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SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED

San Ildefonso Lines, Inc. vs. Court of Aeals !T"irteent" Division#


$.R. No. %%&''%. Aril (), %&&*.+
SAN ILDE,ONSO LINES, INC. and EDUARDO -A.IER, etitioners, vs. COURT
O, APPEALS !T"irteent" Division# and PIONEER INSURANCE and SURET/
CORPORATION, resondents.
Actions; Independent Civil Actions; Pleadings and Practice; It is easily deducible from
the present wording of Section 3, Rule of the Rules of Court as brought about by the
!"" amendments to the Rules on Criminal Procedure#particularly the phrase $% % %
which has been reserved&#that the $independent& character of these civil actions does
not do away with the reservation re'uirement% Prior reservation is a condition sine 'ua
non before any of these independent civil actions can be instituted and thereafter have a
continuous determination apart from or simultaneous with the criminal action%#(here is
no dispute that these so)called $independent civil actions& based on the aforementioned
Civil Code articles are the e*ceptions to the primacy of the criminal action over the civil
action as set forth in Section + of Rule % ,owever, it is easily deducible from the
present wording of Section 3 as brought about by the !"" amendments to the Rules on
Criminal Procedure#particularly the phrase $% % % which has been reserved&#that the
$independent& character of these civil actions does not do away with the reservation
re'uirement% In other words, prior reservation is a condition sine 'ua non before any of
these independent civil actions can be instituted and thereafter have a continuous
determination apart from or simultaneous with the criminal action% (hat this should now
be the controlling procedural rule is confirmed by no less than retired -ustice -ose .%
/eria, remedial law e*pert and a member of the committee which drafted the !""
amendments%
Same; Same; Same; 0ow that the necessity of a prior reservation is the standing rule that
shall govern the institution of the independent civil actions referred to in Rule of the
Rules of Court, past pronouncements that view the reservation re'uirement as an
$unauthori1ed amendment& to substantive law#i%e%, the Civil Code, should no longer be
controlling; /ar from altering substantive rights, the primary purpose of the reservation is
to avoid multiplicity of
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San Ildefonso :ines, Inc% vs% Court of Appeals <(hirteenth 6ivision=
suits, to guard against oppression and abuse, to prevent delays, to clear congested
doc>ets, to simplify the wor> of the trial court; in short, the attainment of ?ustice with the
least e*pense and ve*ation to the parties)litigants%#0ow that the necessity of a prior
reservation is the standing rule that shall govern the institution of the independent civil
actions referred to in Rule of the Rules of Court, past pronouncements that view the
reservation re'uirement as an $unauthori1ed amendment& to substantive law#i%e%, the
Civil Code, should no longer be controlling% (here must be a renewed adherence to the
time)honored dictum that procedural rules are designed, not to defeat, but to safeguard
the ends of substantial ?ustice%
And for this noble reason, no less than the Constitution itself has mandated this Court to
promulgate rules concerning the enforcement of rights with the end in view of providing
a simplified and ine*pensive procedure for the speedy disposition of cases which should
not diminish, increase or modify substantive rights% /ar from altering substantive rights,
the primary purpose of the reservation is, to borrow the words of the Court in $Ca@os v%
Peralta&A $% % % to avoid multiplicity of suits, to guard against oppression and abuse, to
prevent delays, to clear congested doc>ets, to simplify the wor> of the trial court; in short,
the attainment of ?ustice with the least e*pense and ve*ation to the parties)litigants%&
Same; Same; Same; Insurance; Subrogation; An insurer, as subrogee under Article ++BC
of the Civil Code, is not e*empt from the reservation re'uirement with respect to its
damages suit based on 'uasi)delict arising from the same act or omission complained of
in the criminal case%#Clearly then, private respondent PISC, as subrogee under Article
++BC of the Civil Code, is not e*empt from the reservation re'uirement with respect to its
damages suit based on 'uasi)delict arising from the same act or omission of petitioner
-avier complained of in the criminal case% As private respondent PISC merely stepped
