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804

SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
University of the East vs. Jader
*

G.R.No.132344.February17,2000.

UNIVERSITY OF THE EAST, petitioner, vs. ROMEO A.


JADER,respondent.
Civil Law; Damages; It is the contractual obligation of the
school to timely inform and furnish sufficient notice and
information to each and every student as to whether he or she had
already complied with all the requirements for the conferment of a
degree or whether they would be included among those who will
graduate.TheCourttakesjudicialnoticeofthetraditionalpractice
in educational institutions wherein the professor directly furnishes
his/herstudentstheirgrades.Itisthecontractualobligationofthe
schooltotimelyinformandfurnishsufficientnoticeandinformation
to each and every student as to whether he or she had already
compliedwithalltherequirementsfortheconfermentofadegreeor
whether they would be included among those who will graduate.
Although commencement exercises are but a formal ceremony, it
nonetheless
________________
* FIRSTDIVISION.

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University of the East vs. Jader


isnotanordinaryoccasion,sincesuchceremonyistheeducational
institutions way of announcing to the whole world that the

studentsincludedinthelistofthosewhowillbeconferredadegree
during the baccalaureate ceremony have satisfied all the
requirementsforsuchdegree.Priororsubsequenttotheceremony,
theschoolhastheobligationtopromptlyinformthestudentofany
problem involving the latters grades and performance and also
mostimportantly,oftheproceduresforremedyingthesame.
Same; Same; Absence of good faith must be sufficiently
established for a successful prosecution by the aggrieved party in a
suit for abuse of right under Article 19 of the Civil
Code.Petitioner,inbelatedlyinformingrespondentoftheresultof
the removal examination, particularly at a time when he had
alreadycommencedpreparingforthebarexams,cannotbesaidto
haveactedingoodfaith.Absenceofgoodfaithmustbesufficiently
establishedforasuccessfulprosecutionbytheaggrievedpartyina
suitforabuseofrightunderArticle19oftheCivilCode.Goodfaith
connotes an honest intention to abstain from taking undue
advantage of another, even though the forms and technicalities of
the law, together with the absence of all information or belief of
facts,wouldrenderthetransactionunconscientious.
Same; Same; The negligent act of a professor who fails to
observe the rules of the school, for instance by not promptly
submitting a students grade, is not only imputable to the professor
but is an act of the school, being his employer.Thecollegedeanis
the senior officer responsible for the operation of an academic
program,enforcementofrulesandregulations,andthesupervision
of faculty and student services. He must see to it that his own
professorsandteachers,regardlessoftheirstatusorpositionoutside
oftheuniversity,mustcomplywiththerulessetbythelatter.The
negligent act of a professor who fails to observe the rules of the
school,forinstancebynotpromptlysubmittingastudentsgrade,is
notonlyimputabletotheprofessorbutisanactoftheschool,being
hisemployer.
Same; Same; Want of care to the conscious disregard of civil
obligations coupled with a conscious knowledge of the cause
naturally calculated to produce them would make the erring party
liable.Educational institutions are dutybound to inform the
students of their academic status and not wait for the latter to
inquirefromthe
806

