You are on page 1of 45

G.R. No.

L-48006 July 8, 1942

FAUSTO BARREDO, petitioner,


vs.
SEVERINO GARCIA and TIMOTEA ALMARIO, respondents.

Celedonio P. Gloria and Antonio Barredo for petitioner.


Jose G. Advincula for respondents.

BOCOBO, J.:

This case comes up from the Court of Appeals which held the petitioner herein, Fausto Barredo,
liable in damages for the death of Faustino Garcia caused by the negligence of Pedro Fontanilla, a
taxi driver employed by said Fausto Barredo.

At about half past one in the morning of May 3, 1936, on the road between Malabon and Navotas,
Province of Rizal, there was a head-on collision between a taxi of the Malate Taxicab driven by
Pedro Fontanilla and a carretela guided by Pedro Dimapalis. The carretela was overturned, and one
of its passengers, 16-year-old boy Faustino Garcia, suffered injuries from which he died two days
later. A criminal action was filed against Fontanilla in the Court of First Instance of Rizal, and he was
convicted and sentenced to an indeterminate sentence of one year and one day to two years
of prision correccional. The court in the criminal case granted the petition that the right to bring a
separate civil action be reserved. The Court of Appeals affirmed the sentence of the lower court in
the criminal case. Severino Garcia and Timotea Almario, parents of the deceased on March 7, 1939,
brought an action in the Court of First Instance of Manila against Fausto Barredo as the sole
proprietor of the Malate Taxicab and employer of Pedro Fontanilla. On July 8, 1939, the Court of
First Instance of Manila awarded damages in favor of the plaintiffs for P2,000 plus legal interest from
the date of the complaint. This decision was modified by the Court of Appeals by reducing the
damages to P1,000 with legal interest from the time the action was instituted. It is undisputed that
Fontanilla 's negligence was the cause of the mishap, as he was driving on the wrong side of the
road, and at high speed. As to Barredo's responsibility, the Court of Appeals found:

... It is admitted that defendant is Fontanilla's employer. There is proof that he exercised the
diligence of a good father of a family to prevent damage. (See p. 22, appellant's brief.) In fact
it is shown he was careless in employing Fontanilla who had been caught several times for
violation of the Automobile Law and speeding (Exhibit A) — violation which appeared in the
records of the Bureau of Public Works available to be public and to himself. Therefore, he
must indemnify plaintiffs under the provisions of article 1903 of the Civil Code.

The main theory of the defense is that the liability of Fausto Barredo is governed by the Revised
Penal Code; hence, his liability is only subsidiary, and as there has been no civil action against
Pedro Fontanilla, the person criminally liable, Barredo cannot be held responsible in the case. The
petitioner's brief states on page 10:

... The Court of Appeals holds that the petitioner is being sued for his failure to exercise all
the diligence of a good father of a family in the selection and supervision of Pedro Fontanilla
to prevent damages suffered by the respondents. In other words, The Court of Appeals
insists on applying in the case article 1903 of the Civil Code. Article 1903 of the Civil Code is
found in Chapter II, Title 16, Book IV of the Civil Code. This fact makes said article to a civil
liability arising from a crime as in the case at bar simply because Chapter II of Title 16 of
Book IV of the Civil Code, in the precise words of article 1903 of the Civil Code itself, is
applicable only to "those (obligations) arising from wrongful or negligent acts or commission
not punishable by law.

The gist of the decision of the Court of Appeals is expressed thus:

... We cannot agree to the defendant's contention. The liability sought to be imposed upon
him in this action is not a civil obligation arising from a felony or a misdemeanor (the crime of
Pedro Fontanilla,), but an obligation imposed in article 1903 of the Civil Code by reason of
his negligence in the selection or supervision of his servant or employee.

The pivotal question in this case is whether the plaintiffs may bring this separate civil action against
Fausto Barredo, thus making him primarily and directly, responsible under article 1903 of the Civil
Code as an employer of Pedro Fontanilla. The defendant maintains that Fontanilla's negligence
being punishable by the Penal Code, his (defendant's) liability as an employer is only subsidiary,
according to said Penal code, but Fontanilla has not been sued in a civil action and his property has
not been exhausted. To decide the main issue, we must cut through the tangle that has, in the minds
of many confused and jumbled together delitos and cuasi delitos, or crimes under the Penal Code
and fault or negligence under articles 1902-1910 of the Civil Code. This should be done, because
justice may be lost in a labyrinth, unless principles and remedies are distinctly envisaged.
Fortunately, we are aided in our inquiry by the luminous presentation of the perplexing subject by
renown jurists and we are likewise guided by the decisions of this Court in previous cases as well as
by the solemn clarity of the consideration in several sentences of the Supreme Tribunal of Spain.

Authorities support the proposition that a quasi-delict or "culpa aquiliana " is a separate legal
institution under the Civil Code with a substantivity all its own, and individuality that is entirely apart
and independent from delict or crime. Upon this principle and on the wording and spirit article 1903
of the Civil Code, the primary and direct responsibility of employers may be safely anchored.

The pertinent provisions of the Civil Code and Revised Penal Code are as follows:

CIVIL CODE

ART. 1089 Obligations arise from law, from contracts and quasi-contracts, and from acts and
omissions which are unlawful or in which any kind of fault or negligence intervenes.

xxx xxx xxx

ART. 1092. Civil obligations arising from felonies or misdemeanors shall be governed by the
provisions of the Penal Code.

ART. 1093. Those which are derived from acts or omissions in which fault or negligence, not
punishable by law, intervenes shall be subject to the provisions of Chapter II, Title XVI of this
book.

xxx xxx xxx

ART 1902. Any person who by an act or omission causes damage to another by his fault or
negligence shall be liable for the damage so done.

ART. 1903. The obligation imposed by the next preceding article is enforcible, not only for
personal acts and omissions, but also for those of persons for whom another is responsible.
The father and in, case of his death or incapacity, the mother, are liable for any damages
caused by the minor children who live with them.

Guardians are liable for damages done by minors or incapacitated persons subject to their
authority and living with them.

Owners or directors of an establishment or business are equally liable for any damages
caused by their employees while engaged in the branch of the service in which employed, or
on occasion of the performance of their duties.

The State is subject to the same liability when it acts through a special agent, but not if the
damage shall have been caused by the official upon whom properly devolved the duty of
doing the act performed, in which case the provisions of the next preceding article shall be
applicable.

Finally, teachers or directors of arts trades are liable for any damages caused by their pupils
or apprentices while they are under their custody.

The liability imposed by this article shall cease in case the persons mentioned therein prove
that they are exercised all the diligence of a good father of a family to prevent the damage.

ART. 1904. Any person who pays for damage caused by his employees may recover from
the latter what he may have paid.

REVISED PENAL CODE

ART. 100. Civil liability of a person guilty of felony. — Every person criminally liable for a
felony is also civilly liable.

ART. 101. Rules regarding civil liability in certain cases. — The exemption from criminal
liability established in subdivisions 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6 of article 12 and in subdivision 4 of article
11 of this Code does not include exemption from civil liability, which shall be enforced to the
following rules:

First. In cases of subdivision, 1, 2 and 3 of article 12 the civil liability for acts committed by
any imbecile or insane person, and by a person under nine years of age, or by one over nine
but under fifteen years of age, who has acted without discernment shall devolve upon those
having such person under their legal authority or control, unless it appears that there was no
fault or negligence on their part.

Should there be no person having such insane, imbecile or minor under his authority, legal
guardianship, or control, or if such person be insolvent, said insane, imbecile, or minor shall
respond with their own property, excepting property exempt from execution, in accordance
with the civil law.

Second. In cases falling within subdivision 4 of article 11, the person for whose benefit the
harm has been prevented shall be civilly liable in proportion to the benefit which they may
have received.

The courts shall determine, in their sound discretion, the proportionate amount for which each one
shall be liable.
When the respective shares can not be equitably determined, even approximately, or when the
liability also attaches to the Government, or to the majority of the inhabitants of the town, and, in all
events, whenever the damage has been caused with the consent of the authorities or their agents,
indemnification shall be made in the manner prescribed by special laws or regulations.

Third. In cases falling within subdivisions 5 and 6 of article 12, the persons using violence or causing
the fear shall be primarily liable and secondarily, or, if there be no such persons, those doing the act
shall be liable, saving always to the latter that part of their property exempt from execution.

ART. 102. Subsidiary civil liability of innkeepers, tavern keepers and proprietors of
establishment. — In default of persons criminally liable, innkeepers, tavern keepers, and any
other persons or corporation shall be civilly liable for crimes committed in their
establishments, in all cases where a violation of municipal ordinances or some general or
special police regulation shall have been committed by them or their employees.

Innkeepers are also subsidiarily liable for the restitution of goods taken by robbery or theft
within their houses lodging therein, or the person, or for the payment of the value thereof,
provided that such guests shall have notified in advance the innkeeper himself, or the person
representing him, of the deposit of such goods within the inn; and shall furthermore have
followed the directions which such innkeeper or his representative may have given them with
respect to the care of and vigilance over such goods. No liability shall attach in case of
robbery with violence against or intimidation against or intimidation of persons unless
committed by the innkeeper's employees.

ART. 103. Subsidiary civil liability of other persons. — The subsidiary liability established in
the next preceding article shall also apply to employers, teachers, persons, and corporations
engaged in any kind of industry for felonies committed by their servants, pupils, workmen,
apprentices, or employees in the discharge of their duties.

xxx xxx xxx

ART. 365. Imprudence and negligence. — Any person who, by reckless imprudence, shall
commit any act which, had it been intentional, would constitute a grave felony, shall suffer
the penalty of arresto mayor in its maximum period to prision correccional in its minimum
period; if it would have constituted a less grave felony, the penalty of arresto mayor in its
minimum and medium periods shall be imposed.

Any person who, by simple imprudence or negligence, shall commit an act which would
otherwise constitute a grave felony, shall suffer the penalty of arresto mayor in its medium
and maximum periods; if it would have constituted a less serious felony, the penalty
of arresto mayor in its minimum period shall be imposed."

It will thus be seen that while the terms of articles 1902 of the Civil Code seem to be broad enough
to cover the driver's negligence in the instant case, nevertheless article 1093 limits cuasi-delitos to
acts or omissions "not punishable by law." But inasmuch as article 365 of the Revised Penal Code
punishes not only reckless but even simple imprudence or negligence, the fault or negligence under
article 1902 of the Civil Code has apparently been crowded out. It is this overlapping that makes the
"confusion worse confounded." However, a closer study shows that such a concurrence of scope in
regard to negligent acts does not destroy the distinction between the civil liability arising from a crime
and the responsibility for cuasi-delitos or culpa extra-contractual. The same negligent act causing
damages may produce civil liability arising from a crime under article 100 of the Revised Penal
Code, or create an action for cuasi-delito or culpa extra-contractual under articles 1902-1910 of the
Civil Code.

The individuality of cuasi-delito or culpa extra-contractual looms clear and unmistakable. This legal
institution is of ancient lineage, one of its early ancestors being the Lex Aquilia in the Roman Law. In
fact, in Spanish legal terminology, this responsibility is often referred to as culpa aquiliana. The
Partidas also contributed to the genealogy of the present fault or negligence under the Civil Code;
for instance, Law 6, Title 15, of Partida 7, says: "Tenudo es de fazer emienda, porque, como quier
que el non fizo a sabiendas en daño al otro, pero acaescio por su culpa."

The distinctive nature of cuasi-delitos survives in the Civil Code. According to article 1089, one of the
five sources of obligations is this legal institution of cuasi-delito or culpa extra-contractual: "los actos
. . . en que intervenga cualquier genero de culpa o negligencia." Then article 1093 provides that this
kind of obligation shall be governed by Chapter II of Title XVI of Book IV, meaning articles 1902-
0910. This portion of the Civil Code is exclusively devoted to the legal institution of culpa aquiliana.

Some of the differences between crimes under the Penal Code and the culpa aquiliana or cuasi-
delito under the Civil Code are:

1. That crimes affect the public interest, while cuasi-delitos are only of private concern.

2. That, consequently, the Penal Code punishes or corrects the criminal act, while the Civil Code, by
means of indemnification, merely repairs the damage.

3. That delicts are not as broad as quasi-delicts, because the former are punished only if there is a
penal law clearly covering them, while the latter, cuasi-delitos, include all acts in which "any king of
fault or negligence intervenes." However, it should be noted that not all violations of the penal law
produce civil responsibility, such as begging in contravention of ordinances, violation of the game
laws, infraction of the rules of traffic when nobody is hurt. (See Colin and Capitant, "Curso Elemental
de Derecho Civil," Vol. 3, p. 728.)

Let us now ascertain what some jurists say on the separate existence of quasi-delicts and the
employer's primary and direct liability under article 1903 of the Civil Code.

Dorado Montero in his essay on "Responsibilidad" in the "Enciclopedia Juridica Española" (Vol.
XXVII, p. 414) says:

El concepto juridico de la responsabilidad civil abarca diversos aspectos y comprende a


diferentes personas. Asi, existe una responsabilidad civil propiamente dicha, que en ningun
casl lleva aparejada responsabilidad criminal alguna, y otra que es consecuencia
indeclinable de la penal que nace de todo delito o falta."

The juridical concept of civil responsibility has various aspects and comprises different
persons. Thus, there is a civil responsibility, properly speaking, which in no case carries with
it any criminal responsibility, and another which is a necessary consequence of the penal
liability as a result of every felony or misdemeanor."

Maura, an outstanding authority, was consulted on the following case: There had been a collision
between two trains belonging respectively to the Ferrocarril Cantabrico and the Ferrocarril del Norte.
An employee of the latter had been prosecuted in a criminal case, in which the company had been
made a party as subsidiarily responsible in civil damages. The employee had been acquitted in the
criminal case, and the employer, the Ferrocarril del Norte, had also been exonerated. The question
asked was whether the Ferrocarril Cantabrico could still bring a civil action for damages against the
Ferrocarril del Norte. Maura's opinion was in the affirmative, stating in part (Maura, Dictamenes, Vol.
6, pp. 511-513):

Quedando las cosas asi, a proposito de la realidad pura y neta de los hechos, todavia
menos parece sostenible que exista cosa juzgada acerca de la obligacion civil de indemnizar
los quebrantos y menoscabos inferidos por el choque de los trenes. El titulo en que se funda
la accion para demandar el resarcimiento, no puede confundirse con las responsabilidades
civiles nacidas de delito, siquiera exista en este, sea el cual sea, una culpa rodeada de
notas agravatorias que motivan sanciones penales, mas o menos severas. La lesion
causada por delito o falta en los derechos civiles, requiere restituciones, reparaciones o
indemnizaciones, que cual la pena misma atañen al orden publico; por tal motivo vienen
encomendadas, de ordinario, al Ministerio Fiscal; y claro es que si por esta via se
enmiendan los quebrantos y menoscabos, el agraviado excusa procurar el ya conseguido
desagravio; pero esta eventual coincidencia de los efectos, no borra la diversidad originaria
de las acciones civiles para pedir indemnizacion.

Estas, para el caso actual (prescindiendo de culpas contractuales, que no vendrian a cuento
y que tiene otro regimen), dimanan, segun el articulo 1902 del Codigo Civil, de toda accion u
omision, causante de daños o perjuicios, en que intervenga culpa o negligencia. Es trivial
que acciones semejantes son ejercitadas ante los Tribunales de lo civil cotidianamente, sin
que la Justicia punitiva tenga que mezclarse en los asuntos. Los articulos 18 al 21 y 121 al
128 del Codigo Penal, atentos al espiritu y a los fines sociales y politicos del mismo,
desenvuelven y ordenan la materia de responsabilidades civiles nacidas de delito, en
terminos separados del regimen por ley comun de la culpa que se denomina aquiliana, por
alusion a precedentes legislativos del Corpus Juris. Seria intempestivo un paralelo entre
aquellas ordenaciones, y la de la obligacion de indemnizar a titulo de culpa civil; pero viene
al caso y es necesaria una de las diferenciaciones que en el tal paralelo se notarian.

