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THIRD DIVISION

[G.R. No. 75112. October 16, 1990.]


FILAMER CHRISTIAN INSTITUTE, petitioner, vs. HONORABLE
COURT OF APPEALS, HONORABLE ENRIQUE P. SUPLICO, in his
capacity as Judge of the Regional Trial Court, Branch XIV,
Roxas City and the late POTENCIANO KAPUNAN, SR., as
substituted by his heirs, namely: LEONA KAPUNAN TIANGCO,
CICERO KAPUNAN, JESUS KAPUNAN, SANTIAGO KAPUNAN,
POTENCIANO KAPUNAN, JR., PAZ KAPUNAN PUBLICO, SUSA
KAPUNAN GENUINO, and ERLINDA KAPUNAN TESORO,
respondents.

Aquilina B. Brotarlo for petitioner.


Rhodora G. Kapunan for the Substituted Heirs of the late respondent.
DECISION
FERNAN, C.J :
p

This is a petition for review of the decision 1 of the Court of Appeals arming the
judgment of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Roxas City, Branch 14 in Civil Case
No. V-4222 which found petitioner Filamer Christian Institute and Daniel Funtecha
negligent and therefore answerable for the resulting injuries caused to private
respondent Potenciano Kapunan, Sr.
Private respondent Potenciano Kapunan, Sr., an eighty-two-year old retired
schoolteacher (now deceased), was struck by the Pinoy jeep owned by petitioner
Filamer and driven by its alleged employee, Funtecha, as Kapunan, Sr. was walking
along Roxas Avenue, Roxas City at 6:30 in the evening of October 20, 1977. As a
result of the accident, Kapunan, Sr. suered multiple injuries for which he was
hospitalized for a total of twenty (20) days.
Evidence showed that at the precise time of the vehicular accident, only one
headlight of the jeep was functioning. Funtecha, who only had a student driver's
permit, was driving after having persuaded Allan Masa, the authorized driver, to
turn over the wheels to him. The two ed from the scene after the incident. A
tricycle driver brought the unconscious victim to the hospital.
prLL

Thereafter, Kapunan, Sr. instituted a criminal case against Funtecha alone in the
City Court of Roxas City for serious physical injuries through reckless imprudence.

Kapunan, Sr. reserved his right to le an independent civil action. The inferior court
found Funtecha guilty as charged and on appeal, his conviction was armed by the
then Court of First Instance of Capiz. 2
Pursuant to his reservation, Kapunan, Sr. commenced a civil case for damages 3
before the RTC of Roxas City. Named defendants in the complaint were petitioner
Filamer and Funtecha. Also included was Agustin Masa, the director and president of
Filamer Christian Institute, in his personal capacity "in that he personally authorized
and allowed said Daniel Funtecha who was his houseboy at the time of the incident,
to drive the vehicle in question despite his knowledge and awareness that the latter
did not have the necessary license or permit to drive said vehicle. His son, Allan
Masa, who was with Funtecha at the time of the accident, was not impleaded as a
co-defendant. 4
On December 14, 1983, the trial court rendered judgment nding not only
petitioner Filamer and Funtecha to be at fault but also Allan Masa, a non-party.
Thus:
"WHEREFORE, nding the averments in the complaint as supported by
preponderance of evidence to be reasonable and justied, and that
defendants Daniel Funtecha, Filamer Christian Institute and Allan Masa are at
fault and negligent of the acts complained of which causes (sic) injury to
plainti, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the plainti and against the
defendants, namely: Daniel Funtecha and Filamer Christian Institute, the
employer whose liability is primary and direct, jointly and severally, to pay
plaintiff the following:
"(1)
to pay the sum of TWO THOUSAND NINE HUNDRED
FIFTY PESOS AND FIFTY CENTAVOS (P2,950.50) as medical expenses
(Exh. 'A');
"(2)
to pay TWO HUNDRED FORTY ONE PESOS (P241.00) as
doctor's fee (Exh. 'C');
"(3)
to pay THREE HUNDRED NINETY PESOS (P390.00) as
additional expenses incurred for thirty-nine days at P10.00 a day, for
remuneration of plaintiff's helper while recuperating;
"(4)
to pay FOUR THOUSAND PESOS (P4,000.00) as Court
litigation expenses;
"(5)
to pay THREE THOUSAND PESOS (P3,000.00) as loss of
earnings capacity;
"(6)
to pay TWENTY THOUSAND (P20,000.00) pesos as
moral damages;
"(7)
to pay FOUR THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED PESOS
(P4,500.00) as attorney's fees;
"(8)

