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Where the accused were charged with separate crimes of


carnapping and murder, they cannot be convicted of the
qualified carnapping constitutive of the various crimes
alleged in the two informations without running afoul of
the constitutional right to be informed of the nature and
cause of the accusation against them. (People vs. Ubaldo,
342 SCRA 338 [2000])

——o0o——

G.R. No. 179337. April 30, 2008.*

JOSEPH SALUDAGA, petitioner, vs. FAR EASTERN


UNIVERSITY and EDILBERTO C. DE JESUS in his
capacity as President of FEU, 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 parties—the 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
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. 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. In the instant case, we find
that, when

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* THIRD DIVISION.

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petitioner was shot inside the campus by no less the security


guard who was hired to maintain peace and secure the premises,
there is a prima facie showing that respondents failed to comply
with its obligation to provide a safe and secure environment to its
students.
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 hired—to do so
would result to contracting away its inherent obligation to ensure
a safe learning environment for its students.—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 proven that they examined the clearances, psychiatric test
results, 201 files, and other vital documents enumerated in its
contract with Galaxy. Total reliance on the security agency about
these matters or failure to check the papers stating the
qualifications of the guards is negligence on the part of
respondents. A learning institution should not be allowed to
completely relinquish or abdicate security matters in its premises
to the security agency it hired. To do so would result to
contracting away its inherent obligation to ensure a safe learning
environment for its students.
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 committed that may have occasioned the loss. 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. One’s 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 person’s

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participation—whether by active intervention, neglect or failure


to act—the whole occurrence is humanized and removed from the
rules applicable to acts of God.
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.—Article 1170 of the
Civil

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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, 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 the
factual basis of the damages and its causal connection to
defendant’s 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 twelve percent (12%) per annum until its
satisfaction.
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
and fast rule in the determination of what would be a fair amount
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 suffered and not to impose a penalty on the
wrongdoer. The award 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
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the moral suffering he has undergone. It is aimed at the


restoration, within the limits of the possible, of the spiritual
status quo ante, and should 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 suspicion that it was due to
passion, prejudice, or corruption on the part of the trial court. We
deem it just and reason­

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able under the circumstances to award petitioner moral damages


in the amount of P100,000.00.
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
solidarily liable with respondent FEU. In Powton Conglomerate,
Inc. v. Agcolicol, 400 SCRA 523 (2003), we held that: [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.
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
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selecting the security guards—the 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 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 re­

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quests 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. As held in Mercury Drug Corporation v.
Libunao, 434 SCRA 404 (2004): In Soliman, Jr. v. Tuazon, 209
SCRA 47 (1992), 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.
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 plaintiff’s claim.—We now come to respondents’ Third Party
Claim against Galaxy. 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’ 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 plaintiff’s claim. The third­party 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 third­party

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defendant or so to speak, to litigate his separate cause of action in


respect of plaintiff’s 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 subject matter arising
from one particular set of facts.
Same; Same; Same; Security Guards; For acts of negligence and
for having supplied an educational institution with an unquali­

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fied security guard, which resulted in the latter’s 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
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. For these acts of
negligence and for having supplied respondent FEU with an
unqualified security guard, which resulted to the latter’s breach of
obligation to petitioner, it is proper to hold Galaxy liable to
respondent FEU for such damages equivalent to the above­
mentioned amounts awarded to petitioner.

PETITION for review on certiorari of the decision and


resolution of the Court of Appeals.
   The facts are stated in the opinion of the Court.
  Cacho & Chua Law Offices for petitioner.
  Antonio H. Abad & Associates for respondents.

YNARES­SANTIAGO, J.:
This Petition for Review on Certiorari1 under Rule 45 of
the Rules of Court assails the June 29, 2007 Decision2 of
the Court of Appeals in CA­G.R. CV No. 87050, nullifying
and setting aside the November 10, 2004 Decision3 of the
Regional

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1 Rollo, pp. 3­33.


2 Id., at pp. 38­62; penned by Associate Justice Mariano C. Del Castillo
and concurred in by Associate Justices Arcangelita Romilla­Lontok and
Romeo F. Barza.
3 Id., at pp. 67­75; penned by Judge Alejandro G. Bijasa.

