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St. Marys Academy vs. Capistranos PSBA vs.

CA

From 13 to 20 February 1995, defendant-appellant St. Marys Private respondents sought to adjudge petitioner PSBA and its
Academy of Dipolog City conducted an enrollment drive for officers liable for the death of Carlitos Bautista, a third year
commerce student who was stabbed while on the premises of PSBA
the school year 1995-1996.
by elements from outside the school. Private respondents are suing
under the law on quasi-delicts alleging the school and its officers
A facet of the enrollment campaign was the visitation of negligence, recklessness and lack of safety precautions before,
schools from where prospective enrollees were studying. As a during, and after the attack on the victim. Petitioners moved to
student of St. Marys Academy, dismiss the suit but were denied by the trial court. CA affirmed.

Sherwin Carpitanos was part of the campaigning group. On Issue:


the fateful day, Sherwin, along with other high school students
were riding in a Mitsubishi jeep owned by defendant Vivencio Whether or not PSBA may be held liable under quasi-delicts.
Villanueva on their way to Larayan Elementary School,
Larayan, Dapitan City. The jeep was driven by James Daniel II Ruling: NO.
then 15 years old and a student of the same school. Allegedly,
the latter drove the jeep in a reckless manner and as a result Because the circumstances of the present case evince a contractual
the jeep turned turtle, causing the death of Shewrin. relation between the PSBA and Carlitos Bautista, the rules on quasi-
delict do not really govern. A perusal of Article 2176 shows that
obligations arising from quasi-delicts or tort, also known as extra-
RTC rendered decision in favor of Capistranos and absolving
contractual obligations, arise only between parties not otherwise
the parents of the driver minor and Villanueva (jeep owner). bound by contract, whether express or implied.

CA affirmed the decision of the RTC. Article 2180, in conjunction with Article 2176 of the Civil Code,
establishes the rule of in loco parentis. This Court discussed this
Issues: doctrine in the afore-cited cases of Exconde, Mendoza, Palisoc and,
more recently, in Amadora vs. Court of Appeals. 6 In all such cases, it
had been stressed that the law (Article 2180) plainly provides that the
Whether the Court of Appeals erred in holding the petitioner damage should have been caused or inflicted by pupils or students of
liable for damages for the death of Sherwin Carpitanos. he educational institution sought to be held liable for the acts of its
pupils or students while in its custody.
Whether the Court of Appeals erred in affirming the award of
moral damages against the petitioner. 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,
Held: St. Marys not liable.
the school undertakes to provide the student with an education that
would presumably suffice to equip him with the necessary tools and
For petitioner to be liable, there must be a finding that the act skills to pursue higher education or a profession. On the other hand,
or omission considered as negligent was the proximate cause the student covenants to abide by the schools academic requirements
of the injury caused because the negligence must have a causal and observe its rules and regulations. Necessarily, the school must
connection to the accident. ensure that adequate steps are taken to maintain peace and order
within the campus premises and to prevent the breakdown thereof.

Respondents Daniel spouses and Villanueva admitted that the


In the circumstances obtaining in the case at bar, however, there is, as
immediate cause of the accident was not the negligence of
yet, no finding that the contract between the school and Bautista had
petitioner or the reckless driving of James Daniel II, but the been breached thru the formers negligence in providing proper
detachment of the steering wheel guide of the jeep. security measures. This would be for the trial court to determine.
And, even if there be a finding of negligence, the same could give
There was no evidence that petitioner school allowed the rise generally to a breach of contractual obligation only.
minor James Daniel II to drive the jeep of respondent Vivencio
Villanueva. It was Ched Villanueva, grandson of respondent St. Josephs College vs. Jayson Miranda
Vivencio Villanueva, who had possession and control of the
jeep. He was driving the vehicle and he allowed James Daniel On November 17, 1994, at around 1:30 in the afternoon inside St.
II, a minor, to drive the jeep at the time of the accident. Joseph Colleges (SJCs) premises, the class to which Jayson Val
Miranda belonged was conducting a science experiment about fusion
of sulphur powder and iron fillings under the tutelage of Rosalinda
Liability for the accident, whether caused by the negligence of Tabugo, she being the subject teacher and employee of SJC.
the minor driver or mechanical detachment of the steering
wheel guide of the jeep, must be pinned on the minors parents
Tabugo left her class while it was doing the experiment. In the middle
primarily. The negligence of petitioner St. Marys Academy of the experiment, Jayson, who was the assistant leader of one of the
was only a remote cause of the accident. Between the remote class groups, checked the result of the experiment by looking into the
cause and the injury, there intervened the negligence of the test tube with magnifying glass. The test tube was being held by one
minors parents or the detachment of the steering wheel guide of his group mates who moved it close and towards the eye of Jayson.
of the jeep. At that instance, the compound in the test tube spurted out and
several particles of which hit Jaysons eye and the different parts of Art. 2180. The obligation imposed by Article 2176 is demandable not
the bodies of some of his group mates. As a result thereof, Jaysons only for ones own acts or omissions, but also for those of persons for
eyes were chemically burned, particularly his left eye, for which he whom one is responsible.
had to undergo surgery and had to spend for his medication.
Lastly, teachers or heads of establishments of arts and trades shall be
The parents of Jayson, through counsel, wrote SJC a letter demanding liable for damages caused by their pupils and students or apprentices,
that it should shoulder all the medical expenses, however, the school so long as they remain in their custody.
explained that it cannot accede to the demand because the accident
occurred by reason of [Jaysons] failure to comply with the written Petitioners negligence and failure to exercise the requisite degree of
procedure for the experiment and his teachers repeated warnings and care and caution is demonstrated by the following:
instruction that no student must face, much less look into, the
opening of the test tube until the heated compound has cooled.
1. Petitioner school did not take affirmative steps to avert damage
and injury to its students although it had full information on the
As a result, Jasons parents sued for damages Jaysons behalf. nature of dangerous science experiments conducted by the students
during class;
Regional Trial Court rendered judgment awarding actual damages,
moral damages and attorneys fees in favor of Jayson which the CA 2. Petitioner school did not install safety measures to protect the
affirmed. students who conduct experiments in class;

