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G.R. No.

L-24803 May 26, 1977 WHEREFORE, the Order of this Court on


December 8, 1964 is hereby reconsidered by
PEDRO ELCANO and PATRICIA ELCANO, in their ordering the dismissal of the above entitled
capacity as Ascendants of Agapito Elcano, case.
deceased, plaintiffs-appellants,
vs. SO ORDERED.
REGINALD HILL, minor, and MARVIN HILL, as father
and Natural Guardian of said minor, defendants- Quezon City, Philippines, January 29, 1965. (p.
appellees. 40, Record [p. 21, Record on Appeal.)

Appeal from the order of the Court of First Instance of Hence, this appeal where plaintiffs-appellants, the
Quezon City dated January 29, 1965 in Civil Case No. Q- spouses Elcano, are presenting for Our resolution the
8102, Pedro Elcano et al. vs. Reginald Hill et al. following assignment of errors:
dismissing, upon motion to dismiss of defendants, the
complaint of plaintiffs for recovery of damages from THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN DISMISSING THE
defendant Reginald Hill, a minor, married at the time of CASE BY UPHOLDING THE CLAIM OF
the occurrence, and his father, the defendant Marvin DEFENDANTS THAT -
Hill, with whom he was living and getting subsistence,
for the killing by Reginald of the son of the plaintiffs, I
named Agapito Elcano, of which, when criminally
prosecuted, the said accused was acquitted on the THE PRESENT ACTION IS NOT ONLY AGAINST
ground that his act was not criminal, because of "lack of BUT ALSO A VIOLATION OF SECTION 1, RULE
intent to kill, coupled with mistake." 107, NOW RULE 111, OF THE REVISED RULES OF
COURT, AND THAT SECTION 3(c) OF RULE 111,
Actually, the motion to dismiss based on the following RULES OF COURT IS APPLICABLE;
grounds:
II
1. The present action is not only against but a
violation of section 1, Rule 107, which is now THE ACTION IS BARRED BY A PRIOR JUDGMENT
Rule III, of the Revised Rules of Court; WHICH IS NOW FINAL OR RES-ADJUDICTA;

2. The action is barred by a prior judgment III


which is now final and or in res-adjudicata;
THE PRINCIPLES OF QUASI-DELICTS, ARTICLES
3. The complaint had no cause of action against 2176 TO 2194 OF THE CIVIL CODE, ARE
defendant Marvin Hill, because he was relieved INAPPLICABLE IN THE INSTANT CASE; and
as guardian of the other defendant through
emancipation by marriage. IV

(P. 23, Record [p. 4, Record on Appeal.]) THAT THE COMPLAINT STATES NO CAUSE OF
ACTION AGAINST DEFENDANT MARVIN HILL
was first denied by the trial court. It was only upon BECAUSE HE WAS RELIEVED AS GUARDIAN OF
motion for reconsideration of the defendants of such THE OTHER DEFENDANT THROUGH
denial, reiterating the above grounds that the following EMANCIPATION BY MARRIAGE. (page 4,
order was issued: Record.)

Considering the motion for reconsideration filed It appears that for the killing of the son, Agapito, of
by the defendants on January 14, 1965 and plaintiffs-appellants, defendant- appellee Reginald Hill
after thoroughly examining the arguments was prosecuted criminally in Criminal Case No. 5102 of
therein contained, the Court finds the same to the Court of First Instance of Quezon City. After due
be meritorious and well-founded. trial, he was acquitted on the ground that his act was
not criminal because of "lack of intent to kill, coupled
with mistake." Parenthetically, none of the parties has
favored Us with a copy of the decision of acquittal, Penal Code. Here is therefore a clear instance of
presumably because appellants do not dispute that the same act of negligence being a proper
such indeed was the basis stated in the court's decision. subject matter either of a criminal action with
And so, when appellants filed their complaint against its consequent civil liability arising from a crime
appellees Reginald and his father, Atty. Marvin Hill, on or of an entirely separate and independent civil
account of the death of their son, the appellees filed the action for fault or negligence under article 1902
motion to dismiss above-referred to. of the Civil Code. Thus, in this jurisdiction, the
separate individuality of a cuasi-delito or culpa
As We view the foregoing background of this case, the aquiliana, under the Civil Code has been fully
two decisive issues presented for Our resolution are: and clearly recognized, even with regard to a
negligent act for which the wrongdoer could
1. Is the present civil action for damages barred by the have been prosecuted and convicted in a
acquittal of Reginald in the criminal case wherein the criminal case and for which, after such a
action for civil liability, was not reversed? conviction, he could have been sued for this
civil liability arising from his crime. (p. 617, 73
2. May Article 2180 (2nd and last paragraphs) of the Phil.) 2
Civil Code he applied against Atty. Hill, notwithstanding
the undisputed fact that at the time of the occurrence It is most significant that in the case just cited,
complained of. Reginald, though a minor, living with this Court specifically applied article 1902 of the
and getting subsistenee from his father, was already Civil Code. It is thus that although J. V. House
legally married? could have been criminally prosecuted for
reckless or simple negligence and not only
The first issue presents no more problem than the need punished but also made civilly liable because of
for a reiteration and further clarification of the dual his criminal negligence, nevertheless this Court
character, criminal and civil, of fault or negligence as a awarded damages in an independent civil action
source of obligation which was firmly established in this for fault or negligence under article 1902 of the
jurisdiction in Barredo vs. Garcia, 73 Phil. 607. In that Civil Code. (p. 618, 73 Phil.) 3
case, this Court postulated, on the basis of a scholarly
dissertation by Justice Bocobo on the nature of culpa The legal provisions, authors, and cases already
aquiliana in relation to culpa criminal or delito and invoked should ordinarily be sufficient to
mere culpa or fault, with pertinent citation of decisions dispose of this case. But inasmuch as we are
of the Supreme Court of Spain, the works of recognized announcing doctrines that have been little
civilians, and earlier jurisprudence of our own, that the understood, in the past, it might not he
same given act can result in civil liability not only under inappropriate to indicate their foundations.
the Penal Code but also under the Civil Code. Thus, the
opinion holds: Firstly, the Revised Penal Code in articles 365
punishes not only reckless but also simple
The, above case is pertinent because it shows negligence. If we were to hold that articles 1902
that the same act machinist. come under both to 1910 of the Civil Code refer only to fault or
the Penal Code and the Civil Code. In that case, negligence not punished by law, accordingly to
the action of the agent killeth unjustified and the literal import of article 1093 of the Civil
fraudulent and therefore could have been the Code, the legal institution of culpa
subject of a criminal action. And yet, it was held aquiliana would have very little scope and
to be also a proper subject of a civil action application in actual life. Death or injury to
under article 1902 of the Civil Code. It is also to persons and damage to property- through any
be noted that it was the employer and not the degree of negligence - even the slightest -
employee who was being sued. (pp. 615-616, 73 would have to be Idemnified only through the
Phil.). 1 principle of civil liability arising from a crime. In
such a state of affairs, what sphere would
It will be noticed that the defendant in the remain for cuasi-delito or culpa aquiliana? We
above case could have been prosecuted in a are loath to impute to the lawmaker any
criminal case because his negligence causing intention to bring about a situation so absurd
the death of the child was punishable by the and anomalous. Nor are we, in the
interpretation of the laws, disposed to uphold remedy, and for the further reason that an
the letter that killeth rather than the spirit that independent civil action, not depending on the
giveth life. We will not use the literal meaning issues, limitations and results of a criminal
of the law to smother and render almost lifeless prosecution, and entirely directed by the party
a principle of such ancient origin and such full- wronged or his counsel, is more likely to secure
grown development as culpa aquiliana or cuasi- adequate and efficacious redress. (p. 621, 73
delito, which is conserved and made enduring in Phil.)
articles 1902 to 1910 of the Spanish Civil Code.
Contrary to an immediate impression one might get
Secondary, to find the accused guilty in a upon a reading of the foregoing excerpts from the
criminal case, proof of guilt beyond reasonable opinion in Garcia that the concurrence of the Penal
doubt is required, while in a civil case, Code and the Civil Code therein referred to contemplate
preponderance of evidence is sufficient to make only acts of negligence and not intentional voluntary
the defendant pay in damages. There are acts - deeper reflection would reveal that the thrust of
numerous cases of criminal negligence which the pronouncements therein is not so limited, but that
can not be shown beyond reasonable doubt, in fact it actually extends to fault or culpa. This can be
but can be proved by a preponderance of seen in the reference made therein to the Sentence of
evidence. In such cases, the defendant can and the Supreme Court of Spain of February 14, 1919, supra,
should be made responsible in a civil action which involved a case of fraud or estafa, not a negligent
under articles 1902 to 1910 of the Civil Code. act. Indeed, Article 1093 of the Civil Code of Spain, in
Otherwise. there would be many instances of force here at the time of Garcia, provided textually that
unvindicated civil wrongs. "Ubi jus Idemnified obligations "which are derived from acts or omissions in
remedium." (p. 620,73 Phil.) which fault or negligence, not punishable by law,
intervene shall be the subject of Chapter II, Title XV of
Fourthly, because of the broad sweep of the this book (which refers to quasi-delicts.)" And it is
provisions of both the Penal Code and the Civil precisely the underline qualification, "not punishable by
Code on this subject, which has given rise to the law", that Justice Bocobo emphasized could lead to an
overlapping or concurrence of spheres already ultimo construction or interpretation of the letter of the
discussed, and for lack of understanding of the law that "killeth, rather than the spirit that giveth lift-
character and efficacy of the action for culpa hence, the ruling that "(W)e will not use the literal
aquiliana, there has grown up a common meaning of the law to smother and render almost
practice to seek damages only by virtue of the lifeless a principle of such ancient origin and such full-
civil responsibility arising from a crime, grown development as culpa aquiliana or quasi-delito,
forgetting that there is another remedy, which which is conserved and made enduring in articles 1902
is by invoking articles 1902-1910 of the Civil to 1910 of the Spanish Civil Code." And so, because
Code. Although this habitual method is allowed Justice Bacobo was Chairman of the Code Commission
by, our laws, it has nevertheless rendered that drafted the original text of the new Civil Code, it is
practically useless and nugatory the more to be noted that the said Code, which was enacted after
expeditious and effective remedy based the Garcia doctrine, no longer uses the term, 11 not
on culpa aquiliana or culpa extra-contractual. In punishable by law," thereby making it clear that the
the present case, we are asked to help concept of culpa aquiliana includes acts which are
perpetuate this usual course. But we believe it criminal in character or in violation of the penal law,
is high time we pointed out to the harms done whether voluntary or matter. Thus, the corresponding
by such practice and to restore the principle of provisions to said Article 1093 in the new code, which is
responsibility for fault or negligence under Article 1162, simply says, "Obligations derived
articles 1902 et seq. of the Civil Code to its full from quasi-delicto shall be governed by the provisions
rigor. It is high time we caused the stream of of Chapter 2, Title XVII of this Book, (on quasi-delicts)
quasi-delict or culpa aquiliana to flow on its and by special laws." More precisely, a new provision,
own natural channel, so that its waters may no Article 2177 of the new code provides:
longer be diverted into that of a crime under
the Penal Code. This will, it is believed, make for ART. 2177. Responsibility for fault or negligence
the better safeguarding or private rights under the preceding article is entirely separate
because it realtor, an ancient and additional and distinct from the civil liability arising from
negligence under the Penal Code. But the assuming the awards made in the two cases vary. In
plaintiff cannot recover damages twice for the other words, the extinction of civil liability referred to in
same act or omission of the defendant. Par. (e) of Section 3, Rule 111, refers exclusively to civil
liability founded on Article 100 of the Revised Penal
According to the Code Commission: "The foregoing Code, whereas the civil liability for the same act
provision (Article 2177) through at first sight startling, is considered as a quasi-delict only and not as a crime is
not so novel or extraordinary when we consider the not estinguished even by a declaration in the criminal
exact nature of criminal and civil negligence. The former case that the criminal act charged has not happened or
is a violation of the criminal law, while the latter is a has not been committed by the accused. Briefly stated,
"culpa aquiliana" or quasi-delict, of ancient origin, We here hold, in reiteration of Garcia, that culpa
having always had its own foundation and individuality, aquiliana includes voluntary and negligent acts which
separate from criminal negligence. Such distinction may be punishable by law.4
between criminal negligence and "culpa
extracontractual" or "cuasi-delito" has been sustained It results, therefore, that the acquittal of Reginal Hill in
by decision of the Supreme Court of Spain and the criminal case has not extinguished his liability
maintained as clear, sound and perfectly tenable by for quasi-delict, hence that acquittal is not a bar to the
Maura, an outstanding Spanish jurist. Therefore, under instant action against him.
the proposed Article 2177, acquittal from an accusation
of criminal negligence, whether on reasonable doubt or Coming now to the second issue about the effect of
not, shall not be a bar to a subsequent civil action, not Reginald's emancipation by marriage on the possible
for civil liability arising from criminal negligence, but for civil liability of Atty. Hill, his father, it is also Our
damages due to a quasi-delict or 'culpa aquiliana'. But considered opinion that the conclusion of appellees that
said article forestalls a double recovery.", (Report of the Atty. Hill is already free from responsibility cannot be
Code) Commission, p. 162.) upheld.

Although, again, this Article 2177 does seem to literally While it is true that parental authority is terminated
refer to only acts of negligence, the same argument of upon emancipation of the child (Article 327, Civil Code),
Justice Bacobo about construction that upholds "the and under Article 397, emancipation takes place "by the
spirit that giveth lift- rather than that which is literal marriage of the minor (child)", it is, however, also clear
that killeth the intent of the lawmaker should be that pursuant to Article 399, emancipation by marriage
observed in applying the same. And considering that the of the minor is not really full or absolute. Thus
preliminary chapter on human relations of the new Civil "(E)mancipation by marriage or by voluntary concession
Code definitely establishes the separability and shall terminate parental authority over the child's
independence of liability in a civil action for acts person. It shall enable the minor to administer his
criminal in character (under Articles 29 to 32) from the property as though he were of age, but he cannot
civil responsibility arising from crime fixed by Article 100 borrow money or alienate or encumber real property
of the Revised Penal Code, and, in a sense, the Rules of without the consent of his father or mother, or
Court, under Sections 2 and 3 (c), Rule 111, guardian. He can sue and be sued in court only with the
contemplate also the same separability, it is "more assistance of his father, mother or guardian."
congruent with the spirit of law, equity and justice, and
more in harmony with modern progress"- to borrow the Now under Article 2180, "(T)he obligation imposed by
felicitous relevant language in Rakes vs. Atlantic. Gulf article 2176 is demandable not only for one's own acts
and Pacific Co., 7 Phil. 359, to hold, as We do hold, that or omissions, but also for those of persons for whom
Article 2176, where it refers to "fault or negligencia one is responsible. The father and, in case of his death
covers not only acts "not punishable by law" but also or incapacity, the mother, are responsible. The father
acts criminal in character, whether intentional and and, in case of his death or incapacity, the mother, are
voluntary or negligent. Consequently, a separate civil responsible for the damages caused by the minor
action lies against the offender in a criminal act, children who live in their company." In the instant case,
whether or not he is criminally prosecuted and found it is not controverted that Reginald, although married,
guilty or acquitted, provided that the offended party is was living with his father and getting subsistence from
not allowed, if he is actually charged also criminally, to him at the time of the occurrence in question. Factually,
recover damages on both scores, and would be entitled therefore, Reginald was still subservient to and
in such eventuality only to the bigger award of the two,
dependent on his father, a situation which is not in CA-G.R. CV No. 24646 which affirmed the order of the
unusual. Regional Trial Court dismissing Civil Case No. Q-89-1751,
and its resolution dated November 17, 1991 denying
It must be borne in mind that, according to Manresa, herein, petitioner's motion for reconsideration.
the reason behind the joint and solidary liability of
presuncion with their offending child under Article 2180 The antecedent facts of the case are as follows:
is that is the obligation of the parent to supervise their
minor children in order to prevent them from causing On December 7, 1988, an altercation between Benigno
damage to third persons. 5 On the other hand, the clear Torzuela and Atty. Napoleon Dulay occurred at the "Big
implication of Article 399, in providing that a minor Bang Sa Alabang," Alabang Village, Muntinlupa as a
emancipated by marriage may not, nevertheless, sue or result of which Benigno Torzuela, the security guard on
be sued without the assistance of the parents, is that duty at the said carnival, shot and killed Atty. Napoleon
such emancipation does not carry with it freedom to Dulay.
enter into transactions or do any act that can give rise
to judicial litigation. (See Manresa, Id., Vol. II, pp. 766- Herein petitioner Maria Benita A. Dulay, widow of the
767, 776.) And surely, killing someone else invites deceased Napoleon Dulay, in her own behalf and in
judicial action. Otherwise stated, the marriage of a behalf of her minor children, filed on February 8, 1989
minor child does not relieve the parents of the duty to an action for damages against Benigno Torzuela and
see to it that the child, while still a minor, does not give herein private respondents Safeguard Investigation and
answerable for the borrowings of money and alienation Security Co., Inc., ("SAFEGUARD") and/or Superguard
or encumbering of real property which cannot be done Security Corp. ("SUPERGUARD"), alleged employers of
by their minor married child without their consent. (Art. defendant Torzuela. The complaint, docketed as Civil
399; Manresa, supra.) Case No. Q-89-1751 among others alleges the following:

Accordingly, in Our considered view, Article 2180 1. . . .


applies to Atty. Hill notwithstanding the emancipation
by marriage of Reginald. However, inasmuch as it is Defendants SAFEGUARD INVESTIGATION AND
evident that Reginald is now of age, as a matter of SECURITY CO., INC., (Defendant Safeguard) and
equity, the liability of Atty. Hill has become milling, SUPERGUARD SECURITY CORPORATION
subsidiary to that of his son. (Defendant Superguard) are corporations duly
organized and existing in accordance with
WHEREFORE, the order appealed from is reversed and Philippine laws, with offices at 10th Floor,
the trial court is ordered to proceed in accordance with Manufacturers Building, Inc., Plaza Santa Cruz,
the foregoing opinion. Costs against appellees. Manila. They are impleaded as alternative
defendants for, while the former appears to be
the employer of defendant BENIGNO TORZUELA
(defendant TORZUELA), the latter impliedly
G.R. No. 108017 April 3, 1995 acknowledged responsibility for the acts of
defendant TORZUELA by extending its
MARIA BENITA A. DULAY, in her own behalf and in sympathies to plaintiffs.
behalf of the minor children KRIZTEEN ELIZABETH,
BEVERLY MARIE and NAPOLEON II, all surnamed Defendant BENIGNO TORZUELA is of legal age,
DULAY, petitioners, an employee of defendant SAFEGUARD and/or
vs. defendant SUPERGUARD and, at the time of the
THE COURT OF APPEALS, Former Eighth Division, HON. incident complained of, was under their control
TEODORO P. REGINO, in his capacity as Presiding Judge and supervision. . . .
of the Regional Trial Court National Capital Region,
Quezon City, Br. 84, SAFEGUARD INVESTIGATION AND 3. On December 7, 1988 at around 8:00 a.m.,
SECURITY CO., INC., and SUPERGUARD SECURITY defendant TORZUELA, while he was on duty as
CORPORATION, respondents. security guard at the "Big Bang sa Alabang,"
Alabang Village, Muntinlupa, Metro Manila shot
This petition for certiorari prays for the reversal of the and killed NAPOLEON V. DULAY with a .38
decision of the Court of Appeals dated October 29, 1991 caliber revolver belonging to defendant
SAFEGUARD, and/or SUPERGUARD (per Police Respondent SAFEGUARD also filed a motion praying
Report dated January 7, 1989, copy attached as that it be excluded as defendant on the ground that
Annex A); defendant Torzuela is not one of its employees (Rollo, p.
96).
4. The incident resulting in the death of
NAPOLEON V. DULAY was due to the concurring Petitioners opposed both motions, stating that their
negligence of the defendants. Defendant cause of action against the private respondents is based
TORZUELA'S wanton and reckless discharge of on their liability under Article 2180 of the New Civil
the firearm issued to him by defendant Code, which provides:
SAFEGUARD and/or SUPERGUARD was the
immediate and proximate cause of the injury, Art. 2180. The obligation imposed by Article
while the negligence of defendant SAFEGUARD 2176 is demandable not only for one's own acts
and/or SUPERGUARD consists in its having or omissions, but also for those of persons for
failed to exercise the diligence of a good father whom one is responsible.
of a family in the supervision and control of its
employee to avoid the injury. xxx xxx xxx

xxx xxx xxx Employers shall be liable for the damages


caused by their employees and household
(Rollo, pp. 117-118) helpers acting within the scope of their assigned
tasks, even though the former are not engaged
Petitioners prayed for actual, compensatory, moral and in any business or an industry.
exemplary damages, and attorney's fees. The said Civil
Case No. Q-89-1751 was raffled to Branch 84 of the xxx xxx xxx
Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, presided by
respondent Judge Teodoro Regino. (Emphasis supplied)

On March 2, 1989, private respondent SUPERGUARD Petitioners contended that a suit against alternative
filed a Motion to Dismiss on the ground that the defendants is allowed under Rule 3, Section 13 of the
complaint does not state a valid cause of action. Rules of Court. Therefore, the inclusion of private
SUPERGUARD claimed that Torzuela's act of shooting respondents as alternative defendants in the complaint
Dulay was beyond the scope of his duties, and that is justified by the following: the Initial Investigation
since the alleged act of shooting was committed with Report prepared by Pat. Mario Tubon showing that
deliberate intent (dolo), the civil liability therefor is Torzuela is an employee of SAFEGUARD; and through
governed by Article 100 of the Revised Penal Code, overt acts, SUPERGUARD extended its sympathies to
which states: petitioners (Rollo, pp. 64 and 98).