806

SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED

University of the East vs. Jader


former. The conscious indifference of a person to the rights or
welfare of the person/persons who may be affected by his act or
omission can support a claim for damages. Want of care to the
conscious disregard of civil obligations coupled with a conscious
knowledgeofthecausenaturallycalculatedtoproducethemwould
maketheerringpartyliable.
Same; Same; The modern tendency is to grant indemnity for
damages in cases where there is abuse of right, even when the act is
not illicit.Petitioner cannot pass on its blame to the professors to
justify its own negligence that led to the delayed relay of
information to respondent. When one of two innocent parties must
suffer,hethroughwhoseagencythelossoccurredmustbearit.The
moderntendencyistograntindemnityfordamagesincaseswhere
thereisabuseofright,evenwhentheactisnotillicit.Ifmerefault
or negligence in ones acts can make him liable for damages for
injurycausedthereby,withmorereasonshouldabuseorbadfaith
makehimliable.Apersonshouldbeprotectedonlywhenheactsin
the legitimate exercise of his right, that is, when he acts with
prudenceandingoodfaith,butnotwhenheactswithnegligenceor
abuse.
Same; Same; While petitioner was guilty of negligence and thus
liable to respondent for the latters actual damages, Court holds
that respondent should not have been awarded moral
damages.Whilepetitionerwasguiltyofnegligenceandthusliable
to respondent for the latters actual damages, we hold that
respondent should not have been awarded moral damages. We do
not agree with the Court of Appeals findings that respondent
suffered shock, trauma and pain when he was informed that he
could not graduate and will not be allowed to take the bar
examinations.Attheveryleast,itbehoovedonrespondenttoverify
forhimselfwhetherhehascompletedallnecessaryrequirementsto
be eligible for the bar examinations. As a senior law student,
respondentshouldhavebeenresponsibleenoughtoensurethatall
his affairs, specifically those pertaining to his academic
achievement,areinorder.Giventheseconsiderations,wefailtosee
how respondent could have suffered untold embarrassment in
attending the graduation rites, enrolling in the bar review classes
andnotbeingabletotakethebarexams.Ifrespondentwasindeed
humiliated by his failure to take the bar, he brought this upon
himself by not verifying if he has satisfied all the requirements
including his school records, before preparing himself for the bar
examination.

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VOL.325,FEBRUARY17,2000

807

University of the East vs. Jader


PETITIONforreviewoncertiorariofadecisionoftheCourt
ofAppeals.
ThefactsarestatedintheopinionoftheCourt.
Puno and Punoforpetitioner.
Thelma A. Jaderforprivaterespondent.
YNARESSANTIAGO,J.:
May an educational institution be held liable for damages
for misleading a student into believing that the latter had
satisfied all the requirements for graduation when such is
not the case? This is the issue in the instant petition for
review premised on the following undisputed facts as
summarizedbythetrialcourtandadoptedbytheCourtof
1
Appeals(CA), towit:
PlaintiffwasenrolledinthedefendantsCollegeofLawfrom1984
upto1988.Inthefirstsemesterofhislastyear(Schoolyear1987
1988), he failed to take the regular final examination in Practice
Court I for which he was given an incomplete grade (Exhibits 2,
alsoExhibitH).Heenrolledforthesecondsemesterasfourthyear
law student (Exhibit A) and on February 1, 1988 he filed an
application for the removal of the incomplete grade given him by
ProfessorCarlosOrtega(ExhibitsH2,alsoExhibit2)whichwas
approved by Dean Celedonio Tiongson after payment of the
requiredfee.HetooktheexaminationonMarch28,1988.OnMay
30, 1988, Professor Carlos Ortega submitted his grade. It was a
gradeoffive(5).(ExhibitsH4,alsoExhibits2L,N).
In the meantime, the Dean and the Faculty Members of the
College of Law met to deliberate on who among the fourth year
students should be allowed to graduate. The plaintiffs name
appeared in the Tentative list of Candidates for graduation for the
Degree of Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) as of Second Semester (1987
1988)withthefollowingannotation:
_________________
1CourtofAppeals(CA)DecisionpromulgatedOctober10,1997pennedby

JusticeBarcelona,withJusticesMabutas,Jr.andAquino,concurring,pp.56;
Rollo,pp.1213.

808

808

SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
University of the East vs. Jader

JADERROMEOA.
Def. Conflict of Lawsx18788, Practice Court IInc., 18788. C1 to
submittranscriptwithS.O.(Exhibits3,3C1,3C2)

The 35th Investitures & Commencement Ceremonies for the


candidatesofBachelorofLawswasscheduledonthe16thofApril
1988at3:00oclockintheafternoon,andintheinvitationforthat
occasionthenameoftheplaintiffappearedasoneofthecandidates.
(ExhibitsB,B6,B6A).Atthefootofthelistofthenamesofthe
candidatesthereappearedhoweverthefollowingannotation:
Thisisatentativelist.Degreeswillbeconferreduponthesecandidates
who satisfactorily complete requirements as stated in the University
Bulletin and as approved of the Department of Education, Culture and
Sports(ExhibitB7A).