Issue: Proximate cause of the accident and liability of the School? 3. Petitioner school did not provide protective gears and devices,
specifically goggles, to shield students from expected risks and
Held: RTC and CA affirmed dangers; and

Petitioners were negligent since they all failed to exercise the 4. Petitioner Tabugo was not inside the classroom the whole time
required reasonable care, prudence, caution and foresight to prevent her class conducted the experiment, specifically, when the accident
or avoid injuries to the students. involving Jayson occurred. In any event, the size of the classfifty
(50) students conducting the experiment is difficult to monitor.
Petitioners claim that the proximate cause of Jaysons injury was his
own negligence in disregarding the instructions given by Tabugo Palisoc vs. Brillantes
prior to the experiment and peeking into the test tube did not
convince the Supreme Court. Deceased Dominador Palisoc and defendant Virgilio Daffon were
automotive mechanics students at the Manila Technical Institute
As found by both lower courts, the proximate cause of Jaysons (MTI).
injury was the concurrent failure of petitioners to prevent the
foreseeable mishap that occurred during the conduct of the science In the afternoon of March 10, 1966 during recess, an altercation
experiment. transpired between the deceased and the defendant. At the time of the
incident, Dominador was sixteen years old while Virgilio was already
All of the petitioners are equally at fault and are liable for negligence of age.
because all of them are responsible for exercising the required
reasonable care, prudence, caution and foresight to prevent or avoid Virgilio was working on a machine with Dominador looking at them.
injuries to the students. The individual petitioners are persons The situation prompted Virgilio to remark that Dominador was acting
charged with the teaching and vigilance over their students as well as like a foreman. As a result, Dominador slapped Virgilio on the face.
the supervision and ensuring of their well-being. Sr. Josephini Virgilio retaliated by inflicting severe blows upon Dominadors
Ambatali is likewise culpable under the doctrine of command stomach, which caused the latter to stumble upon an engine block and
responsibility because the other individual petitioners were under her faint.
direct control and supervision. The negligent acts of the other
individual petitioners were done within the scope of their assigned
tasks. The latter died, the cause of death being shock due to traumatic
fracture of the ribs. The parents of Dominador filed an action for
damages against (1) Virgilio, (2) Valenton, the head/president of MTI,
Article 218 of the Family Code, in relation to Article 2180 of the (3) Quibule who was the teacher in charge at the time of the incident,
Civil Code, bestows special parental authority on the following and (4) Brillantes who is a member of the board of directors and
persons with the corresponding obligation, thus: former sole proprietor of MTI.

Art. 218. The school, its administrators and teachers, or the


individual, entity or institution engaged in child care shall have
special parental authority and responsibility over the minor child The trial court held Virgilio liable but absolved the other defendants-
while under their supervision, instruction or custody. officials. It stated that the clause so long as they remain in their
custody contained in Article 2180 of the Civil Code applies only
where the pupil lives and boards with the teachers, such that the
Authority and responsibility shall apply to all authorized activities control or influence on the pupil supersedes those of the parents., and
whether inside or outside the premises of the school, entity or such control and responsibility for the pupils actions would pass
institution. from the father and mother to the teachers.

