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338 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


Rodriguez vs. Ponferrada

23

MARY ANN RODRIGUEZ, petitioner, vs. Hon. THELMA A.


PONFERRADA, in Her Official Capacity as Presiding Judge of the
Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 104; PEOPLE OF
THE PHILIPPINES; and GLADYS NOCOM, respondents.

Actions; Criminal Law; Criminal Procedure; Parties; An offended


party may intervene in the prosecution of a crime; Exceptions.—Based on
the foregoing rules, an offended party may intervene in the prosecution of a
crime, except in the following instances: (1) when, from the nature of the
crime and the law defining and punishing it, no civil liability arises in favor
of a private offended party; and (2) when, from the nature of the offense, the
offended parties are entitled to civil indemnity, but (a) they waive the right
to institute a civil action, (b) expressly reserve the right to do so, or (c) the
suit has already been instituted. In any of these instances, the private
complainant’s interest in the case disappears and criminal prosecution
becomes the sole function of the public prosecutor. None of these
exceptions apply to the instant case. Hence, the private prosecutor cannot be
barred from intervening in the estafa suit.
Same; Same; Estafa; Bouncing Checks Law (B.P. 22); While the single
act of issuing a bouncing check may give rise to two distinct criminal
offenses—estafa and violation of B.P. 22—the same involves

_______________

* THIRD DIVISION.

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only one civil liability for the offended party since he sustained only a single
injury.—True, each of the overt acts in these instances may give rise to two
criminal liabilities—one for estafa and another for violation of BP 22. But
every such act of issuing a bouncing check involves only one civil liability
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for the offended party, who has sustained only a single injury. This is the
import of Banal v. Tadeo, which we quote in part as follows: “Generally, the
basis of civil liability arising from crime is the fundamental postulate of our
law that ‘Every man criminally liable is also civilly liable’ (Art. 100, The
Revised Penal Code). Underlying this legal principle is the traditional theory
that when a person commits a crime he offends two entities namely (1) the
society in which he lives in or the political entity called the State whose law
he had violated; and (2) the individual member of that society whose person,
right, honor, chastity or property was actually or directly injured or damaged
by the same punishable act or omission. However, this rather broad and
general provision is among the most complex and controversial topics in
criminal procedure. It can be misleading in its implications especially where
the same act or omission may be treated as a crime in one instance and as a
tort in another or where the law allows a separate civil action to proceed
independently of the course of the criminal prosecution with which it is
intimately intertwined. Many legal scholars treat as a misconception or
fallacy the generally accepted notion that the civil liability actually arises
from the crime when, in the ultimate analysis, it does not. While an act or
omission is felonious because it is punishable by law, it gives rise to civil
liability not so much because it is a crime but because it caused damage to
another. Viewing things pragmatically, we can readily see that what gives
rise to the civil liability is really the obligation and the moral duty of
everyone to repair or make whole the damage caused to another by reason
of his own act or omission, done intentionally or negligently, whether or not
the same be punishable by law. In other words, criminal liability will give
rise to civil liability only if the same felonious act or omission results in
damage or injury to another and is the direct and proximate cause thereof.
Damage or injury to another is evidently the foundation of the civil action.
Such is not the case in criminal actions for, to be criminally liable, it is
enough that the act or omission complained of is punishable, regardless of
whether or not it also causes material damage to another. (See Sangco,
Philippine Law on Torts and Damages, 1978, Revised Edition, pp. 246-
247).”

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Same; Same; Same; Same; Forum Shopping; The possible single


liability arising from the act of issuing a bouncing check can be the subject
of both civil actions deemed instituted with the estafa case and the BP 22
violation prosecution, and as both remedies are simultaneously available to
such party, there can be no forum shopping.—The possible single civil
liability arising from the act of issuing a bouncing check can be the subject
of both civil actions deemed instituted with the estafa case and the BP 22
violation prosecution. In the crimes of both estafa and violation of BP 22,
Rule 111 of the Rules of Court expressly allows, even automatically in the
present case, the institution of a civil action without need of election by the