TheplaintiffattendedtheinvestitureceremoniesatF.delaCruz
Quadrangle, U.E., Recto Campus, during the program of which he
went up the stage when his name was called, escorted by her (sic)
motherandhiseldestbrotherwhoassistedinplacingtheHood,and
his Tassel was turned from left to right, and he was thereafter
handedbyDeanCeledonioarolledwhitesheetofpapersymbolical
of the Law Diploma. His relatives took pictures of the occasion
(ExhibitsCtoC6,D3toD11).
He tendered a blowout that evening which was attended by
neighbors, friends and relatives who wished him good luck in the
forthcomingbarexamination.Therewerepicturestakentooduring
theblowout(ExhibitsDtoD1).
Hethereafterpreparedhimselfforthebarexamination.Hetook
a leave of absence without pay from his job from April 20, 1988 to
September30,1988(ExhibitG)andenrolledattheprebarreview
class in Far Eastern University (Exhibits F to F2). Having
learned of the deficiency he dropped his review class and was not
2
abletotakethebarexamination.

Consequently, respondent sued petitioner for damages


alleging that he suffered moral shock, mental anguish,
serious
________________

2 A check with the Attorneys List in the Court shows that private

respondent

is

not

member,

of

the

Philippine

Bar.

(http.//www.supremecourt.gov.ph).
809

VOL.325,FEBRUARY17,2000

809

University of the East vs. Jader


anxiety, besmirched reputation, wounded feelings and
sleeplessnightswhenhewasnotabletotakethe1988bar
examinations arising from the latters negligence. He
prayed for an award of moral and exemplary damages,
unrealizedincome,attorneysfees,andcostsofsuit.
In its answer with counterclaim, petitioner denied
liability arguing mainly that it never led respondent to
believethathecompletedtherequirementsforaBachelorof
Lawsdegreewhenhisnamewasincludedinthetentative
list of graduating students. After trial, the lower court
renderedjudgmentasfollows:
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing judgment is hereby
rendered in favor of the plaintiff and against the defendant
ordering the latter to pay plaintiff the sum of THIRTY FIVE
THOUSAND FOUR HUNDRED SEVENTY PESOS (P35,470.00)
withlegalrateofinterestfromthefilingofthecomplaintuntilfully
paid, the amount of FIVE THOUSAND PESOS (P5,000.00) as
attorneysfeesandthecostofsuit.
Defendantscounterclaimis,forlackofmerit,herebydismissed.
3
SOORDERED.

whichonappealbybothpartieswasaffirmedbytheCourt
ofAppeals(CA)withmodification.Thedispositiveportionof
theCAdecisionreads:
WHEREFORE, in the light of the foregoing, the lower Courts
Decision is hereby AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION that
defendantappellee, in addition to the sum adjudged by the lower
court in favor of plaintiffappellant, is also ORDERED to pay
plaintiffappellanttheamountofFIFTYTHOUSAND(P50,000.00)
PESOSformoraldamages.Costsagainstdefendantappellee.
4
SOORDERED.
_________________
3

Decision of Regional Trial Court (RTCManila Branch IX) dated

September 4, 1990 penned by Judge Edilberto Sandoval, pp. 89; RTC


Records,pp.192193;Rollo,pp.89.
4CADecision,p.24;Rollo,p.31.

