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REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES

COURT OF APPEALS
National Capital Judicial Region
Manila

SPS. JOSE INTON and MA. VICTORIA S. INTON, on behalf of their minor child
Jose Luis Inton
Plaintiff-Appellants

- versus - CA-GR. CV No. 184202

AQUINAS SCHOOL
Defendant-Appellee,
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BRIEF FOR THE APPELLANT

PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT, by counsel, unto this Honorable Court respectfully


submit this Brief, in support of their appeal from the Decision dated 26 January 2011
and the Order dated 17 March 2011 of the Regional Trial Court of San Juan City, Branch
07, in Civil Case No. 145-M-2010, and state:

I. THE PARTIES

Defendant-Appellee AQUINAS SCHOOL is a private educational institution


located in 183 F. Blumentritt St., San Juan City, Metro Manila

Plaintiff-Appellants SPS. JOSE INTON and MA. VICTORIA S. INTON, are


spouses, of legal age, Filipino, with address at No. 47 Jose Streetm Greenhills, San Juan
City, Metro Manila, and parents of Jose Luis Inton.

II. STATEMENT OF MATERIAL DATES


On 02 December 2010 plaintiff-Appellants filed a Motion for Reconsideration but
was denied by the court a quo in its Decision dated 11 January 2011; hence, this appeal.

III. STATEMENT OF THE CASE

This is an ordinary appeal under Rule 41 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure
filed by herein Plaintiff-Appellants Spouses Jose Inton and Ma. Victoria S. Inton on
behalf of their minor child Jose Luis Inton against defendant-appellee Aquinas School
seeking to MODIFY the Decision dated 26 January 2011 of the Regional Trial Court of
San Juan City, Branch 07, in the case entitled “Spouses Jose Inton and Ma. Victoria S.
Inton on behalf of their minor child Jose Luis Inton vs. Aquinas School and Sr.
Margarita Yamyamin”, docketed as Civil Case No. 145-M-2010.

In the said Decision, the court a quo rendered judgment in favor of the defendant-
appellee, with dispositive portion as follows:

“WHEREFORE, the Court SETS ASIDE the petition for damages


against defendant AQUINAS SCHOOL for it is NOT liable in damages to
plaintiff Jose Luis Inton and DENIES the claim for actual, moral and exemplary
damages, as well as attorney’s fees against defendant school. The Court, however,
finds Sr. Margarita Yamyamin liable and ORDERS her to pay plaintiff Spouses
Jose Inton and Ma. Victoria S. Inton the following:

(1) Actual damages with the amount of Php 15,000.


(2) Attorney’s fees with the amount of Php 10,000.

Claim for moral and exemplary damages against Sr. Margarita Yamyamin are
hereby denied.

SO ORDERED.”

The Court founded in its Decision the absence of employer-employee relationship


between Yamyamin and defendant-appellee Aquinas School that warrants denial of
solidarily liability among the two party defendants. According to the Court, since there
was no presence of the most crucial element of control between Aquinas School and
Yamyamin, the former cannot be said to have been guilty of negligence hence vicarious
liability is wanting.

IV. STATEMENT OF THE FACTS


Jose Luis Inton (Jose Luis) was a grade three student at Aquinas School when the
act which gives rise to the cause of action for damages transpired. Sister Margarita
Yamyamin (Yamyamin) was a religion teacher at Aquinas School teaching religion
subject to Jose Luis’ grade three class.

On July 14, 1998, while Yamyamin was writing on the blackboard, Jose Luis left
his assigned seat and went over to a classmate to play a joke for surprising him.
Yamyamin noticed this and sent Jose Luis back to his seat. After a while, Jose Luis got
up again and went over to the same classmate. This time, unable to tolerate the child’s
behavior, Yamyamin approached Jose Luis and kicked him on the legs several times.
She also pulled and shoved his head on the classmate’s seat. Finally, she told the child to
stay where he was on that spot of the room and finish copying the notes on the
blackboard while seated on the floor.

As a result of the incident, plaintiff-appellant Jose and Victoria Inton (the Intons)
filed an action for damages on behalf of their son Jose Luis against Yamyamin and
Aquinas before the Regional Trial Court of San Juan, City, Branch 10 dated 26 July
1998.

In defendant-appellee’s Reply, there was no dispute on the fact that Yamyamin


was a teacher in its institution and teaching religion to Jose Luis’s class. But defedant
Aquinas averred that since Yamyamin only started teaching in June of 1998 and that the
incident happened in July, Yamyamin was not under employ of Aquinas. Consequently,
due to the none presence of employment relationship, the act of Yamyamin cannot be
considered as an act of an agent or employee while in the service of the Defendant.

Defendant-appellee further contended that it had an agreement with Yamyamin’s


congregation of sisters, under which, the congregation would send religious teachers to
Aquinas to provide catechesis to its students. Under such circumstance, Aquinas claims
that it has no control over Yamyamin’s teaching methods.

