[G.R. No. 129029. April 3, 2000] RAFAEL REYES TRUCKING CORPORATION, Petitioner, vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES and ROSARIO P.
DY (for herself and on behalf of the minors Maria Luisa, Francis Edward, Francis Mark and Francis Rafael, all surnamed Dy), Respondents. FACTS: The defendant Rafael Reyes Trucking Corporation is a domestic corporation engaged in the business of transporting beer products for the San Miguel Corporation (SMC for short) from the latters San Fernando, Pampanga plant to its various sales outlets in Luzon. Among its fleets of vehicles for hire is the white truck trailer driven by Romeo Dunca y Tumol, a duly licensed driver. Aside from the Corporations memorandum to all its drivers and helpers to physically inspect their vehicles before each trip, the SMCs Traffic Investigator-Inspector certified the roadworthiness of this White Truck trailer. In addition to a professional drivers license, it also conducts a rigid examination of all driver applicants before they are hired. In the early morning of June 20, 1989, the White Truck driven by Dunca left Tuguegarao, Cagayan bound to San Fernando, Pampanga loaded with 2,000 cases of empty beer "Grande" bottles. Seated at the front right seat beside him was Ferdinand Domingo, his truck helper ("pahinante" in Pilipino). At around 4:00 oclock that same morning while the truck was descending at a slight downgrade along the national road at Tagaran, Cauayan, Isabela, it approached a damaged portion of the road covering the full width of the trucks right lane going south and about six meters in length. These made the surface of the road uneven because the potholes were about five to six inches deep. The left lane parallel to this damaged portion is smooth. As narrated by Ferdinand Domingo, before approaching the potholes, he and Dunca saw the Nissan with its headlights on coming from the opposite direction. They used to evade this damaged road by taking the left lance but at that particular moment, because of the incoming vehicle, they had to run over it. This caused the truck to bounce wildly. Dunca lost control of the wheels and the truck swerved to the left invading the lane of the Nissan. As a result, Duncas vehicle rammed the incoming Nissan dragging it to the left shoulder of the road and climbed a ridge above said shoulder where it finally stopped. The Nissan was severely damaged and its two passengers, namely: Feliciano Balcita and Francisco Dy, Jr. died instantly from external and internal hemorrhage and multiple fractures. For the funeral expenses of Francisco Dy, Jr. her widow spent P651,360.00. At the time of his death he was 45 years old. He was the President and Chairman of the Board of the Dynamic Wood Products and Development Corporation (DWPC), a wood processing establishment, from which he was receiving an income of P10,000.00 a month. In the Articles of Incorporation of the DWPC, the spouses Francisco Dy, Jr. and Rosario Perez Dy appear to be stockholders of 10,000 shares each with par value of P100.00 per share out of its outstanding and subscribed capital stock of 60,000 shares valued at P6,000,000.00. Under its 1988 Income Tax Returns the DWPC had a taxable net income of P78,499.30. Francisco Dy, Jr. was a La Salle University graduate in Business Administration, past president of the Pasay Jaycees, National Treasurer and President of the Philippine Jaycees in 1971 and 1976, respectively, and World Vice-President of Jaycees International in 1979. He was also the recipient of numerous awards as a civic leader. His children were all studying in prestigious schools and spent about P180,000.00 for their education in 1988 alone. The trial court rendered a joint decision finding the accused Romeo Dunca y de Tumol guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Double Homicide through Reckless Imprudence with violation of the Motor Vehicle Law (Rep. Act No. 4136), and appreciating in his favor the mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender without any aggravating circumstance to offset the same, the Court sentences him to suffer two (2) indeterminate penalties of four months and one day of arresto mayor as minimum to three years, six months and twenty days as maximum; to indemnify the Heirs of Francisco Dy. Jr. in the amount of P3,000,000.00 as compensatory damages, P1,000,000.00 as moral damages, and P1,030,000.00 as funeral expenses; Ordering the plaintiff in Civil Case No. Br. 19-424 to pay the defendant therein actual damages in the amount of P84,000.00; and Ordering the dismissal of the complaint in Civil Case No. Br. 19-424. Petitioner and the accused filed a notice of appeal from the joint decision.On the other hand, private respondents moved for amendment of the dispositive portion of the joint decision so as to hold petitioner subsidiarily liable for the damages awarded to the private respondents in the event of insolvency of the accused. The trial court rendered a supplemental decision ordering the defendant Reyes Trucking Corporation subsidiarily liable for all the damages awarded to the heirs of Francisco Dy, Jr., in the event of insolvency of the accused but deducting therefrom the damages of P84,000.00 awarded to said defendant. Petitioner filed with the trial court a supplemental notice of appeal from the supplemental decision. During the pendency of the appeal, the accused jumped bail and fled to a foreign country. The Court of Appeals dismissed the appeal of the accused in the criminal case and rendered an amended decision affirming that of the trial court. Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration of the amended decision. The Court of Appeals denied petitioners motion for reconsideration for lack of merit. Hence, this petition for review.
