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Civil Law Review I (under Atty. Flores) negative results.

II Human Relations Notwithstanding the two police reports exculpating Tobias from the anomalies and the fact that the report of the
private investigator, was, by its own terms, not yet complete, petitioners filed with the City Fiscal of Manila a complaint for
estafa through falsification of commercial documents, later amended to just estafa. Subsequently five other criminal
complaints were filed against Tobias, four of which were for estafa through Falsification of commercial document while the
fifth was for of Article 290 of' the Revised Penal Code (Discovering Secrets Through Seizure of
Republic of the Philippines Correspondence).lwph1.t Two of these complaints were refiled with the Judge Advocate General's Office, which
SUPREME COURT however, remanded them to the fiscal's office. All of the six criminal complaints were dismissed by the fiscal. Petitioners
Manila appealed four of the fiscal's resolutions dismissing the criminal complaints with the Secretary of Justice, who, however,
affirmed their dismissal.
THIRD DIVISION
In the meantime, on January 17, 1973, Tobias received a notice (Exh. "F") from petitioners that his employment
G.R. No. 81262 August 25, 1989 has been terminated effective December 13, 1972. Whereupon, Tobias filed a complaint for illegal dismissal. The labor
arbiter dismissed the complaint. On appeal, the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) reversed the labor arbiter's
GLOBE MACKAY CABLE AND RADIO CORP., and HERBERT C. HENDRY, petitioners, decision. However, the Secretary of Labor, acting on petitioners' appeal from the NLRC ruling, reinstated the labor
vs. arbiter's decision. Tobias appealed the Secretary of Labor's order with the Office of the President. During the pendency of
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS and RESTITUTO M. TOBIAS, respondents. the appeal with said office, petitioners and private respondent Tobias entered into a compromise agreement regarding the
latter's complaint for illegal dismissal.
Atencia & Arias Law Offices for petitioners.
Unemployed, Tobias sought employment with the Republic Telephone Company (RETELCO). However,
Romulo C. Felizmena for private respondent. petitioner Hendry, without being asked by RETELCO, wrote a letter to the latter stating that Tobias was dismissed by
GLOBE MACKAY due to dishonesty.
CORTES, J.: Private respondent Tobias filed a civil case for damages anchored on alleged unlawful, malicious, oppressive,
and abusive acts of petitioners. Petitioner Hendry, claiming illness, did not testify during the hearings. The Regional Trial
Private respondent Restituto M. Tobias was employed by petitioner Globe Mackay Cable and Radio Corporation Court (RTC) of Manila, Branch IX, through Judge Manuel T. Reyes rendered judgment in favor of private respondent by
(GLOBE MACKAY) in a dual capacity as a purchasing agent and administrative assistant to the engineering operations ordering petitioners to pay him eighty thousand pesos (P80,000.00) as actual damages, two hundred thousand pesos
manager. In 1972, GLOBE MACKAY discovered fictitious purchases and other fraudulent transactions for which it lost (P200,000.00) as moral damages, twenty thousand pesos (P20,000.00) as exemplary damages, thirty thousand pesos
several thousands of pesos. (P30,000.00) as attorney's fees, and costs. Petitioners appealed the RTC decision to the Court of Appeals. On the other
hand, Tobias appealed as to the amount of damages. However, the Court of Appeals, an a decision dated August 31,
According to private respondent it was he who actually discovered the anomalies and reported them on November 1987 affirmed the RTC decision in toto. Petitioners' motion for reconsideration having been denied, the instant petition for
10, 1972 to his immediate superior Eduardo T. Ferraren and to petitioner Herbert C. Hendry who was then the Executive review on certiorari was filed.
Vice-President and General Manager of GLOBE MACKAY.
The main issue in this case is whether or not petitioners are liable for damages to private respondent.
On November 11, 1972, one day after private respondent Tobias made the report, petitioner Hendry confronted
him by stating that he was the number one suspect, and ordered him to take a one week forced leave, not to communicate Petitioners contend that they could not be made liable for damages in the lawful exercise of their right to dismiss
with the office, to leave his table drawers open, and to leave the office keys. private respondent.
On November 20, 1972, when private respondent Tobias returned to work after the forced leave, petitioner Hendry On the other hand, private respondent contends that because of petitioners' abusive manner in dismissing him
went up to him and called him a "crook" and a "swindler." Tobias was then ordered to take a lie detector test. He was also as well as for the inhuman treatment he got from them, the Petitioners must indemnify him for the damage that he had
instructed to submit specimen of his handwriting, signature, and initials for examination by the police investigators to suffered.
determine his complicity in the anomalies.
One of the more notable innovations of the New Civil Code is the codification of "some basic principles that are
On December 6,1972, the Manila police investigators submitted a laboratory crime report (Exh. "A") clearing to be observed for the rightful relationship between human beings and for the stability of the social order." [REPORT ON
private respondent of participation in the anomalies. THE CODE COMMISSION ON THE PROPOSED CIVIL CODE OF THE PHILIPPINES, p. 39]. The framers of the Code,
seeking to remedy the defect of the old Code which merely stated the effects of the law, but failed to draw out its spirit,
Not satisfied with the police report, petitioners hired a private investigator, retired Col. Jose G. Fernandez, who on incorporated certain fundamental precepts which were "designed to indicate certain norms that spring from the fountain of
December 10, 1972, submitted a report (Exh. "2") finding Tobias guilty. This report however expressly stated that further good conscience" and which were also meant to serve as "guides for human conduct [that] should run as golden threads
investigation was still to be conducted. through society, to the end that law may approach its supreme ideal, which is the sway and dominance of justice" (Id.)
Foremost among these principles is that pronounced in Article 19 which provides:
Nevertheless, on December 12, 1972, petitioner Hendry issued a memorandum suspending Tobias from work
preparatory to the filing of criminal charges against him. Art. 19. Every person must, in the exercise of his rights and in the performance of his duties, act with
justice, give everyone his due, and observe honesty and good faith.
On December 19,1972, Lt. Dioscoro V. Tagle, Metro Manila Police Chief Document Examiner, after investigating
other documents pertaining to the alleged anomalous transactions, submitted a second laboratory crime report (Exh. "B") This article, known to contain what is commonly referred to as the principle of abuse of rights, sets certain
reiterating his previous finding that the handwritings, signatures, and initials appearing in the checks and other documents standards which must be observed not only in the exercise of one's rights but also in the performance of one's duties.
involved in the fraudulent transactions were not those of Tobias. The lie detector tests conducted on Tobias also yielded

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These standards are the following: to act with justice; to give everyone his due; and to observe honesty and good faith. The damages under Article 19 in relation to Article 21 of the Civil Code.
law, therefore, recognizes a primordial limitation on all rights; that in their exercise, the norms of human conduct set forth in
Article 19 must be observed. A right, though by itself legal because recognized or granted by law as such, may nevertheless But petitioners were not content with just dismissing Tobias. Several other tortious acts were committed by
become the source of some illegality. When a right is exercised in a manner which does not conform with the norms petitioners against Tobias after the latter's termination from work. Towards the latter part of January, 1973, after the filing of
enshrined in Article 19 and results in damage to another, a legal wrong is thereby committed for which the wrongdoer must the first of six criminal complaints against Tobias, the latter talked to Hendry to protest the actions taken against him. In
be held responsible. But while Article 19 lays down a rule of conduct for the government of human relations and for the response, Hendry cut short Tobias' protestations by telling him to just confess or else the company would file a hundred
maintenance of social order, it does not provide a remedy for its violation. Generally, an action for damages under either more cases against him until he landed in jail. Hendry added that, "You Filipinos cannot be trusted." The threat unmasked
Article 20 or Article 21 would be proper. petitioner's bad faith in the various actions taken against Tobias. On the other hand, the scornful remark about Filipinos as
well as Hendry's earlier statements about Tobias being a "crook" and "swindler" are clear violations of 'Tobias' personal
Article 20, which pertains to damage arising from a violation of law, provides that: dignity [See Article 26, Civil Code].

Art. 20. Every person who contrary to law, wilfully or negligently causes damage to another, shall The next tortious act committed by petitioners was the writing of a letter to RETELCO sometime in October
indemnify the latter for the same. 1974, stating that Tobias had been dismissed by GLOBE MACKAY due to dishonesty. Because of the letter, Tobias failed
to gain employment with RETELCO and as a result of which, Tobias remained unemployed for a longer period of time. For
However, in the case at bar, petitioners claim that they did not violate any provision of law since they were merely this further damage suffered by Tobias, petitioners must likewise be held liable for damages consistent with Article 2176 of
exercising their legal right to dismiss private respondent. This does not, however, leave private respondent with no relief the Civil Code. Petitioners, however, contend that they have a "moral, if not legal, duty to forewarn other employers of the
because Article 21 of the Civil Code provides that: kind of employee the plaintiff (private respondent herein) was." [Petition, p. 14; Rollo, p. 15]. Petitioners further claim that
"it is the accepted moral and societal obligation of every man to advise or warn his fellowmen of any threat or danger to
Art. 21. Any person who wilfully causes loss or injury to another in a manner that is contrary to morals, the latter's life, honor or property. And this includes warning one's brethren of the possible dangers involved in dealing
good customs or public policy shall compensate the latter for the damage. with, or accepting into confidence, a man whose honesty and integrity is suspect" [Id.]. These arguments, rather than
justify petitioners' act, reveal a seeming obsession to prevent Tobias from getting a job, even after almost two years from
This article, adopted to remedy the "countless gaps in the statutes, which leave so many victims of moral wrongs the time Tobias was dismissed.
helpless, even though they have actually suffered material and moral injury" [Id.] should "vouchsafe adequate legal remedy
for that untold number of moral wrongs which it is impossible for human foresight to provide for specifically in the statutes" Finally, there is the matter of the filing by petitioners of six criminal complaints against Tobias. Petitioners
[Id. it p. 40; See also PNB v. CA, G.R. No. L-27155, May 18,1978, 83 SCRA 237, 247]. contend that there is no case against them for malicious prosecution and that they cannot be "penalized for exercising
their right and prerogative of seeking justice by filing criminal complaints against an employee who was their principal
In determining whether or not the principle of abuse of rights may be invoked, there is no rigid test which can be suspect in the commission of forgeries and in the perpetration of anomalous transactions which defrauded them of
applied. While the Court has not hesitated to apply Article 19 whether the legal and factual circumstances called for its substantial sums of money" [Petition, p. 10, Rollo, p. 11].
application [See for e.g., Velayo v. Shell Co. of the Phil., Ltd., 100 Phil. 186 (1956); PNB v. CA, supra; Grand Union
Supermarket, Inc. v. Espino, Jr., G.R. No. L-48250, December 28, 1979, 94 SCRA 953; PAL v. CA, G.R. No. L-46558, July While sound principles of justice and public policy dictate that persons shall have free resort to the courts for
31,1981,106 SCRA 391; United General Industries, Inc, v. Paler G.R. No. L-30205, March 15,1982,112 SCRA 404; Rubio v. redress of wrongs and vindication of their rights [Buenaventura v. Sto. Domingo, 103 Phil. 239 (1958)], the right to institute
CA, G.R. No. 50911, August 21, 1987, 153 SCRA 183] the question of whether or not the principle of abuse of rights has criminal prosecutions can not be exercised maliciously and in bad faith [Ventura v. Bernabe, G.R. No. L-26760, April 30,
been violated resulting in damages under Article 20 or Article 21 or other applicable provision of law, depends on the 1971, 38 SCRA 5871.] Hence, in Yutuk V. Manila Electric Co., G.R. No. L-13016, May 31, 1961, 2 SCRA 337, the Court
circumstances of each case. And in the instant case, the Court, after examining the record and considering certain held that the right to file criminal complaints should not be used as a weapon to force an alleged debtor to pay an
significant circumstances, finds that all petitioners have indeed abused the right that they invoke, causing damage to private indebtedness. To do so would be a clear perversion of the function of the criminal processes and of the courts of justice.
respondent and for which the latter must now be indemnified. And in Hawpia CA, G.R. No. L-20047, June 30, 1967. 20 SCRA 536 the Court upheld the judgment against the petitioner
for actual and moral damages and attorney's fees after making a finding that petitioner, with persistence, filed at least six
The trial court made a finding that notwithstanding the fact that it was private respondent Tobias who reported the criminal complaints against respondent, all of which were dismissed.
possible existence of anomalous transactions, petitioner Hendry "showed belligerence and told plaintiff (private respondent
herein) that he was the number one suspect and to take a one week vacation leave, not to communicate with the office, to To constitute malicious prosecution, there must be proof that the prosecution was prompted by a design to vex
leave his table drawers open, and to leave his keys to said defendant (petitioner Hendry)" [RTC Decision, p. 2; Rollo, p. and humiliate a person and that it was initiated deliberately by the defendant knowing that the charges were false and
232]. This, petitioners do not dispute. But regardless of whether or not it was private respondent Tobias who reported the groundless [Manila Gas Corporation v. CA, G.R. No. L-44190, October 30,1980, 100 SCRA 602]. Concededly, the filing of
anomalies to petitioners, the latter's reaction towards the former upon uncovering the anomalies was less than civil. An a suit by itself, does not render a person liable for malicious prosecution [Inhelder Corporation v. CA, G.R. No. 52358, May
employer who harbors suspicions that an employee has committed dishonesty might be justified in taking the appropriate 301983122 SCRA 576]. The mere dismissal by the fiscal of the criminal complaint is not a ground for an award of
action such as ordering an investigation and directing the employee to go on a leave. Firmness and the resolve to uncover damages for malicious prosecution if there is no competent evidence to show that the complainant had acted in bad faith
the truth would also be expected from such employer. But the high-handed treatment accorded Tobias by petitioners was [Sison v. David, G.R. No. L-11268, January 28,1961, 1 SCRA 60].
certainly uncalled for. And this reprehensible attitude of petitioners was to continue when private respondent returned to
work on November 20, 1972 after his one week forced leave. Upon reporting for work, Tobias was confronted by Hendry In the instant case, however, the trial court made a finding that petitioners acted in bad faith in filing the criminal
who said. "Tobby, you are the crook and swindler in this company." Considering that the first report made by the police complaints against Tobias, observing that:
investigators was submitted only on December 10, 1972 [See Exh. A] the statement made by petitioner Hendry was
baseless. The imputation of guilt without basis and the pattern of harassment during the investigations of Tobias transgress x x x
the standards of human conduct set forth in Article 19 of the Civil Code. The Court has already ruled that the right of the
employer to dismiss an employee should not be confused with the manner in which the right is exercised and the effects Defendants (petitioners herein) filed with the Fiscal's Office of Manila a total of six (6) criminal cases,
flowing therefrom. If the dismissal is done abusively, then the employer is liable for damages to the employee [Quisaba v. five (5) of which were for estafa thru falsification of commercial document and one for violation of Art. 290 of the
Sta. Ines-Melale Veneer and Plywood Inc., G.R. No. L-38088, August 30, 1974, 58 SCRA 771; See also Philippine Refining Revised Penal Code "discovering secrets thru seizure of correspondence," and all were dismissed for
Co., Inc. v. Garcia, G.R. No. L-21871, September 27,1966, 18 SCRA 107] Under the circumstances of the instant case, the insufficiency or lack of evidence." The dismissal of four (4) of the cases was appealed to the Ministry of Justice,
petitioners clearly failed to exercise in a legitimate manner their right to dismiss Tobias, giving the latter the right to recover but said Ministry invariably sustained the dismissal of the cases. As above adverted to, two of these cases were

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refiled with the Judge Advocate General's Office of the Armed Forces of the Philippines to railroad plaintiffs 20 SCRA 987]. This principle finds no application in this case. It bears repeating that even granting that petitioners might
arrest and detention in the military stockade, but this was frustrated by a presidential decree transferring criminal have had the right to dismiss Tobias from work, the abusive manner in which that right was exercised amounted to a legal
cases involving civilians to the civil courts. wrong for which petitioners must now be held liable. Moreover, the damage incurred by Tobias was not only in connection
with the abusive manner in which he was dismissed but was also the result of several other quasi-delictual acts committed
x x x by petitioners.

To be sure, when despite the two (2) police reports embodying the findings of Lt. Dioscoro Tagle, Chief Petitioners next question the award of moral damages. However, the Court has already ruled in Wassmer v.
Document Examiner of the Manila Police Department, clearing plaintiff of participation or involvement in the Velez, G.R. No. L-20089, December 26, 1964, 12 SCRA 648, 653, that [p]er express provision of Article 2219 (10) of the
fraudulent transactions complained of, despite the negative results of the lie detector tests which defendants New Civil Code, moral damages are recoverable in the cases mentioned in Article 21 of said Code." Hence, the Court of
compelled plaintiff to undergo, and although the police investigation was "still under follow-up and a Appeals committed no error in awarding moral damages to Tobias.
supplementary report will be submitted after all the evidence has been gathered," defendants hastily filed six (6)
criminal cases with the city Fiscal's Office of Manila, five (5) for estafa thru falsification of commercial document Lastly, the award of exemplary damages is impugned by petitioners. Although Article 2231 of the Civil Code
and one (1) for violation of Art. 290 of the Revised Penal Code, so much so that as was to be expected, all six (6) provides that "[i]n quasi-delicts, exemplary damages may be granted if the defendant acted with gross negligence," the
cases were dismissed, with one of the investigating fiscals, Asst. Fiscal de Guia, commenting in one case that, Court, in Zulueta v. Pan American World Airways, Inc., G.R. No. L- 28589, January 8, 1973, 49 SCRA 1, ruled that if gross
"Indeed, the haphazard way this case was investigated is evident. Evident likewise is the flurry and haste in the negligence warrants the award of exemplary damages, with more reason is its imposition justified when the act performed
filing of this case against respondent Tobias," there can be no mistaking that defendants would not but be is deliberate, malicious and tainted with bad faith. As in the Zulueta case, the nature of the wrongful acts shown to have
motivated by malicious and unlawful intent to harass, oppress, and cause damage to plaintiff. been committed by petitioners against Tobias is sufficient basis for the award of exemplary damages to the latter.

x x x WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DENIED and the decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No.
09055 is AFFIRMED.
[RTC Decision, pp. 5-6; Rollo, pp. 235-236].
SO ORDERED.
In addition to the observations made by the trial court, the Court finds it significant that the criminal complaints
were filed during the pendency of the illegal dismissal case filed by Tobias against petitioners. This explains the haste in Fernan, C.J., Gutierrez, Jr. and Bidin, JJ., concur.
which the complaints were filed, which the trial court earlier noted. But petitioners, to prove their good faith, point to the fact
that only six complaints were filed against Tobias when they could have allegedly filed one hundred cases, considering the Feliciano, J., took no part.
number of anomalous transactions committed against GLOBE MACKAY. However, petitioners' good faith is belied by the
threat made by Hendry after the filing of the first complaint that one hundred more cases would be filed against Tobias. In Footnotes
effect, the possible filing of one hundred more cases was made to hang like the sword of Damocles over the head of Tobias.
In fine, considering the haste in which the criminal complaints were filed, the fact that they were filed during the pendency of ** Penned by Justice Jorge R. Coquia and concurred in be Justice Josue N. Bellosillo and Justice Venancio D.
the illegal dismissal case against petitioners, the threat made by Hendry, the fact that the cases were filed notwithstanding Aldecoa Jr.
the two police reports exculpating Tobias from involvement in the anomalies committed against GLOBE MACKAY, coupled
by the eventual dismissal of all the cases, the Court is led into no other conclusion than that petitioners were motivated by
malicious intent in filing the six criminal complaints against Tobias. (NOTE: Velayo vs. Shell [54 OG No. 46, p. 7303] is a Court of Appeals decision. I did not include it because I
cannot locate a reliable copy of the full decision in the internet.)
Petitioners next contend that the award of damages was excessive. In the complaint filed against petitioners,
Tobias prayed for the following: one hundred thousand pesos (P100,000.00) as actual damages; fifty thousand pesos
(P50,000.00) as exemplary damages; eight hundred thousand pesos (P800,000.00) as moral damages; fifty thousand
pesos (P50,000.00) as attorney's fees; and costs. The trial court, after making a computation of the damages incurred by Republic of the Philippines
Tobias [See RTC Decision, pp. 7-8; Rollo, pp. 154-1551, awarded him the following: eighty thousand pesos (P80,000.00) as SUPREME COURT
actual damages; two hundred thousand pesos (P200,000.00) as moral damages; twenty thousand pesos (P20,000.00) as Manila
exemplary damages; thirty thousand pesos (P30,000.00) as attorney's fees; and, costs. It must be underscored that
petitioners have been guilty of committing several actionable tortious acts, i.e., the abusive manner in which they dismissed SECOND DIVISION
Tobias from work including the baseless imputation of guilt and the harassment during the investigations; the defamatory
language heaped on Tobias as well as the scornful remark on Filipinos; the poison letter sent to RETELCO which resulted in G.R. No. L-27155 May 18, 1978
Tobias' loss of possible employment; and, the malicious filing of the criminal complaints. Considering the extent of the
damage wrought on Tobias, the Court finds that, contrary to petitioners' contention, the amount of damages awarded to PHILIPPINE NATIONAL BANK, petitioner,
Tobias was reasonable under the circumstances. vs.
THE COURT OF APPEALS, RITA GUECO TAPNIO, CECILIO GUECO and THE PHILIPPINE AMERICAN GENERAL
Yet, petitioners still insist that the award of damages was improper, invoking the principle of damnum absque INSURANCE COMPANY, INC., respondents.
injuria. It is argued that "[t]he only probable actual damage that plaintiff (private respondent herein) could have suffered was
a direct result of his having been dismissed from his employment, which was a valid and legal act of the defendants- Medina, Locsin, Corua, & Sumbillo for petitioner.
appellants (petitioners herein).lwph1.t " [Petition, p. 17; Rollo, p. 18].
Manuel Lim & Associates for private respondents.
According to the principle of damnum absque injuria, damage or loss which does not constitute a violation of a
legal right or amount to a legal wrong is not actionable [Escano v. CA, G.R. No. L-47207, September 25, 1980, 100 SCRA ANTONIO, J.:
197; See also Gilchrist v. Cuddy 29 Phil, 542 (1915); The Board of Liquidators v. Kalaw, G.R. No. L-18805, August 14, 1967,
Certiorari to review the decision of the Court of Appeals which affirmed the judgment of the Court of First

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Instance of Manila in Civil Case No. 34185, ordering petitioner, as third-party defendant, to pay respondent Rita Gueco consideration of P2.80 per picul or a total of P2,800.00 (Exh. "2-Gueco") informing them that "the minimum lease rental
Tapnio, as third-party plaintiff, the sum of P2,379.71, plus 12% interest per annum from September 19, 1957 until the same acceptable to the Bank, is P2.80 per picul." In a letter addressed to the branch manager on August 10, 1956, Mr. Tuazon
is fully paid, P200.00 attorney's fees and costs, the same amounts which Rita Gueco Tapnio was ordered to pay the informed the manager that he was agreeable to raising the consideration to P2.80 per picul. He further informed the
Philippine American General Insurance Co., Inc., to be paid directly to the Philippine American General Insurance Co., Inc. manager that he was ready to pay said amount as the funds were in his folder which was kept in the bank.
in full satisfaction of the judgment rendered against Rita Gueco Tapnio in favor of the former; plus P500.00 attorney's fees
for Rita Gueco Tapnio and costs. The basic action is the complaint filed by Philamgen (Philippine American General Explaining the meaning of Tuazon's statement as to the funds, it was stated by him that he had an approved
Insurance Co., Inc.) as surety against Rita Gueco Tapnio and Cecilio Gueco, for the recovery of the sum of P2,379.71 paid loan from the bank but he had not yet utilized it as he was intending to use it to pay for the quota. Hence, when he said
by Philamgen to the Philippine National Bank on behalf of respondents Tapnio and Gueco, pursuant to an indemnity the amount needed to pay Mrs. Tapnio was in his folder which was in the bank, he meant and the manager understood
agreement. Petitioner Bank was made third-party defendant by Tapnio and Gueco on the theory that their failure to pay the and knew he had an approved loan available to be used in payment of the quota. In said Exh. "6-Gueco", Tuazon also
debt was due to the fault or negligence of petitioner. informed the manager that he would want for a notice from the manager as to the time when the bank needed the money
so that Tuazon could sign the corresponding promissory note.
The facts as found by the respondent Court of Appeals, in affirming the decision of the Court of First Instance of
Manila, are quoted hereunder: Further Consideration of the evidence discloses that when the branch manager of the Philippine National Bank
at San Fernando recommended the approval of the contract of lease at the price of P2.80 per picul (Exh. 1 1-Bank),
Plaintiff executed its Bond, Exh. A, with defendant Rita Gueco Tapnio as principal, in favor of the Philippine whose recommendation was concurred in by the Vice-president of said Bank, J. V. Buenaventura, the board of directors
National Bank Branch at San Fernando, Pampanga, to guarantee the payment of defendant Rita Gueco Tapnio's account required that the amount be raised to 13.00 per picul. This act of the board of directors was communicated to Tuazon, who
with said Bank. In turn, to guarantee the payment of whatever amount the bonding company would pay to the Philippine in turn asked for a reconsideration thereof. On November 19, 1956, the branch manager submitted Tuazon's request for
National Bank, both defendants executed the indemnity agreement, Exh. B. Under the terms and conditions of this reconsideration to the board of directors with another recommendation for the approval of the lease at P2.80 per picul, but
indemnity agreement, whatever amount the plaintiff would pay would earn interest at the rate of 12% per annum, plus the board returned the recommendation unacted upon, considering that the current price prevailing at the time was P3.00
attorney's fees in the amount of 15 % of the whole amount due in case of court litigation. per picul (Exh. 9-Bank).

