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Saludaga v. FEU and De Jesus, G.R. No. 179337, 30 April 2008.

19 Mar

[YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.]

 

FACTS: 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 FEU-Dr. Nicanor Reyes Medical Foundation (FEU-NRMF) due to the wound he sustained. Meanwhile, Rosete was brought to the police station where he explained that the shooting was accidental. Saludaga  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 Third-Party Complaint 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), Galaxys President, to indemnify them for whatever would be adjudged in favor of petitioner, if any; and to pay attorneys fees and cost of the suit.

 

ISSUE#1: What is the source of FEU’s obligation to indemnify Saludaga? What is needed to prove that this obligation of FEU exists?

ISSUE#2: In the alternative, is FEU vicariously liable under Article 2180 of the Civil Code.

 

HELD#1: Culpa contractual.

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 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.

HELD#2: NO.

[R]espondents cannot be held liable for damages under Article 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.

 

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