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Trial Court of Manila, Branch 2, in Civil Case No. 98­89483


and dismissing the complaint filed by petitioner; as well as
its August 23, 2007 Resolution4 denying the Motion for
Reconsideration.5
The antecedent facts are as follows:
Petitioner Joseph Saludaga was a sophomore law
student of respondent Far Eastern University (FEU) when
he was shot by Alejandro Rosete (Rosete), one of the
security guards on duty at the school premises on August
18, 1996. Petitioner was rushed to FEU­Dr. Nicanor Reyes
Medical Foundation (FEU­NRMF) due to the wound he
sustained.6 Meanwhile, Rosete was brought to the police
station where he explained that the shooting was
accidental. He was eventually released considering that no
formal complaint was filed against him.
Petitioner thereafter filed a complaint for damages
against respondents on the ground that they breached their
obligation to provide students with a safe and secure
environment and an atmosphere conducive to learning.
Respondents, in turn, filed a Third­Party Complaint7
against Galaxy Development and Management Corporation
(Galaxy), the agency contracted by respondent FEU to
provide security services within its premises and Mariano
D. Imperial (Imperial), Galaxy’s President, to indemnify
them for whatever would be adjudged in favor of petitioner,
if any; and to pay attorney’s fees and cost of the suit. On
the other hand, Galaxy and Imperial filed a Fourth­Party
Complaint against AFP General Insurance.8
On November 10, 2004, the trial court rendered a
decision in favor of petitioner, the dispositive portion of
which reads:

“WHEREFORE, from the foregoing, judgment is hereby


rendered ordering:

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4 Id., at pp. 64­65.


5 Id., at pp. 160­177.
6 Id., at p. 188.
7 Records, Vol. I, pp. 136­139.
8 Id., at pp. 287­290.

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Saludaga vs. Far Eastern University

1. 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;
2. 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;
3. And the 4th party complaint is dismissed for lack of
cause of action. No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.”9

Respondents appealed to the Court of Appeals which


rendered the assailed Decision, the decretal portion of
which 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.
SO ORDERED.”10

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:
5.1. THE SHOOTING INCIDENT IS A FORTUITOUS
EVENT;

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9  Rollo, pp. 74­75.


10 Id., at p. 61.

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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 BUILT­IN CONTRACTUAL OBLIGATION TO
PETITIONER, BEING THEIR LAW STUDENT AT THAT TIME,
TO PROVIDE HIM WITH A SAFE AND SECURE
EDUCATIONAL ENVIRONMENT;
5.3. SECURITY GUARD, 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.11

Petitioner is suing respondents for damages based on


the alleged breach of student­school contract for a safe
learning environment. The pertinent portions of
petitioner’s Complaint read:

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.
x x x x

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11 Id., at pp. 13­14.

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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.”12

In Philippine School of Business Administration v. Court


of Appeals,13 we held that:

“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.
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
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

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12 Records, Vol. I, pp. 1­6.


13 G.R. No. 84698, February 4, 1992, 205 SCRA 729.

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adequate steps are taken to maintain peace and order within the
campus premises and to prevent the breakdown thereof.”14

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.
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
who was hired to maintain peace and secure the premises,
there is a prima facie showing that respondents failed to
comply with its obligation to provide a safe and secure
environment to its students.
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
and that they complied with their obligation to ensure a
safe learning environment for their students by having
exercised due diligence in selecting the security services of
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
they en­

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14 Id., at pp. 733­734.


15  FGU Insurance Corporation v. G.P. Sarmiento Trucking
Corporation, 435 Phil. 333, 341; 386 SCRA 312, 320 (2002).
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16 Records, Vol. 1, pp. 76­86.

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sured that the guards assigned in the campus met the


requirements stipulated in the Security Service Agreement.
Indeed, certain documents about Galaxy were presented
during trial; however, no evidence as to the qualifications
of Rosete as a security guard for the university was offered.
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
proven that they examined the clearances, psychiatric test
results, 201 files, and other vital documents enumerated in
its contract with Galaxy. Total reliance on the security
agency about these matters or failure to check the papers
stating the qualifications of the guards is negligence on the
part of respondents. A learning institution should not be
allowed to completely relinquish or abdicate security
matters in its premises to the security agency it hired. To
do so would result to contracting away its inherent
obligation to ensure a safe learning environment for its
students.
Consequently, respondents’ defense of force majeure
must fail. In order for force majeure to be considered,
respondents must show that no negligence or misconduct
was committed that may have occasioned the loss. 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. One’s 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 person’s participation—whether by
active intervention, neglect or failure to act—the whole
occurrence is humanized and removed from the rules
applicable to acts of God.17

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17  Mindex Resources Development v. Morillo, 428 Phil. 934, 944; 379
SCRA 144, 153 (2002).

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Article 1170 of the Civil 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,
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
the factual basis of the damages and its causal connection
to defendant’s acts.18
In the instant case, it was established that petitioner
spent P35,298.25 for his hospitalization and other medical
expenses.19 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.20
After this Decision becomes final and executory, the
applicable rate shall be twelve percent (12%) per annum
until its satisfaction.
The other expenses being claimed by petitioner, such as
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
suffered some pecuniary loss but the amount thereof
cannot be proved with certainty. Hence, the amount of
P20,000.00 as temperate damages is awarded to petitioner.