The original amount of the bond was for P4,000.00; but the amount was later reduced to P2,000.00. The parties were notified of the refusal on the part of the board of directors of the Bank to grant the motion for
reconsideration. The matter stood as it was until February 22, 1957, when Tuazon wrote a letter (Exh. 10-Bank informing
It is not disputed that defendant Rita Gueco Tapnio was indebted to the bank in the sum of P2,000.00, plus the Bank that he was no longer interested to continue the deal, referring to the lease of sugar quota allotment in favor of
accumulated interests unpaid, which she failed to pay despite demands. The Bank wrote a letter of demand to plaintiff, as defendant Rita Gueco Tapnio. The result is that the latter lost the sum of P2,800.00 which she should have received from
per Exh. C; whereupon, plaintiff paid the bank on September 18, 1957, the full amount due and owing in the sum of Tuazon and which she could have paid the Bank to cancel off her indebtedness,
P2,379.91, for and on account of defendant Rita Gueco's obligation (Exhs. D and D-1).
The court below held, and in this holding we concur that failure of the negotiation for the lease of the sugar
Plaintiff, in turn, made several demands, both verbal and written, upon defendants (Exhs. E and F), but to no avail. quota allocation of Rita Gueco Tapnio to Tuazon was due to the fault of the directors of the Philippine National Bank, The
refusal on the part of the bank to approve the lease at the rate of P2.80 per picul which, as stated above, would have
Defendant Rita Gueco Tapnio admitted all the foregoing facts. She claims, however, when demand was made enabled Rita Gueco Tapnio to realize the amount of P2,800.00 which was more than sufficient to pay off her indebtedness
upon her by plaintiff for her to pay her debt to the Bank, that she told the Plaintiff that she did not consider herself to be to the Bank, and its insistence on the rental price of P3.00 per picul thus unnecessarily increasing the value by only a
indebted to the Bank at all because she had an agreement with one Jacobo-Nazon whereby she had leased to the latter her difference of P200.00. inevitably brought about the rescission of the lease contract to the damage and prejudice of Rita
unused export sugar quota for the 1956-1957 agricultural year, consisting of 1,000 piculs at the rate of P2.80 per picul, or for Gueco Tapnio in the aforesaid sum of P2,800.00. The unreasonableness of the position adopted by the board of directors
a total of P2,800.00, which was already in excess of her obligation guaranteed by plaintiff's bond, Exh. A. This lease of the Philippine National Bank in refusing to approve the lease at the rate of P2.80 per picul and insisting on the rate of
agreement, according to her, was with the knowledge of the bank. But the Bank has placed obstacles to the consummation P3.00 per picul, if only to increase the retail value by only P200.00 is shown by the fact that all the accounts of Rita Gueco
of the lease, and the delay caused by said obstacles forced 'Nazon to rescind the lease contract. Thus, Rita Gueco Tapnio Tapnio with the Bank were secured by chattel mortgage on standing crops, assignment of leasehold rights and interests
filed her third-party complaint against the Bank to recover from the latter any and all sums of money which may be adjudged on her properties, and surety bonds, aside from the fact that from Exh. 8-Bank, it appears that she was offering to execute
against her and in favor of the plaitiff plus moral damages, attorney's fees and costs. a real estate mortgage in favor of the Bank to replace the surety bond This statement is further bolstered by the fact that
Rita Gueco Tapnio apparently had the means to pay her obligation fact that she has been granted several value of almost
Insofar as the contentions of the parties herein are concerned, we quote with approval the following findings of the P80,000.00 for the agricultural years from 1952 to 56. 1
lower court based on the evidence presented at the trial of the case:
Its motion for the reconsideration of the decision of the Court of Appeals having been denied, petitioner filed the
It has been established during the trial that Mrs. Tapnio had an export sugar quota of 1,000 piculs for the present petition.
agricultural year 1956-1957 which she did not need. She agreed to allow Mr. Jacobo C. Tuazon to use said quota for the
consideration of P2,500.00 (Exh. "4"-Gueco). This agreement was called a contract of lease of sugar allotment. The petitioner contends that the Court of Appeals erred:

At the time of the agreement, Mrs. Tapnio was indebted to the Philippine National Bank at San Fernando, (1) In finding that the rescission of the lease contract of the 1,000 piculs of sugar quota
Pampanga. Her indebtedness was known as a crop loan and was secured by a mortgage on her standing crop including her allocation of respondent Rita Gueco Tapnio by Jacobo C. Tuazon was due to the unjustified refusal of petitioner
sugar quota allocation for the agricultural year corresponding to said standing crop. This arrangement was necessary in to approve said lease contract, and its unreasonable insistence on the rental price of P3.00 instead of P2.80 per
order that when Mrs. Tapnio harvests, the P.N.B., having a lien on the crop, may effectively enforce collection against her. picul; and
Her sugar cannot be exported without sugar quota allotment Sometimes, however, a planter harvest less sugar than her
quota, so her excess quota is utilized by another who pays her for its use. This is the arrangement entered into between (2) In not holding that based on the statistics of sugar price and prices of sugar quota in the
Mrs. Tapnio and Mr. Tuazon regarding the former's excess quota for 1956-1957 (Exh. "4"-Gueco). possession of the petitioner, the latter's Board of Directors correctly fixed the rental of price per picul of 1,000
piculs of sugar quota leased by respondent Rita Gueco Tapnio to Jacobo C. Tuazon at P3.00 per picul.
Since the quota was mortgaged to the P.N.B., the contract of lease had to be approved by said Bank, The same
was submitted to the branch manager at San Fernando, Pampanga. The latter required the parties to raise the Petitioner argued that as an assignee of the sugar quota of Tapnio, it has the right, both under its own Charter

Page 4 of 33
and under the Corporation Law, to safeguard and protect its rights and interests under the deed of assignment, which the damage caused.
include the right to approve or disapprove the said lease of sugar quota and in the exercise of that authority, its
As observed by the trial court, time is of the essence in the approval of the lease of sugar quota allotments,
Board of Directors necessarily had authority to determine and fix the rental price per picul of the sugar quota since the same must be utilized during the milling season, because any allotment which is not filled during such milling
subject of the lease between private respondents and Jacobo C. Tuazon. It argued further that both under its Charter and season may be reallocated by the Sugar Quota Administration to other holders of allotments. 3 There was no proof that
the Corporation Law, petitioner, acting thru its Board of Directors, has the perfect right to adopt a policy with respect to fixing there was any other person at that time willing to lease the sugar quota allotment of private respondents for a price higher
of rental prices of export sugar quota allocations, and in fixing the rentals at P3.00 per picul, it did not act arbitrarily since the than P2.80 per picul. "The fact that there were isolated transactions wherein the consideration for the lease was P3.00 a
said Board was guided by statistics of sugar price and prices of sugar quotas prevailing at the time. Since the fixing of the picul", according to the trial court, "does not necessarily mean that there are always ready takers of said price. " The
rental of the sugar quota is a function lodged with petitioner's Board of Directors and is a matter of policy, the respondent unreasonableness of the position adopted by the petitioner's Board of Directors is shown by the fact that the difference
Court of Appeals could not substitute its own judgment for that of said Board of Directors, which acted in good faith, making between the amount of P2.80 per picul offered by Tuazon and the P3.00 per picul demanded by the Board amounted only
as its basis therefore the prevailing market price as shown by statistics which were then in their possession. to a total sum of P200.00. Considering that all the accounts of Rita Gueco Tapnio with the Bank were secured by chattel
mortgage on standing crops, assignment of leasehold rights and interests on her properties, and surety bonds and that
Finally, petitioner emphasized that under the appealed judgment, it shall suffer a great injustice because as a she had apparently "the means to pay her obligation to the Bank, as shown by the fact that she has been granted several
creditor, it shall be deprived of a just claim against its debtor (respondent Rita Gueco Tapnio) as it would be required to sugar crop loans of the total value of almost P80,000.00 for the agricultural years from 1952 to 1956", there was no
return to respondent Philamgen the sum of P2,379.71, plus interest, which amount had been previously paid to petitioner by reasonable basis for the Board of Directors of petitioner to have rejected the lease agreement because of a measly sum of
said insurance company in behalf of the principal debtor, herein respondent Rita Gueco Tapnio, and without recourse P200.00.
against respondent Rita Gueco Tapnio.
While petitioner had the ultimate authority of approving or disapproving the proposed lease since the quota was
We must advert to the rule that this Court's appellate jurisdiction in proceedings of this nature is limited to mortgaged to the Bank, the latter certainly cannot escape its responsibility of observing, for the protection of the interest of
reviewing only errors of law, accepting as conclusive the factual fin dings of the Court of Appeals upon its own assessment private respondents, that degree of care, precaution and vigilance which the circumstances justly demand in approving or
of the evidence. 2 disapproving the lease of said sugar quota. The law makes it imperative that every person "must in the exercise of his
rights and in the performance of his duties, act with justice, give everyone his due, and observe honesty and good faith, 4
The contract of lease of sugar quota allotment at P2.50 per picul between Rita Gueco Tapnio and Jacobo C. This petitioner failed to do. Certainly, it knew that the agricultural year was about to expire, that by its disapproval of the
Tuazon was executed on April 17, 1956. This contract was submitted to the Branch Manager of the Philippine National Bank lease private respondents would be unable to utilize the sugar quota in question. In failing to observe the reasonable
at San Fernando, Pampanga. This arrangement was necessary because Tapnio's indebtedness to petitioner was secured degree of care and vigilance which the surrounding circumstances reasonably impose, petitioner is consequently liable for
by a mortgage on her standing crop including her sugar quota allocation for the agricultural year corresponding to said the damages caused on private respondents. Under Article 21 of the New Civil Code, "any person who wilfully causes loss
standing crop. The latter required the parties to raise the consideration to P2.80 per picul, the minimum lease rental or injury to another in a manner that is contrary to morals, good customs or public policy shall compensate the latter for
acceptable to the Bank, or a total of P2,800.00. Tuazon informed the Branch Manager, thru a letter dated August 10, 1956, the damage." The afore-cited provisions on human relations were intended to expand the concept of torts in this
that he was agreeable to raising the consideration to P2.80 per picul. He further informed the manager that he was ready to jurisdiction by granting adequate legal remedy for the untold number of moral wrongs which is impossible for human
pay the said sum of P2,800.00 as the funds were in his folder which was kept in the said Bank. This referred to the foresight to specifically provide in the statutes. 5
approved loan of Tuazon from the Bank which he intended to use in paying for the use of the sugar quota. The Branch
Manager submitted the contract of lease of sugar quota allocation to the Head Office on September 7, 1956, with a A corporation is civilly liable in the same manner as natural persons for torts, because "generally speaking, the
recommendation for approval, which recommendation was concurred in by the Vice-President of the Bank, Mr. J. V. rules governing the liability of a principal or master for a tort committed by an agent or servant are the same whether the
Buenaventura. This notwithstanding, the Board of Directors of petitioner required that the consideration be raised to P3.00 principal or master be a natural person or a corporation, and whether the servant or agent be a natural or artificial person.
per picul. All of the authorities agree that a principal or master is liable for every tort which he expressly directs or authorizes, and
this is just as true of a corporation as of a natural person, A corporation is liable, therefore, whenever a tortious act is
Tuazon, after being informed of the action of the Board of Directors, asked for a reconsideration thereof. On committed by an officer or agent under express direction or authority from the stockholders or members acting as a body,
November 19, 1956, the Branch Manager submitted the request for reconsideration and again recommended the approval or, generally, from the directors as the governing body." 6
of the lease at P2.80 per picul, but the Board returned the recommendation unacted, stating that the current price prevailing
at that time was P3.00 per picul. WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the decision of the Court of Appeals is hereby AFFIRMED.

On February 22, 1957, Tuazon wrote a letter, informing the Bank that he was no longer interested in continuing Fernando, Aquino, Concepcion, Jr., and Santos, JJ., concur.
the lease of sugar quota allotment. The crop year 1956-1957 ended and Mrs. Tapnio failed to utilize her sugar quota,
resulting in her loss in the sum of P2,800.00 which she should have received had the lease in favor of Tuazon been
implemented. Separate Opinions

It has been clearly shown that when the Branch Manager of petitioner required the parties to raise the BARREDO, J., concurring:
consideration of the lease from P2.50 to P2.80 per picul, or a total of P2,800-00, they readily agreed. Hence, in his letter to
the Branch Manager of the Bank on August 10, 1956, Tuazon informed him that the minimum lease rental of P2.80 per picul concurs on the basis of Article 19 of the Civil Code, or at least, of equity. He reserves his opinion on the matter of torts
was acceptable to him and that he even offered to use the loan secured by him from petitioner to pay in full the sum of relied upon in the main opinion.
P2,800.00 which was the total consideration of the lease. This arrangement was not only satisfactory to the Branch
Manager but it was also approves by Vice-President J. V. Buenaventura of the PNB. Under that arrangement, Rita Gueco Footnotes
Tapnio could have realized the amount of P2,800.00, which was more than enough to pay the balance of her indebtedness
to the Bank which was secured by the bond of Philamgen. 1 Court of Appeals Decision, Rollo, pp. 20-25.

There is no question that Tapnio's failure to utilize her sugar quota for the crop year 1956-1957 was due to the 2 Evangelista & Co., et al v. Abad Santos I,31684, June 28, 1913, 51 SCRA 416.
disapproval of the lease by the Board of Directors of petitioner. The issue, therefore, is whether or not petitioner is liable for

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3 Section 8-A, Act No. 4166, as amended. November, 1961 elections.

4 Article 19, New Civil-Code. On October 3, 1961, petitioner received a telephone call from one Mrs. Nelly Amante, half-sister of Moises
Padilla, objecting to the filming of the movie and the "exploitation" of his life. Shown the early "rushes" of the picture, Mrs.
5 Commissioner's Note, Capistrano. 1 Civil Code of the Philippines, 1950 Ed. p. 29. Amante and her sister, Mrs. Gavieres, objected to many portions thereof notwithstanding petitioner's explanation that the
movie had been supervised by Ernesto Rodriguez, Jr., based on his book "The Long Dark Night in Negros." On October 5,
6 10 Fletcher Cyclopedia Corporation, 1970 Ed., pp. 266-267. 1961, Mrs. Amante, for and in behalf of her mother, private respondent, demanded in writing for certain changes,
corrections and deletions in the movie. 5 Petitioner contends that he acceded to the demands because he had already
invested heavily in the picture to the extent of mortgaging his properties, 6 in addition to the fact that he had to meet the
(NOTE: Balane vs. Yu Chiang [54 OG No. 3, p. 687] is a Court of Appeals decision. I did not include it because I scheduled target date of the premiere showing.
cannot locate a reliable copy of the full decision in the internet.)
On the same date, October 5, 1961, after some bargaining as to the amount to be paid, which was P50,000.00
at first, then reduced to P20,000.00, 7 petitioner and private respondent, represented by her daughters and Atty. Ernesto
Rodriguez, at the law office of Jalandoni and Jamir, executed a "Licensing Agreement" reading as follows:
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT LICENSING AGREEMENT
Manila
KNOW ALL MEN BY THESE PRESENTS:
FIRST DIVISION
This Agreement, made and executed at the City of Manila, Philippines, this 5th day of October, 1961,
G.R. No. L-32066 August 6, 1979 by and between:
MANUEL LAGUNZAD, petitioner, MANUEL M. LAGUNZAD, of legal age, married, presently engaged in the business of producing
vs. motion pictures under the style of "MML Productions" with residence at 76 Central Boulevard, Quezon City and
MARIA SOTO VDA. DE GONZALES and THE COURT OF APPEALS, respondents. with offices at 301 Cu Unjieng Bldg., Escolta, Manila and hereinafter referred to as LICENSEE,
Diosdado P. Peralta for petitioner. and
Manuel S. Tonogbanua for private respondent. MARIA SOTO VDA. DE GONZALES, of legal age, widow, resident of the Municipality of Moises
Padilla, Province of Negros Occidental, represented in this Act by her Attorneys-in-fact Atty. Ernesto Rodriguez,
MELENCIO-HERRERA, J.: Jr. of legal age and resident of 393F-Buencamino St., San Miguel, Manila; Maria Nelly G. Amazite, of legal age
and resident of 121 South 13, Quezon City; and Dolores G, Gavieres, of legal age, and resident of 511 San
Before us is a Petition for Review by certiorari of the Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. No. 34703, Rafael Street, Quiapo, Manila, also duly authorized and hereinafter referred to as LICENSOR,
promulgated on January 13, 1970, affirming the Decision of the Court of First Instance of Negros Occidental, dated June 30,
1964, in Civil Case No. 6414 entitled "Maria Soto Vda. de Gonzales vs. Manuel Lagunzad," for a Sum of Money and WITNESSETH:
Attachment.
That, the LICENSEE is currently producing a motion picture entitled "The Moises Padilla Story"
The present controversy stems from a "Licensing Agreement" entered into by and between petitioner Manuel M. (hereinafter referred to as the PICTURE, for short) based on certain episodes in the life of Moises Padilla, now
Lagunzad and private respondent Maria Soto Vda. de Gonzales on October 5, 1961, which contract petitioner claims to be deceased:
null and void for having been entered into by him under duress, intimidation and undue influence.
That the LICENSOR is the legitimate mother and only surviving compulsory heir of Moises Padilla, the
The antecedental facts follow: Sometime in August, 1961, petitioner Manuel Lagunzad, a newspaperman, began latter not having married during his lifetime and having died without any descendants, legitimate or illegitimate;
the production of a movie entitled "The Moises Padilla Story" under the name of his own business outfit, the "MML
Productions." It was based mainly on the copyrighted but unpublished book of Atty. Ernesto Rodriguez, Jr., entitled "The That, in the PICTURE and in all incidents thereof, such as scenarios, advertisements, etc., the
Long Dark Night in Negros" subtitled "The Moises Padilla Story," 1 the rights to which petitioner had purchased from Atty. LICENSEE has, without the prior consent and authority of LICENSOR, exploited the life story of Moises Padilla
Rodriguez in the amount of P2,000.00. 2 for pecuniary gain and other profit motives, and has, furthermore encroached upon the privacy of Moises
Padilla's immediate family, and has in fact, included in the PICTURE'S cast, persons portraying some of
The book narrates the events which culminated in the murder of Moises Padilla sometime between November 11 MOISES PADILLA's kin, including LICENSOR herself;
and November 17, 1951. Padilla was then a mayoralty candidate of the Nacionalista Party (then the minority party) for the
Municipality of Magallon, Negros Occidental, during the November, 1951 elections. Governor Rafael Lacson, a member of That, for and in consideration of the foregoing premises and the other covenants and conditions
the Liberal Party then in power and his men were tried and convicted for that murder in People vs. Lacson, et al. 3 In the hereunder stated, the LICENSOR hereby grants authority and permission to LICENSEE to exploit, use, and
book, Moises Padilla is portrayed as "a martyr in contemporary political history." develop the life story of Moises Padilla for purposes of producing the PICTURE, and in connection with matters
incidental to said production, such as advertising and the like, as well as authority and permission for the use of
Although the emphasis of the movie was on the public life of Moises Padilla, there were portions which dealt with LICENSOR's name in the PICTURE and have herself portrayed therein, the authority and permission hereby
his private and family life including the portrayal in some scenes, of his mother, Maria Soto Vda. de Gonzales, private granted, to retroact to the date when LICENSEE first committed any of the acts herein authorized.
respondent herein, and of one "Auring" as his girl friend. 4
THE CONDITIONS AND OTHER COVENANTS OF THIS AGREEMENT ARE AS FOLLOWS:
The movie was scheduled for a premiere showing on October 16, 1961, or at the very latest, before the

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1. For and in consideration of the authority and permission hereby granted by LICENSOR to Petitioner takes the position that he was pressured into signing the Agreement because of private respondent's
LICENSEE, LICENSEE shall pay LICENSOR, through Atty. Lope E. Adriano at the Pelaez and Jalandoni Law demand, through Mrs. Amante, for payment for the "exploitation" of the life story of Moises Padilla, otherwise, she would
Office, 6th Floor, Magsaysay Bldg., San Luis, Ermita, Manila, the following: "call a press conference declaring the whole picture as a fake, fraud and a hoax and would denounce the whole thing in
the press, radio, television and that they were going to Court to stop the picture." 8
a) The sum of TWENTY THOUSAND PESOS (P20,000.00), Philippine Currency,
payable without need of further demand, as follows: P5,000.00 on or before Oct. 10, 1961; On October 10, 1961, petitioner paid private respondent the amount of P5,000.00 but contends that he did so
P10,000.00 on or before Oct. 31, 1961; and P5,000.00 on or before November 30, 1961. In default of not pursuant to their Agreement but just to placate private respondent. 9
the payment of any of these amounts as they fall due, the others become immediately due and
demandable. On October 14, 1961, the filming of the movie was completed. On October 16, 1961, a premiere showing was
held at the Hollywood Theatre, Manila, with the Moises Padilla Society as its sponsor. 10 Subsequently, the movie was
b) A royalty in such amount corresponding to TWO AND A HALF PER CENTUM (2- shown in different theaters all over the country.
%) of all gross income or receipts derived by, and/or for and in behalf of, LICENSEE as rentals and
or percentage of box office receipts from exhibitors and others for the right to exploit, use, distribute Because petitioner refused to pay any additional amounts pursuant to the Agreement, on December 22, 1961,
and/or exhibit the picture anywhere here in the Philippines or abroad. private respondent instituted the present suit against him praying for judgment in her favor ordering petitioner 1) to pay her
the amount of P15,000.00, with legal interest from the filing of the Complaint; 2) to render an accounting of the proceeds
2) The LICENSEE agrees to keep complete, true and accurate books of accounts, contracts from the picture and to pay the corresponding 2-1/2% royalty therefrom; 3) to pay attorney's fees equivalent to 20% of the
and vouchers relating to the exploitation, distribution and exhibition of the PICTURE, the bookings thereof and amounts claimed; and 4) to pay the costs.
the rentals and gross receipts therefrom, and to give to LICENSOR and/or her accredited representatives, full
access at all reasonable times to all of the said books, accounts, records, vouchers and all other papers. Traversing the Complaint, petitioner contended in his Answer that the episodes in the life of Moises Padilla
depicted in the movie were matters of public knowledge and occurred at or about the same time that the deceased
3) The LICENSEE shall furnish LICENSOR monthly statements in duplicate, showing in detail became and was a public figure; that private respondent has no property right over those incidents; that the Licensing
the gross receipts accruing from the picture, which monthly statements shall be delivered to the LICENSOR with Agreement was without valid cause or consideration and that he signed the same only because private respondent
reasonable promptness, and upon verification and approval of said statements by LICENSOR, the LICENSEE threatened him with unfounded and harassing action which would have delayed production; and that he paid private
shall pay the corresponding royalties due to the LICENSOR. respondent the amount of P5,000.00 in October, 1961, only because of the coercion and threat employed upon him. By
way of counterclaim, petitioner demanded that the Licensing Agreement be declared null and void for being without any
4) The authority and permission herein granted is subject to the condition that LICENSEE shall valid cause; that private respondent be ordered to return to him the amount of P5,000.00; and that he be paid P50,000.00
change, delete, and/or correct such portions in the PICTURE as the LICENSOR may require, in writing before by way of moral damages, and P7,500.00 as attorney's fees.
final printing of the PICTURE, and shall, furthermore, not be understood as a consent to anything in the picture
that is, or tends to be, derogatory to the deceased MOISES PADILLA or to LICENSOR. Private respondent duly filed her Answer to Counterclaim alleging that the transaction between her and
petitioner was entered into freely and voluntarily.
5) The LICENSOR shall not in any way be liable on any claim from third persons as a result of,
or arising from, the manner by which the PICTURE is put together, nor on any claim arising from the production, On June 30, 1964, the trial Court rendered a Decision, and decreed in its dispositive portion:
distribution and exhibition of the PICTURE, and in the event of any such claim being asserted against
LICENSOR, the LICENSEE undertakes to hold LICENSOR harmless thereon. WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered ordering the defendant Manuel Lagunzad to pay the
plaintiff the sum of P15,000.00 with interest at the rate of 6% per annum from December 22, 1961 up to its
6) This agreement shall be binding upon the parties hereto, their representatives, administrators, complete payment; to order the defendant to render an accounting of the gross income or proceeds derived
successors and assigns. from the exhibition, use and/or rental of the motion picture of "The Moises Padilla Story" and to pay the plaintiff
2- 1/2% of said gross income; to pay the plaintiff the amount equivalent to 20% of the amount due the plaintiff
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the parties have hereunto set their hands on the date and at the place first under the first cause of action as attorney's fees; and to pay the costs.
above stated.
On appeal to the Court of Appeals, the latter Court affirmed the judgment. Reconsideration having been denied
MARIA SOTO VDA. DE GONZALES MANUEL M. LAGUNZAD by the Court, petitioner filed the instant Petition for Review on Certiorari.
Licensor Licensee
Initially, or on June 16, 1970, this Court denied the Petition for lack of merit, but resolved subsequently to give it
By: due course after petitioner moved for reconsideration on the additional argument that the movie production was in
exercise of the constitutional right of freedom of expression, and that the Licensing cement is a form of restraint on the
(Sgd.) ERNESTO R. RODRIGUEZ, Jr. freedom of speech and of the press.
(Sgd.) MARIA NELLY G. AMANTE
(Sgd.) DOLORES G. GAVIERES In his Brief, petitioner assigns the following errors to the appellate Court:
Attorneys-in-fact
I. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN EXERCISING JURISDICTION IN THE CASE
SIGNED IN THE PRESENCE OF: BECAUSE THE JUDGMENT APPEALED FROM WAS INTERLOCUTORY IN NATURE AND CHARACTER;

LOPE E. ADRIANO ILLEGIBLE II. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN ITS FAILURE TO MAKE COMPLETE FINDINGS OF
FACTS ON ALL ISSUES BEFORE IT;
ACKNOWLEDGMENT

Page 7 of 33
III. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT DECLARING THE LICENSING AGREEMENT, We also find it difficult to sustain petitioner's posture that his consent to the Licensing Agreement was procured
EXHIBIT "A", NULL AND VOID FOR LACK OF, OR FOR HAVING AN ILLEGAL CAUSE OR CONSIDERATION thru duress, intimidation and undue influence exerted on him by private respondent and her daughters at a time when he
OF CONTRACT, PETITIONER HAVING PREVIOUSLY OBTAINED THE AUTHORITY AND/OR PERMISSION had exhausted his financial resources, the premiere showing of the picture was imminent, and "time was of the essence."
PURPOSELY GRANTED TO HIM BY RESPONDENT UNDER SAID LICENSING AGREEMENT; As held in Martinez vs. Hongkong & Shanghai Bank, 17 it is necessary to distinguish between real duress and the motive
which is present when one gives his consent reluctantly. A contract is valid even though one of the parties entered into it
IV. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT FINDING THAT THE LICENSING against his own wish and desires, or even against his better judgment. In legal effect, there is no difference between a
AGREEMENT, EXHIBIT "A", IS NULL AND VOID; RESPONDENT NOT HAVING HAD ANY PROPERTY contract wherein one of the contracting parties exchanges one condition for another because he looks for greater profit or
NIGHTS OVER THE INCIDENTS IN THE LIFE OF MOISES PADILLA WHO WAS A PUBLIC FIGURE. gain by reason of such change, and an agreement wherein one of the contracting parties agrees to accept the lesser of
two disadvantages. In either case, he makes a choice free and untramelled and must accordingly abide by it. The
V. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT FINDING THAT THE LICENSING Licensing Agreement has the force of law between the contracting parties and since its provisions are not contrary to law,
AGREEMENT, EXHIBIT "A", WAS NULL AND VOID, PETITIONER'S CONSENT HAVING BEEN PROCURED morals, good customs, public order or public policy (Art. 1306, Civil Code), petitioner Should comply with it in good faith.
BY MEANS OF DURESS, INTIMIDATION AND UNDUE INFLUENCE;
Lastly, neither do we find merit in petitioner's contention that the Licensing Agreement infringes on the
VI. THE COURT OF APPEALS, IN UPHOLDING THE RIGHT TO PRIVACY OF RESPONDENT constitutional right of freedom of speech and of the press, in that, as a citizen and as a newspaperman, he had the right to
AS DEFINED IN ART. 26 OF THE NEW CIVIL CODE OVER THE RIGHT OF PETITIONER TO FILM THE express his thoughts in film on the public life of Moises Padilla without prior restraint. The right of freedom of expression,
PUBLIC LIFE OF A PUBLIC FIGURE, INFRINGED UPON THE CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT OF PETITIONER TO indeed, occupies a preferred position in the "hierarchy of civil liberties." 18 It is not, however, without limitations. As held in
FREE SPEECH AND FREE PRESS. Gonzales vs. Commission on Elections, 27 SCRA 835, 858 (1969):

We find the assigned errors bereft of merit. From the language of the specific constitutional provision, it would appear that the right is not
susceptible of any limitation. No law may be passed abridging the freedom of speech and of the press. The
Petitioner's contention that because an accounting had been ordered, respondent Court of Appeals did not have realities of life in a complex society preclude however, a literal interpretation. Freedom of expression is not an
jurisdiction over the case as the Decision of the lower Court was not yet final and appealable, is untenable. The doctrine absolute. It would be too much to insist that at all times and under all circumstances it should remain unfettered
enunciated in Fuentebella vs. Carrascoso 11 relied upon by petitioner, which held that whether or not the action for and unrestrained. There are other societal values that press for recognition.
accounting is the principal action or is merely incidental to another, the judgment requiring such accounting cannot be final,
has been abandoned in Miranda vs. Court of Appeals 12 which ruled: The prevailing doctrine is that the clear and present danger rule is such a limitation. Another criterion for
permissible limitation on freedom of speech and of the press, which includes such vehicles of the mass media as radio,
For the guidance of bench and bar, the Court declares as abandoned the doctrine of Fuentebella vs. television and the movies, is the "balancing-of-interests test." 19 The principle i requires a court to take conscious and
Carrascoso and adopts the opposite rule that judgments for recovery with accounting are final and appealable detailed consideration of the interplay of interests observable in a given situation or type of situation." 20
(without need of awaiting the accounting) and would become final and executory if not appealed within the
reglementary period. In the case at bar, the interests observable are the right to privacy asserted by respondent and the right of
-freedom of expression invoked by petitioner. Taking into account the interplay of those interests, we hold that under the
In other words, where there is complete adjudication and determination of the rights and obligations of the parties, particular circumstances presented, and considering the obligations assumed in the Licensing Agreement entered into by
as in the instant case, an order for accounting in that judgment does not affect its final character, said accounting being petitioner, the validity of such agreement will have to be upheld particularly because the limits of freedom of expression
merely incidental to the judgment. are reached when expression touches upon matters of essentially private concern.

Petitioner's contention that respondent Court failed to make complete findings of fact on all issues raised before it WHEREFORE, the Petition for Review is denied and the judgment appealed from hereby affirmed. Costs
is without basis. A careful study of the Decision reveals that respondent Court has substantially and sufficiently complied against petitioner.
with the injunction that a decision must state clearly and distinctly the facts and the law on which it is based. The rule
remains that the ultimate test as to the sufficiency of a Court's findings of fact is "whether they are comprehensive enough SO ORDERED.
and pertinent to the issues raised to provide a basis for decision." 13 The judgment sought to be reviewed sufficiently
complies with this requirement. Makasiar, Fernandez, Guerrero and De Castro, JJ., concur.

