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G.R. No. L-12191 October 14, 1918 at the moment he stepped upon the platform.

His
statement that he failed to see these objects in the
JOSE CANGCO, plaintiff-appellant, darkness is readily to be credited.
vs.
MANILA RAILROAD CO., defendant-appellee. The plaintiff was drawn from under the car in an
unconscious condition, and it appeared that the injuries
FISHER, J.: which he had received were very serious. He was
therefore brought at once to a certain hospital in the city
of Manila where an examination was made and his arm
At the time of the occurrence which gave rise to this
was amputated. The result of this operation was
litigation the plaintiff, Jose Cangco, was in the
unsatisfactory, and the plaintiff was then carried to
employment of Manila Railroad Company in the capacity
another hospital where a second operation was
of clerk, with a monthly wage of P25. He lived in the
pueblo of San Mateo, in the province of Rizal, which is performed and the member was again amputated higher
located upon the line of the defendant railroad company; up near the shoulder. It appears in evidence that the
plaintiff expended the sum of P790.25 in the form of
and in coming daily by train to the company's office in the
medical and surgical fees and for other expenses in
city of Manila where he worked, he used a pass, supplied
connection with the process of his curation.
by the company, which entitled him to ride upon the
company's trains free of charge. Upon the occasion in
question, January 20, 1915, the plaintiff arose from his Upon August 31, 1915, he instituted this proceeding in the
seat in the second class-car where he was riding and, Court of First Instance of the city of Manila to recover
making, his exit through the door, took his position upon damages of the defendant company, founding his action
the steps of the coach, seizing the upright guardrail with upon the negligence of the servants and employees of the
his right hand for support. defendant in placing the sacks of melons upon the
platform and leaving them so placed as to be a menace
to the security of passenger alighting from the company's
On the side of the train where passengers alight at the
trains. At the hearing in the Court of First Instance, his
San Mateo station there is a cement platform which
Honor, the trial judge, found the facts substantially as
begins to rise with a moderate gradient some distance
above stated, and drew therefrom his conclusion to the
away from the company's office and extends along in front
of said office for a distance sufficient to cover the length effect that, although negligence was attributable to the
of several coaches. As the train slowed down another defendant by reason of the fact that the sacks of melons
were so placed as to obstruct passengers passing to and
passenger, named Emilio Zuñiga, also an employee of
from the cars, nevertheless, the plaintiff himself had failed
the railroad company, got off the same car, alighting
to use due caution in alighting from the coach and was
safely at the point where the platform begins to rise from
therefore precluded form recovering. Judgment was
the level of the ground. When the train had proceeded a
little farther the plaintiff Jose Cangco stepped off also, but accordingly entered in favor of the defendant company,
one or both of his feet came in contact with a sack of and the plaintiff appealed.
watermelons with the result that his feet slipped from
under him and he fell violently on the platform. His body It can not be doubted that the employees of the railroad
at once rolled from the platform and was drawn under the company were guilty of negligence in piling these sacks
moving car, where his right arm was badly crushed and on the platform in the manner above stated; that their
lacerated. It appears that after the plaintiff alighted from presence caused the plaintiff to fall as he alighted from
the train the car moved forward possibly six meters before the train; and that they therefore constituted an effective
it came to a full stop. legal cause of the injuries sustained by the plaintiff. It
necessarily follows that the defendant company is liable
for the damage thereby occasioned unless recovery is
The accident occurred between 7 and 8 o'clock on a dark
night, and as the railroad station was lighted dimly by a barred by the plaintiff's own contributory negligence. In
resolving this problem it is necessary that each of these
single light located some distance away, objects on the
conceptions of liability, to-wit, the primary responsibility of
platform where the accident occurred were difficult to
the defendant company and the contributory negligence
discern especially to a person emerging from a lighted
of the plaintiff should be separately examined.
car.

It is important to note that the foundation of the legal


The explanation of the presence of a sack of melons on
liability of the defendant is the contract of carriage, and
the platform where the plaintiff alighted is found in the fact
that the obligation to respond for the damage which
that it was the customary season for harvesting these
plaintiff has suffered arises, if at all, from the breach of
melons and a large lot had been brought to the station for
the shipment to the market. They were contained in that contract by reason of the failure of defendant to
numerous sacks which has been piled on the platform in exercise due care in its performance. That is to say, its
liability is direct and immediate, differing essentially, in
a row one upon another. The testimony shows that this
legal viewpoint from that presumptive responsibility for the
row of sacks was so placed of melons and the edge of
negligence of its servants, imposed by article 1903 of the
platform; and it is clear that the fall of the plaintiff was due
Civil Code, which can be rebutted by proof of the exercise
to the fact that his foot alighted upon one of these melons
of due care in their selection and supervision. Article 1903 does not amount to a breach of the contract between the
of the Civil Code is not applicable to obligations arising ex master and the person injured.
contractu, but only to extra-contractual obligations — or
to use the technical form of expression, that article relates It is not accurate to say that proof of diligence and care in
only to culpa aquiliana and not to culpa contractual. the selection and control of the servant relieves the
master from liability for the latter's acts — on the contrary,
Manresa (vol. 8, p. 67) in his commentaries upon articles that proof shows that the responsibility has never existed.
1103 and 1104 of the Civil Code, clearly points out this As Manresa says (vol. 8, p. 68) the liability arising from
distinction, which was also recognized by this Court in its extra-contractual culpa is always based upon a voluntary
decision in the case of Rakes vs. Atlantic, Gulf and Pacific act or omission which, without willful intent, but by mere
Co. (7 Phil. rep., 359). In commenting upon article 1093 negligence or inattention, has caused damage to another.
Manresa clearly points out the difference between "culpa, A master who exercises all possible care in the selection
substantive and independent, which of itself constitutes of his servant, taking into consideration the qualifications
the source of an obligation between persons not formerly they should possess for the discharge of the duties which
connected by any legal tie" and culpa considered as an it is his purpose to confide to them, and directs them with
accident in the performance of an obligation already equal diligence, thereby performs his duty to third persons
existing . . . ." to whom he is bound by no contractual ties, and he incurs
no liability whatever if, by reason of the negligence of his
In the Rakes case (supra) the decision of this court was servants, even within the scope of their employment, such
made to rest squarely upon the proposition that article third person suffer damage. True it is that under article
1903 of the Civil Code is not applicable to acts of 1903 of the Civil Code the law creates a presumption that
negligence which constitute the breach of a contract. he has been negligent in the selection or direction of his
servant, but the presumption is rebuttable and yield to
proof of due care and diligence in this respect.
Upon this point the Court said:

The supreme court of Porto Rico, in interpreting identical


The acts to which these articles [1902 and 1903
provisions, as found in the Porto Rico Code, has held that
of the Civil Code] are applicable are understood
these articles are applicable to cases of extra-
to be those not growing out of pre-existing duties
contractual culpa exclusively. (Carmona vs. Cuesta, 20
of the parties to one another. But where relations
already formed give rise to duties, whether Porto Rico Reports, 215.)
springing from contract or quasi-contract, then
breaches of those duties are subject to article This distinction was again made patent by this Court in its
1101, 1103, and 1104 of the same code. decision in the case of Bahia vs. Litonjua and Leynes, (30
(Rakes vs. Atlantic, Gulf and Pacific Co., 7 Phil. Phil. rep., 624), which was an action brought upon the
Rep., 359 at 365.) theory of the extra-contractual liability of the defendant to
respond for the damage caused by the carelessness of
his employee while acting within the scope of his
This distinction is of the utmost importance. The liability,
employment. The Court, after citing the last paragraph of
which, under the Spanish law, is, in certain cases
article 1903 of the Civil Code, said:
imposed upon employers with respect to damages
occasioned by the negligence of their employees to
persons to whom they are not bound by contract, is not From this article two things are apparent: (1) That
based, as in the English Common Law, upon the principle when an injury is caused by the negligence of a
of respondeat superior — if it were, the master would be servant or employee there instantly arises a
liable in every case and unconditionally — but upon the presumption of law that there was negligence on
principle announced in article 1902 of the Civil Code, the part of the master or employer either in
which imposes upon all persons who by their fault or selection of the servant or employee, or in
negligence, do injury to another, the obligation of making supervision over him after the selection, or both;
good the damage caused. One who places a powerful and (2) that that presumption is juris tantum and
automobile in the hands of a servant whom he knows to not juris et de jure, and consequently, may be
be ignorant of the method of managing such a vehicle, is rebutted. It follows necessarily that if the
himself guilty of an act of negligence which makes him employer shows to the satisfaction of the court
liable for all the consequences of his imprudence. The that in selection and supervision he has exercised
obligation to make good the damage arises at the very the care and diligence of a good father of a family,
instant that the unskillful servant, while acting within the the presumption is overcome and he is relieved
scope of his employment causes the injury. The liability of from liability.
the master is personal and direct. But, if the master has
not been guilty of any negligence whatever in the This theory bases the responsibility of the master
selection and direction of the servant, he is not liable for ultimately on his own negligence and not on that
the acts of the latter, whatever done within the scope of of his servant. This is the notable peculiarity of the
his employment or not, if the damage done by the servant Spanish law of negligence. It is, of course, in
striking contrast to the American doctrine that, in
relations with strangers, the negligence of the directly imputed to the persons to be charged. This moral
servant in conclusively the negligence of the responsibility may consist in having failed to exercise due
master. care in the selection and control of one's agents or
servants, or in the control of persons who, by reason of
The opinion there expressed by this Court, to the effect their status, occupy a position of dependency with respect
that in case of extra-contractual culpa based upon to the person made liable for their conduct.
negligence, it is necessary that there shall have been
some fault attributable to the defendant personally, and The position of a natural or juridical person who has
that the last paragraph of article 1903 merely establishes undertaken by contract to render service to another, is
a rebuttable presumption, is in complete accord with the wholly different from that to which article 1903 relates.
authoritative opinion of Manresa, who says (vol. 12, p. When the sources of the obligation upon which plaintiff's
611) that the liability created by article 1903 is imposed cause of action depends is a negligent act or omission,
by reason of the breach of the duties inherent in the the burden of proof rests upon plaintiff to prove the
special relations of authority or superiority existing negligence — if he does not his action fails. But when the
between the person called upon to repair the damage and facts averred show a contractual undertaking by
the one who, by his act or omission, was the cause of it. defendant for the benefit of plaintiff, and it is alleged that
plaintiff has failed or refused to perform the contract, it is
On the other hand, the liability of masters and employers not necessary for plaintiff to specify in his pleadings
for the negligent acts or omissions of their servants or whether the breach of the contract is due to willful fault or
agents, when such acts or omissions cause damages to negligence on the part of the defendant, or of his
which amount to the breach of a contact, is not based servants or agents. Proof of the contract and of its
upon a mere presumption of the master's negligence in nonperformance is sufficient prima facie to warrant a
their selection or control, and proof of exercise of the recovery.
utmost diligence and care in this regard does not relieve
the master of his liability for the breach of his contract. As a general rule . . . it is logical that in case of
extra-contractual culpa, a suing creditor should
Every legal obligation must of necessity be extra- assume the burden of proof of its existence, as
contractual or contractual. Extra-contractual obligation the only fact upon which his action is based; while
has its source in the breach or omission of those mutual on the contrary, in a case of negligence which
duties which civilized society imposes upon it members, presupposes the existence of a contractual
or which arise from these relations, other than contractual, obligation, if the creditor shows that it exists and
of certain members of society to others, generally that it has been broken, it is not necessary for him
embraced in the concept of status. The legal rights of to prove negligence. (Manresa, vol. 8, p. 71 [1907
each member of society constitute the measure of the ed., p. 76]).
corresponding legal duties, mainly negative in character,
which the existence of those rights imposes upon all other As it is not necessary for the plaintiff in an action for the
members of society. The breach of these general duties breach of a contract to show that the breach was due to
whether due to willful intent or to mere inattention, if the negligent conduct of defendant or of his servants,
productive of injury, give rise to an obligation to indemnify even though such be in fact the actual cause of the
the injured party. The fundamental distinction between breach, it is obvious that proof on the part of defendant
obligations of this character and those which arise from that the negligence or omission of his servants or agents
contract, rests upon the fact that in cases of non- caused the breach of the contract would not constitute a
contractual obligation it is the wrongful or negligent act or defense to the action. If the negligence of servants or
omission itself which creates the vinculum juris, whereas agents could be invoked as a means of discharging the
in contractual relations the vinculum exists independently liability arising from contract, the anomalous result would
of the breach of the voluntary duty assumed by the parties be that person acting through the medium of agents or
when entering into the contractual relation. servants in the performance of their contracts, would be
in a better position than those acting in person. If one
With respect to extra-contractual obligation arising from delivers a valuable watch to watchmaker who contract to
negligence, whether of act or omission, it is competent for repair it, and the bailee, by a personal negligent act
the legislature to elect — and our Legislature has so causes its destruction, he is unquestionably liable. Would
elected — whom such an obligation is imposed is morally it be logical to free him from his liability for the breach of
culpable, or, on the contrary, for reasons of public policy, his contract, which involves the duty to exercise due care
to extend that liability, without regard to the lack of moral in the preservation of the watch, if he shows that it was
culpability, so as to include responsibility for the his servant whose negligence caused the injury? If such
negligence of those person who acts or mission are a theory could be accepted, juridical persons would enjoy
imputable, by a legal fiction, to others who are in a position practically complete immunity from damages arising from
to exercise an absolute or limited control over them. The the breach of their contracts if caused by negligent acts
legislature which adopted our Civil Code has elected to as such juridical persons can of necessity only act through
limit extra-contractual liability — with certain well-defined agents or servants, and it would no doubt be true in most
exceptions — to cases in which moral culpability can be instances that reasonable care had been taken in
selection and direction of such servants. If one delivers negligence of the driver of the automobile, but held that
securities to a banking corporation as collateral, and they the master was not liable, although he was present at the
are lost by reason of the negligence of some clerk time, saying:
employed by the bank, would it be just and reasonable to
permit the bank to relieve itself of liability for the breach of . . . unless the negligent acts of the driver are
its contract to return the collateral upon the payment of continued for a length of time as to give the owner
the debt by proving that due care had been exercised in a reasonable opportunity to observe them and to
the selection and direction of the clerk? direct the driver to desist therefrom. . . . The act
complained of must be continued in the presence
This distinction between culpa aquiliana, as the source of of the owner for such length of time that the owner
an obligation, and culpa contractual as a mere incident to by his acquiescence, makes the driver's acts his
the performance of a contract has frequently been own.
recognized by the supreme court of Spain. (Sentencias of
June 27, 1894; November 20, 1896; and December 13, In the case of Yamada vs. Manila Railroad Co. and
1896.) In the decisions of November 20, 1896, it appeared Bachrach Garage & Taxicab Co. (33 Phil. Rep., 8), it is
that plaintiff's action arose ex contractu, but that true that the court rested its conclusion as to the liability
defendant sought to avail himself of the provisions of of the defendant upon article 1903, although the facts
article 1902 of the Civil Code as a defense. The Spanish disclosed that the injury complaint of by plaintiff
Supreme Court rejected defendant's contention, saying: constituted a breach of the duty to him arising out of the
contract of transportation. The express ground of the
These are not cases of injury caused, without any decision in this case was that article 1903, in dealing with
pre-existing obligation, by fault or negligence, the liability of a master for the negligent acts of his
such as those to which article 1902 of the Civil servants "makes the distinction between private
Code relates, but of damages caused by the individuals and public enterprise;" that as to the latter the
defendant's failure to carry out the undertakings law creates a rebuttable presumption of negligence in the
imposed by the contracts . . . . selection or direction of servants; and that in the particular
case the presumption of negligence had not been
A brief review of the earlier decision of this court involving overcome.
the liability of employers for damage done by the
negligent acts of their servants will show that in no case It is evident, therefore that in its decision Yamada case,
has the court ever decided that the negligence of the the court treated plaintiff's action as though founded in tort
defendant's servants has been held to constitute a rather than as based upon the breach of the contract of
defense to an action for damages for breach of contract. carriage, and an examination of the pleadings and of the
briefs shows that the questions of law were in fact
In the case of Johnson vs. David (5 Phil. Rep., 663), the discussed upon this theory. Viewed from the standpoint
court held that the owner of a carriage was not liable for of the defendant the practical result must have been the
the damages caused by the negligence of his driver. In same in any event. The proof disclosed beyond doubt that
that case the court commented on the fact that no the defendant's servant was grossly negligent and that his
evidence had been adduced in the trial court that the negligence was the proximate cause of plaintiff's injury. It
defendant had been negligent in the employment of the also affirmatively appeared that defendant had been guilty
driver, or that he had any knowledge of his lack of skill or of negligence in its failure to exercise proper discretion in
carefulness. the direction of the servant. Defendant was, therefore,
liable for the injury suffered by plaintiff, whether the
breach of the duty were to be regarded as
In the case of Baer Senior & Co's
constituting culpa aquiliana or culpa contractual. As
Successors vs. Compania Maritima (6 Phil. Rep., 215),
the plaintiff sued the defendant for damages caused by Manresa points out (vol. 8, pp. 29 and 69) whether
negligence occurs an incident in the course of the
the loss of a barge belonging to plaintiff which was
performance of a contractual undertaking or its itself the
allowed to get adrift by the negligence of defendant's
source of an extra-contractual undertaking obligation, its
servants in the course of the performance of a contract of
essential characteristics are identical. There is always an
towage. The court held, citing Manresa (vol. 8, pp. 29, 69)
that if the "obligation of the defendant grew out of a act or omission productive of damage due to
contract made between it and the plaintiff . . . we do not carelessness or inattention on the part of the defendant.
Consequently, when the court holds that a defendant is
think that the provisions of articles 1902 and 1903 are
liable in damages for having failed to exercise due care,
applicable to the case."
either directly, or in failing to exercise proper care in the
selection and direction of his servants, the practical result
In the case of Chapman vs. Underwood (27 Phil. Rep., is identical in either case. Therefore, it follows that it is not
374), plaintiff sued the defendant to recover damages for to be inferred, because the court held in the Yamada case
the personal injuries caused by the negligence of that defendant was liable for the damages negligently
defendant's chauffeur while driving defendant's caused by its servants to a person to whom it was bound
automobile in which defendant was riding at the time. The by contract, and made reference to the fact that the
court found that the damages were caused by the
defendant was negligent in the selection and control of its from dangerous obstructions. There is no reason to
servants, that in such a case the court would have held believe that plaintiff would have suffered any injury
that it would have been a good defense to the action, if whatever in alighting as he did had it not been for
presented squarely upon the theory of the breach of the defendant's negligent failure to perform its duty to provide
contract, for defendant to have proved that it did in fact a safe alighting place.
exercise care in the selection and control of the servant.
We are of the opinion that the correct doctrine relating to
The true explanation of such cases is to be found by this subject is that expressed in Thompson's work on
directing the attention to the relative spheres of Negligence (vol. 3, sec. 3010) as follows:
contractual and extra-contractual obligations. The field of
non- contractual obligation is much more broader than The test by which to determine whether the
that of contractual obligations, comprising, as it does, the passenger has been guilty of negligence in
whole extent of juridical human relations. These two attempting to alight from a moving railway train, is
fields, figuratively speaking, concentric; that is to say, the that of ordinary or reasonable care. It is to be
mere fact that a person is bound to another by contract considered whether an ordinarily prudent person,
does not relieve him from extra-contractual liability to such of the age, sex and condition of the passenger,
person. When such a contractual relation exists the would have acted as the passenger acted under
obligor may break the contract under such conditions that the circumstances disclosed by the evidence.
the same act which constitutes the source of an extra- This care has been defined to be, not the care
contractual obligation had no contract existed between which may or should be used by the prudent man
the parties. generally, but the care which a man of ordinary
prudence would use under similar circumstances,
The contract of defendant to transport plaintiff carried with to avoid injury." (Thompson, Commentaries on
it, by implication, the duty to carry him in safety and to Negligence, vol. 3, sec. 3010.)
provide safe means of entering and leaving its trains (civil
code, article 1258). That duty, being contractual, was Or, it we prefer to adopt the mode of exposition used by
direct and immediate, and its non-performance could not this court in Picart vs. Smith (37 Phil. rep., 809), we may
be excused by proof that the fault was morally imputable say that the test is this; Was there anything in the
to defendant's servants. circumstances surrounding the plaintiff at the time he
alighted from the train which would have admonished a
The railroad company's defense involves the assumption person of average prudence that to get off the train under
that even granting that the negligent conduct of its the conditions then existing was dangerous? If so, the
servants in placing an obstruction upon the platform was plaintiff should have desisted from alighting; and his
a breach of its contractual obligation to maintain safe failure so to desist was contributory
means of approaching and leaving its trains, the direct negligence.1awph!l.net
and proximate cause of the injury suffered by plaintiff was
his own contributory negligence in failing to wait until the As the case now before us presents itself, the only fact
train had come to a complete stop before alighting. Under from which a conclusion can be drawn to the effect that
the doctrine of comparative negligence announced in the plaintiff was guilty of contributory negligence is that he
Rakes case (supra), if the accident was caused by stepped off the car without being able to discern clearly
plaintiff's own negligence, no liability is imposed upon the condition of the platform and while the train was yet
defendant's negligence and plaintiff's negligence merely slowly moving. In considering the situation thus
contributed to his injury, the damages should be presented, it should not be overlooked that the plaintiff
apportioned. It is, therefore, important to ascertain if was, as we find, ignorant of the fact that the obstruction
defendant was in fact guilty of negligence. which was caused by the sacks of melons piled on the
platform existed; and as the defendant was bound by
It may be admitted that had plaintiff waited until the train reason of its duty as a public carrier to afford to its
had come to a full stop before alighting, the particular passengers facilities for safe egress from its trains, the
injury suffered by him could not have occurred. Defendant plaintiff had a right to assume, in the absence of some
contends, and cites many authorities in support of the circumstance to warn him to the contrary, that the platform
contention, that it is negligence per se for a passenger to was clear. The place, as we have already stated, was
alight from a moving train. We are not disposed to dark, or dimly lighted, and this also is proof of a failure
subscribe to this doctrine in its absolute form. We are of upon the part of the defendant in the performance of a
the opinion that this proposition is too badly stated and is duty owing by it to the plaintiff; for if it were by any
at variance with the experience of every-day life. In this possibility concede that it had right to pile these sacks in
particular instance, that the train was barely moving when the path of alighting passengers, the placing of them
plaintiff alighted is shown conclusively by the fact that it adequately so that their presence would be revealed.
came to stop within six meters from the place where he
stepped from it. Thousands of person alight from trains As pertinent to the question of contributory negligence on
under these conditions every day of the year, and sustain the part of the plaintiff in this case the following
no injury where the company has kept its platform free circumstances are to be noted: The company's platform
was constructed upon a level higher than that of the passenger's contributory negligence, we are likewise in
roadbed and the surrounding ground. The distance from full accord, namely, "An attempt to alight from a moving
the steps of the car to the spot where the alighting train is negligence per se." Adding these two points
passenger would place his feet on the platform was thus together, should be absolved from the complaint, and
reduced, thereby decreasing the risk incident to stepping judgment affirmed.
off. The nature of the platform, constructed as it was of
cement material, also assured to the passenger a stable Johnson, J., concur.
and even surface on which to alight. Furthermore, the
plaintiff was possessed of the vigor and agility of young
manhood, and it was by no means so risky for him to get
off while the train was yet moving as the same act would
have been in an aged or feeble person. In determining the
question of contributory negligence in performing such act
— that is to say, whether the passenger acted prudently
or recklessly — the age, sex, and physical condition of the
passenger are circumstances necessarily affecting the
safety of the passenger, and should be considered.
Women, it has been observed, as a general rule are less
capable than men of alighting with safety under such
conditions, as the nature of their wearing apparel
obstructs the free movement of the limbs. Again, it may
be noted that the place was perfectly familiar to the
plaintiff as it was his daily custom to get on and of the train
at this station. There could, therefore, be no uncertainty in
his mind with regard either to the length of the step which
he was required to take or the character of the platform
where he was alighting. Our conclusion is that the conduct
of the plaintiff in undertaking to alight while the train was
yet slightly under way was not characterized by
imprudence and that therefore he was not guilty of
contributory negligence.

The evidence shows that the plaintiff, at the time of the


accident, was earning P25 a month as a copyist clerk, and
that the injuries he has suffered have permanently
disabled him from continuing that employment. Defendant
has not shown that any other gainful occupation is open
to plaintiff. His expectancy of life, according to the
standard mortality tables, is approximately thirty-three
years. We are of the opinion that a fair compensation for
the damage suffered by him for his permanent disability
is the sum of P2,500, and that he is also entitled to recover
of defendant the additional sum of P790.25 for medical
attention, hospital services, and other incidental
expenditures connected with the treatment of his injuries.

The decision of lower court is reversed, and judgment is


hereby rendered plaintiff for the sum of P3,290.25, and for
the costs of both instances. So ordered.

Arellano, C.J., Torres, Street and Avanceña, JJ., concur.

