You are on page 1of 7

G.R. No.

967 May 19, 1903

DARIO AND GAUDENCIO ELEIZEGUI v. THE MANILA LAWN TENNIS CLUB

This suit concerns the lease of a piece of land for a fixed consideration and to endure at the will of the lessee. By the contract of lease the lessee is expressly authorized to make improvements upon the land, by erecting buildings of both permanent and temporary character, by making fills, laying pipes, and making such other improvements as might be considered desirable for the comfort and amusement of the members. With respect to the term of the lease the present question has arisen. n its decision three theories have been presented! "ne which makes the duration depend upon the will of the lessor, who, upon one month#s notice given to the lessee, may terminate the lease so stipulated$ another which, on the contrary, makes it dependent upon the will of the lessee, as stipulated$ and the third, in accordance with which the right is reversed to the courts to fix the duration of the term. The first theory is that which has prevailed in the %udgment below, as appears from the language in which the basis of the decision is expressed! &The court is of the opinion that the contract of lease was terminated by the notice given by the plaintiff on 'ugust () of last year . . . .& 'nd such is the theory maintained by the plaintiffs, which expressly rests upon article *+)* of the ,ivil ,ode, the law which was in force at the time the contract was entered into -.anuary (+, *)/01. The %udge, in giving to this notice the effect of terminating the lease, undoubtedly considers that it is governed by the article relied upon by the plaintiffs, which is of the following tenor! &When the term has not been fixed for the lease, it is understood to be for years when an annual rental has been fixed, for months when the rent is monthly. . . .& The second clause of the contract provides as follows! &The rent of the said land is fixed at (+ pesos per month.& -2. **, Bill of 3xceptions.1 n accordance with such a theory, the plaintiffs might have terminated the lease the month following the making of the contract 4 at any time after the first month, which, strictly speaking, would be the only month with respect to which they were expressly bound, they not being bound for each successive month except by a tacit renewal -art. *+551 4 an effect which they might prevent by giving the required notice. 'lthough the relief asked for in the complaint, drawn in accordance with the new form of procedure established by the prevailing ,ode, is the restitution of the land to the plaintiffs -a formula common to various actions1, nevertheless the action which is maintained can be no other than that of desahucio, in accordance with the substantive law governing the contract. The lessor 4 says article *+5/ of the ,ivil ,ode 4 may %udicially dispossess the lessee upon the expiration of the conventional term or of the legal term$ the conventional term 4 that is, the one agreed upon by the parties$ the legal term, in defect of the conventional, fixed for leases by articles *+66 and *+)*. We have already seen what this legal term is with respect to urban properties, in accordance with article *+)*. 7ence, it follows that the %udge has only to determine whether there is or is not conventional term. f there be a conventional term, he can not apply the legal term fixed in subsidium to cover a case in which the parties have made no agreement whatsoever with respect to the duration of the lease. n this case the law interprets the presumptive intention of the parties, they having said nothing in the contract with respect to its duration. &"bligations arising from contracts have the force of law between the contracting parties and must be complied with according to the tenor of the contracts.& -'rt. *0/* of the ,ivil ,ode.1 The obligations which, with the force of law, the lessors assumed by the contract entered into, so far as pertaining to the issues, are the following! &8irst. . . . They lease the above9described land to :r. Williamson, who takes it on lease, . . . for all the time the members of the said club may desire to use it . . . Third. . . . the owners of the land undertake to maintain the club as tenant as long as the latter shall see fit, without altering in the slightest degree the conditions of this contract, even though the estate be sold.& t is necessary, therefore, to answer the first question! Was there, or was there not, a conventional term, a duration, agreed upon in the contract in question; f there was an agreed duration, a conventional term, then the legal term 4 the term fixed in article *+)* 4 has no application$ the contract is the supreme law of the contracting parties. "ver and above the general law is the special law, expressly imposed upon themselves by the contracting parties. Without these clauses * and <, the contract would contain no stipulation with respect to the duration of the lease, and then article *+)*, in connection with article *+5/, would necessarily be applicable. n view of these clauses, however, it can not be said that there is no stipulation with respect to the duration of the lease, or that, notwithstanding these clauses, article *+)*, in connection with article *+5/, can be applied. f this were so, it would be necessary to hold that the lessors spoke in vain 4 that their words are to be disregarded 4 a claim which can not be advanced by the plaintiffs nor upheld by any court without citing the law which detracts all legal force from such words or despoils them of their literal sense.