Los articulos 20 y 21 del Codigo Penal, despues de distribuir a su modo las


responsabilidades civiles, entre los que sean por diversos conceptos culpables del delito o
falta, las hacen extensivas a las empresas y los establecimientos al servicio de los cuales
estan los delincuentes; pero con caracter subsidiario, o sea, segun el texto literal, en defecto
de los que sean responsables criminalmente. No coincide en ello el Codigo Civil, cuyo
articulo 1903, dice; La obligacion que impone el articulo anterior es exigible, no solo por los
actos y omisiones propios, sino por los de aquellas personas de quienes se debe responder;
personas en la enumeracion de las cuales figuran los dependientes y empleados de los
establecimientos o empresas, sea por actos del servicio, sea con ocasion de sus funciones.
Por esto acontece, y se observa en la jurisprudencia, que las empresas, despues de
intervenir en las causas criminales con el caracter subsidiario de su responsabilidad civil por
razon del delito, son demandadas y condenadas directa y aisladamente, cuando se trata de
la obligacion, ante los tribunales civiles.

Siendo como se ve, diverso el titulo de esta obligacion, y formando verdadero postulado de
nuestro regimen judicial la separacion entre justicia punitiva y tribunales de lo civil, de suerte
que tienen unos y otros normas de fondo en distintos cuerpos legales, y diferentes modos
de proceder, habiendose, por añadidura, abstenido de asistir al juicio criminal la Compañia
del Ferrocarril Cantabrico, que se reservo ejercitar sus acciones, parece innegable que la de
indemnizacion por los daños y perjuicios que le irrogo el choque, no estuvo sub judice ante
el Tribunal del Jurado, ni fue sentenciada, sino que permanecio intacta, al pronunciarse el
fallo de 21 de marzo. Aun cuando el veredicto no hubiese sido de inculpabilidad, mostrose
mas arriba, que tal accion quedaba legitimamente reservada para despues del proceso;
pero al declararse que no existio delito, ni responsabilidad dimanada de delito,
materia unica sobre que tenian jurisdiccion aquellos juzgadores, se redobla el motivo para la
obligacion civil ex lege, y se patentiza mas y mas que la accion para pedir su cumplimiento
permanece incolume, extraña a la cosa juzgada.

As things are, apropos of the reality pure and simple of the facts, it seems less tenable that
there should be res judicata with regard to the civil obligation for damages on account of the
losses caused by the collision of the trains. The title upon which the action for reparation is
based cannot be confused with the civil responsibilities born of a crime, because there exists
in the latter, whatever each nature, a culpa surrounded with aggravating aspects which give
rise to penal measures that are more or less severe. The injury caused by a felony or
misdemeanor upon civil rights requires restitutions, reparations, or indemnifications which,
like the penalty itself, affect public order; for this reason, they are ordinarily entrusted to the
office of the prosecuting attorney; and it is clear that if by this means the losses and
damages are repaired, the injured party no longer desires to seek another relief; but this
coincidence of effects does not eliminate the peculiar nature of civil actions to ask for
indemnity.

Such civil actions in the present case (without referring to contractual faults which are not
pertinent and belong to another scope) are derived, according to article 1902 of the Civil
Code, from every act or omission causing losses and damages in which culpa or negligence
intervenes. It is unimportant that such actions are every day filed before the civil courts
without the criminal courts interfering therewith. Articles 18 to 21 and 121 to 128 of the Penal
Code, bearing in mind the spirit and the social and political purposes of that Code, develop
and regulate the matter of civil responsibilities arising from a crime, separately from the
regime under common law, of culpa which is known as aquiliana, in accordance with
legislative precedent of the Corpus Juris. It would be unwarranted to make a detailed
comparison between the former provisions and that regarding the obligation to indemnify on
account of civil culpa; but it is pertinent and necessary to point out to one of such differences.

Articles 20 and 21 of the Penal Code, after distriburing in their own way the civil
responsibilities among those who, for different reasons, are guilty of felony or misdemeanor,
make such civil responsibilities applicable to enterprises and establishments for which the
guilty parties render service, but with subsidiary character, that is to say, according to the
wording of the Penal Code, in default of those who are criminally responsible. In this regard,
the Civil Code does not coincide because article 1903 says: "The obligation imposed by the
next preceding article is demandable, not only for personal acts and omissions, but also for
those of persons for whom another is responsible." Among the persons enumerated are the
subordinates and employees of establishments or enterprises, either for acts during their
service or on the occasion of their functions. It is for this reason that it happens, and it is so
observed in judicial decisions, that the companies or enterprises, after taking part in the
criminal cases because of their subsidiary civil responsibility by reason of the crime, are sued
and sentenced directly and separately with regard to the obligation, before the civil courts.

Seeing that the title of this obligation is different, and the separation between punitive justice
and the civil courts being a true postulate of our judicial system, so that they have different
fundamental norms in different codes, as well as different modes of procedure, and
inasmuch as the Compaña del Ferrocarril Cantabrico has abstained from taking part in the
criminal case and has reserved the right to exercise its actions, it seems undeniable that the
action for indemnification for the losses and damages caused to it by the collision was
not sub judice before the Tribunal del Jurado, nor was it the subject of a sentence, but it
remained intact when the decision of March 21 was rendered. Even if the verdict had not
been that of acquittal, it has already been shown that such action had been legitimately
reserved till after the criminal prosecution; but because of the declaration of the non-
existence of the felony and the non-existence of the responsibility arising from the crime,
which was the sole subject matter upon which the Tribunal del Jurado had jurisdiction, there
is greater reason for the civil obligation ex lege, and it becomes clearer that the action for its
enforcement remain intact and is not res judicata.

Laurent, a jurist who has written a monumental work on the French Civil Code, on which the Spanish
Civil Code is largely based and whose provisions on cuasi-delito or culpa extra-contractual are
similar to those of the Spanish Civil Code, says, referring to article 1384 of the French Civil Code
which corresponds to article 1903, Spanish Civil Code:

The action can be brought directly against the person responsible (for another), without
including the author of the act. The action against the principal is accessory in the sense that
it implies the existence of a prejudicial act committed by the employee, but it is not subsidiary
in the sense that it can not be instituted till after the judgment against the author of the act or
at least, that it is subsidiary to the principal action; the action for responsibility (of the
employer) is in itself a principal action. (Laurent, Principles of French Civil Law, Spanish
translation, Vol. 20, pp. 734-735.)

Amandi, in his "Cuestionario del Codigo Civil Reformado" (Vol. 4, pp. 429, 430), declares that the
responsibility of the employer is principal and not subsidiary. He writes:

Cuestion 1. La responsabilidad declarada en el articulo 1903 por las acciones u omisiones


de aquellas personas por las que se debe responder, es subsidiaria? es principal? Para
contestar a esta pregunta es necesario saber, en primer lugar, en que se funda el precepto
legal. Es que realmente se impone una responsabilidad por una falta ajena? Asi parece a
primera vista; pero semejante afirmacion seria contraria a la justicia y a la maxima universal,
segun la que las faltas son personales, y cada uno responde de aquellas que le son
imputables. La responsabilidad de que tratamos se impone con ocasion de un delito o culpa,
pero no por causa de ellos, sino por causa del causi delito, esto es, de la imprudencia o de
la negligencia del padre, del tutor, del dueño o director del establecimiento, del maestro, etc.
Cuando cualquiera de las personas que enumera el articulo citado (menores de edad,
incapacitados, dependientes, aprendices) causan un daño, la ley presume que el padre, el
tutor, el maestro, etc., han cometido una falta de negligencia para prevenir o evitar el daño.
Esta falta es la que la ley castiga. No hay, pues, responsabilidad por un hecho ajeno, sino
en la apariencia; en realidad la responsabilidad se exige por un hecho propio. La idea de
que esa responsabilidad sea subsidiaria es, por lo tanto, completamente inadmisible.

Question No. 1. Is the responsibility declared in article 1903 for the acts or omissions of
those persons for who one is responsible, subsidiary or principal? In order to answer this
question it is necessary to know, in the first place, on what the legal provision is based. Is it
true that there is a responsibility for the fault of another person? It seems so at first sight; but
such assertion would be contrary to justice and to the universal maxim that all faults are
personal, and that everyone is liable for those faults that can be imputed to him. The
responsibility in question is imposed on the occasion of a crime or fault, but not because of
the same, but because of the cuasi-delito, that is to say, the imprudence or negligence of the
father, guardian, proprietor or manager of the establishment, of the teacher, etc. Whenever
anyone of the persons enumerated in the article referred to (minors, incapacitated persons,
employees, apprentices) causes any damage, the law presumes that the father, guardian,
teacher, etc. have committed an act of negligence in not preventing or avoiding the damage.
It is this fault that is condemned by the law. It is, therefore, only apparent that there is a
responsibility for the act of another; in reality the responsibility exacted is for one's own act.
The idea that such responsibility is subsidiary is, therefore, completely inadmissible.

Oyuelos, in his "Digesto: Principios, Doctrina y Jurisprudencia, Referentes al Codigo Civil Español,"
says in Vol. VII, p. 743:

Es decir, no responde de hechos ajenos, porque se responde solo de su propia culpa,


doctrina del articulo 1902; mas por excepcion, se responde de la ajena respecto de aquellas
personas con las que media algun nexo o vinculo, que motiva o razona la responsabilidad.
Esta responsabilidad, es directa o es subsidiaria? En el orden penal, el Codigo de esta clase
distingue entre menores e incapacitados y los demas, declarando directa la primera (articulo
19) y subsidiaria la segunda (articulos 20 y 21); pero en el orden civil, en el caso del articulo
1903, ha de entenderse directa, por el tenor del articulo que impone la responsabilidad
precisamente "por los actos de aquellas personas de quienes se deba responder."

That is to say, one is not responsible for the acts of others, because one is liable only for his
own faults, this being the doctrine of article 1902; but, by exception, one is liable for the acts
of those persons with whom there is a bond or tie which gives rise to the responsibility. Is this
responsibility direct or subsidiary? In the order of the penal law, the Penal Code
distinguishes between minors and incapacitated persons on the one hand, and other
persons on the other, declaring that the responsibility for the former is direct (article 19), and
for the latter, subsidiary (articles 20 and 21); but in the scheme of the civil law, in the case of
article 1903, the responsibility should be understood as direct, according to the tenor of that
articles, for precisely it imposes responsibility "for the acts of those persons for whom one
should be responsible."

Coming now to the sentences of the Supreme Tribunal of Spain, that court has upheld the principles
above set forth: that a quasi-delict or culpa extra-contractual is a separate and distinct legal
institution, independent from the civil responsibility arising from criminal liability, and that an
employer is, under article 1903 of the Civil Code, primarily and directly responsible for the negligent
acts of his employee.

One of the most important of those Spanish decisions is that of October 21, 1910. In that case,
Ramon Lafuente died as the result of having been run over by a street car owned by the "compañia
Electric Madrileña de Traccion." The conductor was prosecuted in a criminal case but he was
acquitted. Thereupon, the widow filed a civil action against the street car company, paying for
damages in the amount of 15,000 pesetas. The lower court awarded damages; so the company
appealed to the Supreme Tribunal, alleging violation of articles 1902 and 1903 of the Civil Code
because by final judgment the non-existence of fault or negligence had been declared. The Supreme
Court of Spain dismissed the appeal, saying:

Considerando que el primer motivo del recurso se funda en el equivocado supuesto de que
el Tribunal a quo, al condonar a la compañia Electrica Madrileña al pago del daño causado
con la muerte de Ramon La fuente Izquierdo, desconoce el valor y efectos juridicos de la
sentencia absolutoria deictada en la causa criminal que se siguio por el mismo hecho,
cuando es lo cierto que de este han conocido las dos jurisdicciones bajo diferentes as
pectos, y como la de lo criminal declrao dentro de los limites de su competencia que el
hecho de que se trata no era constitutivo de delito por no haber mediado descuido o
negligencia graves, lo que no excluye, siendo este el unico fundamento del fallo absolutorio,
el concurso de la culpa o negligencia no califacadas, fuente de obligaciones civiles segun el
articulo 1902 del Codigo, y que alcanzan, segun el 1903, netre otras perosnas, a los
Directores de establecimientos o empresas por los daños causados por sus dependientes
en determinadas condiciones, es manifesto que la de lo civil, al conocer del mismo hehco
baho este ultimo aspecto y al condenar a la compañia recurrente a la indemnizacion del
daño causado por uno de sus empleados, lejos de infringer los mencionados textos, en
relacion con el articulo 116 de la Ley de Enjuciamiento Criminal, se ha atenido estrictamente
a ellos, sin invadir atribuciones ajenas a su jurisdiccion propia, ni contrariar en lo mas
minimo el fallo recaido en la causa.

Considering that the first ground of the appeal is based on the mistaken supposition that the
trial court, in sentencing the Compañia Madrileña to the payment of the damage caused by
the death of Ramon Lafuente Izquierdo, disregards the value and juridical effects of the
sentence of acquittal rendered in the criminal case instituted on account of the same act,
when it is a fact that the two jurisdictions had taken cognizance of the same act in its
different aspects, and as the criminal jurisdiction declared within the limits of its authority that
the act in question did not constitute a felony because there was no grave carelessness or
negligence, and this being the only basis of acquittal, it does no exclude the co-existence of
fault or negligence which is not qualified, and is a source of civil obligations according to
article 1902 of the Civil Code, affecting, in accordance with article 1903, among other
persons, the managers of establishments or enterprises by reason of the damages caused
by employees under certain conditions, it is manifest that the civil jurisdiccion in taking
cognizance of the same act in this latter aspect and in ordering the company, appellant
herein, to pay an indemnity for the damage caused by one of its employees, far from
violating said legal provisions, in relation with article 116 of the Law of Criminal
Procedure, strictly followed the same, without invading attributes which are beyond its own
jurisdiction, and without in any way contradicting the decision in that cause. (Emphasis
supplied.)

It will be noted, as to the case just cited:

First. That the conductor was not sued in a civil case, either separately or with the street car
company. This is precisely what happens in the present case: the driver, Fontanilla, has not been
sued in a civil action, either alone or with his employer.

Second. That the conductor had been acquitted of grave criminal negligence, but the Supreme
Tribunal of Spain said that this did not exclude the co-existence of fault or negligence, which is not
qualified, on the part of the conductor, under article 1902 of the Civil Code. In the present case, the
taxi driver was found guilty of criminal negligence, so that if he had even sued for his civil
responsibility arising from the crime, he would have been held primarily liable for civil damages, and
Barredo would have been held subsidiarily liable for the same. But the plaintiffs are directly suing
Barredo, on his primary responsibility because of his own presumed negligence — which he did not
overcome — under article 1903. Thus, there were two liabilities of Barredo: first, the subsidiary one
because of the civil liability of the taxi driver arising from the latter's criminal negligence; and,
second, Barredo's primary liability as an employer under article 1903. The plaintiffs were free to
choose which course to take, and they preferred the second remedy. In so doing, they were acting
within their rights. It might be observed in passing, that the plaintiff choose the more expeditious and
effective method of relief, because Fontanilla was either in prison, or had just been released, and
besides, he was probably without property which might be seized in enforcing any judgment against
him for damages.

Third. That inasmuch as in the above sentence of October 21, 1910, the employer was held liable
civilly, notwithstanding the acquittal of the employee (the conductor) in a previous criminal case, with
greater reason should Barredo, the employer in the case at bar, be held liable for damages in a civil
suit filed against him because his taxi driver had been convicted. The degree of negligence of the
conductor in the Spanish case cited was less than that of the taxi driver, Fontanilla, because the
former was acquitted in the previous criminal case while the latter was found guilty of criminal
negligence and was sentenced to an indeterminate sentence of one year and one day to two years
of prision correccional.

(See also Sentence of February 19, 1902, which is similar to the one above quoted.)