Separate Opinions

MALCOLM, J., dissenting:

With one sentence in the majority decision, we are of full


accord, namely, "It may be admitted that had plaintiff
waited until the train had come to a full stop before
alighting, the particular injury suffered by him could not
have occurred." With the general rule relative to a
G.R. No. 170141 April 22, 2008 imputed that he would only use the trip to the United
States as a pretext to stay and work in Japan.15 The
JAPAN AIRLINES, petitioner, vs. JESUS stewardess asked respondent to show his travel
SIMANGAN, respondent. REYES R.T., J.: documents. Shortly after, the stewardess along with a
Japanese and a Filipino haughtily ordered him to stand up
and leave the plane.16 Respondent protested, explaining
WHEN an airline issues a ticket to a passenger confirmed
that he was issued a U.S. visa. Just to allow him to board
on a particular flight on a certain date, a contract of
carriage arises, and the passenger has every right to the plane, he pleaded with JAL to closely monitor his
expect that he would fly on that flight and on that date. If movements when the aircraft stops over in Narita.17 His
pleas were ignored. He was then constrained to go out of
he does not, then the carrier opens itself to a suit for
the plane.18In a nutshell, respondent was bumped off the
breach of contract of carriage.1
flight.
The power to admit or not an alien into the country is a
sovereign act which cannot be interfered with even by Respondent went to JAL's ground office and waited there
for three hours. Meanwhile, the plane took off and he was
Japan Airlines (JAL).2
left behind.19 Afterwards, he was informed that his travel
documents were, indeed, in order.20 Respondent was
In this petition for review on certiorari,3 petitioner JAL refunded the cost of his plane ticket less the sum of
appeals the: (1) Decision4 dated May 31, 2005 of the US$500.00 which was deducted by JAL.21 Subsequently,
Court of Appeals (CA) ordering it to pay respondent Jesus respondent's U.S. visa was cancelled.22
Simangan moral and exemplary damages; and (2)
Resolution5 of the same court dated September 28, 2005
Displeased by the turn of events, respondent filed an
denying JAL's motion for reconsideration.
action for damages against JAL with the Regional Trial
Court (RTC) in Valenzuela City, docketed as Civil Case
The Facts No. 4195-V-93. He claimed he was not able to donate his
kidney to Loreto; and that he suffered terrible
In 1991, respondent Jesus Simangan decided to donate embarrassment and mental anguish.23 He prayed that he
a kidney to his ailing cousin, Loreto Simangan, in UCLA be awarded P3 million as moral damages, P1.5 million as
School of Medicine in Los Angeles, California, U.S.A. exemplary damages and P500,000.00 as attorney's
Upon request of UCLA, respondent undertook a series of fees.24
laboratory tests at the National Kidney Institute in Quezon
City to verify whether his blood and tissue type are JAL denied the material allegations of the complaint. It
compatible with Loreto's.6 Fortunately, said tests proved argued, among others, that its failure to allow respondent
that respondent's blood and tissue type were well- to fly on his scheduled departure was due to "a need for
matched with Loreto's.7 his travel documents to be authenticated by the United
States Embassy"25 because no one from JAL's airport
Respondent needed to go to the United States to staff had encountered a parole visa before.26 It posited
complete his preliminary work-up and donation surgery. that the authentication required additional time; that
Hence, to facilitate respondent's travel to the United respondent was advised to take the flight the following
States, UCLA wrote a letter to the American Consulate in day, July 30, 1992. JAL alleged that respondent agreed
Manila to arrange for his visa. In due time, respondent to be rebooked on July 30, 1992.27
was issued an emergency U.S. visa by the American
Embassy in Manila.8 JAL also lodged a counterclaim anchored on
respondent's alleged wrongful institution of the complaint.
Having obtained an emergency U.S. visa, respondent It prayed for litigation expenses, exemplary damages and
purchased a round trip plane ticket from petitioner JAL for attorney's fees.28
US$1,485.00 and was issued the corresponding boarding
pass.9 He was scheduled to a particular flight bound for On September 21, 2000, the RTC presided by Judge
Los Angeles, California, U.S.A. via Narita, Japan.10 Floro P. Alejo rendered its decision in favor of respondent
(plaintiff), disposing as follows:
On July 29, 1992, the date of his flight, respondent went
to Ninoy Aquino International Airport in the company of WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered
several relatives and friends.11 He was allowed to check- ordering the defendant to pay the plaintiff the
in at JAL's counter.12 His plane ticket, boarding pass, amount of P1,000,000.00 as moral damages, the
travel authority and personal articles were subjected to amount of P500,000.00 as exemplary damages
rigid immigration and security routines.13 After passing and the amount of P250,000.00 as attorney's
through said immigration and security procedures, fees, plus the cost of suit.29
respondent was allowed by JAL to enter its airplane.14
The RTC explained:
While inside the airplane, JAL's airline crew suspected
respondent of carrying a falsified travel document and
In summarily and insolently ordering the plaintiff The CA elucidated that since JAL issued to respondent a
to disembark while the latter was already settled round trip plane ticket for a lawful consideration, "there
in his assigned seat, the defendant violated the arose a perfected contract between them."35 It found that
contract of carriage; that when the plaintiff was respondent was "haughtily ejected"36 by JAL and that "he
ordered out of the plane under the pretext that the was certainly embarrassed and humiliated"37 when, in the
genuineness of his travel documents would be presence of other passengers, JAL's airline staff "shouted
verified it had caused him embarrassment and at him to stand up and arrogantly asked him to produce
besmirched reputation; and that when the plaintiff his travel papers, without the least courtesy every human
was finally not allowed to take the flight, he being is entitled to";38 and that "he was compelled to
suffered more wounded feelings and social deplane on the grounds that his papers were fake."39
humiliation for which the plaintiff was asking to be
awarded moral and exemplary damages as well The CA ratiocinated:
as attorney's fees.
While the protection of passengers must take precedence
The reason given by the defendant that what over convenience, the implementation of security
prompted them to investigate the genuineness of measures must be attended by basic courtesies.
the travel documents of the plaintiff was that the
plaintiff was not then carrying a regular visa but
In fact, breach of the contract of carriage creates
just a letter does not appear satisfactory. The against the carrier a presumption of liability, by a
defendant is engaged in transporting passengers simple proof of injury, relieving the injured
by plane from country to country and is therefore
passenger of the duty to establish the fault of the
conversant with the travel documents. The
carrier or of his employees; and placing on the
defendant should not be allowed to pretend, to
carrier the burden to prove that it was due to an
the prejudice of the plaintiff not to know that the unforeseen event or to force majeure.
travel documents of the plaintiff are valid
documents to allow him entry in the United
States. That appellee possessed bogus travel
documents and that he might stay illegally in
Japan are allegations without
The foregoing act of the defendant in ordering the substantiation. Also, appellant's attempt to
plaintiff to deplane while already settled in his rebook appellee the following day was too late
assigned seat clearly demonstrated that the
and did not relieve it from liability. The damage
defendant breached its contract of carriage with
had been done. Besides, its belated theory of
the plaintiff as passenger in bad faith and as such
novation, i.e., that appellant's original obligation
the plaintiff is entitled to moral and exemplary
to carry appellee to Narita and Los Angeles on
damages as well as to an award of attorney's July 29, 1992 was extinguished by novation when
fees.30 appellant and appellant agreed that appellee will
instead take appellant's flight to Narita on the
Disagreeing with the RTC judgment, JAL appealed to the following day, July 30, 1992, deserves little
CA contending that it is not guilty of breach of contract of attention. It is inappropriate at bar. Questions not
carriage, hence, not liable for damages.31 It posited that it taken up during the trial cannot be raised for the
is the one entitled to recover on its counterclaim.32 first time on appeal.40 (Underscoring ours and
citations were omitted)
CA Ruling
Citing Ortigas, Jr. v. Lufthansa German Airlines,41 the CA
In a Decision33 dated May 31, 2005, the CA affirmed the declared that "(i)n contracts of common carriage,
decision of the RTC with modification in that it lowered the inattention and lack of care on the part of the carrier
amount of moral and exemplary damages and deleted the resulting in the failure of the passenger to be
award of attorney's fees. The fallo of the CA decision accommodated in the class contracted for amounts to bad
reads: faith or fraud which entitles the passengers to the award
of moral damages in accordance with Article 2220 of the
WHEREFORE, the appealed Decision is Civil Code."42
AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION. Appellant
JAPAN AIR LINES is ordered to pay appellee Nevertheless, the CA modified the damages awarded by
JESUS SIMANGAN the reduced sums, as the RTC. It explained:
follows: Five Hundred Thousand Pesos
(P500,000.00) as moral damages, and Two Fundamental in the law on damages is that one
Hundred Fifty Thousand Pesos (P250,000.00) as injured by a breach of a contract, or by a wrongful
exemplary damages. The award of attorney's or negligent act or omission shall have a fair and
fees is hereby DELETED.34 just compensation commensurate to the loss
sustained as consequence of the defendant's act.
Being discretionary on the court, the amount,
however, should not be palpably and NOT ACT FRAUDULENTLY OR IN BAD
scandalously excessive. FAITH AS TO ENTITLE RESPONDENT
TO MORAL DAMAGES.
Here, the trial court's award of P1,000,000.00 as
moral damages appears to be overblown. No C. THE LAW DISTINGUISHES A
other proof of appellee's social standing, CONTRACTUAL BREACH EFFECTED
profession, financial capabilities was presented IN GOOD FAITH FROM ONE
except that he was single and a businessman. To ATTENDED BY BAD FAITH.
Us, the sum of 500,000.00 is just and fair. For,
moral damages are emphatically not intended to II.
enrich a complainant at the expense of the
defendant. They are awarded only to enable the
WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS
injured party to obtain means, diversion or ERRED IN RULING THAT RESPONDENT WAS
amusements that will serve to alleviate the moral ENTITLED TO EXEMPLARY
suffering he has undergone, by reason of the
DAMAGES CONSIDERING THAT:
defendant's culpable action.
A. EXEMPLARY DAMAGES ARE NOT
Moreover, the grant of P500,000.00 as RECOVERABLE IN BREACH OF
exemplary damages needs to be reduced to a CONTRACT OF CARRIAGE UNLESS
reasonable level. The award of exemplary
THE CARRIER IS GUILTY OF
damages is designed to permit the courts to
WANTON, FRAUDULENT, RECKLESS,
mould behavior that has socially deleterious
OPPRESSIVE OR MALEVOLENT
consequences and its imposition is required by
CONDUCT.
public policy to suppress the wanton acts of the
offender. Hence, the sum of P250,000.00 is
adequate under the circumstances. B. ASSUMING ARGUENDO THAT JAL
WAS GUILTY OF BREACH, JAL DID
NOT ACT IN A WANTON
The award of P250,000.00 as attorney's fees FRAUDULENT, RECKLESS,
lacks factual basis. Appellee was definitely OPPRESSIVE OR MALEVOLENT
compelled to litigate in protecting his rights and in
MANNER AS TO ENTITLE
seeking relief from appellant's misdeeds. Yet, the
RESPONDENT TO EXEMPLARY
record is devoid of evidence to show the cost of
DAMAGES.
the services of his counsel and/or the actual
expenses incurred in prosecuting his
action.43(Citations were omitted) III.

When JAL's motion for reconsideration was denied, it ASSUMING ARGUENDO THAT RESPONDENT
resorted to the petition at bar. WAS ENTITLED TO AN AWARD OF DAMAGES,
WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS
AWARD OF P750,000 IN DAMAGES WAS
Issues
EXCESSIVEAND UNPRECEDENTED.

JAL poses the following issues -


IV.

I.
WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS
ERRED IN NOT FINDING FOR JAL ON
WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS ITS COUNTERCLAIM.44 (Underscoring Ours)
ERRED IN RULING THAT RESPONDENT WAS
ENTITLED TO MORAL DAMAGES, Basically, there are three (3) issues to resolve here: (1)
CONSIDERING THAT:
whether or not JAL is guilty of contract of carriage; (2)
whether or not respondent is entitled to moral and
A. JAL WAS NOT GUILTY OF BREACH exemplary damages; and (3) whether or not JAL is
OF CONTRACT. entitled to its counterclaim for damages.