Neither do we agree with petitioner's submission that the Licensing Agreement is null and void for lack of, or for Teehankee, (Chairman), J, concur in the result.
having an illegal cause or consideration. While it is true that petitioner had purchased the rights to the book entitled "The
Moises Padilla Story," that did not dispense with the need for prior consent and authority from the deceased heirs to portray
publicly episodes in said deceased's life and in that of his mother and the members of his family. As held in Schuyler v. #Footnotes
Curtis, 14 "a privilege may be given the surviving relatives of a deceased person to protect his memory, but the privilege
exists for the benefit of the living, to protect their feelings and to prevent a violation of their own rights in the character and 1 T.s.n., Oct. 2, 1962, p. 6, see also EXH. 1, p. 49, Folder of Exhibits.
memory of the deceased."
2 T.s.n., October 2, 1962, p. 18.
Petitioner's averment that private respondent did not have any property right over the life of Moises Padilla since
the latter was a public figure, is neither well taken. Being a public figure ipso facto does not automatically destroy in toto a 3 111 Phil. 1 (1 961).
person's right to privacy. The right to invade a person's privacy to disseminate public information does not extend to a
fictional or novelized representation of a person, no matter how public a figure he or she may be. 15 In the case at bar, while 4 Exh. 2, Film Treatment, p. 76, Folder of Exhibits.
it is true that petitioner exerted efforts to present a true-to-life story of Moises Padilla, petitioner admits that he included a
little romance in the film because without it, it would be a drab story of torture and brutality. 16 5 Exh. B-Deposition, pp. 170-171, Ibid.

Page 8 of 33
6 T.s.n., October 2, 1962, p. 38. to be filmed.

7 T.s.n., Oct. 2, 1962, p. 40; T.s.n., Jan. 10, 1963, p. 14. The proposed motion picture entitled "The Four Day Revolution" was endorsed by the Movie Television Review
and Classification Board as wel as the other government agencies consulted. General Fidel Ramos also signified his
8 T.s.n., Oct. 2, 1962, pp. 35-37 approval of the intended film production.

9 T.s.n., Oct. 2, 1962, pp. 43-44. In a letter dated 16 December 1987, petitioner Hal McElroy informed private respondent Juan Ponce Enrile
about the projected motion picture enclosing a synopsis of it, the full text of which is set out below:
10 p. 114, Folder of Exhibits.
The Four Day Revolution is a six hour mini-series about People Powera unique event in modern
11 G.R. No. L-48102, May 27, 1942, Unreported. history that-made possible the Peaceful revolution in the Philippines in 1986.

12 71 SCRA 259 (1976). Faced with the task of dramatising these rerkble events, screenwriter David Williamson and history
Prof Al McCoy have chosen a "docu-drama" style and created [four] fictitious characters to trace the revolution
13 Cerian vs. Consolacion, 5 SCRA 722 (1962). from the death of Senator Aquino, to the Feb revolution and the fleeing of Marcos from the country.

14 (1895), 147 NY 434, 42 NE, 31 LRA 286, 49 Am St Rep 671. These character stories have been woven through the real events to help our huge international
audience understand this ordinary period inFilipino history.
15 Garner vs. Triangle Publications, DCNY, 97 F. Supp., 564, 549 (1951).
First, there's Tony O'Neil, an American television journalist working for major network. Tony reflects the
16 T.s.n., Oct. 2,1962, p. 21. average American attitude to the Phihppinence once a colony, now the home of crucially important military
bases. Although Tony is aware of the corruption and of Marcos' megalomania, for him, there appears to be no
17 15 Phil. 252 (1910). alternative to Marcos except the Communists.

18 Philippine Blooming Mills Employees Organization vs. Philippine Blooming Mills Co., Inc., 51 SCRA 191 (1963). Next, Angie Fox a fiery Australian photo-journalist. A 'new girl in town,' she is quickly caught up in the
events as it becomes dear that the time has come for a change. Through Angle and her relationship with one of
19 Chief Justice Enrique M. Fernando on the Bill of Rights, 1970 ed., p. 79, the Reform Army Movement Colonels (a fictitious character), we follow the developing discontent in the armed
forces. Their dislike for General Ver, their strong loyalty to Defense Minister Enrile, and ultimately their defection
20 Separate Opinion of the late Chief Justice Castro in Gonzales vs. Commission on Elections, supra, p. 899. from Marcos.

The fourth fictitious character is Ben Balano, a middle-aged editor of a Manila newspaper who
Republic of the Philippines despises the Marcos regime and is a supporter an promoter of Cory Aquino. Ben has two daughters, Cehea left
SUPREME COURT wing lawyer who is a secret member of the New People's Army, and Eva--a -P.R. girl, politically moderate and
Manila very much in love with Tony. Ultimately, she must choose between her love and the revolution.

EN BANC Through the interviews and experiences of these central characters, we show the complex nature of
Filipino society, and thintertwining series of events and characters that triggered these remarkable changes.
G.R. No. 82380 April 29, 1988 Through them also, we meet all of the principal characters and experience directly dramatic recreation of the
revolution. The story incorporates actual documentary footage filmed during the period which we hope will
AYER PRODUCTIONS PTY. LTD. and McELROY & McELROY FILM PRODUCTIONS, petitioners, capture the unique atmosphere and forces that combined to overthrow President Marcos.
vs.
HON.IGNACIO M. CAPULONG and JUAN PONCE ENRILE, respondents. David Williamson is Australia's leading playwright with some 14 hugely successful plays to his
credit(Don's Party,' 'The Club,' Travelling North) and 11 feature films (The Year of Living Dangerously,' Gallipoli,'
G.R. No. 82398 April 29, 1988 'Phar Lap').

HAL MCELROY petitioner, Professor McCoy (University of New South Wales) is an American historian with a deep understanding
vs. of the Philippines, who has worked on the research for this project for some 18 months. Together with Davi
HON. IGNACIO M. CAPULONG, in his capacity as Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Makati, Branch 134 and Wilhamgon they have developed a script we believe accurately depicts the complex issues and events that
JUAN PONCE ENRILE, respondents. occurred during th period .

FELICIANO, J.: The six hour series is a McElroy and McElroy co-production with Home Box Office in American, the
Australian Broadcast Corporation in Australia and Zenith Productions in the United Kingdom
Petitioner Hal McElroy an Australian film maker, and his movie production company, Petitioner Ayer Productions
pty Ltd. (Ayer Productions), 1 envisioned, sometime in 1987, the for commercial viewing and for Philippine and international The proposed motion picture would be essentially a re-enact. ment of the events that made possible the EDSA
release, the histolic peaceful struggle of the Filipinos at EDSA (Epifanio de los Santos Avenue). Petitioners discussed this revolution; it is designed to be viewed in a six-hour mini-series television play, presented in a "docu-drama" style, creating
Project with local movie producer Lope V. Juban who suggested th they consult with the appropriate government agencies four (4) fictional characters interwoven with real events, and utilizing actual documentary footage as background.
and also with General Fidel V. Ramos and Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, who had played major roles in the events proposed

Page 9 of 33
On 21 December 1987, private respondent Enrile replied that "[he] would not and will not approve of the use, our Constitution. Private respondent, upon the other hand, asserts a right of privacy and claims that the production and
appropriation, reproduction and/or exhibition of his name, or picture, or that of any member of his family in any cinema or filming of the projected mini-series would constitute an unlawful intrusion into his privacy which he is entitled to enjoy.
television production, film or other medium for advertising or commercial exploitation" and further advised petitioners that 'in
the production, airing, showing, distribution or exhibition of said or similar film, no reference whatsoever (whether written, Considering first petitioners' claim to freedom of speech and of expression the Court would once more stress
verbal or visual) should not be made to [him] or any member of his family, much less to any matter purely personal to them. that this freedom includes the freedom to film and produce motion pictures and to exhibit such motion pictures in theaters
or to diffuse them through television. In our day and age, motion pictures are a univesally utilized vehicle of
It appears that petitioners acceded to this demand and the name of private respondent Enrile was deleted from communication and medium Of expression. Along with the press, radio and television, motion pictures constitute a
the movie script, and petitioners proceeded to film the projected motion picture. principal medium of mass communication for information, education and entertainment. In Gonzales v. Katigbak, 3 former
Chief Justice Fernando, speaking for the Court, explained:
On 23 February 1988, private respondent filed a Complaint with application for Temporary Restraining Order and
Wilt of Pretion with the Regional Trial Court of Makati, docketed as Civil Case No. 88-151 in Branch 134 thereof, seeking to 1. Motion pictures are important both as a medium for the communication of Ideas and the
enjoin petitioners from producing the movie "The Four Day Revolution". The complaint alleged that petitioners' production of expression of the artistic impulse. Their effect on the perception by our people of issues and public officials or
the mini-series without private respondent's consent and over his objection, constitutes an obvious violation of his right of public figures as well as the pre cultural traits is considerable. Nor as pointed out in Burstyn v. Wilson (343 US
privacy. On 24 February 1988, the trial court issued ex-parte a Temporary Restraining Order and set for hearing the 495 [19421) is the Importance of motion pictures as an organ of public opinion lessened by the fact that they are
application for preliminary injunction. designed to entertain as well as to inform' (Ibid, 501). There is no clear dividing line between what involves
knowledge and what affords pleasure. If such a distinction were sustained, there is a diminution of the basic
On 9 March 1988, Hal McElroy flied a Motion to Dismiss with Opposition to the Petition for Preliminary Injunction right to free expression. ... 4
contending that the mini-series fim would not involve the private life of Juan Ponce Enrile nor that of his family and that a
preliminary injunction would amount to a prior restraint on their right of free expression. Petitioner Ayer Productions also filed This freedom is available in our country both to locally-owned and to foreign-owned motion picture companies.
its own Motion to Dismiss alleging lack of cause of action as the mini-series had not yet been completed. Furthermore the circumstance that the production of motion picture films is a commercial activity expected to yield
monetary profit, is not a disqualification for availing of freedom of speech and of expression. In our community as in many
In an Order 2 dated 16 March 1988, respondent court issued a writ of Preliminary Injunction against the other countries, media facilities are owned either by the government or the private sector but the private sector-owned
petitioners, the dispositive portion of which reads thus: media facilities commonly require to be sustained by being devoted in whole or in pailt to revenue producing activities.
Indeed, commercial media constitute the bulk of such facilities available in our country and hence to exclude commercially
WHEREFORE, let a writ of preliminary injunction be issued, ordering defendants, and all persons and owned and operated media from the exerciseof constitutionally protected om of speech and of expression can only result
entities employed or under contract with them, including actors, actresses and members of the production staff in the drastic contraction of such constitutional liberties in our country.
and crew as well as all persons and entities acting on defendants' behalf, to cease and desist from producing and
filming the mini-series entitled 'The Four Day Revolution" and from making any reference whatsoever to plaintiff or his The counter-balancing of private respondent is to a right of privacy. It was demonstrated sometime ago by the
family and from creating any fictitious character in lieu of plaintiff which nevertheless is based on, or bears rent substantial then Dean Irene R. Cortes that our law, constitutional and statutory, does include a right of privacy. 5 It is left to case law,
or marked resemblance or similarity to, or is otherwise Identifiable with, plaintiff in the production and any similar film or however, to mark out the precise scope and content of this right in differing types of particular situations. The right of
photoplay, until further orders from this Court, upon plaintiff's filing of a bond in the amount of P 2,000,000.00, to answer for privacy or "the right to be let alone," 6 like the right of free expression, is not an absolute right. A limited intrusion into a
whatever damages defendants may suffer by reason of the injunction if the Court should finally decide that plaintiff was not person's privacy has long been regarded as permissible where that person is a public figure and the information sought to
entitled thereto. be elicited from him or to be published about him constitute of apublic character. 7 Succinctly put, the right of privacy
cannot be invoked resist publication and dissemination of matters of public interest. 8 The interest sought to be protected
xxx xxx xxx by the right of privacy is the right to be free from unwarranted publicity, from the wrongful publicizing of the private affairs
and activities of an individual which are outside the realm of legitimate public concern. 9
(Emphasis supplied)
Lagunzad v. Vda. de Gonzales, 10 on which private respondent relies heavily, recognized a right to privacy in a
On 22 March 1988, petitioner Ayer Productions came to this Court by a Petition for certiorari dated 21 March 1988 context which included a claim to freedom of speech and of expression. Lagunzad involved a suit fortion picture producer
with an urgent prayer for Preliminary Injunction or Restraining Order, which petition was docketed as G.R. No. L-82380. as licensee and the widow and family of the late Moises Padilla as licensors. This agreement gave the licensee the right to
produce a motion Picture Portraying the life of Moises Padilla, a mayoralty candidate of the Nacionalista Party for the
A day later, or on 23 March 1988, petitiioner Hal McElroy also filed separate Petition for certiorari with Urgent Municipality of Magallon, Negros Occidental during the November 1951 elections and for whose murder, Governor Rafael
Prayer for a Restraining Order or Preliminary Injunction, dated 22 March 1988, docketed as G.R. No. L-82398. Lacson, a member of the Liberal Party then in power and his men were tried and convicted. 11 In the judgment of the
lower court enforcing the licensing agreement against the licensee who had produced the motion picture and exhibited it
By a Resolution dated 24 March 1988, the petitions were consolidated and private respondent was required to file but refused to pay the stipulated royalties, the Court, through Justice Melencio-Herrera, said:
a consolidated Answer. Further, in the same Resolution, the Court granted a Temporary Restraining Order partially enjoining
the implementation of the respondent Judge's Order of 16 March 1988 and the Writ of Preliminary Injunction issued therein, Neither do we agree with petitioner's subon that the Licensing Agreement is null and void for lack of,
and allowing the petitioners to resume producing and filming those portions of the projected mini-series which do not make or for having an illegal cause or consideration, while it is true that petitioner bad pled the rights to the book
any reference to private respondent or his family or to any fictitious character based on or respondent. entitled "The Moises Padilla Story," that did not dispense with the need for prior consent and authority from the
deceased heirs to portray publicly episodes in said deceased's life and in that of his mother and the member of
Private respondent seasonably filed his Consolidated Answer on 6 April 1988 invoking in the main a right of his family. As held in Schuyler v. Curtis, ([1895],147 NY 434,42 NE 31 LRA 286.49 Am St Rep 671), 'a privilege
privacy. may be given the surviving relatives of a deperson to protect his memory, but the privilege wts for the benefit of
the living, to protect their feelings and to preventa violation of their own rights in the character and memory of
I the deceased.'

The constitutional and legal issues raised by the present Petitions are sharply drawn. Petitioners' claim that in Petitioners averment that private respondent did not have any property right over the life of Moises
producing and "The Four Day Revolution," they are exercising their freedom of speech and of expression protected under Padilla since the latter was a public figure, is neither well taken. Being a public figure ipso facto does not

Page 10 of 33
automatically destroy in toto a person's right to privacy. The right to invade a person's privacy to disseminate media. The subject mater, as set out in the synopsis provided by the petitioners and quoted above, does not relate to the
public information does not extend to a fictional or novelized representation of a person, no matter how public a individual life and certainly not to the private life of private respondent Ponce Enrile. Unlike in Lagunzad, which concerned
he or she may be (Garner v. Triangle Publications, DCNY 97 F. Supp., SU 549 [1951]). In the case at bar, while the life story of Moises Padilla necessarily including at least his immediate family, what we have here is not a film
it is true that petitioner exerted efforts to present a true-to-life Story Of Moises Padilla, petitioner admits that he
biography, more or less fictionalized, of private respondent Ponce Enrile. "The Four Day Revolution" is not principally
included a little romance in the film because without it, it would be a drab story of torture and brutality. 12 about, nor is it focused upon, the man Juan Ponce Enrile' but it is compelled, if it is to be historical, to refer to the role
played by Juan Ponce Enrile in the precipitating and the constituent events of the change of government in February
In Lagunzad, the Court had need, as we have in the instant case, to deal with contraposed claims to freedom of 1986.
speech and of expression and to privacy. Lagunzad the licensee in effect claimed, in the name of freedom of speech and
expression, a right to produce a motion picture biography at least partly "fictionalized" of Moises Padilla without the consent 3. The extent of the instrusion upon the life of private respondent Juan Ponce Enrile that would be
of and without paying pre-agreed royalties to the widow and family of Padilla. In rejecting the licensee's claim, the Court entailed by the production and exhibition of "The Four Day Revolution" would, therefore, be limited in character. The
said: extent of that intrusion, as this Court understands the synopsis of the proposed film, may be generally described as such
intrusion as is reasonably necessary to keep that film a truthful historical account. Private respondent does not claim that
Lastly, neither do we find merit in petitioners contention that the Licensing Agreement infringes on the petitioners threatened to depict in "The Four Day Revolution" any part of the private life of private respondent or that of
constitutional right of freedom of speech and of the press, in that, as a citizen and as a newspaperman, he had any member of his family.
the right to express his thoughts in film on the public life of Moises Padilla without prior restraint.The right
freedom of expression, indeed, occupies a preferred position in the "hierarchy of civil liberties" (Philippine 4. At all relevant times, during which the momentous events, clearly of public concern, that petitioners
Blooming Mills Employees Organization v. Philippine Blooming Mills Co., Inc., 51 SCRA 191 [1963]). It is not, propose to film were taking place, private respondent was what Profs. Prosser and Keeton have referred to as a "public
however, without limitations. As held in Gonzales v. Commission on Elections, 27 SCRA 835, 858 [1960]: figure:"

xxx xxx xxx A public figure has been defined as a person who, by his accomplishments, fame, or mode of living, or
by adopting a profession or calling which gives the public a legitimate interest in his doings, his affairs, and his
The prevailing doctine is that the clear and present danger rule is such a limitation. Another criterion character, has become a 'public personage.' He is, in other words, a celebrity. Obviously to be included in this
for permissible limitation on freedom of speech and the press, which includes such vehicles of the mass media category are those who have achieved some degree of reputation by appearing before the public, as in the case
as radio, television and the movies, is the "balancing of interest test" (Chief Justice Enrique M. Fernando on the of an actor, a professional baseball player, a pugilist, or any other entertainment. The list is, however, broader
Bill of Rights, 1970 ed. p. 79). The principle "requires a court to take conscious and detailed consideration of the than this. It includes public officers, famous inventors and explorers, war heroes and even ordinary soldiers, an
interplay of interests observable in given situation or type of situation" (Separation Opinion of the late Chief infant prodigy, and no less a personage than the Grand Exalted Ruler of a lodge. It includes, in short, anyone
Justice Castro in Gonzales v. Commission on Elections, supra, p. 899). who has arrived at a position where public attention is focused upon him as a person.

In the case at bar, the interests observable are the right to privacy asserted by respondent and the right Such public figures were held to have lost, to some extent at least, their tight to privacy. Three reasons
of freedom of expression invoked by petitioner. taking into account the interplay of those interests, we hold that under the were given, more or less indiscrimately, in the decisions" that they had sought publicity and consented to it, and
particular circumstances presented, and considering the obligations assumed in the Licensing Agreement entered into so could not complaint when they received it; that their personalities and their affairs has already public, and
by petitioner, the validity of such agreement will have to be upheld particularly because the limits of freedom of expression could no longer be regarded as their own private business; and that the press had a privilege, under the
are reached when expression touches upon matters of essentially private concern." 13 Constitution, to inform the public about those who have become legitimate matters of public interest. On one or
another of these grounds, and sometimes all, it was held that there was no liability when they were given
Whether the "balancing of interests test" or the clear and present danger test" be applied in respect of the instant additional publicity, as to matters legitimately within the scope of the public interest they had aroused.
Petitions, the Court believes that a different conclusion must here be reached: The production and filming by petitioners of
the projected motion picture "The Four Day Revolution" does not, in the circumstances of this case, constitute an unlawful The privilege of giving publicity to news, and other matters of public interest, was held to arise out of
intrusion upon private respondent's "right of privacy." the desire and the right of the public to know what is going on in the world, and the freedom of the press and
other agencies of information to tell it. "News" includes all events and items of information which are out of the
1. It may be observed at the outset that what is involved in the instant case is a prior and direct restraint on ordinary hum-drum routine, and which have 'that indefinable quality of information which arouses public
the part of the respondent Judge upon the exercise of speech and of expression by petitioners. The respondent Judge has attention.' To a very great extent the press, with its experience or instinct as to what its readers will want, has
restrained petitioners from filming and producing the entire proposed motion picture. It is important to note that in Lagunzad, succeeded in making its own definination of news, as a glance at any morning newspaper will sufficiently
there was no prior restrain of any kind imposed upon the movie producer who in fact completed and exhibited the film indicate. It includes homicide and othe crimes, arrests and police raides, suicides, marriages and divorces,
biography of Moises Padilla. Because of the speech and of expression, a weighty presumption of invalidity vitiates. 14 The accidents, a death from the use of narcotics, a woman with a rare disease, the birth of a child to a twelve year
invalidity of a measure of prior restraint doesnot, of course, mean that no subsequent liability may lawfully be imposed upon old girl, the reappearance of one supposed to have been murdered years ago, and undoubtedly many other
a person claiming to exercise such constitutional freedoms. The respondent Judge should have stayed his hand, instead of similar matters of genuine, if more or less deplorable, popular appeal.
issuing an ex-parte Temporary Restraining Order one day after filing of a complaint by the private respondent and issuing a
Preliminary Injunction twenty (20) days later; for the projected motion picture was as yet uncompleted and hence not The privilege of enlightening the public was not, however, limited, to the dissemination of news in the
exhibited to any audience. Neither private respondent nor the respondent trial Judge knew what the completed film would scene of current events. It extended also to information or education, or even entertainment and amusement, by
precisely look like. There was, in other words, no "clear and present danger" of any violation of any right to privacy that books, articles, pictures, films and broadcasts concerning interesting phases of human activity in general, as
private respondent could lawfully assert. well as the reproduction of the public scene in newsreels and travelogues. In determining where to draw the line,
the courts were invited to exercise a species of censorship over what the public may be permitted to read; and
2. The subject matter of "The Four Day Revolution" relates to the non-bloody change of government that they were understandably liberal in allowing the benefit of the doubt. 15
took place at Epifanio de los Santos Avenue in February 1986, and the trian of events which led up to that denouement.
Clearly, such subject matter is one of public interest and concern. Indeed, it is, petitioners' argue, of international interest. Private respondent is a "public figure" precisely because, inter alia, of his participation as a principal actor in the
The subject thus relates to a highly critical stage in the history of this countryand as such, must be regarded as having culminating events of the change of government in February 1986. Because his participation therein was major in
passed into the public domain and as an appropriate subject for speech and expression and coverage by any form of mass character, a film reenactment of the peaceful revolution that fails to make reference to the role played by private

Page 11 of 33
respondent would be grossly unhistorical. The right of privacy of a "public figure" is necessarily narrower than that of an No pronouncement as to costs.
ordinary citizen. Private respondent has not retired into the seclusion of simple private citizenship. he continues to be a
"public figure." After a successful political campaign during which his participation in the EDSA Revolution was directly or SO ORDERED.
indirectly referred to in the press, radio and television, he sits in a very public place, the Senate of the Philippines.
Yap, C.J., Fernan, Narvasa, Melencio-Herrera, Gutierrez, Jr., Cruz, Paras, Gancayco, Padilla, Bidin, Sarmiento, Cortes
5. The line of equilibrium in the specific context of the instant case between the constitutional freedom of and Grio-Aquino, JJ., concur.
speech and of expression and the right of privacy, may be marked out in terms of a requirement that the proposed motion
picture must be fairly truthful and historical in its presentation of events. There must, in other words, be no knowing or Footnotes
reckless disregard of truth in depicting the participation of private respondent in the EDSA Revolution. 16 There must,
further, be no presentation of the private life of the unwilling private respondent and certainly no revelation of intimate or 1 On April 7, 1988, petitioners, in G.R. No. 82380 asked for deletion Production's as party petitioner qqqt company
embarrassing personal facts. 17 The proposed motion picture should not enter into what Mme. Justice Melencio-Herrera in but merely a corporate tradename used by Ayer Productions. "McElroy and McElroy Film Production's" will therefore be
Lagunzad referred to as "matters of essentially private concern." 18 To the extent that "The Four Day Revolution" limits itself disregarded in this Decision.
in portraying the participation of private respondent in the EDSA Revolution to those events which are directly and
reasonably related to the public facts of the EDSA Revolution, the intrusion into private respondent's privacy cannot be 2 Annex "A" of the Petitions.
regarded as unreasonable and actionable. Such portrayal may be carried out even without a license from private
respondent. 3 137 SCRA 717 (1985).

II 4 137 SCRA at 723.

In a Manifestation dated 30 March 1988, petitioner Hal McElroy informed this Court that a Temporary Restraining 5 The Constitutional Foundations of Privacy," in Cortes, Emerging Trends in Law, pp.1-70 (Univ. of the Philippines
Order dated 25 March 1988, was issued by Judge Teofilo Guadiz of the Regional Trial Court of Makati, Branch 147, in Civil Press, 1983). This lecture was originally delivered in 1970.
Case No. 88-413, entitled "Gregorio B. Honasan vs. Ayer Productions Pty. Ltd., McElroy Film Productions, Hal McElroy,
Lope Juban and PMP Motion for Pictures Production" enjoining him and his production company from further filimg any 6 See Cortes, supra, Note 5 at 12 et seq. where she traces the history of the development of privacy as a concept
scene of the projected mini-series film. Petitioner alleged that Honasan's complaint was a "scissors and paste" pleading, cut
out straight grom the complaint of private respondent Ponce Enrile in Civil Case No. 88-151. Petitioner Ayer Productions, in 7 Prosser and Keeton on Torts, 5th ed., pp. 854-863 (1984); and see, e.g., Strykers v. Republic Producers Corp.,
a separate Manifestation dated 4 April 1988, brought to the attention of the Court the same information given by petitoner 238 P. 2d 670 (1952).
Hal McElroy, reiterating that the complaint of Gregorio B. Honasan was substantially identical to that filed by private
respondent herein and stating that in refusing to join Honasan in Civil Case No. 88-151, counsel for private respondent, with 8 Nixon v. Administrator of General Services, 433 U.S. 425, 63 L Ed. 2d 867 (1977).
whom counsel for Gregorio Honasan are apparently associated, deliberately engaged in "forum shopping."
9 Smith v. National Broadcasting Co., 292 P 2d 600 (1956); underscoring supplied.
Private respondent filed a Counter-Manifestation on 13 April 1988 stating that the "slight similarity" between
private respondent's complaint and that on Honasan in the construction of their legal basis of the right to privacy as a 10 92 SCRA 476 (1979).
component of the cause of action is understandable considering that court pleadings are public records; that private
respondent's cause of action for invasion of privacy is separate and distinct from that of Honasan's although they arose from 11 People v. Lacson, et al., 111 Phil. 1 (1961).
the same tortious act of petitioners' that the rule on permissive joinder of parties is not mandatory and that, the cited cases
on "forum shopping" were not in point because the parties here and those in Civil Case No. 88-413 are not identical. 12 92 SCRA 486-487.

For reasons that by now have become clear, it is not necessary for the Court to deal with the question of whether 13 92 SCRA at 488-489; Emphasis supplied.
or not the lawyers of private respondent Ponce Enrile have engaged in "forum shopping." It is, however, important to
dispose to the complaint filed by former Colonel Honasan who, having refused to subject himself to the legal processes of 14 Mutuc v. Commission on Elections, 36 SCRA 228 (1970); New York Items Co. v. United States, 403 U.S. 713,
the Republic and having become once again in fugitive from justice, must be deemed to have forfeited any right the might 29 L Ed, 2d 822 (1971); Times Film Corporation v. City of Chicago, 365 U.S. 43 5 L Ed. 2d 403 (1961); Near v. Minnesota,
have had to protect his privacy through court processes. 283 U.S. 67 L Ed. 1357 (1931).

WHEREFORE, 15 Prosper and Keeton on Torts, 5th ed. at 859-861 (1984); underscoring supplied

a) the Petitions for Certiorari are GRANTED DUE COURSE, and the Order dated 16 March
1988 of respondent trial court granting a Writ of Preliminary Injunction is hereby SET ASIDE. The limited Republic of the Philippines
Temporary Restraining Order granted by this Court on 24 March 1988 is hereby MODIFIED by enjoining SUPREME COURT
unqualifiedly the implementation of respondent Judge's Order of 16 March 1988 and made PERMANENT, and Manila
b) Treating the Manifestations of petitioners dated 30 March 1988 and 4 April 1988 as separate EN BANC
Petitions for Certiorari with Prayer for Preliminary Injunction or Restraining Order, the Court, in the exercise of its
plenary and supervisory jurisdiction, hereby REQUIRES Judge Teofilo Guadiz of the Regional Trial Court of G.R. No. L-14305 August 29, 1961
Makati, Branch 147, forthwith to DISMISS Civil Case No. 88-413 and accordingly to SET ASIDE and DISSOLVE
his Temporary Restraining Order dated 25 March 1988 and any Preliminary Injunction that may have been GAUDENCIO T. MENDOZA, plaintiff-appellant,
issued by him. vs.
MAXIMO M. ALCALA, defendant-appellee.