In the Sentence of the Supreme Court of Spain, dated February 14, 1919, an action was brought
against a railroad company for damages because the station agent, employed by the company, had
unjustly and fraudulently, refused to deliver certain articles consigned to the plaintiff. The Supreme
Court of Spain held that this action was properly under article 1902 of the Civil Code, the court
saying:

Considerando que la sentencia discutida reconoce, en virtud de los hechos que consigna
con relacion a las pruebas del pleito: 1.º, que las expediciones facturadas por la compañia
ferroviaria a la consignacion del actor de las vasijas vacias que en su demanda relacionan
tenian como fin el que este las devolviera a sus remitentes con vinos y alcoholes; 2.º, que
llegadas a su destino tales mercanias no se quisieron entregar a dicho consignatario por el
jefe de la estacion sin motivo justificado y con intencion dolosa, y 3.º, que la falta de entrega
de estas expediciones al tiempo de reclamarlas el demandante le originaron daños y
perjuicios en cantidad de bastante importancia como expendedor al por mayor que era de
vinos y alcoholes por las ganancias que dejo de obtener al verse privado de servir los
pedidos que se le habian hecho por los remitentes en los envases:

Considerando que sobre esta base hay necesidad de estimar los cuatro motivos que
integran este recurso, porque la demanda inicial del pleito a que se contrae no contiene
accion que nazca del incumplimiento del contrato de transporte, toda vez que no se funda
en el retraso de la llegada de las mercancias ni de ningun otro vinculo contractual entre las
partes contendientes, careciendo, por tanto, de aplicacion el articulo 371 del Codigo de
Comercio, en que principalmente descansa el fallo recurrido, sino que se limita a pedir la
reparaction de los daños y perjuicios producidos en el patrimonio del actor por la
injustificada y dolosa negativa del porteador a la entrega de las mercancias a su nombre
consignadas, segun lo reconoce la sentencia, y cuya responsabilidad esta claramente
sancionada en el articulo 1902 del Codigo Civil, que obliga por el siguiente a la Compañia
demandada como ligada con el causante de aquellos por relaciones de caracter economico
y de jurarquia administrativa.

Considering that the sentence, in question recognizes, in virtue of the facts which it declares,
in relation to the evidence in the case: (1) that the invoice issued by the railroad company in
favor of the plaintiff contemplated that the empty receptacles referred to in the complaint
should be returned to the consignors with wines and liquors; (2) that when the said
merchandise reached their destination, their delivery to the consignee was refused by the
station agent without justification and with fraudulent intent, and (3) that the lack of delivery
of these goods when they were demanded by the plaintiff caused him losses and damages
of considerable importance, as he was a wholesale vendor of wines and liquors and he failed
to realize the profits when he was unable to fill the orders sent to him by the consignors of
the receptacles:

Considering that upon this basis there is need of upholding the four assignments of error, as
the original complaint did not contain any cause of action arising from non-fulfillment of a
contract of transportation, because the action was not based on the delay of the goods nor
on any contractual relation between the parties litigant and, therefore, article 371 of the Code
of Commerce, on which the decision appealed from is based, is not applicable; but it limits to
asking for reparation for losses and damages produced on the patrimony of the plaintiff on
account of the unjustified and fraudulent refusal of the carrier to deliver the goods consigned
to the plaintiff as stated by the sentence, and the carrier's responsibility is clearly laid down in
article 1902 of the Civil Code which binds, in virtue of the next article, the defendant
company, because the latter is connected with the person who caused the damage by
relations of economic character and by administrative hierarchy. (Emphasis supplied.)

The above case is pertinent because it shows that the same act may come under both the Penal
Code and the Civil Code. In that case, the action of the agent was unjustified and fraudulent and
therefore could have been the subject of a criminal action. And yet, it was held to be also a proper
subject of a civil action under article 1902 of the Civil Code. It is also to be noted that it was the
employer and not the employee who was being sued.

Let us now examine the cases previously decided by this Court.

In the leading case of Rakes vs. Atlantic Gulf and Pacific Co. (7 Phil., 359, 362-365 [year 1907]), the
trial court awarded damages to the plaintiff, a laborer of the defendant, because the latter had
negligently failed to repair a tramway in consequence of which the rails slid off while iron was being
transported, and caught the plaintiff whose leg was broken. This Court held:

It is contended by the defendant, as its first defense to the action that the necessary
conclusion from these collated laws is that the remedy for injuries through negligence lies
only in a criminal action in which the official criminally responsible must be made primarily
liable and his employer held only subsidiarily to him. According to this theory the plaintiff
should have procured the arrest of the representative of the company accountable for not
repairing the track, and on his prosecution a suitable fine should have been imposed,
payable primarily by him and secondarily by his employer.

This reasoning misconceived the plan of the Spanish codes upon this subject. Article 1093 of
the Civil Code makes obligations arising from faults or negligence not punished by the law,
subject to the provisions of Chapter II of Title XVI. Section 1902 of that chapter reads:

"A person who by an act or omission causes damage to another when there is fault
or negligence shall be obliged to repair the damage so done.

"SEC. 1903. The obligation imposed by the preceeding article is demandable, not
only for personal acts and omissions, but also for those of the persons for whom they
should be responsible.

"The father, and on his death or incapacity, the mother, is liable for the damages
caused by the minors who live with them.

xxx xxx xxx

"Owners or directors of an establishment or enterprise are equally liable for the


damages caused by their employees in the service of the branches in which the latter
may be employed or in the performance of their duties.

xxx xxx xxx


"The liability referred to in this article shall cease when the persons mentioned
therein prove that they employed all the diligence of a good father of a family to avoid
the damage."

As an answer to the argument urged in this particular action it may be sufficient to point out
that nowhere in our general statutes is the employer penalized for failure to provide or
maintain safe appliances for his workmen. His obligation therefore is one 'not punished by
the laws' and falls under civil rather than criminal jurisprudence. But the answer may be a
broader one. We should be reluctant, under any conditions, to adopt a forced construction of
these scientific codes, such as is proposed by the defendant, that would rob some of these
articles of effect, would shut out litigants against their will from the civil courts, would make
the assertion of their rights dependent upon the selection for prosecution of the proper
criminal offender, and render recovery doubtful by reason of the strict rules of proof
prevailing in criminal actions. Even if these articles had always stood alone, such a
construction would be unnecessary, but clear light is thrown upon their meaning by the
provisions of the Law of Criminal Procedure of Spain (Ley de Enjuiciamiento Criminal),
which, though never in actual force in these Islands, was formerly given a suppletory or
explanatory effect. Under article 111 of this law, both classes of action, civil and criminal,
might be prosecuted jointly or separately, but while the penal action was pending the civil
was suspended. According to article 112, the penal action once started, the civil remedy
should be sought therewith, unless it had been waived by the party injured or been expressly
reserved by him for civil proceedings for the future. If the civil action alone was prosecuted,
arising out of a crime that could be enforced only on private complaint, the penal action
thereunder should be extinguished. These provisions are in harmony with those of articles 23
and 133 of our Penal Code on the same subject.

An examination of this topic might be carried much further, but the citation of these articles
suffices to show that the civil liability was not intended to be merged in the criminal nor even
to be suspended thereby, except as expressly provided in the law. Where an individual is
civilly liable for a negligent act or omission, it is not required that the injured party should
seek out a third person criminally liable whose prosecution must be a condition precedent to
the enforcement of the civil right.

Under article 20 of the Penal Code the responsibility of an employer may be regarded as
subsidiary in respect of criminal actions against his employees only while they are in process
of prosecution, or in so far as they determine the existence of the criminal act from which
liability arises, and his obligation under the civil law and its enforcement in the civil courts is
not barred thereby unless by the election of the injured person. Inasmuch as no criminal
proceeding had been instituted, growing our of the accident in question, the provisions of the
Penal Code can not affect this action. This construction renders it unnecessary to finally
determine here whether this subsidiary civil liability in penal actions has survived the laws
that fully regulated it or has been abrogated by the American civil and criminal procedure
now in force in the Philippines.

The difficulty in construing the articles of the code above cited in this case appears from the
briefs before us to have arisen from the interpretation of the words of article 1093, "fault or
negligence not punished by law," as applied to the comprehensive definition of offenses in
articles 568 and 590 of the Penal Code. It has been shown that the liability of an employer
arising out of his relation to his employee who is the offender is not to be regarded as
derived from negligence punished by the law, within the meaning of articles 1902 and 1093.
More than this, however, it cannot be said to fall within the class of acts unpunished by the
law, the consequence of which are regulated by articles 1902 and 1903 of the Civil Code.
The acts to which these articles are applicable are understood to be those not growing out of
pre-existing duties of the parties to one another. But where relations already formed give rise
to duties, whether springing from contract or quasi contract, then breaches of those duties
are subject to articles 1101, 1103, and 1104 of the same code. A typical application of this
distinction may be found in the consequences of a railway accident due to defective
machinery supplied by the employer. His liability to his employee would arise out of the
contract of employment, that to the passengers out of the contract for passage, while that to
the injured bystander would originate in the negligent act itself.

In Manzanares vs. Moreta, 38 Phil., 821 (year 1918), the mother of the 8 of 9-year-old child Salvador
Bona brought a civil action against Moreta to recover damages resulting from the death of the child,
who had been run over by an automobile driven and managed by the defendant. The trial court
rendered judgment requiring the defendant to pay the plaintiff the sum of P1,000 as indemnity: This
Court in affirming the judgment, said in part:

If it were true that the defendant, in coming from the southern part of Solana Street, had to
stop his auto before crossing Real Street, because he had met vehicles which were going
along the latter street or were coming from the opposite direction along Solana Street, it is to
be believed that, when he again started to run his auto across said Real Street and to
continue its way along Solana Street northward, he should have adjusted the speed of the
auto which he was operating until he had fully crossed Real Street and had completely
reached a clear way on Solana Street. But, as the child was run over by the auto precisely at
the entrance of Solana Street, this accident could not have occurred if the auto had been
running at a slow speed, aside from the fact that the defendant, at the moment of crossing
Real Street and entering Solana Street, in a northward direction, could have seen the child in
the act of crossing the latter street from the sidewalk on the right to that on the left, and if the
accident had occurred in such a way that after the automobile had run over the body of the
child, and the child's body had already been stretched out on the ground, the automobile still
moved along a distance of about 2 meters, this circumstance shows the fact that the
automobile entered Solana Street from Real Street, at a high speed without the defendant
having blown the horn. If these precautions had been taken by the defendant, the deplorable
accident which caused the death of the child would not have occurred.

It will be noticed that the defendant in the above case could have been prosecuted in a criminal case
because his negligence causing the death of the child was punishable by the Penal Code. Here is
therefore a clear instance of the same act of negligence being a proper subject-matter either of a
criminal action with its consequent civil liability arising from a crime or of an entirely separate and
independent civil action for fault or negligence under article 1902 of the Civil Code. Thus, in this
jurisdiction, the separate individually of a cuasi-delito or culpa aquiliana under the Civil Code has
been fully and clearly recognized, even with regard to a negligent act for which the wrongdoer could
have been prosecuted and convicted in a criminal case and for which, after such a conviction, he
could have been sued for this civil liability arising from his crime.

Years later (in 1930) this Court had another occasion to apply the same doctrine. In Bernal and
Enverso vs. House and Tacloban Electric & Ice Plant, Ltd., 54 Phil., 327, the parents of the five-year-
old child, Purificacion Bernal, brought a civil action to recover damages for the child's death as a
result of burns caused by the fault and negligence of the defendants. On the evening of April 10,
1925, the Good Friday procession was held in Tacloban, Leyte. Fortunata Enverso with her daughter
Purificacion Bernal had come from another municipality to attend the same. After the procession the
mother and the daughter with two others were passing along Gran Capitan Street in front of the
offices of the Tacloban Electric & Ice Plant, Ltd., owned by defendants J. V. House, when an
automobile appeared from the opposite direction. The little girl, who was slightly ahead of the rest,
was so frightened by the automobile that she turned to run, but unfortunately she fell into the street
gutter where hot water from the electric plant was flowing. The child died that same night from the
burns. The trial courts dismissed the action because of the contributory negligence of the plaintiffs.
But this Court held, on appeal, that there was no contributory negligence, and allowed the parents
P1,000 in damages from J. V. House who at the time of the tragic occurrence was the holder of the
franchise for the electric plant. This Court said in part:

Although the trial judge made the findings of fact hereinbefore outlined, he nevertheless was
led to order the dismissal of the action because of the contributory negligence of the
plaintiffs. It is from this point that a majority of the court depart from the stand taken by the
trial judge. The mother and her child had a perfect right to be on the principal street of
Tacloban, Leyte, on the evening when the religious procession was held. There was nothing
abnormal in allowing the child to run along a few paces in advance of the mother. No one
could foresee the coincidence of an automobile appearing and of a frightened child running
and falling into a ditch filled with hot water. The doctrine announced in the much debated
case of Rakes vs. Atlantic Gulf and Pacific Co. ([1907]), 7 Phil., 359), still rule. Article 1902 of
the Civil Code must again be enforced. The contributory negligence of the child and her
mother, if any, does not operate as a bar to recovery, but in its strictest sense could only
result in reduction of the damages.

It is most significant that in the case just cited, this Court specifically applied article 1902 of the Civil
Code. It is thus that although J. V. House could have been criminally prosecuted for reckless or
simple negligence and not only punished but also made civilly liable because of his criminal
negligence, nevertheless this Court awarded damages in an independent civil action for fault or
negligence under article 1902 of the Civil Code.

In Bahia vs. Litonjua and Leynes (30 Phil., 624 [year 1915), the action was for damages for the
death of the plaintiff's daughter alleged to have been caused by the negligence of the servant in
driving an automobile over the child. It appeared that the cause of the mishap was a defect in the
steering gear. The defendant Leynes had rented the automobile from the International Garage of
Manila, to be used by him in carrying passengers during the fiesta of Tuy, Batangas. Leynes was
ordered by the lower court to pay P1,000 as damages to the plaintiff. On appeal this Court reversed
the judgment as to Leynes on the ground that he had shown that the exercised the care of a good
father of a family, thus overcoming the presumption of negligence under article 1903. This Court
said:

As to selection, the defendant has clearly shown that he exercised the care and diligence of
a good father of a family. He obtained the machine from a reputable garage and it was, so
far as appeared, in good condition. The workmen were likewise selected from a standard
garage, were duly licensed by the Government in their particular calling, and apparently
thoroughly competent. The machine had been used but a few hours when the accident
occurred and it is clear from the evidence that the defendant had no notice, either actual or
constructive, of the defective condition of the steering gear.

The legal aspect of the case was discussed by this Court thus:

Article 1903 of the Civil Code not only establishes liability in cases of negligence, but also
provides when the liability shall cease. It says:

"The liability referred to in this article shall cease when the persons mentioned
therein prove that they employed all the diligence of a good father of a family to avoid
the damage."
From this article two things are apparent: (1) That when an injury is caused by the
negligence of a servant or employee there instantly arises a presumption of law that there
was negligence on the part of the matter or employer either in the selection of the servant or
employee, or in supervision over him after the selection, or both; and (2) that presumption
is juris tantum and not juris et de jure, and consequently, may be rebutted. It follows
necessarily that if the employer shows to the satisfaction of the court that in selection and
supervision he has exercised the care and diligence of a good father of a family, the
presumption is overcome and he is relieve from liability.

This theory bases the responsibility of the master ultimately on his own negligence and not
on that of his servant.

The doctrine of the case just cited was followed by this Court in Cerf vs. Medel (33 Phil., 37 [year
1915]). In the latter case, the complaint alleged that the defendant's servant had so negligently
driven an automobile, which was operated by defendant as a public vehicle, that said automobile
struck and damaged the plaintiff's motorcycle. This Court, applying article 1903 and following the
rule in Bahia vs. Litonjua and Leynes, said in part (p. 41) that:

The master is liable for the negligent acts of his servant where he is the owner or director of
a business or enterprise and the negligent acts are committed while the servant is engaged
in his master's employment as such owner.

Another case which followed the decision in Bahia vs. Litonjua and Leynes was Cuison vs. Norton &
Harrison Co., 55 Phil., 18 (year 1930). The latter case was an action for damages brought by Cuison
for the death of his seven-year-old son Moises. The little boy was on his way to school with his sister
Marciana. Some large pieces of lumber fell from a truck and pinned the boy underneath, instantly
killing him. Two youths, Telesforo Binoya and Francisco Bautista, who were working for Ora, an
employee of defendant Norton & Harrison Co., pleaded guilty to the crime of homicide through
reckless negligence and were sentenced accordingly. This Court, applying articles 1902 and 1903,
held:

The basis of civil law liability is not respondent superior but the relationship of pater familias.
This theory bases the liability of the master ultimately on his own negligence and not on that
of his servant. (Bahia vs.Litonjua and Leynes [1915], 30 Phil., 624; Cangco vs. Manila
Railroad Co. [1918], 38 Phil., 768.)

