the defendant, who acts as thirdparty plaintiff to enforce against
such thirdparty defendant a right for contribution, indemnity,
subrogation or any other relief, in respect of the plaintiffs claim.
The thirdparty complaint is actually independent of and separate
and distinct from the plaintiffs complaint. Were it not for this
provision of the Rules of Court, it would have to be filed
independently and separately from the original complaint by the
defendantagainstthethirdparty.ButtheRulespermitdefendant

to bring in a thirdparty defendant or so to speak, to litigate his


separate cause of action in respect of plaintiffs claim against a
thirdparty in the original and principal case with the object of
avoiding circuitry of action and unnecessary proliferation of law
suits and of disposing expeditiously in one litigation the entire
subjectmatterarisingfromoneparticularsetoffacts.
Same; Same; Same; Security Guards; For acts of negligence and for
having supplied an educational institution with an unquali
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SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
Saludaga vs. Far Eastern University

fied security guard, which resulted in the latters breach of


obligation to its student, it is proper to hold the security agency
liable to the client for such damages equivalent to the amounts
awarded to the student.Respondents and Galaxy were able to
litigatetheirrespectiveclaimsanddefensesinthecourseofthetrial
ofpetitionerscomplaint.Evidencedulysupportsthefindingsofthe
trial court that Galaxy is negligent not only in the selection of its
employees but also in their supervision. Indeed, no administrative
sanction was imposed against Rosete despite the shooting incident;
moreover,hewasevenallowedtogoonleaveofabsencewhichled
eventually to his disappearance. Galaxy also failed to monitor
petitionersconditionorextendthenecessaryassistance,otherthan
the P5,000.00 initially given to petitioner. Galaxy and Imperial
failed to make good their pledge to reimburse petitioners medical
expenses. For these acts of negligence and for having supplied
respondentFEUwithanunqualifiedsecurityguard,whichresulted
to the latters breach of obligation to petitioner, it is proper to hold
Galaxy liable to respondent FEU for such damages equivalent to
theabovementionedamountsawardedtopetitioner.

PETITION for review on certiorari of the decision and


resolutionoftheCourtofAppeals.
ThefactsarestatedintheopinionoftheCourt.
Cacho & Chua Law Offices forpetitioner.
Antonio H. Abad & Associates forrespondents.
YNARESSANTIAGO,J.:
ThisPetitionforReviewonCertiorari1 underRule45of
theRulesofCourtassailstheJune29,2007Decision2ofthe
CourtofAppealsinCAG.R.CVNo.87050,nullifyingand
setting aside the November 10, 2004 Decision3 of the
Regional
_______________
1Rollo,pp.333.
2 Id., at pp. 3862; penned by Associate Justice Mariano C. Del
Castillo and concurred in by Associate Justices Arcangelita Romilla
LontokandRomeoF.Barza.
3Id.,atpp.6775;pennedbyJudgeAlejandroG.Bijasa.
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Saludaga vs. Far Eastern University