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18 Roque, Jr. v. Torres, G.R. No. 157632, December 6, 2006, 510 SCRA
336, 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,
July 12, 1994, 234 SCRA 78, 95­97.
21 TSN, September 27, 1999, pp. 5, 9.

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As regards the award of moral damages, there is no hard


and fast rule in the determination of what would be a fair
amount of moral damages since each case must be
governed by its own peculiar circumstances.22 The
testimony of petitioner about his physical suffering, mental
anguish, fright, serious anxiety, and moral shock resulting
from the 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 suffered and not to impose a penalty on the
wrongdoer. The award 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 the
limits of the possible, of the spiritual status quo ante, and
should 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 suspicion that it was due to
passion, prejudice, or corruption on the part of the trial
court.24 We deem it just and reasonable under the
circumstances to award petitioner moral damages in the
amount of P100,000.00.
Likewise, attorney’s fees and litigation expenses in the
amount of P50,000.00 as part of damages is reasonable in
view of Article 2208 of the Civil Code.25 However, the
award of

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22 Roque v. Torres, supra note 18 at p. 349.


23 TSN, September 20, 1999, pp. 10, 12­13; September 27, 1999, pp. 3,
5­9.
24 ABS­CBN Broadcasting Corporation v. Court of Appeals, 361 Phil.
499, 529­530; 301 SCRA 572, 602 (1999).
25 Civil Code, Art. 2208:
In the absence of stipulation, attorney’s fees and expenses of
litigation, other than judicial costs, cannot be recovered, except:

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exemplary damages is deleted considering the absence of


proof that respondents acted in a wanton, fraudulent,
reckless, oppressive, or malevolent manner.
We note that the trial court held respondent De Jesus
solidarily liable with respondent FEU. In Powton
Conglomerate, Inc. v. Agcolicol,26 we held that:

“[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.”27

None of the foregoing exceptions was established in the


instant case; hence, respondent De Jesus should not be
held solidarily liable with respondent FEU.
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,
which provides:

_______________

(2) when the defendant’s act or omission has compelled the


plaintiff to litigate with third persons or to incur expenses to
protect his interest;
26 448 Phil. 643; 400 SCRA 523 (2003).
27 Id., at p. 656; pp. 531­532.

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“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.
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.”

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.28
As held in Mercury 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
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:
… [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

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28 Records, Vol. I, pp. 43­55 (FEU) and pp. 56­68 (Galaxy).


29 G.R. No. 144458, July 14, 2004, 434 SCRA 404.
30 G.R. No. 66207, May 18, 1992, 209 SCRA 47.

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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.
x x x x
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.”31

We now come to respondents’ Third Party Claim against


Galaxy. In Firestone Tire and Rubber Company of the
Philippines v. Tempongko,32 we held that:

“The third­party 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 third­party
plaintiff to enforce against such third­party defendant a right for
contribution, indemnity, subrogation or any other relief, in
respect of the plaintiff’s claim. The third­party 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 third­party
defendant or so to speak, to litigate his separate cause of action in
respect of plaintiff’s 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

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31 Mercury Drug Corporation v. Libunao, supra at pp. 414­418.


32 137 Phil. 239; 27 SCRA 418 (1969).

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disposing expeditiously in one litigation the entire subject matter


arising from one particular set of facts.”33

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.34 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.
For these acts of negligence and for having supplied
respondent FEU with an unqualified security guard, which
resulted to the latter’s breach of obligation to petitioner, it
is proper to hold Galaxy liable to respondent FEU for such
damages equivalent to the above­mentioned amounts
awarded to petitioner.
Unlike respondent De Jesus, we deem Imperial to be
solidarily liable with Galaxy for being grossly negligent in
directing the affairs of the security agency. It was Imperial
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
family were no longer interested in filing a formal
complaint against them.35
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The June 29,
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
REVERSED and SET

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33 Id., at pp. 243­244; pp. 422­423.


34 Rollo, p. 74.
35 Records, Vol. I, p. 330.

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ASIDE. The Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Manila,


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


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;
b. 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;
c. the award of exemplary damages is DELETED.”

The Complaint against respondent Edilberto C. De


Jesus is DISMISSED. The counterclaims of respondents
are likewise DISMISSED.
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
awarded to petitioner.
SO ORDERED.

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.
Cardaña, 506 SCRA 569 [2006])

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Saludaga vs. Far Eastern University

The term “chartered institution” includes the state


universities and colleges and the monetary authority of the

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State. (Gumaru vs. Quirino State College, 525 SCRA 412


[2007])
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