In Walter A. Smith & Co. vs. Cadwallader Gibson Lumber Co., 55 Phil., 517 (year 1930) the plaintiff
brought an action for damages for the demolition of its wharf, which had been struck by the steamer
Helen C belonging to the defendant. This Court held (p. 526):

The evidence shows that Captain Lasa at the time the plaintiff's wharf collapsed was a duly
licensed captain, authorized to navigate and direct a vessel of any tonnage, and that the
appellee contracted his services because of his reputation as a captain, according to F. C.
Cadwallader. This being so, we are of the opinion that the presumption of liability against the
defendant has been overcome by the exercise of the care and diligence of a good father of a
family in selecting Captain Lasa, in accordance with the doctrines laid down by this court in
the cases cited above, and the defendant is therefore absolved from all liability.

It is, therefore, seen that the defendant's theory about his secondary liability is negatived by the six
cases above set forth. He is, on the authority of these cases, primarily and directly responsible in
damages under article 1903, in relation to article 1902, of the Civil Code.
Let us now take up the Philippine decisions relied upon by the defendant. We study first, City of
Manila vs. Manila Electric Co., 52 Phil., 586 (year 1928). A collision between a truck of the City of
Manila and a street car of the Manila Electric Co. took place on June 8, 1925. The truck was
damaged in the amount of P1,788.27. Sixto Eustaquio, the motorman, was prosecuted for the crime
of damage to property and slight injuries through reckless imprudence. He was found guilty and
sentenced to pay a fine of P900, to indemnify the City of Manila for P1,788.27, with subsidiary
imprisonment in case of insolvency. Unable to collect the indemnity from Eustaquio, the City of
Manila filed an action against the Manila Electric Company to obtain payment, claiming that the
defendant was subsidiarily liable. The main defense was that the defendant had exercised the
diligence of a good father of a family to prevent the damage. The lower court rendered judgment in
favor of the plaintiff. This Court held, in part, that this case was governed by the Penal Code, saying:

With this preliminary point out of the way, there is no escaping the conclusion that the
provisions of the Penal Code govern. The Penal Code in easily understandable language
authorizes the determination of subsidiary liability. The Civil Code negatives its application by
providing that civil obligations arising from crimes or misdemeanors shall be governed by the
provisions of the Penal Code. The conviction of the motorman was a misdemeanor falling
under article 604 of the Penal Code. The act of the motorman was not a wrongful or
negligent act or omission not punishable by law. Accordingly, the civil obligation connected
up with the Penal Code and not with article 1903 of the Civil Code. In other words, the Penal
Code affirms its jurisdiction while the Civil Code negatives its jurisdiction. This is a case of
criminal negligence out of which civil liability arises and not a case of civil negligence.

xxx xxx xxx

Our deduction, therefore, is that the case relates to the Penal Code and not to the Civil
Code. Indeed, as pointed out by the trial judge, any different ruling would permit the master
to escape scot-free by simply alleging and proving that the master had exercised all diligence
in the selection and training of its servants to prevent the damage. That would be a good
defense to a strictly civil action, but might or might not be to a civil action either as a part of
or predicated on conviction for a crime or misdemeanor. (By way of parenthesis, it may be
said further that the statements here made are offered to meet the argument advanced
during our deliberations to the effect that article 0902 of the Civil Code should be disregarded
and codal articles 1093 and 1903 applied.)

It is not clear how the above case could support the defendant's proposition, because the Court of
Appeals based its decision in the present case on the defendant's primary responsibility under article
1903 of the Civil Code and not on his subsidiary liability arising from Fontanilla's criminal negligence.
In other words, the case of City of Manila vs. Manila Electric Co., supra, is predicated on an entirely
different theory, which is the subsidiary liability of an employer arising from a criminal act of his
employee, whereas the foundation of the decision of the Court of Appeals in the present case is the
employer's primary liability under article 1903 of the Civil Code. We have already seen that this is a
proper and independent remedy.

Arambulo vs. Manila Electric Co. (55 Phil., 75), is another case invoked by the defendant. A
motorman in the employ of the Manila Electric Company had been convicted o homicide by simple
negligence and sentenced, among other things, to pay the heirs of the deceased the sum of P1,000.
An action was then brought to enforce the subsidiary liability of the defendant as employer under the
Penal Code. The defendant attempted to show that it had exercised the diligence of a good father of
a family in selecting the motorman, and therefore claimed exemption from civil liability. But this Court
held:
In view of the foregoing considerations, we are of opinion and so hold, (1) that the exemption
from civil liability established in article 1903 of the Civil Code for all who have acted with the
diligence of a good father of a family, is not applicable to the subsidiary civil liability provided
in article 20 of the Penal Code.

The above case is also extraneous to the theory of the defendant in the instant case, because the
action there had for its purpose the enforcement of the defendant's subsidiary liability under the
Penal Code, while in the case at bar, the plaintiff's cause of action is based on the defendant's
primary and direct responsibility under article 1903 of the Civil Code. In fact, the above case
destroys the defendant's contention because that decision illustrates the principle that the
employer's primary responsibility under article 1903 of the Civil Code is different in character from
his subsidiary liability under the Penal Code.

In trying to apply the two cases just referred to, counsel for the defendant has failed to recognize the
distinction between civil liability arising from a crime, which is governed by the Penal Code, and the
responsibility for cuasi-delito or culpa aquiliana under the Civil Code, and has likewise failed to give
the importance to the latter type of civil action.

The defendant-petitioner also cites Francisco vs. Onrubia (46 Phil., 327). That case need not be set
forth. Suffice it to say that the question involved was also civil liability arising from a crime. Hence, it
is as inapplicable as the two cases above discussed.

The foregoing authorities clearly demonstrate the separate individuality of cuasi-delitos or culpa
aquiliana under the Civil Code. Specifically they show that there is a distinction between civil liability
arising from 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 under the Penal Code, or a separate responsibility
for fault or negligence under articles 1902 to 1910 of the Civil Code. Still more concretely, the
authorities above cited render it inescapable to conclude that the employer — in this case the
defendant-petitioner — is primarily and directly liable under article 1903 of the Civil Code.

The legal provisions, authors, and cases already invoked should ordinarily be sufficient to dispose of
this case. But inasmuch as we are announcing doctrines that have been little understood in the past,
it might not be inappropriate to indicate their foundations.

Firstly, the Revised Penal Code in article 365 punishes not only reckless but also simple negligence.
If we were to hold that articles 1902 to 1910 of the Civil Code refer only to fault or negligence not
punished by law, according to the literal import of article 1093 of the Civil Code, the legal institution
of culpa aquiliana would have very little scope and application in actual life. Death or injury to
persons and damage to property through any degree of negligence — even the slightest — would
have to be indemnified only through the principle of civil liability arising from a crime. In such a state
of affairs, what sphere would remain for cuasi-delito or culpa aquiliana? We are loath to impute to
the lawmaker any intention to bring about a situation so absurd and anomalous. Nor are we, in the
interpretation of the laws, disposed to uphold the letter that killeth rather than the spirit that giveth
life. We will not use the literal meaning of the law to smother and render almost lifeless a principle of
such ancient origin and such full-grown development as culpa aquiliana or cuasi-delito, which is
conserved and made enduring in articles 1902 to 1910 of the Spanish Civil Code.

Secondly, to find the accused guilty in a criminal case, proof of guilt beyond reasonable doubt is
required, while in a civil case, preponderance of evidence is sufficient to make the defendant pay in
damages. There are numerous cases of criminal negligence which can not be shown beyond
reasonable doubt, but can be proved by a preponderance of evidence. In such cases, the defendant
can and should be made responsible in a civil action under articles 1902 to 1910 of the Civil Code.
Otherwise, there would be many instances of unvindicated civil wrongs. Ubi jus ibi remedium.

Thirdly, to hold that there is only one way to make defendant's liability effective, and that is, to sue
the driver and exhaust his (the latter's) property first, would be tantamount to compelling the plaintiff
to follow a devious and cumbersome method of obtaining relief. True, there is such a remedy under
our laws, but there is also a more expeditious way, which is based on the primary and direct
responsibility of the defendant under article 1903 of the Civil Code. Our view of the law is more likely
to facilitate remedy for civil wrongs, because the procedure indicated by the defendant is wasteful
and productive of delay, it being a matter of common knowledge that professional drivers of taxis
and similar public conveyance usually do not have sufficient means with which to pay damages.
Why, then, should the plaintiff be required in all cases to go through this roundabout, unnecessary,
and probably useless procedure? In construing the laws, courts have endeavored to shorten and
facilitate the pathways of right and justice.

At this juncture, it should be said that the primary and direct responsibility of employers and their
presumed negligence are principles calculated to protect society. Workmen and employees should
be carefully chosen and supervised in order to avoid injury to the public. It is the masters or
employers who principally reap the profits resulting from the services of these servants and
employees. It is but right that they should guarantee the latter's careful conduct for the personnel
and patrimonial safety of others. As Theilhard has said, "they should reproach themselves, at least,
some for their weakness, others for their poor selection and all for their negligence." And according
to Manresa, "It is much more equitable and just that such responsibility should fall upon the principal
or director who could have chosen a careful and prudent employee, and not upon the injured person
who could not exercise such selection and who used such employee because of his confidence in
the principal or director." (Vol. 12, p. 622, 2nd Ed.) Many jurists also base this primary responsibility
of the employer on the principle of representation of the principal by the agent. Thus, Oyuelos says
in the work already cited (Vol. 7, p. 747) that before third persons the employer and employee
"vienen a ser como una sola personalidad, por refundicion de la del dependiente en la de quien le
emplea y utiliza." ("become as one personality by the merging of the person of the employee in that
of him who employs and utilizes him.") All these observations acquire a peculiar force and
significance when it comes to motor accidents, and there is need of stressing and accentuating the
responsibility of owners of motor vehicles.

Fourthly, because of the broad sweep of the provisions of both the Penal Code and the Civil Code
on this subject, which has given rise to the overlapping or concurrence of spheres already
discussed, and for lack of understanding of the character and efficacy of the action for culpa
aquiliana, there has grown up a common practice to seek damages only by virtue of the civil
responsibility arising from a crime, forgetting that there is another remedy, which is by invoking
articles 1902-1910 of the Civil Code. Although this habitual method is allowed by our laws, it has
nevertheless rendered practically useless and nugatory the more expeditious and effective remedy
based on culpa aquiliana or culpa extra-contractual. In the present case, we are asked to help
perpetuate this usual course. But we believe it is high time we pointed out to the harm done by such
practice and to restore the principle of responsibility for fault or negligence under articles 1902 et
seq. of the Civil Code to its full rigor. It is high time we caused the stream of quasi-delict or culpa
aquiliana to flow on its own natural channel, so that its waters may no longer be diverted into that of
a crime under the Penal Code. This will, it is believed, make for the better safeguarding of private
rights because it re-establishes an ancient and additional remedy, and for the further reason that an
independent civil action, not depending on the issues, limitations and results of a criminal
prosecution, and entirely directed by the party wronged or his counsel, is more likely to secure
adequate and efficacious redress.
In view of the foregoing, the judgment of the Court of Appeals should be and is hereby affirmed, with
costs against the defendant-petitioner

G.R. No. L-24803 May 26, 1977

PEDRO ELCANO and PATRICIA ELCANO, in their capacity as Ascendants of Agapito Elcano,
deceased, plaintiffs-appellants,
vs.
REGINALD HILL, minor, and MARVIN HILL, as father and Natural Guardian of said
minor, defendants-appellees.

Cruz & Avecilla for appellants.

Marvin R. Hill & Associates for appellees.

BARREDO, J.:

Appeal from the order of the Court of First Instance of Quezon City dated January 29, 1965 in Civil
Case No. Q-8102, Pedro Elcano et al. vs. Reginald Hill et al. dismissing, upon motion to dismiss of
defendants, the complaint of plaintiffs for recovery of damages from defendant Reginald Hill, a
minor, married at the time of the occurrence, and his father, the defendant Marvin Hill, with whom he
was living and getting subsistence, for the killing by Reginald of the son of the plaintiffs, named
Agapito Elcano, of which, when criminally prosecuted, the said accused was acquitted on the ground
that his act was not criminal, because of "lack of intent to kill, coupled with mistake."

Actually, the motion to dismiss based on the following grounds:

1. The present action is not only against but a violation of section 1, Rule 107, which
is now Rule III, of the Revised Rules of Court;

2. The action is barred by a prior judgment which is now final and or in res-
adjudicata;

3. The complaint had no cause of action against defendant Marvin Hill, because he
was relieved as guardian of the other defendant through emancipation by marriage.

(P. 23, Record [p. 4, Record on Appeal.])

was first denied by the trial court. It was only upon motion for reconsideration of the defendants of
such denial, reiterating the above grounds that the following order was issued:

Considering the motion for reconsideration filed by the defendants on January 14,
1965 and after thoroughly examining the arguments therein contained, the Court
finds the same to be meritorious and well-founded.

WHEREFORE, the Order of this Court on December 8, 1964 is hereby reconsidered


by ordering the dismissal of the above entitled case.
SO ORDERED.

Quezon City, Philippines, January 29, 1965. (p. 40, Record [p. 21, Record on
Appeal.)

Hence, this appeal where plaintiffs-appellants, the spouses Elcano, are presenting for Our resolution
the following assignment of errors:

THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN DISMISSING THE CASE BY UPHOLDING THE


CLAIM OF DEFENDANTS THAT -

THE PRESENT ACTION IS NOT ONLY AGAINST BUT ALSO A VIOLATION OF


SECTION 1, RULE 107, NOW RULE 111, OF THE REVISED RULES OF COURT,
AND THAT SECTION 3(c) OF RULE 111, RULES OF COURT IS APPLICABLE;

II

THE ACTION IS BARRED BY A PRIOR JUDGMENT WHICH IS NOW FINAL OR


RES-ADJUDICTA;

III

THE PRINCIPLES OF QUASI-DELICTS, ARTICLES 2176 TO 2194 OF THE CIVIL


CODE, ARE INAPPLICABLE IN THE INSTANT CASE; and

IV

THAT THE COMPLAINT STATES NO CAUSE OF ACTION AGAINST DEFENDANT


MARVIN HILL BECAUSE HE WAS RELIEVED AS GUARDIAN OF THE OTHER
DEFENDANT THROUGH EMANCIPATION BY MARRIAGE. (page 4, Record.)

It appears that for the killing of the son, Agapito, of plaintiffs-appellants, defendant- appellee
Reginald Hill was prosecuted criminally in Criminal Case No. 5102 of the Court of First Instance of
Quezon City. After due trial, he was acquitted on the ground that his act was not criminal because of
"lack of intent to kill, coupled with mistake." Parenthetically, none of the parties has favored Us with a
copy of the decision of acquittal, presumably because appellants do not dispute that such indeed
was the basis stated in the court's decision. And so, when appellants filed their complaint against
appellees Reginald and his father, Atty. Marvin Hill, on account of the death of their son, the
appellees filed the motion to dismiss above-referred to.

As We view the foregoing background of this case, the two decisive issues presented for Our
resolution are:

1. Is the present civil action for damages barred by the acquittal of Reginald in the criminal case
wherein the action for civil liability, was not reversed?