Art. 100. Civil liability of a person guilty of a Meanwhile, an Information dated March 21, 1989
felony. — Every person criminally liable for a charging Benigno Torzuela with homicide was filed
felony is also civilly liable. before the Regional Trial Court of Makati and was
docketed as Criminal Case No. 89-1896.
Respondent SUPERGUARD further alleged that a
complaint for damages based on negligence under On April 13, 1989, respondent Judge Regino issued an
Article 2176 of the New Civil Code, such as the one filed order granting SUPERGUARD'S motion to dismiss and
by petitioners, cannot lie, since the civil liability under SAFEGUARD'S motion for exclusion as defendant. The
Article 2176 applies only to quasi-offenses under Article respondent judge held that the complaint did not state
365 of the Revised Penal Code. In addition, the private facts necessary or sufficient to constitute a quasi-delict
respondent argued that petitioners' filing of the since it does not mention any negligence on the part of
complaint is premature considering that the conviction Torzuela in shooting Napoleon Dulay or that the same
of Torzuela in a criminal case is a condition sine qua was done in the performance of his duties. Respondent
non for the employer's subsidiary liability (Rollo, p. 55- judge ruled that mere allegations of the concurring
59). negligence of the defendants (private respondents
herein) without stating the facts showing such
negligence are mere conclusions of law (Rollo, p. 106). Such civil action shall proceed independently of
Respondent judge also declared that the complaint was the criminal prosecution, and shall require only
one for damages founded on crimes punishable under a preponderance of evidence. (Emphasis
Articles 100 and 103 of the Revised Penal Code as supplied)
distinguished from those arising from, quasi-delict. The
dispositive portion of the order dated April 13, 1989 In the same vein, petitioners cite Section 3, Rule 111 of
states: the Rules of Court which provides:

WHEREFORE, this Court holds that in view of Rule 111. . . . .


the material and ultimate facts alleged in the
verified complaint and in accordance with the Sec. 3. When civil action may proceed
applicable law on the matter as well as independently — In the cases provided for in
precedents laid down by the Supreme Court, Articles 32, 33, 34 and 2176 of the Civil Code of
the complaint against the alternative the Philippines, the independent civil action
defendants Superguard Security Corporation which has been reserved may be brought by the
and Safeguard Investigation and Security Co., offended party, shall proceed independently of
Inc., must be and (sic) it is hereby dismissed. the criminal action, and shall require only a
(Rollo, p. 110) preponderance of evidence. (Emphasis supplied)

The above order was affirmed by the respondent court The term "physical injuries" under Article 33 has been
and petitioners' motion for reconsideration thereof was held to include consummated, frustrated and
denied. attempted homicide. Thus, petitioners maintain that
Torzuela's prior conviction is unnecessary since the civil
Petitioners take exception to the assailed decision and action can proceed independently of the criminal
insist that quasi-delicts are not limited to acts of action. On the other hand, it is the private respondents'
negligence but also cover acts that are intentional and argument that since the act was not committed with
voluntary, citing Andamo v. IAC (191 SCRA 195 [1990]). negligence, the petitioners have no cause of action
Thus, petitioners insist that Torzuela' s act of shooting under Articles 2116 and 2177 of the New Civil Code. The
Napoleon Dulay constitutes a quasi-delict actionable civil action contemplated in Article 2177 is not
under Article 2176 of the New Civil Code. applicable to acts committed with deliberate intent, but
only applies to quasi-offenses under Article 365 of the
Petitioners further contend that under Article 2180 of Revised Penal Code. Torzuela's act of shooting Atty.
the New Civil Code, private respondents are primarily Dulay to death, aside from being purely personal, was
liable for their negligence either in the selection or done with deliberate intent and could not have been
supervision of their employees. This liability is part of his duties as security guard. And since Article
independent of the employee's own liability for fault or 2180 of the New Civil Code covers only: acts done
negligence and is distinct from the subsidiary civil within the scope of the employee's assigned tasks, the
liability under Article 103 of the Revised Penal Code. private respondents cannot be held liable for damages.
The civil action against the employer may therefore
proceed independently of the criminal action pursuant We find for petitioners.
to Rule 111 Section 3 of the Rules of Court. Petitioners
submit that the question of whether Torzuela is an It is undisputed that Benigno Torzuela is being
employee of respondent SUPERGUARD or SAFEGUARD prosecuted for homicide for the fatal shooting of
would be better resolved after trial. Napoleon Dulay. Rule 111 of the Rules on Criminal
Procedure provides:
Moreover, petitioners argue that Torzuela's act of
shooting Dulay is also actionable under Article 33 of the Sec. 1. Institution of criminal and civil actions.
New Civil Code, to wit: When a criminal action is instituted, the civil
action for the recovery of civil liability is
Art. 33. In cases of defamation, fraud, and impliedly instituted with the criminal
physical injuries, a civil action for damages, action, unless the offended party waives the civil
entirely separate and distinct from the criminal action , reserves his right to institute it
action, may be brought by the injured party.
separately or institutes the civil action prior to but also acts which are voluntary and intentional. As far
the criminal action. back as the definitive case of Elcano v. Hill (77 SCRA 98
[1977]), this Court already held that:
Such civil action includes recovery of indemnity
under the Revised Penal Code, and damages . . . Article 2176, where it refers to "fault or
under Articles 32, 33, 34, and 2176 of the Civil negligence," covers not only acts "not
Code of the Philippines arising from the same punishable by law" but also acts criminal in
act or omission of the accused. (Emphasis character; whether intentional and voluntary or
supplied) negligent. Consequently, a separate civil action
against the offender in a criminal act, whether
It is well-settled that the filing of an independent civil or not he is criminally prosecuted and found
action before the prosecution in the criminal action guilty or acquitted, provided that the offended
presents evidence is even far better than a compliance party is not allowed, if he is actually charged
with the requirement of express reservation (Yakult also criminally, to recover damages on both
Philippines v. Court of Appeals, 190 SCRA 357 [1990]). scores, and would be entitled in such
This is precisely what the petitioners opted to do in this eventuality only to the bigger award of the two,
case. However, the private respondents opposed the assuming the awards made in the two cases
civil action on the ground that the same is founded on a vary. In other words, the extinction of civil
delict and not on a quasi-delict as the shooting was not liability referred to in Par. (e) of Section 3, Rule
attended by negligence. What is in dispute therefore is 111, refers exclusively to civil liability founded
the nature of the petitioner's cause of action. on Article 100 of the Revised Penal Code,
whereas the civil liability for the same act
The nature of a cause of action is determined by the considered as quasi-delict only and not as a
facts alleged in the complaint as constituting the cause crime is not extinguished even by a declaration
of action (Republic v. Estenzo, 158 SCRA 282 [1988]). in the criminal case that the criminal act
The purpose of an action or suit and the law to govern it charged has not happened or has not been
is to be determined not by the claim of the party filing committed by the accused. Briefly stated, We
the action, made in his argument or brief, but rather by here hold, in reiteration of Garcia, that culpa
the complaint itself, its allegations and prayer for relief. aquiliana includes voluntary and negligent acts
(De Tavera v. Philippine Tuberculosis Society, 112 SCRA which may be punishable by law. (Emphasis
243 [1982]). An examination of the complaint in the supplied)
present case would show that the plaintiffs, petitioners
herein, are invoking their right to recover damages The same doctrine was echoed in the case of Andamo v.
against the private respondents for their vicarious Intermediate Appellate Court (191 SCRA 195 [1990]),
responsibility for the injury caused by Benigno wherein the Court held:
Torzuela's act of shooting and killing Napoleon Dulay, as
stated in paragraphs 1 and 2 of the complaint. Article 2176, whenever it refers to "fault or
negligence," covers not only acts criminal in
Article 2176 of the New Civil Code provides: character, whether intentional and voluntary or
negligent. Consequently, a civil action lies
Art. 2176. Whoever by act or omission causes against the offender in a criminal act, whether
damage to another, there being fault or or not he is prosecuted or found guilty or
negligence, is obliged to pay for the damage acquitted, provided that the offended party is
done. Such fault or negligence, if there is no not allowed, (if the tortfeasor is actually also
pre-existing contractual relation between the charged criminally), to recover damages on
parties is called a quasi-delict and is governed both scores, and would be entitled in such
by the provisions of this Chapter. eventuality only to the bigger award of the two,
assuming the awards made in the two cases
Contrary to the theory of private respondents, there is vary. [citing Virata v. Ochoa, 81 SCRA 472]
no justification for limiting the scope of Article 2176 of (Emphasis supplied)
the Civil Code to acts or omissions resulting from
negligence. Well-entrenched is the doctrine that article Private respondents submit that the word "intentional"
2176 covers not only acts committed with negligence, in the Andamo case is inaccurate obiter, and should be
read as "voluntary" since intent cannot be coupled with Since Article 2176 covers not only acts of negligence but
negligence as defined by Article 365 of the Revised also acts which are intentional and voluntary, it was
Penal Code. In the absence of more substantial reasons, therefore erroneous on the part of the trial court to
this Court will not disturb the above doctrine on the dismiss petitioner's complaint simply because it failed
coverage of Article 2176. to make allegations of attendant negligence
attributable to private respondents.
Private respondents further aver that Article 33 of the
New Civil Code applies only to injuries intentionally With respect to the issue of whether the complaint at
committed pursuant to the ruling in Marcia v. CA (120 hand states a sufficient cause of action, the general rule
SCRA 193 [1983]), and that the actions for damages is that the allegations in a complaint are sufficient to
allowed thereunder are ex-delicto. However, the term constitute a cause of action against the defendants if,
"physical injuries" in Article 33 has already been admitting the facts alleged, the court can render a valid
construed to include bodily injuries causing death judgment upon the same in accordance with the prayer
(Capuno v. Pepsi-Cola Bottling Co. of the Philippines, therein. A cause of action exist if the following elements
121 Phil. 638 [1965); Carandang v. Santiago, 97 Phil. 94 are present, namely: (1) a right in favor of the plaintiff
[1955]). It is not the crime of physical injuries defined in by whatever means and under whatever law it arises or
the Revised Penal Code. It includes not only physical is created; (2) an obligation on the part of the named
injuries but also consummated, frustrated, and defendant to respect or not to violate such right; and
attempted homicide (Madeja v. Caro, 126 SCRA 293 (3) an act or omission on the part of such defendant
[1983]). Although in the Marcia case (supra), it was held violative of the right of the plaintiff or constituting a
that no independent civil action may be filed under breach of the obligation of the defendant to the plaintiff
Article 33 where the crime is the result of criminal for which the latter may maintain an action for recovery
negligence, it must be noted however, that Torzuela, of damages (Del Bros Hotel Corporation v. CA, 210 SCRA
the accused in the case at bar, is charged with homicide, 33 [1992]); Development Bank of the Philippines v.
not with reckless imprudence, whereas the defendant Pundogar, 218 SCRA 118 [1993])
in Marcia was charged with reckless imprudence.
Therefore, in this case, a civil action based on Article 33 This Court finds, under the foregoing premises, that the
lies. complaint sufficiently alleged an actionable breach on
the part of the defendant Torzuela and respondents
Private respondents also contend that their liability is SUPERGUARD and/or SAFEGUARD. It is enough that the
subsidiary under the Revised Penal Code; and that they complaint alleged that Benigno Torzuela shot Napoleon
are not liable for Torzuela's act which is beyond the Dulay resulting in the latter's death; that the shooting
scope of his duties as a security guard. It having been occurred while Torzuela was on duty; and that either
established that the instant action is not ex-delicto, SUPERGUARD and/or SAFEGUARD was Torzuela's
petitioners may proceed directly against Torzuela and employer and responsible for his acts. This does not
the private respondents. Under Article 2180 of the New operate however, to establish that the defendants
Civil Code as aforequoted, when an injury is caused by below are liable. Whether or not the shooting was
the negligence of the employee, there instantly arises a actually reckless and wanton or attended by negligence
presumption of law that there was negligence on the and whether it was actually done within the scope of
part of the master or employer either in the selection of Torzuela's duties; whether the private respondents
the servant or employee, or in supervision over him SUPERGUARD and/or SAFEGUARD failed to exercise the
after selection or both (Layugan v. Intermediate diligence of a good father of a family; and whether the
Appellate Court, 167 SCRA 363 [1988]). The liability of defendants are actually liable, are questions which can
the employer under Article 2180 is direct and be better resolved after trial on the merits where each
immediate; it is not conditioned upon prior recourse party can present evidence to prove their respective
against the negligent employee and a prior showing of allegations and defenses. In determining whether the
the insolvency of such employee (Kapalaran Bus Lines v. allegations of a complaint are sufficient to support a
Coronado, 176 SCRA 792 [1989]). Therefore, it is cause of action, it must be borne in mind that the
incumbent upon the private respondents to prove that complaint does not have to establish or allege the facts
they exercised the diligence of a good father of a family proving the existence of a cause of action at the outset;
in the selection and supervision of their employee. this will have to be done at the trial on the merits of the
case (Del Bros Hotel Corporation v. CA, supra). If the
allegations in a complaint can furnish a sufficient basis
by which the complaint can be maintained, the same constructed, which allegedly inundated and eroded
should not be dismissed regardless of the defenses that petitioners' land, caused a young man to drown,
may be assessed by the defendants (Rava Dev't. Corp. v. damaged petitioners' crops and plants, washed away
CA, 211 SCRA 152 [1992] citing Consolidated Bank & costly fences, endangered the lives of petitioners and
Trust Corporation v. Court of Appeals, 197 SCRA 663 their laborers during rainy and stormy seasons, and
[1991]). To sustain a motion to dismiss for lack of cause exposed plants and other improvements to destruction.
of action, the complaint must show that the claim for
relief does not exist rather than that a claim has been In July 1982, petitioners instituted a criminal action,
defectively stated, is ambiguous, indefinite or uncertain docketed as Criminal Case No. TG-907-82, before the
(Azur v. Provincial Board, 27 SCRA 50 [1969]). Since the Regional Trial Court of Cavite, Branch 4 (Tagaytay City),
petitioners clearly sustained an injury to their rights against Efren Musngi, Orlando Sapuay and Rutillo
under the law, it would be more just to allow them to Mallillin, officers and directors of herein respondent
present evidence of such injury. corporation, for destruction by means of inundation
under Article 324 of the Revised Penal Code.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition for
review is hereby GRANTED. The decision of the Court of Subsequently, on February 22, 1983, petitioners filed
Appeals as well as the Order of the Regional Trial Court another action against respondent corporation, this
dated April 13, 1989 are hereby REVERSED and SET time a civil case, docketed as Civil Case No. TG-748, for
ASIDE. Civil Case No. Q-89-1751 is remanded to the damages with prayer for the issuance of a writ of
Regional Trial Court for trial on the merits. This decision preliminary injunction before the same court. 1
is immediately executory.
On March 11, 1983, respondent corporation filed its
answer to the complaint and opposition to the issuance
of a writ of preliminary injunction. Hearings were
G.R. No. 74761 November 6, 1990 conducted including ocular inspections on the land.
However, on April 26, 1984, the trial court, acting on
NATIVIDAD V. ANDAMO and EMMANUEL R. respondent corporation's motion to dismiss or suspend
ANDAMO, petitioners, the civil action, issued an order suspending further
vs. hearings in Civil Case No, TG-748 until after judgment in
INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT (First Civil Cases the related Criminal Case No. TG-907-82.
Division) and MISSIONARIES OF OUR LADY OF LA
SALETTE, INC., respondents. Resolving respondent corporation's motion to dismiss
filed on June 22, 1984, the trial court issued on August
The pivotal issue in this petition for certiorari, 27, 1984 the disputed order dismissing Civil Case No.
prohibition and mandamus is whether a corporation, TG-748 for lack of jurisdiction, as the criminal case
which has built through its agents, waterpaths, water which was instituted ahead of the civil case was still
conductors and contrivances within its land, thereby unresolved. Said order was anchored on the provision
causing inundation and damage to an adjacent land, can of Section 3 (a), Rule III of the Rules of Court which
be held civilly liable for damages under Articles 2176 provides that "criminal and civil actions arising from the
and 2177 of the Civil Code on quasi-delicts such that the same offense may be instituted separately, but after the
resulting civil case can proceed independently of the criminal action has been commenced the civil action
criminal case. cannot be instituted until final judgment has been
rendered in the criminal action." 2
The antecedent facts are as follows:
Petitioners appealed from that order to the
Petitioner spouses Emmanuel and Natividad Andamo Intermediate Appellate Court. 3
are the owners of a parcel of land situated in Biga
(Biluso) Silang, Cavite which is adjacent to that of On February 17, 1986, respondent Appellate Court, First
private respondent, Missionaries of Our Lady of La Civil Cases Division, promulgated a decision 4 affirming
Salette, Inc., a religious corporation. the questioned order of the trial court. 5 A motion for
reconsideration filed by petitioners was denied by the
Within the land of respondent corporation, waterpaths Appellate Court in its resolution dated May 19, 1986. 6
and contrivances, including an artificial lake, were
Directly at issue is the propriety of the dismissal of Civil of the floodwater coming from the land of
Case No. TG-748 in accordance with Section 3 (a) of defendant, and at the same time, the entrance-
Rule 111 of the Rules of Court. Petitioners contend that point of the same floodwater to the land of
the trial court and the Appellate Court erred in plaintiffs, year after year, during rainy or stormy
dismissing Civil Case No. TG-748 since it is predicated on seasons.
a quasi-delict. Petitioners have raised a valid point.
5) That moreover, on the middle-left portion of
It is axiomatic that the nature of an action filed in court its land just beside the land of plaintiffs,
is determined by the facts alleged in the complaint as defendant also constructed an artificial lake, the
constituting the cause of action. 7 The purpose of an base of which is soil, which utilizes the water
action or suit and the law to govern it, including the being channeled thereto from its water system
period of prescription, is to be determined not by the thru inter-connected galvanized iron pipes (No.
claim of the party filing the action, made in his 2) and complimented by rain water during rainy
argument or brief, but rather by the complaint itself, its or stormy seasons, so much so that the water
allegations and prayer for relief. 8 The nature of an below it seeps into, and the excess water above
action is not necessarily determined or controlled by its it inundates, portions of the adjoining land of
title or heading but the body of the pleading or plaintiffs.
complaint itself. To avoid possible denial of substantial
justice due to legal technicalities, pleadings as well as 6) That as a result of the inundation brought
remedial laws should be liberally construed so that the about by defendant's aforementioned water
litigants may have ample opportunity to prove their conductors, contrivances and manipulators, a
respective claims. 9 young man was drowned to death, while herein
plaintiffs suffered and will continue to suffer, as
Quoted hereunder are the pertinent portions of follows:
petitioners' complaint in Civil Case No. TG-748:
a) Portions of the land of plaintiffs were
4) That within defendant's land, likewise eroded and converted to deep, wide
located at Biga (Biluso), Silang, Cavite, adjacent and long canals, such that the same can
on the right side of the aforesaid land of no longer be planted to any crop or
plaintiffs, defendant constructed waterpaths plant.
starting from the middle-right portion thereof
leading to a big hole or opening, also b) Costly fences constructed by
constructed by defendant, thru the lower plaintiffs were, on several occasions,
portion of its concrete hollow-blocks fence washed away.
situated on the right side of its cemented gate
fronting the provincial highway, and connected c) During rainy and stormy seasons the
by defendant to a man height inter-connected lives of plaintiffs and their laborers are
cement culverts which were also constructed always in danger.
and lain by defendant cross-wise beneath the
tip of the said cemented gate, the left-end of d) Plants and other improvements on
the said inter-connected culverts again other portions of the land of plaintiffs
connected by defendant to a big hole or are exposed to destruction. ... 10
opening thru the lower portion of the same
concrete hollowblocks fence on the left side of A careful examination of the aforequoted complaint
the said cemented gate, which hole or opening shows that the civil action is one under Articles 2176
is likewise connected by defendant to the and 2177 of the Civil Code on quasi-delicts. All the
cemented mouth of a big canal, also elements of a quasi-delict are present, to wit: (a)
constructed by defendant, which runs damages suffered by the plaintiff, (b) fault or negligence
northward towards a big hole or opening which of the defendant, or some other person for whose acts
was also built by defendant thru the lower he must respond; and (c) the connection of cause and
portion of its concrete hollow-blocks fence effect between the fault or negligence of the defendant
which separates the land of plaintiffs from that and the damages incurred by the plaintiff. 11
of defendant (and which serves as the exit-point
Clearly, from petitioner's complaint, the waterpaths and Article 2176 of the Civil Code imposes a civil liability on
contrivances built by respondent corporation are a person for damage caused by his act or omission
alleged to have inundated the land of petitioners. There constituting fault or negligence, thus:
is therefore, an assertion of a causal connection
between the act of building these waterpaths and the Article 2176. Whoever by act or omission
damage sustained by petitioners. Such action if proven causes damage to another, there being fault or
constitutes fault or negligence which may be the basis negligence, is obliged to pay for the damage
for the recovery of damages. done. Such fault or negligence, if there is no
pre-existing contractual relation between the
In the case of Samson vs. Dionisio, 12 the Court applied parties, is called a quasi-delict and is governed
Article 1902, now Article 2176 of the Civil Code and held by the provisions of this chapter.
that "any person who without due authority constructs
a bank or dike, stopping the flow or communication Article 2176, whenever it refers to "fault or negligence",
between a creek or a lake and a river, thereby causing covers not only acts "not punishable by law" but also
loss and damages to a third party who, like the rest of acts criminal in character, whether intentional and
the residents, is entitled to the use and enjoyment of voluntary or negligent. Consequently, a separate civil
the stream or lake, shall be liable to the payment of an action lies against the offender in a criminal act,
indemnity for loss and damages to the injured party. whether or not he is criminally prosecuted and found
guilty or acquitted, provided that the offended party is
While the property involved in the cited case belonged not allowed, (if the tortfeasor is actually charged also
to the public domain and the property subject of the criminally), to recover damages on both scores, and
instant case is privately owned, the fact remains that would be entitled in such eventuality only to the bigger
petitioners' complaint sufficiently alleges that award of the two, assuming the awards made in the
petitioners have sustained and will continue to sustain two cases vary. 13
damage due to the waterpaths and contrivances built
by respondent corporation. Indeed, the recitals of the The distinctness of quasi-delicta is shown in Article 2177
complaint, the alleged presence of damage to the of the Civil Code, which states:
petitioners, the act or omission of respondent
corporation supposedly constituting fault or negligence, Article 2177. Responsibility for fault or
and the causal connection between the act and the negligence under the preceding article is
damage, with no pre-existing contractual obligation entirely separate and distinct from the civil
between the parties make a clear case of a quasi liability arising from negligence under the Penal
delict or culpa aquiliana. Code. But the plaintiff cannot recover damages
twice for the same act or omission of the
It must be stressed that the use of one's property is not defendant.
without limitations. Article 431 of the Civil Code
provides that "the owner of a thing cannot make use According to the Report of the Code Commission "the
thereof in such a manner as to injure the rights of a foregoing provision though at first sight startling, is not
third person." SIC UTERE TUO UT ALIENUM NON so novel or extraordinary when we consider the exact
LAEDAS. Moreover, adjoining landowners have mutual nature of criminal and civil negligence. The former is a
and reciprocal duties which require that each must use violation of the criminal law, while the latter is a distinct
his own land in a reasonable manner so as not to and independent negligence, which is a "culpa
infringe upon the rights and interests of others. aquiliana" or quasi-delict, of ancient origin, having
Although we recognize the right of an owner to build always had its own foundation and individuality,
structures on his land, such structures must be so separate from criminal negligence. Such distinction
constructed and maintained using all reasonable care so between criminal negligence and "culpa extra-
that they cannot be dangerous to adjoining landowners contractual" or "cuasi-delito" has been sustained by
and can withstand the usual and expected forces of decisions of the Supreme Court of Spain ... 14
nature. If the structures cause injury or damage to an
adjoining landowner or a third person, the latter can In the case of Castillo vs. Court of Appeals, 15 this Court
claim indemnification for the injury or damage suffered. held that a quasi-delict or culpa aquiliana is a separate
legal institution under the Civil Code with a
substantivity all its own, and individuality that is entirely
apart and independent from a delict or crime — a the subsidiary civil liability of the employer are carried
distinction exists between the civil liability arising from in one single decision that has become final and
a crime and the responsibility for quasi-delicts or culpa executory.
extra-contractual. The same negligence causing
damages may produce civil liability arising from a crime The Case
under the Penal Code, or create an action for quasi-
delicts or culpa extra-contractual under the Civil Code. Before this Court is a Petition for Review1 under Rule 45
Therefore, the acquittal or conviction in the criminal of the Rules of Court, assailing the March 29, 20002 and
case is entirely irrelevant in the civil case, unless, of the March 27, 20013 Resolutions of the Court of Appeals
course, in the event of an acquittal where the court has (CA) in CA-GR CV No. 59390. Petitioner’s appeal from
declared that the fact from which the civil action arose the judgment of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of San
did not exist, in which case the extinction of the criminal Fernando, La Union in Criminal Case No. 2535 was
liability would carry with it the extinction of the civil dismissed in the first Resolution as follows:
liability.
"WHEREFORE, for all the foregoing, the motion
In Azucena vs. Potenciano, 16 the Court declared that in to dismiss is GRANTED and the appeal is
quasi-delicts, "(t)he civil action is entirely independent ordered DISMISSED."4
of the criminal case according to Articles 33 and 2177 of
the Civil Code. There can be no logical conclusion than The second Resolution denied petitioner’s Motion for
this, for to subordinate the civil action contemplated in Reconsideration.5
the said articles to the result of the criminal prosecution
— whether it be conviction or acquittal — would render The Facts
meaningless the independent character of the civil
action and the clear injunction in Article 31, that his The facts of the case are summarized by the CA in this
action may proceed independently of the criminal wise:
proceedings and regardless of the result of the latter."
"On July 27, 1994, accused [Napoleon Roman y
WHEREFORE, the assailed decision dated February 17, Macadangdang] was found guilty and convicted of the
1986 of the then Intermediate Appellate Court affirming crime of reckless imprudence resulting to triple
the order of dismissal of the Regional Trial Court of homicide, multiple physical injuries and damage to
Cavite, Branch 18 (Tagaytay City) dated August 17, 1984 property and was sentenced to suffer the penalty of
is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The trial court is four (4) years, nine (9) months and eleven (11) days to
ordered to reinstate Civil Case No. TG-748 entitled six (6) years, and to pay damages as follows:
"Natividad V. Andamo and Emmanuel R. Andamo vs.
Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette Inc." and to ‘a. to pay the heirs of JUSTINO TORRES the sum of
proceed with the hearing of the case with dispatch. This ₱50,000.00 as indemnity for his death, plus the sum of
decision is immediately executory. Costs against ₱25,383.00, for funeral expenses, his unearned income
respondent corporation. for one year at ₱2,500.00 a month, ₱50,000.00 as
indemnity for the support of Renato Torres, and the
further sum of ₱300,000.00 as moral damages;

