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IV.

TORTS WITH INDEPENDENT CIVIL ACTION


The indemnity shall include moral damages. Exemplary damages may also be
A. Violation of Civil and Political Rights adjudicated.
Art. 32 Any public officer or employee, or any private individual, who directly or
The responsibility herein set forth is not demandable from a judge unless his act or
indirectly obstructs, defeats, violates or in any manner impedes or impairs any of
omission constitutes a violation of the Penal Code or other penal statute.
the following rights and liberties of another person shall be liable to the latter for
damages:
Malice not required
 Freedom of religion;
 Freedom of speech; To require that a person act with malice before he is held liable under this article would
 Freedom to write for the press or to maintain a periodical publication; defeat the purpose to protect individual rights. The object of the article is to put an end
 Freedom from arbitrary or illegal detention; to official abuse under the guise of being done in good faith.
 Freedom of suffrage;
 The right against deprivation of property without due process of law; Who is held liable
 The right to a just compensation when private property is taken for public  Private persons
use;
 Public officials, whether the acts/omissions of #1 and #2 constitute a criminal
 The right to the equal protection of the laws;
offense
 The right to be secure in one's person, house, papers, and effects against
unreasonable searches and seizures;  Judges, only when their act or omission constitutes a criminal act
 The liberty of abode and of changing the same; Persons Responsible
 The privacy of communication and correspondence;
 The right to become a member of associations or societies for purposes not  Not only public officers but also private individuals can incur civil liability
contrary to law;  Not the actor alone, but also the person indirectly responsible, who has to
 The right to take part in a peaceable assembly to petition the government answer for the injury caused to the aggrieved party
for redress of grievances;  EXCEPTION: If the defendant is a judge, responsibility is not demandable
 The right to be free from involuntary servitude in any form; unless his act or omission constitutes a violation of the Penal Code or other
 The right of the accused against excessive bail; penal statute
 The right of the accused to be heard by himself and counsel, to be informed
of the nature and cause of the accusation against him, to have a speedy and Malice or Bad Faith Not Required
public trial, to meet the witnesses face to face, and to have compulsory
process to secure the attendance of witness in his behalf;  Not necessary “that the defendant under this Article should have acted with
 Freedom from being compelled to be a witness against one's self, or from malice or bad faith, otherwise, it would defeat its main purpose, which is the
being forced to confess guilt, or from being induced by a promise of effective protection of individual rights”
immunity or reward to make such confession, except when the person  Intent of the Code Commission:
confessing becomes a State witness; o Main purpose of Art. 32: effective protection of individual rights
 Freedom from excessive fines, or cruel and unusual punishment, unless o Object of Art. 32: to put an end to official abuse by the plea of good
the same is imposed or inflicted in accordance with a statute which has not faith
been judicially declared unconstitutional; and
 In Liwayway Vinzons-Chato v. Fortune, Court appears to have ruled that the
 Freedom of access to the courts.
absence of an allegation of bad faith is necessary in a complaint based on Art.
In any of the cases referred to in this article, whether or not the defendant's act or 32, but it did not overturn the doctrine that bad faith is not an essential element
omission constitutes a criminal offense, the aggrieved party has a right to Nature of Acts Covered
commence an entirely separate and distinct civil action for damages, and for other
relief. Such civil action shall proceed independently of any criminal prosecution (if
the latter be instituted), and mat be proved by a preponderance of evidence.
 Necessary that there is a violation of the constitutional right of the plaintiff, o The MR issued by the Court, penned by J. Nachura, is disagreed
and that such right must be one of those listed under Art. 32 with by Prof. Casis
 WON the defendant’s act or omission constitutes a criminal offense, the o It distinguished between two types of duties, but actually
aggrieved party has a right to commence an entirely separate and distinct civil distinguished between two types of officers
action for damages  but Art. 32 applies to all public officers and employees
without distinction
Rationale for Article 32 o It said that if the duty is to the public, said public officer would be
exempt from liability
 In Aberca v. Ver, Court explained that the purpose of Art. 32 is to protect the
 even worse than the GF defense that the framers did not
deeply cherished rights and freedoms enshrined in the Constitution
allow
 In MHP Garments v. CA, Court found that MHP and De Guzman were
o It said that a plaintiff must allege that it suffered a particular or