t having been demonstrated that the legal term can not be applied, there being a conventional term, this destroys the assumption that the contract of lease was wholly terminated by the notice given by the plaintiffs, this notice being necessary only when it becomes necessary to have recourse to the legal term. =or had the plaintiffs, under the contract, any right to give such notice. t is evident that they had no intention of stipulating that they reserved the right to give such notice. ,lause < begins as follows! &:r. Williamson, or whoever may succeed him as secretary of said club, may terminate this lease whenever desired without other formality than that of giving a month#s notice. The owners of the land undertake to maintain the club as tenant as long as the latter shall see fit.& The right of the one and the obligation of the others being thus placed in antithesis, there is something more, much more, than the inclusio unius, exclusio alterius. t is evident that the lessors did not intend to reserve to themselves the right to rescind that which they expressly conferred upon the lessee by establishing it exclusively in favor of the latter. t would be the greatest absurdity to conclude that in a contract by which the lessor has left the termination of the lease to the will of the lessee, such a lease can or should be terminated at the will of the lessor. t would appear to follow, from the foregoing, that, if such is the force of the agreement, there can be no other mode of terminating the lease than by the will of the lessee, as stipulated in this case. >uch is the conclusion maintained by the defendant in the demonstration of the first error of law in the %udgment, as alleged by him. 7e goes so far, under this theory, as to maintain the possibility of a perpetual lease, either as such lease, if the name can be applied, or else as an innominate contract, or under any other denomination, in accordance with the agreement of the parties, which is, in fine, the law of the contract, superior to all other law, provided that there be no agreement against any prohibitive statute, morals, or public policy. t is unnecessary here to enter into a discussion of a perpetual lease in accordance with the law and doctrine prior to the ,ivil ,ode now in force, and which has been operative since *))/. 7ence the %udgment of the supreme court of >pain of .anuary (, *)/*, with respect to a lease made in *))6, cited by the defendant, and a decision stated by him to have been rendered by the 'udiencia of 2amplona in *))+ -it appears to be rather a decision by the head office of land registration of .uly *, *))+1, and any other decision which might be cited based upon the constitutions of ,ataluna, according to which a lease of more than ten years is understood to create a life tenancy, or even a perpetual tenancy, are entirely out of point in this case, in which the sub%ect9matter is a lease entered into under the provisions of the present ,ivil ,ode, in accordance with the principles of which alone can this doctrine be examined. t is not to be understood that we admit that the lease entered into was stipulated as a life tenancy, and still less as a perpetual lease. The terms of the contract express nothing to this effect. They do, whatever, imply this idea. f the lease could last during such time as the lessee might see fit, because it has been so stipulated by the lessor, it would last, first, as long as the will of the lessee 4 that is, all his life$ second, during all the time that he may have succession, inasmuch as he who contracts does so for himself and his heirs. -'rt. *(+6 of the ,ivil ,ode.1 The lease in question does not fall within any of the cases in which the rights and obligations arising from a contract can not be transmitted to heirs, either by its nature, by agreement, or by provision of law. 8urthermore, the lessee is an 3nglish association. ?sufruct is a right of superior degree to that which arises from a lease. t is a real right and includes all the %us utendi and %us fruendi. =evertheless, the utmost period for which a usufruct can endure, if constituted in favor a natural person, is the lifetime of the usufructuary -art. +*<, sec. *1$ and if in favor of %uridical person, it can not be created for more than thirty years. -'rt. +*+.1 f the lease might be perpetual, in what would it be distinguished from an emphyteusis; Why should the lessee have a greater right than the usufructuary, as great as that of an emphyteuta, with respect to the duration of the en%oyment of the property of another; Why did they not contract for a usufruct or an emphyteusis; t was repeatedly stated in the document that it was a lease, and nothing but a lease, which was agreed upon! &Being in the full en%oyment of the necessary legal capacity to enter into this contract of lease . . . they have agreed upon the lease of said estate . . . They lease to :r. Williamson, who receives it as such. . . . The rental is fixed at (+ pesos a month. . . . The owners bind themselves to maintain the club as tenant. . . . ?pon the foregoing conditions they make the present contract of lease. . . .& -2p. /, **, and *(, bill of exceptions.1 f it is a lease, then it must be for a determinate period. -'rt. *+@<.1 By its very nature it must be temporary, %ust as by reason of its nature an emphyteusis must be perpetual, or for an unlimited period. -'rt. *50).1 "n the other hand, it can not be concluded that the termination of the contract is to be left completely at the will of the lessee, because it has been stipulated that its duration is to be left to his will. The ,ivil ,ode has made provision for such a case in all kinds of obligations. n speaking in general of obligations with a term it has supplied the deficiency of the former law with respect to the &duration of the term when it has been left to the will of the debtor,& and provides that in this case the term shall be fixed by the courts. -'rt. **(), sec. (.1 n every contract, as laid down by the authorities, there is always a creditor who is entitled to demand the performance, and a debtor upon whom rests the obligation to perform the undertaking. n bilateral contracts the contracting parties are mutually creditors and debtors.

