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G.R. No. 108395. March 7, 1997

The Supreme Court held that the acquittal of the bus driver was
based on reasonable doubt, which means that the civil case for


damages was not barred since the cause of action of the heirs was
based on quasi delict. Even if damages are sought on the basis of

On November 7, 1987, the car driven by Teodoro Guaring Jr. collided

crime and not quasi delict, the acquittal of the bus driver will not bar

with the Philippine Rabbit Bus driven by Angelo Cuevas and wth a

recovery of damages because the acquittal was based not on a

Toyota Cressida Car driven by Eligio Enriquez, along the North

finding that he was not guilty but only on reasonable doubt. Thus, it

Luzon Expressway in San Rafael, Mexico Pampanga.. As a

has been held:

consequence, Guaring died.

The judgment of acquittal extinguishes the liability of the accused for
The trial court ruled in favor of herein petitioners, but lost in the Court

damages only when it includes a declaration that the facts from

of Appeals where the accused was acquitted based on reasonable

which the civil might arise did not exist. Thus, the civil liability is not

doubt. This was because it was found out that the deceased was the

extinguished by acquittal where the acquittal is based on reasonable

one who acted negligently. The accused the claimed appealed in the

doubt as only preponderance of evidence is required in civil cases;

court that the civil case filed against him be extinguished since the

where the court expressly declares that the liability of the accused is

extinguishment of his criminal liability necessarily follows the

not criminal but only civil in nature as, for instance, in the felonies of

extinguishment of his civil liability, since his civil liability aroused from

estafa, theft, and malicious mischief committed by certain relatives

his criminal liability. The petitioners disagreed on this ground,

who thereby incur only civil liability; and, where the civil liability does

claiming that the civil case should pursue. This was then appealed to

not arise from or is not based upon the criminal act of which the

the Supreme Court.

accused was acquitted.


Therefore, the Supreme Court ruled that the proceedings for the civil

Whether or not the civil case must be terminated as a consequence

of the termination of the criminal case based on reasonable doubt.

case of the said incident must continue for the recovery of damages
of the victims heirs. The case was remanded to the trial court to
determine the civil liability of the accused.


Issue: Whether or not the acquittal of the accused also extinguished

his civil liability.

G.R. No. 107125 January 29, 2001

Ruling: NO. Our law recognizes two kinds of acquittal, with different

Facts: On June 1, 1983, the Provincial Fiscal of Isabela filed an

effects on the civil liability of the accused. First is an acquittal on the

information charging petitioner Manantan with reckless imprudence

ground that the accused is not the author of the act or omission

resulting to homicide, allegedly committed on or about the 25th day

complained of as a felony. This instance closes the door to civil

of September 1982, in the municipality of Santiago, Isabela. The said

liability, for a person who has been found not to be the perpetrator of

accused being then the driver and person-in-charge of an automobile

any act or omission cannot and can never be held liable for such act

bearing Plate No. NGA-816 willfully and unlawfully drove and

or omission. There being no delict, civil liability ex delicto is out of the

operated the same while along the Daang Maharlika of the said

question, and the civil action, if any, which will be instituted must be

municipality, in a negligent manner causing the automobile to

based on ground other than the delict complained of. The second

sideswipe a passenger jeepney, thereby causing the said automobile

instance is an acquittal based on reasonable doubt on the guilt of the

to turn turtle twice resulting to the death Ruben Nicolas passenger of

accused. In this case, even if the guilt of the accused has not been

the said automobile. In its decision dated June 30, 1988,

satisfactorily established, he is not exempt from civil liability which

promulgated on August 4, 1988, the trial court decided the criminal

may be proved by preponderance of evidence only. In the case at

case in favor of Manantan. Subsequently, the private respondent

bar, the accuseds acquittal is based on reasonable doubt. The

spouses Nicolas filed their notice of appeal on the civil aspect of the

decision of the trial court did not state in clear and equivocal terms

trial courts judgment. The Nicolas spouses prayed that the decision

that petitioner was not recklessly imprudent or negligent. Hence,

appealed from be modified and that the appellee be ordered to pay

impliedly, the trial court acquitted him on reasonable doubt. Since

indemnity and damages. On its decision, the Court of Appeals

civil liability is not extinguished in criminal cases if the accused

decided in favor of the private respondents. In finding petitioner civil

acquittal is based on reasonable doubt, the decision of the Court of

liability, the court a quo noted that at the time the accident occurred,

Appeals finding that the defendant is civilly liable for his negligent

Manantan was in a state of intoxication, due to his having consume

and reckless act of driving his car which was the proximate cause of

all in all a total amount of at least twelve bottles of beer between 9

the vehicular accident, and sentenced him to indemnify plaintiff-

a.m. to 11 p.m. The petitioner moved for reconsideration but the

appellants in the amount of P74,400.00 for the death of Ruben

appellate court denied the motion.