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offended party. As both remedies are simultaneously available to this party,


there can be no forum shopping.
Same; Same; Same; Same; Doctrine of Election of Remedies; Words
and Phrases; In its broad sense, election of remedies refers to the choice by
a party to an action of one of two or more coexisting remedial rights, where
several such rights arise out of the same facts, but the term has been
generally limited to a choice by a party between inconsistent remedial
rights, the assertion of one being necessarily repugnant to, or a repudiation
of, the other.—Petitioner is actually raising the doctrine of election of
remedies. “In its broad sense, election of remedies refers to the choice by a
party to an action of one of two or more coexisting remedial rights, where
several such rights arise out of the same facts, but the term has been
generally limited to a choice by a party between inconsistent remedial
rights, the assertion of one being necessarily repugnant to, or a repudiation
of, the other.” In its more restricted and technical sense, the election of
remedies is the adoption of one of two or more coexisting ones, with the
effect of precluding a resort to the others.
Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; While some American authorities
hold that the mere initiation of proceedings constitutes a binding choice of
remedies that precludes pursuit of alternative courses, the better rule is that
no binding election occurs before a decision on the merits is had or a
detriment to the other party supervenes.—The Court further elucidates in
Mellon Bank v. Magsino as follows: “As a technical rule of procedure, the
purpose of the doctrine of election of remedies is not to prevent recourse to
any remedy, but to prevent double redress for a single wrong. It is regarded
as an application of the law of estoppel, upon the theory that a party can-

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not, in the assertion of his right occupy inconsistent positions which form
the basis of his respective remedies. However, when a certain state of facts
under the law entitles a party to alternative remedies, both founded upon the
identical state of facts, these remedies are not considered inconsistent
remedies. In such case, the invocation of one remedy is not an election
which will bar the other, unless the suit upon the remedy first invoked shall
reach the stage of final adjudication or unless by the invocation of the
remedy first sought to be enforced, the plaintiff shall have gained an
advantage thereby or caused detriment or change of situation to the other. It
must be pointed out that ordinarily, election of remedies is not made until
the judicial proceedings has gone to judgment on the merits. “Consonant
with these rulings, this Court, through Justice J.B.L. Reyes, opined that
while some American authorities hold that the mere initiation of
proceedings constitutes a binding choice of remedies that precludes pursuit
of alternative courses, the better rule is that no binding election occurs
before a decision on the merits is had or a detriment to the other party
supervenes. This is because the principle of election of remedies is
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discordant with the modern procedural concepts embodied in the Code of


Civil Procedure which permits a party to seek inconsistent remedies in his
claim for relief without being required to elect between them at the pleading
stage of the litigation.” Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; Nothing in the
Rules signifies that the necessary inclusion of a civil action in a criminal
case for violation of the Bouncing Checks Law precludes the institution in
an estafa case of the corresponding civil action, even if both offenses relate
to the issuance of the same check.—In the present cases before us, the
institution of the civil actions with the estafa cases and the inclusion of
another set of civil actions with the BP 22 cases are not exactly repugnant or
inconsistent with each other. Nothing in the Rules signifies that the
necessary inclusion of a civil action in a criminal case for violation of the
Bouncing Checks Law precludes the institution in an estafa case of the
corresponding civil action, even if both offenses relate to the issuance of the
same check.
Same; Same; Same; Same; Filing Fees; While ordinarily no filing fees
were charged for actual damages in criminal cases, the rule on the
necessary inclusion of a civil action with the payment of filing fees based on
the face value of the check involved was laid down to prevent the practice of
creditors of using the threat of a criminal

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prosecution to collect on their credit free of charge.—The purpose of


Section 1(b) of Rule 111 is explained by Justice Florenz D. Regalado (ret.),
former chairman of the committee tasked with the revision of the Rules of
Criminal Procedure. He clarified that the special rule on BP 22 cases was
added, because the dockets of the courts were clogged with such litigations;
creditors were using the courts as collectors. While ordinarily no filing fees
were charged for actual damages in criminal cases, the rule on the necessary
inclusion of a civil action with the payment of filing fees based on the face
value of the check involved was laid down to prevent the practice of
creditors of using the threat of a criminal prosecution to collect on their
credit free of charge. Clearly, it was not the intent of the special rule to
preclude the prosecution of the civil action that corresponds to the estafa
case, should the latter also be filed. The crimes of estafa and violation of BP
22 are different and distinct from each other. There is no identity of offenses
involved, for which legal jeopardy in one case may be invoked in the other.
The offenses charged in the informations are perfectly distinct from each
other in point of law, however nearly they may be connected in point of fact.
Same; Same; Same; Same; What Section 1(b), Rule 111 of the Rules of
Court prohibits is the reservation to file the corresponding civil action; The
fact that the Rules do not allow the reservations of civil action in BP 22
cases cannot deprive the private complainant of the right to protect her
interests in the criminal action for estafa—in promulgating the Rules, the
Supreme Court did not intend to leave the offended parties without any
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remedy to protect their interests in estafa cases.—What Section 1(b) of the