indirectly involved in transgressing the right of Respondents against
special injury on account of the non-performance by a public officer
unreasonable search and seizure
(that there must be actual pecuniary damage) Court seems to say
o Art. 32 encompasses those directly, as well as indirectly, involved
that there was no injury to Fortune because it did not pay additional
for its violations
tax; but this does not mean there was no injury because Fortune still
o That MHP and De Guzman instigated the raid and at their instance
incurred legal fees
that the PC soldiers conducted the raid and effected the illegal
o Does Art. 32 require the plaintiff to allow himself to suffer the
seizure
constitutional violation before it can seek damages? (Prof. Casis’
o De Guzman stood by and apparently assented thereto, so he is liable
question #1)
to the same extent
o Is not the enactment of legislation which violates a person’s
o MHP even received for safekeeping the goods unreasonably seized
constitutional rights sufficient as basis of an action under Art. 32 or
 In Silahis v. Soluta, Court pointed out that “the Code Commission thus
is it required that such law be first enforced against he plaintiff
deemed it necessary to hold not only public officers but also private
before the cause of action can arise? (Prof. Casis’ question #2)
individuals civilly liable for violation of rights enumerated in Article 32 of
o Court held here in this case that an allegation of bad faith was
the Civil Code”
essential This case should not be used as an authority for arguing
o Why it is not even necessary that the defendant should have acted
that bad faith must be alleged in actions based on Art. 32 (Prof.
with malice or bad faith, otherwise, it would defeat its main purpose,
Casis’ comment)
which is the effective protection of individual rights
 In Cojuangco, Jr. v. CA, Court said that a public officer who directly or
o Suffices that there is a violation of the constitutional right of the
indirectly violates the constitutional rights of another may be validly sued for
plaintiff
damages under Art. 32 of the CC even if his acts were not so tainted with
o Even if the person conducting the search owns the premises, it can
malice or bad faith
still violate Art. 32 if the person searched is a lawful occupant
o Public officer may be validly sued in his/her private capacity
 In Vinzons-Chato v. Fortune, Court ruled that a public officer is by law not
o Applies where public officer: (1) acted with malice, bad faith, or
immune from damages in his/her personal capacity for acts done in bad faith
negligence; or (2) where the public officer violated a constitutional
which, being outside the scope of his authority, are no longer protected by the
right of the plaintiff
mantle of immunity for official actions
o The clear intention of the legislature was to create a distinct cause MHP Garments v. CA (1994) – Puno
of action in the nature of tort for violation of constitutional rights,
irrespective of the motive or intent of the defendant Concept: Violation of Civil and Political Rights (Art. 32)
o Art. 32 deals specifically with violation of constitutional rights
o Court seems to have required the allegation of bad faith on the part Brief Facts: MHP was awarded the exclusive franchise to sell and distribute official
of Vinzons-Chato even though the action was anchored on Art. 32 Boy Scouts Uniforms. Respondents were apparently selling Boy Scouts items and
paraphernalia without any authority, and an MHP employee (De Guzman) was
tasked to conduct surveillance and report to the Philippine Constabulary. De
Guzman and the constabulary men went to the stores of respondents at the Marikina Liwayway Vinzons-Chato v. Fortune (2007) –Ynares-Santiago Concept:
Public Market, and without any warrant, seized items being sold, and turned these Defamation, Fraud and Physical Injuries
over to MHP for safekeeping. A complaint for unfair competition was filed against
private respondents, which was dismissed, and the items ordered dismissed (but Brief Facts: Liwayway Vinzons-Chato, as Commissioner of Internal Revenue
they weren’t despite demands). Respondents filed a case for sums of money and issued RMC 37-93, classifying the tobacco company Fortune as locally
damages. manufactured cigarettes bearing a foreign brandsubject to the 55% valorem tax
instead of the original 20-45%. RMC 37-93 was subsequently declared defective in
Doctrine: The very nature of Art. 32 is that the wrong may be civil or criminal. It the case CIR v CA. Fortune now sues Vinzons-Chato, in her private capacity, for
is not necessary therefore that there should be malice or bad faith. The law also damages under Article 32 of the Civil Code, or violation of the constitutional right
speaks of an officer or employee or person "directly or indirectly" responsible for against deprivation of property without due process.
the violation of the constitutional rights and liberties of another. Thus, it is not the
actor alone (i.e., the one directly responsible) who must answer for damages. Art. Doctrine: Article 32 of the Civil Code states a cause of action specifically arising
32 makes the persons who are directly, as well as indirectly, responsible for the from acts in violation of constitutional rights.
transgression joint tortfeasors.