TrialCourtofManila,Branch2,inCivilCaseNo.9889483
anddismissingthecomplaintfiledbypetitioner;aswellas
its August 23, 2007 Resolution4 denying the Motion for
Reconsideration.5
Theantecedentfactsareasfollows:
PetitionerJosephSaludagawasasophomorelawstudent
of respondent Far Eastern University (FEU) when he was
shot by Alejandro Rosete (Rosete), one of the security
guardsondutyattheschoolpremisesonAugust18,1996.
Petitioner was rushed to FEUDr. Nicanor Reyes Medical
Foundation(FEUNRMF)duetothewoundhesustained.6
Meanwhile,Rosetewasbroughttothepolicestationwhere
he explained that the shooting was accidental. He was
eventually released considering that no formal complaint
wasfiledagainsthim.
Petitioner thereafter filed a complaint for damages
againstrespondentsonthegroundthattheybreachedtheir
obligation to provide students with a safe and secure
environment and an atmosphere conducive to learning.
Respondents, in turn, filed a ThirdParty Complaint7
againstGalaxyDevelopmentandManagementCorporation
(Galaxy), the agency contracted by respondent FEU to
providesecurityserviceswithinitspremisesandMarianoD.
Imperial(Imperial),GalaxysPresident,toindemnifythem
forwhateverwouldbeadjudgedinfavorofpetitioner,ifany;
andtopayattorneysfeesandcostofthesuit.Ontheother
hand,GalaxyandImperialfiledaFourthPartyComplaint
againstAFPGeneralInsurance.8
On November 10, 2004, the trial court rendered a
decision in favor of petitioner, the dispositive portion of
whichreads:
WHEREFORE, from the foregoing, judgment is hereby
renderedordering:
_______________
4Id.,atpp.6465.
5Id.,atpp.160177.
6Id.,atp.188.
7Records,Vol.I,pp.136139.
8Id.,atpp.287290.
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SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
Saludaga vs. Far Eastern University
1.FEU and Edilberto de Jesus, in his capacity as
president of FEU to pay jointly and severally Joseph
SaludagatheamountofP35,298.25foractualdamageswith
12%interestper annumfromthefilingofthecomplaintuntil
fully paid; moral damages of P300,000.00, exemplary
damages of P500,000.00, attorneys fees of P100,000.00 and
costofthesuit;
2.Galaxy Management and Development Corp. and its

president, Col. Mariano Imperial to indemnify jointly and


severally3rdpartyplaintiffs(FEUandEdilbertodeJesusin
his capacity as President of FEU) for the abovementioned
amounts;
3.And the 4th party complaint is dismissed for lack of
causeofaction.Nopronouncementastocosts.
SOORDERED.9

Respondents appealed to the Court of Appeals which


renderedtheassailedDecision,thedecretalportionofwhich
provides,viz.:
WHEREFORE, the appeal is hereby GRANTED. The Decision
dated November 10, 2004 is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE.
The complaint filed by Joseph Saludaga against appellant Far
Eastern University and its President in Civil Case No. 9889483 is
DISMISSED.
SOORDERED.10

Petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration which was


denied; hence, the instant petition based on the following
grounds:
THECOURTOFAPPEALSSERIOUSLYERREDINMANNER
CONTRARYTOLAWANDJURISPRUDENCEINRULINGTHAT:
5.1.THESHOOTINGINCIDENTISAFORTUITOUSEVENT;
_______________
9Rollo,pp.7475.
10Id.,atp.61.
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Saludaga vs. Far Eastern University


5.2.RESPONDENTSARENOTLIABLEFORDAMAGESFOR
THE INJURY RESULTING FROM A GUNSHOT WOUND
SUFFERED BY THE PETITIONER FROM THE HANDS OF NO
LESSTHANTHEIROWNSECURITYGUARDINVIOLATIONOF
THEIR
BUILTIN
CONTRACTUAL
OBLIGATION
TO
PETITIONER, BEING THEIR LAW STUDENT AT THAT TIME,
TOPROVIDEHIMWITHASAFEANDSECUREEDUCATIONAL
ENVIRONMENT;
5.3.SECURITYGUARD,ALEJANDROROSETE,WHOSHOT
PETITIONERWHILEHEWASWALKINGONHISWAYTOTHE
LAW LIBRARY OF RESPONDENT FEU IS NOT THEIR
EMPLOYEE BY VIRTUE OF THE CONTRACT FOR SECURITY
SERVICESBETWEENGALAXYANDFEUNOTWITHSTANDING
THEFACTTHATPETITIONER,NOTBEINGAPARTYTOIT,IS
NOT BOUND BY THE SAME UNDER THE PRINCIPLE OF
RELATIVITYOFCONTRACTS;and
5.4.RESPONDENT EXERCISED DUE DILIGENCE IN
SELECTING GALAXY AS THE AGENCY WHICH WOULD
PROVIDE SECURITY SERVICES WITHIN THE PREMISES OF
RESPONDENTFEU.11