2. May Article 2180 (2nd and last paragraphs) of the Civil Code he applied against Atty. Hill,
notwithstanding the undisputed fact that at the time of the occurrence complained of. Reginald,
though a minor, living with and getting subsistenee from his father, was already legally married?
The first issue presents no more problem than the need for a reiteration and further clarification of
the dual character, criminal and civil, of fault or negligence as a source of obligation which was firmly
established in this jurisdiction in Barredo vs. Garcia, 73 Phil. 607. In that case, this Court postulated,
on the basis of a scholarly dissertation by Justice Bocobo on the nature of culpa aquiliana in relation
to culpa criminal or delito and mere culpa or fault, with pertinent citation of decisions of the Supreme
Court of Spain, the works of recognized civilians, and earlier jurisprudence of our own, that the same
given act can result in civil liability not only under the Penal Code but also under the Civil Code.
Thus, the opinion holds:

The, above case is pertinent because it shows that the same act machinist. come
under both the Penal Code and the Civil Code. In that case, the action of the agent
killeth unjustified and fraudulent and therefore could have been the subject of a
criminal action. And yet, it was held to be also a proper subject of a civil action under
article 1902 of the Civil Code. It is also to be noted that it was the employer and not
the employee who was being sued. (pp. 615-616, 73 Phil.). 1

It will be noticed that the defendant in the above case could have been prosecuted in
a criminal case because his negligence causing the death of the child was
punishable by the Penal Code. Here is therefore a clear instance of the same act of
negligence being a proper subject matter either of a criminal action with its
consequent civil liability arising from a crime or of an entirely separate and
independent civil action for fault or negligence under article 1902 of the Civil Code.
Thus, in this jurisdiction, the separate individuality of a cuasi-delito or culpa aquiliana,
under the Civil Code has been fully and clearly recognized, even with regard to a
negligent act for which the wrongdoer could have been prosecuted and convicted in
a criminal case and for which, after such a conviction, he could have been sued for
this civil liability arising from his crime. (p. 617, 73 Phil.) 2

It is most significant that in the case just cited, this Court specifically applied article 1902
of the Civil Code. It is thus that although J. V. House could have been criminally
prosecuted for reckless or simple negligence and not only punished but also made civilly
liable because of his criminal negligence, nevertheless this Court awarded damages in
an independent civil action for fault or negligence under article 1902 of the Civil Code. (p.
618, 73 Phil.) 3

The legal provisions, authors, and cases already invoked should ordinarily be
sufficient to dispose of this case. But inasmuch as we are announcing doctrines that
have been little understood, in the past, it might not he inappropriate to indicate their
foundations.

Firstly, the Revised Penal Code in articles 365 punishes not only reckless but also
simple negligence. If we were to hold that articles 1902 to 1910 of the Civil Code
refer only to fault or negligence not punished by law, accordingly to the literal import
of article 1093 of the Civil Code, the legal institution of culpa aquiliana would have
very little scope and application in actual life. Death or injury to persons and damage
to property- through any degree of negligence - even the slightest - would have to be
Idemnified only through the principle of civil liability arising from a crime. In such a
state of affairs, what sphere would remain for cuasi-delito or culpa aquiliana? We are
loath to impute to the lawmaker any intention to bring about a situation so absurd and
anomalous. Nor are we, in the interpretation of the laws, disposed to uphold the letter
that killeth rather than the spirit that giveth life. We will not use the literal meaning of
the law to smother and render almost lifeless a principle of such ancient origin and
such full-grown development as culpa aquiliana or cuasi-delito, which is conserved
and made enduring in articles 1902 to 1910 of the Spanish Civil Code.

Secondary, to find the accused guilty in a criminal case, proof of guilt beyond
reasonable doubt is required, while in a civil case, preponderance of evidence is
sufficient to make the defendant pay in damages. There are numerous cases of
criminal negligence which can not be shown beyond reasonable doubt, but can be
proved by a preponderance of evidence. In such cases, the defendant can and
should be made responsible in a civil action under articles 1902 to 1910 of the Civil
Code. Otherwise. there would be many instances of unvindicated civil wrongs. "Ubi
jus Idemnified remedium." (p. 620,73 Phil.)

Fourthly, because of the broad sweep of the provisions of both the Penal Code and
the Civil Code on this subject, which has given rise to the overlapping or concurrence
of spheres already discussed, and for lack of understanding of the character and
efficacy of the action for culpa aquiliana, there has grown up a common practice to
seek damages only by virtue of the civil responsibility arising from a crime, forgetting
that there is another remedy, which is by invoking articles 1902-1910 of the Civil
Code. Although this habitual method is allowed by, our laws, it has nevertheless
rendered practically useless and nugatory the more expeditious and effective remedy
based on culpa aquiliana or culpa extra-contractual. In the present case, we are
asked to help perpetuate this usual course. But we believe it is high time we pointed
out to the harms done by such practice and to restore the principle of responsibility
for fault or negligence under articles 1902 et seq. of the Civil Code to its full rigor. It is
high time we caused the stream of quasi-delict or culpa aquiliana to flow on its own
natural channel, so that its waters may no longer be diverted into that of a crime
under the Penal Code. This will, it is believed, make for the better safeguarding or
private rights because it realtor, an ancient and additional remedy, and for the further
reason that an independent civil action, not depending on the issues, limitations and
results of a criminal prosecution, and entirely directed by the party wronged or his
counsel, is more likely to secure adequate and efficacious redress. (p. 621, 73 Phil.)

Contrary to an immediate impression one might get upon a reading of the foregoing excerpts from
the opinion in Garcia that the concurrence of the Penal Code and the Civil Code therein referred to
contemplate only acts of negligence and not intentional voluntary acts - deeper reflection would
reveal that the thrust of the pronouncements therein is not so limited, but that in fact it actually
extends to fault or culpa. This can be seen in the reference made therein to the Sentence of the
Supreme Court of Spain of February 14, 1919, supra, which involved a case of fraud or estafa, not a
negligent act. Indeed, Article 1093 of the Civil Code of Spain, in force here at the time of Garcia,
provided textually that obligations "which are derived from acts or omissions in which fault or
negligence, not punishable by law, intervene shall be the subject of Chapter II, Title XV of this book
(which refers to quasi-delicts.)" And it is precisely the underline qualification, "not punishable by law",
that Justice Bocobo emphasized could lead to an ultimo construction or interpretation of the letter of
the law that "killeth, rather than the spirit that giveth lift- hence, the ruling that "(W)e will not use the
literal meaning of the law to smother and render almost lifeless a principle of such ancient origin and
such full-grown development as culpa aquiliana or quasi-delito, which is conserved and made
enduring in articles 1902 to 1910 of the Spanish Civil Code." And so, because Justice Bacobo was
Chairman of the Code Commission that drafted the original text of the new Civil Code, it is to be
noted that the said Code, which was enacted after the Garcia doctrine, no longer uses the term, 11
not punishable by law," thereby making it clear that the concept of culpa aquiliana includes acts
which are criminal in character or in violation of the penal law, whether voluntary or matter. Thus, the
corresponding provisions to said Article 1093 in the new code, which is Article 1162, simply says,
"Obligations derived from quasi-delicto shall be governed by the provisions of Chapter 2, Title XVII of
this Book, (on quasi-delicts) and by special laws." More precisely, a new provision, Article 2177 of
the new code provides:

ART. 2177. Responsibility for fault or negligence under the preceding article is
entirely separate and distinct from the civil liability arising from negligence under the
Penal Code. But the plaintiff cannot recover damages twice for the same act or
omission of the defendant.

According to the Code Commission: "The foregoing provision (Article 2177) through at first sight
startling, is not so novel or extraordinary when we consider the exact nature of criminal and civil
negligence. The former is a violation of the criminal law, while the latter is a "culpa aquiliana" or
quasi-delict, of ancient origin, having always had its own foundation and individuality, separate from
criminal negligence. Such distinction between criminal negligence and "culpa extracontractual" or
"cuasi-delito" has been sustained by decision of the Supreme Court of Spain and maintained as
clear, sound and perfectly tenable by Maura, an outstanding Spanish jurist. Therefore, under the
proposed Article 2177, acquittal from an accusation of criminal negligence, whether on reasonable
doubt or not, shall not be a bar to a subsequent civil action, not for civil liability arising from criminal
negligence, but for damages due to a quasi-delict or 'culpa aquiliana'. But said article forestalls a
double recovery.", (Report of the Code) Commission, p. 162.)

Although, again, this Article 2177 does seem to literally refer to only acts of negligence, the same
argument of Justice Bacobo about construction that upholds "the spirit that giveth lift- rather than that
which is literal that killeth the intent of the lawmaker should be observed in applying the same. And
considering that the preliminary chapter on human relations of the new Civil Code definitely
establishes the separability and independence of liability in a civil action for acts criminal in character
(under Articles 29 to 32) from the civil responsibility arising from crime fixed by Article 100 of the
Revised Penal Code, and, in a sense, the Rules of Court, under Sections 2 and 3 (c), Rule 111,
contemplate also the same separability, it is "more congruent with the spirit of law, equity and justice,
and more in harmony with modern progress"- to borrow the felicitous relevant language in Rakes vs.
Atlantic. Gulf and Pacific Co., 7 Phil. 359, to hold, as We do hold, that Article 2176, where it refers to
"fault or negligencia covers not only acts "not punishable by law" but also acts criminal in character,
whether intentional and voluntary or negligent. Consequently, a separate civil action lies against the
offender in a criminal act, whether or not he is criminally prosecuted and found guilty or acquitted,
provided that the offended party is not allowed, if he is actually charged also criminally, to recover
damages on both scores, and would be entitled in such eventuality only to the bigger award of the
two, assuming the awards made in the two cases vary. In other words, the extinction of civil liability
referred to in Par. (e) of Section 3, Rule 111, refers exclusively to civil liability founded on Article 100
of the Revised Penal Code, whereas the civil liability for the same act considered as a quasi-
delict only and not as a crime is not estinguished even by a declaration in the criminal case that the
criminal act charged has not happened or has not been committed by the accused. Briefly stated,
We here hold, in reiteration of Garcia, that culpa aquiliana includes voluntary and negligent acts
which may be punishable by law.4

It results, therefore, that the acquittal of Reginal Hill in the criminal case has not extinguished his
liability for quasi-delict, hence that acquittal is not a bar to the instant action against him.

Coming now to the second issue about the effect of Reginald's emancipation by marriage on the
possible civil liability of Atty. Hill, his father, it is also Our considered opinion that the conclusion of
appellees that Atty. Hill is already free from responsibility cannot be upheld.

While it is true that parental authority is terminated upon emancipation of the child (Article 327, Civil
Code), and under Article 397, emancipation takes place "by the marriage of the minor (child)", it is,
however, also clear that pursuant to Article 399, emancipation by marriage of the minor is not really
full or absolute. Thus "(E)mancipation by marriage or by voluntary concession shall terminate
parental authority over the child's person. It shall enable the minor to administer his property as
though he were of age, but he cannot borrow money or alienate or encumber real property without
the consent of his father or mother, or guardian. He can sue and be sued in court only with the
assistance of his father, mother or guardian."

Now under Article 2180, "(T)he obligation imposed by article 2176 is demandable not only for one's
own acts or omissions, but also for those of persons for whom one is responsible. The father and, in
case of his death or incapacity, the mother, are responsible. The father and, in case of his death or
incapacity, the mother, are responsible for the damages caused by the minor children who live in
their company." In the instant case, it is not controverted that Reginald, although married, was living
with his father and getting subsistence from him at the time of the occurrence in question. Factually,
therefore, Reginald was still subservient to and dependent on his father, a situation which is not
unusual.

It must be borne in mind that, according to Manresa, the reason behind the joint and solidary liability
of presuncion with their offending child under Article 2180 is that is the obligation of the parent to
supervise their minor children in order to prevent them from causing damage to third persons. 5 On
the other hand, the clear implication of Article 399, in providing that a minor emancipated by marriage
may not, nevertheless, sue or be sued without the assistance of the parents, is that such emancipation
does not carry with it freedom to enter into transactions or do any act that can give rise to judicial
litigation. (See Manresa, Id., Vol. II, pp. 766-767, 776.) And surely, killing someone else invites judicial
action. Otherwise stated, the marriage of a minor child does not relieve the parents of the duty to see to it
that the child, while still a minor, does not give answerable for the borrowings of money and alienation or
encumbering of real property which cannot be done by their minor married child without their consent.
(Art. 399; Manresa, supra.)

Accordingly, in Our considered view, Article 2180 applies to Atty. Hill notwithstanding the
emancipation by marriage of Reginald. However, inasmuch as it is evident that Reginald is now of
age, as a matter of equity, the liability of Atty. Hill has become milling, subsidiary to that of his son.

WHEREFORE, the order appealed from is reversed and the trial court is ordered to proceed in
accordance with the foregoing opinion. Costs against appellees.

G.R. No. L-46179 January 31, 1978

CANDIDA VIRATA, TOMAS VIRATA, MANOLITO VIRATA, EDERLINDA VIRATA, NAPOLEON


VIRATA, ARACELY VIRATA, ZENAIDA VIRATA, LUZMINDA VIRATA, PACITA VIRATA, and
EVANGELINA VIRATA, petitioners,
vs.
VICTORIO OCHOA, MAXIMO BORILLA and THE COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE OF CAVITE, 7th
JUDICIAL DISTRICT, BRANCH V, stationed at BACOOR, CAVITE, respondents.

Remulla, Estrella & Associates for petitioners

Exequil C. Masangkay for respondents.

FERNANDEZ, J.:
This is an appeal by certiorari, from the order of the Court of First Instance of Cavite, Branch V, in
Civil Case No. B-134 granting the motion of the defendants to dismiss the complaint on the ground
that there is another action pending between the same parties for the same cause. 1

The record shows that on September 24, 1975 one Arsenio Virata died as a result of having been
bumped while walking along Taft Avenue, Pasay City by a passenger jeepney driven by Maximo
Borilla and registered in the name Of Victoria Ochoa; that Borilla is the employer of Ochoa; that for
the death of Arsenio Virata, a action for homicide through reckless imprudence was instituted on
September 25, 1975 against Maximo Borilla in the Court of First Instance of Rizal at Pasay City,
docketed as C Case No. 3162-P of said court; that at the hearing of the said criminal case on
December 12, 1975, Atty. Julio Francisco, the private prosecutor, made a reservation to file a
separate civil action for damages against the driver on his criminal liability; that on February 19,
1976 Atty. Julio Francisco filed a motion in said c case to withdraw the reservation to file a separate
civil action; that thereafter, the private prosecutor actively participated in the trial and presented
evidence on the damages; that on June 29, 1976 the heirs of Arsenio Virata again reserved their
right to institute a separate civil action; that on July 19, 1977 the heirs of Arsenio Virata, petitioners
herein, commenced Civil No. B-134 in the Court of First Instance of Cavite at Bacoor, Branch V, for
damages based on quasi-delict against the driver Maximo Borilla and the registered owner of the
jeepney, Victorio Ochoa; that on August 13, 1976 the defendants, private respondents filed a motion
to dismiss on the ground that there is another action, Criminal Case No. 3162-P, pending between
the same parties for the same cause; that on September 8, 1976 the Court of First Instance of Rizal
at Pasay City a decision in Criminal Case No. 3612-P acquitting the accused Maximo Borilla on the
ground that he caused an injury by name accident; and that on January 31, 1977, the Court of First
Instance of Cavite at Bacoor granted the motion to Civil Case No. B-134 for damages. 2

The principal issue is weather or not the of the Arsenio Virata, can prosecute an action for the
damages based on quasi-delict against Maximo Borilla and Victoria Ochoa, driver and owner,
respectively on the passenger jeepney that bumped Arsenio Virata.

It is settled that in negligence cases the aggrieved parties may choose between an action under the
Revised Penal Code or of quasi-delict under Article 2176 of the Civil Code of the Philippines. What is
prohibited by Article 2177 of the Civil Code of the Philippines is to recover twice for the same
negligent act.

The Supreme Court has held that:

According to the Code Commission: 'The foregoing provision (Article 2177) though at
first sight startling, is not so novel or extraordinary when we consider the exact
nature of criminal and civil negligence. The former is a violation of the criminal law,
while the latter is a 'culpa aquiliana' or quasi-delict, of ancient origin, having always
had its own foundation and individuality, separate from criminal negligence. Such
distinction between criminal negligence and 'culpa extra-contractual' or quasi-delito
has been sustained by decision of the Supreme Court of Spain and maintained as
clear, sound and perfectly tenable by Maura, an outstanding Spanish jurist.
Therefore, under the proposed Article 2177, acquittal from an accusation of criminal
negligence, whether on reasonable doubt or not, shall not be a bar to a subsequent
civil action, not for civil liability arising from criminal negligence, but for damages due
to a quasi-delict or 'culpa aquiliana'. But said article forestalls a double recovery.
(Report of the Code Commission, p. 162.)