G.R. No. 147703 April 14, 2004 ‘b. to the heirs of ESTRELLA VELERO, the sum of
₱50,000.00 as indemnity for her death, the sum of
PHILIPPINE RABBIT BUS LINES, INC., petitioner, ₱237,323.75 for funeral expenses, her unearned income
vs. for three years at ₱45,000.00 per annum, and the
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondent. further sum of ₱1,000,000.00 as moral damages and
₱200,000.00 as attorney’s fees[;]
When the accused-employee absconds or jumps bail,
the judgment meted out becomes final and executory. ‘c. to the heirs of LORNA ANCHETA, the sum of
The employer cannot defeat the finality of the judgment ₱50,000.00 as indemnity for her death, the sum of
by filing a notice of appeal on its own behalf in the guise ₱22,838.00 as funeral expenses, the sum of ₱20,544.94
of asking for a review of its subsidiary civil liability. Both as medical expenses and her loss of income for 30 years
the primary civil liability of the accused-employee and
at ₱1,000.00 per month, and the further sum of notice of appeal which was denied by the trial court.
₱100,000.00 for moral damages; We affirmed the denial of the notice of appeal filed in
behalf of accused.
‘d. to MAUREEN BRENNAN, the sum of ₱229,654.00 as
hospital expenses, doctor’s fees of ₱170,000.00 for the "Simultaneously, on August 6, 1994, [petitioner] filed its
orthopedic surgeon, ₱22,500.00 for the [n]eurologist, notice of appeal from the judgment of the trial court.
an additional indemnity [of] at least ₱150,000.00 to On April 29, 1997, the trial court gave due course to
cover future correction of deformity of her limbs, and [petitioner’s] notice of appeal. On December 8, 1998,
moral damages in the amount of ₱1,000,000.00; [petitioner] filed its brief. On December 9, 1998, the
Office of the Solicitor General received [a] copy of
‘e. to ROSIE BALAJO, the sum of ₱3,561.46 as medical [petitioner’s] brief. On January 8, 1999, the OSG moved
expenses, ₱2,000.00 as loss of income, and ₱25,000.00 to be excused from filing [respondents’] brief on the
as moral damages; ground that the OSG’s authority to represent People is
confined to criminal cases on appeal. The motion was
‘f. to TERESITA TAMONDONG, the sum of ₱19,800.47 as however denied per Our resolution of May 31, 1999. On
medical expenses, ₱800.00 for loss of income, and March 2, 1999, [respondent]/private prosecutor filed
₱25,000.00 as moral damages; the instant motion to dismiss."6 (Citations omitted)

‘g. to JULIANA TABTAB, the amount of ₱580.81 as Ruling of the Court of Appeals
medical expenses, ₱4,600.00 as actual damages and her
loss earnings of ₱1,400.00 as well as moral damages in The CA ruled that the institution of a criminal case
the amount of ₱10,000.00; implied the institution also of the civil action arising
from the offense. Thus, once determined in the criminal
‘h. to MIGUEL ARQUITOLA, the sum of ₱12,473.82 as case against the accused-employee, the employer’s
hospital expenses, ₱14,530.00 as doctor’s fees, subsidiary civil liability as set forth in Article 103 of the
₱1,000.00 for medicines and ₱50,000.00 as moral Revised Penal Code becomes conclusive and
damages; enforceable.

‘i. to CLARITA CABANBAN, the sum of ₱155.00 for The appellate court further held that to allow an
medical expenses, ₱87.00 for medicines, ₱1,710.00 as employer to dispute independently the civil liability
actual damages and ₱5,000.00 as moral damages; fixed in the criminal case against the accused-employee
would be to amend, nullify or defeat a final judgment.
‘j. to MARIANO CABANBAN, the sum of ₱1,395.00 for Since the notice of appeal filed by the accused had
hospital bills, ₱500.00 for medicine, ₱2,100.00 as actual already been dismissed by the CA, then the judgment of
damages, ₱1,200.00 for loss of income and ₱5,000.00 as conviction and the award of civil liability became final
moral damages; and executory. Included in the civil liability of the
accused was the employer’s subsidiary liability.
‘k. to La Union Electric Company as the registered
owner of the Toyota Hi-Ace Van, the amount of Hence, this Petition.7
₱250,000.00 as actual damages for the cost of the
totally wrecked vehicle; to the owner of the jeepney, The Issues
the amount of ₱22,698.38 as actual damages;’
Petitioner states the issues of this case as follows:
"The court further ruled that [petitioner], in the event
of the insolvency of accused, shall be liable for the civil "A. Whether or not an employer, who dutifully
liabilities of the accused. Evidently, the judgment participated in the defense of its accused-
against accused had become final and executory. employee, may appeal the judgment of
conviction independently of the accused.
"Admittedly, accused had jumped bail and remained at-
large. It is worth mention[ing] that Section 8, Rule 124 "B. Whether or not the doctrines of Alvarez v.
of the Rules of Court authorizes the dismissal of appeal Court of Appeals (158 SCRA 57) and Yusay v.
when appellant jumps bail. Counsel for accused, also Adil (164 SCRA 494) apply to the instant case."8
admittedly hired and provided by [petitioner], filed a
There is really only one issue. Item B above is merely an "The Court of Appeals may also, upon motion of
adjunct to Item A. the appellee or motu proprio, dismiss the
appeal if the appellant escapes from prison or
The Court's Ruling confinement, jumps bail or flees to a foreign
country during the pendency of the appeal."12
The Petition has no merit.
This rule is based on the rationale that appellants lose
Main Issue: their standing in court when they abscond. Unless they
surrender or submit to the court’s jurisdiction, they are
Propriety of Appeal by the Employer deemed to have waived their right to seek judicial
relief.13
Pointing out that it had seasonably filed a notice of
appeal from the RTC Decision, petitioner contends that Moreover, this doctrine applies not only to the accused
the judgment of conviction against the accused- who jumps bail during the appeal, but also to one who
employee has not attained finality. The former insists does so during the trial. Justice Florenz D. Regalado
that its appeal stayed the finality, notwithstanding the succinctly explains the principle in this wise:
fact that the latter had jumped bail. In effect, petitioner
argues that its appeal takes the place of that of the "x x x. When, as in this case, the accused
accused-employee. escaped after his arraignment and during the
trial, but the trial in absentia proceeded
We are not persuaded. resulting in the promulgation of a judgment
against him and his counsel appealed, since he
Appeals in Criminal Cases nonetheless remained at large his appeal must
be dismissed by analogy with the aforesaid
Section 1 of Rule 122 of the 2000 Revised Rules of provision of this Rule [Rule 124, §8 of the Rules
Criminal Procedure states thus: on Criminal Procedure]. x x x"14

"Any party may appeal from a judgment or final The accused cannot be accorded the right to appeal
order, unless the accused will be placed in unless they voluntarily submit to the jurisdiction of the
double jeopardy." court or are otherwise arrested within 15 days from
notice of the judgment against them.15 While at large,
Clearly, both the accused and the prosecution may they cannot seek relief from the court, as they are
appeal a criminal case, but the government may do so deemed to have waived the appeal.16
only if the accused would not thereby be placed in
double jeopardy.9 Furthermore, the prosecution cannot Finality of a Decision in a Criminal Case
appeal on the ground that the accused should have
been given a more severe penalty.10 On the other hand, As to when a judgment of conviction attains finality is
the offended parties may also appeal the judgment with explained in Section 7 of Rule 120 of the 2000 Rules of
respect to their right to civil liability. If the accused has Criminal Procedure, which we quote:
the right to appeal the judgment of conviction, the
offended parties should have the same right to appeal "A judgment of conviction may, upon motion of
as much of the judgment as is prejudicial to them.11 the accused, be modified or set aside before it
becomes final or before appeal is perfected.
Appeal by the Accused Who Jumps Bail Except where the death penalty is imposed, a
judgment becomes final after the lapse of the
Well-established in our jurisdiction is the principle that period for perfecting an appeal, or when the
the appellate court may, upon motion or motu proprio, sentence has been partially or totally satisfied
dismiss an appeal during its pendency if the accused or served, or when the accused has waived in
jumps bail. The second paragraph of Section 8 of Rule writing his right to appeal, or has applied for
124 of the 2000 Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure probation."
provides:
In the case before us, the accused-employee has
escaped and refused to surrender to the proper
authorities; thus, he is deemed to have abandoned his Section 1 of Rule 111 of the current Rules of Criminal
appeal. Consequently, the judgment against him has Procedure provides:
become final and executory.17
"When a criminal action is instituted, the civil
Liability of an Employer in a Finding of Guilt action for the recovery of civil liability arising
from the offense charged shall be deemed
Article 102 of the Revised Penal Code states the instituted with the criminal action unless the
subsidiary civil liabilities of innkeepers, as follows: offended party waives the civil action, reserves
the right to institute it separately or institutes
"In default of the persons criminally liable, the civil action prior to the criminal action.
innkeepers, tavernkeepers, and any other
persons or corporations shall be civilly liable for "x x x xxx x x x"
crimes committed in their establishments, in all
cases where a violation of municipal ordinances Only the civil liability of the accused arising from the
or some general or special police regulation crime charged is deemed impliedly instituted in a
shall have been committed by them or their criminal action; that is, unless the offended party
employees. waives the civil action, reserves the right to institute it
separately, or institutes it prior to the criminal
"Innkeepers are also subsidiary liable for action.18 Hence, the subsidiary civil liability of the
restitution of goods taken by robbery or theft employer under Article 103 of the Revised Penal Code
within their houses from guests lodging therein, may be enforced by execution on the basis of the
or for payment of the value thereof, provided judgment of conviction meted out to the employee.19
that such guests shall have notified in advance
the innkeeper himself, or the person It is clear that the 2000 Rules deleted the requirement
representing him, of the deposit of such goods of reserving independent civil actions and allowed these
within the inn; and shall furthermore have to proceed separately from criminal actions. Thus, the
followed the directions which such innkeeper or civil actions referred to in Articles 32,20 33,21 3422 and
his representative may have given them with 217623of the Civil Code shall remain "separate, distinct
respect to the care and vigilance over such and independent" of any criminal prosecution based on
goods. No liability shall attach in case of the same act. Here are some direct consequences of
robbery with violence against or intimidation of such revision and omission:
persons unless committed by the innkeeper’s
employees." 1. The right to bring the foregoing actions based
on the Civil Code need not be reserved in the
Moreover, the foregoing subsidiary liability applies to criminal prosecution, since they are not
employers, according to Article 103 which reads: deemed included therein.

"The subsidiary liability established in the next 2. The institution or the waiver of the right to
preceding article shall also apply to employers, file a separate civil action arising from the crime
teachers, persons, and corporations engaged in charged does not extinguish the right to bring
any kind of industry for felonies committed by such action.
their servants, pupils, workmen, apprentices, or
employees in the discharge of their duties." 3. The only limitation is that the offended party
cannot recover more than once for the same
Having laid all these basic rules and principles, we now act or omission.24
address the main issue raised by petitioner.
What is deemed instituted in every criminal prosecution
Civil Liability Deemed Instituted in the Criminal is the civil liability arising from the crime or delict per se
Prosecution (civil liability ex delicto), but not those liabilities arising
from quasi-delicts, contracts or quasi-contracts. In fact,
At the outset, we must explain that the 2000 Rules of even if a civil action is filed separately, the ex
Criminal Procedure has clarified what civil actions are delicto civil liability in the criminal prosecution remains,
deemed instituted in a criminal prosecution. and the offended party may -- subject to the control of
the prosecutor -- still intervene in the criminal action, in favorable or unfavorable to the appellant.32 This is the
order to protect the remaining civil interest therein.25 risk involved when the accused decides to appeal a
sentence of conviction.33 Indeed, appellate courts have
This discussion is completely in accord with the Revised the power to reverse, affirm or modify the judgment of
Penal Code, which states that "[e]very person criminally the lower court and to increase or reduce the penalty it
liable for a felony is also civilly liable."26 imposed.34

Petitioner argues that, as an employer, it is considered a If the present appeal is given course, the whole case
party to the criminal case and is conclusively bound by against the accused-employee becomes open to review.
the outcome thereof. Consequently, petitioner must be It thus follows that a penalty higher than that which has
accorded the right to pursue the case to its logical already been imposed by the trial court may be meted
conclusion -- including the appeal. out to him. Petitioner’s appeal would thus violate his
right against double jeopardy, since the judgment
The argument has no merit. Undisputedly, petitioner is against him could become subject to modification
not a direct party to the criminal case, which was filed without his consent.
solely against Napoleon M. Roman, its employee.
We are not in a position to second-guess the reason
In its Memorandum, petitioner cited a comprehensive why the accused effectively waived his right to appeal
list of cases dealing with the subsidiary liability of by jumping bail. It is clear, though, that petitioner may
employers. Thereafter, it noted that none can be not appeal without violating his right against double
applied to it, because "in all th[o]se cases, the accused’s jeopardy.
employer did not interpose an appeal."27 Indeed,
petitioner cannot cite any single case in which the Effect of Absconding on the Appeal Process
employer appealed, precisely because an appeal in such
circumstances is not possible. Moreover, within the meaning of the principles
governing the prevailing criminal procedure, the
The cases dealing with the subsidiary liability of accused impliedly withdrew his appeal by jumping bail
employers uniformly declare that, strictly speaking, they and thereby made the judgment of the court below
are not parties to the criminal cases instituted against final.35 Having been a fugitive from justice for a long
their employees.28 Although in substance and in effect, period of time, he is deemed to have waived his right to
they have an interest therein, this fact should be viewed appeal. Thus, his conviction is now final and executory.
in the light of their subsidiary liability. While they may The Court in People v. Ang Gioc36 ruled:
assist their employees to the extent of supplying the
latter’s lawyers, as in the present case, the former "There are certain fundamental rights which
cannot act independently on their own behalf, but can cannot be waived even by the accused himself,
only defend the accused. but the right of appeal is not one of them. This
right is granted solely for the benefit of the
Waiver of Constitutional Safeguard Against Double accused. He may avail of it or not, as he pleases.
Jeopardy He may waive it either expressly or by
implication. When the accused flees after the
Petitioner’s appeal obviously aims to have the accused- case has been submitted to the court for
employee absolved of his criminal responsibility and the decision, he will be deemed to have waived his
judgment reviewed as a whole. These intentions are right to appeal from the judgment rendered
apparent from its Appellant’s Brief29 filed with the CA against him. x x x."37
and from its Petition30 before us, both of which claim
that the trial court’s finding of guilt "is not supported by By fleeing, the herein accused exhibited contempt of
competent evidence."31 the authority of the court and placed himself in a
position to speculate on his chances for a reversal. In
An appeal from the sentence of the trial court implies a the process, he kept himself out of the reach of justice,
waiver of the constitutional safeguard against double but hoped to render the judgment nugatory at his
jeopardy and throws the whole case open to a review option.38 Such conduct is intolerable and does not invite
by the appellate court. The latter is then called upon to leniency on the part of the appellate court.39
render judgment as law and justice dictate, whether
Consequently, the judgment against an appellant who The decision convicting an employee in a criminal case
escapes and who refuses to surrender to the proper is binding and conclusive upon the employer not only
authorities becomes final and executory.40 with regard to the former’s civil liability, but also with
regard to its amount. The liability of an employer
Thus far, we have clarified that petitioner has no right cannot be separated from that of the employee.49
to appeal the criminal case against the accused-
employee; that by jumping bail, he has waived his right Before the employers’ subsidiary liability is exacted,
to appeal; and that the judgment in the criminal case however, there must be adequate evidence establishing
against him is now final. that (1) they are indeed the employers of the convicted
employees; (2) that the former are engaged in some
Subsidiary Liability Upon Finality of Judgment kind of industry; (3) that the crime was committed by
the employees in the discharge of their duties; and (4)
As a matter of law, the subsidiary liability of petitioner that the execution against the latter has not been
now accrues. Petitioner argues that the rulings of this satisfied due to insolvency.50
Court in Miranda v. Malate Garage & Taxicab,
Inc.,41 Alvarez v. CA42 and Yusay v. Adil43 do not apply to The resolution of these issues need not be done in a
the present case, because it has followed the Court’s separate civil action. But the determination must be
directive to the employers in these cases to take part in based on the evidence that the offended party and the
the criminal cases against their employees. By employer may fully and freely present. Such
participating in the defense of its employee, herein determination may be done in the same criminal action
petitioner tries to shield itself from the undisputed in which the employee’s liability, criminal and civil, has
rulings laid down in these leading cases. been pronounced;51 and in a hearing set for that precise
purpose, with due notice to the employer, as part of the
Such posturing is untenable. In dissecting these cases proceedings for the execution of the judgment.
on subsidiary liability, petitioner lost track of the most
basic tenet they have laid down -- that an employer’s Just because the present petitioner participated in the
liability in a finding of guilt against its accused-employee defense of its accused-employee does not mean that its
is subsidiary. liability has transformed its nature; its liability remains
subsidiary. Neither will its participation erase its
Under Article 103 of the Revised Penal Code, employers subsidiary liability. The fact remains that since the
are subsidiarily liable for the adjudicated civil liabilities accused-employee’s conviction has attained finality,
of their employees in the event of the latter’s then the subsidiary liability of the employer ipso
insolvency.44 The provisions of the Revised Penal Code facto attaches.
on subsidiary liability -- Articles 102 and 103 -- are
deemed written into the judgments in the cases to According to the argument of petitioner, fairness
which they are applicable.45Thus, in the dispositive dictates that while the finality of conviction could be the
portion of its decision, the trial court need not expressly proper sanction to be imposed upon the accused for
pronounce the subsidiary liability of the employer. jumping bail, the same sanction should not affect it. In
effect, petitioner-employer splits this case into
In the absence of any collusion between the accused- two: first, for itself; and second, for its accused-
employee and the offended party, the judgment of employee.
conviction should bind the person who is subsidiarily
liable.46 In effect and implication, the stigma of a The untenability of this argument is clearly evident.
criminal conviction surpasses mere civil liability.47 There is only one criminal case against the accused-
employee. A finding of guilt has both criminal and civil
To allow employers to dispute the civil liability fixed in a aspects. It is the height of absurdity for this single case
criminal case would enable them to amend, nullify or to be final as to the accused who jumped bail, but not
defeat a final judgment rendered by a competent as to an entity whose liability is dependent upon the
court.48 By the same token, to allow them to appeal the conviction of the former.
final criminal conviction of their employees without the
latter’s consent would also result in improperly The subsidiary liability of petitioner is incidental to and
amending, nullifying or defeating the judgment. dependent on the pecuniary civil liability of the
accused-employee. Since the civil liability of the latter
has become final and enforceable by reason of his liability of petitioner be enforced. It has been
flight, then the former’s subsidiary civil liability has also sufficiently proven that there exists an employer-
become immediately enforceable. Respondent is employee relationship; that the employer is engaged in
correct in arguing that the concept of subsidiary liability some kind of industry; and that the employee has been
is highly contingent on the imposition of the primary adjudged guilty of the wrongful act and found to have
civil liability. committed the offense in the discharge of his duties.
The proof is clear from the admissions of petitioner that
No Deprivation of Due Process "[o]n 26 August 1990, while on its regular trip from
Laoag to Manila, a passenger bus owned by petitioner,
As to the argument that petitioner was deprived of due being then operated by petitioner’s driver, Napoleon
process, we reiterate that what is sought to be enforced Roman, figured in an accident in San Juan, La Union x x
is the subsidiary civil liability incident to and dependent x."61 Neither does petitioner dispute that there was
upon the employee’s criminal negligence. In other already a finding of guilt against the accused while he
words, the employer becomes ipso facto subsidiarily was in the discharge of his duties.
liable upon the conviction of the employee and upon
proof of the latter’s insolvency, in the same way that WHEREFORE, the Petition is hereby DENIED, and the
acquittal wipes out not only his primary civil liability, assailed Resolutions AFFIRMED. Costs against
but also his employer’s subsidiary liability for his petitioner.
criminal negligence.52

It should be stressed that the right to appeal is neither a


natural right nor a part of due process.53 It is merely a G.R. No. L-39999 May 31, 1984
procedural remedy of statutory origin, a remedy that
may be exercised only in the manner prescribed by the ROY PADILLA, FILOMENO GALDONES, ISMAEL
provisions of law authorizing such exercise.54 Hence, the GONZALGO and JOSE FARLEY BEDENIA, petitioners,
legal requirements must be strictly complied with.55 vs.
COURT OF APPEALS, respondent.
It would be incorrect to consider the requirements of
the rules on appeal as merely harmless and trivial This is a petition for review on certiorari of a Court of
technicalities that can be discarded.56 Indeed, Appeals' decision which reversed the trial court's
deviations from the rules cannot be tolerated.57 In these judgment of conviction and acquitted the petitioners of
times when court dockets are clogged with numerous the crime of grave coercion on the ground of
litigations, such rules have to be followed by parties reasonable doubt but inspite of the acquittal ordered
with greater fidelity, so as to facilitate the orderly them to pay jointly and severally the amount of
disposition of those cases.58 P9,000.00 to the complainants as actual damages.