Petitionerissuingrespondentsfordamagesbasedonthe
allegedbreachofstudentschoolcontractforasafelearning

environment. The pertinent portions of petitioners


Complaintread:
6.0.At the time of plaintiffs confinement, the defendants or
anyoftheirrepresentativedidnotbothertovisitandinquireabout
hiscondition.Thisabjectindifferenceonthepartofthedefendants
continued even after plaintiff was discharged from the hospital
whennotevenawordofconsolationwasheardfromthem.Plaintiff
waited for more than one (1) year for the defendants to perform
their moral obligation but the wait was fruitless. This indifference
and total lack of concern of defendants served to exacerbate
plaintiffsmiserablecondition.
xxxx
_______________
11Id.,atpp.1314.
750

750

SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
Saludaga vs. Far Eastern University

11.0.Defendants are responsible for ensuring the safety of its


students while the latter are within the University premises. And
thatshouldanythinguntowardhappenstoanyofitsstudentswhile
theyarewithintheUniversityspremisesshallbetheresponsibility
of the defendants. In this case, defendants, despite being legally
andmorallybound,miserablyfailedtoprotectplaintifffrominjury
andthereafter,tomitigateandcompensateplaintiffforsaidinjury;
12.0.When plaintiff enrolled with defendant FEU, a contract
wasenteredintobetweenthem.Underthiscontract,defendantsare
supposed to ensure that adequate steps are taken to provide an
atmosphereconducivetostudyandensurethesafetyoftheplaintiff
while inside defendant FEUs premises. In the instant case, the
latterbreachedthiscontractwhendefendantallowedharmtobefall
upon the plaintiff when he was shot at by, of all people, their
security guard who was tasked to maintain peace inside the
campus.12

InPhilippine School of Business Administration v. Court


of Appeals,13weheldthat:
When an academic institution accepts students for enrollment,
there is established a contract between them, resulting in bilateral
obligations which both parties are bound to comply with. For its
part, the school undertakes to provide the student with an
education that would presumably suffice to equip him with the
necessarytoolsandskillstopursuehighereducationoraprofession.
On the other hand, the student covenants to abide by the schools
academicrequirementsandobserveitsrulesandregulations.
Institutions of learning must also meet the implicit or builtin
obligation of providing their students with an atmosphere that
promotes or assists in attaining its primary undertaking of
imparting knowledge. Certainly, no student can absorb the
intricaciesofphysicsorhighermathematicsorexploretherealmof
the arts and other sciences when bullets are flying or grenades
exploding in the air or where there looms around the school
premises a constant threat to life and limb. Necessarily, the school
mustensurethat

_______________
12Records,Vol.I,pp.16.
13G.R.No.84698,February4,1992,205SCRA729.
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Saludaga vs. Far Eastern University


adequate steps are taken to maintain peace and order within the
campuspremisesandtopreventthebreakdownthereof.14

It is undisputed that petitioner was enrolled as a


sophomorelawstudentinrespondentFEU.Assuch,there
was created a contractual obligation between the two
parties.Onpetitionerspart,hewasobligedtocomplywith
therulesandregulationsoftheschool.Ontheotherhand,
respondent FEU, as a learning institution is mandated to
impartknowledgeandequipitsstudentswiththenecessary
skills to pursue higher education or a profession. At the
sametime,itisobligedtoensureandtakeadequatestepsto
maintainpeaceandorderwithinthecampus.
It is settled that in culpa contractual, the mere proof of
the existence of the contract and the failure of its
compliance justify, prima facie, a corresponding right of
relief.15 In the instant case, we find that, when petitioner
was shot inside the campus by no less the security guard
whowashiredtomaintainpeaceandsecurethepremises,
there is a prima facie showing that respondents failed to
comply with its obligation to provide a safe and secure
environmenttoitsstudents.
In order to avoid liability, however, respondents aver
that the shooting incident was a fortuitous event because
they could not have reasonably foreseen nor avoided the
accident caused by Rosete as he was not their employee;16
andthattheycompliedwiththeirobligationtoensureasafe
learning environment for their students by having
exercisedduediligenceinselectingthesecurityservicesof
Galaxy.
After a thorough review of the records, we find that
respondents failed to discharge the burden of proving that
they exercised due diligence in providing a safe learning
environment for their students. They failed to prove that
theyen
_______________
14Id.,atpp.733734.
15 FGU

Insurance

Corporation

v.