Page 12 of 33
sum of P500.00, and that the same had already been paid in full, and a counterclaim for actual, moral and exemplary
Cadhit and Cadhit for plaintiff-appellant. damages, and attorney's fees, in the total sum of P6,000.00. After trial, the justice of the peace court rendered judgment
Constancio Padilla for defendant-appellee. sentencing the defendant to pay to the plaintiff the sum of P1,100.00, plus P300.00 as attorney's fees, and dismissing
defendant's counterclaim. From this judgment, the defendant appealed to the Court of First Instance of Nueva Ecija,
NATIVIDAD, J.: where he reproduced the answer he had filed in the justice of the peace court. At the hearing of the case the first witness
for the plaintiff was testifying on the witness stand, the following proceedings were had:
This action for a sum of money, brought in the Court of First Instance of Nueva Ecija, was originally appealed to
the Court of Appeals. The latter court, however, has certified it to us for the reason that the questions involved therein are AGREEMENT :
purely of law.
ATTY. PADILLA
It appears that sometime prior to September 12, 1965, an information was, at the instance of the plaintiff,
Gaudencio T. Mendoza, filed in the Court of First Instance of Nueva Ecija charging the defendant, Maximo M. Alcala, with The parties stipulate that the transaction which is now the object of this civil case is the same
the crime of estafa. The charge was predicated upon a receipt which reads as follows: transaction which had been the object in Criminal Case No. 3219 of this Hon. Court.

RECIBO ATTY. CADHIT

Tinanggap ko kay Gng. Gaudencio T. Mendoza ang halagang ISANG LIBO AT ISANG DAANG piso Agreed.
(1,100) kualtang pilipino bilang paunang bayad ng ISANG DAANG (Wagwag) kabang palay sa 56 kilos bawa't
kaban, puesto sa kanyang kamalig. ATTY. PADILLA

Ipinangako kong ihahatid ang palay na ito sa o bago dumating ang ika-5 ng Septiembre, 1953, dito sa That the accused was acquitted in that case was evidenced by the decision, Exhibit A.
San Jose, Nueva Ecija.
ATTY. CADHIT
Sa katunayan ng lahat ay lumagda ako sa ibaba nito ngayong ika-2 ng Septiembre, 1953.
Agreed.
(Sgd.) MAXIMO M. ALCALA
ATTY. PADILLA
The case was docketed as Criminal Case No. 3219, Court of First Instance of Nueva Ecija, People vs. Maximo M.
Alcala. After trial, that court acquitted the defendant of the offense charged, with costs de oficio, on the following findings: In the said criminal case having made a specific finding that the transaction was not a sale of palay
but it can be any other, we believe any question with respect to the sale of palay will be out of order now.
The prosecution has not proved beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant had in fact represented
to Gaudencio T. Mendoza that he had 100 cavans of palay stored in his sister's bodega, which he offered to sell COURT
for P1,100.00. The Court can not believe that Gaudencio T. Mendoza would pay to the defendant the sum of
P1,100.00 on the mere representation of the defendant that the palay was in the bodega of his sister, and on his Submitted in accordance with Rule 107.
request to pay him first as he was going to Manila. In the first place, there is no showing why the defendant was
in urgent need of P1,100.00 on September 2, and why it was absolutely necessary for him to go immediately to Upon the above agreement and the decision rendered in Criminal Case No. 3219 above referred to, the Court of
Manila on that date, such that he had no time to deliver the 100 cavans of palay allegedly deposited in his First Instance of Nueva Ecija rendered judgment, dismissing plaintiff's complaint and defendant's counterclaim, with costs
sister's bodega, which is only a few meters distant from the house of Gaudencio T. Mendoza. Mendoza and the against the plaintiff, on the findings, among others that
defendant are from the same town: they had known each other for a long time and they were even friends.
Defendant testified that he had no palay and had no land from which to raise that palay. That denial has not On the basis of the said stipulation a question of law is raised by the parties, to wit, whether the
been successfully rebutted by the prosecution. The prosecution could have shown that the defendant had in fact defendant could still be prosecuted for the collection of the amount stated in the said receipt after he had been
tracts of land where he could raise enough palay to sell to Mendoza. Mendoza must have known that the acquitted by the Court on a charge of estafa based on the said receipt. Section d, Rule 107, provides:
defendant had no palay to sell; and as defendant was not engaged in the business of buying and selling palay,
Mendoza could not have been deceived by the defendant. Again, since the bodega is near the house of "Extinction of penal action does not carry with it extinction of the civil, unless the extinction
Mendoza, he could have verified from the defendant the existence of that palay. The fact that Mendoza did not proceeds from a declaration in a final judgment that the fact from which the civil might arise did not
even attempt to verify the existence of that palay, is ample proof that the receipt Exhibit B was not in fact what it exist."
purports to be. The Court does not expressly pass upon the defense that the receipt signed by him arose from a
usurious loan, as there is sufficient evidence to warrant a finding that there had been no deceit or In acquitting the accused of the crime of estafa, the Court expressly made a finding as follows:
misrepresentation and that Exhibit B is not what it purports to be. Any obligation which the defendant may have
incurred in favor of Gaudencio T. Mendoza is purely civil in character and not criminal. (Emphasis ours) "The Court does not expressly pass upon the defense that the receipt signed by him arose
from a usurious loan, as there is sufficient evidence to warrant a finding that there had been no deceit
On December 16, 1954, while said criminal case was still pending, the plaintiff filed in the Justice of the Peace or misrepresentation and that Exh. B. is not what it purports to be."
Court of San Jose, Nueva Ecija, the complaint by which this case was initiated. That complaint was based on the very same
receipt upon which the criminal action was predicated, and in it plaintiff, after alleging violation of the terms of said receipt, In effect, the Court did not believe that the accused received the amount of P1,100.00 as advance
asked for judgment against the defendant for the sum of P1,100.00, with legal interest from September 5, 1953 until full payment of the 100 cavans of palay weighing 46 kilos a cavan. Since the Court did not find this to be a fact, it
payment plus P550.00 for damages, P300.00 for attorney's fees, and the costs of suit. Defendant's answer consists of cannot serve as basis for a criminal action under the provisions of the rule above-cited. The reason for the rule
specific denials, affirmative defenses to the effect that the transaction referred to in the complaint was a usurious loan in the is that, once the court makes a definite finding as to the non-existence of a fact, non-existence should be final

Page 13 of 33
and conclusive against the party claiming the existence of the same, otherwise there would be no stability in the xxx xxx xxx
decision of the courts. The only possibility, therefore, of filing a civil action against the same defendant is to work
out a theory entirely different from the theory followed in the criminal action, which was, that the defendant Interpreting the scope of the above quoted provisions of law, we held in the case of Philippine National Bank vs.
received the amount of P1,100.00 as advance payment for palay for as to any other theory, the Court did not Catipon, 52 O.G. 3589, that
make any express finding that the same did not exist.
The acquittal of the accused of the charge of estafa predicated on the conclusion 'that the guilt of the
It may be contended that a separate civil action may even be filed against the same defendant if a defendant has not been satisfactorily established,' is equivalent to one on reasonable doubt and does not
criminal action had already been filed against him. Granting this contention to be true and tenable, it is no less true preclude a suit to enforce the civil liability for the same act or omission under Article 29 of the new Civil Code.
that when a criminal action is filed against the defendant the civil action must yield to the criminal action after the
acquittal of the defendant, if the two actions are based on the same set of facts. It may also be true that a and in Republic of the Philippines vs. Asaad, 51 O.G. 703, that
separate civil action may be filed against him if he is acquitted on a reasonable doubt. But that is entirely different
from a finding that the facts from which the civil action may arise did not exist, for in case of reasonable doubt, this A judgment of acquittal does not constitute a bar to a subsequent civil action involving the same
fact may yet exist. In other words, when the court makes an express finding that the facts upon which the subject matter, even in regard to a civil action brought against the defendant by the State, nor is it evidence of
decision may be based do not exist, the same is conclusive and is a bar to the prosecution based on the same his innocence in such action, and is not admissible in evidence to prove that he was not guilty of the crime with
set of facts. which he was charged. (50 C.J.S., pp. 272-273; 30 Am. Jur., 1003)

From this judgment, the plaintiff appealed. As we analyze the record in the light of the above provisions of law and jurisprudence, we are fully persuaded
foundation. It that appellant's contention is not without will be noted that nowhere in the decision rendered in Criminal
The appellant contends that the trial court committed error in dismissing the present action. It is claimed that as in Case No. 3219 of the Court of First Instance of Nueva Ecija is found an express declaration that the fact from which the
its decision in Criminal Case No. 3219 the trial court did not make any express finding that the fact on which the action was civil action might arise did not exist. It is true that said decision likewise contains no express declaration that the acquittal
predicated did not exist, but merely found that "the prosecution has not proved beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant of the defendant was based upon reasonable doubt. Whether or not, however, the acquittal is due to that ground may,
had in fact represented to Gaudencio T. Mendoza that he had 100 cavans of palay stored in his sister's bodega, which he under the above quoted provision of Article 29 of the Civil Code, be inferred from the text of the decision, and a close
offered to sell for P1,100.00," that "there is sufficient evidence to warrant a finding that there had been no deceit or consideration of the language used in said decision, particularly the findings quoted above, which are of similar import as
misrepresentation and that Exhibit B is not what it purports to be," and that "any obligation which the defendant may have the phrase "that the guilt of the defendant has not been satisfactorily established," held in Philippine National Bank vs.
incurred in favor of Gaudencio T. Mendoza is purely civil in character, and not criminal," which findings amount to a Catipon, supra, to be equivalent to a declaration that the acquittal was based on reasonable doubt, convinces us that the
declaration that the defendant was acquitted on reasonable doubt, a civil action based on the same transaction may still be acquittal of the defendant in the criminal case in question was predicated on the conclusion that his guilt of the crime
instituted. charged has not been proved beyond reasonable doubt and does not preclude a suit to enforce the civil liability arising
from the same transaction which was the subject-matter of said criminal action. The right, therefore, of the appellant to
The appellee, on the other hand, maintains that the judgment appealed from is correct. It is urged that the findings bring the present action cannot be questioned, the fact that he did not reserve his right to file an independent civil action,
made in the said decision, particularly those quoted above, amount to a declaration that the transaction which was the and that this action has been instituted before final judgment in the criminal case was rendered notwithstanding. The
subject matter of that criminal case did not exist and so no civil action based on that same transaction would lie. declaration in the decision in Criminal Case No. 3219 to the effect that "any obligation which the defendant may have
incurred in favor of Gaudencio T. Mendoza is purely civil in character, and not criminal," amounts to a reservation of the
The pertinent provisions of law are Article 29 of the new Civil Code and Rule 107, Section 1, Subsection (d) of the civil action in favor of the offended party, Philippine National Bank vs. Catipon, supra, and the offense charged in said
Rules of Court. Article 29 of the new Civil Code provides: criminal case being estafa, which is fraud, the present action falls under the exception to the general rule and it can be
filed independently of the criminal action. (Article 33, new Civil Code; Dianeta vs. Makasiar, 55 O.G. 10273; People vs.
Art. 29. When the accused in a criminal prosecution is acquitted on the ground that his guilt has not Balagtas, 51 O.G. 5714.)
been proved beyond reasonable doubt, a civil action for damages for the same act or omission may be
instituted. Upon motion of the defendant, the court may require the plaintiff to file a bond to answer for damages WHEREFORE, the judgment appealed from is hereby vacated and set aside, and it is ordered that the records
in case the complaint should be found to be malicious. of this case be remanded to the court of origin for further proceedings in accordance with law. With the costs taxed against
the appellee. It is so ordered.
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 Bengzon, C.J., Labrador, Reyes, J.B.L., Paredes, Padilla, Concepcion, Barrera, Dizon and De Leon, JJ., concur.
or not the acquittal is due to that ground.

and Rule 107, Section 1, Subsection (d), of the Rules of Court, reads as follows: Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Section 1. Rules governing civil actions arising from offenses. Except as otherwise provided by law, Manila
the following rules shall be observed:
FIRST DIVISION
xxx xxx xxx
G.R. No. L-32599 June 29, 1979
(d) Extinction of the penal action does not carry with it extinction of the civil, unless the extinction
proceeds from declaration in a final judgment that the fact from which he civil might arise did not exist. In the EDGARDO E. MENDOZA, petitioner
other cases, the person entitled to the civil action may institute it in the jurisdiction and in the manner provided vs.
by law against the person who may be liable for restitution of the thing and reparation or indemnity for the HON. ABUNDIO Z. ARRIETA, Presiding Judge of Branch VIII, Court of First Instance of Manila, FELINO TIMBOL, and
damages suffered: RODOLFO SALAZAR, respondents.

Page 14 of 33
David G. Nitafan for petitioner. against both on only one of them.

Arsenio R. Reyes for respondent Timbol. On September 9, 1970, truck-owner Timbol filed a Motion to Dismiss Civil Case No. 80803 on the grounds that
the Complaint is barred by a prior judgment in the criminal cases and that it fails to state a cause of action. An Opposition
Armando M. Pulgado for respondent Salazar. thereto was filed by petitioner.

MELENCIO-HERRERA, J: In an Order dated September 12, 1970, respondent Judge dismissed the Complaint against truck-owner Timbol
for reasons stated in the afore- mentioned Motion to Dismiss On September 30, 1970, petitioner sought before this Court
Petitioner, Edgardo Mendoza, seeks a review on certiorari of the Orders of respondent Judge in Civil Case No. the review of that dismissal, to which petition we gave due course.
80803 dismissing his Complaint for Damages based on quasi-delict against respondents Felino Timbol and Rodolfo Salazar.
On January 30, 1971, upon motion of jeep-owner-driver Salazar, respondent Judge also dismissed the case as
The facts which spawned the present controversy may be summarized as follows: against the former. 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,
On October 22, 1969, at about 4:00 o'clock in the afternoon, a three- way vehicular accident occurred along Mac- the New Rules of Court, which took effect on January 1, 1964, requires an express reservation of the civil action to be
Arthur Highway, Marilao, Bulacan, involving a Mercedes Benz owned and driven by petitioner; a private jeep owned and made in the criminal action; otherwise, the same would be barred pursuant to Section 2, Rule 111 ... 2 Petitioner's Motion
driven by respondent Rodolfo Salazar; and a gravel and sand truck owned by respondent Felipino Timbol and driven by for Reconsideration thereof was denied in the order dated February 23, 1971, with respondent Judge suggesting that the
Freddie Montoya. As a consequence of said mishap, two separate Informations for Reckless Imprudence Causing Damage issue be raised to a higher Court "for a more decisive interpretation of the rule. 3
to Property were filed against Rodolfo Salazar and Freddie Montoya with the Court of First Instance of Bulacan. The race
against truck-driver Montoya, docketed as Criminal Case No. SM-227, was for causing damage to the jeep owned by On March 25, 1971, petitioner then filed a Supplemental Petition before us, also to review the last two
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 mentioned Orders, to which we required jeep-owner-driver Salazar to file an Answer.
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 The Complaint against truck-owner Timbol

At the joint trial of the above cases, petitioner testified that jeep-owner- driver Salazar overtook the truck driven by We shall first discuss the validity of the Order, dated September 12, 1970, dismissing petitioner's Complaint
Montoya, swerved to the left going towards the poblacion of Marilao, and hit his car which was bound for Manila. Petitioner against truck-owner Timbol.
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 In dismissing the Complaint against the truck-owner, respondent Judge sustained Timbol's allegations that the
Montoya. Jeep-owner-driver Salazar, on the other hand, tried to show that, after overtaking the truck driven by Montoya, he civil suit is barred by the prior joint judgment in Criminal Cases Nos. SM-227 and SM-228, wherein no reservation to file a
flashed a signal indicating his intention to turn left towards the poblacion of Marilao but was stopped at the intersection by a separate civil case was made by petitioner and where the latter actively participated in the trial and tried to prove damages
policeman who was directing traffic; that while he was at a stop position, his jeep was bumped at the rear by the truck driven against jeep-driver-Salazar only; and that the Complaint does not state a cause of action against truck-owner Timbol
by Montova causing him to be thrown out of the jeep, which then swerved to the left and hit petitioner's car, which was inasmuch as petitioner prosecuted jeep-owner-driver Salazar as the one solely responsible for the damage suffered by his
coming from the opposite direction. car.

On July 31, 1970, the Court of First Instance of Bulacan, Branch V, Sta. Maria, rendered judgment, stating in its Well-settled is the rule that for a prior judgment to constitute a bar to a subsequent case, the following requisites
decretal portion: must concur: (1) it must be a final judgment; (2) it must have been rendered by a Court having jurisdiction over the subject
matter and over the parties; (3) it must be a judgment on the merits; and (4) there must be, between the first and second
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, this Court finds the accused Freddie Montoya GUILTY beyond actions, Identity of parties, Identity of subject matter and Identity of cause of action.
reasonable doubt of the crime of damage to property thru reckless imprudence in Crime. Case No. SM-227, and
hereby sentences him to pay a fine of P972.50 and to indemnify Rodolfo Salazar in the same amount of It is conceded that the first three requisites of res judicata are present. However, we agree with petitioner that
P972.50 as actual damages, with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, both as to fine and indemnity, there is no Identity of cause of action between Criminal Case No. SM-227 and Civil Case No. 80803. Obvious is the fact
with costs. that in said criminal case truck-driver Montoya was not prosecuted for damage to petitioner's car but for damage to the
jeep. Neither was truck-owner Timbol a party in said case. In fact as the trial Court had put it "the owner of the Mercedes
Accused Rodolfo Salazar is hereby ACQUITTED from the offense charged in Crime. Case No. SM- 228, Benz cannot recover any damages from the accused Freddie Montoya, he (Mendoza) being a complainant only against
with costs de oficio, and his bond is ordered canceled Rodolfo Salazar in Criminal Case No. SM-228. 4 And more importantly, in the criminal cases, the cause of action was the
enforcement of the civil liability arising from criminal negligence under Article l of the Revised Penal Code, whereas Civil
SO ORDERED. 1 Case No. 80803 is based on quasi-delict under Article 2180, in relation to Article 2176 of the Civil Code As held in Barredo
vs. Garcia, et al. 5
Thus, the trial Court absolved jeep-owner-driver Salazar of any liability, civil and criminal, 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 The foregoing authorities clearly demonstrate the separate in. individuality of cuasi-delitos or culpa
by the truck driven by Montoya. Neither was petitioner awarded damages as he was not a complainant against truck-driver aquiliana under the Civil Code. Specifically they show that there is a distinction between civil liability arising from
Montoya but only against jeep-owner-driver Salazar. criminal negligence (governed by the Penal Code) and responsibility for fault or negligence under articles 1902
to 1910 of the Civil Code, and that the same negligent act may produce either a civil liability arising from a crime
On August 22, 1970, or after the termination of the criminal cases, petitioner filed Civil Case No. 80803 with the under the Penal Code, or a separate responsibility for fault or negligence under articles 1902 to 1910 of the Civil
Court of First Instance of Manila against respondents jeep-owner-driver Salazar and Felino Timbol, the latter being the Code. Still more concretely, the authorities above cited render it inescapable to conclude that the employer in
owner of the gravel and sand truck driven by Montoya, for indentification for the damages sustained by his car as a result of this case the defendant- petitioner is primarily and directly liable under article 1903 of the Civil Code.
the collision involving their vehicles. Jeep-owner-driver Salazar and truck-owner Timbol were joined as defendants, either in
the alternative or in solidum allegedly for the reason that petitioner was uncertain as to whether he was entitled to relief That petitioner's cause of action against Timbol in the civil case is based on quasi-delict is evident from the

Page 15 of 33
recitals in the complaint to wit: that while petitioner was driving his car along MacArthur Highway at Marilao, Bulacan, a jeep At the outset it should be clarified that inasmuch as civil liability co-exists with criminal responsibility in
owned and driven by Salazar suddenly swerved to his (petitioner's) lane and collided with his car That the sudden swerving negligence cases, the offended party has the option between an action for enforcement of civil liability based on culpa
of Salazar's jeep was caused either by the negligence and lack of skill of Freddie Montoya, Timbol's employee, who was criminal under Article 100 of the Revised Penal Code, and an action for recovery of damages based on culpa aquiliana
then driving a gravel and sand truck iii the same direction as Salazar's jeep; and that as a consequence of the collision, under Article 2177 of the Civil Code. The action for enforcement of civil liability based on culpa criminal under section 1 of
petitioner's car suffered extensive damage amounting to P12,248.20 and that he likewise incurred actual and moral Rule 111 of the Rules of Court is deemed simultaneously instituted with the criminal action, unless expressly waived or
damages, litigation expenses and attorney's fees. Clearly, therefore, the two factors that a cause of action must consist of, reserved for separate application by the offended party. 8
namely: (1) plaintiff's primary right, i.e., that he is the owner of a Mercedes Benz, and (2) defendant's delict or wrongful act
or omission which violated plaintiff's primary right, i.e., the negligence or lack of skill either of jeep-owner Salazar or of The circumstances attendant to the criminal case yields the conclusion that petitioner had opted to base his
Timbol's employee, Montoya, in driving the truck, causing Salazar's jeep to swerve and collide with petitioner's car, were cause of action against jeep-owner-driver Salazar on culpa criminal and not on culpa aquiliana as evidenced by his active
alleged in the Complaint. 6 participation and intervention in the prosecution of the criminal suit against said Salazar. The latter's civil liability continued
to be involved in the criminal action until its termination. Such being the case, there was no need for petitioner to have
Consequently, petitioner's cause of action being based on quasi-delict, respondent Judge committed reversible reserved his right to file a separate civil action as his action for civil liability was deemed impliedly instituted in Criminal
error when he dismissed the civil suit against the truck-owner, as said case may proceed independently of the criminal Case No. SM-228.
proceedings and regardless of the result of the latter.
Neither would an independent civil action he. Noteworthy is the basis of the acquittal of jeep-owner-driver
Art. 31. When the civil action is based on an obligation not arising from the act or omission Salazar in the criminal case, expounded by the trial Court in this wise:
complained of as a felony, such civil action may proceed independently of the criminal proceedings and regardless
of the result of the latter. In view of what has been proven and established during the trial, accused Freddie Montoya would be
held able for having bumped and hit the rear portion of the jeep driven by the accused Rodolfo Salazar,
But it is truck-owner Timbol's submission (as well as that of jeep-owner-driver Salazar) that petitioner's failure to
make a reservation in the criminal action of his right to file an independent civil action bars the institution of such separate Considering that the collision between the jeep driven by Rodolfo Salazar and the car owned and
civil action, invoking section 2, Rule 111, Rules of Court, which says: driven by Edgardo Mendoza was the result of the hitting on the rear of the jeep by the truck driven by Freddie
Montoya, this Court behaves that accused Rodolfo Salazar cannot be held able for the damages sustained by
Section 2. Independent civil action. In the cases provided for in Articles 31, 32, 33, 34 and 2177 of Edgardo Mendoza's car. 9
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 Crystal clear is the trial Court's pronouncement that under the facts of the case, jeep-owner-driver Salazar
required in the preceding section. Such civil action shau proceed independently of the criminal prosecution, and cannot be held liable for the damages sustained by petitioner's car. In other words, "the fact from which the civil might
shall require only a preponderance of evidence. arise did not exist. " Accordingly, inasmuch as petitioner's cause of action as against jeep-owner-driver Salazar is ex-
delictu, founded on Article 100 of the Revised Penal Code, the civil action must be held to have been extinguished in
Interpreting the above provision, this Court, in Garcia vs. Florida 7 said: consonance with Section 3(c), Rule 111 of the Rules of Court 10 which provides:

As we have stated at the outset, the same negligent act causing damages may produce a civil liability Sec. 3. Other civil actions arising from offenses. In all cases not included in the preceding section
arising from crime or create an action for quasi-delict or culpa extra-contractual. The former is a violation of the the following rules shall be observed:
criminal law, while the latter is a distinct and independent negligence, having always had its own foundation and
individuality. Some legal writers are of the view that in accordance with Article 31, the civil action based upon xxx xxx xxx
quasi-delict may proceed independently of the criminal proceeding for criminal negligence and regardless of the
result of the latter. Hence, 'the proviso in Section 2 of Rule 111 with reference to ... Articles 32, 33 and 34 of the c) Extinction of the penal action does not carry with it extinction of the civil, unless
Civil Code is contrary to the letter and spirit of the said articles, for these articles were drafted ... and are the extinction proceeds from a declaration in a final judgment that the fact from which the civil night
intended to constitute as exceptions to the general rule stated in what is now Section 1 of Rule 111. The proviso, which arise did not exist. ...
is procedural, may also be regarded as an unauthorized amendment of substantive law, Articles 32, 33 and 34 of the
Civil Code, which do not provide for the reservation required in the proviso ... . 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
In his concurring opinion in the above case, Mr. Justice Antonio Barredo further observed that inasmuch as reasonable doubt, consequently, a civil action for damages can no longer be instituted. This is explicitly provided for in
Articles 2176 and 2177 of the Civil Code create a civil liability distinct and different from the civil action arising from the Article 29 of the Civil Code quoted here under:
offense of negligence under the Revised Penal Code, no reservation, therefore, need be made in the criminal case; that
Section 2 of Rule 111 is inoperative, "it being substantive in character and is not within the power of the Supreme Court to Art. 29. When the accused in a criminal prosecution is acquitted on the ground that his guilt has not
promulgate; and even if it were not substantive but adjective, it cannot stand because of its inconsistency with Article 2177, been proved beyond reasonable doubt, a civil action for damages for the same act or omission may be
an enactment of the legislature superseding the Rules of 1940." instituted. Such action requires only a preponderance of evidence ...

We declare, therefore, that in so far as truck-owner Timbol is concerned, Civil Case No. 80803 is not barred by the If in a criminal case the judgment of acquittal is based upon reasonable doubt, the court shall so
fact that petitioner failed to reserve, in the criminal action, his right to file an independent civil action based on quasi-delict. 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.
The suit against jeep-owner-driver Salazar
In so far as the suit against jeep-owner-driver Salazar is concerned, therefore, we sustain respondent Judge's
The case as against jeep-owner-driver Salazar, who was acquitted in Criminal Case No. SM-228, presents a Order dated January 30, 1971 dismissing the complaint, albeit on different grounds.
different picture altogether.
WHEREFORE, 1) the Order dated September 12, 1970 dismissing Civil Case No. 80803 against private

Page 16 of 33
respondent Felino Timbol is set aside, and respondent Judge, or his successor, hereby ordered to proceed with the hearing Private respondent Arceo in his aforementioned capacity, was charged in Criminal Case No. CCC-XI-39 for
on the merits; 2) but the Orders dated January 30, 1971 and February 23, 1971 dismissing the Complaint in Civil Case No. malversation of public funds in the amount of P6,619.34 which he supposedly failed to produce or to make proper
80803 against respondent Rodolfo Salazar are hereby upheld. accounting thereof after repeated demands. After due trial, the respondent court rendered a decision acquitting Arceo a
portion of which reads as follows:
No costs.
To briefly summarizethe undisputed facts spread before the court clearly and unmistakably show
SO ORDERED. lack of criminal intent on accused's part in not issuing official receipts for his collections and disbursements;
absence of proof that the accused benefited personally from his disbursements nor has it been shown that he
Teehankee, (Chairman), Makasiar, Fernandez, Guerrero and De Castro, JJ., concur. was inexcusably negligent in the administration of public funds and properties entrusted to his care; nor has it
been shown and proven that the government suffered damage or prejudice as the accused's disbursements
#Footnotes were for the benefit of the Capiz Agricultural and Fishery School; that the funds claimed to be missing in the
amount of P6,619.34 is not really missing for the accused demonstrated that said amounts were spent for and in
1 p. 26, Rollo the interest of the Capiz Agricultural and Fishery School as shown by the numerous chits, vouchers, vales, etc.,
presented in Court.
2 pp. 147-149, Ibid.
WHEREFORE, finding the evidence of the prosecution not sufficient to establish the guilt of the
3 pp. 138-139, Ibid. accused beyond reasonable doubt, the court hereby acquits Romeo Arceo from the charge of malversation on
grounds of Reasonable Doubt, with costs de officio and the cancellation of the bail bond posted by him for his
4 Decision P. 26, Ibid provisional liberty.