Rules of Court prohibits is the reservation to file the corresponding civil
action. The criminal action shall be deemed to include the corresponding
civil action. “[U]nless a separate civil action has been filed before the
institution of the criminal action, no such civil action can be instituted after
the criminal action has been filed as the same has been included therein.” In
the instant case, the criminal action for estafa was admittedly filed prior to
the criminal case for violation of BP 22, with the corresponding filing fees
for the inclusion of the corresponding civil action paid accordingly.
Furthermore, the fact that the Rules do not allow the reservation of civil
actions in BP 22 cases cannot deprive private complainant of the right to
protect her interests in the criminal action for estafa. Nothing in the current
law or rules on BP 22 vests the jurisdiction of the corresponding civil case
exclusively in the

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court trying the BP 22 criminal case. In promulgating the Rules, this Court
did not intend to leave the offended parties without any remedy to protect
their interests in estafa cases. Its power to promulgate the Rules of Court is
limited in the sense that rules “shall not diminish, increase or modify
substantive rights.” Private complainant’s intervention in the prosecution of
estafa is justified not only for the prosecution of her interests, but also for
the speedy and inexpensive administration of justice as mandated by the
Constitution.
Same; Same; Same; Same; Unjust Enrichment; A recovery by the
offended party under one remedy necessarily bars that under the other—
obviously stemming from the fundamental rule against unjust enrichment,
this is in essence the rationale for the proscription in our law against double
recovery for the same act or omission.—The trial court was, therefore,
correct in holding that the private prosecutor may intervene before the RTC
in the proceedings for estafa, despite the necessary inclusion of the
corresponding civil action in the proceedings for violation of BP 22 pending
before the MTC. A recovery by the offended party under one remedy,
however, necessarily bars that under the other. Obviously stemming from
the fundamental rule against unjust enrichment, this is in essence the
rationale for the proscription in our law against double recovery for the
same act or omission.

SPECIAL CIVIL ACTION in the Supreme Court. Certiorari.

The facts are stated in the opinion of the Court.


     RRV Legal Consultancy Firm for petitioner.
     The Solicitor General for the People.

PANGANIBAN, J.:

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Settled is the rule that the single act of issuing a bouncing check
may give rise to two distinct criminal offenses: estafa and violation
of Batas Pambansa Bilang 22 (BP 22). The Rules of Court allow the
offended party to intervene via a private prosecutor in each of these
two penal proceedings. However, the recovery of the single civil
liability arising from the single act of issuing a bouncing check in
either

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criminal case bars the recovery of the same civil liability in the other
criminal action. While the law allows two simultaneous civil
remedies for the offended party, it authorizes recovery in only one.
In short, while two crimes arise from a single set of facts, only one
civil liability attaches to it.

The Case
1
Before us is a Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 2
of the Rules of
Court, seeking to reverse the July 27, 2002 Order of the Regional
Court (RTC) of Quezon City (Branch 104) in Criminal Case Nos. Q-
01-106256 to Q-01-106259. Also assailed is the August 16, 2002
3
Order of the RTC denying petitioner’s Motion for Reconsideration.
The first assailed Order is quoted in full as follows:

“For consideration is the opposition of the accused, through counsel, to the


formal entry of appearance of private prosecutor. “Accused, through
counsel, contends that the private prosecutor is barred from appearing
before this Court as his appearance is limited to the civil aspect which must
be presented and asserted in B.P. 22 cases pending before the Metropolitan
Trial Court of Quezon City.
“The private prosecutor submitted comment stating that the offended
party did not manifest within fifteen (15) days following the filing of the
information that the civil liability arising from the crime has been or would
be separately prosecuted and that she should therefore be required to pay the
legal fees pursuant to Section 20 of Rule 141 of the Rules of Court, as
amended.
“Considering that the prosecution under B.P. 22 is without prejudice to
any liability for violation of any provision of the Revised Penal Code (BP
22, Sec. 5), the civil action for the recovery of the civil liability arising from
the estafa cases pending before this Court is deemed instituted with the
criminal action (Rule 111, Sec. 1 [a]).

