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77 SCRA 100 May 26, 1977

Torts and Damages Civil Liability from Quasi Delicts vs Civil


Liability from Crimes
Reginald Hill, a minor, caused the death of Agapito (son of Elcano).
Elcano filed a criminal case against Reginald but Reginald was
acquitted for lack of intent coupled with mistake. Elcano then filed
a civil action against Reginald and his dad (Marvin Hill) for damages
based on Article 2180 of the Civil Code. Hill argued that the civil
action is barred by his sons acquittal in the criminal case; and that if
ever, his civil liability as a parent has been extinguished by the fact
that his son is already an emancipated minor by reason of his
marriage.
ISSUE: Whether or not Marvin Hill may be held civilly liable under
Article 2180.
HELD: Yes. The acquittal of Reginald in the criminal case does not
bar the filing of a separate civil action. 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, if accused is actually charged also criminally, to
recover damages on both scores, and would be entitled in such
eventuality only to the bigger award of the two, assuming the
awards made in the two cases vary. In other words, the extinction of
civil liability referred to in Par. (e) of Section 3, Rule 111, refers
exclusively to civil liability founded on Article 100 of the Revised
Penal Code, whereas the civil liability for the same act considered as
a quasi-delict only and not as a crime is not extinguished even by a
declaration in the criminal case that the criminal act charged has not
happened or has not been committed by the accused. Briefly stated,
culpa aquiliana includes voluntary and negligent acts which may be
punishable by law.
While it is true that parental authority is terminated upon
emancipation of the child (Article 327, Civil Code), and under Article
397, emancipation takes place by the marriage of the minor child,
it is, however, also clear that pursuant to Article 399, emancipation
by marriage of the minor is not really full or absolute. Thus
Emancipation by marriage or by voluntary concession shall
terminate parental authority over the childs person. It shall enable
the minor to administer his property as though he were of age, but
he cannot borrow money or alienate or encumber real property
without the consent of his father or mother, or guardian. He can sue
and be sued in court only with the assistance of his father, mother or
guardian. Therefore, Article 2180 is applicable to Marvin Hill the
SC however ruled since at the time of the decision, Reginald is
already of age, Marvins liability should be subsidiary only as a
matter of equity.