ANDAMO VS.

IAC FACTS: Emmanual and Natividad Andamo owned a parcel of land adjacent to that of the Missionaries of Our Lady of La Sallette. Within the land or Our Lady, waterpaths and an artificial lake were constructed, allegedly inundating and eroding the Andamos’ land. This caused a young man to drown, damaged the Andamos’ crops and fences, and endangered their lives. The Andamos instituted a criminal action against the officers and directors of Our Lady for destruction by means of inundation under Art. 324 of the RPC. Subsequently, they filed a civil case for damages against the respondents. Upon motion of respondents, the civil case was dismissed for lack of jurisdiction, since the criminal case instituted ahead of the civil case was still unresolved. This was based on the provision of the Rules of Court which provides that criminal and civil actions arising from the same offense may be instituted separately, but after the criminal action has been commenced, the civil action cannot be instituted until final judgment has been rendered in the criminal action. ISSUE: Whether the civil action should have been dismissed. HELD: No. The civil action should not have been dismissed since it was based, not on crime, but on quasi-delict. All the elements of a quasi-delict are present: 1. Damages suffered by the plaintiff; 2. Fault or negligence of the defendant or some other person for whose acts he must respond; and 3. Connection of the cause and effect between the fault or negligence of the defendant and the damages incurred by the plaintiff. In this case, the water paths and contrivances built by respondent are alleged to have inundated the land of petitioners. This was caused by the failure of the defendant to install drainage pipes that could have prevented the inundation. There is therefore a causal connection between the act of building the water paths without providing for an adequate drainage system and the damage sustained by the petitioners. Article 2176 covers not only acts “not punishable by law” but also acts criminal in character, whether intentional and voluntary or negligent. Consequently, a separate civil action lies against the offender in a criminal act, whether or not he is criminally prosecuted and found guilty or acquitted, provided that the offended party is not allowed to recover damages on both scores and would only be entitled to the bigger award of the two.

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