_______________

1 Rollo, pp. 3-22.


2 Id., p. 23. Penned by Judge Thelma A. Ponferrada.
3 Id., p. 24-27.

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The offended party may thus intervene by counsel in the prosecution of the
offense (Rule 110, Sec. 16).
“WHEREFORE, the appearance of a private prosecutor shall be allowed
upon payment of the legal fees for these estafa cases pending before this
Court pursuant to Section 1 of Rule 141 of the Rules of Court, as
4
amended.”

The Facts

The undisputed facts are narrated by petitioner as follows:

“On 10 December 2001, the Honorable Assistant City Prosecutor Rossana


S. Morales-Montojo of Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office issued her
Resolution in I.S. No. 01-15902, the dispositive portion of which reads as
follows:

‘Premises considered, there being PROBABLE CAUSE to charge respondent for


ESTAFA under Article 315 paragraph 2(d) as amended by PD 818 and for Violation
of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22, it is respectfully recommended that the attached
Information be approved and filed in Court.’

“As a consequence thereof, separate informations were separately filed


against herein [p]etitioner before proper [c]ourts, for Estafa and [v]iolation
of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22.
“Upon payment of the assessed and required docket fees by the [p]rivate
[c]omplainant, the informations for [v]iolation of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22
against herein [p]etitioner were filed and raffled to the Metropolitan Trial
Court of Quezon City, Branch 42, docketed as Criminal Cases Nos.
0108033 to 36.
“On the other hand, the informations for [e]stafa cases against herein
[p]etitioner were likewise filed and raffled to the Regional Trial Court of
Quezon City, Branch 104, docketed as Criminal Cases Nos. 01-106256 to
59.
“On 17 June 2002, petitioner through counsel filed in open court before
the [p]ublic [r]espondent an ‘Opposition to the Formal Entry of Appearance
of the Private Prosecutor’ dated 14 June 2002.

_______________

4 June 27, 2002 Order; Rollo, p. 23.

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“The [p]ublic [r]espondent court during the said hearing noted the Formal
Entry of Appearance of Atty. Felix R. Solomon as [p]rivate [p]rosecutor as
well as the Opposition filed thereto by herein [p]etitioner. x x x.
“As ordered by the Court, [p]rivate [c]omplainant through counsel filed
her Comment to the Opposition of herein [p]etitioner.
“On 27 June 2002, the [p]ublic [r]espondent court issued the first
assailed Order allowing the appearance of the [p]rivate [p]rosecutor in the
above-entitled criminal cases upon payment of the legal fees pursuant to
Section 1 of Rule 141 of the Rules of Court, as amended.
“On 31 July 2002, [a]ccused through counsel filed a Motion for
Reconsideration dated 26 July 2002.
“On 16 August 2002, the [p]ublic [r]espondent court issued the second
assailed Order denying the Motion for Reconsideration of herein
5
[p]etitioner.”

Ruling of the Trial Court

Noting petitioner’s opposition to the private prosecutor’s entry of


appearance, the RTC held that the civil action for the recovery of
civil liability arising from the offense charged is deemed instituted,
unless the offended party (1) waives the civil action, (2) reserves the
right to institute it separately, or (3) institutes the civil action prior to
the criminal action. Considering that the offended party had paid the
corresponding filing fee for the estafa cases prior to the filing of the
BP 22 cases with the Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC), the RTC
allowed the private prosecutor to appear and intervene in the
proceedings.
6
Hence, this Petition.