to pay TWENTY THOUSAND PESOS (P20,000.00) as

insurance indemnity on the policy contract;


and without prejudice to the right of defendant Filamer Christian Institute to
demand from co-defendant Daniel Funtecha part-time employee and/or Allan
Masa a full time employee reimbursement of the damages paid to herein
plaintiff.
"The defendant Agustin Masa as director of defendant Filamer Christian
Institute has also failed to exercise the diligence required of a good father of
a family in the supervision of his employee Allan Masa, being his son.
However, the court absolved defendant Agustin Masa from any personal
liability with respect to the complaint led against him in his personal and
private capacity, cause he was not in the vehicle during the alleged incident.
"For failure to prove their respective counterclaims led by the defendant
Daniel Funtecha, Dr. Agustin Masa, and Filamer Christian Institute, as against
the herein plaintiff, same are hereby dismissed.
"The Zenith Insurance Corporation as third party defendant has failed to
prove that there was a policy violation made by the defendant Filamer
Christian Institute which absolves them from liability under the aforesaid
insurance policy. The record shows that the defendant Daniel Funtecha while
driving the said vehicle was having a student drivers license marked Exh. `1'
and accompanied by Allan Masa who is the authorized driver of said vehicle
with a professional drivers license as shown by Exh. '3'
"This Court nds that defendant Daniel Funtecha while driving the said
vehicle is considered as authorized driver in accordance with the policy in
question marked Exh. '2-Masa and FCI'.
"Finding the averments in the third party complaint filed by defendant Filamer
Christian Institute as supported by preponderance of evidence as shown by
their exhibits to be reasonable and justied, judgment is hereby rendered in
favor of the said defendant and third party plainti Filamer Christian Institute
as against third party defendant Zenith Insurance Corporation.
"The Zenith Insurance Corporation as third party defendant is hereby
ordered to pay in favor of the defendant and third party plainti, Filamer
Christian Institute, the following:
"(1)
to pay TWENTY THOUSAND PESOS (P20,000.00) as
third party liability as provided in the Zenith Insurance Corporation
policy (Exh. '2');
"(2)
damages;

to pay TEN THOUSAND PESOS (P10,000.00) as moral

"(3)
to pay FOUR THOUSAND PESOS (P4,000.00) as Court
litigation and actual expenses;
"(4)
to pay THREE THOUSAND PESOS (P3,000.00) as
attorney's fees;

"The defendants Daniel Funtecha, Filamer Christian Institute and third party
defendant Zenith Insurance Corporation are hereby ordered jointly and
severally, to pay the costs of the suit." 5

Only petitioner Filamer and third-party defendant Zenith Insurance Corporation


appealed the lower court's judgment to the Court of Appeals and as a consequence,
said lower court's decision became nal as to Funtecha. For failure of the insurance
rm to pay the docket fees, its appeal was dismissed on September 18, 1984. On
December 17, 1985, the Appellate Court rendered the assailed judgment arming
the trial court's decision in toto. 6 Hence, the present recourse by petitioner Filamer.
It is petitioner Filamer's basic contention that it cannot be held responsible for the
tortious act of Funtecha on the ground that there is no existing employer-employee
relationship between them. We agree.
The Civil Code provides:
"Art. 2176.
Whoever by act or omission causes damage to another,
there being fault or negligence, is obliged to pay for the damage done. Such
fault or negligence, if there is no pre-existing contractual relation between
the parties, is called a quasi-delict and is governed by the provisions of this
Chapter."
"Art. 2180.
The obligation imposed by article 2176 is demandable not
only for one's own acts or omissions but also for those of persons for
whom one is responsible.
"xxx xxx xxx
"Employers shall be liable for the damages caused by their employees and
household helpers acting within the scope of their assigned tasks , even
though the former are not engaged in any business or industry.
"xxx xxx xxx
"The responsibility treated of in this article shall cease when the persons
herein mentioned prove that they observe all the diligence of a good father
of a family to prevent damage." (Emphasis supplied).