B. MORAL DAMAGES MAY BE Our Ruling


AWARDED IN BREACH OF
CONTRACT CASES ONLY WHEN THE This Court is not a trier of facts.
BREACH IS ATTENDED BY FRAUD OR
BAD FAITH.
ASSUMING ARGUENDO THAT JAL Chiefly, the issues are factual. The RTC findings of facts
WAS GUILTY OF BREACH, JAL DID were affirmed by the CA. The CA also gave its nod to the
reasoning of the RTC except as to the awards of document."52 It alleged that no one from its airport staff
damages, which were reduced, and that of attorney's had encountered a parole visa before.53 It further
fees, which was deleted. contended that respondent agreed to fly the next day so
that it could first verify his travel document, hence, there
We are not a trier of facts. We generally rely upon, and was novation.54 It maintained that it was not guilty of
are bound by, the conclusions on this matter of the lower breach of contract of carriage as respondent was not able
courts, which are better equipped and have better to travel to the United States due to his own voluntary
opportunity to assess the evidence first-hand, including desistance.55
the testimony of the witnesses.45
We cannot agree. JAL did not allow respondent to fly. It
We have repeatedly held that the findings of fact of the informed respondent that there was a need to first check
CA are final and conclusive and cannot be reviewed on the authenticity of his travel documents with the U.S.
appeal to the Supreme Court provided they are based on Embassy.56 As admitted by JAL, "the flight could not wait
substantial evidence.46 We have no jurisdiction, as a rule, for Mr. Simangan because it was ready to depart."57
to reverse their findings.47 Among the exceptions to this
rule are: (a) when the conclusion is a finding grounded Since JAL definitely declared that the flight could not wait
entirely on speculations, surmises or conjectures; (b) for respondent, it gave respondent no choice but to be left
when the inference made is manifestly mistaken, absurd behind. The latter was unceremoniously bumped off
or impossible; (c) where there is grave abuse of despite his protestations and valid travel documents and
discretion; (d) when the judgment is based on a notwithstanding his contract of carriage with JAL.
misapprehension of facts; (e) when the findings of facts Damage had already been done when respondent was
are conflicting; (f) when the CA, in making its findings, offered to fly the next day on July 30, 1992. Said offer did
went beyond the issues of the case and the same is not cure JAL's default.
contrary to the admissions of both appellant and
appellee.48 Considering that respondent was forced to get out of the
plane and left behind against his will, he could not have
The said exceptions, which are being invoked by JAL, are freely consented to be rebooked the next day. In short, he
not found here. There is no indication that the findings of did not agree to the alleged novation. Since novation
the CA are contrary to the evidence on record or that vital implies a waiver of the right the creditor had before the
testimonies of JAL's witnesses were disregarded. Neither novation, such waiver must be express.58 It cannot be
did the CA commit misapprehension of facts nor did it fail supposed, without clear proof, that respondent had
to consider relevant facts. Likewise, there was no grave willingly done away with his right to fly on July 29, 1992.
abuse of discretion in the appreciation of facts or mistaken
and absurd inferences. Moreover, the reason behind the bumping off incident, as
found by the RTC and CA, was that JAL personnel
We thus sustain the coherent facts as established by the imputed that respondent would only use the trip to the
courts below, there being no sufficient showing that the United States as a pretext to stay and work in Japan.59
said courts committed reversible error in reaching their
conclusions. Apart from the fact that respondent's plane ticket,
boarding pass, travel authority and personal articles
JAL is guilty of breach of already passed the rigid immigration and security
contract of carriage. routines,60 JAL, as a common carrier, ought to know the
kind of valid travel documents respondent carried. As
That respondent purchased a round trip plane ticket from provided in Article 1755 of the New Civil Code: "A
JAL and was issued the corresponding boarding pass is common carrier is bound to carry the passengers safely
uncontroverted.49 His plane ticket, boarding pass, travel as far as human care and foresight can provide, using the
authority and personal articles were subjected to rigid utmost diligence of very cautious persons, with a due
immigration and security procedure.50 After passing regard for all the circumstances."61 Thus, We find
through said immigration and security procedure, he was untenable JAL's defense of "verification of respondent's
allowed by JAL to enter its airplane to fly to Los Angeles, documents" in its breach of contract of carriage.
California, U.S.A. via Narita, Japan.51 Concisely, there
was a contract of carriage between JAL and respondent. It bears repeating that the power to admit or not an alien
into the country is a sovereign act which cannot be
Nevertheless, JAL made respondent get off the plane on interfered with even by JAL.62
his scheduled departure on July 29, 1992. He was not
allowed by JAL to fly. JAL thus failed to comply with its In an action for breach of contract of carriage, all that is
obligation under the contract of carriage. required of plaintiff is to prove the existence of such
contract and its non-performance by the carrier through
JAL justifies its action by arguing that there was "a need the latter's failure to carry the passenger safely to his
to verify the authenticity of respondent's travel destination.63Respondent has complied with these twin
requisites.
Respondent is entitled to moral and exemplary JAL is also liable for exemplary damages as its above-
damages and attorney's fees plus legal interest. mentioned acts constitute wanton, oppressive and
malevolent acts against respondent. Exemplary
With reference to moral damages, JAL alleged that they damages, which are awarded by way of example or
are not recoverable in actions ex contractu except only correction for the public good, may be recovered in
when the breach is attended by fraud or bad faith. It is contractual obligations, as in this case, if defendant acted
contended that it did not act fraudulently or in bad faith in wanton, fraudulent, reckless, oppressive, or malevolent
towards respondent, hence, it may not be held liable for manner.68
moral damages.
Exemplary damages are designed by our civil law to
As a general rule, moral damages are not recoverable in permit the courts to reshape behaviour that is socially
actions for damages predicated on a breach of contract deleterious in its consequence by creating negative
for it is not one of the items enumerated under Article incentives or deterrents against such behaviour. In
2219 of the Civil Code.64 As an exception, such damages requiring compliance with the standard of extraordinary
are recoverable: (1) in cases in which the mishap results diligence, a standard which is, in fact, that of the highest
in the death of a passenger, as provided in Article 1764, possible degree of diligence, from common carriers and
in relation to Article 2206(3) of the Civil Code; and (2) in in creating a presumption of negligence against them, the
the cases in which the carrier is guilty of fraud or bad faith, law seeks to compel them to control their employees, to
as provided in Article 2220.65 tame their reckless instincts and to force them to take
adequate care of human beings and their property.69
The acts committed by JAL against respondent amounts
to bad faith. As found by the RTC, JAL breached its Neglect or malfeasance of the carrier's employees could
contract of carriage with respondent in bad faith. JAL give ground for an action for damages. Passengers have
personnel summarily and insolently ordered respondent a right to be treated by the carrier's employees with
to disembark while the latter was already settled in his kindness, respect, courtesy and due consideration and
assigned seat. He was ordered out of the plane under the are entitled to be protected against personal misconduct,
alleged reason that the genuineness of his travel injurious language, indignities and abuses from such
documents should be verified. employees.70

These findings of facts were upheld by the CA, to wit: The assessment of P500,000.00 as moral damages
and P100,000.00 as exemplary damages in respondent's
favor is, in Our view, reasonable and realistic. This award
x x x he was haughtily ejected by appellant. He
is reasonably sufficient to indemnify him for the
was certainly embarrassed and humiliated when,
in the presence of other passengers, the humiliation and embarrassment he suffered. This also
appellant's airline staff shouted at him to stand up serves as an example to discourage the repetition of
similar oppressive acts.
and arrogantly asked him to produce his travel
papers, without the least courtesy every human
being is entitled to. Then, he was compelled to With respect to attorney's fees, they may be awarded
deplane on the grounds that his papers were when defendant's act or omission has compelled plaintiff
fake. His protestation of having been issued a to litigate with third persons or to incur expenses to protect
U.S. visa coupled with his plea to appellant to his interest.71 The Court, in Construction Development
closely monitor his movements when the aircraft Corporation of the Philippines v. Estrella,72 citing Traders
stops over in Narita, were ignored. Worse, he Royal Bank Employees Union-Independent v. National
was made to wait for many hours at the office of Labor Relations Commission,73 elucidated thus:
appellant only to be told later that he has valid
travel documents.66 (Underscoring ours) There are two commonly accepted concepts of
attorney's fees, the so-called ordinary and
Clearly, JAL is liable for moral damages. It is firmly settled extraordinary. In its ordinary concept, an
that moral damages are recoverable in suits predicated attorney's fee is the reasonable compensation
on breach of a contract of carriage where it is proved that paid to a lawyer by his client for the legal services
the carrier was guilty of fraud or bad faith, as in this case. he has rendered to the latter. The basis of this
Inattention to and lack of care for the interests of its compensation is the fact of his employment by
passengers who are entitled to its utmost consideration, and his agreement with the client.
particularly as to their convenience, amount to bad faith
which entitles the passenger to an award of moral In its extraordinary concept, an attorney's fee
damages. What the law considers as bad faith which may is an indemnity for damages ordered by the
furnish the ground for an award of moral damages would court to be paid by the losing party in a
be bad faith in securing the contract and in the execution litigation. The basis of this is any of the cases
thereof, as well as in the enforcement of its terms, or any provided by law where such award can be made,
other kind of deceit.67 such as those authorized in Article 2208, Civil
Code, and is payable not to the lawyer but to
the client, unless they have agreed that the the judgment of the court is made (at which
award shall pertain to the lawyer as additional time the quantification of damages may be
compensation or as part thereof.74 deemed to have been reasonably
ascertained). The actual base for the
It was therefore erroneous for the CA to delete the award computation of legal interest shall, in any case,
of attorney's fees on the ground that the record is devoid be on the amount finally adjudged.
of evidence to show the cost of the services of
respondent's counsel. The amount is actually 3. When the judgment of the court awarding a
discretionary upon the Court so long as it passes the test sum of money becomes final and executory,
of reasonableness. They may be recovered as actual or the rate of legal interest, whether the case
compensatory damages when exemplary damages are falls under paragraph 1 or paragraph 2, above,
awarded and whenever the court deems it just and shall be 12% per annum from such finality
equitable,75 as in this case. until its satisfaction, this interim period being
deemed to be by then an equivalent to a
Considering the factual backdrop of this case, attorney's forbearance of credit.78 (Emphasis supplied
fees in the amount of P200,000.00 is reasonably modest. and citations omitted)

The above liabilities of JAL in the total amount Accordingly, in addition to the said total amount
of P800,000.00 earn legal interest pursuant to the Court's of P800,000.00, JAL is liable to pay respondent legal
ruling in Construction Development Corporation of the interest. Pursuant to the above ruling of the Court, the
Philippines v. Estrella,76 citing Eastern Shipping Lines, legal interest is 6% and it shall be reckoned from
Inc. v. Court of Appeals,77 to wit: September 21, 2000 when the RTC rendered its
judgment. From the time this Decision becomes final and
Regarding the imposition of legal interest at the executory, the interest rate shall be 12% until its
satisfaction.
rate of 6% from the time of the filing of the
complaint, we held in Eastern Shipping Lines,
Inc. v. Court of Appeals, that when an obligation, JAL is not entitled to its counterclaim for damages.
regardless of its source, i.e., law, contracts,
quasi-contracts, delicts or quasi-delicts is The counterclaim of JAL in its Answer79 is a compulsory
breached, the contravenor can be held liable for counterclaim for damages and attorney's fees arising
payment of interest in the concept of actual and from the filing of the complaint. There is no mention of any
compensatory damages, subject to the following other counter claims.
rules, to wit -
This compulsory counterclaim of JAL arising from the
1. When the obligation is breached, and it filing of the complaint may not be granted inasmuch as
consists in the payment of a sum of money, i.e., the complaint against it is obviously not malicious or
a loan or forbearance of money, the interest due unfounded. It was filed by respondent precisely to claim
should be that which may have been stipulated in his right to damages against JAL. Well-settled is the rule
writing. Furthermore, the interest due shall itself that the commencement of an action does not per
earn legal interest from the time it is judicially se make the action wrongful and subject the action to
demanded. In the absence of stipulation, the rate damages, for the law could not have meant to impose a
of interest shall be 12% per annum to be penalty on the right to litigate.80
computed from default, i.e., from judicial or
extrajudicial demand under and subject to the We reiterate case law that if damages result from a party's
provisions of Article 1169 of the Civil Code. exercise of a right, it is damnum absque injuria.81 Lawful
acts give rise to no injury. Walang perhuwisyong
2. When an obligation, not constituting a loan or maaring idulot ang paggamit sa sariling karapatan.
forbearance of money, is breached, an interest on
the amount of damages awarded may be During the trial, however, JAL presented a witness who
imposed at the discretion of the court at the rate testified that JAL suffered further damages. Allegedly,
of 6% per annum. No interest, however, shall be respondent caused the publications of his subject
adjudged on unliquidated claims or damages complaint against JAL in the newspaper for which JAL
except when or until the demand can be suffered damages.82
established with reasonable certainty.
Accordingly, where the demand is established Although these additional damages allegedly suffered by
with reasonable certainty, the interest shall begin
JAL were not incorporated in its Answer as they arose
to run from the time the claim is made judicially or
subsequent to its filing, JAL's witness was able to testify
extrajudicially (Art. 1169, Civil Code) but when
on the same before the RTC.83 Hence, although these
such certainty cannot be so reasonably
issues were not raised by the pleadings, they shall be
established at the time the demand is made, the
interest shall begin to run only from the date
treated in all respects as if they had been raised in the public person in his public capacity or to a public official
pleadings. may be actionable. To be considered malicious, the
libelous statements must be shown to have been written
As provided in Section 5, Rule 10 of the Rules of Court, or published with the knowledge that they are false or in
"(w)hen issues not raised by the pleadings are tried with reckless disregard of whether they are false or not.88
the express or implied consent of the parties, they shall
be treated in all respects as if they had been raised in the Considering that the published articles involve matters of
pleadings." public interest and that its expressed opinion is not
malicious but based on established facts, the imputations
Nevertheless, JAL's counterclaim cannot be granted. against JAL are not actionable. Therefore, JAL may not
claim damages for them.
JAL is a common carrier. JAL's business is mainly with
the traveling public. It invites people to avail themselves WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The appealed
of the comforts and advantages it offers.84 Since JAL Decision of the Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED WITH
deals with the public, its bumping off of respondent MODIFICATION. As modified, petitioner Japan Airlines is
without a valid reason naturally drew public attention and ordered to pay respondent Jesus Simangan the following:
generated a public issue. (1) P500,000.00 as moral damages; (2) P100,000.00 as
exemplary damages; and (3) P200,000.00 as attorney's
The publications involved matters about which the public fees.
has the right to be informed because they relate to a
public issue. This public issue or concern is a legitimate The total amount adjudged shall earn legal interest at the
topic of a public comment that may be validly published. rate of 6% per annum from the date of judgment of the
Regional Trial Court on September 21, 2000 until the
Assuming that respondent, indeed, caused the finality of this Decision. From the time this Decision
becomes final and executory, the unpaid amount, if any,
publication of his complaint, he may not be held liable for
shall earn legal interest at the rate of 12% per annum until
damages for it. The constitutional guarantee of freedom
its satisfaction.
of the speech and of the press includes fair commentaries
on matters of public interest. This is explained by the
Court in Borjal v. Court of Appeals,85 to wit: SO ORDERED.