_______________

5 Petitioner’s Memorandum, pp. 3-5; Rollo, pp. 153-155.


6 The case was deemed submitted for decision on May 28, 2004, upon receipt by
this Court of Petitioner’s Memorandum signed by Atty. Redemberto R. Villanueva.
Respondent’s Manifestation and Motion For Leave to Adopt Comment as
Memorandum, signed by Assistant Solicitor General Fernanda Lampas Peralta and
Associate

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Issues

Petitioner raises this sole issue for the Court’s consideration:

“Whether or not a [p]rivate [p]rosecutor can be allowed to intervene and


participate in the proceedings of the above-entitled [e]stafa cases for the

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purpose of prosecuting the attached civil liability arising from the issuance
of the checks involved which is also subject matter of the pending B.P. 22
7
cases.”

The Court’s Ruling

The Petition has no merit.

Sole Issue: Civil Action in BP 22 Case Not a Bar


to Civil Action in Estafa Case
Petitioner theorizes that the civil action necessarily arising from the
criminal case pending before the MTC for violation of BP 22
precludes the institution of the corresponding civil action in the
criminal case for estafa now pending before the RTC. She hinges her
theory on the following provisions of Rules 110 and 111 of the Rules
of Court:

“SECTION 16. Intervention of the offended party in criminal action.—


Where the civil action for recovery of civil liability is instituted in the
criminal action pursuant to Rule 111, the offended party may intervene by
counsel in the prosecution of the offense.”
“SECTION 1. Institution of criminal and civil actions.—(a) When a
criminal action is instituted, the civil action for the recovery of civil liability
arising from the offense charged shall be deemed instituted with the
criminal action unless the offended party waives

_______________

Solicitor Josephine de Sagon Mejia, was received by the Court on August 20, 2003.
7 Petitioner’s Memorandum, p. 5; Rollo, p. 155.

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the civil action, reserves the right to institute it separately or institutes the
civil action prior to the criminal action.
“The reservation of the right to institute separately the civil action shall
be made before the prosecution starts presenting its evidence and under
circumstances affording the offended party a reasonable opportunity to
make such reservation.
“When the offended party seeks to enforce civil liability against the
accused by way of moral, nominal, temperate, or exemplary damages
without specifying the amount thereof in the complaint or information, the
filing fees therefor shall constitute a first lien on the judgment awarding
such damages.
x x x      x x x      x x x
“(b) The criminal action for violation of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22 shall
be deemed to include the corresponding civil action. No reservation to file
such civil action separately shall be allowed.
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“Upon filing of the aforesaid joint criminal and civil actions, the
offended party shall pay in full the filing fees based on the amount of the
check involved, which shall be considered as the actual damages claimed.
Where the complaint or information also seeks to recover liquidated, moral,
nominal, temperate or exemplary damages, the offended party shall pay the
filing fees based on the amounts alleged therein. If the amounts are not so
alleged but any of these damages are subsequently awarded by the court, the
filing fees based on the amount awarded shall constitute a first lien on the
judgment.
“Where the civil action has been filed separately and trial thereof has not
yet commenced, it may be consolidated with the criminal action upon
application with the court trying the latter case. If the application is granted,
the trial of both actions shall proceed in accordance with section 2 of this
Rule governing consolidation of the civil and criminal actions.”

Based on the foregoing rules, an offended party may intervene in the


prosecution of a crime, except in the following instances: (1) when,
from the nature of the crime and the law defining and punishing it,
no civil liability arises in favor of a private offended party; and (2)
when, from the nature of the offense, the offended parties are
entitled to civil indemnity, but (a) they waive the right to institute a
civil action, (b) ex-

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pressly reserve the right to do so, or (c) the suit has already been
instituted. In any of these instances, the private complainant’s
interest in the case disappears and criminal
8
prosecution becomes the
sole function of the public prosecutor. None of these exceptions
apply to the instant case. Hence, the private prosecutor cannot be
barred from intervening in the estafa suit.
True, each of the overt acts in these instances may give rise to
two criminal liabilities—one for estafa and another for violation of
BP 22. But every such act of issuing a bouncing check involves only
one civil liability
9
for the offended party, who has10sustained only a
single injury. This is the import of Banal v. Tadeo, which we quote
in part as follows:

“Generally, the basis of civil liability arising from crime is the fundamental
postulate of our law that ‘Every man criminally liable is also civilly liable’
(Art. 100, The Revised Penal Code). Underlying this legal principle is the
traditional theory that when a person commits a crime he offends two
entities namely (1) the society in which he lives in or the political entity
called the State whose law he had violated; and (2) the individual member
of that society whose person, right, honor, chastity or property was actually
or directly injured or damaged by the same punishable act or omission.
However, this rather broad and general provision is among the most
complex and controversial topics in criminal procedure. It can be misleading
in its implications especially where the same act or omission may be treated
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as a crime in one instance and as a tort in another or where the law allows a
separate civil action to proceed independently of the course of the criminal
prosecution with which it is intimately intertwined. Many legal scholars
treat as a misconception or fallacy the generally accepted notion that the
civil liability actually arises from the crime when, in the ultimate analysis, it
does not. While an act or omission is felonious because it is punishable by
law, it gives rise to civil liability not so much because it is a crime

_______________

8 Gorospe v. Gamaitan, 98 Phil. 600, 602, March 14, 1956.


9 See Joseph v. Bautista, 170 SCRA 540, February 23, 1989.
10 156 SCRA 325, 329-330, December 11, 1987, per Gutierrez Jr., J.

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but because it caused damage to another. Viewing things pragmatically, we


can readily see that what gives rise to the civil liability is really the
obligation and the moral duty of everyone to repair or make whole the
damage caused to another by reason of his own act or omission, done
intentionally or negligently, whether or not the same be punishable by law.
In other words, criminal liability will give rise to civil liability only if the
same felonious act or omission results in damage or injury to another and is
the direct and proximate cause thereof. Damage or injury to another is
evidently the foundation of the civil action. Such is not the case in criminal
actions for, to be criminally liable, it is enough that the act or omission
complained of is punishable, regardless of whether or not it also causes
material damage to another. (See Sangco, Philippine Law on Torts and
Damages, 1978, Revised Edition, pp. 246-247).”

Thus, the possible single civil liability arising from the act of issuing
a bouncing check can be the subject of both civil actions deemed
instituted with the estafa case and the BP 22 violation prosecution.
In the crimes of both estafa and violation of BP 22, Rule 111 of the
Rules of Court expressly allows, even automatically in the present
case, the institution of a civil action without need of election by the
offended party. As both remedies are simultaneously
11
available to
this party, there can be no forum shopping.
Hence, this Court cannot agree with what petitioner ultimately
espouses. At the present stage, no judgment on the civil liability has
been rendered in either criminal case. There is as yet no call for the
offended party to elect remedies and, after choosing one of them, be
considered barred from others available to her.

Election of Remedies
Petitioner is actually raising the doctrine of election of remedies. “In
its broad sense, election of remedies refers to the choice by a party
to an action of one of two or more coex-

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_______________

11 See Cancio v. Isip, 391 SCRA 393, November 12, 2002.

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isting remedial rights, where several such rights arise out of the
same facts, but the term has been generally limited to a choice by a
party between inconsistent remedial rights, the assertion 12 of one
being necessarily repugnant to, or a repudiation of, the other.” In its
more restricted and technical sense, the election of remedies is the
adoption of one of two or more13coexisting ones, with the effect of
precluding a resort to the others. 14
The Court further elucidates in Mellon Bank v. Magsino as
follows:

“As a technical rule of procedure, the purpose of the doctrine of election of


remedies is not to prevent recourse to any remedy, but to prevent double
15
redress for a single wrong. It is regarded as an application of the law of
estoppel, upon the theory that a party cannot, in the assertion of his right
occupy inconsistent positions which form the basis of his respective
remedies. However, when a certain state of facts under the law entitles a
party to alternative remedies, both founded upon the identical state of facts,
these remedies are not considered inconsistent remedies. In such case, the
invocation of one remedy is not an election which will bar the other, unless
the suit upon the remedy first invoked shall reach the stage of final
adjudication or unless by the invocation of the remedy first sought to be
enforced, the plaintiff shall have gained an advantage thereby or caused
16
detriment or change of situation to the other. It must be

_______________

12 Mellon Bank, N.A. v. Magsino, 190 SCRA 633, 649, October 18, 1990, per Fernan, CJ.
13 Id., citing People v. Court of Appeals, No. 54641, November 28, 1980, 101 SCRA 450,
463-464 citing Whitney v. Vermon [Tex. Civ. A] 154, 264, 267 and Southern R. Co. v. Attalla,
147 Ala. 653, 41 S. 664.
14 Ibid.
15 Royal Resources, Inc. v. Gibraltar Financial Corp., 603 P. 2d 793.
16 Giron v. Housing Authority of Opelousas, 393 So. 2d 1267.