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights


Cojuangco v. CA (1999) – Panganiban Concept: Violation of Civil and Political
Rights
B. Defamation, Fraud, and Physical Injuries
Brief Facts: Horse race winnings were put on hold because of PCGG instruction.
PCSO Chairman Carrascoso carried out the instruction of the PCGG to put Art. 33 In cases of defamation, fraud, and physical injuries a civil action for
winnings on hold. Carrascoso was not acting in bad faith because he merely carried damages, entirely separate and distinct from the criminal action, may be brought by
out orders from the PCGG, but even if he did not act of bad faith, petitioner’s the injured party. Such civil action shall proceed independently of the criminal
constitutional right against the deprivation of property without due process of law prosecution, and shall require only a preponderance of evidence.
caused the respondent to be held liable for damages under A32 of the Civil Code.

Doctrine: To hold public officers personally liable for moral and exemplary
damages and for attorney’s fees for acts done in the performance of official Rationale for independent civil action
functions, the plaintiff must prove that these officers exhibited acts characterized
by evident bad faith, malice, or gross negligence. But even if their acts had not been This provision creates an independent civil action for the offenses provided, which
so tainted, public officers may still be held liable for nominal damages if they had may be filed even if no reservation was made when the criminal action was filed. This
violated the plaintiff’s constitutional rights. allows the injured individual to enforce his rights and recover the damages due him,
regardless of the fiscal’s acts.