810

810

SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
University of the East vs. Jader

Uponthedenialofitsmotionforreconsideration,petitioner
UEelevatedthecasetothisCourtonapetitionforreview
underRule45oftheRulesofCourt,arguingthatithasno
liabilitytorespondentRomeoA.Jader,consideringthatthe
proximate and immediate cause of the alleged damages
incurredbythelatteraroseoutofhisownnegligenceinnot
verifying from the professor concerned the result of his
removalexam.
Thepetitionlacksmerit.
When a student is enrolled in any educational or
learninginstitution,acontractofeducationisenteredinto
between said institution and the student. The professors,
teachers or instructors hired by the school are considered
merelyasagentsandadministratorstaskedtoperformthe
schools commitment under the contract. Since the
contractingpartiesaretheschoolandthestudent,thelatter
isnotdutyboundtodealwiththeformersagents,suchas
the professors with respect to the status or result of his
grades, although nothing prevents either professors or
students from sharing with each other such information.
TheCourttakesjudicialnoticeofthetraditionalpracticein
educational institutions wherein the professor directly
furnisheshis/herstudentstheirgrades.Itisthecontractual
obligation of the school to timely inform and furnish
sufficientnoticeandinformationtoeachandeverystudent
as to whether he or she had already complied with all the
requirementsfortheconfermentofadegreeorwhetherthey
would be included among those who will graduate.
Although commencement exercises are but a formal
ceremony,itnonethelessisnotanordinaryoccasion,since
such ceremony is the educational institutions way of
announcingtothewholeworldthatthestudentsincludedin
the list of those who will be conferred a degree during the
baccalaureateceremonyhavesatisfiedalltherequirements
for such degree. Prior or subsequent to the ceremony, the
schoolhastheobligationtopromptlyinformthestudentof

anyprobleminvolvingthelattersgradesandperformance
andalsomostimportantly,oftheproceduresforremedying
thesame.
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University of the East vs. Jader


Petitioner,inbelatedlyinformingrespondentoftheresultof
the removal examination, particularly at a time when he
had already commenced preparing for the bar exams,
cannotbesaidtohaveactedingoodfaith.Absenceofgood
faith must be sufficiently established for a successful
prosecution by the aggrieved party in a suit for abuse of
rightunderArticle19oftheCivilCode.Goodfaithconnotes
an honest intention to abstain from taking undue
advantage of another, even though the forms and
technicalities of the law, together with the absence of all
informationorbeliefoffacts,wouldrenderthetransaction
5
unconscientious. It is the school that has access to those
information and it is only the school that can compel its
professorstoactandcomplywithitsrules,regulationsand
policies with respect to the computation and the prompt
submissionofgrades.Studentsdonotexercisecontrol,much
less influence, over the way an educational institution
should run its affairs, particularly in disciplining its
professorsandteachersandensuringtheircompliancewith
the schools rules and orders. Being the party that hired
them,itistheschoolthatexercisesgeneralsupervisionand
exclusive control over the professors with respect to the
submission of reports involving the students standing.
Exclusivecontrolmeansthatnootherpersonorentityhad
any control over6 the instrumentality which caused the
damageorinjury.
Thecollegedeanistheseniorofficerresponsibleforthe
operationofanacademicprogram,enforcementofrulesand
regulations,
and the supervision of faculty and student
7
services. He must see to it that his own professors and
teachers,regardlessoftheirstatusorpositionoutsideofthe
university,mustcomplywiththerulessetbythelatter.The
negligentactofaprofessorwhofailstoobservetherulesof
theschool,

_______________
5

Tolentino, New Civil Code of the Philippines, Vol. I, (1960 ed.)

citingWood v. Conrad,2,S.B.83,5dN.W.95.
6 Mahowald

v. Minnesota Gas Co. (Minn) 344 NW2d 856. See also

Jackson v. H.H. Robertson Co., 118 Ariz 29, 574 P2d 82; Cummins v.
West Linn,21Or.App643,536P2d455.
7 Hawes and Hawes, The Concise Dictionary of Education, p. 62,