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352 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


Rodriguez vs. Ponferrada

pointed out that ordinarily, election of remedies is not made until the judicial
17
proceedings has gone to judgment on the merits.
“Consonant with these rulings, this Court, through Justice J.B.L. Reyes,
opined that while some American authorities hold that the mere initiation of
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proceedings constitutes a binding choice of remedies that precludes pursuit


of alternative courses, the better rule is that no binding election occurs
before a decision on the merits is had or a detriment to the other party
18
supervenes. This is because the principle of election of remedies is
discordant with the modern procedural concepts embodied in the Code of
Civil Procedure which permits a party to seek inconsistent remedies in his
claim for relief without being required to elect between them at the pleading
19
stage of the litigation.”

In the present cases before us, the institution of the civil actions with
the estafa cases and the inclusion of another set of civil actions with
the BP 22 cases are not exactly repugnant or inconsistent with each
other. Nothing in the Rules signifies that the necessary inclusion of a
civil20action in a criminal case for violation of the Bouncing Checks
Law precludes the institution in an estafa case of the corresponding
civil action, even if both offenses relate to the issuance of the same
check.
The purpose of Section 1(b) of Rule 111 is explained by Justice
Florenz D. Regalado (ret.), former chairman of the committee tasked
with the revision of the Rules of Criminal Procedure. He clarified
that the special rule on BP 22 cases was added, because the dockets
of the courts were clogged with such litigations; creditors were using
the courts as collectors. While ordinarily no filing fees were charged
for actual damages in criminal cases, the rule on the necessary
inclusion

_______________

17 Colonial Leasing Co. of New England, Inc. v. Tracy, 557 P. 2d 639, 276 Or.
1193; Johnson v. Dave’s Auto Center, 257 Or. 34, 476 P. 2d 190.
18 Radiowealth, Inc. v Lavin, L-18563, April 27, 1963, 7 SCRA 804.
19 Giron v. Housing Authority of the City of Opelousas, supra.
20 Batas Pambansa Blg. 22.

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VOL. 465, JULY 29, 2005 353


Rodriguez vs. Ponferrada

of a civil action with the payment of filing fees based on the face
value of the check involved was laid down to prevent the practice of
creditors of using the threat
21
of a criminal prosecution to collect on
their credit free of charge.
Clearly, it was not the intent of the special rule to preclude the
prosecution of the civil action that corresponds to the estafa case,
should the latter also be filed. The crimes of estafa and violation of
BP 22 are different and distinct from each other. There is no identity
of offenses involved, for which legal jeopardy in one case may be
invoked in the other. The offenses charged in the informations are
perfectly distinct from each other in point
22
of law, however nearly
they may be connected in point of fact.

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What Section 1(b) of the Rules of Court prohibits is the


reservation to file the corresponding civil action. The criminal action
shall be deemed to include the corresponding civil action. “[U]nless
a separate civil action has been filed before the institution of the
criminal action, no such civil action can be instituted after the
criminal 23action has been filed as the same has been included
therein.” In the instant case, the criminal action for estafa was
admittedly filed prior to the criminal case for violation of BP 22,
with the corresponding filing fees for 24 the inclusion of the
corresponding civil action paid accordingly.