After a judgment has become final, vested rights are The petitioners were charged under the following
acquired by the winning party. If the proper losing party information:
has the right to file an appeal within the prescribed
period, then the former has the correlative right to The undersigned Fiscal accused ROY PADILLA,
enjoy the finality of the resolution of the case.59 FILOMENO GALDONES, PEPITO BEDENIA, YOLLY RICO,
DAVID BERMUNDO, VILLANOAC, ROBERTO ROSALES,
In fact, petitioner admits that by helping the accused- VILLANIA, ROMEO GARRIDO, JOSE ORTEGA, JR.,
employee, it participated in the proceedings before the RICARDO CELESTINO, REALINGO alias "KAMLON", JOHN
RTC; thus, it cannot be said that the employer was DOE alias TATO, and FOURTEEN (14) RICARDO DOES of
deprived of due process. It might have lost its right to the crime of GRAVE COERCION, committed as follows:
appeal, but it was not denied its day in court.60 In fact, it
can be said that by jumping bail, the accused-employee, That on or about February 8, 1964 at around 9:00
not the court, deprived petitioner of the right to appeal. o'clock in the morning, in the municipality of Jose
Panganiban, province of Camarines Norte, Philippines,
All told, what is left to be done is to execute the RTC and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the
Decision against the accused. It should be clear that above- named accused, Roy Padilla, Filomeno Galdones,
only after proof of his insolvency may the subsidiary Pepito Bedenia, Yolly Rico, David Bermundo, Villanoac,
Roberto Rosales, Villania, Romeo Garrido, Jose Ortega, The petitioners appealed the judgment of conviction to
Jr., Ricardo Celestino, Realingo alias Kamlon, John Doe the Court of Appeals. They contended that the trial
alias Tato, and Fourteen Richard Does, by confederating court's finding of grave coercion was not supported by
and mutually helping one another, and acting without the evidence. According to the petitioners, the town
any authority of law, did then and there wilfully, mayor had the power to order the clearance of market
unlawfully, and feloniously, by means of threats, force premises and the removal of the complainants' stall
and violence prevent Antonio Vergara and his family to because the municipality had enacted municipal
close their stall located at the Public Market, Building ordinances pursuant to which the market stall was a
No. 3, Jose Panganiban, Camarines Norte, and by nuisance per se. The petitioners stated that the lower
subsequently forcibly opening the door of said stall and court erred in finding that the demolition of the
thereafter brutally demolishing and destroying said stall complainants' stall was a violation of the very directive
and the furnitures therein by axes and other massive of the petitioner Mayor which gave the stall owners
instruments, and carrying away the goods, wares and seventy two (72) hours to vacate the market premises.
merchandise, to the damage and prejudice of the said The petitioners questioned the imposition of prison
Antonio Vergara and his family in the amount of terms of five months and one day and of accessory
P30,000.00 in concept of actual or compensatory and penalties provided by law. They also challenged the
moral damages, and further the sum of P20,000.00 as order to pay fines of P500.00 each, P10,000.00 actual
exemplary damages. and compensatory damages, P30,000.00 moral
damages, P10,000.00 exemplary damages, and the
That in committing the offense, the accused took costs of the suit.
advantage of their public positions: Roy Padilla,
being the incumbent municipal mayor, and the rest The dispositive portion of the decision of the
of the accused being policemen, except Ricardo respondent Court of Appeals states:
Celestino who is a civilian, all of Jose Panganiban,
Camarines Norte, and that it was committed with WHEREFORE, we hereby modify the judgment
evident premeditation. appealed from in the sense that the appellants
are acquitted on ground of reasonable doubt.
The Court of First Instance of Camarines Norte, Tenth but they are ordered to pay jointly and severally
Judicial District rendered a decision, the dispositive to complainants the amount of P9,600.00, as
portion of which states that: actual damages.

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the Court finds the The petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration
accused Roy Padilla, Filomeno Galdonez, Ismael contending that the acquittal of the defendants-
Gonzalgo and Jose Parley Bedenia guilty beyond appellants as to criminal liability results in the extinction
reasonable doubt of the crime of grave coercion, and of their civil liability. The Court of Appeals denied the
hereby imposes upon them to suffer an imprisonment motion holding that:
of FIVE (5) months and One (1) day; to pay a fine of
P500.00 each; to pay actual and compensatory damages xxx xxx xxx
in the amount of P10,000.00; moral damages in the
amount of P30,000.00; and another P10,000.00 for ... appellants' acquittal was based on
exemplary damages, jointly and severally, and all the reasonable doubt whether the crime of
accessory penalties provided for by law; and to pay the coercion was committed, not on facts that no
proportionate costs of this proceedings. unlawful act was committed; as their taking the
law into their hands, destructing (sic)
The accused Federico Realingo alias 'Kamlon', complainants' properties is unlawful, and, as
David Bermundo, Christopher Villanoac, evidence on record established that
Godofredo Villania, Romeo Garrido, Roberto complainants suffered actual damages, the
Rosales, Ricardo Celestino and Jose Ortega, are imposition of actual damages is correct.
hereby ordered acquitted on grounds of
reasonable doubt for their criminal participation Consequently, the petitioners filed this special civil
in the crime charged. action, contending that:

I
THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED A GRAVE amount received by him may not be enforced in the
ERROR OF LAW OR GRAVELY ABUSED ITS criminal case but must be raised in a separate civil
DISCRETION IN IMPOSING UPON PETITIONERS action for the recovery of the said amount (People v.
PAYMENT OF DAMAGES TO COMPLAINANTS Pantig, 97 Phil. 748; following the doctrine laid down in
AFTER ACQUITTING PETITIONERS OF THE CRIME Manila Railroad Co. v. Honorable Rodolfo Baltazar, 49
CHARGED FROM WHICH SAID LIABILITY AROSE. O.G. 3874; Pueblo contra Abellera, 69 Phil. 623; People
v. Maniago 69 Phil. 496; People v. Miranda, 5 SCRA
II 1067; Aldaba v. Elepafio 116 Phil. 457). In the case
before us, the petitioners were acquitted not because
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN HOLDING IN they did not commit the acts stated in the charge
ITS RESOLUTION DATED DECEMBER 26, 1974 against them. There is no dispute over the forcible
THAT SINCE APPELLANTS' ACQUITTAL WAS opening of the market stall, its demolition with axes and
BASED ON REASONABLE DOUBT, NOT ON FACTS other instruments, and the carting away of the
THAT NO UNLAWFUL ACT WAS COMMITTED, merchandize. The petitioners were acquitted because
THE IMPOSITION OF ACTUAL DAMAGES IS these acts were denominated coercion when they
CORRECT. properly constituted some other offense such as threat
or malicious mischief.
III
The respondent Court of Appeals stated in its decision:
THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED A LEGAL
INCONSISTENCY, IF NOT PLAIN JUDICIAL ERROR, For a complaint to prosper under the foregoing
IN HOLDING IN ITS APPEALED RESOLUTION provision, the violence must be employed
THAT PETITIONERS COMMITTED AN UNLAWFUL against the person, not against property as
ACT, THAT IS TAKING THE LAW INTO THEIR what happened in the case at bar. ...
HANDS, DESTRUCTING (sic) 'COMPLAINANTS'
PROPERTIES', AFTER HOLDING IN ITS MAIN xxx xxx xxx
DECISION OF NOVEMBER 6,1974 THAT THE
ACTS FOR WHICH THEY WERE CHARGED DID The next problem is: May the accused be
NOT CONSTITUTE GRAVE COERCION AND THEY convicted of an offense other than coercion?
WERE NOT CHARGED OF ANY OTHER CRIME.
From all appearances, they should have been
IV prosecuted either for threats or malicious
mischief. But the law does not allow us to
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN ORDERING render judgment of conviction for either of
THE PETITIONERS HEREIN, APPELLANTS IN CA- these offenses for the reason that they were
G.R. NO. 13456CR, JOINTLY AND SEVERALLY, TO not indicted for, these offenses. The
PAY COMPLAINANTS P9,600.00 IN SUPPOSED information under which they were prosecuted
ACTUAL DAMAGES. does not allege the elements of either threats
or malicious mischief. Although the information
The issue posed in the instant proceeding is whether or mentions that the act was by means of threats',
not the respondent court committed a reversible error it does not allege the particular threat made. An
in requiring the petitioners to pay civil indemnity to the accused person is entitled to be informed of the
complainants after acquitting them from the criminal nature of the acts imputed to him before he can
charge. be made to enter into trial upon a valid
information.
Petitioners maintain the view that where the civil
liability which is included in the criminal action is that We rule that the crime of grave coercion has
arising from and as a consequence of the criminal act, not been proved in accordance with law.
and the defendant was acquitted in the criminal case,
(no civil liability arising from the criminal case), no civil While appellants are entitled to acquittal they
liability arising from the criminal charge could be nevertheless are liable for the actual damages
imposed upon him. They cite precedents to the effect suffered by the complainants by reason of the
that the liability of the defendant for the return of the demolition of the stall and loss of some of their
properties. The extinction of the penal action negligence under the Penal Code. But the
does not carry with it that of the civil, unless the plaintiff cannot recover damages twice for the
extinction proceeds from a declaration in a final same act or omission of the defendant.
judgment that the fact from which the civil
might arise did not exist. (Rule 111, Sec. 3 (c), Section 3 (c) of Rule 111 specifically provides that:
Rev. Rules of Court; Laperal v. Aliza, 51 OG.R.
1311, People v. Velez, 44 OG. 1811). In the Sec. 3. Other civil actions arising from offenses.
instant case, the fact from which the civil might — In all cases not included in the preceding
arise, namely, the demolition of the stall and section the following rules shall be observed:
loss of the properties contained therein; exists,
and this is not denied by the accused. And since xxx xxx xxx
there is no showing that the complainants have
reserved or waived their right to institute a xxx xxx xxx
separate civil action, the civil aspect therein is
deemed instituted with the criminal action. (c) Extinction of the penal action does not carry
(Rule 111, Sec. 1, Rev. Rules of Court). with it extinction of the civil, unless the
extinction proceeds from a declaration in a final
xxx xxx xxx judgment that the fact from which the civil
might arise did not exist. In other cases, the
Section 1 of Rule 111 of the Rules of Court states the person entitled to the civil action may institute
fundamental proposition that when a criminal action is it in the Jurisdiction and in the manner provided
instituted, the civil action for recovery of civil liability by law against the person who may be liable for
arising from the offense charged is impliedly instituted restitution of the thing and reparation or
with it. There is no implied institution when the indemnity for the damage suffered.
offended party expressly waives the civil action or
reserves his right to institute it separately. (Morte Sr. v. The judgment of acquittal extinguishes the liability of
Alvizo, Jr., 101 SCRA 221). the accused for damages only when it includes a
declaration that the facts from which the civil might
The extinction of the civil action by reason of acquittal arise did not exist. Thus, the civil liability is not
in the criminal case refers exclusively to civil liability ex extinguished by acquittal where the acquittal is based
delicto founded on Article 100 of the Revised Penal on reasonable doubt (PNB v. Catipon, 98 Phil. 286) as
Code. (Elcano v. Hill, 77 SCRA 98; Virata v. Ochoa, 81 only preponderance of evidence is required in civil
SCRA 472). In other words, the civil liability which is also cases; where the court expressly declares that the
extinguished upon acquittal of the accused is the civil liability of the accused is not criminal but only civil in
liability arising from the act as a crime. nature (De Guzman v. Alvia, 96 Phil. 558; People v.
Pantig, supra) as, for instance, in the felonies of estafa,
As easily as 1942, the Supreme Court speaking through theft, and malicious mischief committed by certain
Justice Jorge Bocobo in Barredo v. Garcia, et at. 73 Phil. relatives who thereby incur only civil liability (See Art.
607 laid down the rule that the same punishable act or 332, Revised Penal Code); and, where the civil liability
omission can create two kinds of civil liabilities against does not arise from or is not based upon the criminal
the accused and, where provided by law, his employer. act of which the accused was acquitted (Castro v.
'There is the civil liability arising from the act as Collector of Internal Revenue, 4 SCRA 1093; See
a crime and the liability arising from the same act as Regalado, Remedial Law Compendium, 1983 ed., p.
a quasi-delict. Either one of these two types of civil 623). Article 29 of the Civil Code also provides that:
liability may be enforced against the accused, However,
the offended party cannot recover damages under both When the accused in a criminal prosecution is
types of liability. For instance, in cases of criminal acquitted on the ground that his guilt has not
negligence or crimes due to reckless imprudence, been proved beyond reasonable doubt, a civil
Article 2177 of the Civil Code provides: action for damages for the same act or omission
may be instituted. Such action requires only a
Responsibility for fault or negligence under the preponderance of evidence. Upon motion of
preceding article is entirely separate and the defendant, the court may require the
distinct from the civil liability arising from plaintiff to file a bond to answer for damages in
case the complaint should be found to be precedents. To require a separate civil action simply
malicious. because the accused was acquitted would mean
needless clogging of court dockets and unnecessary
If in a criminal case the judgment of acquittal is duplication of litigation with all its attendant loss of
based upon reasonable doubt, the court shall so time, effort, and money on the part of all concerned.
declare. In the absence of any declaration to
that effect, it may be inferred from the text of The trial court found the following facts clearly
the decision whether or not the acquittal is due established by the evidence adduced by both the
to that ground. prosecution and the defense:

More recently, we held that the acquittal of the xxx xxx xxx
defendant in the criminal case would not constitute an
obstacle to the filing of a civil case based on the same (9) In the morning of February 8, 1964, then
acts which led to the criminal prosecution: Chief Galdones, complying with the instructions
contained in said Memorandum No. 32 of the
... The finding by the respondent court that he Mayor, and upon seeing that Antonio Vergara
spent said sum for and in the interest of the had not vacated the premises in question, with
Capiz Agricultural and Fishery School and for his the aid of his policemen, forced upon the store
personal benefit is not a declaration that the or stall and ordered the removal of the goods
fact upon which Civil Case No. V-3339 is based inside the store of Vergara, at the same time
does not exist. The civil action barred by such a taking inventory of the goods taken out, piled
declaration is the civil liability arising from the them outside in front of the store and had it
offense charged, which is the one impliedly cordoned with a rope, and after all the goods
instituted with the criminal action. (Section 1, were taken out from the store, ordered the
Rule III, Rules of Court.) Such a declaration demolition of said stall of Antonio Vergara.
would not bar a civil action filed against an Since then up to the trial of this case, the
accused who had been acquitted in the criminal whereabouts of the goods taken out from the
case if the criminal action is predicated on store nor the materials of the demolished stall
factual or legal considerations other than the have not been made known.
commission of the offense charged. A person
may be acquitted of malversation where, as in The respondent Court of Appeals made a similar
the case at bar, he could show that he did not finding that:
misappropriate the public funds in his
possession, but he could be rendered liable to On the morning of February 8th, because the
restore said funds or at least to make a proper said Vergaras had not up to that time complied
accounting thereof if he shall spend the same with the order to vacate, the co-accused Chief
for purposes which are not authorized nor of Police Galdones and some members of his
intended, and in a manner not permitted by police force, went to the market and, using ax,
applicable rules and regulations. (Republic v. crowbars and hammers, demolished the stall of
Bello, 120 SCRA 203) the Vergaras who were not present or around,
and after having first inventoried the goods and
There appear to be no sound reasons to require a merchandise found therein, they had them
separate civil action to still be filed considering that the brought to the municipal building for
facts to be proved in the civil case have already been safekeeping. Inspite of notice served upon the
established in the criminal proceedings where the Vergaras to take possession of the goods and
accused was acquitted. Due process has been accorded merchandise thus taken away, the latter
the accused. He was, in fact, exonerated of the criminal refused to do so.
charged. The constitutional presumption of innocence
called for more vigilant efforts on the part of The loss and damage to the Vergaras as they
prosecuting attorneys and defense counsel, a keener evaluated them were:
awareness by all witnesses of the serious implications of
perjury, and a more studied consideration by the judge Cost of stall construction P1,300.00
of the entire records and of applicable statutes and
Value of furniture and equipment render judgment acquitting the accused on
judgment destroyed 300.00 reasonable doubt, but hold him civilly liable
nonetheless? An affirmative answer to this
Value of goods and equipment taken question would be consistent with the doctrine
8,000.00 that the two are distinct and separate actions,
and win (a) dispense with the reinstituting of
P9,600.00 the same civil action, or one based on quasi-
delict or other independent civil action, and of
It is not disputed that the accused demolished presenting the same evidence: (b) save the
the grocery stall of the complainants Vergaras injured party unnecessary expenses in the
and carted away its contents. The defense that prosecution of the civil action or enable him to
they did so in order to abate what they take advantage of the free services of the fiscal;
considered a nuisance per se is untenable, This and (c) otherwise resolve the unsettling
finds no support in law and in fact. The couple implications of permitting the reinstitution of a
has been paying rentals for the premises to the separate civil action whether based on delict, or
government which allowed them to lease the quasi-delict, or other independent civil actions.
stall. It is, therefore, farfetched to say that the
stall was a nuisance per se which could be ... But for the court to be able to adjudicate in
summarily abated. the manner here suggested, Art. 29 of the Civil
Code should be amended because it clearly and
The petitioners, themselves, do not deny the fact that expressly provides that the civil action based on
they caused the destruction of the complainant's the same act or omission may only be instituted
market stall and had its contents carted away. They in a separate action, and therefore, may not
state: inferentially be resolved in the same criminal
action. To dismiss the civil action upon acquittal
On February 8, 1964, despite personal pleas on of the accused and disallow the reinstitution of
Vergaras by the Mayor to vacate the any other civil action, would likewise render,
passageways of Market Building No. 3, the unjustifiably, the acquittal on reasonable doubt
Vergaras were still in the premises, so the without any significance, and would violate the
petitioners Chief of Police and members of the doctrine that the two actions are distinct and
Police Force of Jose Panganiban, pursuant to separate.
the Mayor' 6 directives, demolished the store of
the Vergaras, made an inventory of the goods In the light of the foregoing exposition, it seems
found in said store, and brought these goods to evident that there is much sophistry and no
the municipal building under the custody of the pragmatism in the doctrine that it is
Municipal Treasurer, ... inconsistent to award in the same proceedings
damages against the accused after acquitting
The only supposed obstacle is the provision of Article 29 him on reasonable doubt. Such doctrine must
of the Civil Code, earlier cited, that "when the accused recognize the distinct and separate character of
in a criminal prosecution is acquitted on the ground that the two actions, the nature of an acquittal on
his guilt has not been proved beyond reasonable doubt, reasonable doubt, the vexatious and oppressive
a civil action for damages for the same act or omission effects of a reservation or institution of a
may be instituted." According to some scholars, this separate civil action, and that the injured party
provision of substantive law calls for a separate civil is entitled to damages not because the act or
action and cannot be modified by a rule of remedial law omission is punishable but because he was
even in the interests of economy and simplicity and damaged or injured thereby (Sangco, Philippine
following the dictates of logic and common sense. Law on Torts and Damages, pp. 288-289).