1982ed.citedinSarmiento,Manual,p.164.
812

812

SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
University of the East vs. Jader

forinstancebynotpromptlysubmittingastudentsgrade,is
not only imputable to the professor but is an act of the
school,beinghisemployer.
Considering further, that the institution of learning
involved herein is a university which is engaged in legal
education,itshouldhavepracticedwhatitinculcatesinits
students, more specifically the principle of good dealings
enshrined in Articles 19 and 20 of the Civil Code which
states:
Art.19.Everypersonmust,intheexerciseofhisrightsandinthe
performance of his duties, act with justice, give everyone his due,
andobservehonestyandgoodfaith.
Art. 20. Every person who, contrary to law, wilfully or
negligentlycausesdamagetoanother,shallindemnifythelatterfor
thesame.

Article 19 was intended to expand the concept of torts by


granting adequate legal remedy for the untold number of
moral wrongs which is impossible for
human foresight to
8
provide specifically in statutory law. In civilized society,
men must be able to assume that others will do them no
intended injury that others will commit no internal
aggressionsuponthem;thattheirfellowmen,whentheyact
affirmatively will do so with due care which the ordinary
understanding and moral sense of the community exacts
andthatthosewithwhomtheydealinthegeneralcourseof
society will act in good faith. The ultimate thing in the
theoryofliabilityisjustifiablerelianceunderconditionsof
9
civilized society. Schools and professors cannot just take
studentsforgrantedandbeindifferenttothem,forwithout

thelatter,theformerareuseless.
Educational institutions are dutybound to inform the
studentsoftheiracademicstatusandnotwaitforthelatter
to
________________
8PNB

v. CA, 83 SCRA 237 (1978) cited in Sea Commercial Company

v. CA,G.R.No.122823,November25,1999;319SCRA210.
9DeanRoscoePound,IntroductiontothePhilosophyofLaw.

813

VOL.325,FEBRUARY17,2000

813

University of the East vs. Jader


inquire from the former. The conscious indifference of a
person to the rights or welfare of the person/persons who
maybeaffectedbyhisactoromissioncansupportaclaim
10
for damages. Want of care to the conscious disregard of
civilobligationscoupledwithaconsciousknowledgeofthe
causenaturallycalculatedtoproducethemwouldmakethe
11
erring party liable. Petitioner ought to have known that
timewasoftheessenceintheperformanceofitsobligation
toinformrespondentofhisgrade.Itcannotfeignignorance
thatrespondentwillnotpreparehimselfforthebarexams
since that is precisely the immediate concern after
graduationofanLL.B.graduate.Itfailedtoactseasonably.
Petitioner cannot just give out its students grades at any
timebecauseastudenthastocomplywithcertaindeadlines
set by the Supreme Court on the submission of
requirementsfortakingthebar.Petitionersliabilityarose
fromitsfailuretopromptlyinformrespondentoftheresult
of an examination and in misleading the latter into
believing that he had satisfied all requirements for the
course. Worth quoting is the following disquisition of the
respondentcourt:
It is apparent from the testimony of Dean Tiongson that
defendantappellee University had been informed during the
deliberation that the professor in Practice Court I gave plaintiff
appellant a failing grade. Yet, defendantappellee still did not
informplaintiffappellantofhisfailuretocompletetherequirements
forthedegreenordidtheyremovehisnamefromthetentativelist
ofcandidatesforgraduation.Worse,defendantappelleeuniversity,

despite the knowledge that plaintiffappellant failed in Practice


CourtI,againincludedplaintiffappellantsnameinthetentative
list of candidates for graduation which was prepared after the
deliberation and which became the basis for the commencement
ritesprogram.Dean
_______________
10Texas Pacific &
11SeeHelms

Oil Co. v. Robertson,125Tex4,79SW2d830,98ALR262.

v. Universal Atlas Cement Co.,(CA5Tex)202F2d421certde

346US858,98Led372,74SCt74;Otto Kuehne Preserving Co. v. Allen(CA8


Mo) 148 F 166; See also Alabama G.S.R. Co. v. Hill, 93 Ala 514, 9 So 722;
Richmond & P.R. Co. v. Vance,93Ala144,9So574.