Thus, in this contract of lease, the lessee is the creditor with respect to the rights enumerated in article *++@, and is the debtor with respect to the obligations imposed by articles *+++ and *+5*. The term within which performance of the latter obligation is due is what has been left to the will of the debtor. This term it is which must be fixed by the courts. The only action which can be maintained under the terms of the contract is that by which it is sought to obtain from the %udge the determination of this period, and not the unlawful detainer action which has been brought 4 an action which presupposes the expiration of the term and makes it the duty of the %udge to simply decree an eviction. To maintain the latter action it is sufficient to show the expiration of the term of the contract, whether conventional or legal$ in order to decree the relief to be granted in the former action it is necessary for the %udge to look into the character and conditions of the mutual undertakings with a view to supplying the lacking element of a time at which the lease is to expire. n the case of a loan of money or a commodatum of furniture, the payment or return to be made when the borrower &can conveniently do so& does not mean that he is to be allowed to en%oy the money or to make use of the thing indefinitely or perpetually. The courts will fix in each case, according to the circumstances, the time for the payment or return. This is the theory also maintained by the defendant in his demonstration of the fifth assignment of error. &?nder article **() of the ,ivil ,ode,& thus his proposition concludes, &contracts whose term is left to the will of one of the contracting parties must be fixed by the courts, . . . the conditions as to the term of this lease has a direct legislative sanction,& and he cites articles **(). & n place of the ruthless method of annihilating a solemn obligation, which the plaintiffs in this case have sought to pursue, the ,ode has provided a legitimate and easily available remedy. . . . The ,ode has provided for the proper disposition of those covenants, and a case can hardly arise more clearly demonstrating the usefulness of that provision than the case at bar.& -2p. +( and +< of appellant#s brief.1 The plaintiffs, with respect to this conclusion on the part of their opponents, only say that article **() &expressly refers to obligations in contracts in general, and that it is well known that a lease is included among special contracts.& But they do not observe that if contracts, simply because special rules are provided for them, could be excepted from the provisions of the articles of the ,ode relative to obligations and contracts in general, such general provisions would be wholly without application. The system of the ,ode is that of establishing general rules applicable to all obligations and contracts, and then special provisions peculiar to each species of contract. n no part of Title A of Book A, which treats of the contract of lease, are there any special rules concerning pure of conditional obligations which may be stipulated in a lease, because, with respect to these matters, the provisions of section *, chapter <, Title , on the sub%ect of obligations are wholly sufficient. With equal reason should we refer to section (, which deals with obligations with a term, in the same chapter and title, if a question concerning the term arises out of a contract of lease, as in the present case, and within this section we find article **(), which decides the question. The %udgment was entered below upon the theory of the expiration of a legal term which does not exist, as the case requires that a term be fixed by the courts under the provisions of article **() with respect to obligations which, as is the present, are terminable at the will of the obligee. t follows, therefore, that the %udgment below is erroneous. The %udgment is reversed and the case will be remanded to the court below with directions to enter a %udgment of dismissal of the action in favor of the defendant, the :anila Bawn Tennis ,lub, without special allowance as to the recovery of costs. >o ordered. :apa and Badd, ..., concur. Torres, .., disqualified. >eparate "pinions W BB'CD, .., concurring! concur in the foregoing opinion so far as it holds that article *+)* has no application to the case and that the action can not be maintained. But as to the application of article **() do not concur. That article is as follows! >hould the obligation not fix a period, but it can be inferred from its nature and circumstances that there was an intention to grant it to the debtor, the courts shall fix the duration of the same. The court shall also fix the duration of the period when it may have been left to the will of the debtor. The court has applied the last paragraph of the article to the case of a lease. But, applying the first paragraph to leases, we have a direct conflict between this article and article *+)*. Bet us suppose the lease of a house for +0 pesos a month. =othing is said about the number of months during which the lessee shall occupy it. f article *+)* is applicable to this case, the law fixes the duration of the term and the courts have no power to change it. f article **() is applied to it, the courts fix the duration of the lease without reference to article *+)*. t will, think, be agreed by everyone that article *+)* is the law applicable to the case, and that article **() has nothing to do with it.