As stated by retired Judge J. Cezar Sangco: We see no need to amend Article 29 of the Civil Code in
order to allow a court to grant damages despite a
... if the Court finds the evidence sufficient to judgment of acquittal based on reasonable doubt. What
sustain the civil action but inadequate to justify Article 29 clearly and expressly provides is a remedy for
a conviction in the criminal action, may it the plaintiff in case the defendant has been acquitted in
a criminal prosecution on the ground that his guilt has punishment or correction of the offender while
not been proved beyond reasonable doubt. It merely the other is for reparation of damages suffered
emphasizes that a civil action for damages is not by the aggrieved party... it is just and proper
precluded by an acquittal for the same criminal act or that, for the purposes of the imprisonment of or
omission. The Civil Code provision does not state that fine upon the accused, the offense should be
the remedy can be availed of only in a separate civil proved beyond reasonable doubt. But for the
action. A separate civil case may be filed but there is no purpose of indemnifying the complaining party,
statement that such separate filing is the only and why should the offense also be proved beyond
exclusive permissible mode of recovering damages. reasonable doubt? Is not the invasion or
violation of every private right to be proved
There is nothing contrary to the Civil Code provision in only by preponderance of evidence? Is the right
the rendition of a judgment of acquittal and a judgment of the aggrieved person any less private
awarding damages in the same criminal action. The two because the wrongful act is also punishable by
can stand side by side. A judgment of acquittal operates the criminal law? (Code Commission, pp. 45-
to extinguish the criminal liability. It does not, however, 46).
extinguish the civil liability unless there is clear showing
that the act from which civil liability might arise did not A separate civil action may be warranted where
exist. additional facts have to be established or more
evidence must be adduced or where the criminal case
A different conclusion would be attributing to the Civil has been fully terminated and a separate complaint
Code a trivial requirement, a provision which imposes would be just as efficacious or even more expedient
an uncalled for burden before one who has already than a timely remand to the trial court where the
been the victim of a condemnable, yet non-criminal, act criminal action was decided for further hearings on the
may be accorded the justice which he seeks. civil aspects of the case. The offended party may, of
course, choose to file a separate action. These do not
We further note the rationale behind Art. 29 of the Civil exist in this case. Considering moreover the delays
Code in arriving at the intent of the legislator that they suffered by the case in the trial, appellate, and review
could not possibly have intended to make it more stages, it would be unjust to the complainants in this
difficult for the aggrieved party to recover just case to require at this time a separate civil action to be
compensation by making a separate civil action filed.
mandatory and exclusive:
With this in mind, we therefore hold that the
The old rule that the acquittal of the accused in respondent Court of Appeals did not err in awarding
a criminal case also releases him from civil damages despite a judgment of acquittal.
liability is one of the most serious flaws in the
Philippine legal system. It has given rise to WHEREFORE, we hereby AFFIRM the decision of the
numberless instances of miscarriage of justice, respondent Court of Appeals and dismiss the petition
where the acquittal was due to a reasonable for lack of merit.
doubt in the mind of the court as to the guilt of
the accused. The reasoning followed is that G.R. No. L-12191 October 14, 1918
inasmuch as the civil responsibility is derived
from the the criminal offense, when the latter is JOSE CANGCO, plaintiff-appellant,
not proved, civil liability cannot be demanded. vs.
MANILA RAILROAD CO., defendant-appellee.
This is one of those cases where confused
thinking leads to unfortunate and deplorable At the time of the occurrence which gave rise to this
consequences. Such reasoning fails to draw a litigation the plaintiff, Jose Cangco, was in the
clear line of demarcation between criminal employment of Manila Railroad Company in the
liability and civil responsibility, and to capacity of clerk, with a monthly wage of P25. He lived
determine the logical result of the distinction. in the pueblo of San Mateo, in the province of Rizal,
The two liabilities are separate and distinct which is located upon the line of the defendant railroad
from each other. One affects the social order company; and in coming daily by train to the company's
and the other, private rights. One is for the office in the city of Manila where he worked, he used a
pass, supplied by the company, which entitled him to city of Manila where an examination was made and his
ride upon the company's trains free of charge. Upon the arm was amputated. The result of this operation was
occasion in question, January 20, 1915, the plaintiff unsatisfactory, and the plaintiff was then carried to
arose from his seat in the second class-car where he another hospital where a second operation was
was riding and, making, his exit through the door, took performed and the member was again amputated
his position upon the steps of the coach, seizing the higher up near the shoulder. It appears in evidence that
upright guardrail with his right hand for support. the plaintiff expended the sum of P790.25 in the form
of medical and surgical fees and for other expenses in
On the side of the train where passengers alight at the connection with the process of his curation.
San Mateo station there is a cement platform which
begins to rise with a moderate gradient some distance Upon August 31, 1915, he instituted this proceeding in
away from the company's office and extends along in the Court of First Instance of the city of Manila to
front of said office for a distance sufficient to cover the recover damages of the defendant company, founding
length of several coaches. As the train slowed down his action upon the negligence of the servants and
another passenger, named Emilio Zuñiga, also an employees of the defendant in placing the sacks of
employee of the railroad company, got off the same car, melons upon the platform and leaving them so placed
alighting safely at the point where the platform begins as to be a menace to the security of passenger alighting
to rise from the level of the ground. When the train had from the company's trains. At the hearing in the Court
proceeded a little farther the plaintiff Jose Cangco of First Instance, his Honor, the trial judge, found the
stepped off also, but one or both of his feet came in facts substantially as above stated, and drew therefrom
contact with a sack of watermelons with the result that his conclusion to the effect that, although negligence
his feet slipped from under him and he fell violently on was attributable to the defendant by reason of the fact
the platform. His body at once rolled from the platform that the sacks of melons were so placed as to obstruct
and was drawn under the moving car, where his right passengers passing to and from the cars, nevertheless,
arm was badly crushed and lacerated. It appears that the plaintiff himself had failed to use due caution in
after the plaintiff alighted from the train the car moved alighting from the coach and was therefore precluded
forward possibly six meters before it came to a full stop. form recovering. Judgment was accordingly entered in
favor of the defendant company, and the plaintiff
The accident occurred between 7 and 8 o'clock on a appealed.
dark night, and as the railroad station was lighted dimly
by a single light located some distance away, objects on It can not be doubted that the employees of the
the platform where the accident occurred were difficult railroad company were guilty of negligence in piling
to discern especially to a person emerging from a these sacks on the platform in the manner above
lighted car. stated; that their presence caused the plaintiff to fall as
he alighted from the train; and that they therefore
The explanation of the presence of a sack of melons on constituted an effective legal cause of the injuries
the platform where the plaintiff alighted is found in the sustained by the plaintiff. It necessarily follows that the
fact that it was the customary season for harvesting defendant company is liable for the damage thereby
these melons and a large lot had been brought to the occasioned unless recovery is barred by the plaintiff's
station for the shipment to the market. They were own contributory negligence. In resolving this problem
contained in numerous sacks which has been piled on it is necessary that each of these conceptions of liability,
the platform in a row one upon another. The testimony to-wit, the primary responsibility of the defendant
shows that this row of sacks was so placed of melons company and the contributory negligence of the
and the edge of platform; and it is clear that the fall of plaintiff should be separately examined.
the plaintiff was due to the fact that his foot alighted
upon one of these melons at the moment he stepped It is important to note that the foundation of the legal
upon the platform. His statement that he failed to see liability of the defendant is the contract of carriage, and
these objects in the darkness is readily to be credited. that the obligation to respond for the damage which
plaintiff has suffered arises, if at all, from the breach of
The plaintiff was drawn from under the car in an that contract by reason of the failure of defendant to
unconscious condition, and it appeared that the injuries exercise due care in its performance. That is to say, its
which he had received were very serious. He was liability is direct and immediate, differing essentially, in
therefore brought at once to a certain hospital in the legal viewpoint from that presumptive responsibility for
the negligence of its servants, imposed by article 1903 the method of managing such a vehicle, is himself guilty
of the Civil Code, which can be rebutted by proof of the of an act of negligence which makes him liable for all
exercise of due care in their selection and supervision. the consequences of his imprudence. The obligation to
Article 1903 of the Civil Code is not applicable to make good the damage arises at the very instant that
obligations arising ex contractu, but only to extra- the unskillful servant, while acting within the scope of
contractual obligations — or to use the technical form his employment causes the injury. The liability of the
of expression, that article relates only to culpa aquiliana master is personal and direct. But, if the master has not
and not to culpa contractual. been guilty of any negligence whatever in the selection
and direction of the servant, he is not liable for the acts
Manresa (vol. 8, p. 67) in his commentaries upon of the latter, whatever done within the scope of his
articles 1103 and 1104 of the Civil Code, clearly points employment or not, if the damage done by the servant
out this distinction, which was also recognized by this does not amount to a breach of the contract between
Court in its decision in the case of Rakes vs. Atlantic, the master and the person injured.
Gulf and Pacific Co. (7 Phil. rep., 359). In commenting
upon article 1093 Manresa clearly points out the It is not accurate to say that proof of diligence and care
difference between "culpa, substantive and in the selection and control of the servant relieves the
independent, which of itself constitutes the source of master from liability for the latter's acts — on the
an obligation between persons not formerly connected contrary, that proof shows that the responsibility has
by any legal tie" and culpa considered as an accident in never existed. As Manresa says (vol. 8, p. 68) the
the performance of an obligation already existing . . . ." liability arising from extra-contractual culpa is always
based upon a voluntary act or omission which, without
In the Rakes case (supra) the decision of this court was willful intent, but by mere negligence or inattention, has
made to rest squarely upon the proposition that article caused damage to another. A master who exercises all
1903 of the Civil Code is not applicable to acts of possible care in the selection of his servant, taking into
negligence which constitute the breach of a contract. consideration the qualifications they should possess for
the discharge of the duties which it is his purpose to
Upon this point the Court said: confide to them, and directs them with equal diligence,
thereby performs his duty to third persons to whom he
The acts to which these articles [1902 and 1903 is bound by no contractual ties, and he incurs no liability
of the Civil Code] are applicable are understood whatever if, by reason of the negligence of his servants,
to be those not growing out of pre-existing even within the scope of their employment, such third
duties of the parties to one another. But where person suffer damage. True it is that under article 1903
relations already formed give rise to duties, of the Civil Code the law creates a presumption that he
whether springing from contract or quasi- has been negligent in the selection or direction of his
contract, then breaches of those duties are servant, but the presumption is rebuttable and yield to
subject to article 1101, 1103, and 1104 of the proof of due care and diligence in this respect.
same code. (Rakes vs. Atlantic, Gulf and Pacific
Co., 7 Phil. Rep., 359 at 365.) The supreme court of Porto Rico, in interpreting
identical provisions, as found in the Porto Rico Code,
This distinction is of the utmost importance. The has held that these articles are applicable to cases of
liability, which, under the Spanish law, is, in certain extra-contractual culpa exclusively.
cases imposed upon employers with respect to (Carmona vs. Cuesta, 20 Porto Rico Reports, 215.)
damages occasioned by the negligence of their
employees to persons to whom they are not bound by This distinction was again made patent by this Court in
contract, is not based, as in the English Common Law, its decision in the case of Bahia vs. Litonjua and Leynes,
upon the principle of respondeat superior — if it were, (30 Phil. rep., 624), which was an action brought upon
the master would be liable in every case and the theory of the extra-contractual liability of the
unconditionally — but upon the principle announced in defendant to respond for the damage caused by the
article 1902 of the Civil Code, which imposes upon all carelessness of his employee while acting within the
persons who by their fault or negligence, do injury to scope of his employment. The Court, after citing the last
another, the obligation of making good the damage paragraph of article 1903 of the Civil Code, said:
caused. One who places a powerful automobile in the
hands of a servant whom he knows to be ignorant of
From this article two things are apparent: (1) duties which civilized society imposes upon it members,
That when an injury is caused by the negligence or which arise from these relations, other than
of a servant or employee there instantly arises a contractual, of certain members of society to others,
presumption of law that there was negligence generally embraced in the concept of status. The legal
on the part of the master or employer either in rights of each member of society constitute the
selection of the servant or employee, or in measure of the corresponding legal duties, mainly
supervision over him after the selection, or negative in character, which the existence of those
both; and (2) that that presumption is juris rights imposes upon all other members of society. The
tantum and not juris et de jure, and breach of these general duties whether due to willful
consequently, may be rebutted. It follows intent or to mere inattention, if productive of injury,
necessarily that if the employer shows to the give rise to an obligation to indemnify the injured party.
satisfaction of the court that in selection and The fundamental distinction between obligations of this
supervision he has exercised the care and character and those which arise from contract, rests
diligence of a good father of a family, the upon the fact that in cases of non-contractual obligation
presumption is overcome and he is relieved it is the wrongful or negligent act or omission itself
from liability. which creates the vinculum juris, whereas in contractual
relations the vinculum exists independently of the
This theory bases the responsibility of the breach of the voluntary duty assumed by the parties
master ultimately on his own negligence and when entering into the contractual relation.
not on that of his servant. This is the notable
peculiarity of the Spanish law of negligence. It With respect to extra-contractual obligation arising
is, of course, in striking contrast to the from negligence, whether of act or omission, it is
American doctrine that, in relations with competent for the legislature to elect — and our
strangers, the negligence of the servant in Legislature has so elected — whom such an obligation is
conclusively the negligence of the master. imposed is morally culpable, or, on the contrary, for
reasons of public policy, to extend that liability, without
The opinion there expressed by this Court, to the effect regard to the lack of moral culpability, so as to include
that in case of extra-contractual culpa based upon responsibility for the negligence of those person who
negligence, it is necessary that there shall have been acts or mission are imputable, by a legal fiction, to
some fault attributable to the defendant personally, others who are in a position to exercise an absolute or
and that the last paragraph of article 1903 merely limited control over them. The legislature which
establishes a rebuttable presumption, is in complete adopted our Civil Code has elected to limit extra-
accord with the authoritative opinion of Manresa, who contractual liability — with certain well-defined
says (vol. 12, p. 611) that the liability created by article exceptions — to cases in which moral culpability can be
1903 is imposed by reason of the breach of the duties directly imputed to the persons to be charged. This
inherent in the special relations of authority or moral responsibility may consist in having failed to
superiority existing between the person called upon to exercise due care in the selection and control of one's
repair the damage and the one who, by his act or agents or servants, or in the control of persons who, by
omission, was the cause of it. reason of their status, occupy a position of dependency
with respect to the person made liable for their
On the other hand, the liability of masters and conduct.
employers for the negligent acts or omissions of their
servants or agents, when such acts or omissions cause The position of a natural or juridical person who has
damages which amount to the breach of a contact, is undertaken by contract to render service to another, is
not based upon a mere presumption of the master's wholly different from that to which article 1903 relates.
negligence in their selection or control, and proof of When the sources of the obligation upon which
exercise of the utmost diligence and care in this regard plaintiff's cause of action depends is a negligent act or
does not relieve the master of his liability for the breach omission, the burden of proof rests upon plaintiff to
of his contract. prove the negligence — if he does not his action fails.
But when the facts averred show a contractual
Every legal obligation must of necessity be extra- undertaking by defendant for the benefit of plaintiff,
contractual or contractual. Extra-contractual obligation and it is alleged that plaintiff has failed or refused to
has its source in the breach or omission of those mutual perform the contract, it is not necessary for plaintiff to
specify in his pleadings whether the breach of the This distinction between culpa aquiliana, as
contract is due to willful fault or to negligence on the the source of an obligation, and culpa contractual as a
part of the defendant, or of his servants or agents. mere incident to the performance of a contract has
Proof of the contract and of its nonperformance is frequently been recognized by the supreme court of
sufficient prima facie to warrant a recovery. Spain. (Sentencias of June 27, 1894; November 20,
1896; and December 13, 1896.) In the decisions of
As a general rule . . . it is logical that in case of November 20, 1896, it appeared that plaintiff's action
extra-contractual culpa, a suing creditor should arose ex contractu, but that defendant sought to avail
assume the burden of proof of its existence, as himself of the provisions of article 1902 of the Civil
the only fact upon which his action is based; Code as a defense. The Spanish Supreme Court rejected
while on the contrary, in a case of negligence defendant's contention, saying:
which presupposes the existence of a
contractual obligation, if the creditor shows These are not cases of injury caused, without
that it exists and that it has been broken, it is any pre-existing obligation, by fault or
not necessary for him to prove negligence. negligence, such as those to which article 1902
(Manresa, vol. 8, p. 71 [1907 ed., p. 76]). of the Civil Code relates, but of damages caused
by the defendant's failure to carry out the
As it is not necessary for the plaintiff in an action for the undertakings imposed by the contracts . . . .
breach of a contract to show that the breach was due to
the negligent conduct of defendant or of his servants, A brief review of the earlier decision of this court
even though such be in fact the actual cause of the involving the liability of employers for damage done by
breach, it is obvious that proof on the part of defendant the negligent acts of their servants will show that in no
that the negligence or omission of his servants or agents case has the court ever decided that the negligence of
caused the breach of the contract would not constitute the defendant's servants has been held to constitute a
a defense to the action. If the negligence of servants or defense to an action for damages for breach of
agents could be invoked as a means of discharging the contract.
liability arising from contract, the anomalous result
would be that person acting through the medium of In the case of Johnson vs. David (5 Phil. Rep., 663), the
agents or servants in the performance of their court held that the owner of a carriage was not liable
contracts, would be in a better position than those for the damages caused by the negligence of his driver.
acting in person. If one delivers a valuable watch to In that case the court commented on the fact that no
watchmaker who contract to repair it, and the bailee, evidence had been adduced in the trial court that the
by a personal negligent act causes its destruction, he is defendant had been negligent in the employment of the
unquestionably liable. Would it be logical to free him driver, or that he had any knowledge of his lack of skill
from his liability for the breach of his contract, which or carefulness.
involves the duty to exercise due care in the
preservation of the watch, if he shows that it was his In the case of Baer Senior & Co's
servant whose negligence caused the injury? If such a Successors vs. Compania Maritima (6 Phil. Rep., 215),
theory could be accepted, juridical persons would enjoy the plaintiff sued the defendant for damages caused by
practically complete immunity from damages arising the loss of a barge belonging to plaintiff which was
from the breach of their contracts if caused by negligent allowed to get adrift by the negligence of defendant's
acts as such juridical persons can of necessity only act servants in the course of the performance of a contract
through agents or servants, and it would no doubt be of towage. The court held, citing Manresa (vol. 8, pp.
true in most instances that reasonable care had been 29, 69) that if the "obligation of the defendant grew out
taken in selection and direction of such servants. If one of a contract made between it and the plaintiff . . . we
delivers securities to a banking corporation as collateral, do not think that the provisions of articles 1902 and
and they are lost by reason of the negligence of some 1903 are applicable to the case."
clerk employed by the bank, would it be just and
reasonable to permit the bank to relieve itself of liability In the case of Chapman vs. Underwood (27 Phil. Rep.,
for the breach of its contract to return the collateral 374), plaintiff sued the defendant to recover damages
upon the payment of the debt by proving that due care for the personal injuries caused by the negligence of
had been exercised in the selection and direction of the defendant's chauffeur while driving defendant's
clerk? automobile in which defendant was riding at the time.
The court found that the damages were caused by the damage due to carelessness or inattention on the part
negligence of the driver of the automobile, but held of the defendant. Consequently, when the court holds
that the master was not liable, although he was present that a defendant is liable in damages for having failed to
at the time, saying: exercise due care, either directly, or in failing to exercise
proper care in the selection and direction of his
. . . unless the negligent acts of the driver are servants, the practical result is identical in either case.
continued for a length of time as to give the Therefore, it follows that it is not to be inferred,
owner a reasonable opportunity to observe because the court held in the Yamada case that
them and to direct the driver to desist defendant was liable for the damages negligently
therefrom. . . . The act complained of must be caused by its servants to a person to whom it was
continued in the presence of the owner for such bound by contract, and made reference to the fact that
length of time that the owner by his the defendant was negligent in the selection and
acquiescence, makes the driver's acts his own. control of its servants, that in such a case the court
would have held that it would have been a good
In the case of Yamada vs. Manila Railroad Co. and defense to the action, if presented squarely upon the
Bachrach Garage & Taxicab Co. (33 Phil. Rep., 8), it is theory of the breach of the contract, for defendant to
true that the court rested its conclusion as to the have proved that it did in fact exercise care in the
liability of the defendant upon article 1903, although selection and control of the servant.
the facts disclosed that the injury complaint of by
plaintiff constituted a breach of the duty to him arising The true explanation of such cases is to be found by
out of the contract of transportation. The express directing the attention to the relative spheres of
ground of the decision in this case was that article 1903, contractual and extra-contractual obligations. The field
in dealing with the liability of a master for the negligent of non- contractual obligation is much more broader
acts of his servants "makes the distinction between than that of contractual obligations, comprising, as it
private individuals and public enterprise;" that as to the does, the whole extent of juridical human relations.
latter the law creates a rebuttable presumption of These two fields, figuratively speaking, concentric; that
negligence in the selection or direction of servants; and is to say, the mere fact that a person is bound to
that in the particular case the presumption of another by contract does not relieve him from extra-
negligence had not been overcome. contractual liability to such person. When such a
contractual relation exists the obligor may break the
It is evident, therefore that in its decision Yamada case, contract under such conditions that the same act which
the court treated plaintiff's action as though founded in constitutes the source of an extra-contractual obligation
tort rather than as based upon the breach of the had no contract existed between the parties.
contract of carriage, and an examination of the
pleadings and of the briefs shows that the questions of The contract of defendant to transport plaintiff carried
law were in fact discussed upon this theory. Viewed with it, by implication, the duty to carry him in safety
from the standpoint of the defendant the practical and to provide safe means of entering and leaving its
result must have been the same in any event. The proof trains (civil code, article 1258). That duty, being
disclosed beyond doubt that the defendant's servant contractual, was direct and immediate, and its non-
was grossly negligent and that his negligence was the performance could not be excused by proof that the
proximate cause of plaintiff's injury. It also affirmatively fault was morally imputable to defendant's servants.
appeared that defendant had been guilty of negligence
in its failure to exercise proper discretion in the The railroad company's defense involves the
direction of the servant. Defendant was, therefore, assumption that even granting that the negligent
liable for the injury suffered by plaintiff, whether the conduct of its servants in placing an obstruction upon
breach of the duty were to be regarded as the platform was a breach of its contractual obligation
constituting culpa aquiliana or culpa contractual. As to maintain safe means of approaching and leaving its
Manresa points out (vol. 8, pp. 29 and 69) whether trains, the direct and proximate cause of the injury
negligence occurs an incident in the course of the suffered by plaintiff was his own contributory
performance of a contractual undertaking or its itself negligence in failing to wait until the train had come to
the source of an extra-contractual undertaking a complete stop before alighting. Under the doctrine of
obligation, its essential characteristics are identical. comparative negligence announced in the Rakes case
There is always an act or omission productive of (supra), if the accident was caused by plaintiff's own
negligence, no liability is imposed upon defendant's person of average prudence that to get off the train
negligence and plaintiff's negligence merely contributed under the conditions then existing was dangerous? If so,
to his injury, the damages should be apportioned. It is, the plaintiff should have desisted from alighting; and his
therefore, important to ascertain if defendant was in failure so to desist was contributory
fact guilty of negligence. negligence.1awph!l.net

It may be admitted that had plaintiff waited until the As the case now before us presents itself, the only fact
train had come to a full stop before alighting, the from which a conclusion can be drawn to the effect that
particular injury suffered by him could not have plaintiff was guilty of contributory negligence is that he
occurred. Defendant contends, and cites many stepped off the car without being able to discern clearly
authorities in support of the contention, that it is the condition of the platform and while the train was
negligence per se for a passenger to alight from a yet slowly moving. In considering the situation thus
moving train. We are not disposed to subscribe to this presented, it should not be overlooked that the plaintiff
doctrine in its absolute form. We are of the opinion that was, as we find, ignorant of the fact that the
this proposition is too badly stated and is at variance obstruction which was caused by the sacks of melons
with the experience of every-day life. In this particular piled on the platform existed; and as the defendant was
instance, that the train was barely moving when bound by reason of its duty as a public carrier to afford
plaintiff alighted is shown conclusively by the fact that it to its passengers facilities for safe egress from its trains,
came to stop within six meters from the place where he the plaintiff had a right to assume, in the absence of
stepped from it. Thousands of person alight from trains some circumstance to warn him to the contrary, that
under these conditions every day of the year, and the platform was clear. The place, as we have already
sustain no injury where the company has kept its stated, was dark, or dimly lighted, and this also is proof
platform free from dangerous obstructions. There is no of a failure upon the part of the defendant in the
reason to believe that plaintiff would have suffered any performance of a duty owing by it to the plaintiff; for if
injury whatever in alighting as he did had it not been for it were by any possibility concede that it had right to
defendant's negligent failure to perform its duty to pile these sacks in the path of alighting passengers, the
provide a safe alighting place. placing of them adequately so that their presence
would be revealed.
We are of the opinion that the correct doctrine relating
to this subject is that expressed in Thompson's work on As pertinent to the question of contributory negligence
Negligence (vol. 3, sec. 3010) as follows: on the part of the plaintiff in this case the following
circumstances are to be noted: The company's platform
The test by which to determine whether the was constructed upon a level higher than that of the
passenger has been guilty of negligence in roadbed and the surrounding ground. The distance
attempting to alight from a moving railway from the steps of the car to the spot where the alighting
train, is that of ordinary or reasonable care. It is passenger would place his feet on the platform was
to be considered whether an ordinarily prudent thus reduced, thereby decreasing the risk incident to
person, of the age, sex and condition of the stepping off. The nature of the platform, constructed as
passenger, would have acted as the passenger it was of cement material, also assured to the passenger
acted under the circumstances disclosed by the a stable and even surface on which to alight.
evidence. This care has been defined to be, not Furthermore, the plaintiff was possessed of the vigor
the care which may or should be used by the and agility of young manhood, and it was by no means
prudent man generally, but the care which a so risky for him to get off while the train was yet moving
man of ordinary prudence would use under as the same act would have been in an aged or feeble
similar circumstances, to avoid injury." person. In determining the question of contributory
(Thompson, Commentaries on Negligence, vol. negligence in performing such act — that is to say,
3, sec. 3010.) whether the passenger acted prudently or recklessly —
the age, sex, and physical condition of the passenger
Or, it we prefer to adopt the mode of exposition used are circumstances necessarily affecting the safety of the
by this court in Picart vs. Smith (37 Phil. rep., 809), we passenger, and should be considered. Women, it has
may say that the test is this; Was there anything in the been observed, as a general rule are less capable than
circumstances surrounding the plaintiff at the time he men of alighting with safety under such conditions, as
alighted from the train which would have admonished a the nature of their wearing apparel obstructs the free
movement of the limbs. Again, it may be noted that the decision "in all other respects", with costs against
place was perfectly familiar to the plaintiff as it was his petitioner.
daily custom to get on and of the train at this station.
There could, therefore, be no uncertainty in his mind The case is now before us for review on certiorari.
with regard either to the length of the step which he
was required to take or the character of the platform The facts declared by the Court of Appeals as " fully
where he was alighting. Our conclusion is that the supported by the evidence of record", are:
conduct of the plaintiff in undertaking to alight while
the train was yet slightly under way was not Plaintiff, a civil engineer, was a member of a
characterized by imprudence and that therefore he was group of 48 Filipino pilgrims that left Manila for
not guilty of contributory negligence. Lourdes on March 30, 1958.

