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Sps. Elcano v. Hill,

GR No. L-24803
May 26, 1977


Reginald Hill (Reginald), a minor, caused the death of Agapito Elcano (Agapito), son of Pedro and
Patricia Elcano (Sps. Elcano). Sps. 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 father
(Atty. Marvin Hill) for damages based on Article 2180 of the Civil Code. Hill argued that the civil action is
barred by his son’s 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.

1) Whether the acquittal of Reginald bars the recovery of damages in a civil case
2) Whether Atty. Marvil Hill is exempted from his liabilities as a father due to the fact that his
son Reginald has been emancipated from him due to marriage

1) NO. 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.

2) NO, 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 child’s 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, Marvin’s liability should be subsidiary only – as a
matter of equity.