G.P.

Sarmiento

Trucking

Corporation,435Phil.333,341;386SCRA312,320(2002).
16Records,Vol.1,pp.7686.
752

752

SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
Saludaga vs. Far Eastern University

sured that the guards assigned in the campus met the

requirementsstipulatedintheSecurityServiceAgreement.
Indeed, certain documents about Galaxy were presented
duringtrial;however,noevidenceastothequalificationsof
Roseteasasecurityguardfortheuniversitywasoffered.
Respondents also failed to show that they undertook
steps to ascertain and confirm that the security guards
assigned to them actually possess the qualifications
required in the Security Service Agreement. It was not
proventhattheyexaminedtheclearances,psychiatrictest
results,201files,andothervitaldocumentsenumeratedin
its contract with Galaxy. Total reliance on the security
agency about these matters or failure to check the papers
statingthequalificationsoftheguardsisnegligenceonthe
part of respondents. A learning institution should not be
allowed to completely relinquish or abdicate security
mattersinitspremisestothesecurityagencyithired.Todo
sowouldresulttocontractingawayitsinherentobligation
toensureasafelearningenvironmentforitsstudents.
Consequently,respondentsdefenseofforce majeuremust
fail.Inorderforforce majeuretobeconsidered,respondents
mustshowthatnonegligenceormisconductwascommitted
thatmayhaveoccasionedtheloss.AnactofGodcannotbe
invoked to protect a person who has failed to take steps to
forestall the possible adverse consequences of such a loss.
OnesnegligencemayhaveconcurredwithanactofGodin
producing damage and injury to another; nonetheless,
showing that the immediate or proximate cause of the
damageorinjurywasafortuitouseventwouldnotexempt
onefromliability.Whentheeffectisfoundtobepartlythe
result of a persons participationwhether by active
intervention,neglectorfailuretoactthewholeoccurrence
ishumanizedandremovedfromtherulesapplicabletoacts
ofGod.17
_______________
17Mindex Resources Development v. Morillo,428Phil.934,944;379
SCRA144,153(2002).
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Saludaga vs. Far Eastern University


Article 1170 of the Civil Code provides that those who
are negligent in the performance of their obligations are
liablefordamages.Accordingly,forbreachofcontractdueto
negligence in providing a safe learning environment,
respondent FEU is liable to petitioner for damages. It is
essential in the award of damages that the claimant must
have satisfactorily proven during the trial the existence of
thefactualbasisofthedamagesanditscausalconnectionto
defendantsacts.18
In the instant case, it was established that petitioner
spent P35,298.25 for his hospitalization and other medical
expenses.19Whilethetrialcourtcorrectlyimposedinterest
on said amount, however, the case at bar involves an
obligation arising from a contract and not a loan or

forbearance of money. As such, the proper rate of legal


interest is six percent (6%) per annum of the amount
demanded. Such interest shall continue to run from the
filing of the complaint until the finality of this Decision.20
After this Decision becomes final and executory, the
applicable rate shall be twelve percent (12%) per annum
untilitssatisfaction.
Theotherexpensesbeingclaimedbypetitioner,suchas
transportation expenses and those incurred in hiring a
personal assistant while recuperating were however not
duly supported by receipts.21 In the absence thereof, no
actual damages may be awarded. Nonetheless, temperate
damages under Art. 2224 of the Civil Code may be
recovered where it has been shown that the claimant
sufferedsomepecuniarylossbuttheamountthereofcannot
beprovedwithcertainty.Hence,theamountofP20,000.00
astemperatedamagesisawardedtopetitioner.
_______________
18 Roque, Jr. v. Torres, G.R. No. 157632, December 6, 2006, 510
SCRA336,348.
19 TSN, September 20, 1999, pp. 2021; Records, Vol. I, pp. 316322;
Records,Vol.II,p.597.
20 Eastern Shipping Lines, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 97412,
July12,1994,234SCRA78,9597.
21TSN,September27,1999,pp.5,9.
754