This liability attaches when the employee is convicted of a crime done in the performance of his work and is found to be insolvent that renders him unable to properly respond to the civil liability adjudged. the offended parties elected to file a separate civil action for damages against petitioner as employer of the accused. that is. when private respondents. 33. based on quasi delict. the aggrieved party has the choice between (1) an action to enforce civil liability arising from crime under Article 100 of the Revised Penal Code. and civil liability quasi delicto" either of which "may be enforced against the culprit. based on quasi delict. may be held liable thereon. "the same act or omission can create two kinds of liability on the part of the offender. The intention of private respondents to proceed primarily and directly against petitioner as employer of accused truck driver became clearer when they did not ask for the dismissal of the civil action against the latter based on quasi delict. Such civil action includes the recovery of indemnity under the Revised Penal Code. subject to the defense of due diligence in the selection and supervision of the employee.Consequently. the two being statutorily considered joint tortfeasors. and (2) a separate action for quasi delict under Article 2176 of the Civil Code of the Philippines." Invoking this principle. can not be held subsidiarily liable because of the filing of the separate civil action based on quasi delict against it. in exceptional cases has relaxed the rules "in order to promote their objectives and assist the parties in obtaining just. Rule 111.In other words. The enforcement of the judgment against the employer in an action based on Article 2176 does not require the employee to be insolvent since the nature of the liability of the employer with that of the employee. any of said civil actions separately waives the others. The restrictive phraseology of the section under consideration is meant to cover all kinds of civil actions. paragraph 3 of the 1985 Rules of Criminal Procedure.It might be argued that private respondents as complainants in the criminal case withdrew the reservation to file a civil action against the driver (accused) and manifested that they would pursue the civil liability of the driver in the criminal action.The first is expressed in Article 2176 in relation to Article 2180 of the Civil Code. as employer of the accused who has been adjudged guilty in the criminal case for reckless imprudence. This is the rule against double recovery. regardless of their source in law. they waived other available civil actions predicated on the same act or omission of the accused-driver. Rule 111. and damages under Articles 32."The rationale behind this rule is the avoidance of multiple suits between the same litigants arising out of the same act or omission of the offender. which would allow an action predicated on quasi-delict to be instituted by the injured party against the employer for an act or omission of the employee and would necessitate only a preponderance of evidence to prevail. as complainants in the criminal action. the trial court grievously erred in dismissing plaintiffs civil complaint. Under the law. the liability of the employer for the negligent conduct of the subordinate is direct and primary. and petitioner-employer of the accused subsidiarily liable for damages arising from crime (ex delicto) in the criminal action as the offended parties in fact filed a separate civil action against the employer based on quasi delict resulting in the waiver of the civil action ex delicto. is solidary. Section 1. The second. private respondent did not appeal from the
. predicated on Article 103 of the Revised Penal Code. In such a case. or the reservation of the right to file. petitioner as defendant in the separate civil action for damages filed against it. and one of which is the civil indemnity under the Revised Penal Code. the injured party can not avail himself of any other remedy because he may not recover damages twice for the same negligent act or omission of the accused. and in amounts exceeding that alleged in the information for reckless imprudence resulting in homicide and damage to property? RULING: 1. Section 1. this vicarious liability of the employer is founded on at least two specific provisions of law." In the instant case. paragraph 3 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure is clear that the reservation to file or the filing of a separate civil action results in a waiver of other available civil actions arising from the same act or omission of the accused. subject to the caveat under Article 2177 of the Civil Code that the offended party can not recover damages under both types of liability. however. provides that an employer may