into the shoes of Ds% -ao <as owner of the insured (oyota van=, then it is bound to
observe the procedural re'uirements which Ds% -ao ought to follow had she herself
instituted the civil case%
P4(I(I50 for review on certiorari of a decision of the Court of Appeals%
(he facts are stated in the opinion of the Court%
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San Ildefonso :ines, Inc% vs% Court of Appeals <(hirteenth 6ivision=
(an?uatco, Sta% Daria, (an?uatco for petitioners%
Conrado Dangahas F Associates for private respondents%
DAR(I04G, -%A
At around 3A3B in the afternoon of -une +;, !!, a (oyota :ite Ace 7an being driven by
its owner Annie E% -ao and a passenger bus of herein petitioner San Ildefonso :ines, Inc%
<hereafter, SI:I= figured in a vehicular mishap at the intersection of -ulia 7argas Avenue
and Rodrigue1 :anu1a Avenue in Pasig, Detro Danila, totally wrec>ing the (oyota van
and in?uring Ds% -ao and her two <+= passengers in the process%
A criminal case was thereafter filed with the Regional (rial Court of Pasig on September
", !! charging the driver of the bus, herein petitioner 4duardo -avier, with rec>less
imprudence resulting in damage to property with multiple physical in?uries%
About four <;= months later, or on -anuary 3, !!+, herein private respondent Pioneer
Insurance and Surety Corporation <PISC=, as insurer of the van and subrogee, filed a case
for damages against petitioner SI:I with the Regional (rial Court of Danila, see>ing to
recover the sums it paid the assured under a motor vehicle insurance policy as well as
other damages, totaling P89;,8BB%BB <P;8;,BBB%BB as actualHcompensatory damages;
P8B,BBB%BB as e*emplary damages; P8B,BBB%BB as attorneyIs fees; PB,BBB%BB as
litigation e*penses; and P8BB%BB as appearance fees%=
Jith the issues having been ?oined upon the filing of the petitionersI answer to the
complaint for damages and after submission by the parties of their respective pre)trial
briefs, petitioners filed on September ", !!+ a Danifestation and Dotion to Suspend
Civil Proceedings grounded on the pendency of the criminal case against petitioner -avier
in the Pasig R(C and the failure of respondent PISC to ma>e a res)
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See Complaint, Rollo, pp% 38)3"%
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San Ildefonso :ines, Inc% vs% Court of Appeals <(hirteenth 6ivision=
ervation to file a separate damage suit in said criminal action% (his was denied by the
Danila Regional (rial Court in its 5rder dated -uly +, !!3,+ ruling thusA
$Answering the first 'uestion thus posed, the court holds that plaintiff may legally
institute the present civil action even in the absence of a reservation in the criminal
action% (his is so because it falls among the very e*ceptions to the rule cited by the
movant%
$It is true that the general rule is that once a criminal action has been instituted, then civil
action based thereon is deemed instituted together with the criminal action, such that if
the offended party did not reserve the filing of the civil action when the criminal action
was filed, then such filing of the civil action is therefore barred; on the other hand, if
there was such reservation, still the civil action cannot be instituted until final ?udgment
has been rendered in the criminal action;
$Kut, this rule <Section +, Rule , Revised Rules of Court= is sub?ect to e*emptions, the
same being those provided for in Section 3 of the same rule which statesA
LSection 3% Jhen civil action may proceed independently%#In the cases provided for in
Articles 3+, 33, 3; and +C9 of the Civil Code of the Philippines, the independent civil
action which has been reserved may be brought by the offended party, shall proceed
independently of the criminal action, and shall re'uire only a preponderance of evidence%I
$Kesides, the re'uirement in Section + of Rule of the former Rules on Criminal
Procedure that there be a reservation in the criminal case of the right to institute an
independent civil action has been declared as not in accordance with law% It is regarded as
an unauthori1ed amendment to our substantive law, i%e%, the Civil Code which does not
re'uire such reservation% In fact, the reservation of the right to file an independent civil
action has been deleted from Section +, Rule of the !"8 Rules on Criminal
Procedure, in consonance with the decisions of this Court declaring such re'uirement of a
reservation as ineffective% <Konite vs% Gosa, 9+ SCRA "B=
$/urther, the Court rules that a subrogee)plaintiff may institute and prosecute the civil
action, it being allowed by Article ++BC of the Civil Code%&