This legal conclusion was based on the dictum in Mercado v. CA,


which in turn based its decision in Exconde v. Capuno. The trial court
held that Article 2180 was not applicable in this case, as defendant Appeals ruled in favor of the school. The CA ruled that under the last
Virgilio did not live with the defendants-officials at the time of the paragraph of Article 2180, only schools of arts and trades (vocational
incident. schools) are liable not academic schools like Colegio de San Jose-
Recoletos.
ISSUE: Who must be held liable for damages for the death of
Dominador together with the defendant? ISSUE: Whether or not Colegio de San Jose-Recoletos, an academic
school, is liable under Article 2180 of the Civil Code for the tortuous
Decision of lower court modified, holding Valenton and Quibulue act of its students.
jointly and serverally liable.
HELD: Yes. The Supreme Court made a re-examination of the
The head/president and teacher of MTI (Valenton and Quibule provision on the last paragraph of Article 2180 which provides:
respectively) were held liable jointly and severally with the Virgilio
for damages. No liability attaches to Brillantes as a mere member of Lastly, teachers or heads of establishments of arts and trades shall be
the MTI board of directors. liable for damages caused by their pupils and students or apprentices
so long as they remain in their custody.
Similarly, MTI may not be held liable since it had not been properly
impleaded as party defendant. The Supreme Court said that it is time to update the interpretation of
The phrase used in Article 2180, so long as the students remain in the above law due to the changing times where there is hardly a
their custody means the protective and supervisory custody that the distinction between schools of arts and trade and academic schools.
school and its heads and teachers exercise over the pupils and That being said, the Supreme Court ruled that ALL schools, academic
students for as long as they are at attendance in the school, including or not, may be held liable under the said provision of Article 2180.
recess time.
The Supreme Court however clarified that the school, whether
There is nothing in the law that requires that for such liability to academic or not, should not be held directly liable. Its liability is only
attach the pupil or student who commits the tortuous act must live subsidiary.
and board in the school. The dicta in the cases of Mercado as well as
in Exconde v. Capuno on which it relied are deemed to have been set For non-academic schools, it would be the principal or head of school
aside. The rationale of such liability of school heads and teachers for who should be directly liable for the tortuous act of its students. This
the tortious acts of their pupils and students, so long as they remain in is because historically, in non-academic schools, the head of school
their custody, is that they stand, in loco parentis to a certain extent to exercised a closer administration over their students than heads of
their pupils and students and are called upon to exercise reasonable academic schools. In short, they are more hands on to their students.
supervision over the conduct of the child.
For academic schools, it would be the teacher-in-charge who would
In this case, The unfortunate death resulting from the fight between be directly liable for the tortuous act of the students and not the dean
the protagonists-students could have been avoided, had said or the head of school.
defendants complied with their duty of providing adequate
supervision over the activities of the students in the school premises
to protect their students from harm. Since Valenton and Quibule The Supreme Court also ruled that such liability does not cease when
failed to prove that they observed all the diligence of a good father of the school year ends or when the semester ends. Liability applies
a family to prevent damage, they cannot likewise avail of the whenever the student is in the custody of the school authorities as
exemption to the liability. The judgment of the appellate court was long as he is under the control and influence of the school and within
modified, while claim for compensatory damages was increased in its premises, whether the semester has not yet begun or has already
accordance with recent jurisprudence and the claim for exemplary ended at the time of the happening of the incident. As long as it can
damages denied in the absence of gross negligence on the part of the be shown that the student is in the school premises in pursuance of a
said defendants. legitimate student objective, in the exercise of a legitimate student
right, and even in the enjoyment of a legitimate student right, and
even in the enjoyment of a legitimate student privilege, the
Amador vs. CA responsibility of the school authorities over the student continues.
Indeed, even if the student should be doing nothing more than
In April 1972, while the high school students of Colegio de San Jose- relaxing in the campus in the company of his classmates and friends
Recoletos were in the school auditorium, a certain Pablito Daffon and enjoying the ambience and atmosphere of the school, he is still
fired a gun. The stray bullet hit Alfredo Amadora causing his death. within the custody and subject to the discipline of the school
(there only to submit physics experiment). authorities under the provisions of Article 2180.

Daffon was convicted of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide.


The parents of Alfredo sued the school for damages under Article
2180 of the Civil Code because of the schools negligence.

The trial court ruled in favor of Amadora. The trial court ruled that
the principal, the dean of boys, as well as the teacher-in-charge are all
civilly liable.

The school appealed as it averred that when the incident happened,


the school year has already ended. Amadora argued that even though
the semester has already ended, his son was there in school to
complete a school requirement in his Physics subject. The Court of