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EDGARDO E.

MENDOZA, petitioner
-versusHON. ABUNDIO Z. ARRIETA,
Presiding Judge of Branch VIII, Court
of First Instance of Manila, FELIPINO
TIMBOL, and
RODOLFO SALAZAR , respondents.

FACTS:
- A three- way vehicular accident occurred along MacArthur Highway, MARILAO , BULACAN, involving a
Mercedes Benz owned and
driven by petitioner; a private jeep owned and driven by
respondent Rodolfo Salazar; and a gravel and sand truck
owned by
respondent Filipino ,Timbol and driven by Freddie Montoya
- two separate Informations for Reckless Imprudence
Causing Damage to Property were filed against Rodolfo
Salazar and
Freddie Montoya with the CFI of BULACAN.

The case against truck-driver Montoya, docketed as


Criminal Case No. SM-227, was for causing damage to
the jeep owned by Salazar, in the amount of Pl,604.00,
by hitting it at the right rear portion thereby causing
said jeep to hit and bump an oncoming car, which
happened to be petitioner's Mercedes Benz

The case against jeep-owner-driver Salazar, docketed


as Criminal Case No. SM 228, was for causing damage
to the
Mercedes Benz of petitioner in the amount of P8,890.00

Petitioner testified that jeep-owner- driver Salazar overtook the


truck driven by Montoya, swerved to the left going towards
the
poblacion of Marilao, and hit his car which was bound for
Manila. Petitioner further testified that before the impact,
Salazar had
jumped from the jeep and that he was not aware that Salazar's
jeep was bumped from behind by the truck driven by
Montoya.
Petitioner's version of the accident was adopted by truck driver
Montoya. Jeep-owner-driver Salazar, on the other hand, tried
to show that, after overtaking the truck driven by Montoya, he
flashed a signal indicating his intention to turn left towards
the
poblacion of Marilao but was stopped at the intersection by a
policeman who was directing traffic; that while he was at a
stop
position, his jeep was bumped at the rear by the truck driven
by Montova causing him to be thrown out of the jeep, which
then

CFI:
o Montoya guilty
o Salazar acquitted
He was absolved in view of its findings that the collision
between Salazar's jeep and petitioner's car was the
result of the former having been bumped from behind by the
truck driven by Montoya. Neither was petitioner
awarded damages as he was not a complainant against truckdriver Montoya but only against jeep-ownerdriver Salazar
- On August 22, 1970, or after the termination of the criminal
cases, petitioner filed Civil Case No. 80803 with the CFI of
Manila
against respondents jeep-owner-driver Salazar and Felino
Timbol, the latter being the owner of the gravel and sand
truck
driven by Montoya for identification of damages

- Timbol filed a MTD on the grounds that the complaint is


barred by a prior judgment in the criminal case. This was
granted
since there was no reservation to file a separate civil case by
the petitioner and where the latter actively participated in
the trial and tried to prove damages against jeep-driverSalazar only.
Thus, petitioner sought a review before this court to which
we gave due course
- Upon motion of Salazar, respondent judge also dismissed
the case
o Respondent Judge reasoned out that "while it is true that an
independent civil action for liability under Article 2177 of
the Civil Code could be prosecuted independently of the
criminal action for the offense from which it arose, the New
Rules of Court, which took effect on January 1, 1964, requires
an express reservation of the civil action to be made in
the criminal action; otherwise, the same would be barred
pursuant to Section 2, Rule 111

ISSUES

Whether ornotthe lowercourt is


rightindismissingpetitioners
complaintfor damages based onquasidelict against private respondents

ISSUES

Whether or not the damages ensued to


the vehicle of petitioner shall be
theliabilityof the driver of thejeepor
of the truck.

ISSUES

Whether or not thetrucks owner may


be held liable for damages caused by
hisemployee.

Case Filed against ..