To reiterate, fair commentaries on matters of


public interest are privileged and constitute a
valid defense in an action for libel or slander. The
doctrine of fair comment means that while in
general every discreditable imputation publicly
made is deemed false, because every man is
presumed innocent until his guilt is judicially
proved, and every false imputation is deemed
malicious, nevertheless, when the discreditable
imputation is directed against a public person in
his public capacity, it is not necessarily
actionable. In order that such discreditable
imputation to a public official may be actionable,
it must either be a false allegation of fact or a
comment based on a false supposition. If the
comment is an expression of opinion, based on
established facts, then it is immaterial that the
opinion happens to be mistaken, as long as it
might reasonably be inferred from the
facts.86 (Citations omitted and underscoring ours)

Even though JAL is not a public official, the rule on


privileged commentaries on matters of public interest
applies to it. The privilege applies not only to public
officials but extends to a great variety of subjects, and
includes matters of public concern, public men, and
candidates for office.87

Hence, pursuant to the Borjal case, there must be an


actual malice in order that a discreditable imputation to a
G.R. No. L-44748 August 29, 1986 defect of the plaintiff. Whether or not they were
intended for the plaintiff, the effect on the plaintiff is
RADIO COMMUNICATIONS OF THE PHILS., INC. the same. Any person reading the additional words in
(RCPI). petitioner, vs. Tagalog will naturally think that they refer to the
COURT OF APPEALS and LORETO addressee, the plaintiff. There is no indication from
DIONELA, respondents. PARAS, J.: the face of the telegram that the additional words in
Tagalog were sent as a private joke between the
Before Us, is a Petition for Review by certiorari of the operators of the defendant.
decision of the Court of Appeals, modifying the decision
of the trial court in a civil case for recovery of damages The defendant is sued directly not as an employer.
against petitioner corporation by reducing the award to The business of the defendant is to transmit
private respondent Loreto Dionela of moral damages from telegrams. It will open the door to frauds and allow the
P40,000 to Pl5,000, and attorney's fees from P3,000 to defendant to act with impunity if it can escape liability
P2,000. by the simple expedient of showing that its employees
acted beyond the scope of their assigned tasks.
The basis of the complaint against the defendant
corporation is a telegram sent through its Manila Office to The liability of the defendant is predicated not only on
the offended party, Loreto Dionela, reading as follows: Article 33 of the Civil Code of the Philippines but on
the following articles of said Code:
176 AS JR 1215PM 9 PAID
MANDALUYONG JUL 22-66 LORETO ART. 19.- Every person must, in the exercise of his
DIONELA CABANGAN LEGASPI CITY rights and in the performance of his duties, act with
justice, give everyone his due, and observe honesty
WIRE ARRIVAL OF CHECK FER and good faith.

ART. 20.-Every person who, contrary to law, wilfully


LORETO DIONELA-CABANGAN-WIRE
or negligently causes damage to another, shall
ARRIVAL OF CHECK-PER
indemnify the latter for the same.
115 PM
There is sufficient publication of the libelous Tagalog
words. The office file of the defendant containing
SA IYO WALANG PAKINABANG copies of telegrams received are open and held
DUMATING KA DIYAN-WALA-KANG together only by a metal fastener. Moreover, they are
PADALA DITO KAHIT BULBUL MO open to view and inspection by third parties.

(p. 19, Annex "A") It follows that the plaintiff is entitled to damages and
attorney's fees. The plaintiff is a businessman. The
Plaintiff-respondent Loreto Dionela alleges that the libelous Tagalog words must have affected his
defamatory words on the telegram sent to him not only business and social standing in the community. The
wounded his feelings but also caused him undue Court fixes the amount of P40,000.00 as the
embarrassment and affected adversely his business as reasonable amount of moral damages and the
well because other people have come to know of said amount of P3,000.00 as attorney's fee which the
defamatory words. Defendant corporation as a defense, defendant should pay the plaintiff. (pp. 15-16, Record
alleges that the additional words in Tagalog was a private on Appeal)
joke between the sending and receiving operators and
that they were not addressed to or intended for plaintiff The respondent appellate court in its assailed decision
and therefore did not form part of the telegram and that confirming the aforegoing findings of the lower court
the Tagalog words are not defamatory. The telegram sent stated:
through its facilities was received in its station at Legaspi
City. Nobody other than the operator manned the teletype
The proximate cause, therefore, resulting in injury
machine which automatically receives telegrams being
to appellee, was the failure of the appellant to take
transmitted. The said telegram was detached from the
machine and placed inside a sealed envelope and the necessary or precautionary steps to avoid the
delivered to plaintiff, obviously as is. The additional words occurrence of the humiliating incident now
complained of. The company had not imposed any
in Tagalog were never noticed and were included in the
safeguard against such eventualities and this void
telegram when delivered.
in its operating procedure does not speak well of its
concern for their clientele's interests. Negligence
The trial court in finding for the plaintiff ruled as follows: here is very patent. This negligence is imputable to
appellant and not to its employees.
There is no question that the additional words in
Tagalog are libelous. They clearly impute a vice or
The claim that there was no publication of the Code (supra). As well as on respondent's breach of
libelous words in Tagalog is also without merit. The contract thru the negligence of its own employees. 1
fact that a carbon copy of the telegram was filed
among other telegrams and left to hang for the Petitioner is a domestic corporation engaged in the
public to see, open for inspection by a third party is business of receiving and transmitting messages.
sufficient publication. It would have been otherwise Everytime a person transmits a message through the
perhaps had the telegram been placed and kept in facilities of the petitioner, a contract is entered into. Upon
a secured place where no one may have had a receipt of the rate or fee fixed, the petitioner undertakes
chance to read it without appellee's permission. to transmit the message accurately. There is no question
that in the case at bar, libelous matters were included in
The additional Tagalog words at the bottom of the the message transmitted, without the consent or
telegram are, as correctly found by the lower court, knowledge of the sender. There is a clear case of breach
libelous per se, and from which malice may be of contract by the petitioner in adding extraneous and
presumed in the absence of any showing of good libelous matters in the message sent to the private
intention and justifiable motive on the part of the respondent. As a corporation, the petitioner can act only
appellant. The law implies damages in this instance through its employees. Hence the acts of its employees in
(Quemel vs. Court of Appeals, L-22794, January receiving and transmitting messages are the acts of the
16, 1968; 22 SCRA 44). The award of P40,000.00 petitioner. To hold that the petitioner is not liable directly
as moral damages is hereby reduced to P15,000.00 for the acts of its employees in the pursuit of petitioner's
and for attorney's fees the amount of P2,000.00 is business is to deprive the general public availing of the
awarded. (pp. 22-23, record) services of the petitioner of an effective and adequate
remedy. In most cases, negligence must be proved in
After a motion for reconsideration was denied by the order that plaintiff may recover. However, since
appellate court, petitioner came to Us with the following: negligence may be hard to substantiate in some cases,
we may apply the doctrine of RES IPSA LOQUITUR (the
thing speaks for itself), by considering the presence of
ASSIGNMENT OF ERRORS
facts or circumstances surrounding the injury.
I
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the judgment of the
appellate court is hereby AFFIRMED.
The Honorable Court of Appeals erred in holding that
Petitioner-employer should answer directly and
SO ORDERED.
primarily for the civil liability arising from the criminal
act of its employee.
Feria (Chairman), Fernan, Alampay, and Gutierrez, Jr.,
JJ., concur.
II

The Honorable Court of Appeals erred in holding that


there was sufficient publication of the alleged libelous
telegram in question, as contemplated by law on libel.

III

The Honorable Court of Appeals erred in holding that


the liability of petitioner-company-employer is
predicated on Articles 19 and 20 of the Civil Code,
Articles on Human Relations.

IV

The Honorable Court of Appeals erred in awarding


Atty's. fees. (p. 4, Record)

Petitioner's contentions do not merit our consideration.


The action for damages was filed in the lower court
directly against respondent corporation not as an
employer subsidiarily liable under the provisions of Article
1161 of the New Civil Code in relation to Art. 103 of the
Revised Penal Code. The cause of action of the private
respondent is based on Arts. 19 and 20 of the New Civil
G.R. No. 98695 January 27, 1993 concrete vault on September 15, 1978; that upon
opening the vault, the following became apparent to
JUAN J. SYQUIA, CORAZON C. SYQUIA, CARLOTA C. the plaintiffs-appellants: (a) the interior walls of the
SYQUIA, CARLOS C. SYQUIA and ANTHONY C. concrete vault showed evidence of total flooding; (b)
SYQUIA, petitioners, vs.THE HONORABLE COURT OF the coffin was entirely damaged by water, filth and silt
APPEALS, and THE MANILA MEMORIAL PARK causing the wooden parts to warp and separate and
CEMETERY, INC., respondents. CAMPOS, JR., J.: to crack the viewing glass panel located directly
above the head and torso of the deceased; (c) the
Herein petitioners, Juan J. Syquia and Corazon C. entire lining of the coffin, the clothing of the deceased,
and the exposed parts of the deceased's remains
Syquia, Carlota C. Syquia, Carlos C. Syquia, and Anthony
were damaged and soiled by the action of the water
Syquia, were the parents and siblings, respectively, of the
and silt and were also coated with filth.
deceased Vicente Juan Syquia. On March 5, 1979, they
filed a complaint1 in the then Court of First Instance
against herein private respondent, Manila Memorial Park Due to the alleged unlawful and malicious breach by
Cemetery, Inc. for recovery of damages arising from the defendant-appellee of its obligation to deliver a
breach of contract and/or quasi-delict. The trial court defect-free concrete vault designed to protect the
dismissed the complaint. remains of the deceased and the coffin against the
elements which resulted in the desecration of
The antecedent facts, as gathered by the respondent deceased's grave and in the alternative, because of
Court, are as follows: defendant-appellee's gross negligence conformably
to Article 2176 of the New Civil Code in failing to seal
the concrete vault, the complaint prayed that
On March 5, 1979, Juan, Corazon, Carlota and judgment be rendered ordering defendant-appellee to
Anthony all surnamed Syquia, plaintiff-appellants pay plaintiffs-appellants P30,000.00 for actual
herein, filed a complaint for damages against damages, P500,000.00 for moral damages,
defendant-appellee, Manila Memorial Park exemplary damages in the amount determined by the
Cemetery, Inc. court, 20% of defendant-appellee's total liability as
attorney's fees, and expenses of litigation and costs
The complaint alleged among others, that pursuant to of suit.2
a Deed of Sale (Contract No. 6885) dated August 27,
1969 and Interment Order No. 7106 dated July 21, In dismissing the complaint, the trial court held that the
1978 executed between plaintiff-appellant Juan J. contract between the parties did not guarantee that the
Syquia and defendant-appellee, the former, father of cement vault would be waterproof; that there could be no
deceased Vicente Juan J. Syquia authorized and quasi-delict because the defendant was not guilty of any
instructed defendant-appellee to inter the remains of fault or negligence, and because there was a pre-existing
deceased in the Manila Memorial Park Cemetery in contractual relation between the Syquias and defendant
the morning of July 25, 1978 conformably and in Manila Memorial Park Cemetery, Inc.. The trial court also
accordance with defendant-appellant's (sic) interment noted that the father himself, Juan Syquia, chose the
procedures; that on September 4, 1978, preparatory gravesite despite knowing that said area had to be
to transferring the said remains to a newly purchased constantly sprinkled with water to keep the grass green
family plot also at the Manila Memorial Park and that water would eventually seep through the vault.
Cemetery, the concrete vault encasing the coffin of The trial court also accepted the explanation given by
the deceased was removed from its niche defendant for boring a hole at the bottom side of the vault:
underground with the assistance of certain "The hole had to be bored through the concrete vault
employees of defendant-appellant (sic); that as the because if it has no hole the vault will (sic) float and the
concrete vault was being raised to the surface, grave would be filled with water and the digging would
plaintiffs-appellants discovered that the concrete caved (sic) in the earth, the earth would caved (sic) in the
vault had a hole approximately three (3) inches in (sic) fill up the grave."3
diameter near the bottom of one of the walls closing
out the width of the vault on one end and that for a
From this judgment, the Syquias appealed. They alleged
certain length of time (one hour, more or less), water
drained out of the hole; that because of the aforesaid that the trial court erred in holding that the contract
discovery, plaintiffs-appellants became agitated and allowed the flooding of the vault; that there was no
desecration; that the boring of the hole was justifiable; and
upset with concern that the water which had collected
in not awarding damages.
inside the vault might have risen as it in fact did rise,
to the level of the coffin and flooded the same as well
as the remains of the deceased with ill effects thereto; The Court of Appeals in the Decision4 dated December 7,
that pursuant to an authority granted by the Municipal 1990 however, affirmed the judgment of dismissal.
Court of Parañaque, Metro Manila on September 14, Petitioner's motion for reconsideration was denied in a
1978, plaintiffs-appellants with the assistance of Resolution dated April 25, 1991.5
licensed morticians and certain personnel of
defendant-appellant (sic) caused the opening of the
Unsatisfied with the respondent Court's decision, the parties does not preclude the existence of a culpa
Syquias filed the instant petition. They allege herein that aquiliana, We find no reason to disregard the
the Court of Appeals committed the following errors when respondent's Court finding that there was no negligence.
it:
Art. 2176. Whoever by act or omission
1. held that the contract and the Rules causes damage to another, there being
and Resolutions of private respondent fault or negligence, is obliged to pay for
allowed the flooding of the vault and the the damage done. Such fault or
entrance thereto of filth and silt; negligence, if there is no pre-existing
contractual relation between the parties,
2. held that the act of boring a hole was is called a quasi-delict . . . . (Emphasis
justifiable and corollarily, when it held supplied).
that no act of desecration was
committed; In this case, it has been established that the
Syquias and the Manila Memorial Park Cemetery,
3. overlooked and refused to consider Inc., entered into a contract entitled "Deed of Sale
relevant, undisputed facts, such as those and Certificate of Perpetual Care"6 on August 27,
which have been stipulated upon by the 1969. That agreement governed the relations of
parties, testified to by private the parties and defined their respective rights and
respondent's witnesses, and admitted in obligations. Hence, had there been actual
the answer, which could have justified a negligence on the part of the Manila Memorial
different conclusion; Park Cemetery, Inc., it would be held liable not for
a quasi-delict or culpa aquiliana, but
for culpa contractual as provided by Article 1170
4. held that there was no tort because of
of the Civil Code, to wit:
a pre-existing contract and the absence
of fault/negligence; and
Those who in the performance of their
5. did not award the P25,000.00 actual obligations are guilty of fraud,
damages which was agreed upon by the negligence, or delay, and those who in
any manner contravene the tenor
parties, moral and exemplary damages,
thereof, are liable for damages.
and attorney's fees.

