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Category Archives: Obligations and Contracts

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

[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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Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) v. Adil, Confesor and Villafuerte, et al., G.R. No. L-48889, 11 May 1989.

[GANCAYCO, J.]

FACTS: On February 10, 1940 spouses Patricio Confesor and Jovita Villafuerte obtained an agricultural loan from the Agricultural and Industrial Bank (AIB), now the Development of the Philippines (DBP), in the sum of P2,000.00, Philippine Currency, as evidenced by a promissory note of said date whereby they bound themselves jointly and severally to pay the account in ten (10) equal yearly amortizations. As the obligation remained outstanding and unpaid even after the lapse of the aforesaid ten-year period, Confesor, who was by then a member of the Congress of the Philippines, executed a second promissory note on April 11, 1961 expressly acknowledging said loan and promising to pay the same on or before June 15, 1961. The trial court ordered the spouses to pay the loan but this was reversed on appeal.

 

ISSUE#1: Does prescription operate to discharge a debt even if it there was acknowledgment of the debtor?

ISSUE#2: Is the conjugal partnership of Confesor and Villafuerte bound by the execution of the second promissory note?

 

 

HELD#1: NO.

This is not a mere case of acknowledgment of a debt that has prescribed but a new promise to pay the debt. The consideration of the new promissory note is the pre-existing obligation under the first promissory note. The statutory limitation bars the remedy but does not discharge the debt. A new express promise to pay a debt barred … will take the case from the operation of the statute of limitations as this proceeds upon the ground that as a statutory limitation merely bars the remedy and does not discharge the debt, there is something more than a mere moral obligation to support a promise, to wit a – pre-existing debt which is a sufficient consideration for the new the new promise; upon this sufficient consideration constitutes, in fact, a new cause of action.

HELD#2: YES.

Under Article 165 of the Civil Code, the husband is the administrator of the conjugal partnership. As such administrator, all debts and obligations contracted by the husband for the benefit of the conjugal partnership, are chargeable to the conjugal partnership. No doubt, in this case, respondent Confesor signed the second promissory note for the benefit of the conjugal partnership. Hence the conjugal partnership is liable for this obligation.

 

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Ansay et al. v. National Development Company (NDC), G.R. No. L-13667, 29 April 1960.

[PARAS, C.J.]

FACTS: Ansay et al. filed against NDC a complaint praying for a 20% Christmas bonus for the years 1954 and 1955. The trial court dismissed the complaint ratiocinating that a bonus is an act of liberality and the court takes it that it is not within its judicial powers to command respondents to be liberal and that Ansay et al. admitted that NDC is not under legal duty to give such bonus and that the court has no power to compel a party to comply with a moral obligation (Art. 142, New Civil Code.). Ansay et al. appealed and argued that there exists a cause of action in their complaint because their claim rests on moral grounds or what in brief is defined by law as a natural obligation.

ISSUE: Is the grant of Christmas bonus for the years 1954 and 1955 demandable based on natural or moral obligation?

HELD: NO.

Article 1423 of the New Civil Code classifies obligations into civil or natural. “Civil obligations are a right of action to compel their performance. Natural obligations, not being based on positive law but on equity and natural law, do not grant a right of action to enforce their performance, but after voluntary fulfillment by the obligor, they authorize the retention of what has been delivered or rendered by reason thereof”. It is thus readily seen that an element of natural obligation before it can be cognizable by the court is voluntary fulfillment by the obligor. Certainly retention can be ordered but only after there has been voluntary performance. But here there has been no voluntary performance. In fact, the court cannot order the performance.

 
 

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Villaroel v. Estrada, G.R. No. L-47262, 19 December 1940.

[AVANCEÑA, Pres.]

FACTS: On May 9, 1912, Alejandro F. Callao, the mother of the defendant Juan F. Villarroel, obtained from the spouses Mariano Estrada and Severina a loan of P1,000 payable after seven years. Alejandra died, leaving as sole heir to the defendant. The spouses Mariano Estrada and Severina also died, leaving as sole heir the plaintiff Bernardino Estrada. On August 9, 1930, the defendant signed a document (Exhibit B) by which it declares the applicant to owe the amount of P1,000, with an interest of 12 percent per year. This action deals with the collection of this amount.

ISSUE: Is the defendant Juan under obligation to pay the loan that already prescribed if he subsequently declared that he owed it to plaintiff Bernardino?

HELD: YES.

Although the action to recover the original debt has already been prescribed when the claim was filed in this case, the question that arises in this appeal is mainly whether, notwithstanding such a prescription, the action (may be) brought. However, the present action is not based on the original obligation contracted by the defendant’s mother, who has already been prescribed, but in which the defendant contracted on August 9, 1930 upon assuming the fulfillment of that obligation, Already prescribed. Since the defendant is the sole inheritor of the primitive debtor, with the right to succeed in his inheritance, that debt, brought by his mother legally, although it has lost its effectiveness by prescription, is now, however, for a moral obligation, which is consideration Sufficient to create and render effective and enforceable its obligation voluntarily contracted on August 9, 1930 in Exhibit B.

The rule that a new promise to pay a pre-paid debt must be made by the same obligated person or by another legally authorized by it, is not applicable to the present case in which it is not required to fulfill the obligation of the obligee originally, but of which he voluntarily wanted to assume this obligation.

 

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