_______________

21 Florenz D. Regalado, Remedial Law Compendium, Vol. II, 9th revised ed., pp.
293-294.
22 Ada v. Virola, 172 SCRA 336, 341, April 17, 1989.
23 Agpalo, Handbook on Criminal Procedure (2001), pp. 96-97. Emphasis
supplied.
24 Section 20, Rule 141 of the Rules of Court provides:

“Section 20. Other Fees.—The following fees shall also be collected by the clerks of Regional
Trial Courts or courts of the first level, as the case may be:
(a) In estafa cases where the offended party fails to manifest within fifteen (15) days
following the filing of the in-

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354 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


Rodriguez vs. Ponferrada

Furthermore, the fact that the Rules do not allow the reservation of
civil actions in BP 22 cases cannot deprive private complainant of
the right to protect her interests in the criminal action for estafa.
Nothing in the current law or rules on BP 22 vests the jurisdiction of
the corresponding 25
civil case exclusively in the court trying the BP
22 criminal case.
In promulgating the Rules, this Court did not intend to leave the
offended parties without any remedy to protect their interests in
estafa cases. Its power to promulgate the Rules of Court is limited in
the sense that rules 26
“shall not diminish, increase or modify
substantive rights.” Private complainant’s

_______________

formation that the civil liability arising from the crime has been or would be
separately prosecuted[.]”
25 Unlike in Section 4 of Presidential Decree No. 1606 (Revising Presidential
Decree No. 1486 Creating A Special Court to Be Known as “Sandiganbayan” and For
Other Purposes, December 10, 1978), as amended, which provides:

“Any provision of law or Rules of Court to the contrary notwithstanding, the criminal action
and the corresponding civil action for the recovery of civil liability shall at all times be

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simultaneously instituted with, and jointly determined in, the same proceeding by the
Sandiganbayan or the appropriate courts, the filing of the criminal action being deemed to
necessarily carry with it the filing of the civil action, and no right to reserve the filing of such
civil action separately from the criminal action shall be recognized: Provided, however, That
where the civil action had heretofore been filed separately but judgment therein has not yet
been rendered, and the criminal case is hereafter filed with the Sandiganbayan or the
appropriate court, said civil action shall be transferred to the Sandiganbayan or the appropriate
court, as the case may be, for consolidation and joint determination with the criminal action,
otherwise the separate action shall be deemed abandoned.”

26 See Abellana v. Marave, 156 Phil. 79; 57 SCRA 106, May 29, 1974. Section 5
of Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution provides:

“Sec. 5. The Supreme Court shall have the following powers:


x x x      x x x      x x x

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Rodriguez vs. Ponferrada

intervention in the prosecution of estafa is justified not only for the


prosecution of her interests, but also for the speedy and inexpensive
27
administration of justice as mandated by the Constitution.
The trial court was, therefore, correct in holding that the private
prosecutor may intervene before the RTC in the proceedings for
estafa, despite the necessary inclusion of the corresponding civil
action in the proceedings for violation of BP 22 pending before the
MTC. A recovery by the offended party under one remedy, however,
necessarily bars that under the other. Obviously
28
stemming from the
fundamental rule against unjust enrichment, this is in essence the
rationale for the proscription in our law against double recovery for
the same act or omission.
WHEREFORE, the Petition is DISMISSED and the assailed
Order AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner.
SO ORDERED.

          Sandoval-Gutierrez, Carpio-Morales and Garcia, JJ.,


concur.
     Corona, J., On Official Leave.

Petition dismissed, assailed order affirmed.

_______________

“(5) Promulgate rules concerning the protection and enforcement of constitutional rights,
pleading, practice, and procedure in all courts, the admission to the practice of law, the
Integrated Bar, and legal assistance to the underprivileged. Such rules shall provide a simplified
and inexpensive procedure for the speedy disposition of cases, shall be uniform for all courts of
the same grade, and shall not diminish, increase, or modify substantive rights. Rules of
procedure of special courts and quasi-judicial bodies shall remain effective unless disapproved
by the Supreme Court.”

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27 See Banal v. Tadeo Jr.; supra, p. 331.
28 Joseph v. Bautista, 170 SCRA 541, 545, February 23, 1989.

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Abad vs. Guimba

Notes.—The judgment creditors having received what is due


them, should not seek nor be granted anything more, not even by a
final and executory judgment, for to do so would be to sanction
unjust enrichment. (Buan vs. Court of Appeals, 235 SCRA 424
[1994])
A party can not be required to pay twice for the same items, for it
would be tantamount to unjust enrichment on the part of the other
party. (Sarmiento vs. Court of Appeals, 291 SCRA 656 [1998])

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