At the bottom of the entire proceedings is the act of boring The Manila Memorial Park Cemetery, Inc. bound itself to
a hole by private respondent on the vault of the deceased provide the concrete box to be send in the interment. Rule
17 of the Rules and Regulations of private respondent
kin of the bereaved petitioners. The latter allege that such
provides that:
act was either a breach of private respondent's
contractual obligation to provide a sealed vault, or, in the
alternative, a negligent act which constituted a quasi- Rule 17. Every earth interment shall be
delict. Nonetheless, petitioners claim that whatever kind made enclosed in a concrete box, or in
of negligence private respondent has committed, the an outer wall of stone, brick or concrete,
latter is liable for desecrating the grave of petitioners' the actual installment of which shall be
dead. made by the employees of the
Association.7
In the instant case, We are called upon to determine
whether the Manila Memorial Park Cemetery, Inc., Pursuant to this above-mentioned Rule, a concrete vault
breached its contract with petitioners; or, alternatively, was provided on July 27, 1978, the day before the
whether private respondent was guilty of a tort. interment, and was, on the same day, installed by private
respondent's employees in the grave which was dug
We understand the feelings of petitioners and empathize earlier. After the burial, the vault was covered by a cement
lid.
with them. Unfortunately, however, We are more inclined
to answer the foregoing questions in the negative. There
is not enough ground, both in fact and in law, to justify a Petitioners however claim that private respondent
reversal of the decision of the respondent Court and to breached its contract with them as the latter held out in
uphold the pleas of the petitioners. the brochure it distributed that the . . . lot may hold single
or double internment (sic) underground
in sealed concrete vault."8 Petitioners claim that the vault
With respect to herein petitioners' averment that private
respondent has committed culpa aquiliana, the Court of provided by private respondent was not sealed, that is,
not waterproof. Consequently, water seeped through the
Appeals found no negligent act on the part of private
respondent to justify an award of damages against it. cement enclosure and damaged everything inside it.
Although a pre-existing contractual relation between the
We do not agree. There was no stipulation in the Deed of denied that the hole made possible the entry of more
Sale and Certificate of Perpetual Care and in the Rules water and soil than was natural had there been no hole.
and Regulations of the Manila Memorial Park Cemetery,
Inc. that the vault would be waterproof. Private The law defines negligence as the "omission of that
respondent's witness, Mr. Dexter Heuschkel, explained diligence which is required by the nature of the obligation
that the term "sealed" meant "closed."9 On the other hand, and corresponds with the circumstances of the persons,
the word "seal" is defined as . . . any of various closures of the time and of the place." 14 In the absence of
or fastenings . . . that cannot be opened without rupture stipulation or legal provision providing the contrary, the
and that serve as a check against tampering or diligence to be observed in the performance of the
unauthorized opening." 10 The meaning that has been obligation is that which is expected of a good father of a
given by private respondent to the word conforms with the family.
cited dictionary definition. Moreover, it is also quite clear
that "sealed" cannot be equated with "waterproof". Well
The circumstances surrounding the commission of the
settled is the rule that when the terms of the contract are assailed act — boring of the hole — negate the allegation
clear and leave no doubt as to the intention of the of negligence. The reason for the act was explained by
contracting parties, then the literal meaning of the
Henry Flores, Interment Foreman, who said that:
stipulation shall control. 11 Contracts should be
interpreted according to their literal meaning and should
not be interpreted beyond their obvious intendment. 12 As Q It has been established in this particular case that
ruled by the respondent Court: a certain Vicente Juan Syquia was interred on July
25, 1978 at the Parañaque Cemetery of the Manila
Memorial Park Cemetery, Inc., will you please tell the
When plaintiff-appellant Juan J. Syquia affixed his
Hon. Court what or whether you have participation in
signature to the Deed of Sale (Exhibit "A") and the
connection with said internment (sic)?
attached Rules and Regulations (Exhibit "1"), it can
be assumed that he has accepted defendant-
appellee's undertaking to merely provide a concrete A A day before Juan (sic) Syquia was buried our
vault. He can not now claim that said concrete vault personnel dug a grave. After digging the next morning
must in addition, also be waterproofed (sic). It is basic a vault was taken and placed in the grave and when
that the parties are bound by the terms of their the vault was placed on the grave a hole was placed
contract, which is the law between them (Rizal on the vault so that water could come into the vault
Commercial Banking Corporation vs. Court of because it was raining heavily then because the vault
Appeals, et al. 178 SCRA 739). Where there is has no hole the vault will float and the grave would be
nothing in the contract which is contrary to law, filled with water and the digging would caved (sic) in
morals, good customs, public order, or public policy, and the earth, the earth would (sic) caved in and fill
the validity of the contract must be sustained (Phil. up the grave. 15 (Emphasis ours)
American Insurance Co. vs. Judge Pineda, 175
SCRA 416). Consonant with this ruling, a contracting Except for the foreman's opinion that the concrete vault
party cannot incur a liability more than what is may float should there be a heavy rainfall, from the above-
expressly specified in his undertaking. It cannot be mentioned explanation, private respondent has exercised
extended by implication, beyond the terms of the the diligence of a good father of a family in preventing the
contract (Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation vs. accumulation of water inside the vault which would have
Court of Appeals, supra). And as a rule of evidence, resulted in the caving in of earth around the grave filling
where the terms of an agreement are reduced to the same with earth.
writing, the document itself, being constituted by the
parties as the expositor of their intentions, is the only Thus, finding no evidence of negligence on the part of
instrument of evidence in respect of that agreement private respondent, We find no reason to award damages
which the law will recognize, so long as its (sic) exists in favor of petitioners.
for the purpose of evidence (Starkie, Ev., pp. 648,
655, Kasheenath vs. Chundy, 5 W.R. 68 cited in In the light of the foregoing facts, and construed in the
Francisco, Revised Rules of Court in the Phil. p. 153, language of the applicable laws and jurisprudence, We
1973 Ed.). And if the terms of the contract are clear are constrained to AFFIRM in toto the decision of the
and leave no doubt upon the intention of the respondent Court of Appeals dated December 7, 1990.
contracting parties, the literal meaning of its No costs.
stipulations shall control (Santos vs. CA, et al., G. R.
No. 83664, Nov. 13, 1989; Prudential Bank & Trust
SO ORDERED.
Co. vs. Community Builders Co., Inc., 165 SCRA 285;
Balatero vs. IAC, 154 SCRA 530). 13

We hold, therefore, that private respondent did not breach


the tenor of its obligation to the Syquias. While this may
be so, can private respondent be liable for culpa
aquiliana for boring the hole on the vault? It cannot be
G.R. No. 108164 February 23, 1995 Still evidently feeling aggrieved, private respondents, on
05 December 1988, filed a complaint for damages with
FAR EAST BANK AND TRUST the Regional Trial Court ("RTC") of Pasig against FEBTC.
COMPANY, petitioner, vs.
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, LUIS A. On 30 March 1990, the RTC of Pasig, given the foregoing
LUNA and CLARITA S. LUNA, respondents. VITUG, J.: factual settings, rendered a decision ordering FEBTC to
pay private respondents (a) P300,000.00 moral damages;
Some time in October 1986, private respondent Luis A. (b) P50,000.00 exemplary damages; and (c) P20,000.00
Luna applied for, and was accorded, a FAREASTCARD attorney's fees.
issued by petitioner Far East Bank and Trust Company
("FEBTC") at its Pasig Branch. Upon his request, the bank On appeal to the Court of Appeals, the appellate court
also issued a supplemental card to private respondent affirmed the decision of the trial court.
Clarita S. Luna.
Its motion for reconsideration having been denied by the
In August 1988, Clarita lost her credit card. FEBTC was appellate court, FEBTC has come to this Court with this
forthwith informed. In order to replace the lost card, Clarita petition for review.
submitted an affidavit of loss. In cases of this nature, the
bank's internal security procedures and policy would There is merit in this appeal.
appear to be to meanwhile so record the lost card, along
with the principal card, as a "Hot Card" or "Cancelled In culpa contractual, moral damages may be recovered
Card" in its master file.
where the defendant is shown to have acted in bad faith
or with malice in the breach of the contract. 2 The Civil
On 06 October 1988, Luis tendered a despedida lunch for Code provides:
a close friend, a Filipino-American, and another guest at
the Bahia Rooftop Restaurant of the Hotel Intercontinental
Art. 2220. Willful injury to property may be a legal
Manila. To pay for the lunch, Luis presented his
ground for awarding moral damages if the court
FAREASTCARD to the attending waiter who promptly
should find that, under the circumstances, such
had it verified through a telephone call to the bank's Credit damages are justly due. The same rule applies to
Card Department. Since the card was not honored, Luis breaches of contract where the defendant acted
was forced to pay in cash the bill amounting to P588.13. fraudulently or in bad faith. (Emphasis supplied)
Naturally, Luis felt embarrassed by this incident.
Bad faith, in this context, includes gross, but not simple,
In a letter, dated 11 October 1988, private respondent negligence.3 Exceptionally, in a contract of carriage,
Luis Luna, through counsel, demanded from FEBTC the
moral damages are also allowed in case of death of a
payment of damages. Adrian V. Festejo, a vice-president
passenger attributable to the fault (which is presumed4 )
of the bank, expressed the bank's apologies to Luis. In his
of the common carrier.5
letter, dated 03 November 1988, Festejo, in part, said:
Concededly, the bank was remiss in indeed neglecting to
In cases when a card is reported to our office as
personally inform Luis of his own card's cancellation.
lost, FAREASTCARD undertakes the necessary
Nothing in the findings of the trial court and the appellate
action to avert its unauthorized use (such as
court, however, can sufficiently indicate any deliberate
tagging the card as hotlisted), as it is always our
intent on the part of FEBTC to cause harm to private
intention to protect our cardholders. respondents. Neither could FEBTC's negligence in failing
to give personal notice to Luis be considered so gross as
An investigation of your case however, revealed to amount to malice or bad faith.
that FAREASTCARD failed to inform you about
its security policy. Furthermore, an overzealous
Malice or bad faith implies a conscious and intentional
employee of the Bank's Credit Card Department design to do a wrongful act for a dishonest purpose or
did not consider the possibility that it may have
moral obliquity; it is different from the negative idea of
been you who was presenting the card at that
negligence in that malice or bad faith contemplates a state
time (for which reason, the unfortunate incident
of mind affirmatively operating with furtive design or ill
occurred). 1
will.6

Festejo also sent a letter to the Manager of the Bahia


We are not unaware of the previous rulings of this Court,
Rooftop Restaurant to assure the latter that private such as in American Express International,
respondents were "very valued clients" of FEBTC. William Inc., vs. Intermediate Appellate Court (167 SCRA 209)
Anthony King, Food and Beverage Manager of the and Bank of Philippine Islands vs. Intermediate Appellate
Intercontinental Hotel, wrote back to say that the Court (206 SCRA 408), sanctioning the application of
credibility of private respondent had never been "in Article 21, in relation to Article 2217 and Article 22197 of
question." A copy of this reply was sent to Luis by Festejo.
the Civil Code to a contractual breach similar to the case (a) In case of breach of contract (including one of
at bench. Article 21 states: transportation) proof of bad faith or fraud
(dolus), i.e., wanton or deliberately injurious
Art. 21. Any person who wilfully causes loss or conduct, is essential to justify an award of moral
injury to another in a manner that is contrary to damages; and
morals, good customs or public policy shall
compensate the latter for the damage. (b) That a breach of contract can not be
considered included in the descriptive term
Article 21 of the Code, it should be observed, "analogous cases" used in Art. 2219; not only
contemplates a conscious act to cause harm. Thus, even because Art. 2220 specifically provides for the
if we are to assume that the provision could properly damages that are caused contractual breach, but
relate to a breach of contract, its application can be because the definition of quasi-delict in Art. 2176
warranted only when the defendant's disregard of his of the Code expressly excludes the cases where
contractual obligation is so deliberate as to approximate there is a "preexisitng contractual relations
a degree of misconduct certainly no less worse than fraud between the parties."
or bad faith. Most importantly, Article 21 is a mere
declaration of a general principle in human relations that Art. 2176. Whoever by act or
clearly must, in any case, give way to the specific omission causes damage to
provision of Article 2220 of the Civil Code authorizing the another, there being fault or
grant of moral damages in culpa contractual solely when negligence, is obliged to pay for
the breach is due to fraud or bad faith. the damage done. Such fault or
negligence, if there is no pre-
Mr. Justice Jose B.L. Reyes, in his ponencia in Fores existing contractual relation
vs. Miranda8 explained with great clarity the between the parties, is called a
predominance that we should give to Article 2220 in quasi-delict and is governed by
contractual relations; we quote: the provisions of this Chapter.