Although, again, this Article 2177 does seem to literally refer to only acts of
negligence, the same argument of Justice Bocobo about construction that upholds
'the spirit that given life' rather than that which is literal that killeth the intent of the
lawmaker should be observed in applying the same. And considering that the
preliminary chapter on human relations of the new Civil Code definitely establishes
the separability and independence of liability in a civil action for acts criminal in
character (under Articles 29 to 32) from the civil responsibility arising from crime fixed
by Article 100 of the Penal Code, and, in a sense, the Rules of Court, under Sections
2 and 3(c), Rule 111, contemplate also the same separability, it is 'more congruent'
with the spirit of law, equity and justice, and more in harmony with modern progress',
to borrow the felicitous language in Rakes vs. Atlantic Gulf and Pacific Co., 7 Phil. to
359, to hod as We do hold, that Article 2176, where it refers to 'fault covers not only
acts 'not punishable by law' but also criminal in character, whether intentional and
voluntary or consequently, a separate civil action lies against the in a criminal act,
whether or not he is criminally prosecuted and found guilty and acquitted, provided
that the offended party is not allowed, if he is actually charged also criminally, to
recover damages on both scores, and would be entitled in such eventuality only to
the bigger award of the, two assuming the awards made in the two cases vary. In
other words the extinction of civil liability refereed to in Par. (c) of Section 13, Rule
111, refers exclusively to civil liability founded on Article 100 of the Revised Penal
Code, whereas the civil liability for the same act considered as a quasi-delict only
and not as a crime is not extinguished even by a declaration in the criminal case that
the criminal act charged has not happened or has not been committed by the
accused. Brief stated, We hold, in reitration of Garcia, that culpa aquilina includes
voluntary and negligent acts which may be punishable by law. 3

The petitioners are not seeking to recover twice for the same negligent act. Before Criminal Case
No. 3162-P was decided, they manifested in said criminal case that they were filing a separate civil
action for damages against the owner and driver of the passenger jeepney based on quasi-
delict. The acquittal of the driver, Maximo Borilla, of the crime charged in Criminal Case No. 3162-P
is not a bar to the prosecution of Civil Case No. B-134 for damages based on quasi-delict The
source of the obligation sought to be enforced in Civil Case No. B-134 is quasi-delict, not an act or
omission punishable by law. Under Article 1157 of the Civil Code of the Philippines, quasi-delict and
an act or omission punishable by law are two different sources of obligation.

Moreover, for the petitioners to prevail in the action for damages, Civil Case No. B-134, they have
only to establish their cause of action by preponderance of the evidence.

WHEREFORE, the order of dismissal appealed from is hereby set aside and Civil Case No. B-134 is
reinstated and remanded to the lower court for further proceedings, with costs against the private
respondents.

SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 78911-25 December 11, 1987

CHARMINA B. BANAL, petitioner,


vs.
THE HON. TOMAS V. TADEO, JR., Presiding Judge, RTC-Quezon City, Branch 105 and
Rosario Claudia respondents.

GUTIERREZ, JR., J.:


This is a petition for certiorari to review and set aside the orders of the respondent Regional Trial
Court, Branch 105, Quezon City dated (1) 8 January 1987 which rejected the appearance of Atty.
Nicolito L. Bustos as private prosecutor in Criminal Cases Nos. Q-40909 to Q-40913 where
respondent Rosario Claudio is the accused for violation of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22; and (2) 31
March 1987 which denied the petitioner's motion for reconsideration of the order dated 8 January
1987; and for mandamus to allow Atty. Bustos to enter his appearance as private prosecutor in the
aforestated criminal cases.

It appears that fifteen (15) separate informations for violation of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22 or the
Bouncing Checks Law, docketed as Criminal Cases Nos. 40909-40913, were filed against
respondent Claudio before the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City and originally assigned to Branch
84.

The presiding judge of Branch 84 inhibited himself when respondent Claudio, through counsel, filed
a petition for recuse dated May 19,1986.

The cases were re-raffled and consequently assigned on June 25, 1986 to Branch 105 which was
then presided over by Judge Johnico G. Serquina

During these proceedings, respondent Claudio was finally arraigned on November 20, 1986 where
she pleaded not guilty to the charges. Pre-trial was then set on January 8, 1987.

In the meantime Judge Tomas V. Tadeo, Jr. replaced Judge Serquina as presiding judge of Branch
105.

On January 8, 1987, the respondent court issued an order rejecting the appearance of Atty. Nicolito
L. Bustos as private prosecutor on the ground that the charge is for the violation of Batas Pambansa
Blg. 22 which does not provide for any civil liability or indemnity and hence, "it is not a crime against
property but public order."

The petitioner, through counsel filed a motion for reconsideration of the order dated 8 January 1987
on March 10, 1987.

Respondent Claudio filed her opposition to the motion for reconsideration on March 25, 1987.

In an order dated 31 March 1987, the respondent court denied petitioner's motion for
reconsideration.

Hence, this petition questioning the orders of the respondent Court.

The issue to be resolved is whether or not the respondent Court acted with grave abuse of discretion
or in excess of its jurisdiction in rejecting the appearance of a private prosecutor.

The respondents make capital of the fact that Batas Pambansa Blg. 22 punishes the act of
knowingly issuing worthless checks as an offense against public order. As such, it is argued that it is
the State and the public that are the principal complainants and, therefore, no civil indemnity is
provided for by Batas Pambansa Blg. 22 for which a private party or prosecutor may intervene.

On the other hand, the petitioner, relying on the legal axiom that "Every man criminally liable is also
civilly liable," contends that indemnity may be recovered from the offender regardless of whether or
not Batas Pambansa Blg. 22 so provides.
A careful study of the concept of civil liability allows a solution to the issue in the case at bar.

Generally, the basis of civil liability arising from crime is the fundamental postulate of our law that
"Every man criminally liable is also civilly liable" (Art. 100, The Revised Penal Code). Underlying this
legal principle is the traditional theory that when a person commits a crime he offends two entities
namely ( 1) the society in which he lives in or the political entity called the State whose law he had
violated; and (2) the individual member of that society whose person, right, honor, chastity or
property was actually or directly injured or damaged by the same punishable act or omission.
However, this rather broad and general provision is among the most complex and controversial
topics in criminal procedure. It can be misleading in its implications especially where the same act or
omission may be treated as a crime in one instance and as a tort in another or where the law allows
a separate civil action to proceed independently of the course of the criminal prosecution with which
it is intimately intertwined. Many legal scholars treat as a misconception or fallacy the generally
accepted notion that, the civil liability actually arises from the crime when, in the ultimate analysis, it
does not. While an act or omission is felonious because it is punishable by law, it gives rise to civil
liability not so much because it is a crime but because it caused damage to another. Viewing things
pragmatically, we can readily see that what gives rise to the civil liability is really the obligation and
the moral duty of everyone to repair or make whole the damage caused to another by reason of his
own act or omission, done intentionally or negligently, whether or not the same be punishable by
law. In other words, criminal liability will give rise to civil liability only if the same felonious act or
omission results in damage or injury to another and is the direct and proximate cause thereof.
Damage or injury to another is evidently the foundation of the civil action. Such is not the case in
criminal actions for, to be criminally liable, it is enough that the act or omission complained of is
punishable, regardless of whether or not it also causes material damage to another. (See Sangco,
Philippine Law on Torts and Damages, 1978, Revised Edition, pp. 246-247).

Article 20 of the New Civil Code provides:

Every person who, contrary to law, wilfully or negligently causes damage to another,
shall indemnify the latter for the same.

Regardless, therefore, of whether or not a special law so provides, indemnification of the offended
party may be had on account of the damage, loss or injury directly suffered as a consequence of the
wrongful act of another. The indemnity which a person is sentenced to pay forms an integral part of
the penalty imposed by law for the commission of a crime (Quemel v. Court of Appeals, 22 SCRA
44, citing Bagtas v. Director of Prisons, 84 Phil. 692). Every crime gives rise to a penal or criminal
action for the punishment of the guilty party, and also to civil action for the restitution of the thing,
repair of the damage, and indemnification for the losses. (United States v. Bernardo, 19 Phil. 265).

Indeed one cannot disregard the private party in the case at bar who suffered the offenses
committed against her. Not only the State but the petitioner too is entitled to relief as a member of
the public which the law seeks to protect. She was assured that the checks were good when she
parted with money, property or services. She suffered with the State when the checks bounced.

In Lozano v. Hon. Martinez (G.R. No. 63419, December 18, 1986) and the cases consolidated
therewith, we held that "The effects of a worthless check transcend the private interests of the
parties directly involved in the transaction and touch the interests of the community at large." Yet, we
too recognized the wrong done to the private party defrauded when we stated therein that "The
mischief it creates is not only a wrong to the payee or the holder, but also an injury to the public."
Civil liability to the offended private party cannot thus be denied, The payee of the check is entitled
to receive the payment of money for which the worthless check was issued. Having been caused the
damage, she is entitled to recompense.

Surely, it could not have been the intendment of the framers of Batas Pambansa Big. 22 to leave the
offended private party defrauded and empty- handed by excluding the civil liability of the offender,
giving her only the remedy, which in many cases results in a Pyrrhic victory, of having to file a
separate civil suit. To do so, may leave the offended party unable to recover even the face value of
the check due her, thereby unjustly enriching the errant drawer at the expense of the payee. The
protection which the law seeks to provide would, therefore, be brought to naught.

The petitioner's intervention in the prosecution of Criminal Cases 40909 to 40913 is justified not only
for the protection of her interests but also in the interest of the speedy and inexpensive
administration of justice mandated by the Constitution (Section 16, Article III, Bill of Rights,
Constitution of 1987). A separate civil action for the purpose would only prove to be costly,
burdensome, and time-consuming for both parties and further delay the final disposition of the case.
This multiplicity of suits must be avoided. Where petitioner's rights may be fulIy adjudicated in the
proceedings before the trial court, resort t o a separate action to recover civil liability is clearly
unwarranted.

WHEREFORE the petition is hereby GRANTED. The respondent court is ordered to permit the
intervention of a private prosecutor in behalf of petitioner Charmina B. Banal, in the prosecution of
the civil aspect of Criminasl Cases Nos. 40909 to 40913. The temporary restraining order issued by
this court a quo for further proceedings. This decision is immediately executory.

SO ORDERED.

THIRD DIVISION

G.R. No. 82146 January 22, 1990

EULOGIO OCCENA, petitioner,


vs.
HON. PEDRO M. ICAMINA, Presiding Judge, Branch X of the Regional Trial Court Sixth
Judicial Region, San Jose, Antique; THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, represented by the
Honorable Provincial Fiscal of Antique; and CRISTINA VEGAFRIA, respondents.

Comelec Legal Assistance Office for petitioner.


Comelec Legal Assistance Officer for private respondent.

FERNAN, C.J.:

On May 31, 1979, herein petitioner Eulogio Occena instituted before the Second Municipal Circuit
Trial Court of Sibalom, San Remigio — Belison, Province of Antique, Criminal Case No. 1717, a
criminal complaint for Grave Oral Defamation against herein private respondent Cristina Vegafria for
allegedly openly, publicly and maliciously uttering the following insulting words and statements:
"Gago ikaw nga Barangay Captain, montisco, traidor, malugus, Hudas," which, freely translated,
mean: "You are a foolish Barangay Captain, ignoramus, traitor, tyrant, Judas" and other words and
statements of similar import which caused great and irreparable damage and injury to his person
and honor.

Private respondent as accused therein entered a plea of not guilty. Trial thereafter ensued, at which
petitioner, without reserving his right to file a separate civil action for damages actively intervened
thru a private prosecutor.

After trial, private respondent was convicted of the offense of Slight Oral Defamation and was
sentenced to pay a fine of Fifty Pesos (P50.00) with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency
and to pay the costs. No damages were awarded to petitioner in view of the trial court's opinion that
"the facts and circumstances of the case as adduced by the evidence do not warrant the awarding of
moral damages." 1

Disagreeing, petitioner sought relief from the Regional Trial Court, which in a decision dated March
16, 1987 disposed of petitioner's appeal as follows:

IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the civil aspect of the lower court's decision of April 20,
1981 subject of this appeal, for lack of merit, is hereby DENIED.

After the decision shall have become final, remand the records of this case to the court of
origin, Second Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Sibalom, San Remigio-Belison, Antique, for
the execution of its decision on the criminal aspect.

SO ORDERED. 2

Petitioner is now before us by way of a petition for review on certiorari seeking to annul the RTC
decision for being contrary to Article 100 of the Revised Penal Code providing that every person
criminally liable for a felony is also civilly liable, and Article 2219 of the New Civil Code providing that
moral damages may be recovered in libel, slander or any other form of defamation. He submits that
public respondent RTC erred in relying on the cases of Roa vs. de la Cruz, 107 Phil. 10 and Tan
vs. Standard Vacuum Oil Co., et al., 91 Phil. 672 cited therein. He differentiates said cases from the
case at bar by saying that in the case of Roa, the decision of the trial court had become final before
Maria C. Roa instituted a civil action for damages; whereas in the instant case, the decision of the
trial court has not yet become final by reason of the timely appeal interposed by him and no civil
action for damages has been instituted by petitioner against private respondent for the same
cause. Tan, on the other hand, contemplates of two actions, one criminal and one civil, and the
prosecution of the criminal case had resulted in the acquittal of the accused, which is not the
situation here where the civil aspect was impliedly instituted with the criminal action in accordance
with Section 1, Rule 111, of the Rules of Court.

Private respondent for her part argues that the decision of the trial court carries with it the final
adjudication of her civil liability. Since petitioner chose to actively intervene in the criminal action
without reserving his right to file a separate civil action for damages, he assumed the risk that in the
event he failed to recover damages he cannot appeal from the decision of the lower court.

We find merit in the petition.

The issues confronting us in the instant petition is whether or not the decision of the Second
Municipal Trial Court of Sibalom, San-Remigio-Belison, Province of Antique constitutes the final
adjudication on the merits of private respondent's civil liability; and whether or not petitioner is
entitled to an award of damages arising from the remarks uttered by private respondent and found
by the trial court to be defamatory.
The decision of the Municipal Circuit Trial Court as affirmed by the Regional Trial Court in Criminal
Case No. 1709 cannot be considered as a final adjudication on the civil liability of private respondent
simply because said decision has not yet become final due to the timely appeal filed by petitioner
with respect to the civil liability of the accused in said case. It was only the unappealed criminal
aspect of the case which has become final.

In the case of People vs. Coloma, 105 Phil. 1287, we categorically stated that from a judgment
convicting the accused, two (2) appeals may, accordingly, be taken. The accused may seek a review
of said judgment, as regards both civil and criminal actions; while the complainant may appeal with
respect only to the civil action, either because the lower court has refused to award damages or
because the award made is unsatisfactory to him. The right of either to appeal or not to appeal in the
event of conviction of the accused is not dependent upon the other. Thus, private respondent's
theory that in actively intervening in the criminal action, petitioner waived his right to appeal from the
decision that may be rendered therein, is incorrect and inaccurate. Petitioner may, as he did, appeal
from the decision on the civil aspect which is deemed instituted with the criminal action and such
appeal, timely taken, prevents the decision on the civil liability from attaining finality.

We tackle the second issue by determining the basis of civil liability arising from crime. Civil
obligations arising from criminal offenses are governed by Article 100 of the Revised Penal Code
which provides that "(E)very person criminally liable for a felony is also civilly liable," in relation to
Article 2177 of the Civil Code on quasi-delict, the provisions for independent civil actions in the
Chapter on Human Relations and the provisions regulating damages, also found in the Civil Code.

Underlying the legal principle that a person who is criminally liable is also civilly liable is the view that
from the standpoint of its effects, a crime has dual character: (1) as an offense against the state
because of the disturbance of the social order; and (2) as an offense against the private person
injured by the crime unless it involves the crime of treason, rebellion, espionage, contempt and
others wherein no civil liability arises on the part of the offender either because there are no
damages to be compensated or there is no private person injured by the crime. 3

In the ultimate analysis, what gives rise to the civil liability is really the obligation of everyone to
repair or to make whole the damage caused to another by reason of his act or omission, whether
done intentional or negligently and whether or not punishable by law. 4

In the case at bar, private respondent was found guilty of slight oral defamation and sentenced to a
fine of P50.00 with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, but no civil liability arising from the
felonious act of the accused was adjudged. This is erroneous. As a general rule, a person who is
found to be criminally liable offends two (2) entities: the state or society in which he lives and the
individual member of the society or private person who was injured or damaged by the punishable
act or omission. The offense of which private respondent was found guilty is not one of those
felonies where no civil liability results because either there is no offended party or no damage was
caused to a private person. There is here an offended party, whose main contention precisely is that
he suffered damages in view of the defamatory words and statements uttered by private respondent,
in the amount of Ten Thousand Pesos (P10,000.00) as moral damages and the further sum of Ten
Thousand Pesos (P10,000) as exemplary damages.

