Saludaga v. FEU

 Saludaga v. FEU, 

G.R. No. 179337, 

April 30, 2008.


• School obliged to provide a safe learning environment

Institutions of learning must also meet the implicit or “built-in” obligation of providing

their students with an atmosphere that promotes of assists in attaining its primary

undertaking of imparting knowledge.


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.

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

Third-Party Complaint against Galaxy Development and Management Corporation

(Galaxy), the agency contracted by respondent FEU to provide security services within

its premises to indemnify them for whatever would be adjudged in favor of petitioner.

RTC: ruled that FEU and its President was ordered to pay jointly and severally

Saludaga damages. Galaxy and its President was ordered to indemnify jointly and

severally FEU for such amount.

CA: Dismissed the case stating that:

a) the incident was a fortuitous event;

b) that respondents are not liable for damages for the injury suffered by the petitioner

from the hands of their own security guard in violation of their built-in contractual

obligation to petitioner, being their law student at the time, to provide him with a safe

and secure educational environment;

c) that Rosete, who shot petitioner, was not FEU’s 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,

d) FEU exercised due diligence in selecting Galaxy as the agency which would provide

security services within the respondent FEU.

In his appeal, petitioner sued respondents for damages based on the alleged breach

of student-school contract for a safe learning environment. 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;

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



Whether respondent FEU is liable for damages under the student-school contract?


Yes, it is undisputed that petitioner was enrolled as a sophomore law student in

respondent FEU. As such, there was 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. 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 the petitioner for damages.

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