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PETITIONER: KHRISTINE REA M.

REGINO, Assisted and


Represented by ARMANDO REGINO
RESPONDENT: PANGASINAN COLLEGES OF SCIENCE AND
TECHNOLOGY, RACHELLE A. GAMUROT and ELISSA BALADAD
DATE: November 18, 2004
G.R. No. 156109
DOCTRINE: Khrsitine was prohibited from taking her final
exams because she did not want to buy a ticket to a dance by
reason of religion and finances. She filed a case for damages to
the RTC but the RTC dismissed the case saying that there was
no cause of action and that the CHED has jurisdiction over the
case. The Supreme Court ruled that it is not the CHED but the
RTC considering that Khristine is asking for damages and not for
the reversal of the rule of the school. Since students and their
school have a contractual relationship between them, both of
them are expected to comply with their contractual obligations.
Thus, it goes to show that there is a breach of action on the side
of the school.
Relevant Provisions:
Sections 5 (1) of Article XIV of the 1987 Constitution. The State
shall protect and promote the right of all citizens to quality
education at all levels and shall take appropriate steps to make
such declaration accessible to all.
Sections 5 (3) of Article XIV of the 1987 Constitution. Every
student has a right to select a profession or course of study,
subject to fair, reasonable and equitable admission and
academic requirements.
Section 9. Rights of Students in School. In addition to other
rights, and subject to the limitations prescribed by law and
regulations, students and pupils in all schools shall enjoy the
following rights:
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(2) The right to freely choose their field of study subject to
existing curricula and to continue their course therein up
to graduation, except in cases of academic deficiency, or
violation of disciplinary regulations.
Article 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.

Article 21. Any person who wilfully causes loss or injury to


another in a manner that is contrary to morals, good customs or
public policy shall compensate the latter for the damage.
Article 26. Every person shall respect the dignity, personality,
privacy and peace of mind of his neighbors and other persons.
The following and similar acts, though they may not constitute a
criminal offense, shall produce a cause of action for damages,
prevention and other relief:
(1) Prying into the privacy of anothers residence;
(2) Meddling with or disturbing the private life or family
relations of another;
(3) Intriguing to cause another to be alienated from his friends;
(4) Vexing or humiliating another on account of his beliefs,
lowly station in life, place of birth, physical defect, or other
personal condition.
FACTS:
Petitioner Khristine Rea M. Regino was a first year computer
science student at Respondent Pangasinan Colleges of
Science and Technology (PCST).
She comes from a very poor family and she was only able to
go to school by means of financial support from her
relatives.
During her second semester of school year 2001-2002, she
was enrolled in logic and statistics subjects under
Repondents Rachelle A. Gamurot and Elissa Baladad (her
teachers)
It was in February 2002 that the college arranged a fund
raising campaign called Rave Party and Dance Revolution.
The proceeds of this dance will be used to construct the
schools tennis and volleyball courts.
Everyone was required to buy at least two tickets priced at
100 pesos each. People who bought the tickets will be given
additional points in their test scores but those who did not
buy will not be allowed to take the final exams.
Khristine, having no money and religious restrictions,
refused to buy the tickets.
Thus on the examination dates, she was not allowed by her
two teachers, Gamurot and Balalad, to take her final exam
on statistics and logic.

The next day, the teacher announced to the whole class that
khristine and another student was not permitted to take the
exam because of the failure to buy the tickets then
subsequently ejected the two from class.
Khristine continued to plead with the teachers to allow her
but they kept their stand and defended their position saying
that they were complying with PCSTs policy.
Khristine filed in the RTC as a pauper litigant against PCST
and her two teachers for damages.
The respondents filed a motion to dismiss based on the
khristines failure to exhaust administrative remedies as
they are contending that the case shouldve been filed in
the CHED (commission of higher education) and not in the
RTC
Khristine on the other hand says that prior exhaustion of
administrative remedies was unnecessary, because her
action was not administrative in nature, but one purely for
damages arising from respondents breach of the laws on
human relations
RTC
o The RTC dismissed the complaint for the lack of cause of
action. It said that considering the case was between a
school, two teachers and a student, CHED has
jurisdiction over the case and not RTC. And it dismissed
the case for the lack of cause of action without
explaining their ground.

ISSUE/s:
1. W/N the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative
remedies is applicable
2. W/N the Complaint stated sufficient cause(s) of action.
HELD:
1. Yes
The Supreme Court ruled that the doctrine of exhaustion
of administrative remedies has no bearing on the present case
because the petitioner was not asking for the reversal of the
policies of the PCST neither was she demanding that the school
allow her to take the final examinations (considering that she
was already enrolled in a different school). The acts of the
respondent can no longer be reversed and even if it was
reversed, it would not be adequate to redress her grievances

The Supreme Court also held that the doctrine can only
be applied when there is competence on the part of the
administrative body to act upon the matter complained of. Thus
in the case at bar, the CHED does not have the power to award
damages to the petitioner.
And lastly, the doctrine cannot be applied when the issue
is purely legal and well within the jurisdiction of the trial court.
The petitioners action for damages calls for the application of
the Civil Code which falls within the jurisdiction of the courts.
2. Yes
a. Breach of Action
In the case of Alcuaz v. PSBA, the court characterized the
relationship between the school and the student as a contract,
where the student, once admitted by the school is considered
enrolled for one semester. And in a succeeding case (Non v.
Dames), the court ruled that it is not merely for one semester
but an entire period that the student is expected to complete it.
Thus it can be seen that when it comes to the court, the
relationship between the school and the student is contractual
in nature.
Being that the relationship is reciprocal, where the school
would be providing the education while the student will be
abiding by the rules and regulations of the school. The terms of
the contract are defined at the moment of its inception- upon
enrollment of the student. Thus it is in practice that the student
makes a down payment at the beginning of the semester and
succeeding payments paid before every preliminary, midterm
and final examination. Their failure to pay their financial
obligation is regarded as a valid ground for the school to deny
them the opportunity to take these examinations.
In the present case, the PCST imposed a revenue raising
measure in the middle of the semester. It made the financial
contribution of the student as a condition for the students to
take their final examinations which ultimately is translated to
the recognition of their ability to finish the course. Considering
that the fee was not part of the student-school contract entered
into at the start of the year, it cannot be unilaterally imposed to
the prejudice of the enrollees.
It should be noted that the student-school contract is not
an ordinary one and is imbued with public interest considering
that it is protected by the constitution and by a legislative act
called the Education Act of 1982.
b. Liability for Tort

In her complaint, Khristine wrote that she was inhumanly


punished by reason only of their poverty, religious practive or
lowly station I life which inculcated feelings of guilt, disgrace
and unworthiness and as a result she was unable to finish her
subjects for the second semester and had to lag her studies for
a full year. The acts caused her extreme humiliation and mental
agony and she asks for compensation as the respondents
violated Article 19, 21, and 26 of the Civil Code.
The court held that generally, tort arises only between
partieis not otherwise bound by a contract. But in the case of
PSBA vs. CA an academic institution may be held liable for tort
even if it has an existing contract with its students, since the act
that violated the contract may also be a tort.

The Respondent CANNOT use the right to academic


freedom as a defense because According to present
jurisprudence,
academic
freedom
encompasses
the
independence of an academic institution to determine for itself
(1) who may teach, (2) what may be taught, (3) how it shall
teach, and (4) who may be admitted to study.
DISPOSITIVE: WHEREFORE, the Petition is hereby GRANTED,
and the assailed Orders REVERSED. The trial court is DIRECTED
to reinstate the Complaint and, with all deliberate speed, to
continue the proceedings in Civil Case No. U-7541. No costs.