t seems clear that both parts of the article must refer to the same kind of obligations. The first paragraph relates to obligations in which the parties have named no period, the second to the same kind of obligations in which the period is left to the will of the debtor. f the first paragraph is not applicable to leases, the second is not. The whole article was, think, intended to apply generally to unilateral contracts 4 to those in which the creditor had parted with something of value, leaving it to the debtor to say when it should be returned. n such cases the debtor might never return it, and the creditor might thus be deprived of his property and entirely defeated in his rights. t was to prevent such a wrong that the article was adopted. But it has no application to this case. The plaintiffs are not deprived of their rights. They get every month the value which they themselves put upon the use of the property. The time of the payment of this rent has not been left by the contract to the will of the debtor. t is expressly provided in the contract that it shall be paid &within the first five days after the expiration of each month.& 'rticle *(++ of the ,ivil ,ode is as follows! The contracting parties may make the agreement and establish the clauses and conditions which they may deem advisable, provided they are not in contravention of law, morals, or public order. That the parties to this contract distinctly agreed that the defendant should have this property so long as he was willing to pay (+ pesos a month for it, is undisputed. find nothing in the ,ode to show that when a natural person is the tenant such an agreement would be contrary to law, morality, or public policy. n such a case the contract would terminate at the death of the tenant. >uch is the doctrine of the 8rench ,our de ,assation. -7ouet vs. Bamarge, .uly (0, *)@0.1 The tenant is the only person who has been given the right to say how long the contract shall continue. That right is personal to him, and is not property in such a sense as to pass to his heirs. n this case the question is made more difficult by the fact that the tenant is said to be %uridical person, and it is said that the lease is therefore a perpetual one. .ust what kind of a partnership or association the defendant is does not appear, and without knowing what kind of an entity it is we can not say that this contract is a perpetual lease. 3ven if the defendant has perpetual succession, the lease would not necessarily last forever. ' breach of any one of the obligations imposed upon the lessee by article *+++ of the ,ivil ,ode would give the landlord the right to terminate it.