Article 2219, par. (7) of the Civil Code allows the recovery of moral damages in case of libel, slander
or any other form of defamation This provision of law establishes the right of an offended party in a
case for oral defamation to recover from the guilty party damages for injury to his feelings and
reputation. The offended party is likewise allowed to recover punitive or exemplary damages.
It must be remembered that every defamatory imputation is presumed to be malicious, even if it be
true, if no good intention and justifiable motive for making it is shown. And malice may be inferred
from the style and tone of publication 5 subject to certain exceptions which are not present in the
case at bar.

Calling petitioner who was a barangay captain an ignoramus, traitor, tyrant and Judas is clearly an
imputation of defects in petitioner's character sufficient to cause him embarrassment and social
humiliation. Petitioner testified to the feelings of shame and anguish he suffered as a result of the
incident complained of. 6 It is patently error for the trial court to overlook this vital piece of evidence
and to conclude that the "facts and circumstances of the case as adduced by the evidence do not
warrant the awarding of moral damages." Having misapprehended the facts, the trial court's findings
with respect thereto is not conclusive upon us.

From the evidence presented, we rule that for the injury to his feelings and reputation, being a
barangay captain, petitioner is entitled to moral damages in the sum of P5,000.00 and a further sum
of P5,000.00 as exemplary damages.

WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby GRANTED. The decision of the Regional Trial Court is hereby
MODIFIED and private respondent is ordered to pay petitioner the amount of P5,000.00 as moral
damages and another P5,000.00 as exemplary damages. Costs against private respondent.

SO ORDERED

G.R. No. 169467 February 25, 2010

ALFREDO P. PACIS and CLEOPATRA D. PACIS, Petitioners,


vs.
JEROME JOVANNE MORALES, Respondent.

DECISION

CARPIO, J.:

The Case

This petition for review1 assails the 11 May 2005 Decision2 and the 19 August 2005 Resolution of the
Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 60669.

The Facts

On 17 January 1995, petitioners Alfredo P. Pacis and Cleopatra D. Pacis (petitioners) filed with the
trial court a civil case for damages against respondent Jerome Jovanne Morales (respondent).
Petitioners are the parents of Alfred Dennis Pacis, Jr. (Alfred), a 17-year old student who died in a
shooting incident inside the Top Gun Firearms and Ammunitions Store (gun store) in Baguio City.
Respondent is the owner of the gun store.

The facts as found by the trial court are as follows:

On January 19, 1991, Alfred Dennis Pacis, then 17 years old and a first year student at the Baguio
Colleges Foundation taking up BS Computer Science, died due to a gunshot wound in the head
which he sustained while he was at the Top Gun Firearm[s] and Ammunition[s] Store located at
Upper Mabini Street, Baguio City. The gun store was owned and operated by defendant Jerome
Jovanne Morales.

With Alfred Pacis at the time of the shooting were Aristedes Matibag and Jason Herbolario. They
were sales agents of the defendant, and at that particular time, the caretakers of the gun store.

The bullet which killed Alfred Dennis Pacis was fired from a gun brought in by a customer of the gun
store for repair.

The gun, an AMT Automag II Cal. 22 Rimfire Magnum with Serial No. SN-H34194 (Exhibit "Q"), was
left by defendant Morales in a drawer of a table located inside the gun store.

Defendant Morales was in Manila at the time. His employee Armando Jarnague, who was the
regular caretaker of the gun store was also not around. He left earlier and requested sales agents
Matibag and Herbolario to look after the gun store while he and defendant Morales were away.
Jarnague entrusted to Matibag and Herbolario a bunch of keys used in the gun store which included
the key to the drawer where the fatal gun was kept.

It appears that Matibag and Herbolario later brought out the gun from the drawer and placed it on top
of the table. Attracted by the sight of the gun, the young Alfred Dennis Pacis got hold of the same.
Matibag asked Alfred Dennis Pacis to return the gun. The latter followed and handed the gun to
Matibag. It went off, the bullet hitting the young Alfred in the head.

A criminal case for homicide was filed against Matibag before branch VII of this Court. Matibag,
however, was acquitted of the charge against him because of the exempting circumstance of
"accident" under Art. 12, par. 4 of the Revised Penal Code.

By agreement of the parties, the evidence adduced in the criminal case for homicide against Matibag
was reproduced and adopted by them as part of their evidence in the instant case.3

On 8 April 1998, the trial court rendered its decision in favor of petitioners. The dispositive portion of
the decision reads:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiffs [Spouses
Alfredo P. Pacis and Cleopatra D. Pacis] and against the defendant [Jerome Jovanne Morales]
ordering the defendant to pay plaintiffs —

(1) ₱30,000.00 as indemnity for the death of Alfred Pacis;

(2) ₱29,437.65 as actual damages for the hospitalization and burial expenses incurred by the
plaintiffs;

(3) ₱100,000.00 as compensatory damages;

(4) ₱100,000.00 as moral damages;

(5) ₱50,000.00 as attorney’s fees.

SO ORDERED.4
Respondent appealed to the Court of Appeals. In its Decision5 dated 11 May 2005, the Court of
Appeals reversed the trial court’s Decision and absolved respondent from civil liability under Article
2180 of the Civil Code.6

Petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration, which the Court of Appeals denied in its Resolution
dated 19 August 2005.

Hence, this petition.

The Trial Court’s Ruling

The trial court held respondent civilly liable for the death of Alfred under Article 2180 in relation to
Article 2176 of the Civil Code.7 The trial court held that the accidental shooting of Alfred which
caused his death was partly due to the negligence of respondent’s employee Aristedes Matibag
(Matibag). Matibag and Jason Herbolario (Herbolario) were employees of respondent even if they
were only paid on a commission basis. Under the Civil Code, respondent is liable for the damages
caused by Matibag on the occasion of the performance of his duties, unless respondent proved that
he observed the diligence of a good father of a family to prevent the damage. The trial court held
that respondent failed to observe the required diligence when he left the key to the drawer containing
the loaded defective gun without instructing his employees to be careful in handling the loaded gun.

The Court of Appeals’ Ruling

The Court of Appeals held that respondent cannot be held civilly liable since there was no employer-
employee relationship between respondent and Matibag. The Court of Appeals found that Matibag
was not under the control of respondent with respect to the means and methods in the performance
of his work. There can be no employer-employee relationship where the element of control is absent.
Thus, Article 2180 of the Civil Code does not apply in this case and respondent cannot be held
liable.

Furthermore, the Court of Appeals ruled that even if respondent is considered an employer of
Matibag, still respondent cannot be held liable since no negligence can be attributed to him. As
explained by the Court of Appeals:

Granting arguendo that an employer-employee relationship existed between Aristedes Matibag and
the defendant-appellant, we find that no negligence can be attributed to him.

Negligence is best exemplified in the case of Picart vs. Smith (37 Phil. 809). The test of negligence
is this:

"x x x. Could a prudent man, in the position of the person to whom negligence is attributed, foresee
harm to the person injured as a reasonable consequence of the course about to be pursued? If so,
the law imposes a duty on the actor to refrain from that course or take precaution against its
mischievous results, and the failure to do so constitutes negligence. x x x."

Defendant-appellant maintains that he is not guilty of negligence and lack of due care as he did not
fail to observe the diligence of a good father of a family. He submits that he kept the firearm in one of
his table drawers, which he locked and such is already an indication that he took the necessary
diligence and care that the said gun would not be accessible to anyone. He puts [sic] that his store is
engaged in selling firearms and ammunitions. Such items which are per se dangerous are kept in a
place which is properly secured in order that the persons coming into the gun store would not be
able to take hold of it unless it is done intentionally, such as when a customer is interested to
purchase any of the firearms, ammunitions and other related items, in which case, he may be
allowed to handle the same.

We agree. Much as We sympathize with the family of the deceased, defendant-appellant is not to be
blamed. He exercised due diligence in keeping his loaded gun while he was on a business trip in
Manila. He placed it inside the drawer and locked it. It was taken away without his knowledge and
authority. Whatever happened to the deceased was purely accidental.8

The Issues

Petitioners raise the following issues:

I. THE APPELLATE COURT COMMITTED SERIOUS ERROR IN RENDERING THE DECISION


AND RESOLUTION IN QUESTION IN DISREGARD OF LAW AND JURISPRUDENCE BY
REVERSING THE ORDER OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT (BRANCH 59) OF BAGUIO CITY
NOTWITHSTANDING CLEAR, AUTHENTIC RECORDS AND TESTIMONIES PRESENTED
DURING THE TRIAL WHICH NEGATE AND CONTRADICT ITS FINDINGS.

II. THE APPELLATE COURT COMMITTED GRAVE, REVERSIBLE ERROR IN RENDERING THE
DECISION AND RESOLUTION IN QUESTION BY DEPARTING FROM THE ACCEPTED AND
USUAL COURSE OF JUDICIAL PROCEEDINGS THEREBY IGNORING THE FACTUAL FINDINGS
OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT (BRANCH 59) OF BAGUIO CITY SHOWING PETITIONER’S
CLEAR RIGHTS TO THE AWARD OF DAMAGES.9

The Ruling of the Court

We find the petition meritorious.

This case for damages arose out of the accidental shooting of petitioners’ son. Under Article
116110 of the Civil Code, petitioners may enforce their claim for damages based on the civil liability
arising from the crime under Article 10011 of the Revised Penal Code or they may opt to file an
independent civil action for damages under the Civil Code. In this case, instead of enforcing their
claim for damages in the homicide case filed against Matibag, petitioners opted to file an
independent civil action for damages against respondent whom they alleged was Matibag’s
employer. Petitioners based their claim for damages under Articles 2176 and 2180 of the Civil Code.

Unlike the subsidiary liability of the employer under Article 10312 of the Revised Penal Code,13 the
liability of the employer, or any person for that matter, under Article 2176 of the Civil Code is primary
and direct, based on a person’s own negligence. Article 2176 states:

Art. 2176. Whoever by act or omission causes damage to another, there being fault or negligence, is
obliged to pay for the damage done. Such fault or negligence, if there is no pre-existing contractual
relation between the parties, is called quasi-delict and is governed by the provisions of this Chapter.

This case involves the accidental discharge of a firearm inside a gun store. Under PNP Circular No.
1avvphi1

9, entitled the "Policy on Firearms and Ammunition Dealership/Repair," a person who is in the
business of purchasing and selling of firearms and ammunition must maintain basic security and
safety requirements of a gun dealer, otherwise his License to Operate Dealership will be suspended
or canceled.14
Indeed, a higher degree of care is required of someone who has in his possession or under his
control an instrumentality extremely dangerous in character, such as dangerous weapons or
substances. Such person in possession or control of dangerous instrumentalities has the duty to
take exceptional precautions to prevent any injury being done thereby.15 Unlike the ordinary affairs of
life or business which involve little or no risk, a business dealing with dangerous weapons requires
the exercise of a higher degree of care.

As a gun store owner, respondent is presumed to be knowledgeable about firearms safety and
should have known never to keep a loaded weapon in his store to avoid unreasonable risk of harm
or injury to others. Respondent has the duty to ensure that all the guns in his store are not loaded.
Firearms should be stored unloaded and separate from ammunition when the firearms are not
needed for ready-access defensive use.16 With more reason, guns accepted by the store for repair
should not be loaded precisely because they are defective and may cause an accidental discharge
such as what happened in this case. Respondent was clearly negligent when he accepted the gun
for repair and placed it inside the drawer without ensuring first that it was not loaded. In the first
place, the defective gun should have been stored in a vault. Before accepting the defective gun for
repair, respondent should have made sure that it was not loaded to prevent any untoward accident.
Indeed, respondent should never accept a firearm from another person, until the cylinder or action is
open and he has personally checked that the weapon is completely unloaded.17 For failing to insure
that the gun was not loaded, respondent himself was negligent. Furthermore, it was not shown in
this case whether respondent had a License to Repair which authorizes him to repair defective
firearms to restore its original composition or enhance or upgrade firearms.18

Clearly, respondent did not exercise the degree of care and diligence required of a good father of a
family, much less the degree of care required of someone dealing with dangerous weapons, as
would exempt him from liability in this case.

WHEREFORE, we GRANT the petition. We SET ASIDE the 11 May 2005 Decision and the 19
August 2005 Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 60669. We REINSTATE the trial
court’s Decision dated 8 April 1998.

SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 145391 August 26, 2002

AVELINO CASUPANAN and ROBERTO CAPITULO, petitioners,


vs.
MARIO LLAVORE LAROYA, respondent.

CARPIO, J.:

The Case

This is a petition for review on certiorari to set aside the Resolution1 dated December 28, 1999
dismissing the petition for certiorari and the Resolution2 dated August 24, 2000 denying the motion
for reconsideration, both issued by the Regional Trial Court of Capas, Tarlac, Branch 66, in Special
Civil Action No. 17-C (99).

The Facts
Two vehicles, one driven by respondent Mario Llavore Laroya ("Laroya" for brevity) and the other
owned by petitioner Roberto Capitulo ("Capitulo" for brevity) and driven by petitioner Avelino
Casupanan ("Casupanan" for brevity), figured in an accident. As a result, two cases were filed with
the Municipal Circuit Trial Court ("MCTC" for brevity) of Capas, Tarlac. Laroya filed a criminal case
against Casupanan for reckless imprudence resulting in damage to property, docketed as Criminal
Case No. 002-99. On the other hand, Casupanan and Capitulo filed a civil case against Laroya for
quasi-delict, docketed as Civil Case No. 2089.

When the civil case was filed, the criminal case was then at its preliminary investigation stage.
Laroya, defendant in the civil case, filed a motion to dismiss the civil case on the ground of forum-
shopping considering the pendency of the criminal case. The MCTC granted the motion in the Order
of March 26, 1999 and dismissed the civil case.

On Motion for Reconsideration, Casupanan and Capitulo insisted that the civil case is a separate
civil action which can proceed independently of the criminal case. The MCTC denied the motion for
reconsideration in the Order of May 7, 1999. Casupanan and Capitulo filed a petition for certiorari
under Rule 65 before the Regional Trial Court ("Capas RTC" for brevity) of Capas, Tarlac, Branch
66,3 assailing the MCTC’s Order of dismissal.

The Trial Court’s Ruling

The Capas RTC rendered judgment on December 28, 1999 dismissing the petition for certiorari for
lack of merit. The Capas RTC ruled that the order of dismissal issued by the MCTC is a final order
which disposes of the case and therefore the proper remedy should have been an appeal. The
Capas RTC further held that a special civil action for certiorari is not a substitute for a lost appeal.
Finally, the Capas RTC declared that even on the premise that the MCTC erred in dismissing the
civil case, such error is a pure error of judgment and not an abuse of discretion.

Casupanan and Capitulo filed a Motion for Reconsideration but the Capas RTC denied the same in
the Resolution of August 24, 2000.

Hence, this petition.

The Issue

The petition premises the legal issue in this wise:

"In a certain vehicular accident involving two parties, each one of them may think and believe
that the accident was caused by the fault of the other. x x x [T]he first party, believing himself
to be the aggrieved party, opted to file a criminal case for reckless imprudence against the
second party. On the other hand, the second party, together with his operator, believing
themselves to be the real aggrieved parties, opted in turn to file a civil case for quasi-delict
against the first party who is the very private complainant in the criminal case."4

Thus, the issue raised is whether an accused in a pending criminal case for reckless imprudence
can validly file, simultaneously and independently, a separate civil action for quasi-delict against the
private complainant in the criminal case.

The Court’s Ruling


Casupanan and Capitulo assert that Civil Case No. 2089, which the MCTC dismissed on the ground
of forum-shopping, constitutes a counterclaim in the criminal case. Casupanan and Capitulo argue
that if the accused in a criminal case has a counterclaim against the private complainant, he may file
the counterclaim in a separate civil action at the proper time. They contend that an action on quasi-
delict is different from an action resulting from the crime of reckless imprudence, and an accused in
a criminal case can be an aggrieved party in a civil case arising from the same incident. They
maintain that under Articles 31 and 2176 of the Civil Code, the civil case can proceed independently
of the criminal action. Finally, they point out that Casupanan was not the only one who filed the
independent civil action based on quasi-delict but also Capitulo, the owner-operator of the vehicle,
who was not a party in the criminal case.