Bonite vs. Zosa Case Digest (162 SCRA 173)

fact that they have been represented by a private prosecutor in the

prosecution of the criminal case, the action presently filed by the

This is a petition for a review on certiorari of the order of the Court of

plaintiffs is already res adjudicata. Petitioners moved for the

First instance of Misamis Occidental, Branch III, dated 25 of

reconsideration of the order but the same was denied.

February 1971, dismissing the complaint for damages, and the order









Hence, the filing of this petition.

reconsideration of aforesaid order.


Whether or not an independent civil action for damages, under

Article 29 of the Civil Code, is deemed barred by petitioners' failure in

On the 24 of September 1968, Florencio Bonite was hit by a truck

the criminal action to make a reservation to file a separate civil action

driven by private respondent. As a result of which, Bonite died on

and by their active participation in the prosecution of such criminal

that same day. A criminal complaint for homicide through Reckless


Imprudence was filed by the surviving heirs (now petitioners) against

the respondent Abamonga. Petitioners through their counsel, as
private prosecutor, actively participated in the prosecution of the


criminal case against the accused.

Civil liability is not extinguished by acquittal of the accused in a

criminal case, where the acquittal is based on the ground that his

After trial on the merits, the court acquitted the accused for failure of

guilt has not been proved beyond reasonable doubt. Civil action for

the prosecution to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

damages for the same act or omission may be instituted and

requires only a preponderance of evidence. This is pursuant to the

On 28 December 1970, petitioners filed an action for recovery of

express provision of Article 29 of the Civil Code.

damages against the same accused for the death of Bonite, with the
Court of First Instance of Misamis Occidental, 16th Judicial District,

In the case at bar, the criminal case for Homicide through Reckless

Branch III. The court a quo dismissed the complaint for damages on

Imprudence was dismissed on the ground that the guilt of the

25 February 1971. In its ruling, the court held that since the plaintiffs

accused was not proved beyond reasonable doubt. Clearly,

did not reserve the right to file and independent civil action, and the

petitioners have the right to file an independent civil action for

physical injuries intentionally committed. The death of the deceased


in the case at bar was alleged to be the result of criminal negligence,

i.e., not inflicted with malice. Criminal negligence under the Revised

The court held that the petitioners may also base such separate civil

Penal Code punishes the negligent or reckless act, not the result

action for damages on Article 2176 of the Civil Code. Acquital of the

thereof. The gravity of the consequence is only taken into account to

accused from the charge of criminal negligence, whether on


reasonable doubt or not, is not a bar to a subsequent civil action for

negligence is not mentioned in Article 33, no independent civil action

the recovery of civil liability, arising not from criminal negligence, but

for damages arising from reckless imprudence or criminal negligence

from quasi-delict or culpa aquiliana. It has been held that Article 2176

may be instituted under said article. It is, therefore, not applicable to

of the Civil Code, in referring to "fault or negligence" covers acts "not

the case at bar.

the penalty. As reckless imprudence or criminal

punishable by law" as well as acts that may be criminal in character,

whether intentional and voluntary or negligent. Consequently, a

The court a quo's ruling that the petitioners did not reserve the right

separate civil action lies against the offender in a criminal act,

to file an independent civil action is without merit. Article 29 does not

whether or not he is criminally prosecuted and found guilty or

include any reservation requirement to institute an independent civil

acquitted, provided that the offended party is not allowed to recover

action. It allows an action for damages against the accused upon the

damage in both scores (delict and quasi-delict).

latter's acquittal in the criminal case based on reasonable doubt. The

reservation requirement of the Rules on Criminal Procedure has also

Article 29 of the Civil Code does not state that the right to file an

been declared as not in accordance with law. It is regarded as an

independent civil action for damages (under said article) can be

unauthorized amendment to substantive law, i.e. the Civil Code,

availed of only in offenses not arising from a tortious act. The only

which does not require such a reservation. This provision has been

requisite to file a civil action from damages is that the accused must

deleted from Section 2, Rule 111 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal

have been acquitted in the criminal action based on reasonable

Procedure, declaring such requirement of reservation as ineffective.

doubt. When the law does not distinguish, the court should not

Petitioners active participation in the prosecution of the criminal

action does not bar them from filing an independent and separate

Contrary to private respondent's claim, Article 33 of the Civil Code

cannot apply in this case for it assumes a defamation, fraud, or

civil action for damages under Article 29 of the Civil Code.

The Orders dated 25 February 1971 and 27 March 1971 of the court
a quo was reversed and set aside, and a new one is entered
reinstating the action for recovery of damages by the petitioners and
directing the said court to proceed trial with the case.