814

814

SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
University of the East vs. Jader

Tiongsonreasonsoutthatplaintiffappellantsnamewasallowedto
remaininthetentativelistofcandidatesforgraduationinthehope
that the latter would still be able to remedy the situation in the
remaining few days before graduation day. Dean Tiongson,
however, did not explain how plaintiffappellant Jader could have
done something to complete his deficiency if defendantappellee
university did not exert any effort to inform plaintiffappellant of
12
hisfailinggradeinPracticeCourtI.

Petitioner cannot pass on its blame to the professors to


justify its own negligence that led to the delayed relay of
information to respondent. When one of two innocent
parties must suffer, he
through whose agency the loss
13
occurred must bear it. The modern tendency is to grant
indemnity for damages in cases where14 there is abuse of
right, even when the act is not illicit. If mere fault or
negligenceinonesactscanmakehimliablefordamagesfor
injury caused thereby, with more reason should abuse or
bad faith make him liable. A person should be protected
only when he acts in the legitimate exercise of his right,
thatis,whenheactswithprudenceandingoodfaith,but
15
notwhenheactswithnegligenceorabuse.
However, while petitioner was guilty of negligence and
thusliabletorespondentforthelattersactualdamages,we
holdthatrespondentshouldnothavebeenawardedmoral
damages. We do not agree with the Court of Appeals
findings that respondent suffered shock, trauma and pain

whenhewasinformedthathecouldnotgraduateandwill
not be allowed to take the bar examinations. At the very
least, it behooved on respondent to verify for himself
whetherhehascompletedallnecessaryrequirementstobe
eligible for the bar examinations. As a senior law student,
respondentshouldhavebeenresponsibleenoughtoensure
thatallhisaffairs,
________________
12CADecision,pp.22223;Rollo,pp.2930.
13 Ohio

Farmers, Ins. Co. v. Norman, (App) 122 Ariz 330, 594 P2d

1026.
14 Sea

Commercial Company v. CA, G.R. No. 122823, November 26,

1999,319SCRA210.
15Tolentino,CivilCode,1990ed.,Vol.I,p.61.

815

VOL.325,FEBRUARY17,2000

815

University of the East vs. Jader


specifically those pertaining to his academic achievement,
areinorder.Giventheseconsiderations,wefailtoseehow
respondent could have suffered untold embarrassment in
attendingthegraduationrites,enrollinginthebarreview
classes and not being able to take the bar exams. If
respondentwasindeedhumiliatedbyhisfailuretotakethe
bar,hebroughtthisuponhimselfbynotverifyingifhehas
satisfied all the requirements including his school records,
beforepreparinghimselfforthebarexamination.Certainly,
takingthebarexaminationsdoesnotonlyentailamental
preparation on the subjects thereof; there are also
prerequisites of documentation and submission of
requirementswhichtheprospectiveexamineemustmeet.
WHEREFORE, the assailed decision of the Court of
AppealsisAFFIRMEDwithMODIFICATION.Petitioneris
ORDERED to PAY respondent the sum of Thirty Five
ThousandFourHundredSeventyPesos(P35,470.00),with
legal interest of 6% per annum computed from the date of
filingofthecomplaintuntilfullypaid;theamountofFive
ThousandPesos(P5,000.00)asattorneysfees;andthecosts
ofthesuit.TheawardofmoraldamagesisDELETED.
SOORDERED.

Davide, Jr. (C.J., Chairman), KapunanandPardo,


JJ.,concur.
Puno, J.,Nopart.
Judgment affirmed with modification.
Note.Thelawexplicitlyauthorizestheawardofmoral
damagesinbreachesofcontractwherethedefendantacted
fraudulently or in bad faith. (Del Rosario vs. Court of
Appeals,267SCRA158[1997])
o0o
816

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