In his Comment, Laroya claims that the petition is fatally defective as it does not state the real
antecedents. Laroya further alleges that Casupanan and Capitulo forfeited their right to question the
order of dismissal when they failed to avail of the proper remedy of appeal. Laroya argues that there
is no question of law to be resolved as the order of dismissal is already final and a petition for
certiorari is not a substitute for a lapsed appeal.

In their Reply, Casupanan and Capitulo contend that the petition raises the legal question of whether
there is forum-shopping since they filed only one action - the independent civil action for quasi-
delict against Laroya.

Nature of the Order of Dismissal

The MCTC dismissed the civil action for quasi-delict on the ground of forum-shopping under
Supreme Court Administrative Circular No. 04-94. The MCTC did not state in its order of
dismissal5 that the dismissal was with prejudice. Under the Administrative Circular, the order of
dismissal is without prejudice to refiling the complaint, unless the order of dismissal expressly states
it is with prejudice.6 Absent a declaration that the dismissal is with prejudice, the same is deemed
without prejudice. Thus, the MCTC’s dismissal, being silent on the matter, is a dismissal without
prejudice.

Section 1 of Rule 417 provides that an order dismissing an action without prejudice is not appealable.
The remedy of the aggrieved party is to file a special civil action under Rule 65. Section 1 of Rule 41
expressly states that "where the judgment or final order is not appealable, the aggrieved party may
file an appropriate special civil action under Rule 65." Clearly, the Capas RTC’s order dismissing the
petition for certiorari, on the ground that the proper remedy is an ordinary appeal, is erroneous.

Forum-Shopping

The essence of forum-shopping is the filing of multiple suits involving the same parties for the same
cause of action, either simultaneously or successively, to secure a favorable judgment.8 Forum-
shopping is present when in the two or more cases pending, there is identity of parties, rights of
action and reliefs sought.9 However, there is no forum-shopping in the instant case because the law
and the rules expressly allow the filing of a separate civil action which can proceed independently of
the criminal action.

Laroya filed the criminal case for reckless imprudence resulting in damage to property based on the
Revised Penal Code while Casupanan and Capitulo filed the civil action for damages based on
Article 2176 of the Civil Code. Although these two actions arose from the same act or omission, they
have different causes of action. The criminal case is based on culpa criminal punishable under the
Revised Penal Code while the civil case is based on culpa aquiliana actionable under Articles 2176
and 2177 of the Civil Code. These articles on culpa aquiliana read:
"Art. 2176. Whoever by act or omission causes damage to another, there being fault or
negligence, is obliged to pay for the damage done. Such fault or negligence, if there is no
pre-existing contractual relation between the parties, is called a quasi-delict and is governed
by the provisions of this Chapter.

Art. 2177. Responsibility for fault or negligence under the preceding article is entirely
separate and distinct from the civil liability arising from negligence under the Penal Code. But
the plaintiff cannot recover damages twice for the same act or omission of the defendant."

Any aggrieved person can invoke these articles provided he proves, by preponderance of evidence,
that he has suffered damage because of the fault or negligence of another. Either the private
complainant or the accused can file a separate civil action under these articles. There is nothing in
the law or rules that state only the private complainant in a criminal case may invoke these articles.

Moreover, paragraph 6, Section 1, Rule 111 of the 2000 Rules on Criminal Procedure ("2000 Rules"
for brevity) expressly requires the accused to litigate his counterclaim in a separate civil action, to
wit:

"SECTION 1. Institution of criminal and civil actions. – (a) x x x.

No counterclaim, cross-claim or third-party complaint may be filed by the accused in the


criminal case, but any cause of action which could have been the subject thereof may be
litigated in a separate civil action." (Emphasis supplied)

Since the present Rules require the accused in a criminal action to file his counterclaim in a separate
civil action, there can be no forum-shopping if the accused files such separate civil action.

Filing of a separate civil action

Section 1, Rule 111 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure ("1985 Rules" for brevity), as amended
in 1988, allowed the filing of a separate civil action independently of the criminal action provided the
offended party reserved the right to file such civil action. Unless the offended party reserved the civil
action before the presentation of the evidence for the prosecution, all civil actions arising from the
same act or omission were deemed "impliedly instituted" in the criminal case. These civil actions
referred to the recovery of civil liability ex-delicto, the recovery of damages for quasi-delict, and the
recovery of damages for violation of Articles 32, 33 and 34 of the Civil Code on Human Relations.

Thus, to file a separate and independent civil action for quasi-delict under the 1985 Rules, the
offended party had to reserve in the criminal action the right to bring such action. Otherwise, such
civil action was deemed "impliedly instituted" in the criminal action. Section 1, Rule 111 of the 1985
Rules provided as follows:

"Section 1. – Institution of criminal and civil actions. – When a criminal action is instituted, the
civil action for the recovery of civil liability is impliedly instituted with the criminal action,
unless the offended party waives the action, reserves his right to institute it separately, or
institutes the civil action prior to the criminal action.

Such civil action includes recovery of indemnity under the Revised Penal Code, and
damages under Articles 32, 33, 34 and 2176 of the Civil Code of the Philippines arising
from the same act or omission of the accused.
A waiver of any of the civil actions extinguishes the others. The institution of, or the
reservation of the right to file, any of said civil actions separately waives the others.

The reservation of the right to institute the separate civil actions shall be made before the
prosecution starts to present its evidence and under circumstances affording the offended
party a reasonable opportunity to make such reservation.

In no case may the offended party recover damages twice for the same act or omission of
the accused.

x x x." (Emphasis supplied)

Section 1, Rule 111 of the 1985 Rules was amended on December 1, 2000 and now provides as
follows:

"SECTION 1. Institution of criminal and civil actions. – (a) When a criminal action is
instituted, the civil action for the recovery of civil liability arising from the offense
charged shall be deemed instituted with the criminal action unless the offended party
waives the civil action, reserves the right to institute it separately or institutes the civil action
prior to the criminal action.

The reservation of the right to institute separately the civil action shall be made before the
prosecution starts presenting its evidence and under circumstances affording the offended
party a reasonable opportunity to make such reservation.

xxx

(b) x x x

Where the civil action has been filed separately and trial thereof has not yet commenced, it
may be consolidated with the criminal action upon application with the court trying the latter
case. If the application is granted, the trial of both actions shall proceed in accordance with
section 2 of this rule governing consolidation of the civil and criminal actions." (Emphasis
supplied)

Under Section 1 of the present Rule 111, what is "deemed instituted" with the criminal action is only
the action to recover civil liability arising from the crime or ex-delicto. All the other civil actions under
Articles 32, 33, 34 and 2176 of the Civil Code are no longer "deemed instituted," and may be filed
separately and prosecuted independently even without any reservation in the criminal action. The
failure to make a reservation in the criminal action is not a waiver of the right to file a separate and
independent civil action based on these articles of the Civil Code. The prescriptive period on the civil
actions based on these articles of the Civil Code continues to run even with the filing of the criminal
action. Verily, the civil actions based on these articles of the Civil Code are separate, distinct and
independent of the civil action "deemed instituted" in the criminal action.10

Under the present Rule 111, the offended party is still given the option to file a separate civil action
to recover civil liability ex-delicto by reserving such right in the criminal action before the prosecution
presents its evidence. Also, the offended party is deemed to make such reservation if he files a
separate civil action before filing the criminal action. If the civil action to recover civil liability ex-
delicto is filed separately but its trial has not yet commenced, the civil action may be consolidated
with the criminal action. The consolidation under this Rule does not apply to separate civil actions
arising from the same act or omission filed under Articles 32, 33, 34 and 2176 of the Civil Code.11

Suspension of the Separate Civil Action

Under Section 2, Rule 111 of the amended 1985 Rules, a separate civil action, if reserved in the
criminal action, could not be filed until after final judgment was rendered in the criminal action. If the
separate civil action was filed before the commencement of the criminal action, the civil action, if still
pending, was suspended upon the filing of the criminal action until final judgment was rendered in
the criminal action. This rule applied only to the separate civil action filed to recover liability ex-
delicto. The rule did not apply to independent civil actions based on Articles 32, 33, 34 and 2176 of
the Civil Code, which could proceed independently regardless of the filing of the criminal action.

The amended provision of Section 2, Rule 111 of the 2000 Rules continues this procedure, to wit:

"SEC. 2. When separate civil action is suspended. – After the criminal action has been
commenced, the separate civil action arising therefrom cannot be instituted until final
judgment has been entered in the criminal action.

If the criminal action is filed after the said civil action has already been instituted, the
latter shall be suspended in whatever stage it may be found before judgment on the
merits. The suspension shall last until final judgment is rendered in the criminal
action. Nevertheless, before judgment on the merits is rendered in the civil action, the same
may, upon motion of the offended party, be consolidated with the criminal action in the court
trying the criminal action. In case of consolidation, the evidence already adduced in the civil
action shall be deemed automatically reproduced in the criminal action without prejudice to
the right of the prosecution to cross-examine the witnesses presented by the offended party
in the criminal case and of the parties to present additional evidence. The consolidated
criminal and civil actions shall be tried and decided jointly.

During the pendency of the criminal action, the running of the period of prescription of the
civil action which cannot be instituted separately or whose proceeding has been suspended
shall be tolled.

x x x." (Emphasis supplied)

Thus, Section 2, Rule 111 of the present Rules did not change the rule that the separate civil action,
filed to recover damages ex-delicto, is suspended upon the filing of the criminal action. Section 2 of
the present Rule 111 also prohibits the filing, after commencement of the criminal action, of a
separate civil action to recover damages ex-delicto.

When civil action may proceed independently

The crucial question now is whether Casupanan and Capitulo, who are not the offended parties in
the criminal case, can file a separate civil action against the offended party in the criminal case.
Section 3, Rule 111 of the 2000 Rules provides as follows:

"SEC 3. When civil action may proceed independently. - In the cases provided in Articles 32,
33, 34 and 2176 of the Civil Code of the Philippines, the independent civil action may be
brought by the offended party. It shall proceed independently of the criminal action and
shall require only a preponderance of evidence. In no case, however, may the offended party
recover damages twice for the same act or omission charged in the criminal action."
(Emphasis supplied)

Section 3 of the present Rule 111, like its counterpart in the amended 1985 Rules, expressly allows
the "offended party" to bring an independent civil action under Articles 32, 33, 34 and 2176 of the
Civil Code. As stated in Section 3 of the present Rule 111, this civil action shall proceed
independently of the criminal action and shall require only a preponderance of evidence. In no case,
however, may the "offended party recover damages twice for the same act or omission charged in
the criminal action."

There is no question that the offended party in the criminal action can file an independent civil action
for quasi-delict against the accused. Section 3 of the present Rule 111 expressly states that the
"offended party" may bring such an action but the "offended party" may not recover damages twice
for the same act or omission charged in the criminal action. Clearly, Section 3 of Rule 111 refers to
the offended party in the criminal action, not to the accused.

Casupanan and Capitulo, however, invoke the ruling in Cabaero vs. Cantos12 where the Court held
that the accused therein could validly institute a separate civil action for quasi-delict against the
private complainant in the criminal case. In Cabaero, the accused in the criminal case filed his
Answer with Counterclaim for malicious prosecution. At that time the Court noted the "absence of
clear-cut rules governing the prosecution on impliedly instituted civil actions and the necessary
consequences and implications thereof." Thus, the Court ruled that the trial court should confine
itself to the criminal aspect of the case and disregard any counterclaim for civil liability. The Court
further ruled that the accused may file a separate civil case against the offended party "after the
criminal case is terminated and/or in accordance with the new Rules which may be promulgated."
The Court explained that a cross-claim, counterclaim or third-party complaint on the civil aspect will
only unnecessarily complicate the proceedings and delay the resolution of the criminal case.

Paragraph 6, Section 1 of the present Rule 111 was incorporated in the 2000 Rules precisely to
address the lacunamentioned in Cabaero. Under this provision, the accused is barred from filing a
counterclaim, cross-claim or third-party complaint in the criminal case. However, the same provision
states that "any cause of action which could have been the subject (of the counterclaim, cross-claim
or third-party complaint) may be litigated in a separate civil action." The present Rule 111 mandates
the accused to file his counterclaim in a separate civil actiosn which shall proceed independently of
the criminal action, even as the civil action of the offended party is litigated in the criminal action.

Conclusion

Under Section 1 of the present Rule 111, the independent civil action in Articles 32, 33, 34 and 2176
of the Civil Code is not deemed instituted with the criminal action but may be filed separately by the
offended party even without reservation. The commencement of the criminal action does not
suspend the prosecution of the independent civil action under these articles of the Civil Code. The
suspension in Section 2 of the present Rule 111 refers only to the civil action arising from the crime,
if such civil action is reserved or filed before the commencement of the criminal action.

Thus, the offended party can file two separate suits for the same act or omission. The first a criminal
case where the civil action to recover civil liability ex-delicto is deemed instituted, and the other a
civil case for quasi-delict - without violating the rule on non-forum shopping. The two cases can
proceed simultaneously and independently of each other. The commencement or prosecution of the
criminal action will not suspend the civil action for quasi-delict. The only limitation is that the offended
party cannot recover damages twice for the same act or omission of the defendant. In most cases,
the offended party will have no reason to file a second civil action since he cannot recover damages
twice for the same act or omission of the accused. In some instances, the accused may be insolvent,
necessitating the filing of another case against his employer or guardians.

Similarly, the accused can file a civil action for quasi-delict for the same act or omission he is
accused of in the criminal case. This is expressly allowed in paragraph 6, Section 1 of the present
Rule 111 which states that the counterclaim of the accused "may be litigated in a separate civil
action." This is only fair for two reasons. First, the accused is prohibited from setting up any
counterclaim in the civil aspect that is deemed instituted in the criminal case. The accused is
therefore forced to litigate separately his counterclaim against the offended party. If the accused
does not file a separate civil action for quasi-delict, the prescriptive period may set in since the
period continues to run until the civil action for quasi-delict is filed.

Second, the accused, who is presumed innocent, has a right to invoke Article 2177 of the Civil Code,
in the same way that the offended party can avail of this remedy which is independent of the criminal
action. To disallow the accused from filing a separate civil action for quasi-delict, while refusing to
recognize his counterclaim in the criminal case, is to deny him due process of law, access to the
courts, and equal protection of the law.

Thus, the civil action based on quasi-delict filed separately by Casupanan and Capitulo is proper.
The order of dismissal by the MCTC of Civil Case No. 2089 on the ground of forum-shopping is
erroneous.

We make this ruling aware of the possibility that the decision of the trial court in the criminal case
may vary with the decision of the trial court in the independent civil action. This possibility has
always been recognized ever since the Civil Code introduced in 1950 the concept of an independent
civil action under Articles 32, 33, 34 and 2176 of the Code. But the law itself, in Article 31 of the
Code, expressly provides that the independent civil action "may proceed independently of the
criminal proceedings and regardless of the result of the latter." In Azucena vs. Potenciano,13the
Court declared:

"x x x. There can indeed be no other logical conclusion than this, for to subordinate the civil
action contemplated in the said articles to the result of the criminal prosecution — whether it
be conviction or acquittal — would render meaningless the independent character of the civil
action and the clear injunction in Article 31 that this action 'may proceed independently of the
criminal proceedings and regardless of the result of the latter.’"

More than half a century has passed since the Civil Code introduced the concept of a civil action
separate and independent from the criminal action although arising from the same act or omission.
The Court, however, has yet to encounter a case of conflicting and irreconcilable decisions of trial
courts, one hearing the criminal case and the other the civil action for quasi-delict. The fear of
conflicting and irreconcilable decisions may be more apparent than real. In any event, there are
sufficient remedies under the Rules of Court to deal with such remote possibilities.

One final point. The Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure took effect on December 1, 2000 while
the MCTC issued the order of dismissal on December 28, 1999 or before the amendment of the
rules. The Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure must be given retroactive effect considering the
well-settled rule that -

"x x x statutes regulating the procedure of the court will be construed as applicable to actions
pending and undetermined at the time of their passage. Procedural laws are retroactive in
that sense and to that extent."14
WHEREFORE, the petition for review on certiorari is hereby GRANTED. The Resolutions dated
December 28, 1999 and August 24, 2000 in Special Civil Action No. 17-C (99) are ANNULLED and
Civil Case No. 2089 is REINSTATED.

SO ORDERED.