5 73 PhiL 607, 620 (1942) SO ORDERED. (pp. 119-120, Rollo; pp. 2-3, Appellant's Brief, p. 239, Rollo.)

6 Racoma vs. Fortich, 39S CRA 521(1971) After the acquittal of Arceo the Provincial Fiscal filed Civil Case No. V-3339 for the recovery of the total sum of
P13,790.71 which represented the accountability of Arceo due to his failure to issue official receipts and to immediately
7 52 SCRA 420 (1973) deposit said funds with the National Treasury, and instead spent the said funds or disbursed them without complying with
the requirements applicable to disbursements of public funds, with intent to defraud the government. Arceo through
8 Padua vs. Robles, 66 SCRA 485 (1975) counsel, filed a motion to dismiss the complaint in the said civil case alleging, among others, that the petitioner, as plaintiff
therein, had no cause of action against him inasmuch as "the cause of action had been decided in a prior judgment." a
9 pp. 25-26, Rollo The opposition filed by the Provincial Fiscal to the motion to dismiss was not adhered to by the respondent court which
issued an order dated June 10, 1971 dismissing the complaint in Civil Case No. V-3339. A motion for reconsideration from
10 Eleano Hill, 77 SCRA 98 (1977) the dismissal was denied. Hence, this appeal.

The only issue raised in this appeal is whether or not the acquittal of Arceo in the criminal case bars the filing of
Republic of the Philippines the civil action against him. Arceo relies on the provision of Section 3(c) of Rule 111 of the Rules of Court, which reads as
SUPREME COURT follows:
Manila
(c) Extinction of the penal action does not carry with it extinction of the civil, unless the
FIRST DIVISION extinction proceeds from a declaration in a final judgment that the fact from which the civil might arise did not
exist. In other cases, the person entitled to the civil action may institute it in the jurisdiction and in the manner
G.R. No. L-34906 January 27, 1983 provided by law against the person who may be liable for restitution of the thing and reparation or indemnity for
the damage suffered. (Emphasis supplied)
THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES (CAPIZ AGRICULTURAL AND FISHERY SCHOOL), petitioner,
vs. The petitioner, on the other hand, disputes the contention of Arceo and maintains that the decision in the
HON. SILVESTRE BR. BELLO, Presiding Judge of Branch II, Court of First Instance of Capiz and ROMEO A. ARCEO, criminal case does not contain any declaration that the facts from which the civil liability might arise did not exist.
respondents.
We uphold the stand of the petitioner. An examination of the decision in the criminal case reveals these findings
The Solicitor General for petitioner. of the respondent court:

Rolindo Beldia, Jr., for private respondent Arceo. All the foregoing expenses and disbursements were never overthrown by the prosecution. All that the
government prosecutor tried to show was this the whole of what the accused did in disbursing the funds covered
VASQUEZ, J.: by the vales, chits, cash invoices, etc., etc., were not in accordance with auditing rules and regulations. There is
no doubt about this. The accused practically brushed aside and ignored all guidelines enunciated by the
The Republic of the Philippines, in behalf of the Capiz Agricultural and Fishery School, takes his appeal from an General Auditing Office regarding disbursement of government funds. In Exhibit 'Q' (prosecution) Regional
order of the respondent Court of First Instance of Capiz dismissing Civil Case No. V-3339 which it filed against private Supervising Auditor Brodit in a report to the Director of the Bureau of Vocational Education, Manila, mentioned
respondent Romeo A. Arceo for the recovery of the amount representing his alleged liability to the government in the illegality of the accused's disbursements as contrary to section 17 of Republic Act 992. This Republic Act,
connection with his employment as Cashier and Disbursing Officer of the said school. Exhibit 'S' was presented by the prosecuting Provincial Fiscal, perhaps to bolster Exhibit-'Q'.

Page 17 of 33
The Court, as it has already intimated anteriorly, believes that the accused's acts offended the Republic
Act above-mentioned and every other auditing rule or regulation in the country, ... (pp. 104-105, Rollo.) Teehankee (Chairman), Melencio-Herrera, Relova and Gutierrez, Jr., JJ., concur.

From what has been shown by the accused, his failure to record his collections, was for a good purpose Plana, J., is on leave.
and not to defraud the government. He kept the cash collections in his possession in order that he may have the
ready amount to spend for emergency needs of the school This might be against the instructions to him or
offensive to rules and regulations of the General Auditing Office but it is patent that criminal intent cannot be Republic of the Philippines
inferred from such actuation. (pp. 110-111, Rollo.) SUPREME COURT
Manila
... As the prosecution evidence stands, same considered void all the acts of the accused but the vales,
chits, cash slips, vouchers, travel expenses showing that funds represented by them have been expended for the EN BANC
use, operation,' improvement, maintenance of the school's projects, like the fishpond, piggery, sugar cane
plantation, school construction materials, spare parts for the school's machines, representation expenses for G.R. No. L-39999 May 31, 1984
visiting bureau officials, etc., etc., makes open to doubt the contention that simply because they were not covered
with official receipts they are illegal and cannot be validated. The Court doubts that that contention closes all ROY PADILLA, FILOMENO GALDONES, ISMAEL GONZALGO and JOSE FARLEY BEDENIA, petitioners,
avenues to validate and legalize the questioned private documents presented by the accused. As the Court looks vs.
at the matter before it, the evidence of the prosecution is not enough to establish the guilt of the accused as it COURT OF APPEALS, respondent.
opens an avenue leading to a belief that the accused might be innocent. The evidence presented by the State did
not remove the possibility that Romeo Arceo might not be guilty of the offense charged. ... (pp. 117-118, Rollo; Sisenando Villaluz, Sr. for petitioners.
pp. 9-11, Appellant's Brief, p. 239, Rollo.)
The Solicitor General for respondent.
According to the respondent court itself, it was admitted by Arceo that he did not post his collections in his books
of account nor deposited them with the National Treasury as required by the rules and regulations. Worse, he disbursed GUTIERREZ, JR., J.:
them without prior approval of the Auditor. The decision did not absolve Arceo or free him from responsibility insofar as his
accountability as Cashier and Disbursing Officer is concerned. The acquittal, in the words of the trial court, was because This is a petition for review on certiorari of a Court of Appeals' decision which reversed the trial court's judgment
"The evidence of the prosecution is not enough to establish the guilt of the accused as it opens an avenue leading to a of conviction and acquitted the petitioners of the crime of grave coercion on the ground of reasonable doubt but inspite of
belief that the accused might be innocent." Indeed, the dispositive portion of the decision in the criminal case did not state the acquittal ordered them to pay jointly and severally the amount of P9,000.00 to the complainants as actual damages.
that the facts upon which his responsibility as an accountable officer is based were non-existent . Instead it expressly and
categorically declares that his acquittal was upon the finding that "the evidence of the prosecution was not sufficient to The petitioners were charged under the following information:
establish the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt.
The undersigned Fiscal accused ROY PADILLA, FILOMENO GALDONES, PEPITO BEDENIA,
It is also to be noted that while the subject-matter of the malversation case was the amount of P6,619.34, the sum YOLLY RICO, DAVID BERMUNDO, VILLANOAC, ROBERTO ROSALES, VILLANIA, ROMEO GARRIDO, JOSE
sought to be recovered in the civil action totalled P13,790.70. ORTEGA, JR., RICARDO CELESTINO, REALINGO alias "KAMLON", JOHN DOE alias TATO, and FOURTEEN
(14) RICARDO DOES of the crime of GRAVE COERCION, committed as follows:
The latter amount included the five items involved in the criminal action, as well as the additional sum of
P7,170.31 representing the income of the school from its various projects for which the accused failed to issue official That on or about February 8, 1964 at around 9:00 o'clock in the morning, in the municipality of Jose
receipts, (pp. 4647, Rollo.) At least insofar as the recovery of the aforesaid amount is concerned, therefore, the private Panganiban, province of Camarines Norte, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the
respondent cannot place in defense his acquittal in the criminal action which did not involve said amount. above- named accused, Roy Padilla, Filomeno Galdones, Pepito Bedenia, Yolly Rico, David Bermundo,
Villanoac, Roberto Rosales, Villania, Romeo Garrido, Jose Ortega, Jr., Ricardo Celestino, Realingo alias
Even insofar as the amount of P6,619.34 which constituted the subject-matter of the criminal charge of Kamlon, John Doe alias Tato, and Fourteen Richard Does, by confederating and mutually helping one another,
malversation is concerned, the acquittal of the private respondent in the criminal case would not constitute an obstacle to and acting without any authority of law, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully, and feloniously, by means of
the filing of Civil Case No. V-3339. The finding by the respondent court that he spent said sum for and in the interest of the threats, force and violence prevent Antonio Vergara and his family to close their stall located at the Public
Capiz Agricultural and Fishery School and not for his personal benefit is not a declaration that the fact upon which Civil Case Market, Building No. 3, Jose Panganiban, Camarines Norte, and by subsequently forcibly opening the door of
No. V-3339 is based does not exist. The civil action barred by such a declaration is the civil liability arising from the offense said stall and thereafter brutally demolishing and destroying said stall and the furnitures therein by axes and
charged, which is the one impliedly instituted with the criminal action. (Section 1, Rule 111, Rules of Court.) Such a other massive instruments, and carrying away the goods, wares and merchandise, to the damage and prejudice
declaration would not bar a civil action filed against an accused who had been acquitted in the criminal case if the criminal of the said Antonio Vergara and his family in the amount of P30,000.00 in concept of actual or compensatory
action is predicated on factual or legal considerations other than the commission of the offense charged. A person may be and moral damages, and further the sum of P20,000.00 as exemplary damages.
acquitted of malversation where, as in the case at bar, he could show that he did not misappropriate the public funds in his
possession, but he could be rendered liable to restore said funds or at least to make a proper accounting thereof if he shall That in committing the offense, the accused took advantage of their public positions: Roy Padilla,
spend the same for purposes which are not authorized nor intended, and in a manner not permitted by applicable rules and being the incumbent municipal mayor, and the rest of the accused being policemen, except Ricardo Celestino
regulations. who is a civilian, all of Jose Panganiban, Camarines Norte, and that it was committed with evident
premeditation.
WHEREFORE, the order of the respondent court dismissing Civil Case No.V-3339 is hereby REVERSED and
SET ASIDE. The motion to dismiss filed by the private respondent shall be deemed DENIED. Costs against the private The Court of First Instance of Camarines Norte, Tenth Judicial District rendered a decision, the dispositive
respondent, portion of which states that:
SO ORDERED. IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the Court finds the accused Roy Padilla, Filomeno Galdonez, Ismael

Page 18 of 33
Gonzalgo and Jose Parley Bedenia guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of grave coercion, and hereby
imposes upon them to suffer an imprisonment of FIVE (5) months and One (1) day; to pay a fine of P500.00 each; IV
to pay actual and compensatory damages in the amount of P10,000.00; moral damages in the amount of
P30,000.00; and another P10,000.00 for exemplary damages, jointly and severally, and all the accessory THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN ORDERING THE PETITIONERS HEREIN, APPELLANTS IN CA-G.R. NO.
penalties provided for by law; and to pay the proportionate costs of this proceedings. 13456CR, JOINTLY AND SEVERALLY, TO PAY COMPLAINANTS P9,600.00 IN SUPPOSED ACTUAL DAMAGES.

The accused Federico Realingo alias 'Kamlon', David Bermundo, Christopher Villanoac, Godofredo The issue posed in the instant proceeding is whether or not the respondent court committed a reversible error in
Villania, Romeo Garrido, Roberto Rosales, Ricardo Celestino and Jose Ortega, are hereby ordered acquitted on requiring the petitioners to pay civil indemnity to the complainants after acquitting them from the criminal charge.
grounds of reasonable doubt for their criminal participation in the crime charged.
Petitioners maintain the view that where the civil liability which is included in the criminal action is that arising
The petitioners appealed the judgment of conviction to the Court of Appeals. They contended that the trial court's from and as a consequence of the criminal act, and the defendant was acquitted in the criminal case, (no civil liability
finding of grave coercion was not supported by the evidence. According to the petitioners, the town mayor had the power to arising from the criminal case), no civil liability arising from the criminal charge could be imposed upon him. They cite
order the clearance of market premises and the removal of the complainants' stall because the municipality had enacted precedents to the effect that the liability of the defendant for the return of the amount received by him may not be enforced
municipal ordinances pursuant to which the market stall was a nuisance per se. The petitioners stated that the lower court in the criminal case but must be raised in a separate civil action for the recovery of the said amount (People v. Pantig, 97
erred in finding that the demolition of the complainants' stall was a violation of the very directive of the petitioner Mayor Phil. 748; following the doctrine laid down in Manila Railroad Co. v. Honorable Rodolfo Baltazar, 49 O.G. 3874; Pueblo
which gave the stall owners seventy two (72) hours to vacate the market premises. The petitioners questioned the contra Abellera, 69 Phil. 623; People v. Maniago 69 Phil. 496; People v. Miranda, 5 SCRA 1067; Aldaba v. Elepafio 116
imposition of prison terms of five months and one day and of accessory penalties provided by law. They also challenged the Phil. 457). In the case before us, the petitioners were acquitted not because they did not commit the acts stated in the
order to pay fines of P500.00 each, P10,000.00 actual and compensatory damages, P30,000.00 moral damages, charge against them. There is no dispute over the forcible opening of the market stall, its demolition with axes and other
P10,000.00 exemplary damages, and the costs of the suit. instruments, and the carting away of the merchandize. The petitioners were acquitted because these acts were
denominated coercion when they properly constituted some other offense such as threat or malicious mischief.
The dispositive portion of the decision of the respondent Court of Appeals states:
The respondent Court of Appeals stated in its decision:
WHEREFORE, we hereby modify the judgment appealed from in the sense that the appellants are
acquitted on ground of reasonable doubt. but they are ordered to pay jointly and severally to complainants the For a complaint to prosper under the foregoing provision, the violence must be employed against the
amount of P9,600.00, as actual damages. person, not against property as what happened in the case at bar. ...

The petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration contending that the acquittal of the defendants-appellants as to xxx xxx xxx
criminal liability results in the extinction of their civil liability. The Court of Appeals denied the motion holding that:
The next problem is: May the accused be convicted of an offense other than coercion?
xxx xxx xxx
From all appearances, they should have been prosecuted either for threats or malicious mischief. But
... appellants' acquittal was based on reasonable doubt whether the crime of coercion was committed, the law does not allow us to render judgment of conviction for either of these offenses for the reason that they
not on facts that no unlawful act was committed; as their taking the law into their hands, destructing (sic) were not indicted for, these offenses. The information under which they were prosecuted does not allege the
complainants' properties is unlawful, and, as evidence on record established that complainants suffered actual elements of either threats or malicious mischief. Although the information mentions that the act was by means of
damages, the imposition of actual damages is correct. threats', it does not allege the particular threat made. An accused person is entitled to be informed of the nature
of the acts imputed to him before he can be made to enter into trial upon a valid information.
Consequently, the petitioners filed this special civil action, contending that:
We rule that the crime of grave coercion has not been proved in accordance with law.
I
While appellants are entitled to acquittal they nevertheless are liable for the actual damages suffered
THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED A GRAVE ERROR OF LAW OR GRAVELY ABUSED ITS DISCRETION IN by the complainants by reason of the demolition of the stall and loss of some of their properties. The extinction
IMPOSING UPON PETITIONERS PAYMENT OF DAMAGES TO COMPLAINANTS AFTER ACQUITTING PETITIONERS of the penal action does not carry with it that of the civil, unless the extinction proceeds from a declaration in a
OF THE CRIME CHARGED FROM WHICH SAID LIABILITY AROSE. final judgment that the fact from which the civil might arise did not exist. (Rule 111, Sec. 3 (c), Rev. Rules of
Court; Laperal v. Aliza, 51 OG.R. 1311, People v. Velez, 44 OG. 1811). In the instant case, the fact from which
II the civil might arise, namely, the demolition of the stall and loss of the properties contained therein; exists, and
this is not denied by the accused. And since there is no showing that the complainants have reserved or waived
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN HOLDING IN ITS RESOLUTION DATED DECEMBER 26, 1974 THAT SINCE their right to institute a separate civil action, the civil aspect therein is deemed instituted with the criminal action.
APPELLANTS' ACQUITTAL WAS BASED ON REASONABLE DOUBT, NOT ON FACTS THAT NO UNLAWFUL ACT WAS (Rule 111, Sec. 1, Rev. Rules of Court).
COMMITTED, THE IMPOSITION OF ACTUAL DAMAGES IS CORRECT.
xxx xxx xxx
III
Section 1 of Rule 111 of the Rules of Court states the fundamental proposition that when a criminal action is
THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED A LEGAL INCONSISTENCY, IF NOT PLAIN JUDICIAL ERROR, IN HOLDING IN instituted, the civil action for recovery of civil liability arising from the offense charged is impliedly instituted with it. There is
ITS APPEALED RESOLUTION THAT PETITIONERS COMMITTED AN UNLAWFUL ACT, THAT IS TAKING THE LAW INTO no implied institution when the offended party expressly waives the civil action or reserves his right to institute it
THEIR HANDS, DESTRUCTING (sic) 'COMPLAINANTS' PROPERTIES', AFTER HOLDING IN ITS MAIN DECISION OF separately. (Morte Sr. v. Alvizo, Jr., 101 SCRA 221).
NOVEMBER 6,1974 THAT THE ACTS FOR WHICH THEY WERE CHARGED DID NOT CONSTITUTE GRAVE COERCION
AND THEY WERE NOT CHARGED OF ANY OTHER CRIME. The extinction of the civil action by reason of acquittal in the criminal case refers exclusively to civil liability ex

Page 19 of 33
delicto founded on Article 100 of the Revised Penal Code. (Elcano v. Hill, 77 SCRA 98; Virata v. Ochoa, 81 SCRA 472). In criminal case if the criminal action is predicated on factual or legal considerations other than the commission of
other words, the civil liability which is also extinguished upon acquittal of the accused is the civil liability arising from the act the offense charged. A person may be acquitted of malversation where, as in the case at bar, he could show that
as a crime. he did not misappropriate the public funds in his possession, but he could be rendered liable to restore said
funds or at least to make a proper accounting thereof if he shall spend the same for purposes which are not
As early as 1942, the Supreme Court speaking through Justice Jorge Bocobo in Barredo v. Garcia, et at. 73 Phil. authorized nor intended, and in a manner not permitted by applicable rules and regulations. (Republic v. Bello,
607 laid down the rule that the same punishable act or omission can create two kinds of civil liabilities against the accused 120 SCRA 203)
and, where provided by law, his employer. 'There is the civil liability arising from the act as a crime and the liability arising
from the same act as a quasi-delict. Either one of these two types of civil liability may be enforced against the accused, There appear to be no sound reasons to require a separate civil action to still be filed considering that the facts
However, the offended party cannot recover damages under both types of liability. For instance, in cases of criminal to be proved in the civil case have already been established in the criminal proceedings where the accused was acquitted.
negligence or crimes due to reckless imprudence, Article 2177 of the Civil Code provides: Due process has been accorded the accused. He was, in fact, exonerated of the criminal charged. The constitutional
presumption of innocence called for more vigilant efforts on the part of prosecuting attorneys and defense counsel, a
Responsibility for fault or negligence under the preceding article is entirely separate and distinct from keener awareness by all witnesses of the serious implications of perjury, and a more studied consideration by the judge of
the civil liability arising from negligence under the Penal Code. But the plaintiff cannot recover damages twice for the entire records and of applicable statutes and precedents. To require a separate civil action simply because the
the same act or omission of the defendant. accused was acquitted would mean needless clogging of court dockets and unnecessary duplication of litigation with all its
attendant loss of time, effort, and money on the part of all concerned.
Section 3 (c) of Rule 111 specifically provides that:
The trial court found the following facts clearly established by the evidence adduced by both the prosecution and
Sec. 3. Other civil actions arising from offenses. In all cases not included in the preceding section the defense:
the following rules shall be observed:
xxx xxx xxx
xxx xxx xxx
(9) In the morning of February 8, 1964, then Chief Galdones, complying with the instructions
xxx xxx xxx contained in said Memorandum No. 32 of the Mayor, and upon seeing that Antonio Vergara had not vacated the
premises in question, with the aid of his policemen, forced upon the store or stall and ordered the removal of the
(c) Extinction of the penal action does not carry with it extinction of the civil, unless the extinction goods inside the store of Vergara, at the same time taking inventory of the goods taken out, piled them outside
proceeds from a declaration in a final judgment that the fact from which the civil might arise did not exist. In other in front of the store and had it cordoned with a rope, and after all the goods were taken out from the store,
cases, the person entitled to the civil action may institute it in the Jurisdiction and in the manner provided by law ordered the demolition of said stall of Antonio Vergara. Since then up to the trial of this case, the whereabouts of
against the person who may be liable for restitution of the thing and reparation or indemnity for the damage the goods taken out from the store nor the materials of the demolished stall have not been made known.
suffered.
The respondent Court of Appeals made a similar finding that:
The judgment of acquittal extinguishes the liability of the accused for damages only when it includes a declaration
that the facts from which the civil might arise did not exist. Thus, the civil liability is not extinguished by acquittal where the On the morning of February 8th, because the said Vergaras had not up to that time complied with the
acquittal is based on reasonable doubt (PNB v. Catipon, 98 Phil. 286) as only preponderance of evidence is required in civil order to vacate, the co-accused Chief of Police Galdones and some members of his police force, went to the
cases; where the court expressly declares that the liability of the accused is not criminal but only civil in nature (De Guzman market and, using ax, crowbars and hammers, demolished the stall of the Vergaras who were not present or
v. Alvia, 96 Phil. 558; People v. Pantig, supra) as, for instance, in the felonies of estafa, theft, and malicious mischief around, and after having first inventoried the goods and merchandise found therein, they had them brought to
committed by certain relatives who thereby incur only civil liability (See Art. 332, Revised Penal Code); and, where the civil the municipal building for safekeeping. Inspite of notice served upon the Vergaras to take possession of the
liability does not arise from or is not based upon the criminal act of which the accused was acquitted (Castro v. Collector of goods and merchandise thus taken away, the latter refused to do so.
Internal Revenue, 4 SCRA 1093; See Regalado, Remedial Law Compendium, 1983 ed., p. 623). Article 29 of the Civil Code
also provides that: The loss and damage to the Vergaras as they evaluated them were:

When the accused in a criminal prosecution is acquitted on the ground that his guilt has not been Cost of stall construction P1,300.00
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 Value of furniture and equipment
plaintiff to file a bond to answer for damages in case the complaint should be found to be malicious. judgment destroyed 300.00

If in a criminal case the judgment of acquittal is based upon reasonable doubt, the court shall so Value of goods and equipment taken 8,000.00
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. P9,600.00

More recently, we held that the acquittal of the defendant in the criminal case would not constitute an obstacle to It is not disputed that the accused demolished the grocery stall of the complainants Vergaras and
the filing of a civil case based on the same acts which led to the criminal prosecution: carted away its contents. The defense that they did so in order to abate what they considered a nuisance per se
is untenable, This finds no support in law and in fact. The couple has been paying rentals for the premises to the
... The finding by the respondent court that he spent said sum for and in the interest of the Capiz government which allowed them to lease the stall. It is, therefore, farfetched to say that the stall was a nuisance
Agricultural and Fishery School and for his personal benefit is not a declaration that the fact upon which Civil per se which could be summarily abated.
Case No. V-3339 is based does not exist. The civil action barred by such a declaration is the civil liability arising
from the offense charged, which is the one impliedly instituted with the criminal action. (Section 1, Rule III, Rules The petitioners, themselves, do not deny the fact that they caused the destruction of the complainant's market
of Court.) Such a declaration would not bar a civil action filed against an accused who had been acquitted in the stall and had its contents carted away. They state:

Page 20 of 33
could not possibly have intended to make it more difficult for the aggrieved party to recover just compensation by making
On February 8, 1964, despite personal pleas on Vergaras by the Mayor to vacate the passageways of a separate civil action mandatory and exclusive:
Market Building No. 3, the Vergaras were still in the premises, so the petitioners Chief of Police and members of
the Police Force of Jose Panganiban, pursuant to the Mayor' 6 directives, demolished the store of the Vergaras, The old rule that the acquittal of the accused in a criminal case also releases him from civil liability is
made an inventory of the goods found in said store, and brought these goods to the municipal building under the one of the most serious flaws in the Philippine legal system. It has given rise to numberless instances of
custody of the Municipal Treasurer, ... miscarriage of justice, where the acquittal was due to a reasonable doubt in the mind of the court as to the guilt
of the accused. The reasoning followed is that inasmuch as the civil responsibility is derived from the the
The only supposed obstacle is the provision of Article 29 of the Civil Code, earlier cited, that "when the accused in criminal offense, when the latter is not proved, civil liability cannot be demanded.
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." According to some scholars, this provision of substantive law This is one of those cases where confused thinking leads to unfortunate and deplorable
calls for a separate civil action and cannot be modified by a rule of remedial law even in the interests of economy and consequences. Such reasoning fails to draw a clear line of demarcation between criminal liability and civil
simplicity and following the dictates of logic and common sense. responsibility, and to determine the logical result of the distinction. The two liabilities are separate and distinct
from each other. One affects the social order and the other, private rights. One is for the punishment or
As stated by retired Judge J. Cezar Sangco: correction of the offender while the other is for reparation of damages suffered by the aggrieved party... it is just
and proper that, for the purposes of the imprisonment of or fine upon the accused, the offense should be proved
... if the Court finds the evidence sufficient to sustain the civil action but inadequate to justify a conviction beyond reasonable doubt. But for the purpose of indemnifying the complaining party, why should the offense
in the criminal action, may it render judgment acquitting the accused on reasonable doubt, but hold him civilly also be proved beyond reasonable doubt? Is not the invasion or violation of every private right to be proved only
liable nonetheless? An affirmative answer to this question would be consistent with the doctrine that the two are by preponderance of evidence? Is the right of the aggrieved person any less private because the wrongful act is
distinct and separate actions, and win (a) dispense with the reinstituting of the same civil action, or one based on also punishable by the criminal law? (Code Commission, pp. 45-46).
quasi-delict or other independent civil action, and of presenting the same evidence: (b) save the injured party
unnecessary expenses in the prosecution of the civil action or enable him to take advantage of the free services of A separate civil action may be warranted where additional facts have to be established or more evidence must
the fiscal; and (c) otherwise resolve the unsettling implications of permitting the reinstitution of a separate civil be adduced or where the criminal case has been fully terminated and a separate complaint would be just as efficacious or
action whether based on delict, or quasi-delict, or other independent civil actions. even more expedient than a timely remand to the trial court where the criminal action was decided for further hearings on
the civil aspects of the case. The offended party may, of course, choose to file a separate action. These do not exist in this
... But for the court to be able to adjudicate in the manner here suggested, Art. 29 of the Civil Code case. Considering moreover the delays suffered by the case in the trial, appellate, and review stages, it would be unjust to
should be amended because it clearly and expressly provides that the civil action based on the same act or the complainants in this case to require at this time a separate civil action to be filed.
omission may only be instituted in a separate action, and therefore, may not inferentially be resolved in the same
criminal action. To dismiss the civil action upon acquittal of the accused and disallow the reinstitution of any other With this in mind, we therefore hold that the respondent Court of Appeals did not err in awarding damages
civil action, would likewise render, unjustifiably, the acquittal on reasonable doubt without any significance, and despite a judgment of acquittal.
would violate the doctrine that the two actions are distinct and separate.
WHEREFORE, we hereby AFFIRM the decision of the respondent Court of Appeals and dismiss the petition for
In the light of the foregoing exposition, it seems evident that there is much sophistry and no pragmatism lack of merit.
in the doctrine that it is inconsistent to award in the same proceedings damages against the accused after
acquitting him on reasonable doubt. Such doctrine must recognize the distinct and separate character of the two SO ORDERED.
actions, the nature of an acquittal on reasonable doubt, the vexatious and oppressive effects of a reservation or
institution of a separate civil action, and that the injured party is entitled to damages not because the act or Fernando, C.J., Teehankee, Makasiar, Guerrero, Abad Santos, Melencio- Herrera, Plana, Escolin, Relova and De la
omission is punishable but because he was damaged or injured thereby (Sangco, Philippine Law on Torts and Fuente, JJ., concur.
Damages, pp. 288-289).
Aquino, J., concur in the result.
We see no need to amend Article 29 of the Civil Code in order to allow a court to grant damages despite a
judgment of acquittal based on reasonable doubt. What Article 29 clearly and expressly provides is a remedy for the plaintiff De Castro, J., took no part.
in case the defendant has been acquitted in a criminal prosecution on the ground that his guilt has not been proved beyond
reasonable doubt. It merely emphasizes that a civil action for damages is not precluded by an acquittal for the same criminal Concepcion, Jr. J., is on leave.
act or omission. The Civil Code provision does not state that the remedy can be availed of only in a separate civil action. A
separate civil case may be filed but there is no statement that such separate filing is the only and exclusive permissible
mode of recovering damages. Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
There is nothing contrary to the Civil Code provision in the rendition of a judgment of acquittal and a judgment Manila
awarding damages in the same criminal action. The two can stand side by side. A judgment of acquittal operates to
extinguish the criminal liability. It does not, however, extinguish the civil liability unless there is clear showing that the act FIRST DIVISION
from which civil liability might arise did not exist.
G.R. No. L-71914 January 29, 1986
A different conclusion would be attributing to the Civil Code a trivial requirement, a provision which imposes an
uncalled for burden before one who has already been the victim of a condemnable, yet non-criminal, act may be accorded ZENAIDA CRUZ REYES, petitioner,
the justice which he seeks. vs.
HON. JUDGE ALICIA SEMPIO-DIY, 'Vacation' Judge of RTC, BRANCH 170, Malabon, Metro Manila, and SPS. CRISTINA
We further note the rationale behind Art. 29 of the Civil Code in arriving at the intent of the legislator that they MALICSI and DANILO MALICSI, respondents.

