576 Phil. 680
WHEREFORE, from the foregoing, judgment is hereby rendered ordering:Respondents appealed to the Court of Appeals which rendered the assailed Decision, the decretal portion of which provides, viz:
- FEU and Edilberto de Jesus, in his capacity as president of FEU to pay jointly and severally Joseph Saludaga the amount of P35,298.25 for actual damages with 12% interest per annum from the filing of the complaint until fully paid; moral damages of P300,000.00, exemplary damages of P500,000.00, attorney's fees of P100,000.00 and cost of the suit;
- Galaxy Management and Development Corp. and its president, Col. Mariano Imperial to indemnify jointly and severally 3rd party plaintiffs (FEU and Edilberto de Jesus in his capacity as President of FEU) for the above-mentioned amounts;
- And the 4th party complaint is dismissed for lack of cause of action. No pronouncement as to costs.
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. 98-89483 is DISMISSED.Petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration which was denied; hence, the instant petition based on the following grounds:
THE COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY ERRED IN MANNER CONTRARY TO LAW AND JURISPRUDENCE IN RULING THAT:Petitioner is suing respondents for damages based on the alleged breach of student-school contract for a safe learning environment. The pertinent portions of petitioner's Complaint read:
5.1. THE SHOOTING INCIDENT IS A FORTUITOUS EVENT;
5.2. RESPONDENTS ARE NOT LIABLE FOR DAMAGES FOR THE INJURY RESULTING FROM A GUNSHOT WOUND SUFFERED BY THE PETITIONER FROM THE HANDS OF NO LESS THAN THEIR OWN SECURITY GUARD IN VIOLATION OF THEIR BUILT-IN CONTRACTUAL OBLIGATION TO PETITIONER, BEING THEIR LAW STUDENT AT THAT TIME, TO PROVIDE HIM WITH A SAFE AND SECURE EDUCATIONAL ENVIRONMENT;
5.3. SECURITY GAURD, ALEJANDRO ROSETE, WHO SHOT PETITIONER WHILE HE WAS WALKING ON HIS WAY TO THE LAW LIBRARY OF RESPONDENT FEU IS NOT THEIR EMPLOYEE BY VIRTUE OF THE CONTRACT FOR SECURITY SERVICES BETWEEN GALAXY AND FEU NOTWITHSTANDING THE FACT THAT PETITIONER, NOT BEING A PARTY TO IT, IS NOT BOUND BY THE SAME UNDER THE PRINCIPLE OF RELATIVITY OF CONTRACTS; and
5.4. RESPONDENT EXERCISED DUE DILIGENCE IN SELECTING GALAXY AS THE AGENCY WHICH WOULD PROVIDE SECURITY SERVICES WITHIN THE PREMISES OF RESPONDENT FEU.
6.0. At the time of plaintiff's confinement, the defendants or any of their representative did not bother to visit and inquire about his condition. This abject indifference on the part of the defendants continued even after plaintiff was discharged from the hospital when not even a word of consolation was heard from them. 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 plaintiff's miserable condition.In Philippine School of Business Administration v. Court of Appeals, we held that:x x x x
11.0. Defendants are responsible for ensuring the safety of its students while the latter are within the University premises. And that should anything untoward happens to any of its students while they are within the University's premises shall be the responsibility of the defendants. In this case, defendants, despite being legally and morally bound, miserably failed to protect plaintiff from injury and thereafter, to mitigate and compensate plaintiff for said injury;
12.0. When plaintiff enrolled with defendant FEU, a contract was entered into between them. Under this contract, defendants are supposed to ensure that adequate steps are taken to provide an atmosphere conducive to study and ensure the safety of the plaintiff while inside defendant FEU's premises. In the instant case, the latter breached this contract when defendant allowed harm to befall upon the plaintiff when he was shot at by, of all people, their security guard who was tasked to maintain peace inside the campus.
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 necessary tools and skills to pursue higher education or a profession. On the other hand, the student covenants to abide by the school's academic requirements and observe its rules and regulations.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 petitioner's part, he was obliged to comply with the rules and regulations of the school. On the other hand, respondent FEU, as a learning institution is mandated to impart knowledge and equip its students with the necessary skills to pursue higher education or a profession. At the same time, it is obliged to ensure and take adequate steps to maintain peace and order within the campus.
Institutions of learning must also meet the implicit or "built-in" 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 intricacies of physics or higher mathematics or explore the realm of 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 must ensure that adequate steps are taken to maintain peace and order within the campus premises and to prevent the breakdown thereof.
[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. 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 assents to a patently unlawful 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 respondent FEU.
Art. 2180. The obligation imposed by Article 2176 is demandable not only for one's own acts or omissions, but also for those of persons for whom one is responsible.We agree with the findings of the Court of Appeals that 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. The instructions issued by respondents' Security Consultant to Galaxy and its security guards are ordinarily no more than requests commonly envisaged in the contract for services entered into by a principal and a security agency. They cannot be construed as the element of control as to treat respondents as the employers of Rosete.x x x x
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 business or industry.x x x x
The responsibility treated of in this article shall cease when the persons herein mentioned prove that they observed all the diligence of a good father of a family to prevent damage.
In Soliman, Jr. v. Tuazon, 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 watchmen is such agency, and not the client, since the latter has no hand in selecting the security guards. Thus, the duty to observe the diligence of a good father of a family cannot be demanded from the said client:We now come to respondents' Third Party Claim against Galaxy. In Firestone Tire and Rubber Company of the Philippines v. Tempengko, we held that:... [I]t is settled in our jurisdiction that where the security agency, as here, recruits, hires and assigns the work of its watchmen or security guards, the agency is the employer of such guards or watchmen. Liability for illegal or harmful acts committed by the security guards attaches to the employer agency, and not to the clients or customers of such agency. As a general rule, a client or customer of a security agency has no hand in selecting who among the pool of security guards or watchmen employed by the agency shall be assigned to it; 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 property are protected by the security guards.The fact that a client company may give instructions or directions to the security guards assigned to it, does not, by itself, render the client responsible as an employer of the security guards concerned and liable for their wrongful acts or omissions.
x x x x
The third-party complaint is, therefore, 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 third-party plaintiff to enforce against such third-party defendant a right for contribution, indemnity, subrogation or any other relief, in respect of the plaintiff's claim. The third-party complaint is actually independent of and separate and distinct from the plaintiff's 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 defendant against the third-party. But the Rules permit defendant to bring in a third-party defendant or so to speak, to litigate his separate cause of action in respect of plaintiff's claim against a third-party 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 subject matter arising from one particular set of facts.Respondents and Galaxy were able to litigate their respective claims and defenses in the course of the trial of petitioner's complaint. Evidence duly supports the findings 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 Rosete despite the shooting incident; moreover, he was even allowed to go on leave of absence which led eventually to his disappearance. Galaxy also failed to monitor petitioner's condition or extend the necessary assistance, other than the P5,000.00 initially given to petitioner. Galaxy and Imperial failed to make good their pledge to reimburse petitioner's medical expenses.
The Complaint against respondent Edilberto C. De Jesus is DISMISSED. The counterclaims of respondents are likewise DISMISSED.
- respondent Far Eastern University (FEU) is ORDERED to pay petitioner actual damages in the amount of P35,298.25, plus 6% interest per annum from the filing of 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;
- respondent FEU is also ORDERED to pay petitioner temperate damages in the amount of P20,000.00; moral damages in the amount of P100,000.00; and attorney's fees and litigation expenses in the amount of P50,000.00;
- the award of exemplary damages is DELETED.