Anent the moral damages ordered to be paid to The exception to the basic rule of damages now
the respondent, the same must be discarded. We under consideration is a mishap resulting in the
have repeatedly ruled (Cachero vs. Manila Yellow death of a passenger, in which case Article 1764
Taxicab Co. Inc., 101 Phil. 523; 54 Off. Gaz., [26], makes the common carrier expressly subject to
6599; Necesito, et al. vs. Paras, 104 Phil., 75; 56 the rule of Art. 2206, that entitles the spouse,
Off. Gaz., [23] 4023), that moral damages are not descendants and ascendants of the deceased
recoverable in damage actions predicated on a passenger to "demand moral damages for mental
breach of the contract of transportation, in view of anguish by reason of the death of the deceased"
Articles 2219 and 2220 of the new Civil Code, (Necesito vs. Paras, 104 Phil. 84, Resolution on
which provide as follows: motion to reconsider, September 11, 1958). But
the exceptional rule of Art. 1764 makes it all the
more evident that where the injured passenger
Art. 2219. Moral damages may be
recovered in the following and analogous does not die, moral damages are not recoverable
cases: unless it is proved that the carrier was guilty of
malice or bad faith. We think it is clear that the
mere carelessness of the carrier's driver does
(1) A criminal offense resulting in physical not per se constitute or justify an inference of
injuries; malice or bad faith on the part of the carrier; and
in the case at bar there is no other evidence of
(2) Quasi-delicts causing physical injuries; such malice to support the award of moral
damages by the Court of Appeals. To award
xxx xxx xxx moral damages for breach of contract, therefore,
without proof of bad faith or malice on the part of
Art. 2220. Wilful injury to property may be a the defendant, as required by Art. 2220, would be
legal ground for awarding moral damages if to violate the clear provisions of the law, and
the court should find that, under the constitute unwarranted judicial legislation.
circumstances, such damages are justly
due. The same rule applies to breaches of xxx xxx xxx
contract where the defendant acted
fraudulently or in bad faith. The distinction between fraud, bad faith or malice
in the sense of deliberate or wanton wrong doing
By contrasting the provisions of these two articles and negligence (as mere carelessness) is too
it immediately becomes apparent that: fundamental in our law to be ignored (Arts. 1170-
1172); their consequences being clearly compensatory damages (Art. 2229, Civil
differentiated by the Code. Code; see Prudenciado vs. Alliance Transport System,
148 SCRA 440; Lopez vs. Pan American World Airways,
Art. 2201. In contracts and quasi-contracts, 16 SCRA 431). In criminal offenses, exemplary damages
the damages for which the obligor who acted are imposed when the crime is committed with one or
in good faith is liable shall be those that are more aggravating circumstances (Art. 2230, Civil Code).
the natural and probable consequences of In quasi-delicts, such damages are granted if the
the breach of the obligation, and which the defendant is shown to have been so guilty of gross
parties have foreseen or could have negligence as to approximate malice (See Art. 2231, Civil
reasonably foreseen at the time the Code; CLLC E.G. Gochangco Workers Union vs. NLRC,
obligation was constituted. 161 SCRA 655; Globe Mackay Cable and Radio Corp. vs.
CA, 176 SCRA 778). In contracts and quasi-contracts, the
court may award exemplary damages if the defendant is
In case of fraud, bad faith, malice or wanton
attitude, the obligor shall be responsible for found to have acted in a wanton, fraudulent, reckless,
all damages which may be reasonably oppressive, or malevolent manner (Art. 2232, Civil Code;
PNB vs. Gen. Acceptance and Finance Corp., 161 SCRA
attributed to the non-performance of the
449).
obligation.

It is to be presumed, in the absence of statutory Given the above premises and the factual circumstances
provision to the contrary, that this difference was here obtaining, it would also be just as arduous to sustain
the exemplary damages granted by the courts below
in the mind of the lawmakers when in Art. 2220
(see De Leon vs. Court of Appeals, 165 SCRA 166).
they limited recovery of moral damages to
breaches of contract in bad faith. It is true that
negligence may be occasionally so gross as to Nevertheless, the bank's failure, even perhaps
amount to malice; but the fact must be shown in inadvertent, to honor its credit card issued to private
evidence, and a carrier's bad faith is not to be respondent Luis should entitle him to recover a measure
lightly inferred from a mere finding that the of damages sanctioned under Article 2221 of the Civil
contract was breached through negligence of the Code providing thusly:
carrier's employees.
Art. 2221. Nominal damages are adjudicated in
The Court has not in the process overlooked another rule order that a right of the plaintiff, which has been
that a quasi-delict can be the cause for breaching a violated or invaded by the defendant, may be
contract that might thereby permit the application of vindicated or recognized, and not for the purpose
applicable principles on tort9 even where there is a pre- of indemnifying the plaintiff for any loss suffered
existing contract between the plaintiff and the defendant by him.
(Phil. Airlines vs. Court of Appeals, 106 SCRA 143;
Singson vs. Bank of Phil. Islands, 23 SCRA 1117; and Air Reasonable attorney's fees may be recovered where the
France vs. Carrascoso, 18 SCRA 155). This doctrine, court deems such recovery to be just and equitable (Art.
unfortunately, cannot improve private respondents' case 2208, Civil Code). We see no issue of sound discretion on
for it can aptly govern only where the act or omission the part of the appellate court in allowing the award
complained of would constitute an actionable tort thereof by the trial court.
independently of the contract. The test (whether a quasi-
delict can be deemed to underlie the breach of a contract) WHEREFORE, the petition for review is given due course.
can be stated thusly: Where, without a pre-existing The appealed decision is MODIFIED by deleting the
contract between two parties, an act or omission can award of moral and exemplary damages to private
nonetheless amount to an actionable tort by itself, the fact respondents; in its stead, petitioner is ordered to pay
that the parties are contractually bound is no bar to the private respondent Luis A. Luna an amount of P5,000.00
application of quasi-delict provisions to the case. Here, by way of nominal damages. In all other respects, the
private respondents' damage claim is predicated solely on appealed decision is AFFIRMED. No costs.
their contractual relationship; without such agreement,
the act or omission complained of cannot by itself be held SO ORDERED.
to stand as a separate cause of action or as an
independent actionable tort.

The Court finds, therefore, the award of moral damages


made by the court a quo, affirmed by the appellate court,
to be inordinate and substantially devoid of legal basis.

Exemplary or corrective damages, in turn, are intended to


serve as an example or as correction for the public good
in addition to moral, temperate, liquidated or
G.R. No. 156109 November 18, 2004 Financially strapped and prohibited by her religion from
attending dance parties and celebrations, Regino refused
KHRISTINE REA M. REGINO, Assisted and to pay for the tickets. On March 14 and March 15, 2002,
Represented by ARMANDO REGINO, petitioner, the scheduled dates of the final examinations in logic and
vs. statistics, her teachers -- Respondents Rachelle A.
PANGASINAN COLLEGES OF SCIENCE AND Gamurot and Elissa Baladad -- allegedly disallowed her
TECHNOLOGY, RACHELLE A. GAMUROT and from taking the tests. According to petitioner, Gamurot
ELISSA BALADAD, respondents. made her sit out her logic class while her classmates were
taking their examinations. The next day, Baladad, after
announcing to the entire class that she was not permitting
DECISION
petitioner and another student to take their statistics
examinations for failing to pay for their tickets, allegedly
PANGANIBAN, J.: ejected them from the classroom. Petitioner's pleas
ostensibly went unheeded by Gamurot and Baladad, who
Upon enrolment, students and their school enter upon a unrelentingly defended their positions as compliance with
reciprocal contract. The students agree to abide by the PCST's policy.
standards of academic performance and codes of
conduct, issued usually in the form of manuals that are On April 25, 2002, petitioner filed, as a pauper litigant, a
distributed to the enrollees at the start of the school term. Complaint5 for damages against PCST, Gamurot and
Further, the school informs them of the itemized fees they Baladad. In her Complaint, she prayed for P500,000 as
are expected to pay. Consequently, it cannot, after the nominal damages; P500,000 as moral damages; at least
enrolment of a student, vary the terms of the contract. It P1,000,000 as exemplary damages; P250,000 as actual
cannot require fees other than those it specified upon damages; plus the costs of litigation and attorney's fees.
enrolment.
On May 30, 2002, respondents filed a Motion to
The Case Dismiss6 on the ground of petitioner's failure to exhaust
administrative remedies. According to respondents, the
Before the Court is a Petition for Review under Rule question raised involved the determination of the wisdom
45,1 seeking to nullify the July 12, 20022 and the of an administrative policy of the PCST; hence, the case
November 22, 20023 Orders of the Regional Trial Court should have been initiated before the proper
(RTC) of Urdaneta City, Pangasinan (Branch 48) in Civil administrative body, the Commission of Higher Education
Case No. U-7541. The decretal portion of the first assailed (CHED).
Order reads:
In her Comment to respondents' Motion, petitioner argued
"WHEREFORE, the Court GRANTS the instant that prior exhaustion of administrative remedies was
motion to dismiss for lack of cause of action."4 unnecessary, because her action was not administrative
in nature, but one purely for damages arising from
The second challenged Order denied petitioner's Motion respondents' breach of the laws on human relations. As
for Reconsideration. such, jurisdiction lay with the courts.

The Facts On July 12, 2002, the RTC dismissed the Complaint for
lack of cause of action.
Petitioner Khristine Rea M. Regino was a first year
computer science student at Respondent Pangasinan Ruling of the Regional Trial Court
Colleges of Science and Technology (PCST). Reared in
a poor family, Regino went to college mainly through the In granting respondents' Motion to Dismiss, the trial court
financial support of her relatives. During the second noted that the instant controversy involved a higher
semester of school year 2001-2002, she enrolled in logic institution of learning, two of its faculty members and one
and statistics subjects under Respondents Rachelle A. of its students. It added that Section 54 of the Education
Gamurot and Elissa Baladad, respectively, as teachers. Act of 1982 vested in the Commission on Higher
Education (CHED) the supervision and regulation of
In February 2002, PCST held a fund raising campaign tertiary schools. Thus, it ruled that the CHED, not the
dubbed the "Rave Party and Dance Revolution," the courts, had jurisdiction over the controversy.7
proceeds of which were to go to the construction of the
school's tennis and volleyball courts. Each student was In its dispositive portion, the assailed Order dismissed the
required to pay for two tickets at the price of P100 each. Complaint for "lack of cause of action" without, however,
The project was allegedly implemented by recompensing explaining this ground.
students who purchased tickets with additional points in
their test scores; those who refused to pay were denied Aggrieved, petitioner filed the present Petition on pure
the opportunity to take the final examinations. questions of law.8
Issues "The doctrine of exhaustion of administrative
remedies is basic. Courts, for reasons of law,
In her Memorandum, petitioner raises the following issues comity, and convenience, should not entertain
for our consideration: suits unless the available administrative
remedies have first been resorted to and the
proper authorities have been given the
"Whether or not the principle of exhaustion of
appropriate opportunity to act and correct their
administrative remedies applies in a civil action
exclusively for damages based on violation of the alleged errors, if any, committed in the
human relation provisions of the Civil Code, filed administrative forum. x x x.13 "
by a student against her former school.
Petitioner is not asking for the reversal of the policies of
PCST. Neither is she demanding it to allow her to take her
"Whether or not there is a need for prior
declaration of invalidity of a certain school final examinations; she was already enrolled in another
administrative policy by the Commission on educational institution. A reversal of the acts complained
of would not adequately redress her grievances; under
Higher Education (CHED) before a former
the circumstances, the consequences of respondents'
student can successfully maintain an action
acts could no longer be undone or rectified.
exclusively for damages in regular courts.

"Whether or not the Commission on Higher Second, exhaustion of administrative remedies is


applicable when there is competence on the part of the
Education (CHED) has exclusive original
administrative body to act upon the matter complained
jurisdiction over actions for damages based upon
of.14 Administrative agencies are not courts; they are
violation of the Civil Code provisions on human
neither part of the judicial system, nor are they deemed
relations filed by a student against the school."9
judicial tribunals.15 Specifically, the CHED does not have
the power to award damages.16 Hence, petitioner could
All of the foregoing point to one issue -- whether the not have commenced her case before the Commission.
doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies is
applicable. The Court, however, sees a second issue
which, though not expressly raised by petitioner, was Third, the exhaustion doctrine admits of exceptions, one
impliedly contained in her Petition: whether the Complaint of which arises when the issue is purely legal and well
within the jurisdiction of the trial court.17 Petitioner's action
stated sufficient cause(s) of action.
for damages inevitably calls for the application and the
interpretation of the Civil Code, a function that falls within
The Court's Ruling the jurisdiction of the courts.18

The Petition is meritorious. Second Issue:

First Issue: Cause of Action

Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies Sufficient Causes of Action Stated in the Allegations


in the Complaint
Respondents anchored their Motion to Dismiss on
petitioner's alleged failure to exhaust administrative As a rule, every complaint must sufficiently allege a cause
remedies before resorting to the RTC. According to them, of action; failure to do so warrants its dismissal.19 A
the determination of the controversy hinge on the validity, complaint is said to assert a sufficient cause of action if,
the wisdom and the propriety of PCST's academic policy. admitting what appears solely on its face to be correct, the
Thus, the Complaint should have been lodged in the plaintiff would be entitled to the relief prayed for.
CHED, the administrative body tasked under Republic Act Assuming the facts that are alleged to be true, the court
No. 7722 to implement the state policy to "protect, foster should be able to render a valid judgment in accordance
and promote the right of all citizens to affordable quality with the prayer in the complaint.20
education at all levels and to take appropriate steps to
ensure that education is accessible to all."10
A motion to dismiss based on lack of cause of action
hypothetically admits the truth of the alleged facts. In their
Petitioner counters that the doctrine finds no relevance to Motion to Dismiss, respondents did not dispute any of
the present case since she is praying for damages, a petitioner's allegations, and they admitted that "x x x the
remedy beyond the domain of the CHED and well within crux of plaintiff's cause of action is the determination of
the jurisdiction of the courts.11 whether or not the assessment of P100 per ticket is
excessive or oppressive."21 They thereby premised their
Petitioner is correct. First, the doctrine of exhaustion of prayer for dismissal on the Complaint's alleged failure to
administrative remedies has no bearing on the present state a cause of action. Thus, a reexamination of the
case. In Factoran Jr. v. CA,12 the Court had occasion to Complaint is in order.
elucidate on the rationale behind this doctrine:
The Complaint contains the following factual allegations: the prohibition to give the examinations to non-
paying students was an administrative decision;
"10. In the second week of February 2002,
defendant Rachelle A. Gamurot, in connivance "19. Plaintiff has already paid her tuition fees and
with PCST, forced plaintiff and her classmates to other obligations in the school;
buy or take two tickets each, x x x;
"20. That the above-cited incident was not a first
"11. Plaintiff and many of her classmates since PCST also did another forced distribution of
objected to the forced distribution and selling of tickets to its students in the first semester of
tickets to them but the said defendant warned school year 2001-2002; x x x " 22
them that if they refused [to] take or pay the price
of the two tickets they would not be allowed at all The foregoing allegations show two causes of action; first,
to take the final examinations; breach of contract; and second, liability for tort.