Page 21 of 33
the Court nor appeal therefrom to rectify the Court's failure to award damages in her favor. The decision of the Court had,
Leodegario A. Barayang, Sr. for petitioner. therefore, become final and any action to be filed by her for damages arising from the same criminal act of the accused
would already be barred on ground of res judicata.
PATAJO, J:
In the present case, however, while it is true that petitioner, the aggrieved party in the criminal case against
This is a direct appeal on a question of law from a resolution of the Regional Trial Court of Malabon, Metro Manila private respondent Cristina Malicsi for the crime of intriguing against honor, was represented by a private prosecutor for
dated July 30, 1985 dismissing upon motion of the defendant Civil Case No. 357-MN. the purpose of proving damages, the unexpected plea of guilt by the accused and her being sentenced immediately to a
fine of P50.00 prevented petitioner from proving her claim for damages and making a reservation to file a separate civil
In Criminal Case No. 23633 of the Metropolitan Trial Court of Navotas, Metro Manila, Cristina Malicsi was charged action. More in point, therefore, is the case of Meneses vs. Luat, 12 SCRA 454, and it is the ruling in the said case rather
with the crime of intriguing against honor. The aggrieved party therein was Zenaida Cruz Reyes, the herein petitioner. In than the Roa case which is controlling in the present case, Like in the present case in the Meneses case the aggrieved
said case Zenaida Cruz Reyes was represented by a private prosecutor, Atty. Barayang. The accused pleaded guilty to the party was also represented by a private prosecutor, but the case did not proceed to trial as the accused upon arraignment
information and was sentenced by the Court to a fine of P50.00. Because of her plea of guilty, the aggrieved party was pleaded guilty. Distinguishing said case from Roa vs. dela Cruz, the Court said:
unable to present evidence to prove damages against the accused. Neither was she able to make a reservation of her right
to file a separate civil action for damages. Instead, she filed a new action against Cristina Malicsi and her husband with the The issue now before us is whether or not the rule laid down in the Roa case should govern this one.
Regional Trial Court for damages arising from the defamatory words uttered against her by Cristina Malicsi which was the We are of the opinion that there is a demonstrable material difference between the circumstances of the two
subject of the information filed against the latter for intriguing against honor. Said case is Civil Case No. 357-MN. cases. In the first not only was the offended party represented by a private prosecutor in the criminal action but
the action went through trial on the merits. In fact it was the private prosecutor who actually handled the case.
At the pre-trial plaintiff admitted that she was represented by a private prosecutor in the criminal case against He therefore had sufficient opportunity to claim and prove damages, for which purpose alone, according to the
defendant Cristina Malicsi and in said case she did not reserve the right to file a separate action for damages. She further decision of this Court, has active intervention was allowed. For if that had not been the purpose, or if the
admitted that the appearance of said private prosecutor was for the purpose of proving damages against the accused. After offended party had reserved the right to file a separate civil action, such intervention would not have been
said admission made by plaintiff, the parties agreed to have the Court rule on the question of whether or not plaintiff by her justified.
being represented by a private prosecutor in the criminal case and her failing to make a reservation in said case to file a
separate action was barred from filing a separate civil action for damages against the accused Cristina Malicsi. In the instant case the criminal action against defendant Luat did not proceed to trial, as he pleaded
guilty upon arraignment. The mere appearance of private counsel in representation of the offended party did not
On said issue, the Court a quo ruled in favor of the defendants, relying principally upon Roa vs. dela Cruz, 107 constitute such active intervention as could only import an intention to press a claim for damages in the same
Phil. 8, and dismissed the case. It said: action. It is as reasonable to indulge the possibility that the private prosecutors appeared precisely to be able to
make a seasonable reservation of the right to file a separate civil action which, even if unnecessary at the time
There is no question that in defamation cases (such as the present) as in cases of fraud and physical would nevertheless have been the prudent and practical thing to do for the purpose of better protecting the
injuries, a civil action for damages entirely separate and distinct from the criminal action may be brought by the interest of their clients. But as matters turned out, the accused pleaded guilty upon arraignment and was
injured party, and such action shall proceed independently of the criminal prosecution and shall require only a immediately sentenced. Thereafter there was no chance to enter such a reservation in the record.
preponderance of evidence Art. 33, New Civil Code). In such cases, the injured party need not make a reservation
in the criminal case for the filing of the civil action for damages, for the Civil Code already grants or reserves to We do not believe that plaintiffs' substantive right to claim damages should necessarily be foreclosed
him that right, so that his failure to reserve such right in the criminal case does not bar him from filing a separate by the fact at best equivocal as to its purpose that private prosecutors entered their appearance at the very
civil action for damages (Mendoza v. Arrieta, 91 SCRA 113; Garcia v. Flerido, 52 SCRA 420). This is true even if inception of the proceeding, which was then cut short at that stage. It cannot be said with any reasonable
Sec. 2 of Rule 111 of the former Rules of Criminal Procedure in the Revised Rules of Court (the rule applicable certainty that plaintiffs had thereby committed themselves to the submission of their action for damages in that
herein) required a reservation in the criminal case, because the Civil Code does not require such reservation, and action. The rule laid down in Roa vs. De la Cruz, supra, does not govern this case. The ends of justice will be
the Rules of Court, being merely procedural, can not amend the Civil Code which is substantive in nature better served if plaintiffs are given their day in court. (pp. 457-458)
(Mendoza v. Arrieta and Garcia v. Flerido, supra).
Upon authority, therefore, of Meneses vs. Luat We find and so hold that the mere appearance of a private
There is, however, an exception to the above rule; namely, when the offended party actually intervenes prosecutor in the criminal case against the herein private respondents did not necessarily constitute such intervention on
in the criminal action by appearing therein through a private prosecutor for the purpose of recovering indemnity for the part of the aggrieved party as could only import an intention on her part to press her claim for damages in said criminal
damages, he is deemed to have waived his right to file a separate civil action for damages if he failed to make a case and a waiver of her right to file a separate civil action for damages. Because the accused had pleaded guilty upon
reservation therefor; thus, if the court did not enter a judgment for civil liability against the accused in the criminal arraignment and was immediately sentenced, there was no chance for the aggrieved party to present evidence in support
case because the offended party failed to submit evidence of damages therein and he did not file any motion for of her claim for damages and to enter a reservation in the record to file a separate civil action.
reconsideration or did not appeal from said judgment, the judgment becomes res judicata, and an independent
civil action under Art. 33 of the New Civil Code cannot be brought by said offended party anymore (Roa v. de la Moreover, the failure of petitioner to make a reservation to file a separate civil action did not foreclose her right
Cruz, 107 Phil. 8; Azucena v. Potenciano, 5 SCRA 468). to file said separate complaint for damages. Under Article 33 of the Civil Code there is no requirement that as a condition
to the filing of a separate civil action for damages a reservation to file said civil action be first made in the criminal case
We, however, believe that there are demonstrable material differences between the facts in the Roa case and the and such reservation is not necessary, the provision of Rule 111, Section 2 notwithstanding. Mendoza vs. Arrieta, 91
present case which would make the decision in the Roa case inapplicable in the present case as precedent. In the Roa case SCRA 113, where this Court, quoting from Garcia vs. Flerido, 52 SCRA 420, said:
there was a fall-blown hearing where a private prosecutor participated actively and there could, therefore, be no question
that the aggrieved party's participation through the private prosecutor in said case clearly indicated her intention to have her . . . Hence, 'the proviso in Section 2 of Rule 111 with reference to ... Articles 32, 33 and 34 of the Civil
claim for damages litigated in the criminal action against the accused. It was only after the trial of the case on the merits that Code is contrary to the letter and spirit of the said articles, for these articles were drafted . . . and are intended to
a decision was rendered finding the accused guilty of slight slander and sentencing her to pay a fine of P50.00 but making constitute as exceptions to the general rule stated in what is now Section 1 of Rule 111. The proviso, which is
no award of damages in favor of the aggrieved party. The reason for the Court's not making any award of damages is procedural, may also be regarded as an unauthorized amendment of substantive law, Articles 32, 33 and 34 of
because of the failure of the aggrieved party to submit evidence to support her claim for damages. The Court said that by the Civil Code, which do not provide for the reservation required in the proviso.
such failure she had only herself or her counsel to blame. Neither did she file a motion for reconsideration of the decision of

Page 22 of 33
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, judgment is hereby rendered GRANTING the petition and ordering respondent The lower court is wrong.
Court to proceed with the hearing of Civil Case No. 357-MN, with costs against private respondents.
If an accused is acquitted, it does not necessarily follow that no civil liability arising from the acts complained of
SO ORDERED. may be awarded in the same judgment.

Teehankee (Chairman), Melencio-Herrera, Plana, Gutierrez, Jr. and De la Fuente, JJ., concur. The prevailing rule as enunciated by this Court en banc in the case of Padilla v. Court of Appeals (129 SCRA
558) is that the Court may acquit an accused on reasonable doubt and still order payment of civil damages already proved
in the same case without need for a separate civil action. This ruling was reiterated in the case of People v. Jalandoni (131
Republic of the Philippines SCRA 454) where the accused formally admitted the amount of civil damages.
SUPREME COURT
Manila The rationale behind the rule is stated in the Padilla case as follows:

EN BANC There appears to be no sound reasons to require a separate civil action to still be filed considering
that the facts to be proved in the civil case have already been established in the criminal proceedings where the
G.R. Nos. L-47994-97 September 24, 1986 accused was acquitted. Due process has been accorded the accused. He was, in fact, exonerated of the
criminal charge. The constitutional presumption of innocence called for more vigilant efforts on the part of
LIDELIA MAXIMO, petitioner, prosecuting attorneys and defense counsel, a keener awareness by all witnesses of the serious implications of
vs. perjury, and a more studied consideration by the judge of the entire records and of applicable statutes and
HONORABLE JUDGE NICOLAS GEROCHI, JR., Judge of the Circuit Criminal Court, 12th Judicial District, Bacolod City precedents. To require a separate civil action simply because the accused was acquitted would mean needless
and CONCHITA PANGHILASON, respondents. clogging of court dockets and unnecessary duplication of litigation with all its attendant less of time, effort, and
money on the part of all concerned.
GUTIERREZ, JR., J.:
The aforementioned case further declared that:
This is a petition for certiorari and mandamus filed by the petitioner Lidelia Maximo to compel the public
respondent Judge Nicolas Gerochi, Jr. to include in his judgment of acquittal in Criminal Case Nos. CCC-XII-1067, 1073, A separate civil action may be warranted where additional facts have to be established or more
1074 and 1129, the civil liability which the private respondent Conchita Panghilason admitted in court. evidence must be adduced or where the criminal case has been fully terminated and a separate complaint
would be just as efficacious or even more expedient than a timely remand to the trial court where the criminal
On June 28, 1976, the City Fiscal of Bacolod filed with the Circuit Criminal Court, 12th Judicial District, Bacolod action was decided for further hearings on the civil aspects of the case. The offended party may, of course,
City, four (4) informations for estafa against respondent Conchita Panghilason. The informations alleged that Panghilason choose to file a separate action. These do not exist in this case. Considering moreover the delays suffered by
willfully issued four (4) checks amounting to P35,586.00 drawn against the Philippine Commercial and Industrial Bank in the case in the trial, appellate, and review stages, it would be unjust to the complainants in this case to require
favor of the petitioner; that the checks were dishonored for lack of funds or that her account with said bank had been closed at this time a separate civil action to be filed.
and that she refused to make the necessary deposit within three (3) days from receipt of notice to redeem the said checks.
The evidence taken in this case is summarized by the lower court as follows:
The petitioner intervened in the case through her private prosecutor on July 10, 1976.
Prosecution evidence tends to show that on January 31, 1976, accused purchased rice from Mrs.
On December 5, 1977, the respondent judge rendered the following judgment: Maximo and paid her the amount of P11,775.00 in a form of a check which she accepted after the accused
assured her that the check was covered by sufficient funds which check when presented encashment to the
Verily, for all said, the Court strongly believes that in the case at bar, the prosecution, to say the least, bank was dishonored for reason of "account closed." Exhibit "A", PCIB Check No. 161478; Exhibit "A-1",
failed to establish the guilt of accused beyond a reasonable doubt. That, herein, it appears that if accused had any signature of accused; Exhibit "B", the return slip: Exhibit "B-l," remark "account closed;" all for Crim. Case No.
obligation, it is simply civil in nature that could be properly ventilated within the context of civil law. CCC-XII-1129;

WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, and considering that the prosecution failed to establish the That on February 1, 1976, accused again purchased rice from her in the amount of P 7,000.00, and in
guilt of accused Conchita Panghilason beyond a reasonable doubt, the Court finds accused Conchita Panghilason payment for which accused issued a check dated the same day, February 1, 1976, which she accepted after the
NOT GUILTY of all the above-entitled four (4) criminal information, and ACQUITS her therefrom, with costs de accused assured her that it was supported by sufficient funds hence accused again was able to secure the rice
oficio. in the amount of P 7,000.00; that she (accused) issued PCIB Check No. 165511, Exhibit "A" in CCC-XII-1073;
that when the check was deposited by a certain Enrique Oh to whom she indorsed the check, the same was
The petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration praying "that the portion of the decision regarding the civil liability also dishonored for reason of "account closed." Exhibit "A" the check; Exhibit "A-l," the signature of the accused;
of the accused be reconsidered and thereafter the accused who had admitted her civil liability be ordered to pay the sum of Exhibit "B," the return slip; and Exhibit "B-l," remark "account closed;" all for Crim. Case No. CCC-XII-1073;
P33,586.00 plus 12% interest from the filing of the information. "
That on February 6, 1976, accused again bought rice from her in the amount of P ll,500.00, and in
This motion was denied by the court in an order dated February 20, 1978. The order stated that the award of civil payment of which was made in check dated the same day February 6,1976, PCIB Check No. 161479, which
liability "would not have been a problem if the accused was convicted, for then, this recovery of civil liability is deemed she accepted after the accused assured her that the same was likewise supported by sufficient funds, hence,
included in the offense proved, but the question is not indubitable because the accused was acquitted in all the four (4) again on February 6, 1976, accused was able to secure rice from her in the amount of P11,500.00; that the said
informations she was charged of." check when deposit (sic) by Mr. Oh to whom she indorsed it, it was similarly dishonored for reason of "account
closed." Exhibit "A," the check; Exhibit "A-l," the signature of the accused; Exhibit "B," the return slip; and Exhibit
The petitioner, therefore, came to this Court with the present petition. "B-I," reason for return, "account closed;" all for Crim. Case No. CCC-XII-1074;

Page 23 of 33
Again on February 7, 1976, accused purchased rice from her in the amount of P5,300.00 and with the SO ORDERED.
same assurance given her as the previous checks, she accepted a check which when deposited by Mr. Oh to
whom she indorsed the same, the same was dishonored for reason of "account closed." Exhibit "A" PCIB Check Teehankee, CJ., Feria, Yap, Fernan, Narvasa, Melencio-Herrera, Alampay, Cruz, Paras and Feliciano, JJ., concur.
No. 161490; Exhibit "A-1," signature of accused; Exhibit "B," return ship; and Exhibit "B-l," reason of return,
"closed account." All for Crim. Case No. CCC-XII-1067;
Republic of the Philippines
That all these sale transactions of rice occurred at the Capitol Shopping Center, Bacolod City, and that SUPREME COURT
all these checks were signed in the presence of complainant Mrs. Maximo; that accused, despite repeated Manila
demands failed to settle the matter with her hence she was compelled to bring the matter to the Court, and, in
the process, retain the services of counsel to which she covenanted to pay as attorney's fee for P3,000.00; that SECOND DIVISION
the actual total damage incurred by Mrs. Maximo as a result of the dishonor of the checks in question summed
up to P35,500.00; that out of these four transactions, accused merely made partial payment of P500.00 on G.R. No. L-27760 May 29, 1974
December 17, 1975, as shown by Exhibit "l ".
CRISPIN ABELLANA and FRANCISCO ABELLANA, petitioners,
Defense evidence, on the other hand, tends to show that accused came to know complaining witness vs.
sometime in 1973; that it was her late husband who used to have transactions with the latter who allowed her HONORABLE GERONIMO R. MARAVE, Judge, Court of First Instance of Misamis Occidental, Branch II; and
husband to purchase rice on credit; that she took over the business of buying and selling rice when her husband GERONIMO CAMPANER, MARCELO LAMASON, MARIA GURREA, PACIENCIOSA FLORES and ESTELITA NEMEN0,
got sick; that likewise Mrs. Maximo allowed her to purchase rice on a 15- day credit basis; that she was allowed to respondents.
issue postdated checks dated 15 days after the actual purchase; that consequently, she purchased rice from Mrs.
Maximo weekly; that after she got the rice, she would issue a check for the previous purchases she made, as Prud. V. Villafuerte for petitioners.
evidenced by the checks she had issued to Mrs. Maximo, Exhibit "2" up to Exhibit "21," although all these checks
did not represent all the transactions she had with her amounted approximately to P 480,000.00; that all the Hon. Geronimo R. Marave in his own behalf.
checks in question involved in the above-entitled criminal cases were all issued on January 15 and 21, 1975, and
not on the dates they appeared therein; that the check dated January 31, 1976, covered in Crim. Case No. CCC- FERNANDO, J.:p
XII-1129 involved a transaction that transpired on January 15, 1975, and the check was issued on January 21,
1975, and actually postdated January 31, 1975; that the check dated February 1, 1976, in the amount of This petition for certiorari is characterized by a rather vigorous insistence on the part of petitioners Crispin
P7,000.00 was in payment of a rice transaction that took place on January 15, 1975, and actually postdated Abellana and Francisco Abellana that an order of respondent Judge was issued with grave abuse of discretion. It is their
February 1, 1975; that the check dated February 6, 1976, was also in payment of a rice transaction that occurred contention that he ought to have dismissed an independent civil action filed in his court, considering that the plaintiffs, as
on January 21, 1975, and postdated February 6, 1975; that the check dated February 7, 1976, in the amount of offended parties, private respondents here, 1 failed to reserve their right to institute it separately in the City Court of
P5,000.00 involved a transaction that actually transpired on January 21, 1975, and a check was issued in Ozamis City, when the criminal case for physical injuries through reckless imprudence was commenced. Such a stand of
payment for it on January 31, 1975, and also postdated February 7, 1975; that at the time she was not able to petitioners was sought to be bolstered by a literal reading of Sections 1 and 2 of Rule 111. 2 It does not take into account,
make the necessary deposits because her husband was then hospitalized and she pleaded to Mrs. Maximo not to however, the rule as to a trial de novo found in Section 7 of Rule 123. 3 What is worse, petitioners appear to be oblivious
encash the checks, and the latter consented thereto as Mrs. Maximo know that her husband was really sick, and of the principle that if such an interpretation were to be accorded the applicable Rules of Court provisions, it would give
in fact, he later died on December 3, 1976; that consequently Mrs. Maximo brought the matter to the PC at the PC rise to a grave constitutional question in view of the constitutional grant of power to this Court to promulgate rules
Headquarters at Bacolod City, and they agreed before the PC that she would pay in installment, and on December concerning pleading, practice, and procedure being limited in the sense that they "shall not diminish, increase, or modify
17, 1975, she deposited the amount of P500.00 with her, Exhibit "l," that later, Mrs. Maximo tried to collect thru the substantive rights." 4 It thus appears clear that the petition for certiorari is without merit.
Silay Police, and again later thru the PC, and she offered to pay up to Pl,000.00 but Mrs. Maximo refused unless
she would pay P5,000.00 which she went to the PC again in the accompany (sic) of her eight-year old girl but Mrs. The relevant facts were set forth in the petition and admitted in the answer. The dispute had its origins in a
Maximo was not there, and then Sgt. Villanueva asked her to initial all the questioned checks to be dated 1976; prosecution of petitioner Francisco Abellana of the crime of physical injuries through reckless imprudence in driving his
that first she refused but later on she consented after the assurance of Sgt. Villanueva that no case will be filed cargo truck, hitting a motorized pedicab resulting in injuries to its passengers, namely, private respondents Marcelo
against her. Lamason, Maria Gurrea, Pacienciosa Flores, and Estelita Nemeo. The criminal case was filed with the city court of
Ozamis City, which found the accused Francisco Abellana guilty as charged, damages in favor of the offended parties
The private respondent never denied her debts or obligations to the petitioner. Her defense was directed only likewise being awarded. The accused, now petitioner, Francisco Abellana appealed such decision to the Court of First
towards proving the fact that the checks were issued in payment of a pre-existing obligation, not that the obligation is non- Instance. 5 At this stage, the private respondents as the offended parties filed with another branch of the Court of First
existent or paid in full. We further note that the private respondent failed to submit her answer to this petition despite several Instance of Misamis Occidental, presided by respondent Judge, a separate and independent civil action for damages
notices from this Court. She has waived her defenses to the petition. In his answer, the trial judge justified his refusal to allegedly suffered by them from the reckless driving of the aforesaid Francisco Abellana. 6 In such complaint, the other
award civil liability with a statement that the civil liability did not arise from any criminal act but only from a civil contract petitioner, Crispin Abellana, as the alleged employer, was included as defendant. Both of them then sought the dismissal
connected to the crime. He stated in his denial of the motion for reconsideration that the action for civil liability must be filed of such action principally on the ground that there was no reservation for the filing thereof in the City Court of Ozamis. It
in a "civil court." was argued by them that it was not allowable at the stage where the criminal case was already on appeal. 7
The foregoing argument is erroneous in view of the Padilla v. Court of Appeals and People v. Jalandoni rulings Respondent Judge was not persuaded. On April 28, 1967, he issued the following order: "This is a motion to
earlier cited which are applicable to the facts of this case. dismiss this case on the ground that in Criminal Case No. OZ-342 which was decided by the City Court and appealed to
this Court, the offended parties failed to expressly waive the civil action or reserve their right to institute it separately in
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby granted. The order of the lower court denying the motion for reconsideration said City Court, as required in Section 1, Rule 111, Rules of Court. From the Records of Criminal Case No. OZ-342, it
is set aside. The private respondent Conchita Panghilason is ordered to pay the petitioner the sum of P33,586.00 with 12% appears that the City Court convicted the accused. On appeal to this Court, the judgment of the City Court was vacated
interest from July 10, 1976 until fully paid. and a trial de novo will have to be conducted. This Court has not as yet begun trying said criminal case. In the meantime,
the offended parties expressly waived in this Court the civil action impliedly instituted with the criminal action, and reserve

Page 24 of 33
their right to institute a separate action as in fact, they did file. The Court is of the opinion that at this stage, the offended
parties may still waive the civil action because the judgment of the City Court is vacated and a trial de novo will have to be Costs against petitioners.
had. In view of this waiver and reservation, this Court would be precluded from judging civil damages against the accused
and in favor of the offended parties. [Wherefore], the motion to dismiss is hereby denied. ..." 8 There was a motion for Zaldivar (Chairman), Barredo, Fernandez and Aquino, JJ., concur.
reconsideration which was denied. Hence this petition.
Antonio, J., concurs on the bases of par. nos. 2 & 3 of opinion.
The only basis of petitioners for the imputation that in the issuance of the challenged order there was a grave
abuse of discretion, is their reading of the cited Rules of Court provision to the effect that upon the institution of a criminal
action "the civil action for recovery of civil liability arising from the offense charge is impliedly instituted with the criminal Footnotes
action, unless the offended party ...reserves his right to institute it separately." 9 Such an interpretation, as noted, ignores
the de novo aspect of appealed cases from city courts. 10 It does likewise, as mentioned, give rise to a constitutional 1 The private respondents are: Geronimo Campaner, Marcelo Lamason, Maria Gurrea, Pacienciosa Flores and Estelita
question to the extent that it could yield a meaning to a rule of court that may trench on a substantive right. Such an Nemeo.
interpretation is to be rejected. Certiorari, to repeat, clearly does not lie.
2 The aforesaid sections read as follows: "Sec. 1. Institution of criminal and civil actions. When a criminal action is
1. In the language of the petition, this is the legal proposition submitted for the consideration of this Court : "That a instituted, the civil action for recovery of civil liability arising from the offense charged is impliedly instituted with the
separate civil action can be legally filed and allowed by the court only at the institution, or the right to file such separate civil criminal action, unless the offended party expressly waives the civil action or reserves his right to institute it separately.
action reserved or waived, at such institution of the criminal action, and never on appeal to the next higher court." 11 It Sec. 2. Independent civil action. In the cases provided for in Articles 31, 32, 33, 34 and 2177 of the Civil Code of the
admits of no doubt that an independent civil action was filed by private respondents only at the stage of appeal. Nor was Philippines, an independent civil action entirely separate and distinct from the criminal action, may be brought by the
there any reservation to that effect when the criminal case was instituted in the city court of Ozamis. Petitioners would then injured party during the pendency of the criminal case, provided the right is reserved as required in the preceding section.
take comfort from the language of the aforesaid Section 1 of Rule 111 for the unwarranted conclusion that absent such a Such civil action shall proceed independently of the criminal prosecution, and shall require only a preponderance of
reservation, an independent civil action is barred. In the first place, such an inference does not per se arise from the wording evidence." .
of the cited rule. It could be looked upon plausibly as a non-sequitur. Moreover, it is vitiated by the grievous fault of ignoring
what is so explicitly provided in Section 7 of Rule 123: "An appealed case shall be tried in all respects anew in the Court of 3 Section 7 of Rule 123 reads as follows: "An appeal case shall be tried in all respects anew in the Court of First Instances
First Instance as if it had been originally instituted in that court." 12 Unlike petitioners, respondent Judge was duly mindful of as if it had been originally instituted in that court."
such a norm. This Court has made clear that its observance in appealed criminal cases is mandatory. 13 In a 1962 decision,
People v. Carreon, 14 Justice Barrera, as ponente, could trace such a rule to a 1905 decision, Andres v. Wolfe. 15 Another 4 According to Article VIII, Section 13 of the 1935 Constitution: "The Supreme Court shall have the power to promulgate
case cited by him is Crisostomo v. Director of Prisons, 16 where Justice Malcolm emphasized how deeply rooted in Anglo- runs concerning pleading, practice, and procedure in all courts, and the admission to the practice of law. Said rules shall
American legal history is such a rule. In the latest case in point, People v. Jamisola, 17 this Court, through Justice Dizon, be uniform for all courts of the same grade and shall not diminish, increase, or modify substantive rights. The existing laws
reiterated such a doctrine in these words: "The rule in this jurisdiction is that upon appeal by the defendant from a judgment on pleading, practice, and procedure are hereby repealed as statutes, and are declared Rules of Courts, subject to the
of conviction by the municipal court, the appealed decision is vacated and the appealed case 'shall be tried in all respects power of the Supreme Court to alter and modify the same. The Congress shall have the power to repeal, alter, or
anew in the court of first instance as if it had been originally instituted in that court.'" 18 So it is in civil cases under Section 9 supplement the rules concerning pleading, practice, and procedure, and the admission to the practice of law in the
of Rule 40. 19 Again, there is a host of decisions attesting to its observance. 20 It cannot be said then that there was an Philippines." The present Constitution, in its Article X, Section 5, paragraph (5), empowers this Court to promulgate "rules
error committed by respondent Judge, much less a grave abuse of discretion, which is indispensable if this petition were to concerning pleading, practice, and procedure in all courts, the admission to the practice of law, and the integration of the
prosper. Bar, which, however, may be repealed, altered, or supplemented by the National Assembly. 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,
2. Nor is the above the only ground for rejecting the contention of petitioners. The restrictive interpretation they and shall not diminish, increase, or modify substantive rights."
would place on the applicable rule does not only result in its emasculation but also gives rise to a serious constitutional
question. Article 33 of the Civil Code is quite clear: "In cases of ... physical injuries, a civil action for damages, entirely 5 Petition, pars. 2 and 3.
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." 21 That is a substantive 6 Ibid, par. 4.
right, not to be frittered away by a construction that could render it nugatory, if through oversight, the offended parties failed
at the initial stage to seek recovery for damages in a civil suit. As referred to earlier, the grant of power to this Court, both in 7 Ibid, par. 5.
the present Constitution and under the 1935 Charter, does not extend to any diminution, increase or modification of
substantive right. 22 It is a well-settled doctrine that a court is to avoid construing a statute or legal norm in such a manner 8 Ibid, par. 9.
as would give rise to a constitutional doubt. Unfortunately, petitioners, unlike respondent Judge, appeared to lack awareness
of the undesirable consequence of their submission. Thus is discernible another insuperable obstacle to the success of this 9 Cf. Rules of Court, Section 1 of Rule 111.
suit.
10 Cf. Section 7 of Rule 123, Rules of Court.
3. Nor is this all that needs to be said. It is understandable for any counsel to invoke legal propositions impressed
with a certain degree of plausibility if thereby the interest of his client would be served. That is though, merely one aspect of 11 Petition, Ground for Reversal of the Court Order Involved, 4.
the matter. There is this other consideration. He is not to ignore the basic purpose of a litigation, which is to assure parties
justice according to law. He is not to fall prey, as admonished by Justice Frankfurter, to the vice of literalness. The law as an 12 Cf. Section 7 of Rule 123 (1964).
instrument of social control will fail in its function if through an ingenious construction sought to be fastened on a legal norm,
particularly a procedural rule, there is placed an impediment to a litigant being given an opportunity of vindicating an alleged 13 Cf. People v. Jaramilia, 97 Phil. 880 (1955); Escudero v. Lucero, 103 Phil. 672 (1958); People v. Malayao, L-12103,
right. 23 The commitment of this Court to such a primordial objective has been manifested time and time again. 24 February 28, 1961, 1 SCRA 628; People v. Carreon, L-17920, May 30, 1962, 5 SCRA 252; People v. Jamisola, L-27332,
November 28, 1969, 30 SCRA 555.
WHEREFORE, this petition for certiorari is dismissed.