Defendant-appellee to refute its non-liability as to the conduct of Yamyamin,


presented evidence that it provided Yamyamin Administrative faculty Staff Manual
which set the standards for handling students. It also required Yamyamin to attend a
teaching orientation before she was allowed to teach beginning that June of 1998.

V. ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR
A) he Honorable Trial Court, committed reversible error in declaring defendant
Aquinas School NOT LIABLE for the injuries sustained by minor Jose Luis
while the latter was within the premises of the defendant school.

B) The Honorable Trial Court erred in denying plaintiff-appellant’s claim for


damages against defendant-appellee.

VI. ARGUMENTS / DISCUSSION

A. The Honorable Trial Court,


committed reversible error in declaring
defendant Aquinas School NOT
LIABLE for the injuries sustained by
minor Jose Luis while the latter was
within the premises of the defendant
school.

Although employer-employee relationship is an essential element to determine


whether a party exercises control over the other warranting joint and solidary liability in
case the latter causes damage while in the performance of his duty, such shall not be the
only determining factor in the case at bar as as to hold defendant-appellee liable for
damages

Article 233 of the Family Code states that:


The person exercising substitute parental authority shall have the same authority
over the person of the child as the parents.
In no case shall the school administrator, teacher or individual engaged in child
care and exercising special parental authority, inflict corporal punishment upon
the child.

It is well-settled that schools have substituted parental authority over the minor
children who are currently registered/enrolled in their institution. Once they accept the
student a contract between them is created which contract is one impressed with public
interest. The moment the contract is perfected the school shall assume supervision and
instruction whenever it has custody over the child which is temporary in nature.
Subsequently, such duty shall include ensuring that the child’s welfare is its highest
priority.
In Philippine School of Business Administration v. Court of Appeals, the Court held
that:

“the school’s liability can arise from a breach in contract as when an educational
institution accepts students for enrolment, there exists a contract which is one
“imbued with public interest”. This contract produces bilateral obligations, and
one of the school’s obligations is to provide their students with an atmosphere
that is conducive in furthering their primary purpose which is to impart
knowledge.”

Hence, in this regard, Aquinas school fell short in satisfying its duty to ensure that
the minor over which it had custody thereof was provided the most conducive
atmosphere so as to facilitate the best means for learning. Aquinas therefore shall be
held liable on the ground of breach of its contractual relationship.

B. The Honorable Trial Court erred in


denying plaintiff-appellant’s claim for
damages against defendant-appellee.

Before an educational institution be relieved from its liability over the act of its
teacher / employee, it must clearly and convincingly prove that it had exercised due
diligence to prevent the happening of the act complained of.

Art. 2188 of the Family Code was clear: The persons must prove that they have
observed all the diligence of a good father of a family to prevent damage.

The diligence of a good father of a family requires only that diligence which an ordinary
prudent man would exercise.

In the case at bar, Aquinas shall not be held to have exercised the due diligence required
of it in terms of supervision over the teachers in its educational premises. It cannot
contend that since it has no employer-employee relationship with Yamyamin then it has
no duty to exercise diligence over its conduct. To rule otherwise will subject many minor
children into an atmosphere which may be inconsistent with what the law contemplates.

PRAYER
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing premises, plaintiff-appellants Spouses
Jose and Victoria Inton on behalf of Jose Luis Inton respectfully prays for this
Honorable Court that the Decision of the Honorable Regional Trial Court of San Juan
City, Branch 10 dated 26 January 2011 and the Order dated 17 March 2011 appealed
from and to MODIFY, in lieu thereof, the judgment be rendered to HOLD defendant-
appellee SOLIDARILY LIABLE with Sister Margarita Yamyamin and that the following
relief be granted in favor of plaintiff-appellants:

a) Actual damages amounting to 50,000;


b) Moral damage amounting to 100,000;
c) Attorney’s fees for the amount of 75,000;
d) Other relief and remedies just and equitable under the premises are likewise
prayed for.

RESPECTFULLY SUBMITTED.

City of San Juan, 14 May 2011.

BARRERA ESTRADA LAW OFFICE


Counsels for Plaintiff-Appellants
Spouses Jose and Victoria Inton
No. 47 Jose Streetm Greenhills, San Juan City, Metro Manila

By:

Atty. Arisse Jannah Barrera


PTR No. 5555/ Feb. 12, 2007 / Cavite, City
IBP No. 121318 / City of Manila / May 17, 2011
MCLE Compliance No. II-741471
Roll of Attorneys No. 021789
COPY FURNISHED:

Counsel for the Defendant-Appellee


Aquinas School
83 F. Blumentritt St., San Juan City, Metro Manila

EXPLANATION

Copies of the foregoing Formal Offer are served upon counsel of the defendant-
appellee and filed with the Court by personal service.