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SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
Saludaga vs. Far Eastern University

Asregardstheawardofmoraldamages,thereisnohard
and fast rule in the determination of what would be a fair
amountofmoraldamagessinceeachcasemustbegoverned
by its own peculiar circumstances.22 The testimony of
petitioner about his physical suffering, mental anguish,
fright,seriousanxiety,andmoralshockresultingfromthe
shooting incident23 justify the award of moral damages.
However, moral damages are in the category of an award
designed to compensate the claimant for actual injury
sufferedandnottoimposeapenaltyonthewrongdoer.The
award is not meant to enrich the complainant at the
expenseofthedefendant,buttoenabletheinjuredpartyto
obtain means, diversion, or amusements that will serve to
obviatethemoralsufferinghehasundergone.Itisaimedat
the restoration, within the limits of the possible, of the
spiritualstatusquoante,andshouldbeproportionatetothe
sufferinginflicted.Trialcourtsmustthenguardagainstthe
award of exorbitant damages; they should exercise
balanced, restrained and measured objectivity to avoid
suspicionthatitwasduetopassion,prejudice,orcorruption
on the part of the trial court.24 We deem it just and
reasonable under the circumstances to award petitioner
moraldamagesintheamountofP100,000.00.
Likewise, attorneys fees and litigation expenses in the
amount of P50,000.00 as part of damages is reasonable in

viewofArticle2208oftheCivilCode.25However,theaward
of
_______________
22Roque v. Torres, supranote18atp.349.
23 TSN, September 20, 1999, pp. 10, 1213; September 27, 1999, pp.
3,59.
24ABSCBN Broadcasting Corporation v. Court of Appeals, 361 Phil.
499,529530;301SCRA572,602(1999).
25CivilCode,Art.2208:
In the absence of stipulation, attorneys fees and expenses of
litigation,otherthanjudicialcosts,cannotberecovered,except:
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Saludaga vs. Far Eastern University


exemplary damages is deleted considering the absence of
proof that respondents acted in a wanton, fraudulent,
reckless,oppressive,ormalevolentmanner.
We note that the trial court held respondent De Jesus
solidarily liable with respondent FEU. In Powton
Conglomerate, Inc. v. Agcolicol,26weheldthat:
[A]corporationisinvestedbylawwithapersonalityseparateand
distinct from those of the persons composing it, such that, save for
certain exceptions, corporate officers who entered into contracts in
behalf of the corporation cannot be held personally liable for the
liabilities of the latter. Personal liability of a corporate director,
trustee or officer along (although not necessarily) with the
corporation may so validly attach, as a rule, only when(1) he
assentstoapatentlyunlawfulactofthecorporation,orwhenheis
guilty of bad faith or gross negligence in directing its affairs, or
when there is a conflict of interest resulting in damages to the
corporation,itsstockholdersorotherpersons;(2)heconsentstothe
issuanceofwatereddownstocksorwho,havingknowledgethereof,
does not forthwith file with the corporate secretary his written
objection thereto; (3) he agrees to hold himself personally and
solidarilyliablewiththecorporation;or(4)heismadebyaspecific
provisionoflawpersonallyanswerableforhiscorporateaction.27

None of the foregoing exceptions was established in the


instantcase;hence,respondentDeJesusshouldnotbeheld
solidarilyliablewithrespondentFEU.
Incidentally, although the main cause of action in the
instant case is the breach of the schoolstudent contract,
petitioner, in the alternative, also holds respondents
vicariously liable under Article 2180 of the Civil Code,
whichprovides:
_______________
(2) when the defendants act or omission has compelled the
plaintiff to litigate with third persons or to incur expenses to
protecthisinterest;
26448Phil.643;400SCRA523(2003).
27Id.,atp.656;pp.531532.