Page 25 of 33
14 L-17920, May 30, 1962, 5 SCRA 252. background:

15 5 Phil. 60. Plaintiff filed [on July 5, 1968] a complaint in the Court of First Instance of Laguna (Civil Case No. SP-
756) against defendant for damages, praying that the latter be ordered to pay him the sums of (1) P7,000 as
16 41 Phil. 368 (1921). Cf. People v. Co Hiok, 62 Phil. 501 (1935). actual or compensatory damages, (2) P20,000 as moral damages, (3) P5,000 as exemplary damages and (4)
P4,000 as attorney's fees, plus costs of suit.
17 L-27332, November 28, l969, 30 SCRA 555..
The complaint alleged that on July 2, 1952, defendant inflicted several physical injuries on the person
18 Ibid, 556-557. of plaintiff for which he was charged with the crime of frustrated homicide but was convicted of slight physical
injuries by the CFI of Laguna, which judgment was affirmed by the Court of Appeals on August 31, 1955 (Annex
19 Section 9 of Rule 40 reads: "A perfected appeal shall operate to vacate the judgment of the justice of the peace or the A); that on June 20, 1956, plaintiff, having reserved his right to institute a separate civil action, filed with the CFI
municipal court, and the action when duly docketed in the Court of First Instance shall stand for trial de novo upon its merits a complaint to enforce defendant's civil liability under Article 100 of the Revised Penal Code but the same was
in accordance with the regular procedure in the court, as though the same had never been tried before and had been dismissed without prejudice and costs on October 31, 1962, for lack of interest; and that despite the lapse of
originally there commenced. If the appeal is withdrawn, or dismissed for failure to prosecute, the judgment shall be deemed several years and the attempt on plaintiff's part to enforce the said civil liability, defendant failed to settle the
revived and shall forthwith be remanded to the justice of the peace or municipal court for execution." same, thus compelling plaintiff to refile the case on July 5, 1968.

20 Cf. Lichauco v. Guash, 76 Phil. 5 (1946); Torres v. Ocampo, 80 Phil. 36 (1948); Ricohermoso v. Enriquez and On defendant's motion, the court dismissed the complaint on the ground of prescription, that is, "the
Ricohermoso, 85 Phil. 88 (1949); Evangelista v. Soriano, 92 Phil. 190 (1952); Vda. de Valdez v. Farinas, 94 Phil. 850 (1954); instant action has been barred by the Statute of Limitations because the crime of physical injuries was
Royal Shirt Factory, Inc. v. Co Bon Tic, 94 Phil. 994 (1954); Acierto Y. De Laperal, 107 Phil. 1088 (1960); Singh v. Liberty committed by defendant on July 2, 1952 and this case was filed on July 5, 1968, or after the lapse of 16 years,
Insurance Corp., L-16860, July 31, 1963, 8 SCRA 517, Florendo, Sr. v. Buyser, L-24316, Nov. 28, 1967, 21 SCRA 1106; the period of prescription applicable being 4 years according to Art. 1146 (1) of the Civil Code. 1
Permanent Concrete Products, Inc. v. Teodoro, L-29766, Nov. 29, 1968, 26 SCRA 332.
The parties do not dispute the facts as above stated. The legal issue raised is simply the correctness of the
21 Article 33 includes the other cases of deformation and fraud. lower court's dismissal of the complaint filed after the lapse of 16 years on the ground that the action is barred by
prescription, since the physical injuries were inflicted on July 2, 1952 and plaintiff's action for actual, moral and exemplary
22 Cf. Article X, Section 5, par. 5 of the Constitution and Article VIII, Section 13 of the 1935 Constitution. damages and attorney's fees prescribed after four years under Article 1146 of the Civil Code which provides that actions
"(1) upon an injury to the rights of plaintiff and (2) upon a quasi-delict" must be instituted within four years.
23 Cf. Avila v. Gimenez, L-24615, February 28, 1969, 27 SCRA 321.
The points of question refer to the date of accrual of plaintiff's cause of action for damages and to the applicable
24 Cf. Aguinaldo v. Aguinaldo, L-30362, November 26, 1970, 36 SCRA 137. period of prescription.

On the first question of date of accrual of cause of action, the Court finds that the lower court correctly sustained
Republic of the Philippines defendant's contention that plaintiff's cause of action for damages accrued on July 2, 1952 when the physical injuries were
SUPREME COURT inflicted as against plaintiff's contention that his cause of action accrued three years later on August 31, 1955 when the
Manila judgment of conviction for physical injuries against defendant as accused in the criminal case became final.

FIRST DIVISION Here, plaintiff's (offended party) civil action for recovery of civil liability and damages from defendant (accused)
would have been implicitly instituted with the criminal action, but plaintiff expressly reserved his right to institute the civil
G.R. No. L-39675 November 29, 1974 action separately. Under Article 33 of the Civil Code, 2 even without such reservation, he could prosecute his civil action
for damages from the physical injuries separately and independently of the criminal action and would require only a
FRANCISCO ESCUETA, plainttiff-appellant, preponderance of evidence to support his action. Such separate and independent civil action under the cited codal article
vs. proceeds to trial and final judgment irrespective of the result of the criminal action. 3
EUTIQUIANO FANDIALAN, defendant-appellee.
Manifestly, then, plaintiff's civil action for damages does not fall under that category of civil actions based upon a
Manuel A. Alvero for plaintiff-appellant. criminal offense which are suspended to await the outcome of the criminal case under Rule 111, section 3 of the Rules of
Court. Being a case of physical injuries under Article 33 of the Civil Code, plaintiffs civil action for damages did not arise
Manuel V. San Jose for defendant-appellee. from nor depend upon the result of the criminal action but from defendant's act of infliction of physical injuries. Hence,
plaintiff's cause of action clearly accrued from July 2, 1952 the date that the physical injuries were inflicted on him. As of
TEEHANKEE, J.:p that date, he had the right to file and maintain his civil action for damages and the period of prescription started to run.

In this appeal certified by the Court of Appeals as involving a pure question of law on prescription, the Court finds Plaintiff's cause of action was entirely independent of the result and outcome of the criminal action. Indeed,
that the lower court correctly dismissed the plaintiff-appellant's civil action for damages arising from physical injuries filed plaintiff derived no enforceable right from the judgment of conviction which became final on August 31, 1955, since no
after the lapse of 16 years on the ground that the action was already barred by the four-year statutory limitation under Article adjudication was therein made as to defendant's civil liability by virtue of plaintiff's express reservation of the filing of a
1146 (1) of the Civil Code which provides that actions "upon an injury to the rights of plaintiff" must be instituted within four separate civil suit.
years.
On the second question of the applicable period of prescription, the Court holds that the lower court correctly
The appellate court's resolution of October 23, 1974 certifying plaintiff-appellant's appeal (from the lower court's ruled that the applicable prescriptive period is four years under Article 1146 (1) of the Civil Code as against plaintiff's
order of dismissal on the ground of prescription) to this Court as involving a pure question of law recites the following factual contention that it should be ten years under Article 1144 (3) which provides for such ten-year prescriptive for actions

Page 26 of 33
based "upon a judgment." ABAD SANTOS, J.:

Plaintiffs civil suit for damages arising from physical injuries is clearly one based upon an injury to his rights, for In Criminal Case No. 75-88 of the defunct Court of First Instance of Eastern Samar, DR. EVA A. JAPZON is
which Article 1146 (1) provides a prescriptive period of four years. Plaintiff's contention that his prescriptive period should be accused of homicide through reckless imprudence for the death of Cleto Madeja after an appendectomy. The complaining
ten years based upon the judgment of defendant's conviction for physical injuries in the criminal case is untenable. No civil witness is the widow of the deceased, Carmen L. Madeja. The information states that: "The offended party Carmen L.
liability was adjudged in the criminal case since plaintiff expressly reserved the right of filing a separate civil action. Hence, Madeja reserving her right to file a separate civil action for damages." (Rollo, p. 36.)
he had no standing in the criminal action as an offended party and the verdict of conviction excluded any civil liability.
The criminal case still pending, Carmen L. Madeja sued Dr. Eva A. Japzon for damages in Civil Case No. 141 of
Plaintiffs invocation of Article 1144 (3) would be tenable only if he had not reserved the filing of a separate civil the same court. She alleged that her husband died because of the gross negligence of Dr. Japzon. The respondent judge
action and if defendant's civil liability had been determined and adjudged in the criminal case. In such case, as in other-civil granted the defendant's motion to dismiss which motion invoked Section 3(a) of Rule 111 of the Rules of Court which
actions where judgment has obtained, the action to enforce the judgment would prescribe only after ten years, with the reads:
judgment being enforceable by mere motion within the first five years.
Sec. 3. Other civil actions arising from offenses. In all cases not included in the preceding section
Plaintiffs final contention that the running of the prescriptive period was interrupted by the first civil case that he the following rules shall be observed:
filed on June 20, 1956 which was dismissed on October 31, 1962 for lack of interest serves no purpose. On the premise that
such judicial action suspended the four-year prescriptive period under Article 1155 of the Civil Code as against the old rule (a) Criminal and civil actions arising from the same offense may be instituted separately, but
that non-suit or abandonment of an action takes no time out of the period of prescription, 4 it is readily seen that from July 2, after the criminal action has been commenced the civil action can not be instituted until final judgment has been
1952 (commission of physical injuries) until the filing on June 20, 1956 of the first case, plaintiff had only twelve (12) days rendered in the criminal action. ...
left of the four-year prescriptive period. The period commenced to run again from the dismissal of the case for lack of
interest on October 31, 1962. There were only twelve (12) days left thereafter for plaintiff to file the case which expired on According to the respondent judge, "under the foregoing Sec. 3 (a), Rule 111, New Rules of Court, the instant
November 12, 1962. Plaintiffs filing of the second case below only on July 5, 1968 or more than five years later was much civil action may be instituted only after final judgment has been rendered in the criminal action." (Rollo, p. 33.)
too late.
The instant petition which seeks to set aside the order of the respondent judge granting the defendant's motion
ACCORDINGLY, the appealed order of dismissal is hereby affirmed, with costs against plaintiff-appellant. to dismiss Civil Case No. 141 is highly impressed with merit.

Castro (Chairman), Makasiar, Esguerra and Muoz Palma, JJ., concur. Section 2, Rule 111 of the Rules of Court in relation to Article 33 of the Civil Code is the applicable provision.
The two enactments are quoted hereinbelow:
Footnotes
Sec. 2. Independent civil action. In the cases provided for in Articles 31,32, 33, 34 and 2177 of
1 Emphasis and note in brackets supplied. 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
2 "ART. 33. In cases of defamation, fraud, and physical injuries, a civil action for damages, entirely separate and reserved as required in the preceding section. Such civil action shall proceed independently of the criminal
distinct from the criminal action, may be brought by the injured party. Such civil action shall proceed independently of the prosecution, and shall require only a preponderance of evidence." (Rule 111, Rules of Court.)
criminal prosecution, and shall require only a preponderance of evidence." (Civil Code).
Art. 33. In cases of defamation, fraud, and physical injuries, a civil action for damages, entirely
3 Rule 111, section 2; see also Articles 31, 32 and 34, Civil Code. . 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. (Civil
4 Oriental Commercial Co. vs. Jureidini, Inc., 71 Phil. 25 and Conspecto vs. Fruto, 31 Phil. 144, cited in Amar vs. Code,)
Odiamar, 109 Phil. 681, 685.
There are at least two things about Art. 33 of the Civil Code which are worth noting, namely:

Republic of the Philippines 1. The civil action for damages which it allows to be instituted is ex-delicto. This is manifest from the
SUPREME COURT provision which uses the expressions "criminal action" and "criminal prosecution." This conclusion is supported by the
Manila comment of the Code Commission, thus:

SECOND DIVISION The underlying purpose of the principle under consideration is to allow the citizen to enforce his rights
in a private action brought by him, regardless of the action of the State attorney. It is not conducive to civic spirit
G.R. No. L-51183 December 21, 1983 and to individual self-reliance and initiative to habituate the citizens to depend upon the government for the
vindication of their own private rights. It is true that in many of the cases referred to in the provision cited, a
CARMEN L. MADEJA, petitioner, criminal prosecution is proper, but it should be remembered that while the State is the complainant in the
vs. criminal case, the injured individual is the one most concerned because it is he who has suffered directly. He
HON. FELIX T. CARO and EVA ARELLANO-JAPZON, respondents. should be permitted to demand reparation for the wrong which peculiarly affects him. (Report, p. 46.)

Ernesto P. Miel for petitioner. And Tolentino says:

Gorgonio T. Alvarez for respondents. The general rule is that when a criminal action is instituted, the civil action for recovery of civil liability
arising from the offense charged is impliedly instituted with the criminal action, unless the offended party

Page 27 of 33
reserves his right to institute it separately; and after a criminal action has been commenced, no civil action
arising from the same offense can be prosecuted. The present articles creates an exception to this rule when the Republic of the Philippines
offense is defamation, fraud, or physical injuries, In these cases, a civil action may be filed independently of the criminal SUPREME COURT
action, even if there has been no reservation made by the injured party; the law itself in this article makes such Manila
reservation; but the claimant is not given the right to determine whether the civil action should be scheduled or
suspended until the criminal action has been terminated. The result of the civil action is thus independent of the EN BANC
result of the civil action." (I Civil Code, p. 144 [1974.])
G.R. No. L-15315 August 26, 1960
2. The term "physical injuries" is used in a generic sense. It is not the crime of physical injuries defined in
the Revised Penal Code. It includes not only physical injuries but consummated, frustrated and attempted homicide. ABUNDIO MERCED, petitioner,
vs.
The Article in question uses the words 'defamation', 'fraud' and 'physical injuries.' Defamation and HON. CLEMENTINO V. DIEZ, ETC. ET AL., respondents.
fraud are used in their ordinary sense because there are no specific provisions in the Revised Penal Code using
these terms as means of offenses defined therein, so that these two terms defamation and fraud must have Pedro A. Bandoquillo for petitioner.
been used not to impart to them any technical meaning in the laws of the Philippines, but in their generic sense. Fulvio Pelaez for respondents.
With this apparent circumstance in mind, it is evident that the terms 'physical injuries' could not have been used
in its specific sense as a crime defined in the Revised Penal Code, for it is difficult to believe that the Code LABRADOR, J.:
Commission would have used terms in the same article-some in their general and another in its technical sense.
In other words, the term 'physical injuries' should be understood to mean bodily injury, not the crime of physical This is a petition for a writ of certiorari with prohibition to prohibit the judge presiding the Court of First Instance
injuries, bacause the terms used with the latter are general terms. In any case the Code Commission of Negros Oriental, Hon. Clementino V. Diez, from proceeding further in the Criminal Case No. V-6520, entitled People of
recommended that the civil action for physical injuries be similar to the civil action for assault and battery in the Philippines vs. Abundio Merced until after final termination of Civil Case No. R-5387, for the annulment of the marriage
American Law, and this recommendation must hove been accepted by the Legislature when it approved the of petitioner Abundio Merced with Elizabeth Ceasar, also pending in same court.
article intact as recommended. If the intent has been to establish a civil action for the bodily harm received by
the complainant similar to the civil action for assault and battery, as the Code Commission states, the civil action The record disclose the following proceedings in the court a quo: On January 30, 1958, Abundio Merced filed a
should lie whether the offense committed is that of physical injuries, or frustrated homicide, or attempted complaint for annulment of his second marriage with Elizabeth Ceasar. The complaint is docketed as Civil Case No. R-
homicide, or even death," (Carandang vs. Santiago, 97 Phil. 94, 96-97 [1955].) 5387. The complaint alleges that defendant Elizabeth Ceasar and her relatives forced, threatened and intimated him into
signing an affidavit to the effect that he and defendant had been living together as husband and wife for over five years,
Corpus vs. Paje, L-26737, July 31, 1969, 28 SCRA 1062, which states that reckless imprudence or criminal which is not true; that this affidavit was used by defendant in securing their marriage of exceptional character, without the
negligence is not included in Article 33 of the Civil Code is not authoritative. Of eleven justices only nine took part in the need for marriage license; that he was again forced, threatened and intimated by defendant and her relatives into entering
decision and four of them merely concurred in the result. the marriage with her on August 21, 1957 before Municipal Judge Medardo A. Conde; that immediately after the
celebration of the marriage plaintiff left defendant and never lived with her; that the defendant wrote him on October 29,
In the light of the foregoing, it is apparent that the civil action against Dr. Japzon may proceed independently of 1957, admitting that he was forced into the marriage and asking him to go to Cebu to have the marriage annulled, but he
the criminal action against her. refused to go for fear he may be forced into living with the defendant. Merced prays for annulment of the marriage and for
moral damages in the amount of P2,000. On March 3, 1958, Elizabeth Ceasar filed her answer to the complaint. In her
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby granted; the order dismissing Civil Case No. 141 is hereby set aside; no answer, she denies the material allegations of the complaint and avers as affirmative defenses that neither she nor her
special pronouncement as to costs. relatives know of plaintiff's previous marriage to Eufrocina Tan; that sometime in July, 1957, plaintiff asked her mother to
intercede on their behalf to secure her father's consent to their marriage as plaintiff could not concentrate on his studies
SO ORDERED. without marrying Elizabeth, but that her mother advised him to finish his studies first; that sometime in April, 1957,
defendant learned that plaintiff was engaged to marry Eufrocina Tan, but plaintiff, upon being confronted with such
Makasiar (Chairman), Concepcion, Jr., Guerrero, De Castro and Escolin, JJ., concur. discovery, showed her a letter which he wrote breaking off his engagement with Tan. As a counterclaim defendant asks
Separate Opinions P50,000 as moral damages for the deceit, fraud and insidious machinations committed upon her by plaintiff.

AQUINO, J., concurring: On February 19, 1958, after had filed Civil Case No. R-5387 defendant Elizabeth Ceasar filed a criminal
complaint for bigamy 39 3 against plaintiff Abundio Merced with the office of the City Fiscal of Cebu. On April 7, 1958 the
I concur. Death due to a negligent act may be a delict or quasi-delict. It may create a civil action based on article Assistant City Fiscal filed Criminal Case No. V-6520, charging Merced with bigamy for the second marriage. The
100 of the Penal Code or an action based on culpa aquiliana under article 2176 of the Civil Code. These alternatives are information reads.
assumed in article 2177 of the Civil Code "but the plaintiff cannot recover twice for the same act or omission of the
defendant" (Barredo vs. Garcia, 73 Phil. 607 and Sudario vs. Acro Taxi and Yuson, 86 Phil. 1. See Formento vs. CA, L- The undersigned Assistant Fiscal of City of Cebu accuses Abundio Merced of the crime of bigamy,
26442, August 29,1969,29 SCRA 437). committed as follows:

The term "physical injuries" in article 33 of the Civil Code includes death and may give rise to an independent civil That on or about the 21st day of August, 1957, in the City of Cebu, Philippines, and within the
action (Dyogi vs. Yatco, 100 Phil. 1095). jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused Abundio Merced, being previously united in lawful
marriage with Eufrocina Tan, and without the said marriage having been legally dissolved did then and there
The rule in Corpus vs. Paje, L-26737, July 31, 1969, 28 SCRA 1062, that reckless imprudence is not included in wilfully unlawfully, feloniously contract a second marriage with Elizabeth Ceasar.
article 33 of the Civil Code, is not authoritative doctrine because it was concurred in by only five Justices. Four Justices
concurred in the result. Contrary to Article 349 of the Revised Penal Code. (Annex "2".)

Page 28 of 33
Abundio Merced filed a motion to hold to trial of said criminal case in abeyance until final termination of Civil Case demanded in Spanish jurisprudence because Spanish courts are divided according to their jurisdictions, some courts
No. R- 5387. Reason alleged for the motion is that the Civil Action involves facts which if proved will determine the being exclusively of civil jurisdiction, others of criminal jurisdiction. In the Philippines, where our courts are vested with
innocence of the accused. After an opposition thereto was filed by the assistant provincial fiscal, the court granted the both civil and criminal jurisdiction, the principle of prejudicial question is to be applied even if there is only one court before
motion. However, upon motion for reconsideration filed by the fiscal, the order was set aside and another entered denying which the civil action and the criminal action are to be litigated. But in this case the court when exercising its jurisdiction
the motion of accused for suspension of the criminal proceedings, which last order is the one sough herein to be annulled. over the civil action for the annulment of marriage is considered as a court distinct and different from itself when trying the
The court held in its last order that inasmuch as by virtue of the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of People vs. criminal action for bigamy.
Mendoza, 95 Phil., 50 Off. Gaz. [10], 4767, judicial declaration of nullity of a second and bigamous marriage is not
necessary, there is no need in this case to decide the nullity of the second marriage, or to determine and declare the Our conclusion that the determination of the validity of the marriage in the civil action for annulment is a
existence of the grounds for annulling the same, but that said grounds should be used as a defense in the criminal action. A prejudicial question, insofar as the criminal action for bigamy is concerned, is supported by Mr. Justice Moran in his
motion to reconsider the second order of the court having been denied, petition herein was filed. dissenting opinion in De Leon vs. Mabanag, 70 Phil., 207 thus:

When the petition for certiorari with prohibition was filed, the petitioner secured from this Court a writ of preliminary La regla general es que cuando hay una cuestion civil y otra criminal sobre un mismo delito u ofensa,
injunction to enjoin respondent judge from proceeding further in the criminal case. la segunda debe verse antes que la primera, por la razon de que las formas de un juicio criminal son las mas a
proposito para la averiguacion de un delito, y no las de un juicio civil. Esta regla tiene, sin embargo, una
Before this Court the sole question raised is whether an action to annul the second marriage is a prejudicial excepcion, y es la que se refiere a una cueston civil prejudicial. Una cuestion civil es de caracter prejudicial y
question in a prosecution for bigamy. debe resolverse antes que una cuestion criminal, cuando versa sonbre un hecho distinto y separado del delito,
pero tan intimamente ligado a el que determina la culpabilidad o inocencia del acusado. Por ejemplo, una
The definition and the elements of a prejudicial question have been set forth by us as follows: accion criminal por bigamia.

Prejudicial question has been defined to be that which arises in a case, the resolution of which (NOTE: Translated, this reads: "The general rule is that when there is a civil and a criminal matter in
(question) is a logical antecedent of the issue involved in said case, and the cognizance of which pertains to the same offense, the latter must be heard first before the former, for the reason that the procedures of a
another Tribunal (Cuestion prejudicial, es 3o 3 la que surge en un pleito o causa cuya resolucion sean criminal trial are most appropriate for the ascertainment of the existence of a crime and not those of a civil trial.
antecedente logico de la cuestion-objeto del pleito o causa y cuyo conocimiento corresponda a los Tribunales This rule admits, however, of an exception referred to as a prejudicial question. Such question is preliminary
de otro orden o jurisdiccion. Enciclopedia Juridica Espaola, p. 228). The prejudicial question must be and must be resolved before the criminal matter as it determines a fact which, though distinct and separate from
determinative of the case before the court; this is its first element. Jurisdiction to try said question must be the criminal matter, is so closely linked to it such that it determines the guilt or innocence of the accused. For
lodged in another tribunal; this is the second element. In an action for bigamy for example, if the accused claims example, a criminal action for bigamy.")
that the first marriage is null and void and the right to decide such validity is vested in another tribunal, the civil
action for nullity must be first decided before the action for bigamy can proceed, hence, the validity of the first The majority decision in said case of De Leon vs. Mabanag also sustains the theory that when a civil action is
marriage is a prejudicial question. (People vs. Aragon, 94 Phil., 357; 50 Off. Gaz., No. 10, 4863). pending in court, in which a validity of a document claimed to be false and fictitious is in issue, the fiscal may not
prosecute the person who allegedly executed the false document because the issue of the validity of the instrument is sub
In order that a person may be held guilty of the crime of bigamy, the second and subsequent marriage must have judice and the prosecuting officer should be ordered to suspend the criminal action until the prejudicial question has been
all the essential elements of a valid marriage, were it not for the subsistence of the first marriage. This was the ruling of this finally determined. Thus the Court said"
Court in People vs. Dumpo, 62 Phil., 246, where we said:
Hablando en terminos generales la facultad del Fiscal y su deber perseguir los delitos no deben ser
It is an essential element of the crime of bigamy that the alleged second marriage, having all the controlados ni coartados por los tribunales; pero no hay duda que esa facultad puede ser regulada para que no
essential requisites, would be valid were it not for the subsistence of the first marriage. It appearing that the se abuse de ella. Cuando un miembro del Ministerio Fiscal se desvia de la ley y entorpece la recta
marriage alleged to have been contracted by the accused with Sabdapal, her former marriage with Hassan administracion de justicia procesando a una persona por hechos constituvos de delito que se encuentran sub-
being undissolved, can not be considered as such, according to Mohameddan rites, there is no justification to judice y de los cuales se propone una cuestion prejudicial administrativa, es deber de los tribunales llamarle la
hold her guilty of the crime charged in the information. (People vs. Dumpo, 62 Phil. 246). atencion y obligarle que suspenda toda accion criminal hasta que la cuestion prejudicial administrativa se haya
decidido finalmente. (De Leon vs. Mabanag, 70 Phil., 207.)
One of the essential elements of a valid marriage is that the consent thereto of the contracting parties must be
freely and voluntarily given. Without the element of consent a marriage would be illegal and void. (Section 29, Act No. 3613, (NOTE: Translated, this reads: "Generally speaking, the right and duty of an attorney charged with the
otherwise known as the Marriage Law.) But the question of invalidity can not ordinarily be decided in the criminal action for prosecution of crimes should not be controlled or restrained by the courts, but there is no doubt that this power
bigamy but in a civil action for annulment. Since the validity of the second marriage, subject of the action for bigamy, cannot can be regulated so as not to abuse it. When a member of the prosecution deviates from the law and hinders
be determined in the criminal case and since prosecution for bigamy does not lie unless the elements of the second the proper administration of justice by prosecuting a person for facts constitutive of a crime which are sub judice
marriage appear to exist, it is necessary that a decision in a civil action to the effect that the second marriage contains all and of which a preliminary administrative question is proposed, it is the duty of the courts to call attention to and
the essentials of a marriage must first be secured. force the suspension of any criminal action until the administrative question has been finally decided.")