be held subsidiarily civilly liable for a felony committed by his employee in the discharge of his duty. to be vicariously liable for the fault or negligence of the latter. Unfortunately private respondents did not appeal from such dismissal and could not be granted affirmative relief. In negligence cases. civil liability ex delicto. paragraph 3 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure specifically provides: "A waiver of any of the civil actions extinguishes the others. However. In view of the reservation to file. the same was not instituted with the criminal action. the provision of Rule 111. Here. Section 1. provided that the action has for its basis the same act or omission of the offender. However. we rule that the trial court erred in awarding civil damages in the criminal case and in dismissing the civil action. Rafael Reyes Trucking Corporation. The institution of. the Court of Appeals and the trial court erred in holding the accused civilly liable. and inexpensive determination of every action or proceeding" or exempted "a particular case from the operation of the rules.The Court. Such separate civil action was for recovery of damages under Article 2176 of the Civil Code. And the Court of Appeals erred in affirming the trial courts decision. speedy. May petitioner as owner of the truck involved in the accident be held subsidiarily liable for the damages awarded to the offended parties in the criminal action against the truck driver despite the filing of a separate civil action by the offended parties against the employer of the truck driver? 2. the withdrawal is ineffective to reverse the effect of the reservation earlier made because private respondents did not withdraw the civil action against petitioner based on quasi delict.ISSUES: 1. Private respondents sued petitioner Rafael Reyes Trucking Corporation. arising from the same act or omission of the accused. and the subsequent filing of the civil action for recovery of civil liability. Section 1. paragraph 2 enumerated what are the civil actions deemed waived upon such reservation or filing. and 34 of the Civil Code of the Philippines arising from the same act or omission of the accused. as the employer of the accused. Apparently satisfied with such award. Thus. under Article 2176 of the Civil Code of the Philippines. May the Court award damages to the offended parties in the criminal case despite the filing of a civil action against the employer of the truck driver. Pursuant to the provision of Rule 111. reserved the right to file the separate civil action. Once the choice is made.
Gonong.dismissal of the civil case. but only insofar as the penalty in the criminal action is concerned. the trial court erred in awarding damages in the criminal case because by virtue of the reservation of the right to bring a separate civil action or the filing thereof. the Court reiterate that "the policy against double recovery requires that only one action be maintained for the same act or omission whether the action is brought against the employee or against his employer.
. With respect to the issue that the award of damages in the criminal action exceeded the amount of damages alleged in the amended information. The action for recovery of civil liability is not included therein. petitioner did appeal. Thus. In this case. The award of damages in the criminal case was improper because the civil action for the recovery of civil liability was waived in the criminal action by the filing of a separate civil action against the employer. As enunciated in Ramos vs. but is covered by the separate civil action filed against the petitioner as employer of the accused truckdriver. the judgment convicting the accused became final and executory. 2. "civil indemnity is not part of the penalty for the crime committed. As a final note. The damages awarded in the criminal action was invalid because of its effective waiver." The only issue brought before the trial court in the criminal action is whether accused Romeo Dunca y de Tumol is guilty of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide and damage to property. this case should be remanded to the trial court so that it may render decision in the civil case awarding damages as may be warranted by the evidence. Hence. The injured party must choose which of the available causes of action for damages he will bring. The pronouncement was void because the action for recovery of the civil liability arising from the crime has been waived in said criminal action. the issue is de minimis. "there would be no possibility that the employer would be held liable because in such a case there would be no pronouncement as to the civil liability of the accused. accused-driver jumped bail pending his appeal from his conviction. At any rate. However.