R. Salazar (jeep owner)


SM-228
- Reckless imprudence causing damage
to property
Cost of damage to the petitioner (MB car)
Php. 8,890.00

F. Montoya (truck driver)


SM-227
- Reckless imprudence resulting to
damage to property
Cost of damage to R. Salazar (jeep
owner)
Php. 1604.00

Reckless imprudence

Reckless imprudence vis--vis simple negligence. -

Art. 365 of the Revised Penal Code provides that defines reckless imprudence consists in
voluntary, but without malice, doing or falling to do an act from which material damage results
by reason of inexcusable lack of precaution on the part of the person performing of failing to
perform such act, taking into consideration his employment or occupation, degree of
intelligence, physical condition and other circumstances regarding persons, time and place.

The same article provides that simple imprudence consists in the lack of precaution displayed
in those cases in which the damage impending to be caused is not immediate nor the danger
clearly manifest.

Penalty for Reckless imprudence.

Art. 365 of the Rev. Penal Code (Imprudence and negligence) provides that any person who,
by reckless imprudence, shall commit any act which, had it been intentional, would constitute
a grave felony, shall suffer the penalty of arresto mayor in its maximum period to prision
correccional in its medium period; if it would have constituted a less grave felony, the penalty
of arresto mayor in its minimum and medium periods shall be imposed; if it would have
constituted a light felony, the penalty of arresto menor in its maximum period shall be
imposed

On 07-31-1970

The court of first instance of Bulacan, Branch


V, Sta. Maria finds the accused F. Montoya
guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime
of damage to property through reckless
imprudence on case SM227 and sentenced
to pay Php. 927.50 andto indefmnify R.
Salazar in the same amount of Php. 927.50
as actual damage damages, w/ subsidiary
imprisonment in case of insolvency, both as
to fine and indemnity, with costs.

Accused R. Salazar is ACQUITTED from


the offense charged in crime. Case no.
SM228 with cost de oficio, and his bond
is ordered canceled.

Quasi - Delicts

Art. 2176. Whoever by act or omission


causes damage to another, there being fault
or negligence, is obliged to pay for the
damage done. Such fault or negligence, if
there is no pre-existing contractual relation
between the parties, is called a quasi-delict
and is governed by the provisions of this
Chapter.
Art. 2180. The obligation imposed by Article
2176 is demandable not only for one's own
acts or omissions, but also for those of
persons for whom one is responsible.

Art. 31. When the civil action is based


on an obligation not arising from the
act or omission complained of as a
felony, such civil action may proceed
independently of the criminal
proceedings and regardless of the
result of the latter.

Section 2. Independent civil action. In the


cases provided for in Articles 31, 32, 33, 34 and
2177 of the Civil Code of the Philippines, an
independent civil action entirely separate and
distinct from the criminal action may be
brought by the injured party during the
pendency of the criminal case, provided the
right is reserved as required in the preceding
section. Such civil action shau proceed
independently of the criminal prosecution, and
shall require only a preponderance of evidence.

Art. 31-34

Art. 31. When the civil action is


based on an obligation not arising
from the act or omission
complained of as a felony, such
civil action may proceed
independently of the criminal
proceedings and regardless of the
result of the latter.

Art. 32. Any public officer or employee, or any private individual, who
directly or indirectly obstructs, defeats, violates or in any manner
impedes or impairs any of the following rights and liberties of another
person shall be liable to the latter for damages:
(1) Freedom of religion;
(2) Freedom of speech;
(3) Freedom to write for the press or to maintain a periodical
publication;
(4) Freedom from arbitrary or illegal detention;
(5) Freedom of suffrage;
(6) The right against deprivation of property without due process of law;
(7) The right to a just compensation when private property is taken for
public use;
(8) The right to the equal protection of the laws;
(9) The right to be secure in one's person, house, papers, and effects
against unreasonable searches and seizures;
(10) The liberty of abode and of changing the same;

(11) The privacy of communication and correspondence;