Effect of failure of civil action


Silahis v. Soluta (2006) – Carpio-Morales Concept: Violation of Civil and Political
Rights Though the criminal action will not be prejudiced and will continue, the issue of civil
liability has ceased to be involved in the trial of the criminal action. Thus, civil
Brief Facts: Alleged illegal acts done in union office in a hotel. An illegal search recovery can no longer be allowed.
was done and the accused were acquitted due to the inadmissibility of evidence.
Union officers were entitled to damages because of the illegality of the search and Definition of “physical injuries”
because of the violation of their constitutional right.
The phrase must be understood in its general sense, and not in its RPC sense. It
Doctrine: A violation of a constitutional right can be used to hold a person liable therefore includes all bodily injuries: slight/less serious/serious physical injuries,
for damages. attempted/frustrated homicide, etc.
Concept cause of action for defamation in the absence of an allegation for
special damages.
 Article 33 provides that a separate civil action may be filed in cases of o The fact that the plaintiff finds the language used is offensive does
defamation, fraud, and physical injuries. not, by itself, make it actionable.
 Actions filed under this provision are considered separate and distinct from o The defamatory words must refer to an ascertained or ascertainable
the criminal action and will require only a preponderance of evidence. person and that person must be the plaintiff. The name of the
 While these specific acts are recognized by Article 33 to be covered under plaintiff need not be mentioned; it is sufficient that it can be shown
torts, they are also necessarily criminal acts. In Madeja v. Caro, the Court that the plaintiff is the one alluded to in the defamatory statement.
supported this characterization with three arguments:  Libel is one of the forms of defamation and, hence, actionable under Art. 33.
o The provision itself recognizes the nature of these acts with the use Its elements are:
of the following terms: “criminal action” and “criminal o An allegation or imputation of a discretable act or condition
prosecution.” concerning another
o The Code Commission has explained that the underlying purpose of o Publication of the imputation
the inclusion of this provision in the Civil code is to allow a plaintiff o Identity of the person defamed
to bring an action to enforce his rights, regardless of the action of o Existence of malice
the State with respect to these specific cases.  There are some rules laid down by our jurisprudence in dealing specifically
o Tolentino has also opined that the provision creates an exception to with libel cases:
the general rule that the civil aspect is deemed instituted with the o The element of publication does NOT require that there be wide
criminal action, and unless the right to file it separately is reserved, circulation/publication; it merely requires that a person, other
no civil action from the same offense may be filed. The provision than the author of the publication of the libelous statement and
now amounts to a reservation in favor of the plaintiff. However, the the offended party, takes notice of such publication.
nature of this action is independent and may proceed regardless of o In dealing with group libel or libel directed against a group or class
the developments in the criminal action. of persons, the Court has laid down further rules/principles in the
 An action based on Art. 33 will require the plaintiff to prove the elements of leading case of MVRS:
the offense. However, the plaintiff will only need to surmount the quantum  Unless there are circumstances specifically pointing or
of preponderance of evidence. alluding to a particular member of a group or class, no
 Acquittal of the accused in the criminal action is not a bar to prosecute their member of such group or class has a right of action against
liability under this provision declarations made towards such group or class.
 Should an individual want to pursue his claim against a
Defamation
statement towards a group/class that he belongs to, it is
 The Court has defined defamation to be “the offense of injuring a person’s essential that the said statement be so sweeping or all-
character, fame, or reputation through false and malicious statements.” embracing as to apply to every individual in the group/class
 There are some rules laid down by our jurisprudence in dealing with OR that it be sufficiently specific so that each member of
defamation cases in general: that group/class can prove that the statement specifically
o In defamation cases, the words used in the statement(s) in question pointed to the said individual.
should be construed in their entirety and also taken in their plain,  Defamation of a large group does give rise to a cause of
natural, and ordinary meaning, as they would be naturally action on the part of an individual unless it can be shown
understood by persons reading or hearing them, unless it appears that he is the target of the defamatory statement.
that they were used and understood in another sense.  If the group is a large one, then the alleged libelous
o Words that are merely insulting are not actionable as libel or slander statement is considered to have no application to anyone in
per se, and mere words of general abuse, however opprobrious, ill- particular.
natured, or vexatious, whether written or spoken, will not serve as a  As the size of the group increases, the chances for members
of such groups to recover damages become more elusive.
This is for two reasons: first, the courts will presume that  This is quite different from absolutely privileged
no reasonable reader would take the statement to be communications, which are completely not actionable,
literally applicable to each and every member and second, even when made with actual malice.
this limitation will safeguard freedom of speech and of the  The exception extended to fair commentaries on public
press. matters will not apply if the subject is a private person and
o The burden imposed in proving that a cause of action exists in group not a public figure. A public figure is one who has thrust
libel cases is set so high, in order to protect the equally important themselves into the public controversies in order to
right to free speech and expression and also the freedom of the press. influence the issues involved, inviting attention and
o There are also several things to note with the concept of malice in comment to themselves.
libel cases:  Malice in law will apply when an author directs a
 There are two types of malice. Malice in law is a disputable defamatory statement against a private person. When
presumption of law; it dispense with the requirement of directed against a public figure, a proof of actual malice,
proof that malice was present when the defamatory however, will be required to render the statement
statement was uttered/made. On the other hand, malice in actionable.
fact speaks of the positive desire and intention to annoy or
injure another; it denotes that the defendant was actuated Fraud
by ill will or personal spite in uttering/making the  The Court, in Prudential Bank v. IAC, has ruled that estafa falls under the
defamatory statement. contemplation of fraud under Article 33. A separate civil action may be filed
 These arises malice in law/disputable presumption of from it.
malice in every case of defamatory imputation, where there
 However, estafa by postdating a check or issuing a check in payment of an
is no justifiable motive or good intention in making such
obligation without sufficient funds therefor needs to be distinguished from a
imputation.
violation of BP 22.
 There however exceptions, provided in Art. 354 of the
 Under Rule 111, Section 1(b), the civil aspect CANNOT be reserved and even
Revised Penal Code: (a) private communication made
a separate civil action may NOT be filed, in cases of violation of BP 22. This
pursuant to a legal, moral, or social duty or (b) a fair and
was intended to help the speedy disposition of BP 22 cases which were
true report of any legislative or other official proceedings
clogging the courts.
that are confidential in nature or the performance of the
o The only instance allowing the filing of a separate civil action based
respective functions of public officers (fair commentary on
on a violation of BP 22 is when it is instituted before the criminal
matters of public interest). These are known as qualifiedly
action.
privileged communications.
 Qualifiedly privileged communications enjoy freedom Physical Injuries
from the presumption of malice (malice in law) even when
they contain what would otherwise be considered as  The “physical injuries” contemplated under Article 33 is not limited to the
defamatory. However, they can be held as actionable upon specific definition of the term given in the Revised Penal Code; it is also
showing that actual malice (malice in fact) is present. It understood to mean bodily injury, even those resulting in death.
only enjoys a prima facie presumption that there was no  Distinction must also be made for physical injuries caused by reckless
malice. imprudence or negligence; these physical injuries are NOT covered under
 Actual malice is considered to be existing when either one Article 33, as the term is understood in the provision.
of these obtains: (a) author has knowledge of the o Article 33, assumes that the fraud, defamation, or physical injuries
publication’s falsity OR (b) there is reckless disregard with was intentionally committed.
respect to the falsity or authenticity of the contents of the o Criminal negligence by nature lacks such intent. Moreover, criminal
publication negligence is not included in the enumeration under the provision
and, hence, a separate civil action based from it may not be including a claim for indemnity under the Workmen’s Compensation Act. A
instituted. compromise agreement between the heirs of the spouses and the respondents led to
the dismissal of the case. In 1958, it was the petitioner (Cipriano’s widow) who
Arafiles v. Philippine Journalists (2004) – Carpio-Morales Concept: Defamation, filed a civil case for damages of her own against the respondents. Respondents
Fraud and Physical Injuries moved for the dismissal which the Court granted for being barred by prescription
and that the respondents were already released from claims for damages because of
Brief Facts: Romy Morales, a reporter of People’s Journal Tonight was published the compromise agreement.
an article in the said newspaper regarding the alleged abduction and rape of Emelita
Despuig by NIAS director Catalino Arafiles. Morales was in the police station when Doctrine: The term “physical injuries,” as used in Article 33, include those injuries
Emelita filed a complaint. that ultimately result into death. And as a separate civil action, an action under
Article 33 must be brought within four (4) years of the occurrence of the
Doctrine: A published work alleged to contain libelous material must be viewed as defamation, fraud, or physical injuries.
a whole.

