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Samson v.

CA, 145 SCRA 654 (1986)

Feliciano Talens was
Assistant Secretary
to the Mayor of Caloocan.The newly-elected mayor, Marcial Samson, released an Administrative
Order qualifyingthe services of Talens as
non-competetive and terminating his employment on thegr ou n d of la c k a nd
l os s o f c on f i de nc e .
appointed Liwas as replacement.
P e t i t i o n e r j u st i f i e s th a t a s As si s ta n t S e c re t a r y, l i ke t h e Se cre ta r y, re n d e
r s n o n - competitive service which is primarily confidential and highly technical in nature
wheretermination may be made due to lack and loss of confidence.However, respondent contends
he is not a non-competitive employee
and thus,can only be removed for cause and after due process has been observed. Thus, he
filedwith the Court of First Instance of Caloocan to annul the disputed administrative
order,to enjoin the petitioner mayor, treasurer, and auditor from enforcing the same, and
toc o m p e l a l l t h e s a i d p u b l i c o f f i c i a l s t o p a y p r i v a t e r e s p o n d e n t t h
e s a l a r i e s a n d emoluments due to him. The CFI, as well as the CA, ruled in favor of Talens.
Is the termination without cause or due process of Talens services as AssistantSecretary
to the Mayor legal on the ground of lack or loss of confidence?
NO. The
position of Assistant Secretary
to the Mayor
cannot be classifiedas non-competitive.
Since the position is
n ot e nu m e r a te d n o r d oe s i t q ua l if y a s Secretary or Head of
Departments under Section 5 of the Civil Service Law
, thenthe
position is classified as competitive
. Employees of competitive classificationcannot be terminated on the ground of
lack or loss of confidence, rather only for causeand agter due process.
Facts: The Philippine Bar Association wanted to erect a building in its lot in Intramuros.
They were able to obtain a contract with the United Construction Company Inc for the
construction of the building and the design was obtained from Juan M. Nakpil & Sons
and Juan F. Nakpil. The Building was completed in June 1966. On August 2, 1968 a
massive earthquake hit Manila with an intensity of about 7.3. This earthquake caused
damage to the building and caused it to lean forward dangerously which led to the
vacation of the building. United Construction Company in turn shored up the building
and incurred 13,661.28 php as costs. The PBA then instituted a case against UCC for
damages due to its negligence regarding the construction of the said building thru its
failure to follow the designs coming from the architects. UCC then filed a complint
against the archetechts (Nakpil & Sons) alleging that it was the designs that are flawed
and that caused the buildings inability to withstand an earthquake. UCC also included
the president of PBA for including them in their petition. Nakpil & Sons answer that the
petitioners need not to change the defendants in their petition as UCC deviated from the
plans which caused the damages to the building. In the course of the trial a
commissioner was appointed by both parties to give a report regarding the technical
aspects of the case. His report concluded that indeed there were faults arising from the
negligence of both defendants. The report stated that the design was flawed and that
UCC deviated from the designs which aggravated the problem. The defendants then put
up the Act of God defense.

Issue: Whether or not the defendants could escape liability from the building due to a
fortuitous event which is unforeseeable and inevitable even if their negligence is

Held: The defendants cannot validly invoke the Act of God defense. This is because of
the report submitted by the appointed Commissioner which established their
negligence. Acceptance of the building, after completion, does not imply waiver of any
of the causes of action by reason of any defect. To exempt the obligor from its liability
these requisites should first concur: (a) the cause of the breach of the obligation must
be independent of the will of the debtor; (b) the event must be either unforseeable or
unavoidable; (c) the event must be such as to render it impossible for the debtor to fulfill
his obligation in a normal manner; and (d) the debtor must be free from any participation
in, or aggravation of the injury to the creditor. The report of the Commissioner
established that the defects that occurred to the building could be attributed to the act of
man specifically that of the architects and the engineers as well as the builders. This
was because of the fact that UCC deviated from the plans submitted by the architects
and their failure to observe the required marksmanship in constructing the building as
well as the required degree of supervision. Nakpil & Sons are also liable for the
inadequacies and defect in their submitted plan and specifications. These
circumstances are the proximate causes of the damages that the PBA building incurred.
The costs are to be paid by the defendants amounting to 5M which includes all
appreciable damages as well as indemnity plus 100,000php for the atty fee.
One who negligently creates a dangerous condition cannot escape liability for the
natural and probable consequences thereof, although the act of a third person, or an act
of God for which he is not responsible, intervenes to precipitate the loss.