Civil Law

Sabina Exconde vs Delfin and Dante Capuno

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G.R. No. L-10134 – 101 Phil. 843 – Civil Law – Torts and Damages – Liability of Parents

Dante Capuno was a 15 year old boy who was a pupil at Balintawak Elementary School. In March 1949, he attended a boy scout parade for Dr. Jose Rizal. While they were inside a jeep, he took control of the steering wheel which he later lost control of causing the jeep to go turtle thereby killing two other students, Isidoro Caperina and one other. Isidoro’s mother, Sabina Exconde, sued Dante Capuno for the death of her son. Pending the criminal action, the mother reserved her right to file a separate civil action which she subsequently filed against Dante and his dad, Delfin Capuno.

ISSUE: Whether or not Delfin Capuno, as the father of Dante is liable for damages.

HELD: Yes. The civil liability which the law imposes upon the father, and, in case of his death or incapacity, the mother, for any damages that may be caused by the minor children who live with them, is obvious. This is a necessary consequence of the parental authority they exercise over them which imposes upon the parents the “duty of supporting them, keeping them in their company, educating them and instructing them in proportion to their means”, while, on the other hand, gives them the “right to correct and punish them in moderation”. The only way by which they can relieve themselves of this liability is if they prove that they exercised all the diligence of a good father of a family to prevent the damage which Delfin failed to prove.

On the other hand, the school is not liable. It is true that under the law, “teachers or directors of arts and trades are liable for any damages caused by their pupils or apprentices while they are under their custody”, but this provision only applies to an institution of arts and trades and not to any academic educational institution.

JUSTICE J.B.L. REYES Dissenting:

Delfin Capuno should be relieved from liability.

There is no sound reason for limiting the liability to teachers of arts and trades and not to academic ones. What substantial difference is there between them in so far as, concerns the proper supervision and vigilance over their pupils? It cannot be seriously contended that an academic teacher is exempt from the duty of watching do not commit a tort to the detriment of third persons, so long as they are in a position to exercise authority and supervision over the pupil.

Read full text here.

Read Chronology of Supreme Court Decisions Regarding Liability of Schools for the Tortious Act of their Students/Employees

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