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+ Anne* /, Rollo, pp% ;3);C%
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San Ildefonso :ines, Inc% vs% Court of Appeals <(hirteenth 6ivision=
After their motion for reconsideration of said -uly +, !!3 5rder was denied, petitioners
elevated the matter to this Court via petition for certiorari which was, however, referred
to public respondent Court of Appeals for disposition% 5n /ebruary +;, !!8, a decision
adverse to petitioners once again was rendered by respondent court, upholding the
assailed Danila Regional (rial Court 5rder in this wiseA
$A separate civil action lies against the offender in a criminal act, whether or not he is
criminally prosecuted and found guilty or ac'uitted, provided that the offended party is
not allowed <if the tortfeasor 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%
$(o subordinate the civil action contemplated in the said articles to the result of the
criminal prosecution)whether it be conviction or ac'uittal)would render meaningless the
independent character of the civil action and the clear in?unction in Art% 3, that this
action may proceed independently of the criminal proceedings and regardless of the result
of the latter%
$In .a>ult Phil% vs% CA, the Supreme Court saidA
L4ven if there was no reservation in the criminal case and that the civil action was not
filed before the filing of the criminal action but before the prosecution presented evidence
in the criminal action, and the ?udge handling the criminal case was informed thereof,
then the actual filing of the civil action is even far better than a compliance with the
re'uirement of an e*press reservation that should be made by the offended party before
the prosecution presented its evidence%I
$(he purpose of this rule re'uiring reservation is to prevent the offended party from
recovering damages twice for the same act or omission%
$Substantial compliance with the reservation re'uirement may, therefore, be made by
ma>ing a manifestation in the criminal case that the private respondent has instituted a
separate and independent civil action for damages%
$5ft)repeated is the dictum that courts should not place undue importance on
technicalities when by so doing, substantial ?ustice is sacrificed% Jhile the rules of
procedure re'uire adherence, it must
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San Ildefonso :ines, Inc% vs% Court of Appeals <(hirteenth 6ivision=
be remembered that said rules of procedure are intended to promote, not defeat,
substantial ?ustice, and therefore, they should not be applied in a very rigid and technical
sense%&
,ence, this petition for review after a motion for reconsideration of said respondent court
?udgment was denied%
(he two <+= crucial issues to be resolved, as posited by petitioners, areA
= If a criminal case was filed, can an independent civil action based on 'uasi)delict
under Article +C9 of the Civil Code be filed if no reservation was made in the said
criminal caseM
+= Can a subrogee of an offended party maintain an independent civil action during the
pendency of a criminal action when no reservation of the right to file an independent civil
action was made in the criminal action and despite the fact that the private complainant is
actively participating through a private prosecutor in the aforementioned criminal caseM
Je rule for petitioners%
5n the chief issue of $reservation,& at the fore is Section 3, Rule of the Rules of
Court which readsA
$Sec% 3% Jhen civil action may proceed independently%#In the cases provided for in
Articles 3+, 33, 3; and +C9 of the Civil Code of the Philippines, the independent civil
action which has been reserved may be brought by the offended party, shall proceed
independently of the criminal action, and shall re'uire only a preponderance of
evidence%&
(here is no dispute that these so)called $independent civil actions& based on the
aforementioned Civil Code articles are the e*ceptions to the primacy of the criminal
action over the civil action as set forth in Section + of Rule %3 ,owever, it
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3 Section +% Rule of the Rules of Court reads in partA
$Sec% +% Institution of separate civil action%#4*cept in the cases provided for in Section 3
hereof, after the criminal action has been commenced, the civil action which has been
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San Ildefonso :ines, Inc% vs% Court of Appeals <(hirteenth 6ivision=
is easily deducible from the present wording of Section 3 as brought about by the !""