(12) The right to become a member of associations or societies for purposes not contrary to law;
(13) The right to take part in a peaceable assembly to petition the government for redress of
grievances;
(14) The right to be free from involuntary servitude in any form;
(15) The right of the accused against excessive bail;
(16) 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 public trial, to meet the witnesses
face to face, and to have compulsory process to secure the attendance of witness in his behalf;
(17) Freedom from being compelled to be a witness against one's self, or from being forced to
confess guilt, or from being induced by a promise of immunity or reward to make such
confession, except when the person confessing becomes a State witness;
(18) Freedom from excessive fines, or cruel and unusual punishment, unless the same is imposed
or inflicted in accordance with a statute which has not been judicially declared unconstitutional;
and
(19) Freedom of access to the courts.
In any of the cases referred to in this article, whether or not the defendant's act or omission
constitutes a criminal offense, the aggrieved party has a right to 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.
The indemnity shall include moral damages. Exemplary damages may also be adjudicated.
The responsibility herein set forth is not demandable from a judge unless his act or omission
constitutes a violation of the Penal Code or other penal statute.

Art. 33. In cases of defamation, fraud, and physical


injuries a civil action for damages, entirely separate
and distinct from the criminal action, may be brought
by the injured party. Such civil action shall proceed
independently of the criminal prosecution, and shall
require only a preponderance of evidence.
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
officer shall be primarily liable for damages, and the
city or municipality shall be subsidiarily responsible
therefor. The civil action herein recognized shall be
independent of any criminal proceedings, and a
preponderance of evidence shall suffice to support
such action.

Art. 2177

Art. 2177. Responsibility for fault


or negligence under the preceding
article is entirely separate and
distinct from the civil liability
arising from negligence under the
Penal Code. But the plaintiff
cannot recover damages twice for
the same act or omission of the
defendant

Art. 29

Art. 29. When the accused in a criminal prosecution is


acquitted on the ground that his guilt has not been
proved beyond reasonable doubt, a civil action for
damages for the same act or omission may be
instituted. Such action requires only a preponderance
of evidence. Upon motion of the defendant, the court
may require the plaintiff to file a bond to answer for
damages in case the complaint should be found to be
malicious.
If in a criminal case the judgment of acquittal is based
upon reasonable doubt, the court shall so declare. In
the absence of any declaration to that effect, it may
be inferred from the text of the decision whether or
not the acquittal is due to that ground.

APPLICATIONS

Article 31 of the CivilCode provides that,


When the civil action is based on an
obligation not arising from the actor
omission complained of as a felony, such
civil action may proceed independently
of thecriminal proceedings and
regardless of the result of the latter.

Petitioners cause of action against Timbol is clearly


based on quasi-delict since while petitioner was
driving his car
along MacArthur Highway at Marilao, Bulacan, a jeep
owned and driven by Salazar suddenly swerved to his
(petitioner's) lane and collided with his car That the
sudden swerving of Salazar's jeep was caused either
by the
negligence and lack of skill of Freddie Montoya,
Timbol's employee, who was then driving a gravel
and sand truck iii
the same direction as Salazar's jeep

Moreover, inasmuch as Articles 2176 and 2177 of


the Civil Code create a civil liability distinct and
different from the
civil action arising from the offense of negligence
under the Revised Penal Code, no reservation,
therefore, need be made in the criminal case.

Timbols submission
thatpetitioner'sfailuretomakeareservationinthe
criminalactionofhisrighttofilean independent civil
action, as required under:

section 2, Rule 111, Rules of Court, bars the


institution of such separate civil action is
untenable. For inasmuch as Article 31 (in relation to
Articles 2176 and 2177) ofthe Civil Code creates a
civil liability distinct and different from the civil
action arising from the offense of negligence under
the Revised Penal Code, no reservation is required
to be made in the criminal case.

And so, to reiterate, the civil case filed


against Timbol is notbarred by the fact
thatpetitioner failed to reserve, in the
criminalaction, his right to file
anindependent civil action based on
quasi-delict.

Art. 29. When the accused in a criminal


prosecution is acquitted on the
ground that his guilt has not been
proved beyond reasonable doubt, a
civil action for damages for the same
act or omission may be instituted.
Such action requires only a
preponderance of evidence

And even if petitioner's cause of action


as against jeep-owner-driver Salazar
were not ex-delictu, the end result
would
be the same, it being clear from the
judgment in the criminal case that
Salazar's acquittal was not based upon
reasonable doubt, consequently, a civil
action for damages can no longer be
instituted (Art. 29).