':'D"C' v. ,' E.C. =o. B9@@6@+, 'pr. *+, */)) The setting is the ,olegio9de >an .ose Cecoletos, which was ="T a school of arts and trades but anacademic institution of learning. ' few days before the commencement exercises, student 'lfredo 'madora went to school to finish his physics experiment as a prerequisite for graduation. When he was in the auditorium, he was shot to death by his classmate 2ablito Daffon. 2ablito was convicted of homicide thru reckless imprudence. 'lfredoFs parents filed a civil action for damages under =,, (*)0 against the school, its rector, the high school principal, the dean of boys, the physics teacher, together with 2ablito and two other students, through their parents. The complaint against the students was dropped. ,"=T3=T "=> "= ,?>T"DG 9 23T T "=3C>! ':'D"C' ?=D3C >,7""BF> ,?>T"DG. 7e was in school to show his physics experiment as a graduation prerequisite. 9 C3>2"=D3=T>! ':'D"C' ="T ?=D3C >,7""BF> ,?>T"DG. >emester already ended. T73 E?= >>?3 Days before the incident, the dean of the boys confiscated from Eumban an unlicensed pistol but later returned it to him without making a report to the principal or taking any further action.23T T "=3C> contend that this was the same pistol, as Eumban was one of DaffonFs companions when the latter fired the gun that killed 'madora, and that 'madora would not have been killed if the gun was not returned by the dean of the boys. C?B =E "8 ,"?CT> ,8 held the remaining defendants liable. ,', however, reversed ,8 and all defendants wereabsolved. ,' found that =,, (*)0 was not applicable since the school was not a school of arts and trades. t also held that the students were not in the schoolFs custody at the time of the incident since the semester already ended. n addition, there was no clear identification of the gun, and that the defendant exercised the necessary diligence in preventing in%ury. >>?3> H 73BD -aka I? ,J >?::'CG "8 8 =D =E>1 *. Does =,, (*)0 also cover establishments that are ="T schools of arts and trades; K G3> (. When is the offending student supposed to be in the schoolFs custody; K 's long as he is under the control and influence of the school and within its premises, whether the semester has not yet begun or has already ended. 'lfredo still under custody <. Who is liable for the in%ury; K =one of the respondents is liable for the in%ury inflicted by 2ablito on 'lfredo C?B =E *. The school ,'=="T be held directly liable under =,, (*)0. Three cases were cited! 3xconde, :ercado, and 2alisoc. What you need to know in 3xconde 9 >tudent boarded a %eep, took over its wheel and drove it recklessly that it turned turtle, resulting to the death of two of its passengers. 9 This decision, penned by .ustice 'ngelo exculpated the school on the ground that it wasnot a school of arts and trades. 9 .ustice Ceyes said that the school authorities should be held liable. 9 Biability was imposed on teachers in general, and heads of schools of arts and trades in particular. The clause Lof establishments of arts and tradesM should apply only to heads.

What you need to know in :ercado 9 ' student cut a classmate with a razor blade during recess time in school. 9 3xconde was reiterated in this case -the school was exculpated on the ground that it was not a school of arts and trades1. 9The custody requirement was not proved as it Lcontemplates a situation where the student lives and boards with the teacher, such that the control, direction and influences on the pupil supersede those of the parent.M What you need to know in 2alisoc 9 ' student was killed by a classmate with fist blows in the laboratory of the school. 9The head of the school and the teacher9in9charge were held liable together with the wrongdoer, even though the latter was not boarding in the school. 9The ponencia, .ustice Teehankee, said, LThere is nothing in the law that requires that for such liability to attach, the pupil or student who commits the tortious act must live an board in the school,M as erroneously held in 3xconde and :ercado. The case at hand K 'madora 9 The school has been directly impleaded unlike in 3xconde and :ercado. 9 The school is an academic institution of learning, unlike in 2alisoc wherein the school was an arts and trade school. I! Does =,, (*)0 also cover establishments that are ="T schools of arts and trades; K G3> E3=3C'B C?B3. Where the school is academic rather than technical or vocational in nature, responsibility for the tort committed by the student will attach to the teacher in charge of the student, following the first part of =,, (*)0. n the case of establishments of arts and trades, it is the headthat should be answerable as an exception to the general rule. 8ollowing the canon of reddendo singula singulis, LteachersM should apply to the words Lpupils and studentsM and Lheads of establishments of arts and tradesM to the word Lapprentices.M "n the differences between academic and non9academic schools There is no substantial distinction between the academic and the non9academic schools insofar as torts committed by their students are concerned. The same vigilance is expected from the teacher over the students under his control and supervision, whatever the nature of the school where he is teaching. The teacher should not be able to excuse himself by simply showing that he is teaching in an academic school where, on the other hand, the head would be held liable if the school were non9academic. 7"W3A3C, why is it that for academic schools, the teacher is the one held liable, while for non9 academic N arts and trade schools, the head is the one held liable; The answer can be traced to the fact that historically, the head exercised a closer tutelage over his pupils than the head of an academic school because of the apprenticeship system they employed. This distinction no longer holds at present but until =,, (*)0 is changed, it should be interpreted according to its clear and original mandate. (. 't the time the incident occurred, 'lfredo was still in the custody of the school authorities.