756

756

SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
Saludaga vs. Far Eastern University

Art.2180.The obligation imposed by Article 2176 is


demandable not only for ones own acts or omissions, but also for
thoseofpersonsforwhomoneisresponsible.
xxxx
Employers shall be liable for the damages caused by their
employees and household helpers acting within the scope of their
assigned tasks, even though the former are not engaged in any
businessorindustry.
xxxx
The responsibility treated of in this article shall cease when the
personshereinmentionedprovethattheyobservedallthediligence
ofagoodfatherofafamilytopreventdamage.

WeagreewiththefindingsoftheCourtofAppealsthat
respondents cannot be held liable for damages under Art.
2180 of the Civil Code because respondents are not the
employers of Rosete. The latter was employed by Galaxy.
TheinstructionsissuedbyrespondentsSecurityConsultant
to Galaxy and its security guards are ordinarily no more
than requests commonly envisaged in the contract for
servicesenteredintobyaprincipalandasecurityagency.
They cannot be construed as the element of control as to
treatrespondentsastheemployersofRosete.28
AsheldinMercury Drug Corporation v. Libunao:29
In Soliman, Jr. v. Tuazon,30 we held that where the security
agency recruits, hires and assigns the works of its watchmen or
security guards to a client, the employer of such guards or
watchmenissuchagency,andnottheclient,sincethelatterhasno
handinselectingthesecurityguards.Thus,thedutytoobservethe
diligenceofagoodfatherofafamilycannotbedemandedfromthe
saidclient:
[I]tissettledinourjurisdictionthatwherethesecurity
agency, as here, recruits, hires and assigns the work of its
watchmenorsecurityguards,theagencyistheemployerof
_______________
28Records,Vol.I,pp.4355(FEU)andpp.5668(Galaxy).
29G.R.No.144458,July14,2004,434SCRA404.
30G.R.No.66207,May18,1992,209SCRA47.
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Saludaga vs. Far Eastern University


suchguardsorwatchmen.Liabilityforillegalorharmfulacts
committed by the security guards attaches to the employer
agency,andnottotheclientsorcustomersofsuchagency.As
a general rule, a client or customer of a security agency has
nohandinselectingwhoamongthepoolofsecurityguardsor
watchmenemployedbytheagencyshallbeassignedtoit;the

duty to observe the diligence of a good father of a family in


the selection of the guards cannot, in the ordinary course of
events, be demanded from the client whose premises or
propertyareprotectedbythesecurityguards.
xxxx
Thefactthataclientcompanymaygiveinstructionsordirections
to the security guards assigned to it, does not, by itself, render the
client responsible as an employer of the security guards concerned
andliablefortheirwrongfulactsoromissions.31

WenowcometorespondentsThirdPartyClaimagainst
Galaxy. In Firestone Tire and Rubber Company of the
Philippines v. Tempongko,32weheldthat:
The thirdparty complaint is, therefore, a procedural device
wherebyathirdpartywhoisneitherapartynorprivytotheactor
deed complained of by the plaintiff, may be brought into the case
with leave of court, by the defendant, who acts as thirdparty
plaintiff to enforce against such thirdparty defendant a right for
contribution, indemnity, subrogation or any other relief, in respect
of the plaintiffs claim. The thirdparty complaint is actually
independent of and separate and distinct from the plaintiffs
complaint. Were it not for this provision of the Rules of Court, it
would have to be filed independently and separately from the
originalcomplaintbythedefendantagainstthethirdparty.Butthe
Rulespermitdefendanttobringinathirdpartydefendantorsoto
speak,tolitigatehisseparatecauseofactioninrespectofplaintiffs
claim against a thirdparty in the original and principal case with
the object of avoiding circuitry of action and unnecessary
proliferationoflawsuitsandof
_______________
31Mercury Drug Corporation v. Libunao,supraatpp.414418.
32137Phil.239;27SCRA418(1969).
758