The evidence shows that the plaintiff, at the time of the On March 28, 1958, the defendant, Air France,
accident, was earning P25 a month as a copyist clerk, through its authorized agent, Philippine Air
and that the injuries he has suffered have permanently Lines, Inc., issued to plaintiff a "first class"
disabled him from continuing that employment. round trip airplane ticket from Manila to Rome.
Defendant has not shown that any other gainful From Manila to Bangkok, plaintiff travelled in
occupation is open to plaintiff. His expectancy of life, "first class", but at Bangkok, the Manager of the
according to the standard mortality tables, is defendant airline forced plaintiff to vacate the
approximately thirty-three years. We are of the opinion "first class" seat that he was occupying because,
that a fair compensation for the damage suffered by in the words of the witness Ernesto G. Cuento,
him for his permanent disability is the sum of P2,500, there was a "white man", who, the Manager
and that he is also entitled to recover of defendant the alleged, had a "better right" to the seat. When
additional sum of P790.25 for medical attention, asked to vacate his "first class" seat, the
hospital services, and other incidental expenditures plaintiff, as was to be expected, refused, and
connected with the treatment of his injuries. told defendant's Manager that his seat would
be taken over his dead body; a commotion
The decision of lower court is reversed, and judgment is ensued, and, according to said Ernesto G.
hereby rendered plaintiff for the sum of P3,290.25, and Cuento, "many of the Filipino passengers got
for the costs of both instances. So ordered. nervous in the tourist class; when they found
out that Mr. Carrascoso was having a hot
discussion with the white man [manager], they
came all across to Mr. Carrascoso and pacified
G.R. No. L-21438 September 28, 1966 Mr. Carrascoso to give his seat to the white
man" (Transcript, p. 12, Hearing of May 26,
AIR FRANCE, petitioner, 1959); and plaintiff reluctantly gave his "first
vs. class" seat in the plane.3
RAFAEL CARRASCOSO and the HONORABLE COURT OF
APPEALS, respondents. 1. The trust of the relief petitioner now seeks is that we
review "all the findings" 4 of respondent Court of
The Court of First Instance of Manila 1 sentenced Appeals. Petitioner charges that respondent court failed
petitioner to pay respondent Rafael Carrascoso to make complete findings of fact on all the issues
P25,000.00 by way of moral damages; P10,000.00 as properly laid before it. We are asked to consider facts
exemplary damages; P393.20 representing the favorable to petitioner, and then, to overturn the
difference in fare between first class and tourist class appellate court's decision.
for the portion of the trip Bangkok-Rome, these various
amounts with interest at the legal rate, from the date of Coming into focus is the constitutional mandate that
the filing of the complaint until paid; plus P3,000.00 for "No decision shall be rendered by any court of record
attorneys' fees; and the costs of suit. without expressing therein clearly and distinctly the
facts and the law on which it is based". 5 This is echoed
On appeal,2 the Court of Appeals slightly reduced the in the statutory demand that a judgment determining
amount of refund on Carrascoso's plane ticket from the merits of the case shall state "clearly and distinctly
P393.20 to P383.10, and voted to affirm the appealed the facts and the law on which it is based"; 6 and that
"Every decision of the Court of Appeals shall contain 2. By statute, "only questions of law may be raised" in
complete findings of fact on all issues properly raised an appeal by certiorari from a judgment of the Court of
before it". 7 Appeals. 19 That judgment is conclusive as to the facts. It
is not appropriately the business of this Court to alter
A decision with absolutely nothing to support it is a the facts or to review the questions of fact. 20
nullity. It is open to direct attack. 8 The law, however,
solely insists that a decision state the "essential With these guideposts, we now face the problem of
ultimate facts" upon which the court's conclusion is whether the findings of fact of the Court of Appeals
drawn. 9 A court of justice is not hidebound to write in support its judgment.
its decision every bit and piece of evidence 10 presented
by one party and the other upon the issues raised. 3. Was Carrascoso entitled to the first class seat he
Neither is it to be burdened with the obligation "to claims?
specify in the sentence the facts" which a party
"considered as proved". 11 This is but a part of the It is conceded in all quarters that on March 28, 1958 he
mental process from which the Court draws the paid to and received from petitioner a first class ticket.
essential ultimate facts. A decision is not to be so But petitioner asserts that said ticket did not represent
clogged with details such that prolixity, if not confusion, the true and complete intent and agreement of the
may result. So long as the decision of the Court of parties; that said respondent knew that he did not have
Appeals contains the necessary facts to warrant its confirmed reservations for first class on any specific
conclusions, it is no error for said court to withhold flight, although he had tourist class protection; that,
therefrom "any specific finding of facts with respect to accordingly, the issuance of a first class ticket was no
the evidence for the defense". Because as this Court guarantee that he would have a first class ride, but that
well observed, "There is no law that so such would depend upon the availability of first class
requires". 12 Indeed, "the mere failure to specify (in the seats.
decision) the contentions of the appellant and the
reasons for refusing to believe them is not sufficient to These are matters which petitioner has thoroughly
hold the same contrary to the requirements of the presented and discussed in its brief before the Court of
provisions of law and the Constitution". It is in this Appeals under its third assignment of error, which
setting that in Manigque, it was held that the mere fact reads: "The trial court erred in finding that plaintiff had
that the findings "were based entirely on the evidence confirmed reservations for, and a right to, first class
for the prosecution without taking into consideration or seats on the "definite" segments of his journey,
even mentioning the appellant's side in the controversy particularly that from Saigon to Beirut". 21
as shown by his own testimony", would not vitiate the
judgment. 13 If the court did not recite in the decision And, the Court of Appeals disposed of this contention
the testimony of each witness for, or each item of thus:
evidence presented by, the defeated party, it does not
mean that the court has overlooked such testimony or Defendant seems to capitalize on the argument
such item of evidence. 14 At any rate, the legal that the issuance of a first-class ticket was no
presumptions are that official duty has been regularly guarantee that the passenger to whom the
performed, and that all the matters within an issue in a same had been issued, would be
case were laid before the court and passed upon by it. 15 accommodated in the first-class compartment,
for as in the case of plaintiff he had yet to make
Findings of fact, which the Court of Appeals is required arrangements upon arrival at every station for
to make, maybe defined as "the written statement of the necessary first-class reservation. We are not
the ultimate facts as found by the court ... and essential impressed by such a reasoning. We cannot
to support the decision and judgment rendered understand how a reputable firm like defendant
thereon". 16They consist of the airplane company could have the indiscretion to
court's "conclusions" with respect to the determinative give out tickets it never meant to honor at all. It
facts in issue". 17 A question of law, upon the other received the corresponding amount in payment
hand, has been declared as "one which does not call for of first-class tickets and yet it allowed the
an examination of the probative value of the evidence passenger to be at the mercy of its employees.
presented by the parties." 18 It is more in keeping with the ordinary course of
business that the company should know
whether or riot the tickets it issues are to be that the proceeding in the Court of First Instance was
honored or not.22 free from prejudicial error and "all questions raised by
the assignments of error and all questions that might
Not that the Court of Appeals is alone. The trial court have been raised are to be regarded as finally
similarly disposed of petitioner's contention, thus: adjudicated against the appellant". So also, the
judgment affirmed "must be regarded as free from all
On the fact that plaintiff paid for, and was issued a error". 25 We reached this policy construction because
"First class" ticket, there can be no question. Apart from nothing in the decision of the Court of Appeals on this
his testimony, see plaintiff's Exhibits "A", "A-1", "B", "B- point would suggest that its findings of fact are in any
1," "B-2", "C" and "C-1", and defendant's own witness, way at war with those of the trial court. Nor was said
Rafael Altonaga, confirmed plaintiff's testimony and affirmance by the Court of Appeals upon a ground or
testified as follows: grounds different from those which were made the
basis of the conclusions of the trial court. 26
Q. In these tickets there are marks "O.K." From
what you know, what does this OK mean? If, as petitioner underscores, a first-class-ticket holder is
not entitled to a first class seat, notwithstanding the
A. That the space is confirmed. fact that seat availability in specific flights is therein
confirmed, then an air passenger is placed in the hollow
Q. Confirmed for first class? of the hands of an airline. What security then can a
passenger have? It will always be an easy matter for an
A. Yes, "first class". (Transcript, p. 169) airline aided by its employees, to strike out the very
stipulations in the ticket, and say that there was a
xxx xxx xxx verbal agreement to the contrary. What if the
passenger had a schedule to fulfill? We have long
Defendant tried to prove by the testimony of its learned that, as a rule, a written document speaks a
witnesses Luis Zaldariaga and Rafael Altonaga that uniform language; that spoken word could be
although plaintiff paid for, and was issued a "first class" notoriously unreliable. If only to achieve stability in the
airplane ticket, the ticket was subject to confirmation in relations between passenger and air carrier, adherence
Hongkong. The court cannot give credit to the to the ticket so issued is desirable. Such is the case here.
testimony of said witnesses. Oral evidence cannot The lower courts refused to believe the oral evidence
prevail over written evidence, and plaintiff's Exhibits intended to defeat the covenants in the ticket.
"A", "A-l", "B", "B-l", "C" and "C-1" belie the testimony
of said witnesses, and clearly show that the plaintiff was The foregoing are the considerations which point to the
issued, and paid for, a first class ticket without any conclusion that there are facts upon which the Court of
reservation whatever. Appeals predicated the finding that respondent
Carrascoso had a first class ticket and was entitled to a
Furthermore, as hereinabove shown, defendant's own first class seat at Bangkok, which is a stopover in the
witness Rafael Altonaga testified that the reservation Saigon to Beirut leg of the flight. 27 We perceive no
for a "first class" accommodation for the plaintiff was "welter of distortions by the Court of Appeals of
confirmed. The court cannot believe that after such petitioner's statement of its position", as charged by
confirmation defendant had a verbal understanding petitioner. 28 Nor do we subscribe to petitioner's
with plaintiff that the "first class" ticket issued to him by accusation that respondent Carrascoso "surreptitiously
defendant would be subject to confirmation in took a first class seat to provoke an issue". 29And this
Hongkong. 23 because, as petitioner states, Carrascoso went to see
the Manager at his office in Bangkok "to confirm my
We have heretofore adverted to the fact that except for seat and because from Saigon I was told again to see
a slight difference of a few pesos in the amount the Manager". 30 Why, then, was he allowed to take a
refunded on Carrascoso's ticket, the decision of the first class seat in the plane at Bangkok, if he had no
Court of First Instance was affirmed by the Court of seat? Or, if another had a better right to the seat?
Appeals in all other respects. We hold the view that
such a judgment of affirmance has merged the 4. Petitioner assails respondent court's award of moral
judgment of the lower court. 24Implicit in that damages. Petitioner's trenchant claim is that
affirmance is a determination by the Court of Appeals Carrascoso's action is planted upon breach of contract;
that to authorize an award for moral damages there The foregoing, in our opinion, substantially aver: First,
must be an averment of fraud or bad faith;31 and that That there was a contract to furnish plaintiff a first class
the decision of the Court of Appeals fails to make a passage covering, amongst others, the Bangkok-
finding of bad faith. The pivotal allegations in the Teheran leg; Second, That said contract was breached
complaint bearing on this issue are: when petitioner failed to furnish first class
transportation at Bangkok; and Third, that there was
3. That ... plaintiff entered into a contract of air bad faith when petitioner's employee compelled
carriage with the Philippine Air Lines for a Carrascoso to leave his first class accommodation
valuable consideration, the latter acting as berth "after he was already, seated" and to take a seat
general agents for and in behalf of the in the tourist class, by reason of which he suffered
defendant, under which said contract, plaintiff inconvenience, embarrassments and humiliations,
was entitled to, as defendant agreed to furnish thereby causing him mental anguish, serious anxiety,
plaintiff, First Class passage on defendant's wounded feelings and social humiliation, resulting in
plane during the entire duration of plaintiff's moral damages. It is true that there is no specific
tour of Europe with Hongkong as starting point mention of the term bad faith in the complaint. But, the
up to and until plaintiff's return trip to Manila, inference of bad faith is there, it may be drawn from the
... . facts and circumstances set forth therein. 34 The
contract was averred to establish the relation between
4. That, during the first two legs of the trip from the parties. But the stress of the action is put on
Hongkong to Saigon and from Saigon to wrongful expulsion.
Bangkok, defendant furnished to the plaintiff
First Class accommodation but only after Quite apart from the foregoing is that (a) right the start
protestations, arguments and/or insistence of the trial, respondent's counsel placed petitioner on
were made by the plaintiff with defendant's guard on what Carrascoso intended to prove: That while
employees. sitting in the plane in Bangkok, Carrascoso
was ousted by petitioner's manager who gave his seat
5. That finally, defendant failed to provide First to a white man; 35 and (b) evidence of bad faith in the
Class passage, but instead furnished plaintiff fulfillment of the contract was presented without
only Tourist Class accommodations from objection on the part of the petitioner. It is, therefore,
Bangkok to Teheran and/or Casablanca, ... the unnecessary to inquire as to whether or not there is
plaintiff has been compelled by defendant's sufficient averment in the complaint to justify an award
employees to leave the First Class for moral damages. Deficiency in the complaint, if any,
accommodation berths at Bangkok after he was was cured by the evidence. An amendment thereof to
already seated. conform to the evidence is not even required. 36 On the
question of bad faith, the Court of Appeals declared:
6. That consequently, the plaintiff, desiring no
repetition of the inconvenience and That the plaintiff was forced out of his seat in
embarrassments brought by defendant's breach the first class compartment of the plane
of contract was forced to take a Pan American belonging to the defendant Air France while at
World Airways plane on his return trip from Bangkok, and was transferred to the tourist
Madrid to Manila.32 class not only without his consent but against
his will, has been sufficiently established by
xxx xxx xxx plaintiff in his testimony before the court,
corroborated by the corresponding entry made
2. That likewise, as a result of defendant's failure to by the purser of the plane in his notebook
furnish First Class accommodations aforesaid, plaintiff which notation reads as follows:
suffered inconveniences, embarrassments, and
humiliations, thereby causing plaintiff mental anguish, "First-class passenger was forced to go
serious anxiety, wounded feelings, social humiliation, to the tourist class against his will, and
and the like injury, resulting in moral damages in the that the captain refused to intervene",
amount of P30,000.00. 33
and by the testimony of an eye-witness, Ernesto
xxx xxx xxx G. Cuento, who was a co-passenger. The captain
of the plane who was asked by the manager of "any better", nay, any right on the part
defendant company at Bangkok to intervene of the "white man" to the "First class"
even refused to do so. It is noteworthy that no seat that the plaintiff was occupying
one on behalf of defendant ever contradicted and for which he paid and was issued a
or denied this evidence for the plaintiff. It could corresponding "first class" ticket.
have been easy for defendant to present its
manager at Bangkok to testify at the trial of the If there was a justified reason for the
case, or yet to secure his disposition; but action of the defendant's Manager in
defendant did neither. 37 Bangkok, the defendant could have
easily proven it by having taken the
The Court of appeals further stated — testimony of the said Manager by
deposition, but defendant did not do
Neither is there evidence as to whether or not a so; the presumption is that evidence
prior reservation was made by the white man. willfully suppressed would be adverse if
Hence, if the employees of the defendant at produced [Sec. 69, par (e), Rules of
Bangkok sold a first-class ticket to him when all Court]; and, under the circumstances,
the seats had already been taken, surely the the Court is constrained to find, as it
plaintiff should not have been picked out as the does find, that the Manager of the
one to suffer the consequences and to be defendant airline in Bangkok not merely
subjected to the humiliation and indignity of asked but threatened the plaintiff to
being ejected from his seat in the presence of throw him out of the plane if he did not
others. Instead of explaining to the white man give up his "first class" seat because the
the improvidence committed by defendant's said Manager wanted to accommodate,
employees, the manager adopted the more using the words of the witness Ernesto
drastic step of ousting the plaintiff who was G. Cuento, the "white man".38
then safely ensconsced in his rightful seat. We
are strengthened in our belief that this probably It is really correct to say that the Court of
was what happened there, by the testimony of Appeals in the quoted portion first transcribed
defendant's witness Rafael Altonaga who, when did not use the term "bad faith". But can it be
asked to explain the meaning of the letters doubted that the recital of facts therein points
"O.K." appearing on the tickets of plaintiff, said to bad faith? The manager not only prevented
"that the space is confirmed for first class. Carrascoso from enjoying his right to a first class
Likewise, Zenaida Faustino, another witness for seat; worse, he imposed his arbitrary will; he
defendant, who was the chief of the forcibly ejected him from his seat, made him
Reservation Office of defendant, testified as suffer the humiliation of having to go to the
follows: tourist class compartment - just to give way to
another passenger whose right thereto has not
"Q How does the person in the ticket- been established. Certainly, this is bad faith.
issuing office know what reservation Unless, of course, bad faith has assumed a
the passenger has arranged with you? meaning different from what is understood in
law. For, "bad faith" contemplates a "state of
A They call us up by phone and ask for mind affirmatively operating with furtive design
the confirmation." (t.s.n., p. 247, June or with some motive of self-interest or will or
19, 1959) for ulterior purpose." 39

In this connection, we quote with approval And if the foregoing were not yet sufficient,
what the trial Judge has said on this point: there is the express finding of bad faith in the
judgment of the Court of First Instance, thus:
Why did the, using the words of witness
Ernesto G. Cuento, "white man" have a The evidence shows that the defendant
"better right" to the seat occupied by violated its contract of transportation
Mr. Carrascoso? The record is silent. with plaintiff in bad faith, with the
The defendant airline did not prove aggravating circumstances that
defendant's Manager in Bangkok went Thus, "Where a steamship company 45 had accepted a
to the extent of threatening the plaintiff passenger's check, it was a breach of contract and a
in the presence of many passengers to tort, giving a right of action for its agent in the presence
have him thrown out of the airplane to of third persons to falsely notify her that the check was
give the "first class" seat that he was worthless and demand payment under threat of
occupying to, again using the words of ejection, though the language used was not insulting
the witness Ernesto G. Cuento, a "white and she was not ejected." 46 And this, because, although
man" whom he (defendant's Manager) the relation of passenger and carrier is "contractual
wished to accommodate, and the both in origin and nature" nevertheless "the act that
defendant has not proven that this breaks the contract may be also a tort". 47 And in
"white man" had any "better right" to another case, "Where a passenger on a railroad train,
occupy the "first class" seat that the when the conductor came to collect his fare tendered
plaintiff was occupying, duly paid for, him the cash fare to a point where the train was
and for which the corresponding "first scheduled not to stop, and told him that as soon as the
class" ticket was issued by the train reached such point he would pay the cash fare
defendant to him.40 from that point to destination, there was nothing in the
conduct of the passenger which justified the conductor
5. The responsibility of an employer for the tortious act in using insulting language to him, as by calling him a
of its employees need not be essayed. It is well settled lunatic," 48 and the Supreme Court of South Carolina
in law. 41 For the willful malevolent act of petitioner's there held the carrier liable for the mental suffering of
manager, petitioner, his employer, must answer. Article said passenger.1awphîl.nèt
21 of the Civil Code says:
Petitioner's contract with Carrascoso is one attended
ART. 21. Any person who willfully causes loss or with public duty. The stress of Carrascoso's action as we
injury to another in a manner that is contrary to have said, is placed upon his wrongful expulsion. This is
morals, good customs or public policy shall a violation of public duty by the petitioner air carrier —
compensate the latter for the damage. a case of quasi-delict. Damages are proper.

In parallel circumstances, we applied the foregoing legal 7. Petitioner draws our attention to respondent
precept; and, we held that upon the provisions of Carrascoso's testimony, thus —
Article 2219 (10), Civil Code, moral damages are
recoverable. 42 Q You mentioned about an attendant. Who is
that attendant and purser?
6. A contract to transport passengers is quite different
in kind and degree from any other contractual A When we left already — that was already in
relation. 43 And this, because of the relation which an the trip — I could not help it. So one of the
air-carrier sustains with the public. Its business is mainly flight attendants approached me and requested
with the travelling public. It invites people to avail of the from me my ticket and I said, What for? and she
comforts and advantages it offers. The contract of air said, "We will note that you transferred to the
carriage, therefore, generates a relation attended with tourist class". I said, "Nothing of that kind. That
a public duty. Neglect or malfeasance of the carrier's is tantamount to accepting my transfer." And I
employees, naturally, could give ground for an action also said, "You are not going to note anything
for damages. there because I am protesting to this transfer".