I! When is the offending student supposed to be in the schoolFs custody; K 's long as he is under the control and influence of the school and within its premises, whether the semester has not yet begun or has already ended "n the teacher9in9charge and custody The teacher9in9charge, who is the one designated by a superior to exercise supervision over pupils for a particular sub%ect or section, is the one who must be held liable, in the same way that parents are responsible for the child when he is in their custody. t is not necessary that at the time of the in%ury, the teacher is physically present to be in a position to prevent it. ,ustody refers to theinfluence exerted on the child and the discipline instilled in him because of such influence. 8or the in%uries caused by the student, the teacher and not the parent shall be held responsible if the tort was committed within the premises of the school at any time when its authority could be

validly exercised over him. The rector, high school principal and the dean of boys ,'=="T be held liable because none of them was the teacher9in9charge as defined, and they were only exercising general authority over the student body. 3vidence did not disclose who the teacher9in9charge of 2ablito was.The mere fact that 'lfredo went to school to finish N submit his physics pro%ect D D ="T necessarily make the physics teacher the teacher9in9charge. n the absence of a teacher9in9charge, it is probably the dean of boys who should be held liable, since there was evidence that he had earlier confiscated an unlicensed gun from a student and returned it to the latter without reporting to authorities. 7"W3A3C, it has not been showed that said gun was the same that 2ablito used to shoot 'lfredo$ hence, said fact does not necessarily link the dean to the shooting. "n the defense of exercising due diligence of a good father of a family The school, teacher9in9charge, or the head may exculpate themselves by proving that they exercised the diligence of a good father of a family or bonus paterfamilias. The school can show this in selecting the head or its teachers and the appropriate supervision over them in the custody and instruction of the pupils pursuant to the rules and regulations for the maintenance of discipline among them. >uch defense is also available to the teacher or the head of the school of arts and trades directly held to answer for the tort committed by the student. 's long as the defendant can show that he had taken the necessary precautions to prevent the in%ury complained of, he can exonerate himself from the liability imposed by 'rticle (*)0. The teacher will be held liable not only when he is acting in loco parentis for the law does not require that the offending student be of minority age. ?nlike the parent, who will be liable only if his child is still a minor, the teacher is held answerable by the law for the act of the student under him regardless of the student#s age. The ,ourt is disposed not to expect from the teacher the same measure of responsibility imposed on the parent for their influence over the child is not equal in degree. The parent can expect more obedience from the child because the latter#s dependence on him is greater than on the teacher. 7owever, assuming that the physics teacher was the teacher9in9charge, there is =" >7"W =E that he was negligent in enforcing discipline upon 2ablito or that he waived observance or condoned the non9observance of school rules and regulations. Cespondents have proved that they had exercised due diligence, through the enforcement of the school regulations, in maintaining that discipline. "2 = "=> ,oncurring and dissenting opinion of .ustice :elencio97errera 9 Disagrees with the restricted meaning given to the term teacher as Lteacher9in9chargeM 9 The philosophy of law is that whoever stands in loco parentis will have the same duties and obligations as parents whenever in such a standing. 's long as pupils and students remain in their custody, they shall be held liable for the formerFs tortious acts. ,oncurring opinion of .ustice Eutierrez 9 There is a need for a ma%or amendment, if not a complete scrapping, of the paragraph in =,, (*)0 that refers to teachers or heads of establishments of arts and trades in relation to pupils and students or apprentices 9 =o more masters, apprentices in schools of arts and trades 9 Teachers are often no longer ob%ects of veneration who are given due to substitute parents 2osted by :. . . 2raetor