amendments to the Rules on Criminal Procedure#particularly the phrase $% % % which has
been reserved&#that the $independent& character of these civil actions does not do away
with the reservation re'uirement% In other words, prior reservation is a condition sine 'ua
non before any of these independent civil actions can be instituted and thereafter have a
continuous determination apart from or simultaneous with the criminal action% (hat this
should now be the controlling procedural rule is confirmed by no less than retired -ustice
-ose .% /eria, remedial law e*pert and a member of the committee which drafted the
!"" amendments, whose learned e*planation on the matter was aptly pointed out by
petitioners, to witA
$(he !"" amendment e*pands the scope of the civil action which is deemed impliedly
instituted with the criminal action unless waived, reserved or previously instituted * * *%
Ender the present Rule as amended, such a civil action includes not only recovery of
indemnity under the Revised Penal Code and damages under Articles 3+, 33, 3; of the
Civil Code of the Philippines, but also damages under Article +C9 of the said code% * * *
5b?ections were raised to the inclusion in this Rule of 'uasidelicts under Article +C9 of
the Civil Code of the Philippines% ,owever, in view of Article +CC of the said code
which provides that the offended party may not recover twice for the same act or
omission of the accused, and in line with the policy of avoiding multiplicity of suits,
these ob?ections were overruled% In any event, the offended party is not precluded from
filing a civil action to recover damages arising from 'uasi)delict before the institution of
the criminal action, or from reserving his right to file such a separate civil action, ?ust as
he is not precluded from filing a civil action for damages under Articles 3+, 33 and 3;
before the institution of the criminal action, or from reserving his right to file such a
separate civil action% It is only in those cases where the offended party has not previously
filed a civil action or has not reserved his right to file a separate civil action
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reserved cannot be instituted until final ?udgment has been rendered in the criminal
action%
* * * * * * * * *%&
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San Ildefonso :ines, Inc% vs% Court of Appeals <(hirteenth 6ivision=
that his civil action is deemed impliedly instituted with the criminal action%
It should be noted that while it was ruled in Abella vs% Darave <8C SCRA B9= that a
reservation of the right to file an independent civil action is not necessary, such a
reservation is necessary under the amended rule% Jithout such reservation, the civil
action is deemed impliedly instituted with the criminal action, unless previously waived
or instituted% <Italics ours% -ustice -ose .% /eria NRet%O, !"" Amendments to the !"8
Rules on Criminal Procedure, a pamphlet, published by Central :awboo> Publishing Co%,
Inc%, Philippines :egal Studies, Series 0os% 3, 8)9=%;
Sharing the same view on the indispensability of a prior reservation is Dr% -ustice /loren1
6% Regalado, whose analysis of the historical changes in Rule since the !9; Rules
of Court is e'ually illuminating% (hus,
$% Ender Rule of the !9; Rules of Court, the civil liability arising from the offense
charged was impliedly instituted with the criminal action, unless such civil action was
e*pressly waived or reserved% (he offended party was authori1ed to bring an independent
civil action in the cases provided for in Articles 3, 3+, 33, 3; and +CC of the Civil Code
provided such right was reserved%
In the !"8 Rules on Criminal Procedure, the same Rule thereof reiterated said
provision on the civil liability arising from the offense charged% (he independent civil
actions, however, were limited to the cases provided for in Articles 3+, 33 and 3; of the
Civil Code, obviously because the actions contemplated in Articles 3 and +CC of said
Code are not liabilities e* delicto% /urthermore, no reservation was re'uired in order the
civil actions in said Articles 3+, 33 and 3; may be pursued separately%
+% (he present amendments introduced by the Supreme Court have the following notable
features on this particular procedural aspect, vi1%A
a% (he civil action which is impliedly instituted with the criminal action, barring a waiver,
reservation or prior institution thereof, need not arise from the offense charged, as
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; Petition, pp% B); Rollo, pp% )+%
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San Ildefonso :ines, Inc% vs% Court of Appeals <(hirteenth 6ivision=
the phrase Larising from the offense chargedI which creates that ne*us has been
specifically eliminated%
b% (he independent civil actions contemplated in the present Rule include the 'uasi)
delicts provided for in Art% +C9 of the Civil Code, in addition to the cases provided in
Arts% 3+, 33 and 3; thereof% It is necessary, however, that the civil liability under all the
said articles arise Lfrom the same act or omission of the accused%I /urthermore, a
reservation of the right to institute these separate civil actions is again re'uired,
otherwise, said civil actions are impliedly instituted with the criminal action, unless the
former are waived or filed ahead of the criminal action%& <4mphasis supplied%=8
In fact, a deeper reading of the $.a>ult Phils% vs% CA& case9 relied upon by respondent