We have, therefore, in the case at bar, the issue of the validity of the second marriage, which must be determined The case of People vs. Mendoza, supra, upon which the trial court and the respondents rely, presents a different
before hand in the civil action, before the criminal action can proceed. We have a situation where the issue of the validity of
sets of facts from the case at bar. So is the ruling therein as contained in the syllabus. In the case of People vs. Mendoza,
the second marriage can be determined or must be determined in the civil action before the criminal action for bigamy can Mendoza was charged with and convicted of bigamy for a marriage with one Carmencita Panlilio, contracted in August,
be prosecuted. The question of the validity of the second marriage is, therefore, a prejudicial question, because 1949. Mendoza was married for the first time in 1946 with Josefa de Asis; then married for the second time with Olga
determination of the validity of the second marriage is determinable in the civil action and must precede the criminal actionLema; and then married for the third time to Panlilio in 1949. On February 2, 1943, Josefa de Asis died. The court citing
for bigamy. the provisions of Article 29 of the marriage law, held that the second marriage of the appellant Mendoza with Lema was
operation of law null and void, because at the time of the second marriage in 1941, appellant's former wife Josefa de Asis
Spanish jurisprudence, from which the principle of prejudicial question has been taken, requires that the essential was still living. This marriage of appellant with Lema being null and void at the time the appellant contracted the said
element determinative of the criminal action must be cognizable by another court. This requirement of a different court is marriage, the impediment of the second marriage did not exist. Hence the appellant was acquitted of bigamy for the 1949

Page 29 of 33
marriage because his previous marriage with Lema in 1941, by operation of law, was void ab initio. inclusion of the People of the Philippines as another respondent. This Court admitted such amended petition in a
resolution of April 3, 1964.
In the case at bar, in order that the petitioner be held guilty of the crime of bigamy, the marriage which she
contracted for the second time with Elizabeth Ceasar, must first be declared valid. But its validity has been questioned in the Then came the answer to the amended petition on May 14 of that year where the statement of facts as above
civil action. This civil action must be decided before the prosecution for bigamy can proceed. detailed was admitted, with the qualifications that the bigamy charge was filed upon the complaint of the first spouse Elvira
Makatangay. It alleged as one of its special and affirmative defenses that the mere fact that "there are actions to annul the
For the foregoing considerations, the petition for the issuance of a writ of certiorari and prohibition is hereby marriages entered into by the accused in a bigamy case does not mean that 'prejudicial questions are automatically raised
granted. The order of the court denying the petition of the herein petitioner to prohibit the Fiscal from prosecuting the case in said civil actions as to warrant the suspension of the criminal case for bigamy." 1 The answer stressed that even on the
for bigamy, criminal case no. V-6520, entitled People vs. Abundio Merced, is hereby set aside and the preliminary injunction assumption that the first marriage was null and void on the ground alleged by petitioner, the fact would not be material to
issued by this court to that effect is hereby made permanent. So Ordered. the outcome of the criminal case. It continued, referring to Viada, that "parties to the marriage should not be permitted to
judge for themselves its nullity, for this must be submitted to the judgment of competent courts and only when the nullity of
Paras, C.J., Bengzon, Padilla, Bautista Angelo, Concepcion, Reyes, J.B.L., Barrera and Gutierrez David, JJ., concur. a marriage is so declared can it be held as void, and so long as there is no such declaration the presumption is that the
marriage exists. Therefore, according to Viada, he who contracts a second marriage before the judicial declaration of
nullity of the first marriage incurs the penalty provided for in this Article. . . ." 2
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT This defense is in accordance with the principle implicit in authoritative decisions of this Court. In Merced v. Diez, 3
Manila what was in issue was the validity of the second marriage, "which must be determined before hand in the civil action
before the criminal action can proceed." According to the opinion of Justice Labrador: "We have a situation where the
EN BANC issue of the validity of the second marriage can be determined or must first be determined in the civil action before the
criminal action for bigamy can be prosecuted. The question of the validity of the second marriage is, therefore, a
G.R. No. L-22579 February 23, 1968 prejudicial question because determination of the validity of the second marriage is determinable in the civil action and
must precede the criminal action for bigamy." It was the conclusion of this Court then that for petitioner Merced to be found
ROLANDO LANDICHO, petitioner, guilty of bigamy, the second marriage which he contracted "must first be declared valid." Its validity having been
vs. questioned in the civil action, there must be a decision in such a case "before the prosecution for bigamy can proceed."
HON. LORENZO RELOVA, in his capacity as Judge of the Court of First Instance of Batangas, Branch I, and PEOPLE OF
THE PHILIPPINES, respondents. To the same effect is the doctrine announced in Zapanta v. Mendoza. 4 As explained in the opinion of Justice Dizon:
"We have heretofore defined a prejudicial question as that which arises in a case, the resolution of which is a logical
Jose W. Diokno for petitioner. antecedent of the issue involved therein, and the cognizance of which pertains to another tribunal. . . . The prejudicial
Office of the Solicitor General for respondents. question we further said must be determinative of the case before the court, and jurisdiction to try the same must be
lodged in another court. . . . These requisites are present in the case at bar. Should the question for annulment of the
FERNANDO, J.: second marriage pending in the Court of First Instance of Pampanga prosper on the ground that, according to the
evidence, petitioner's consent thereto was obtained by means of duress, force and intimidation, it is obvious that his act
In this petition for certiorari and prohibition with preliminary injunction, the question before the Court is whether or not was involuntary and can not be the basis of his conviction for the crime of bigamy with which he was charged in the Court
the existence of a civil suit for the annulment of marriage at the instance of the second wife against petitioner, with the latter of First Instance of Bulacan. Thus the issue involved in the action for the annulment of the second marriage is
in turn filing a third party complaint against the first spouse for the annulment of the first marriage, constitutes a prejudicial determinative of petitioner's guilt or innocence of the crime of bigamy. . . ."
question in a pending suit for bigamy against him. Respondent, Judge Relova answered in the negative. We sustain him.
The situation in this case is markedly different. At the time the petitioner was indicted for bigamy on February 27,
The pertinent facts as set forth in the petition follow. On February 27, 1963, petitioner was charged before the Court of 1963, the fact that two marriage ceremonies had been contracted appeared to be indisputable. Then on March 15, 1963, it
First Instance of Batangas, Branch I, presided over by respondent Judge, with the offense, of bigamy. It was alleged in the was the second spouse, not petitioner who filed an action for nullity on the ground of force, threats and intimidation. It was
information that petitioner "being then lawfully married to Elvira Makatangay, which marriage has not been legally dissolved, sometime later, on June 15, 1963, to be precise, when petitioner, as defendant in the civil action, filed a third-party
did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously contract a second marriage with Fe Lourdes Pasia." On March 15, complaint against the first spouse alleging that his marriage with her should be declared null and void on the ground of
1963, an action was filed before the Court of First Instance ofBatangas, likewise presided plaintiff respondent Judge Fe force, threats and intimidation. As was correctly stressed in the answer of respondent Judge relying on Viada, parties to a
Lourdes Pasia, seeking to declare her marriage to petitioner as null and void ab initio because of the alleged use of force, marriage should not be permitted to judge for themselves its nullity, only competent courts having such authority. Prior to
threats and intimidation allegedly employed by petitioner and because of its allegedly bigamous character. On June 15, such declaration of nullity, the validity of the first marriage is beyond question. A party who contracts a second marriage
1963, petitioner as defendant in said case, filed a third-party complaint, against the third-party defendant Elvira Makatangay, then assumes the risk of being prosecuted for bigamy.
the first spouse, praying that his marriage with the said third-party defendant be declared null and void, on the ground that
by means of threats, force and intimidation, she compelled him to appear and contract marriage with her before the Justice Such was the situation of petitioner. There is no occasion to indulge in the probability that the third-party complaint
of the Peace of Makati, Rizal. against the first wife brought almost five months after the prosecution for bigamy was started could have been inspired by
the thought that he could thus give color to a defense based on an alleged prejudicial question. The above judicial
Thereafter, on October 7, 1963, petitioner moved to suspend the hearing of the criminal case pending the decision on decisions as well as the opinion of Viada preclude a finding that respondent Judge abused, much less gravely abused, his
the question of the validity of the two marriages involved in the pending civil suit. Respondent Judge on November 19, 1963 discretion in failing to suspend the hearing as sought by petitioner.
denied the motion for lack of merit. Then came a motion for reconsideration to set aside the above order, which was likewise
denied on March 2, 1964. Hence this petition, filed on March 13, 1964. WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari is denied and the writ of preliminary injunction issued dissolved. With costs.

In a resolution of this Court of March 17, 1964, respondent Judge was required to answer within ten (10) days, with a Concepcion, C.J., Reyes, J.B.L., Dizon, Makalintal, Bengzon, J.P., Zaldivar, Sanchez, Castro and Angeles, JJ., concur.
preliminary injunction being issued to restrain him from further proceeding with the prosecution of the bigamy case. In the
meanwhile, before the answer was filed there was an amended petition for certiorari, the amendment consisting solely in the Footnotes

Page 30 of 33
in front of the Club premises to avoid the bullets. Minutes later, the German Club, already on fire, collapsed, trapping
1 Special and Affirmative Defenses, Answer, par. 1. many people inside, presumably including Angela Joaquin.

2 Idem, citing 3 Viada, Penal Code, p. 275. "Joaquin Navarro, Sr., Mrs. Joaquin Navarro, Jr., and Francisco Lopez managed to reach an air raid shelter
nearby, the stayed there about three days, until February 10, 1915, when they were forced to leave the shelter be- cause
3 L-15315, August 26, 1960. the shelling tore it open. They flied toward the St. Theresa Academy in San Marcelino Street, but unfortunately met
Japanese Patrols, who fired at the refugees, killing Joaquin Navarro, Sr., and his daughter-in-law.
4 L-14534, February 28, 1962.
"At the time of the masaccre, Joaquin Navarro, Sr. was aged 70; his wife Angela Joaquin was about 67 years
old; Joaquin Navarro, Jr., about 30; Pilar Navarro was two or three years older than her brother; while the other sisters,
Republic of the Philippines Concepcion and Natividad Navarro y Joaquin, were between 23 and 25."
SUPREME COURT
Manila The Court of Appeals' finding were all taken from the testimony of Francisco Lopez, who miraculously survived
the holocaust, and upon them the Court of Appeals opined that, "as between the mother Angela Joaquin and the son
EN BANC Joaquin Navarro, Jr., the evidence of the survivorship is uncertain and insufficient" and the statutory presumption must be
applied. The appellate Court's reasoning for its conclusion is thus stated:
G.R. No. L-5426 May 29, 1953
"It does not require argument to show that survivorship cannot be established by proof of the death of only one
RAMON JOAQUIN, petitioner, of the parties; but that there must be adequate proof that one was alive when the other had already died. Now in this case
vs. before us, the testimony of the sole witness Lopez is to the effect that Joaquin Navarro, Jr. was shot and died shortly after
ANTONIO C. NAVARRO, respondent. the living the German Club in the company of his father and the witness, and that the burning edified entirely collapsed
minutes after the shooting of the son; but there is not a scintilla of evidence, direct or circumstantial, from which we may
Agrava, Peralta & Agrava for petitioner. infer the condition of the mother, Angela Joaquin, during the appreciable interval from the instant his son turned his back
Leonardo Abola for respondent. to her, to dash out to the Club, until he died. All we can glean from the evidence is that Angela Joaquin was unhurt when
her son left her to escape from the German Club; but she could have died almost immediately after, from a variety of
TUASON, J.: causes. She might have been shot by the Japanese, like her daughters, killed by falling beams from the burning edifice,
overcome by the fumes, or fatally struck by splinters from the exploding shells. We cannot say for certain. No evidence is
This three proceedings was instituted in the Court of First Instance of Manila in the summary settlement of states available on the point. All we can decide is that no one saw her alive after her son left her aside, and that there is no proof
of Joaquin Navarro, Sr., his wife Angela Joaquin de Navarro, Joaquin Navarro, Jr., and Pilar Navarro, deceased. All of them when she died. Clearly, this circumstance alone cannot support a finding that she died latter than her son, and we are thus
having been heard jointly, Judge Rafael Amparo handed down a single decision which was appealed to the Court of compelled to fall back upon the statutory presumption. In deed, it could be said that the purpose of the presumption of
Appeals, whose decision, modifying that the Court of First Instance, in turn was elevated to the Supreme Court for review. survivorship would be precisely to afford a solution to uncertainties like these. Hence the son Joaquin Navarro, Jr. aged
30, must be deemed to have survived his mother, Angela Joaquin, who was admittedly above 60 years of age (Rule 123,
The main question represented in the first two courts related to the sequence of the deaths of Joaquin Navarro, sec. 69, subsec. (ii), Rules of Court).
Sr., his wife, and their children, all of whom were killed in the massacre of civilians by Japanese troops in Manila in February
1945. The trial court found the deaths of this persons to have accurred in this order: 1st. The Navarro girls, named Pilar, "The total lack of evidence on how Angela Joaquin died likewise disposes of the question whether she and her
Concepcion and Natividad; 2nd. Joaquin Navarro, Jr.; 3rd. Angela Joaquin de Navarro, and 4th, Joaquin Navarro, Sr. The deceased children perished in the same calamity. There being no evidence to the contrary, the only guide is the occasion
Court of Appeals concurred with the trial court except that, with regard to Angela Joaquin de Navarro and Joaquin Navarro, of the deaths, which is identical for all of them; that battle for the liberation of Manila. A second reason is that the law, in
Jr., the latter was declared to have survived his mother. declaring that those fallen in the same battle are to be regarded as perishing in the same calamity, could not overlooked
that a variety of cause of death can ( and usually do) operate in the source of combats. During the same battle, some may
It is this modification of the lower court's finding which is now being contested by the petitioner. The importance of die from wounds, other from gages, fire, or drowning. It is clear that the law disregards episodic details, and treats the
the question whether Angela Joaquin de Navarro died before Joaquin Navarro, Jr., or vice versa, lies in the fact that it battle as an overall cause of death in applying the presumption of survivorship.
radically affects the rights of succession of Ramon Joaquin, the present petitioner who was an acknowledged natural child
of Angela Joaquin and adopted child of the deceased spouses, and Antonio C. Navarro, respondent, son of Joaquin "We are thus led the conclusion that the order in which the members of the Navarro-Joaquin family met their
Navarro, Sr. by first marriage. end is as follows: first, the three daughters Pilar, Concepcion, and Natividad; then the mother Angela Joaquin; then the
son Joaquin Navarro, Jr., and days later (of which there is no doubt), the father Joaquin Navarro, Sr."
The facts, which is not disputed, are outlined in the statement in the decision of the Court of Appeals as follows:
Much space in the briefs is taken in a discussion of whether section 334(37) of Act No. 129, now section 69 (ii)
"On February 6, 1945, while the battle for the liberation of Manila was raging, the spouses Joaquin Navarro, Sr. of Rule 123 of the Rules of Court, has repealed article 33 of the civil code of 1889, now article 43 of the New Civil Code. It
and Angela Joaquin, together with their three daughters, Pilar, Concepcion, and Natividad, and their son Joaquin Navarro, is the contention of the petitioner that it did not, and that on the assumption that there is total lack of evidence, as the
Jr., and the latter's wife, Adela Conde, sought refuge in the ground floor of the building known as the German Club, at the Court of Appeals said, then Angela Joaquin and Joaquin Navarro, Jr. should, under article 33, be held to have died at the
corner of San Marcelino and San Luis Streets of this City. During their stay, the building was packed with refugees, shells same time.
were exploding around, and the Club was set on fire. Simultaneously, the Japanese started shooting at the people inside the
building, especially those who were trying to escape. The three daughters were hit and fell of the ground near the entrance; The point is not of much if any relevancy and will be left open for the consideration when obsolute necessity
and Joaquin Navarro, Sr., and his son decided to abandon the premises to seek a safer heaven. They could not convince there for arises. We say irrelevant because our opinion is that neither of the two provisions is applicable for the reasons to
Angela Joaquin who refused to join them; and son Joaquin Navarro, Sr., his son, Joaquin Navarro, Jr., and the latter's wife, be presently set forth.
Angela Conde, and a friend and former neighbor, Francisco Lopez, dashed out of the burning edifice. As they came out,
Joaquin Navarro, Jr. was shot in the head by a Japanese soldier and immediately dropped. The others lay flat on the ground Rule 123, section 69 (ii) of the Revised Rules of Court, reads:

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xxx xxx xxx
When two person perish in the same calamity, such as wreck, battle or conflagration, and it is not (1)
shown who died first, and there are no (2) particular circumstances from when it can be inferred, the survivorship Q. Could there have been an interval of fifteen minutes between the two events, that is the shooting of
is presumed from the probabilities resulting from the strength and ages of the sexes, according to the following Joaquin Navarro, Jr. and the collapse of the German Club? A. Yes, sir, I could not say exactly, Occasions like
rules: that, you know, you are confused.

xxx xxx xxx Q. Could there (have) been an interval of an hour instead of fifteen minutes? A. Possible, but not
probable.
Article 33 of the Civil Code of 1889 of the following tenor:
Q. Could it have been 40 minutes? A. Yes, sir, about 40 minutes.
Whenever a doubt arises as to which was the first to die to the two or more persons who would
inherent one from the other, the persons who alleges the prior death of either must prove the allegation; in the xxx xxx xxx
absence of proof the presumption shall be that they died at the same time, and no transmission of rights from one
to the other shall take place. Q. You also know that Angela Joaquin is already dead? A. Yes, sir.

Most provisions, as their language plainly implies, are intended as a substitute for lacks and so are not to be Q. Can you tell the Honorable Court when did Angela Joaquin die? A. Well, a few minutes after we
available when there are facts. With particular reference to section 69 (ii) of Rule 123, "the situation which it present is one have dashed out, the German Club, which was burning, collapsed over them, including Mrs. Joaquin Navarro,
in which the facts are not only unknown but unknowable. By hypothesis, there is no specific evidence as to the time of death Sr.
. . . ." . . . it is assumed that no evidence can be produced. . . . Since the facts are unknown and unknowable, the law may
apply the law of fairness appropriate to the different legal situation that arises." (IX Wigmore on Evidence, 1940 ed., 483.) xxx xxx xxx

In In re Wallace's Estate, 220 Pac. 683, which the Court of Appeals cited the applied with the respect to the deaths Q. From your testimony it would appear that while you can give positive evidence to the fact that Pilar,
of the Navarro girls, pointing out that "our rule is taken from the Fourth Division of sec. 1936 of the California Code of Civil Concepcion and Natividad Navarro, and Joaquin Navarro, Jr. died, you can not give the same positive evidence
Procedure," the Supreme Court of California said: to the fact that Angela Joaquin also died? A. Yes, sir, in the sense that I did not see her actually die, but when
the building collapsed over her I saw and I am positive and I did not see her come out of that building so I
When the statue speaks of "particular circumstances from which it can be inferred" that one died presumed she died there.
before the other it means that there are circumstances from which the fact of death by one before the other may
be inferred as a relation conclusion from the facts proven. The statue does not mean circumstances which xxx xxx xxx
would shown, or which would tend to show, probably that one died before the other. Grand Lodge A.O.W.W. vs.
Miller, 8 Cal. App. 28, 96 Pac. 22. When by circumstantial evidence alone, a party seeks to prove a survivorship Q. Why did you have to dash out of the German Club, you, Mr. Joaquin Navarro, Sr. and Mr. Joaquin
contrary to the statutory presumption, the circumstances by which it is sought to prove the survivorship must be Navarro Jr. and the latter's wife? A. Because the Japanese had set fire to the Club and they were shooting
such as are competent and sufficient when tested by the general rules of evidence in civil cases. The inference people outside, so we thought of running away rather than be roasted.
of survivorship cannot rest upon mere surmise, speculation, or conjecture. As was said in Grand Lodge vs.
Miller, supra, "if the matter is left to probably, then the statue of the presumption." xxx xxx xxx

It is manifest from the language of section 69 (ii) of Rule 123 and of that of the foregoing decision that the Q. You mean to say that before you jumped out of the German Club all the Navarro girls, Pilar,
evidence of the survivorship need not be direct; it may be indirect, circumstantial, or inferential. Where there are facts, Concepcion, and Natividad, were already wounded? A. to my knowledge, yes.
known or knowable, from which a rational conclusion can be made, the presumption does not step in, and the rule of
preponderance of evidence controls. Q. They were wounded? A. Yes, sir.

Are there particular circumstances on record from which reasonable inference of survivorship between Angela Q. Were they lying on the ground or not? A. On the ground near the entrance, because most of the
Joaquin and her son can be drawn? Is Francisco Lopez' testimony competent and sufficient for this purpose? For a better people who were shot by the Japanese were those who were trying to escape, and as far as I can remember
appreciation of this issue, it is convenient and necessary to detail the testimony, which was described by the trial court as they were among those killed.
"disinterested and trustworthy" and by the Court of Appeals as "entitled to credence."
xxx xxx xxx
Lopez testified:
Q. So you noticed that they were killed or shot by the Japanese a few minutes before you left the
Q. You said you were also heat at that time as you leave the German Club with Joaquin Navarro, Sr., place? A. That is what I think, because those Japanese soldiers were shooting the people inside especially
Joaquin Navarro, Jr. and the latter's wife?- A. Yes, sir. those trying to escape.

Q. Did you fall? A. I fell down. xxx xxx xxx

Q. And you said you fell down close to Joaquin Navarro, Jr.? A. Yes, sir. Q. And none of them was not except the girls, is that what you mean? A . There were many people
shot because they were trying to escape.
Q. When the German Club collapsed where were you? A. We were out 15 meters away from the
building but I could see what was going on. xxx xxx xxx

Page 32 of 33
Q. How come that these girls were shot when they were inside the building, can you explain that? A. prevail. It can not be defeated as in an instance, cited by Lord Chief Justice Kenyon, "bordering on the ridiculous, where in
They were trying to escape probably. an action on the game laws it was suggested that the gun with which the defendant fired was not charged with shot, but
that the bird might have died in consequence of the fright." (1 Moore on Facts, 63, citing Wilkinson vs. Payne, 4 T. R. 468.)
It is our opinion that the preceding testimony contains facts quite adequate to solve the problem of survivorship
between Angela Joaquin and Joaquin Navarro, Jr. and keep the statutory presumption out of the case. It is believed that in It is said that part of the decision of the Court of Appeals which the appellant impugns, and which has been
the light of the conditions painted by Lopez, a fair and reasonable inference can be arrived at, namely: that Joaquin Navarro, discussed, involves findings of fact which can not be disturbed. The point is not, in our judgment, well considered. The
Jr. died before his mother. particular circumstances from which the parties and the Court of Appeals drew conclusions are, as above seen,
undisputed, and this being the case, the correctness or incorrectness of those conclusions raises a question of law, not of
While the possibility that the mother died before the son can not be ruled out, it must be noted that this possibility fact, which the Supreme Court has jurisdiction to look into. As was said in 1 Moran Commentaries on the Rules of ?Court,
is entirely speculative and must yield to the more rational deduction from proven facts that it was the other way around. 3rd Ed. 856, 857, "Undisputed evidence is one thing, and contradicted evidence is another. An incredible witness does not
Joaquin Navarro, Jr., it will be recalled, was killed, while running, in front of, and 15 meters from, the German Club. Still in cease to be such because he is not impeached or contradicted. But when the evidence is purely documentary, the
the prime of life, 30, he must have negotiated that distance in five seconds or less, and so died within that interval from the authenticity of which is not questioned and the only issue is the construction to be placed thereon, or where a case is
time he dashed out of the building. Now, when Joaquin Navarro, Jr. with his father and wife started to flee from the submitted upon an agreement of facts, or where all the facts are stated in the judgment and the issue is the correctness of
clubhouse, the old lady was alive and unhurt, so much so that the Navarro father and son tried hard to have her come the conclusions drawn therefrom, the question is one of law which may be reviewed by the Supreme Court."
along. She could have perished within those five or fewer seconds, as stated, but the probabilities that she did seem very
remote. True, people in the building were also killed but these, according to Lopez, were mostly refugees who had tried to The question of whether upon given facts the operation of the statutory presumption is to be invoked is a
slip away from it and were shot by Japanese troops. It was not very likely that Mrs. Joaquin Navarro, Sr. made an attempt to question of law.
escape. She even made frantic efforts to dissuade her husband and son from leaving the place and exposing themselves to
gun fire. The prohibition against intermeddling with decisions on questions of evidence refers to decisions supported by
substantial evidence. By substantial evidence is meant real evidence or at least evidence about which reasonable men
This determination of Mrs. Angela Joaquin to stay where she was may well give an idea, at the same time, of a may disagree. Findings grounded entirely on speculations, surmises, or conjectures come within the exception to the
condition of relative safety in the clubhouse at the moment her husband, son, and daughter-in-law left her. It strongly tends general rule.
to prove that, as the situation looked to her, the perils of death from staying were not so imminent. And it lends credence to
Mr. Lopez' statement that the collapse of the clubhouse occurred about 40 minutes after Joaquin Navarro the son was shot We are constrained to reverse the decision under review, and hold that the distribution of the decedents' estates
in the head and dropped dead, and that it was the collapse that killed Mrs. Angela Navarro. The Court of Appeals said the should be made in accordance with the decision of the trial court. This result precludes the necessity of passing upon the
interval between Joaquin Navarro's death and the breaking down of the edifice was "minutes". Even so, it was much longer question of "reserva troncal" which was put forward on the hypothetical theory that Mrs. Joaquin Navarro's death
than five seconds, long enough to warrant the inference that Mrs. Angela Joaquin was sill alive when her son expired preceded that of her son. Without costs.

The Court of Appeals mentioned several causes, besides the collapse of the building, by which Mrs. Navarro Feria, Pablo, Bengzon, Montemayor, Reyes, Jugo, Bautista Angelo and Labrador, JJ., concur.
could have been killed. All these are speculative , and the probabilities, in the light of the known facts, are against them.
Dreading Japanese sharpshooters outside as evidenced by her refusal to follow the only remaining living members of her
family, she could not have kept away form protective walls. Besides, the building had been set on fire trap the refugees
inside, and there was no necessity for the Japanese to was their ammunition except upon those who tried to leave the
premises. Nor was Angela Joaquin likely to have been killed by falling beams because the building was made of concrete
and its collapse, more likely than not, was sudden. As to fumes, these do not cause instantaneous death; certainly not within
the brief space of five seconds between her son's departure and his death.

It will be said that all this is indulging in inferences that are not conclusive. Section 69(ii) of Rule 123 does not
require that the inference necessary to exclude the presumption therein provided be certain. It is the "particular
circumstances from which it (survivorship) can be inferred" that are required to be certain as tested by the rules of evidence.
In speaking of inference the rule can not mean beyond doubt, for "inference is never certainty, but if may be plain enough to
justify a finding of fact." (In re Bohenko's Estate, 4 N.Y.S. 2nd. 427, citing Tortora vs. State of New York, 269 N.Y. 199 N.E.
44; Hart vs. Hudson River Bridge Co., 80 N.Y.). 622.) As the California courts have said, it is enough that "the circumstances
by which it is sought to prove the survivorship must be such as are competent and sufficient when tested by the general
rules of evidence in civil cases." (In re Wallace's Estate, supra.) "Juries must often reason," says one author, "according to
probabilities, drawing an inference that the main fact in issue existed from collateral facts not directly proving, but strongly
tending to prove, its existence. The vital question in such cases is the cogency of the proof afforded by the secondary facts.
How likely, according to experience, is the existence of the primary fact if certain secondary facts exist?" (1 Moore on Facts,
Sec. 596.) The same author tells us of a case where "a jury was justified in drawing the inference that the person who was
caught firing a shot at an animal trespassing on his land was the person who fired a shot about an hour before at the same
animal also trespassing." That conclusion was not airtight, but rational. In fact, the circumstances in the illustration leave
greater room for another possibility than do the facts of the case at hand.

In conclusion the presumption that Angela Joaquin de Navarro died before her son is based purely on surmises,
speculations, or conjectures without any sure foundation in the evidence. the opposite theory that the mother outlived her
son is deduced from established facts which, weighed by common experience, engender the inference as a very strong
probability. Gauged by the doctrine of preponderance of evidence by, which civil cases are decided, this inference ought to

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