Passengers do not contract merely for transportation. Q Was she able to note it?
They have a right to be treated by the carrier's
employees with kindness, respect, courtesy and due A No, because I did not give my ticket.
consideration. They are entitled to be protected against
personal misconduct, injurious language, indignities and Q About that purser?
abuses from such employees. So it is, that any rule or
discourteous conduct on the part of employees towards A Well, the seats there are so close that you feel
a passenger gives the latter an action for damages uncomfortable and you don't have enough leg
against the carrier. 44 room, I stood up and I went to the pantry that
was next to me and the purser was there. He 8. Exemplary damages are well awarded. The Civil Code
told me, "I have recorded the incident in my gives the court ample power to grant exemplary
notebook." He read it and translated it to me — damages — in contracts and quasi- contracts. The only
because it was recorded in French — "First class condition is that defendant should have "acted in a
passenger was forced to go to the tourist class wanton, fraudulent, reckless, oppressive, or malevolent
against his will, and that the captain refused to manner." 53 The manner of ejectment of respondent
intervene." Carrascoso from his first class seat fits into this legal
precept. And this, in addition to moral damages.54
Mr. VALTE —
9. The right to attorney's fees is fully established. The
I move to strike out the last part of the grant of exemplary damages justifies a similar judgment
testimony of the witness because the best for attorneys' fees. The least that can be said is that the
evidence would be the notes. Your Honor. courts below felt that it is but just and equitable that
attorneys' fees be given. 55 We do not intend to break
COURT — faith with the tradition that discretion well exercised —
as it was here — should not be disturbed.
I will allow that as part of his testimony. 49
10. Questioned as excessive are the amounts decreed
Petitioner charges that the finding of the Court of by both the trial court and the Court of Appeals, thus:
Appeals that the purser made an entry in his notebook P25,000.00 as moral damages; P10,000.00, by way of
reading "First class passenger was forced to go to the exemplary damages, and P3,000.00 as attorneys' fees.
tourist class against his will, and that the captain The task of fixing these amounts is primarily with the
refused to intervene" is predicated upon evidence trial court. 56 The Court of Appeals did not interfere with
[Carrascoso's testimony above] which is incompetent. the same. The dictates of good sense suggest that we
We do not think so. The subject of inquiry is not the give our imprimatur thereto. Because, the facts and
entry, but the ouster incident. Testimony on the entry circumstances point to the reasonableness thereof.57
does not come within the proscription of the best
evidence rule. Such testimony is admissible. 49a On balance, we say that the judgment of the Court of
Appeals does not suffer from reversible error. We
Besides, from a reading of the transcript just quoted, accordingly vote to affirm the same. Costs against
when the dialogue happened, the impact of the petitioner. So ordered.
startling occurrence was still fresh and continued to be
felt. The excitement had not as yet died down.
Statements then, in this environment, are admissible as
part of the res gestae. 50 For, they grow "out of the G.R. No. 151452. July 29, 2005
nervous excitement and mental and physical condition
of the declarant". 51 The utterance of the purser SPS. ANTONIO C. SANTOS and ESPERANZA C. SANTOS,
regarding his entry in the notebook was spontaneous, NORA BARNALO, BELINDA LUMACTAD, MARIENELA
and related to the circumstances of the ouster incident. DY, NIKKA SANTOS and LEONARDO
Its trustworthiness has been guaranteed. 52 It thus FERRER, Petitioners,
escapes the operation of the hearsay rule. It forms part vs.
of the res gestae. HON. NORMANDIE B. PIZARDO, as Presiding Judge,
RTC of Quezon City, Branch 101, DIONISIO M SIBAYAN,
At all events, the entry was made outside the and VIRON TRANSPORTATION COMPANY, INC.,
Philippines. And, by an employee of petitioner. It would represented by VIRGILIO Q. RONDARIS,
have been an easy matter for petitioner to have President/Chairman, Respondent.
contradicted Carrascoso's testimony. If it were really
true that no such entry was made, the deposition of the In this Petition for Review on Certiorari1 dated March 1,
purser could have cleared up the matter. 2002, petitioners assail the Resolutions of the Court of
Appeals dated September 10, 2001 and January 9, 2002,
We, therefore, hold that the transcribed testimony of respectively dismissing their petition for certiorari and
Carrascoso is admissible in evidence. denying their motion for reconsideration, arising from
the dismissal of their complaint to recover civil
indemnity for the death and physical injuries of their complaint ought to be dismissed on the ground of
kin. prescription.5

The following facts are matters of record. Improper service of summons was likewise cited as a
ground for dismissal of the complaint as summons was
In an Information dated April 25, 1994, Dionisio M. served through a certain Jessica Ubalde of the legal
Sibayan (Sibayan) was charged with Reckless department without mentioning her designation or
Imprudence Resulting to Multiple Homicide and position.
Multiple Physical Injuries in connection with a vehicle
collision between a southbound Viron Transit bus Petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration pointing
driven by Sibayan and a northbound Lite Ace Van, which out yet again that the complaint is not based on quasi
claimed the lives of the van’s driver and three (3) of its delictbut on the final judgment of conviction in the
passengers, including a two-month old baby, and criminal case which prescribes ten (10) years from the
caused physical injuries to five (5) of the van’s finality of the judgment.6 The trial court denied
passengers. After trial, Sibayan was convicted and petitioners’ motion for reconsideration reiterating that
sentenced to suffer the penalty of imprisonment for petitioners’ cause of action was based on quasi
two (2) years, four (4) months and one (1) day to four delict and had prescribed under Article 1146 of the Civil
(4) years and two (2) months. However, as there was a Code because the complaint was filed more than four
reservation to file a separate civil action, no (4) years after the vehicular accident.7 As regards the
pronouncement of civil liability was made by the improper service of summons, the trial court
municipal circuit trial court in its decision promulgated reconsidered its ruling that the complaint ought to be
on December 17, 1998.2 dismissed on this ground.

On October 20, 2000, petitioners filed a complaint for Petitioners filed a petition for certiorari with the Court
damages against Sibayan, Viron Transit and its of Appeals which dismissed the same for error in the
President/Chairman, Virgilio Q. Rondaris, with the choice or mode of appeal.8 The appellate court also
Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, pursuant to their denied petitioners’ motion for reconsideration
reservation to file a separate civil action.3 They cited reasoning that even if the respondent trial court judge
therein the judgment convicting Sibayan. committed grave abuse of discretion in issuing the
order of dismissal, certiorari is still not the permissible
Viron Transit moved to dismiss the complaint on the remedy as appeal was available to petitioners and they
grounds of improper service of summons, prescription failed to allege that the petition was brought within the
and laches, and defective certification of non-forum recognized exceptions for the allowance of certiorari in
shopping. It also sought the dropping of Virgilio Q. lieu of appeal.9
Rondaris as defendant in view of the separate
personality of Viron Transit from its officers.4 In this petition, petitioners argue that a rigid application
of the rule that certiorari cannot be a substitute for
Petitioners opposed the motion to dismiss contending, appeal will result in a judicial rejection of an existing
among others, that the right to file a separate action in obligation arising from the criminal liability of private
this case prescribes in ten (10) years reckoned from the respondents. Petitioners insist that the liability sought
finality of the judgment in the criminal action. As there to be enforced in the complaint arose ex delicto and is
was no appeal of the decision convicting Sibayan, the not based on quasi delict. The trial court allegedly
complaint which was filed barely two (2) years thence committed grave abuse of discretion when it insisted
was clearly filed within the prescriptive period. that the cause of action invoked by petitioners is based
on quasi delict and concluded that the action had
The trial court dismissed the complaint on the principal prescribed. Since the action is based on the criminal
ground that the cause of action had already prescribed. liability of private respondents, the cause of action
According to the trial court, actions based on quasi accrued from the finality of the judgment of conviction.
delict, as it construed petitioners’ cause of action to be,
prescribe four (4) years from the accrual of the cause of Assuming that their petition with the appellate court
action. Hence, notwithstanding the fact that petitioners was procedurally flawed, petitioners implore the Court
reserved the right to file a separate civil action, the to exempt this case from the rigid operation of the rules
as they allegedly have a legitimate grievance to
vindicate, i.e., damages for the deaths and physical prosecution of his cause; and third, when the injured
injuries caused by private respondents for which no civil party actually exercises the right to maintain a private
liability had been adjudged by reason of their suit against the offender by instituting a civil action
reservation of the right to file a separate civil action. prior to the filing of the criminal case.

In their Comment10 dated June 13, 2002, private Notably, it was the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure,
respondents insist that the dismissal of the complaint as amended in 1988, which governed the institution of
on the ground of prescription was in order. They point the criminal action, as well as the reservation of the
out that the averments in the complaint make out a right to file a separate civil action. Section 1, Rule 111
cause of action for quasi delict under Articles 2176 and thereof states:
2180 of the Civil Code. As such, the prescriptive period
of four (4) years should be reckoned from the time the Section 1. Institution of criminal and civil actions.—
accident took place. When a criminal action is instituted, the civil action for
the recovery of civil liability is impliedly instituted with
Viron Transit also alleges that its subsidiary liability the criminal action, unless the offended party waives
cannot be enforced since Sibayan was not ordered to the civil action, reserves his right to institute it
pay damages in the criminal case. It is Viron Transit’s separately, or institutes the civil action prior to the
contention that the subsidiary liability of the employer criminal action.
contemplated in Article 103 of the Revised Penal Code
presupposes a situation where the civil aspect of the Such civil action includes recovery of indemnity under
case was instituted in the criminal case and no the Revised Penal Code, and damages under Articles 32,
reservation to file a separate civil case was made. 33, 34 and 2176 of the Civil Code of the Philippines
arising from the same act or omission of the accused.
Private respondents likewise allege that the recourse to
the Court of Appeals via certiorari was improper as A waiver of any of the civil actions extinguishes the
petitioners should have appealed the adverse order of others. The institution of, or the reservation of the right
the trial court. Moreover, they point out several other to file, any of said civil actions separately waives the
procedural lapses allegedly committed by petitioners, others.
such as lack of certification against forum-shopping;
lack of duplicate original or certified true copy of the The reservation of the right to institute the separate
assailed order of the trial court; and non-indication of civil actions shall be made before the prosecution starts
the full names and addresses of petitioners in the to present its evidence and under circumstances
petition. affording the offended party a reasonable opportunity
to make such reservation.
Petitioners filed a Reply11 dated September 14, 2002,
while private respondents filed a Rejoinder12 dated In no case may the offended party recover damages
October 14, 2002, both in reiteration of their twice for the same act or omission of the accused.
arguments.
When the offended party seeks to enforce civil liability
We grant the petition. against the accused by way of moral, nominal,
temperate or exemplary damages, the filing fees for
Our Revised Penal Code provides that every person such action as provided in these Rules shall constitute a
criminally liable for a felony is also civilly liable.13 Such first lien on the judgment except in an award for actual
civil liability may consist of restitution, reparation of the damages.
damage caused and indemnification of consequential
damages.14 When a criminal action is instituted, the civil In cases wherein the amount of damages, other than
liability arising from the offense is impliedly instituted actual, is alleged in the complaint or information, the
with the criminal action, subject to three notable corresponding filing fees shall be paid by the offended
exceptions: first, when the injured party expressly party upon filing thereof in court for trial.
waives the right to recover damages from the
accused; second, when the offended party reserves his Petitioners expressly made a reservation of their right
right to have the civil damages determined in a separate to file a separate civil action as a result of the crime
action in order to take full control and direction of the committed by Sibayan. On account of this reservation,
the municipal circuit trial court, in its decision convicting already prescribed. Nonetheless, petitioners can pursue
Sibayan, did not make any pronouncement as to the the remaining avenue opened for them by their
latter’s civil liability. reservation, i.e., the surviving cause of action ex
delicto. This is so because the prescription of the
Predicating their claim on the judgment of conviction action ex quasi delicto does not operate as a bar to an
and their reservation to file a separate civil action made action to enforce the civil liability arising from crime
in the criminal case, petitioners filed a complaint for especially as the latter action had been expressly
damages against Sibayan, Viron Transit and its reserved.
President/Chairman. Petitioners assert that by the
institution of the complaint, they seek to recover The case of Mendoza v. La Mallorca Bus Company16 was
private respondents’ civil liability arising from crime. decided upon a similar set of facts. Therein, the driver
Unfortunately, based on its misreading of the of La Mallorca Bus Company was charged with reckless
allegations in the complaint, the trial court dismissed imprudence resulting to damage to property. The
the same, declaring that petitioners’ cause of action plaintiff made an express reservation for the filing of a
was based on quasi delict and should have been separate civil action. The driver was convicted which
brought within four (4) years from the time the cause of conviction was affirmed by this Court. Later, plaintiff
action accrued, i.e., from the time of the accident. filed a separate civil action for damages based on quasi
delict which was ordered dismissed by the trial court
A reading of the complaint reveals that the allegations upon finding that the action was instituted more than
therein are consistent with petitioners’ claim that the six (6) years from the date of the accident and thus, had
action was brought to recover civil liability arising from already prescribed. Subsequently, plaintiff instituted
crime. Although there are allegations of negligence on another action, this time based on the subsidiary
the part of Sibayan and Viron Transit, such does not liability of the bus company. The trial court dismissed
necessarily mean that petitioners were pursuing a cause the action holding that the dismissal of the earlier civil
of action based on quasi delict, considering that at the case operated as a bar to the filing of the action to
time of the filing of the complaint, the cause of enforce the bus company’s subsidiary liability.
action ex quasi delicto had already prescribed. Besides,
in cases of negligence, the offended party has the We held that the dismissal of the action based on culpa
choice between an action to enforce civil liability arising aquiliana is not a bar to the enforcement of the
from crime under the Revised Penal Code and an action subsidiary liability of the employer. Once there is a
for quasi delict under the Civil Code. conviction for a felony, final in character, the employer
becomes subsidiarily liable if the commission of the
An act or omission causing damage to another may give crime was in the discharge of the duties of the
rise to two separate civil liabilities on the part of the employees. This is so because Article 103 of the Revised
offender, i.e., (1) civil liability ex delicto, under Article Penal Code operates with controlling force to obviate
100 of the Revised Penal Code; and (2) independent civil the possibility of the aggrieved party being deprived of
liabilities, such as those (a) not arising from an act or indemnity even after the rendition of a final judgment
omission complained of as a felony, e.g., culpa convicting the employee.
contractual or obligations arising from law under Article
31 of the Civil Code, intentional torts under Articles 32 Seen in this light, the trial court should not have
and 34, and culpa aquiliana under Article 2176 of the dismissed the complaint on the ground of prescription,
Civil Code; or (b) where the injured party is granted a but instead allowed the complaint for damages ex
right to file an action independent and distinct from the delicto to be prosecuted on the merits, considering
criminal action under Article 33 of the Civil petitioners’ allegations in their complaint, opposition to
Code.15 Either of these liabilities may be enforced the motion to dismiss17 and motion for
against the offender subject to the caveat under Article reconsideration18 of the order of dismissal, insisting that
2177 of the Civil Code that the plaintiff cannot recover the action was to recover civil liability arising from
damages twice for the same act or omission of the crime.
defendant and the similar proscription against double
recovery under the Rules above-quoted. This does not offend the policy that the reservation or
institution of a separate civil action waives the other
At the time of the filing of the complaint for damages in civil actions. The rationale behind this rule is the
this case, the cause of action ex quasi delicto had avoidance of multiple suits between the same litigants
arising out of the same act or omission of the driven by petitioner Avelino Casupanan ("Casupanan"
offender.19 However, since the stale action for damages for brevity), figured in an accident. As a result, two
based on quasi delict should be considered waived, cases were filed with the Municipal Circuit Trial Court
there is no more occasion for petitioners to file multiple ("MCTC" for brevity) of Capas, Tarlac. Laroya filed a
suits against private respondents as the only recourse criminal case against Casupanan for reckless
available to them is to pursue damages ex delicto. This imprudence resulting in damage to property, docketed
interpretation is also consistent with the bar against as Criminal Case No. 002-99. On the other hand,
double recovery for obvious reasons. Casupanan and Capitulo filed a civil case against Laroya
for quasi-delict, docketed as Civil Case No. 2089.
Now the procedural issue. Admittedly, petitioners
should have appealed the order of dismissal of the trial When the civil case was filed, the criminal case was
court instead of filing a petition for certiorari with the then at its preliminary investigation stage. Laroya,
Court of Appeals. Such procedural misstep, however, defendant in the civil case, filed a motion to dismiss the
should be exempted from the strict application of the civil case on the ground of forum-shopping considering
rules in order to promote their fundamental objective the pendency of the criminal case. The MCTC granted
of securing substantial justice.20 We are loathe to the motion in the Order of March 26, 1999 and
deprive petitioners of the indemnity to which they are dismissed the civil case.
entitled by law and by a final judgment of conviction
based solely on a technicality. It is our duty to prevent On Motion for Reconsideration, Casupanan and
such an injustice.21 Capitulo insisted that the civil case is a separate civil
action which can proceed independently of the criminal
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered SETTING case. The MCTC denied the motion for reconsideration
ASIDE the resolutions of the Court of Appeals dated in the Order of May 7, 1999. Casupanan and Capitulo
September 10, 2001 and January 9, 2002, respectively filed a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 before the
dismissing the present action and denying petitioners’ Regional Trial Court ("Capas RTC" for brevity) of Capas,
motion for reconsideration, as well as the orders of the Tarlac, Branch 66,3 assailing the MCTC’s Order of
lower court dated February 26, 2001 and July 16, 2001. dismissal.
Let the case be REMANDED to the trial court for further
proceedings. The Trial Court’s Ruling

The Capas RTC rendered judgment on December 28,


1999 dismissing the petition for certiorari for lack of
G.R. No. 145391 August 26, 2002 merit. The Capas RTC ruled that the order of dismissal
issued by the MCTC is a final order which disposes of
AVELINO CASUPANAN and ROBERTO the case and therefore the proper remedy should have
CAPITULO, petitioners, been an appeal. The Capas RTC further held that a
vs. special civil action for certiorari is not a substitute for a
MARIO LLAVORE LAROYA, respondent. lost appeal. Finally, the Capas RTC declared that even
on the premise that the MCTC erred in dismissing the
The Case civil case, such error is a pure error of judgment and not
an abuse of discretion.
This is a petition for review on certiorari to set aside the
Resolution1 dated December 28, 1999 dismissing the Casupanan and Capitulo filed a Motion for
petition for certiorari and the Resolution2 dated August Reconsideration but the Capas RTC denied the same in
24, 2000 denying the motion for reconsideration, both the Resolution of August 24, 2000.
issued by the Regional Trial Court of Capas, Tarlac,
Branch 66, in Special Civil Action No. 17-C (99). Hence, this petition.

The Facts The Issue

Two vehicles, one driven by respondent Mario Llavore The petition premises the legal issue in this wise:
Laroya ("Laroya" for brevity) and the other owned by
petitioner Roberto Capitulo ("Capitulo" for brevity) and
"In a certain vehicular accident involving two forum-shopping since they filed only one action - the
parties, each one of them may think and believe independent civil action for quasi-delict against Laroya.
that the accident was caused by the fault of the
other. x x x [T]he first party, believing himself to Nature of the Order of Dismissal
be the aggrieved party, opted to file a criminal
case for reckless imprudence against the second The MCTC dismissed the civil action for quasi-delict on
party. On the other hand, the second party, the ground of forum-shopping under Supreme Court
together with his operator, believing Administrative Circular No. 04-94. The MCTC did not
themselves to be the real aggrieved parties, state in its order of dismissal5 that the dismissal
opted in turn to file a civil case for quasi-delict was with prejudice. Under the Administrative Circular,
against the first party who is the very private the order of dismissal is without prejudice to refiling the
complainant in the criminal case."4 complaint, unless the order of dismissal expressly states
it is with prejudice.6 Absent a declaration that the
Thus, the issue raised is whether an accused in a dismissal is with prejudice, the same is deemed without
pending criminal case for reckless imprudence can prejudice. Thus, the MCTC’s dismissal, being silent on
validly file, simultaneously and independently, a the matter, is a dismissal without prejudice.
separate civil action for quasi-delict against the private
complainant in the criminal case. Section 1 of Rule 417 provides that an order dismissing
an action without prejudice is not appealable. The
The Court’s Ruling remedy of the aggrieved party is to file a special civil
action under Rule 65. Section 1 of Rule 41 expressly
Casupanan and Capitulo assert that Civil Case No. 2089, states that "where the judgment or final order is not
which the MCTC dismissed on the ground of forum- appealable, the aggrieved party may file an appropriate
shopping, constitutes a counterclaim in the criminal special civil action under Rule 65." Clearly, the Capas
case. Casupanan and Capitulo argue that if the accused RTC’s order dismissing the petition for certiorari, on the
in a criminal case has a counterclaim against the private ground that the proper remedy is an ordinary appeal, is
complainant, he may file the counterclaim in a separate erroneous.
civil action at the proper time. They contend that an
action on quasi-delict is different from an action Forum-Shopping
resulting from the crime of reckless imprudence, and an
accused in a criminal case can be an aggrieved party in a The essence of forum-shopping is the filing of multiple
civil case arising from the same incident. They maintain suits involving the same parties for the same cause of
that under Articles 31 and 2176 of the Civil Code, the action, either simultaneously or successively, to secure
civil case can proceed independently of the criminal a favorable judgment.8 Forum-shopping is present when
action. Finally, they point out that Casupanan was not in the two or more cases pending, there is identity of
the only one who filed the independent civil action parties, rights of action and reliefs sought.9 However,
based on quasi-delict but also Capitulo, the owner- there is no forum-shopping in the instant case because
operator of the vehicle, who was not a party in the the law and the rules expressly allow the filing of a
criminal case. separate civil action which can proceed independently
of the criminal action.
In his Comment, Laroya claims that the petition is fatally
defective as it does not state the real antecedents. Laroya filed the criminal case for reckless imprudence
Laroya further alleges that Casupanan and Capitulo resulting in damage to property based on the Revised
forfeited their right to question the order of dismissal Penal Code while Casupanan and Capitulo filed the civil
when they failed to avail of the proper remedy of action for damages based on Article 2176 of the Civil
appeal. Laroya argues that there is no question of law to Code. Although these two actions arose from the same
be resolved as the order of dismissal is already final and act or omission, they have different causes of action.
a petition for certiorari is not a substitute for a lapsed The criminal case is based on culpa criminal punishable
appeal. under the Revised Penal Code while the civil case is
based on culpa aquiliana actionable under Articles 2176
In their Reply, Casupanan and Capitulo contend that the and 2177 of the Civil Code. These articles on culpa
petition raises the legal question of whether there is aquiliana read:
"Art. 2176. Whoever by act or omission causes prosecution, all civil actions arising from the same act
damage to another, there being fault or or omission were deemed "impliedly instituted" in the
negligence, is obliged to pay for the damage criminal case. These civil actions referred to the
done. Such fault or negligence, if there is no recovery of civil liability ex-delicto, the recovery of
pre-existing contractual relation between the damages for quasi-delict, and the recovery of damages
parties, is called a quasi-delict and is governed for violation of Articles 32, 33 and 34 of the Civil Code
by the provisions of this Chapter. on Human Relations.

Art. 2177. Responsibility for fault or negligence Thus, to file a separate and independent civil action for
under the preceding article is entirely separate quasi-delict under the 1985 Rules, the offended party
and distinct from the civil liability arising from had to reserve in the criminal action the right to bring
negligence under the Penal Code. But the such action. Otherwise, such civil action was deemed
plaintiff cannot recover damages twice for the "impliedly instituted" in the criminal action. Section 1,
same act or omission of the defendant." Rule 111 of the 1985 Rules provided as follows:

Any aggrieved person can invoke these articles provided "Section 1. – Institution of criminal and civil
he proves, by preponderance of evidence, that he has actions. – When a criminal action is instituted,
suffered damage because of the fault or negligence of the civil action for the recovery of civil liability is
another. Either the private complainant or the accused impliedly instituted with the criminal action,
can file a separate civil action under these articles. unless the offended party waives the action,
There is nothing in the law or rules that state only the reserves his right to institute it separately, or
private complainant in a criminal case may invoke these institutes the civil action prior to the criminal
articles. action.