court reveals an ac>nowledgement of the reservation re'uirement% After recogni1ing that
the civil case instituted by private respondent therein Roy Camaso <represented by his
father 6avid Camaso= against petitioner .a>ult Phils% <the owner of the motorcycle that
sideswiped Roy Camaso, only five years old at the time of the accident= and :arry
Salvado <the driver of the motorcycle= during the pendency of the criminal case against
Salvado for rec>less imprudence resulting to slight physical in?uries, as one based on tort,
this Court saidA
$(he civil liability sought arising from the act or omission of the accused in this case is a
'uasi)delict as defined under Article +C9 of the Civil Code as followsA
* * * * * * * * *%&
$(he aforecited rule Nreferring to the amended Section , Rule O re'uiring such
previous reservation also covers 'uasi)delict as defined under Article +C9 of the Civil
Code arising from the same act or omission of the accused& <Italics supplied=%
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8 Regalado, Remedial :aw Compendium, 7olume II, !!8 4dition, p% +C8%
9 !B SCRA 38C, 5ctober 8, !!B%
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San Ildefonso :ines, Inc% vs% Court of Appeals <(hirteenth 6ivision=
Kut what prompted the Court to validate the institution andnon)suspension of the civil
case involved in $.a>ult& was thepeculiar facts attendant therein% (hus,
$Although the separate civil action filed in this case was without previous reservation in
the criminal case, nevertheless since it was instituted before the prosecution presented
evidence in the criminal action, and the ?udge handling the criminal case was informed
thereof, then the actual filing of the civil action is even far better than a compliance with
the re'uirement of an e*press reservation that should be made by the offended party
before the prosecution presents its evidence%&
(he distinct factual scenario in $.a>ult& simply does not obtain in this case% 0o
satisfactory proof e*ists to show that private respondent PISCIs damage suit was
instituted before the prosecution presented its evidence in the criminal case pending in
the Pasig Regional (rial Court% 0either is there any indication that the ?udge presiding
over the criminal action has been made aware of the civil case% It is in this light that
reliance on the $.a>ult& case is indeed misplaced%
0ow that the necessity of a prior reservation is the standing rule that shall govern the
institution of the independent civil actions referred to in Rule of the Rules of Court,
past pronouncements that view the reservation re'uirement as an $unauthori1ed
amendment& to substantive law#i%e%, the Civil Code, should no longer be controlling%
(here must be a renewed adherence to the time)honored dictum that procedural rules are
designed, not to defeat, but to safeguard the ends to substantial ?ustice% And for this noble
reason, no less than the Constitution itself has mandated this Court to promulgate rules
concerning the enforcement of rights with the end in view of providing a simplified and
ine*pensive procedure for the speedy disposition of cases which should not diminish,
increase or modify substantive rights%C /ar from altering sub)
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C Article 7III, Section 8<8=, !"C Constitution%
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SEPR4D4 C5ER( R4P5R(S A005(A(46
San Ildefonso :ines, Inc% vs% Court of Appeals <(hirteenth 6ivision=
stantive rights, the primary purpose of the reservation is, to borrow the words of the
Court in $Ca@os v% Peralta&"A
$% % % to avoid multiplicity of suits, to guard against oppression and abuse, to prevent
delays, to clear congested doc>ets, to simplify the wor> of the trial court; in short, the
attainment of ?ustice with the least e*pense and ve*ation to the parties)litigants%&
Clearly then, private respondent PISC, as subrogee under Article ++BC of the Civil
Code,! is not e*empt from the reservation re'uirement with respect to its damages suit
based on 'uasi)delict arising from the same act or omission of petitioner -avier
complained of in the criminal case% As private respondent PISC merely stepped into the
shoes of Ds% -ao <as owner of the insured (oyota van=, then it is bound to observe the
procedural re'uirements which Ds% -ao ought to follow had she herself instituted the civil
case%
J,4R4/5R4, premises considered, the assailed decision of the Court of Appeals dated
/ebruary +;, !!8 and the Resolution dated April 3, !!8 denying the motion for
reconsideration thereof are hereby R474RS46 and S4( ASI64% (he
$DA0I/4S(A(I50 A06 D5(I50 (5 SESP406 CI7I: PR5C446I0PS& filed by
petitioners is PRA0(46%
S5 5R64R46%
Regalado <Chairman=, Delo, Puno and Dendo1a, --%, concur%
-udgment reversed and set aside%
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" 8 SCRA ";3%
! Article ++BC% $If the plaintiffIs property has been insured, and he has received
indemnity from the insurance company for the in?ury or loss arising out of the wrong or
breach of contract complained of, the insurance company shall be subrogated to the rights
of the insured against the wrongdoer or the person who has violated the contract% If the
amount paid by the insurance company does not fully cover the in?ury or loss, the
aggrieved party shall be entitled to recover the deficiency from the person causing the
loss or in?ury%&
8C! NSan Ildefonso :ines, Inc% vs% Court of Appeals <(hirteenth 6ivision=, +"! SCRA
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