G.R. No. 132344, 7 February 2000
Romeo Jader graduated at UE College of law from 1984-88. During his last year, 1stsemester, he failed to take the regular final examination in Practical Court 1where he was given an incomplete grade remarks. He filed an application for removal of the incomplete grade given by Prof. Carlos Ortega on February 1, 1988 which was approved by Dean Celedonio Tiongson after the payment of required fees. He took the exam on March 28 and on May 30, the professor gave him a grade of 5.
The commencement exercise of UE College of law was held April 16, 1988, 3PM. In the invitation, his name appeared. In preparation for the bar exam, he took a leave of absence from work from April 20- Sept 30, 1988. He had his pre-bar class review in FEU. Upon learning of such deficiency, he dropped his review classes and was not able to take the bar exam.
Jader sued UE for damages resulting to moral shock, mental anguish, serious anxiety, besmirched reputation, wounded feelings, and sleepless nights due to UE’s negligence.
Whether UE should be held liable for misleading a student into believing JADER satisfied all the requirements for graduation when such is not the case. Can he claim moral damages?
Yes, the school is liable for actual damages but not for moral damages. Both parties are at fault. There was negligence of duty from the school but the student also had contributory negligence.
Considering further, that the institution of learning involved herein is a university which is engaged in legal education, it should have practiced what it inculcates in its students, more specifically the principle of good dealings enshrined in Articles 19 and 20 of the Civil Code which states:
Art. 19. Every person must, in the exercise of his rights and in the performance of his duties, act with justice, give everyone his due, and observe honesty and good faith.
Art. 20. Every person who, contrary to law, willfully or negligently causes damage to another shall indemnify the latter for the same.
SC held that petitioner was guilty of negligence and this liable to respondent for the latter’s actual damages. Educational institutions are duty-bound to inform the students of their academic status and not wait for the latter to inquire from the former. However, respondent should not have been awarded moral damages though JADER suffered shock, trauma, and pain when he was informed that he could not graduate and will not be allowed to take the bar examinations as what CA held because it’s also respondent’s duty to verify for himself whether he has completed all necessary requirements to be eligible for the bar examinations. As a senior law student, he should have been responsible in ensuring that all his affairs specifically those in relation with his academic achievement are in order. Before taking the bar examinations, it doesn’t only entail a mental preparation on the subjects but there are other prerequisites such as documentation and submission of requirements which prospective examinee must.
* Case digest by Jason S. Olasiman , LLB-1, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2017-2018