Moreover, paragraph 6, Section 1, Rule 111 of the 2000 Such civil action includes recovery of indemnity
Rules on Criminal Procedure ("2000 Rules" for brevity) under the Revised Penal Code, and damages
expressly requires the accused to litigate his under Articles 32, 33, 34 and 2176 of the Civil
counterclaim in a separate civil action, to wit: Code of the Philippines arising from the same
act or omission of the accused.
"SECTION 1. Institution of criminal and civil
actions. – (a) x x x. A waiver of any of the civil actions extinguishes
the others. The institution of, or the reservation
No counterclaim, cross-claim or third-party of the right to file, any of said civil actions
complaint may be filed by the accused in the separately waives the others.
criminal case, but any cause of action which
could have been the subject thereof may be The reservation of the right to institute the
litigated in a separate civil action." (Emphasis separate civil actions shall be made before the
supplied) prosecution starts to present its evidence and
under circumstances affording the offended
Since the present Rules require the accused in a party a reasonable opportunity to make such
criminal action to file his counterclaim in a separate civil reservation.
action, there can be no forum-shopping if the accused
files such separate civil action. In no case may the offended party recover
damages twice for the same act or omission of
Filing of a separate civil action the accused.

Section 1, Rule 111 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal x x x." (Emphasis supplied)
Procedure ("1985 Rules" for brevity), as amended in
1988, allowed the filing of a separate civil action Section 1, Rule 111 of the 1985 Rules was amended on
independently of the criminal action provided the December 1, 2000 and now provides as follows:
offended party reserved the right to file such civil
action. Unless the offended party reserved the civil "SECTION 1. Institution of criminal and civil
action before the presentation of the evidence for the actions. – (a) When a criminal action is
instituted, the civil action for the recovery of civil liability ex-delicto is filed separately but its trial has
civil liability arising from the offense charged not yet commenced, the civil action may be
shall be deemed instituted with the criminal consolidated with the criminal action. The consolidation
action unless the offended party waives the civil under this Rule does not apply to separate civil actions
action, reserves the right to institute it arising from the same act or omission filed under
separately or institutes the civil action prior to Articles 32, 33, 34 and 2176 of the Civil Code.11
the criminal action.
Suspension of the Separate Civil Action
The reservation of the right to institute
separately the civil action shall be made before Under Section 2, Rule 111 of the amended 1985 Rules, a
the prosecution starts presenting its evidence separate civil action, if reserved in the criminal action,
and under circumstances affording the could not be filed until after final judgment was
offended party a reasonable opportunity to rendered in the criminal action. If the separate civil
make such reservation. action was filed before the commencement of the
criminal action, the civil action, if still pending, was
xxx suspended upon the filing of the criminal action until
final judgment was rendered in the criminal action. This
(b) x x x rule applied only to the separate civil action filed to
recover liability ex-delicto. The rule did not apply to
Where the civil action has been filed separately independent civil actions based on Articles 32, 33, 34
and trial thereof has not yet commenced, it may and 2176 of the Civil Code, which could proceed
be consolidated with the criminal action upon independently regardless of the filing of the criminal
application with the court trying the latter case. action.
If the application is granted, the trial of both
actions shall proceed in accordance with section The amended provision of Section 2, Rule 111 of the
2 of this rule governing consolidation of the civil 2000 Rules continues this procedure, to wit:
and criminal actions." (Emphasis supplied)
"SEC. 2. When separate civil action is
Under Section 1 of the present Rule 111, what is suspended. – After the criminal action has been
"deemed instituted" with the criminal action is only the commenced, the separate civil action arising
action to recover civil liability arising from the crime therefrom cannot be instituted until final
or ex-delicto. All the other civil actions under Articles judgment has been entered in the criminal
32, 33, 34 and 2176 of the Civil Code are no longer action.
"deemed instituted," and may be filed separately and
prosecuted independently even without any reservation If the criminal action is filed after the said civil
in the criminal action. The failure to make a reservation action has already been instituted, the latter
in the criminal action is not a waiver of the right to file a shall be suspended in whatever stage it may be
separate and independent civil action based on these found before judgment on the merits. The
articles of the Civil Code. The prescriptive period on the suspension shall last until final judgment is
civil actions based on these articles of the Civil Code rendered in the criminal action. Nevertheless,
continues to run even with the filing of the criminal before judgment on the merits is rendered in
action. Verily, the civil actions based on these articles of the civil action, the same may, upon motion of
the Civil Code are separate, distinct and independent of the offended party, be consolidated with the
the civil action "deemed instituted" in the criminal criminal action in the court trying the criminal
action.10 action. In case of consolidation, the evidence
already adduced in the civil action shall be
Under the present Rule 111, the offended party is still deemed automatically reproduced in the
given the option to file a separate civil action to recover criminal action without prejudice to the right of
civil liability ex-delicto by reserving such right in the the prosecution to cross-examine the witnesses
criminal action before the prosecution presents its presented by the offended party in the criminal
evidence. Also, the offended party is deemed to make case and of the parties to present additional
such reservation if he files a separate civil action before evidence. The consolidated criminal and civil
filing the criminal action. If the civil action to recover actions shall be tried and decided jointly.
During the pendency of the criminal action, the or omission charged in the criminal action. Clearly,
running of the period of prescription of the civil Section 3 of Rule 111 refers to the offended party in the
action which cannot be instituted separately or criminal action, not to the accused.
whose proceeding has been suspended shall be
tolled. Casupanan and Capitulo, however, invoke the ruling
in Cabaero vs. Cantos12 where the Court held that the
x x x." (Emphasis supplied) accused therein could validly institute a separate civil
action for quasi-delict against the private complainant
Thus, Section 2, Rule 111 of the present Rules did not in the criminal case. In Cabaero, the accused in the
change the rule that the separate civil action, filed to criminal case filed his Answer with Counterclaim for
recover damages ex-delicto, is suspended upon the malicious prosecution. At that time the Court noted the
filing of the criminal action. Section 2 of the present "absence of clear-cut rules governing the prosecution
Rule 111 also prohibits the filing, after commencement on impliedly instituted civil actions and the necessary
of the criminal action, of a separate civil action to consequences and implications thereof." Thus, the
recover damages ex-delicto. Court ruled that the trial court should confine itself to
the criminal aspect of the case and disregard any
When civil action may proceed independently counterclaim for civil liability. The Court further ruled
that the accused may file a separate civil case against
The crucial question now is whether Casupanan and the offended party "after the criminal case is
Capitulo, who are not the offended parties in the terminated and/or in accordance with the new Rules
criminal case, can file a separate civil action against the which may be promulgated." The Court explained that a
offended party in the criminal case. Section 3, Rule 111 cross-claim, counterclaim or third-party complaint on
of the 2000 Rules provides as follows: the civil aspect will only unnecessarily complicate the
proceedings and delay the resolution of the criminal
"SEC 3. When civil action may proceed case.
independently. - In the cases provided in
Articles 32, 33, 34 and 2176 of the Civil Code of Paragraph 6, Section 1 of the present Rule 111 was
the Philippines, the independent civil action incorporated in the 2000 Rules precisely to address
may be brought by the offended party. It shall the lacunamentioned in Cabaero. Under this provision,
proceed independently of the criminal action the accused is barred from filing a counterclaim, cross-
and shall require only a preponderance of claim or third-party complaint in the criminal case.
evidence. In no case, however, may the However, the same provision states that "any cause of
offended party recover damages twice for the action which could have been the subject (of the
same act or omission charged in the criminal counterclaim, cross-claim or third-party complaint) may
action." (Emphasis supplied) be litigated in a separate civil action." The present Rule
111 mandates the accused to file his counterclaim in a
Section 3 of the present Rule 111, like its counterpart in separate civil actiosn which shall proceed independently
the amended 1985 Rules, expressly allows the of the criminal action, even as the civil action of the
"offended party" to bring an independent civil action offended party is litigated in the criminal action.
under Articles 32, 33, 34 and 2176 of the Civil Code. As
stated in Section 3 of the present Rule 111, this civil Conclusion
action shall proceed independently of the criminal
action and shall require only a preponderance of Under Section 1 of the present Rule 111, the
evidence. In no case, however, may the "offended party independent civil action in Articles 32, 33, 34 and 2176
recover damages twice for the same act or omission of the Civil Code is not deemed instituted with the
charged in the criminal action." criminal action but may be filed separately by the
offended party even without reservation. The
There is no question that the offended party in the commencement of the criminal action does not
criminal action can file an independent civil action for suspend the prosecution of the independent civil action
quasi-delict against the accused. Section 3 of the under these articles of the Civil Code. The suspension in
present Rule 111 expressly states that the "offended Section 2 of the present Rule 111 refers only to the civil
party" may bring such an action but the "offended action arising from the crime, if such civil action is
party" may not recover damages twice for the same act
reserved or filed before the commencement of the with the decision of the trial court in the independent
criminal action. civil action. This possibility has always been recognized
ever since the Civil Code introduced in 1950 the concept
Thus, the offended party can file two separate suits for of an independent civil action under Articles 32, 33, 34
the same act or omission. The first a criminal case and 2176 of the Code. But the law itself, in Article 31 of
where the civil action to recover civil liability ex- the Code, expressly provides that the independent civil
delicto is deemed instituted, and the other a civil case action "may proceed independently of the criminal
for quasi-delict - without violating the rule on non- proceedings and regardless of the result of the latter."
forum shopping. The two cases can proceed In Azucena vs. Potenciano,13the Court declared:
simultaneously and independently of each other. The
commencement or prosecution of the criminal action "x x x. There can indeed be no other logical
will not suspend the civil action for quasi-delict. The conclusion than this, for to subordinate the civil
only limitation is that the offended party cannot recover action contemplated in the said articles to the
damages twice for the same act or omission of the result of the criminal prosecution — whether it
defendant. In most cases, the offended party will have be conviction or acquittal — would render
no reason to file a second civil action since he cannot meaningless the independent character of the
recover damages twice for the same act or omission of civil action and the clear injunction in Article 31
the accused. In some instances, the accused may be that this action 'may proceed independently of
insolvent, necessitating the filing of another case the criminal proceedings and regardless of the
against his employer or guardians. result of the latter.’"

Similarly, the accused can file a civil action for quasi- More than half a century has passed since the Civil Code
delict for the same act or omission he is accused of in introduced the concept of a civil action separate and
the criminal case. This is expressly allowed in paragraph independent from the criminal action although arising
6, Section 1 of the present Rule 111 which states that from the same act or omission. The Court, however, has
the counterclaim of the accused "may be litigated in a yet to encounter a case of conflicting and irreconcilable
separate civil action." This is only fair for two reasons. decisions of trial courts, one hearing the criminal case
First, the accused is prohibited from setting up any and the other the civil action for quasi-delict. The fear of
counterclaim in the civil aspect that is deemed conflicting and irreconcilable decisions may be more
instituted in the criminal case. The accused is therefore apparent than real. In any event, there are sufficient
forced to litigate separately his counterclaim against the remedies under the Rules of Court to deal with such
offended party. If the accused does not file a separate remote possibilities.
civil action for quasi-delict, the prescriptive period may
set in since the period continues to run until the civil One final point. The Revised Rules on Criminal
action for quasi-delict is filed. Procedure took effect on December 1, 2000 while the
MCTC issued the order of dismissal on December 28,
Second, the accused, who is presumed innocent, has a 1999 or before the amendment of the rules. The
right to invoke Article 2177 of the Civil Code, in the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure must be given
same way that the offended party can avail of this retroactive effect considering the well-settled rule that -
remedy which is independent of the criminal action. To
disallow the accused from filing a separate civil action "x x x statutes regulating the procedure of the
for quasi-delict, while refusing to recognize his court will be construed as applicable to actions
counterclaim in the criminal case, is to deny him due pending and undetermined at the time of their
process of law, access to the courts, and equal passage. Procedural laws are retroactive in that
protection of the law. sense and to that extent."14

Thus, the civil action based on quasi-delict filed WHEREFORE, the petition for review on certiorari is
separately by Casupanan and Capitulo is proper. The hereby GRANTED. The Resolutions dated December 28,
order of dismissal by the MCTC of Civil Case No. 2089 on 1999 and August 24, 2000 in Special Civil Action No. 17-
the ground of forum-shopping is erroneous. C (99) are ANNULLED and Civil Case No. 2089
is REINSTATED.
We make this ruling aware of the possibility that the
decision of the trial court in the criminal case may vary
G.R. No. 145804 February 6, 2003 On 11 August 1998, the trial court rendered its decision;
it adjudged:
LIGHT RAIL TRANSIT AUTHORITY & RODOLFO
ROMAN, petitioners, "WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of
vs. the plaintiffs and against the defendants Prudent
MARJORIE NAVIDAD, Heirs of the Late NICANOR Security and Junelito Escartin ordering the latter to pay
NAVIDAD & PRUDENT SECURITY AGENCY, respondents. jointly and severally the plaintiffs the following:

The case before the Court is an appeal from the "a) 1) Actual damages of P44,830.00;
decision and resolution of the Court of Appeals,
promulgated on 27 April 2000 and 10 October 2000, 2) Compensatory damages of P443,520.00;
respectively, in CA-G.R. CV No. 60720, entitled
"Marjorie Navidad and Heirs of the Late Nicanor 3) Indemnity for the death of Nicanor Navidad in the
Navidad vs. Rodolfo Roman, et. al.," which has modified sum of P50,000.00;
the decision of 11 August 1998 of the Regional Trial
Court, Branch 266, Pasig City, exonerating Prudent "b) Moral damages of P50,000.00;
Security Agency (Prudent) from liability and finding
Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) and Rodolfo Roman "c) Attorney’s fees of P20,000;
liable for damages on account of the death of Nicanor
Navidad. "d) Costs of suit.

On 14 October 1993, about half an hour past seven "The complaint against defendants LRTA and Rodolfo
o’clock in the evening, Nicanor Navidad, then drunk, Roman are dismissed for lack of merit.
entered the EDSA LRT station after purchasing a "token"
(representing payment of the fare). While Navidad was "The compulsory counterclaim of LRTA and Roman are
standing on the platform near the LRT tracks, Junelito likewise dismissed."1
Escartin, the security guard assigned to the area
approached Navidad. A misunderstanding or an Prudent appealed to the Court of Appeals. On 27 August
altercation between the two apparently ensued that led 2000, the appellate court promulgated its now assailed
to a fist fight. No evidence, however, was adduced to decision exonerating Prudent from any liability for the
indicate how the fight started or who, between the two, death of Nicanor Navidad and, instead, holding the
delivered the first blow or how Navidad later fell on the LRTA and Roman jointly and severally liable thusly:
LRT tracks. At the exact moment that Navidad fell, an
LRT train, operated by petitioner Rodolfo Roman, was "WHEREFORE, the assailed judgment is hereby
coming in. Navidad was struck by the moving train, and MODIFIED, by exonerating the appellants from any
he was killed instantaneously. liability for the death of Nicanor Navidad, Jr. Instead,
appellees Rodolfo Roman and the Light Rail Transit
On 08 December 1994, the widow of Nicanor, herein Authority (LRTA) are held liable for his death and are
respondent Marjorie Navidad, along with her children, hereby directed to pay jointly and severally to the
filed a complaint for damages against Junelito Escartin, plaintiffs-appellees, the following amounts:
Rodolfo Roman, the LRTA, the Metro Transit
Organization, Inc. (Metro Transit), and Prudent for the a) P44,830.00 as actual damages;
death of her husband. LRTA and Roman filed a
counterclaim against Navidad and a cross-claim against b) P50,000.00 as nominal damages;
Escartin and Prudent. Prudent, in its answer, denied
liability and averred that it had exercised due diligence
c) P50,000.00 as moral damages;
in the selection and supervision of its security guards.
d) P50,000.00 as indemnity for the death of the
The LRTA and Roman presented their evidence while
deceased; and
Prudent and Escartin, instead of presenting evidence,
filed a demurrer contending that Navidad had failed to
e) P20,000.00 as and for attorney’s fees."2
prove that Escartin was negligent in his assigned task.
The appellate court ratiocinated that while the basis because Roman himself had testified being an
deceased might not have then as yet boarded the train, employee of Metro Transit and not of the LRTA.
a contract of carriage theretofore had already existed
when the victim entered the place where passengers Respondents, supporting the decision of the appellate
were supposed to be after paying the fare and getting court, contended that a contract of carriage was
the corresponding token therefor. In exempting deemed created from the moment Navidad paid the
Prudent from liability, the court stressed that there was fare at the LRT station and entered the premises of the
nothing to link the security agency to the death of latter, entitling Navidad to all the rights and protection
Navidad. It said that Navidad failed to show that under a contractual relation, and that the appellate
Escartin inflicted fist blows upon the victim and the court had correctly held LRTA and Roman liable for the
evidence merely established the fact of death of death of Navidad in failing to exercise extraordinary
Navidad by reason of his having been hit by the train diligence imposed upon a common carrier.
owned and managed by the LRTA and operated at the
time by Roman. The appellate court faulted petitioners Law and jurisprudence dictate that a common carrier,
for their failure to present expert evidence to establish both from the nature of its business and for reasons of
the fact that the application of emergency brakes could public policy, is burdened with the duty of exercising
not have stopped the train. utmost diligence in ensuring the safety of
passengers.4 The Civil Code, governing the liability of a
The appellate court denied petitioners’ motion for common carrier for death of or injury to its passengers,
reconsideration in its resolution of 10 October 2000. provides:

In their present recourse, petitioners recite alleged "Article 1755. A common carrier is bound to carry the
errors on the part of the appellate court; viz: passengers safely as far as human care and foresight
can provide, using the utmost diligence of very cautious
"I. persons, with a due regard for all the circumstances.

THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED "Article 1756. In case of death of or injuries to
BY DISREGARDING THE FINDINGS OF FACTS BY THE passengers, common carriers are presumed to have
TRIAL COURT been at fault or to have acted negligently, unless they
prove that they observed extraordinary diligence as
"II. prescribed in articles 1733 and 1755."

THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED "Article 1759. Common carriers are liable for the death
IN FINDING THAT PETITIONERS ARE LIABLE FOR THE of or injuries to passengers through the negligence or
DEATH OF NICANOR NAVIDAD, JR. willful acts of the former’s employees, although such
employees may have acted beyond the scope of their
"III. authority or in violation of the orders of the common
carriers.
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED
IN FINDING THAT RODOLFO ROMAN IS AN EMPLOYEE "This liability of the common carriers does not cease
OF LRTA."3 upon proof that they exercised all the diligence of a
good father of a family in the selection and supervision
Petitioners would contend that the appellate court of their employees."
ignored the evidence and the factual findings of the trial
court by holding them liable on the basis of a sweeping "Article 1763. A common carrier is responsible for
conclusion that the presumption of negligence on the injuries suffered by a passenger on account of the
part of a common carrier was not overcome. Petitioners willful acts or negligence of other passengers or of
would insist that Escartin’s assault upon Navidad, which strangers, if the common carrier’s employees through
caused the latter to fall on the tracks, was an act of a the exercise of the diligence of a good father of a family
stranger that could not have been foreseen or could have prevented or stopped the act or omission."
prevented. The LRTA would add that the appellate
court’s conclusion on the existence of an employer- The law requires common carriers to carry passengers
employee relationship between Roman and LRTA lacked safely using the utmost diligence of very cautious
persons with due regard for all circumstances.5 Such obligation can be breached by tort and when the same
duty of a common carrier to provide safety to its act or omission causes the injury, one resulting in culpa
passengers so obligates it not only during the course of contractual and the other in culpa aquiliana, Article
the trip but for so long as the passengers are within its 219414 of the Civil Code can well apply.15 In fine, a
premises and where they ought to be in pursuance to liability for tort may arise even under a contract, where
the contract of carriage.6 The statutory provisions tort is that which breaches the contract.16 Stated
render a common carrier liable for death of or injury to differently, when an act which constitutes a breach of
passengers (a) through the negligence or wilful acts of contract would have itself constituted the source of a
its employees or b) on account of wilful acts or quasi-delictual liability had no contract existed between
negligence of other passengers or of strangers if the the parties, the contract can be said to have been
common carrier’s employees through the exercise of breached by tort, thereby allowing the rules on tort to
due diligence could have prevented or stopped the act apply.17
or omission.7 In case of such death or injury, a carrier is
presumed to have been at fault or been negligent, Regrettably for LRT, as well as perhaps the surviving
and8 by simple proof of injury, the passenger is relieved spouse and heirs of the late Nicanor Navidad, this Court
of the duty to still establish the fault or negligence of is concluded by the factual finding of the Court of
the carrier or of its employees and the burden shifts Appeals that "there is nothing to link (Prudent) to the
upon the carrier to prove that the injury is due to an death of Nicanor (Navidad), for the reason that the
unforeseen event or to force majeure.9 In the absence negligence of its employee, Escartin, has not been duly
of satisfactory explanation by the carrier on how the proven x x x." This finding of the appellate court is not
accident occurred, which petitioners, according to the without substantial justification in our own review of
appellate court, have failed to show, the presumption the records of the case.
would be that it has been at fault,10 an exception from
the general rule that negligence must be proved.11 There being, similarly, no showing that petitioner
Rodolfo Roman himself is guilty of any culpable act or
The foundation of LRTA’s liability is the contract of omission, he must also be absolved from liability.
carriage and its obligation to indemnify the victim arises Needless to say, the contractual tie between the LRT
from the breach of that contract by reason of its failure and Navidad is not itself a juridical relation between the
to exercise the high diligence required of the common latter and Roman; thus, Roman can be made liable only
carrier. In the discharge of its commitment to ensure for his own fault or negligence.
the safety of passengers, a carrier may choose to hire its
own employees or avail itself of the services of an The award of nominal damages in addition to actual
outsider or an independent firm to undertake the task. damages is untenable. Nominal damages are
In either case, the common carrier is not relieved of its adjudicated in order that a right of the plaintiff, which
responsibilities under the contract of carriage. has been violated or invaded by the defendant, may be
vindicated or recognized, and not for the purpose of
Should Prudent be made likewise liable? If at all, that indemnifying the plaintiff for any loss suffered by
liability could only be for tort under the provisions of him.18 It is an established rule that nominal damages
Article 217612 and related provisions, in conjunction cannot co-exist with compensatory damages.19
with Article 2180,13 of the Civil Code. The premise,
however, for the employer’s liability is negligence or WHEREFORE, the assailed decision of the appellate
fault on the part of the employee. Once such fault is court is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION but only in that
established, the employer can then be made liable on (a) the award of nominal damages is DELETED and (b)
the basis of the presumption juris tantum that the petitioner Rodolfo Roman is absolved from liability. No
employer failed to exercise diligentissimi patris families costs.
in the selection and supervision of its employees. The
liability is primary and can only be negated by showing
due diligence in the selection and supervision of the
employee, a factual matter that has not been shown.
Absent such a showing, one might ask further, how then
must the liability of the common carrier, on the one
hand, and an independent contractor, on the other
hand, be described? It would be solidary. A contractual