758

SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
Saludaga vs. Far Eastern University

disposing expeditiously in one litigation the entire subject matter


arisingfromoneparticularsetoffacts.33

Respondents and Galaxy were able to litigate their


respective claims and defenses in the course of the trial of
petitionerscomplaint.Evidencedulysupportsthefindings
of the trial court that Galaxy is negligent not only in the
selection of its employees but also in their supervision.
Indeed, no administrative sanction was imposed against
Rosetedespitetheshootingincident;moreover,hewaseven
allowedtogoonleaveofabsencewhichledeventuallytohis
disappearance.34 Galaxy also failed to monitor petitioners
conditionorextendthenecessaryassistance,otherthanthe
P5,000.00initiallygiventopetitioner.GalaxyandImperial
failed to make good their pledge to reimburse petitioners
medicalexpenses.
For these acts of negligence and for having supplied
respondentFEUwithanunqualifiedsecurityguard,which
resultedtothelattersbreachofobligationtopetitioner,itis

proper to hold Galaxy liable to respondent FEU for such


damages equivalent to the abovementioned amounts
awardedtopetitioner.
Unlike respondent De Jesus, we deem Imperial to be
solidarilyliablewithGalaxyforbeinggrosslynegligentin
directingtheaffairsofthesecurityagency.ItwasImperial
who assured petitioner that his medical expenses will be
shouldered by Galaxy but said representations were not
fulfilled because they presumed that petitioner and his
familywerenolongerinterestedinfilingaformalcomplaint
againstthem.35
WHEREFORE,thepetitionisGRANTED.TheJune29,
2007 Decision of the Court of Appeals in CAG.R. CV No.
87050 nullifying the Decision of the trial court and
dismissing the complaint as well as the August 23, 2007
Resolution denying the Motion for Reconsideration are
REVERSEDandSET
_______________
33Id.,atpp.243244;pp.422423.
34Rollo,p.74.
35Records,Vol.I,p.330.
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Saludaga vs. Far Eastern University


ASIDE.TheDecisionoftheRegionalTrialCourtofManila,
Branch 2, in Civil Case No. 9889483 finding respondent
FEU liable for damages for breach of its obligation to
provide students with a safe and secure learning
atmosphere, is AFFIRMED with the following
MODIFICATIONS:
a.respondent Far Eastern University (FEU) is
ORDEREDtopaypetitioneractualdamagesintheamount
ofP35,298.25,plus6%interestper annumfromthefilingof
the complaint until the finality of this Decision. After this
decision becomes final and executory, the applicable rate
shall be twelve percent (12%) per annum until its
satisfaction;
b.respondentFEUisalsoORDEREDtopaypetitioner
temperate damages in the amount of P20,000.00; moral
damagesintheamountofP100,000.00;andattorneysfees
andlitigationexpensesintheamountofP50,000.00;
c.theawardofexemplarydamagesisDELETED.
TheComplaintagainstrespondentEdilbertoC.DeJesus
is DISMISSED. The counterclaims of respondents are
likewiseDISMISSED.
Galaxy Development and Management Corporation
(Galaxy) and its president, Mariano D. Imperial are
ORDERED to jointly and severally pay respondent FEU
damages equivalent to the abovementioned amounts
awardedtopetitioner.
SOORDERED.

AustriaMartinez, ChicoNazario, Nachura and Reyes,


JJ., concur.
Petition granted, judgment and resolution reversed and
set aside.
Notes.A school principal is tasked to see to the
maintenance of the school grounds and safety of the
children within the school and its premises. (Capili vs.
Cardaa,506SCRA569[2006])
760

760

SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
Saludaga vs. Far Eastern University

The term chartered institution includes the state


universitiesandcollegesandthemonetaryauthorityofthe
State. (Gumaru vs. Quirino State College, 525 SCRA 412
[2007])
o0o

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