The legal issue in this appeal is whether or not the term "employer" as used in
Article 2180 is applicable to petitioner Filamer with reference to Funtecha.
In disclaiming liability, petitioner Filamer has invoked the provisions of the Labor
Code, 7 specifically Section 14, Rule X of Book III which reads:
"Sec. 14.
Working scholars. There is no employer-employee
relationship between students on the one hand, and schools, colleges or
universities on the other, where students work for the latter in exchange for
the privilege to study free of charge; provided the students are given real
opportunity, including such facilities as may be reasonable, necessary to
finish their chosen courses under such arrangement." (Emphasis supplied).

It is manifest that under the just-quoted provision of law, petitioner Filamer cannot
be considered as Funtecha's employer. Funtecha belongs to that special category of
students who render service to the school in exchange for free tuition. Funtecha
worked for petitioner for two hours daily for ve days a week. He was assigned to
clean the school passageways from 4:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. with sucient time to
prepare for his 7:30 a.m. classes. As admitted by Agustin Masa in open court,
Funtecha was not included in the company payroll. 8

The wording of Section 14 is clear and explicit and leaves no room for equivocation.
To dismiss the implementing rule as one which governs only the "personal
relationship" between the school and its students and not where there is already a
third person involved, as espoused by private respondents, is to read into the law
something that was not legislated there in the rst place. The provision of Section
14 is obviously intended to eliminate an erstwhile gray area in labor relations and
seeks to dene in categorical terms the precise status of working scholars in relation
to the learning institutions in which they work for the privilege of a free education.
But even if we were to concede the status of an employee on Funtecha, still the
primary responsibility for his wrongdoing cannot be imputed to petitioner Filamer
for the plain reason that at the time of the accident, it has been satisfactorily shown
that Funtecha was not acting within the scope of his supposed employment. His
duty was to sweep the school passages for two hours every morning before his
regular classes. Taking the wheels of the Pinoy jeep from the authorized driver at
6:30 in the evening and then driving the vehicle in a reckless manner resulting in
multiple injuries to a third person were certainly not within the ambit of his
assigned tasks. In other words, at the time of the injury, Funtecha was not engaged
in the execution of the janitorial services for which he was employed, but for some
purpose of his own. It is but fair therefore that Funtecha should bear the full brunt
of his tortious negligence. Petitioner Filamer cannot be made liable for the damages
he had caused.
Private respondents' attempt to hold petitioner Filamer directly and primarily
answerable to the injured party under Article 2180 of the Civil Code would have
prospered had they proceeded against Allan Masa, the authorized driver of the Pinoy
jeep and undisputably an employee of petitioner. It was Allan's irresponsible act of
entrusting the wheels of the vehicle to the inexperienced Funtecha which set into
motion the chain of events leading to the accident resulting in injuries to Kapunan,
Sr. But under the present set of circumstances, even if the trial court did nd Allan
guilty of negligence, such conclusion would not be binding on Allan. It must be
recalled that Allan was never impleaded in the complaint for damages and should be
considered as a stranger as far as the trial court's judgment is concerned. It is
axiomatic that no man shall be affected by a proceeding to which he is a stranger. 9
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the decision under review of the Court of
Appeals is hereby SET ASIDE. The complaint for damages 10 is ordered DISMISSED
as against petitioner Filamer Christian Institute for lack of cause of action. No costs.
LLpr

SO ORDERED.

Bidin and Cortes, JJ ., concur.


Gutierrez, Jr., J ., I concur but limit my concurrence on the employee-employer
relationship to labor law situations.
Feliciano, J ., is on leave.

Footnotes

1.

Penned by Associate Justice Desiderio P. Jurado and concurred in by Associate


Justices Jose C. Campos, Jr. and Seran E. Camilon. Associate Justice Crisolito
Pascual did not take part.

2.

Annex E of Petition, p. 49. Rollo.

3.

Civil Case No. V-4222.

4.

Records, pp. 1 and 3.

5.

Records, pp. 572-573.

6.

Rollo, pp. 177 and 21.

7.

Presidential Decree No. 442.

8.

Records, p. 569.

9.

Church Assistance Program vs. Sibulo, G.R. No. 76552, March 21, 1989.

10.

Civil Case No. V-4222.