C. Neglect of Duty
MVRS v. Islamic (2003), supra – Bellosillo Concept: Defamation, Fraud and
Physical Injuries Art. 34 When a member of a city or municipal police force refuses or fails to render
aid or protection to any person in case of danger to life or property, such peace
Brief Facts: Article in Bulgar stated that pigs were sacred and idolized as gods by officer shall be primarily liable for damages, and the city or municipality shall be
members of the Muslim religion. Respondents filed a class suit. SC said that since subsidiarily responsible therefor. The civil action herein recognized shall be
no particular individual was identified, there was no cause of action and it was not independent of any criminal proceedings, and a preponderance of evidence shall
an intentional tortious act causing mental distress. suffice to support such action.

Doctrine: Libel or defamation, when directed against a large group, will not lie Art. 35 When a person, claiming to be injured by a criminal offense, charges
because “then the all then the alleged libelous statement is considered to have no another with the same, for which no independent civil action is granted in this Code
application to anyone in particular, since one might as well defame all mankind.” or any special law, but the justice of the peace finds no reasonable grounds to
“As the size of these groups increases, the chances for members of such groups to believe that a crime has been committed, or the prosecuting attorney refuses or fails
recover damages on tortious libel become elusive. This principle is said to embrace to institute criminal proceedings, the complaint may bring a civil action for damages
two (2) important public policies: first, where the group referred to is large, the against the alleged offender. Such civil action may be supported by a preponderance
courts presume that no reasonable reader would take the statements as so literally of evidence. Upon the defendant's motion, the court may require the plaintiff to file
applying to each individual member; and second, the limitation on liability would a bond to indemnify the defendant in case the complaint should be found to be
satisfactorily safeguard freedom of speech and expression, as well as of the press, malicious.
effecting a sound compromise between the conflicting fundamental interests
involved in libel cases.” If during the pendency of the civil action, an information should be presented by
the prosecuting attorney, the civil action shall be suspended until the termination of
the criminal proceedings.
Capuno v. Pepsi Cola (1965) – Makalintal Concept: Defamation, Fraud and
Physical Injuries

Brief Facts: In Jan 1953, vehicular collision occurred in Apalit, Pampanga,  Art. 35 provides that a member of a city or municipal police force shall be
involving the truck of Pepsi and driven by Jon Elordi, and a private car driven by primarily liable for damages if he refuses or fails to render aid or protection
Capuno. The collision killed Cipriano Capuno as well as his two passengers, the to any person in case of danger to life or property. In such case, the city or
Sps. Buan. The driver of Pepsi was later charged with triple homicide through municipality shall be subsidiarily responsible. The civil action shall be
reckless imprudence in the CFI of Pampanga. The information was later amended independent of any criminal proceedings, and a preponderance of evidence
to include claims for damages in favor of the heirs of the three victims. While the shall suffice to support such action.
criminal action was pending, the heirs of the Sps. Buan filed a civil case for damages
 Article 34 is intended to afford a remedy against police officers “who connive
with bad elements, are afraid of them or are simply indifferent to duty.” (1
Capistrano 38).
 A policeman is an agent of a person in authority and is charged with the
maintenance of public order and the protection and security of life and
property. If a member of a city or municipal police force refuses or fails,
without just cause, to perform his duty he is primarily liable, and the city or
municipality subsidarily, in case of insolvency of the guilty peace officer.
 The local government unit cannot invoke the defense of due diligence in
the selection and supervision of its policemen since this defense is allowed
only to private employers. But this is true only where the function involved
is strictly public or governmental (e.g., preservation of peace and order,
collection of taxes, establishment of schools). The defense would be
available if the function involved is performed by the city or municipality
in its private or corporate aspect (similar to a business corporation) like
when it operates, for instance, public utilities (e.g., electric, waterworks) and
public markets.
 A peace officer guilty of non-performance of duty is already liable for
damages under Article 27 but Article 34 authorizes the bringing of a separate
civil action to enforce that liability independent of any criminal proceedings.
A preponderance of evidence shall also suffice to such action.