"12. As if to add insult to injury, defendant Reciprocity of the


Rachelle A. Gamurot bribed students with School-Student Contract
additional fifty points or so in their test score in
her subject just to unjustly influence and compel In Alcuaz v. PSBA,23 the Court characterized the
them into taking the tickets;
relationship between the school and the student as a
contract, in which "a student, once admitted by the school
"13. Despite the students' refusal, they were is considered enrolled for one semester."24 Two years
forced to take the tickets because [of] defendant later, in Non v. Dames II,25 the Court modified the
Rachelle A. Gamurot's coercion and act of "termination of contract theory" in Alcuaz by holding that
intimidation, but still many of them including the the contractual relationship between the school and the
plaintiff did not attend the dance party imposed student is not only semestral in duration, but for the entire
upon them by defendants PCST and Rachelle A. period the latter are expected to complete it."26 Except for
Gamurot; the variance in the period during which the contractual
relationship is considered to subsist, both Alcuaz and Non
"14. Plaintiff was not able to pay the price of her were unanimous in characterizing the school-student
own two tickets because aside form the fact that relationship as contractual in nature.
she could not afford to pay them it is also against
her religious practice as a member of a certain The school-student relationship is also reciprocal. Thus, it
religious congregation to be attending dance has consequences appurtenant to and inherent in all
parties and celebrations; contracts of such kind -- it gives rise to bilateral or
reciprocal rights and obligations. The school undertakes
"15. On March 14, 2002, before defendant to provide students with education sufficient to enable
Rachelle A. Gamurot gave her class its final them to pursue higher education or a profession. On the
examination in the subject 'Logic' she warned that other hand, the students agree to abide by the academic
students who had not paid the tickets would not requirements of the school and to observe its rules and
be allowed to participate in the examination, for regulations.27
which threat and intimidation many students were
eventually forced to make payments: The terms of the school-student contract are defined at
the moment of its inception -- upon enrolment of the
"16. Because plaintiff could not afford to pay, student. Standards of academic performance and the
defendant Rachelle A. Gamurot inhumanly made code of behavior and discipline are usually set forth in
plaintiff sit out the class but the defendant did not manuals distributed to new students at the start of every
allow her to take her final examination in 'Logic;' school year. Further, schools inform prospective
enrollees the amount of fees and the terms of payment.
"17. On March 15, 2002 just before the giving of
the final examination in the subject 'Statistics,' In practice, students are normally required to make a
defendant Elissa Baladad, in connivance with down payment upon enrollment, with the balance to be
defendants Rachelle A. Gamurot and PCST, paid before every preliminary, midterm and final
announced in the classroom that she was not examination. Their failure to pay their financial obligation
allowing plaintiff and another student to take the is regarded as a valid ground for the school to deny them
examination for their failure and refusal to pay the the opportunity to take these examinations.
price of the tickets, and thenceforth she ejected
plaintiff and the other student from the classroom; The foregoing practice does not merely ensure
compliance with financial obligations; it also underlines
"18. Plaintiff pleaded for a chance to take the the importance of major examinations. Failure to take a
examination but all defendants could say was that major examination is usually fatal to the students'
promotion to the next grade or to graduation. Examination not be unilaterally imposed to the prejudice of the
results form a significant basis for their final grades. enrollees.
These tests are usually a primary and an indispensable
requisite to their elevation to the next educational level Such contract is by no means an ordinary one. In Non, we
and, ultimately, to their completion of a course. stressed that the school-student contract "is imbued with
public interest, considering the high priority given by the
Education is not a measurable commodity. It is not Constitution to education and the grant to the State of
possible to determine who is "better educated" than supervisory and regulatory powers over all educational
another. Nevertheless, a student's grades are an institutions."32 Sections 5 (1) and (3) of Article XIV of the
accepted approximation of what would otherwise be an 1987 Constitution provide:
intangible product of countless hours of study. The
importance of grades cannot be discounted in a setting "The State shall protect and promote the right of
where education is generally the gate pass to all citizens to quality education at all levels and
employment opportunities and better life; such grades are shall take appropriate steps to make such
often the means by which a prospective employer declaration accessible to all.
measures whether a job applicant has acquired the
necessary tools or skills for a particular profession or
"Every student has a right to select a profession
trade.
or course of study, subject to fair, reasonable and
equitable admission and academic
Thus, students expect that upon their payment of tuition requirements."
fees, satisfaction of the set academic standards,
completion of academic requirements and observance of
The same state policy resonates in Section 9(2) of BP
school rules and regulations, the school would reward
232, otherwise known as the Education Act of 1982:
them by recognizing their "completion" of the course
enrolled in.
"Section 9. Rights of Students in School. – In
addition to other rights, and subject to the
The obligation on the part of the school has been
limitations prescribed by law and regulations,
established in Magtibay v. Garcia,28 Licup v. University of students and pupils in all schools shall enjoy the
San Carlos29 and Ateneo de Manila University v. following rights:
Garcia,30 in which the Court held that, barring any violation
of the rules on the part of the students, an institution of
higher learning has a contractual obligation to afford its xxx xxx xxx
students a fair opportunity to complete the course they
seek to pursue. (2) The right to freely choose their field of
study subject to existing curricula and to
We recognize the need of a school to fund its facilities and continue their course therein up to
to meet astronomical operating costs; this is a reality in graduation, except in cases of academic
running it. Crystal v. Cebu International School31 upheld deficiency, or violation of disciplinary
the imposition by respondent school of a "land purchase regulations."
deposit" in the amount of P50,000 per student to be used
for the "purchase of a piece of land and for the Liability for Tort
construction of new buildings and other facilities x x x
which the school would transfer [to] and occupy after the In her Complaint, petitioner also charged that private
expiration of its lease contract over its present site." respondents "inhumanly punish students x x x by reason
only of their poverty, religious practice or lowly station in
The amount was refundable after the student graduated life, which inculcated upon [petitioner] the feelings of guilt,
or left the school. After noting that the imposition of the disgrace and unworthiness;"33 as a result of such
fee was made only after prior consultation and approval punishment, she was allegedly unable to finish any of her
by the parents of the students, the Court held that the subjects for the second semester of that school year and
school committed no actionable wrong in refusing to admit had to lag behind in her studies by a full year. The acts of
the children of the petitioners therein for their failure to pay respondents supposedly caused her extreme humiliation,
the "land purchase deposit" and the 2.5 percent monthly mental agony and "demoralization of unimaginable
surcharge thereon. proportions" in violation of Articles 19, 21 and 26 of the
Civil Code. These provisions of the law state thus:
In the present case, PCST imposed the assailed revenue-
raising measure belatedly, in the middle of the semester. "Article 19. Every person must, in the exercise of
It exacted the dance party fee as a condition for the his rights and in the performance of his duties, act
students' taking the final examinations, and ultimately for with justice, give everyone his due, and observe
its recognition of their ability to finish a course. The fee, honesty and good faith."
however, was not part of the school-student contract
entered into at the start of the school year. Hence, it could
"Article 21. Any person who wilfully causes loss obligation had no contract existed between the
or injury to another in a manner that is contrary to parties.'
morals, good customs or public policy shall
compensate the latter for the damage." "Immediately what comes to mind is the chapter
of the Civil Code on Human Relations, particularly
"Article 26. Every person shall respect the dignity, Article 21 x x x."35
personality, privacy and peace of mind of his
neighbors and other persons. The following and Academic Freedom
similar acts, though they may not constitute a
criminal offense, shall produce a cause of action
In their Memorandum, respondents harp on their right to
for damages, prevention and other relief:
"academic freedom." We are not impressed. According to
present jurisprudence, academic freedom encompasses
(1) Prying into the privacy of another's the independence of an academic institution to determine
residence; for itself (1) who may teach, (2) what may be taught, (3)
how it shall teach, and (4) who may be admitted to
(2) Meddling with or disturbing the private study.36In Garcia v. the Faculty Admission Committee,
life or family relations of another; Loyola School of Theology,37 the Court upheld the
respondent therein when it denied a female student's
(3) Intriguing to cause another to be admission to theological studies in a seminary for
alienated from his friends; prospective priests. The Court defined the freedom of an
academic institution thus: "to decide for itself aims and
objectives and how best to attain them x x x free from
(4) Vexing or humiliating another on
account of his beliefs, lowly station in life, outside coercion or interference save possibly when
place of birth, physical defect, or other overriding public welfare calls for some restraint."38
personal condition."
In Tangonan v. Paño,39 the Court upheld, in the name of
academic freedom, the right of the school to refuse
Generally, liability for tort arises only between parties not
otherwise bound by a contract. An academic institution, readmission of a nursing student who had been enrolled
on probation, and who had failed her nursing subjects.
however, may be held liable for tort even if it has an
These instances notwithstanding, the Court has
existing contract with its students, since the act that
emphasized that once a school has, in the name of
violated the contract may also be a tort. We ruled thus in
academic freedom, set its standards, these should be
PSBA vs. CA,34 from which we quote:
meticulously observed and should not be used to
discriminate against certain students.40 After accepting
"x x x A perusal of Article 2176 [of the Civil Code] them upon enrollment, the school cannot renege on its
shows that obligations arising from quasi-delicts contractual obligation on grounds other than those made
or tort, also known as extra-contractual known to, and accepted by, students at the start of the
obligations, arise only between parties not school year.
otherwise bound by contract, whether express or
implied. However, this impression has not
In sum, the Court holds that the Complaint alleges
prevented this Court from determining the
sufficient causes of action against respondents, and that
existence of a tort even when there obtains a
it should not have been summarily dismissed. Needless
contract. In Air France v. Carrascoso (124 Phil.
to say, the Court is not holding respondents liable for the
722), the private respondent was awarded
damages for his unwarranted expulsion from a acts complained of. That will have to be ruled upon in due
first-class seat aboard the petitioner airline. It is course by the court a quo.
noted, however, that the Court referred to the
petitioner-airline's liability as one arising from tort, WHEREFORE, the Petition is hereby GRANTED, and the
not one arising form a contract of carriage. In assailed Orders REVERSED. The trial court is
effect, Air France is authority for the view that DIRECTED to reinstate the Complaint and, with all
liability from tort may exist even if there is a deliberate speed, to continue the proceedings in Civil
contract, for the act that breaks the contract may Case No. U-7541. No costs.
be also a tort. x x x This view was not all that
revolutionary, for even as early as 1918, this SO ORDERED.
Court was already of a similar mind. In Cangco v.
Manila Railroad (38 Phil. 780), Mr. Justice Fisher
elucidated thus: 'x x x. When such a contractual
relation exists the obligor may break the contract
under such conditions that the same act which
constitutes a breach of the contract would have
constituted the source of an extra-contractual
G.R. No. 74041 July 29, 1987; THE PEOPLE OF THE in the jeep joined the chase and at the intersection of Vito
PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. ROGELIO LIGON y Cruz and Roxas Boulevard, Castillo was able to overtake
TRIAS and FERNANDO GABAT y the Kombi when the traffic light turned red. He
ALMERA, accused, FERNANDO GABAT y immediately blocked the Kombi while the jeep pulled up
ALMERA, accused-appellant. YAP, J.: right behind it. The two men on board the jeep turned out
to be police officers, Patrolmen Leonardo Pugao and
This is an appeal from the judgment of the Regional Trial Peter Ignacio. They drew their guns and told the driver,
Court of Manila, Branch XX, rendered on February 17, Rogelio Ligon, and his companion, Fernando Gabat, to
1986, convicting the accused-appellant, Fernando Gabat, alight from the Kombi. It was found out that there was a
of the crime of Robbery with Homicide and sentencing third person inside the Kombi, a certain Rodolfo Primicias
him to reclusion perpetua. The victim was Jose Rosales y who was sleeping at the rear seat.4The three were all
Ortiz, a ,Seventeen-year old working student who was brought by the police officers to the Western Police
earning his keep as a cigarette vendor. He was allegedly District and turned over to Pfc. Fernan Payuan. The
robbed of Es cigarette box containing cigarettes worth taxicab driver, Prudencio Castillo, also went along with
P300.00 more or less.1 them. The written statements of Castillo and Rodolfo
Primicias were taken by the traffic investigator, Pfc.
Fernan Payuan.5 Payuan also prepared a Traffic Accident
Only Fernando Gabat was arrested and brought to trial
Report, dated October 23, 1983.6 Fernando Gabat and
and convicted. The other accused, Rogelio Ligon, was
Rodolfo Primicias were released early morning the
never apprehended and is still at large.
following day, but Rogelio Ligon was detained and turned
over to the City Fiscal's Office for further investigation.
The fatal incident happened on a Sunday, October 23,
1983 at about 6:10 p.m. The accused, Fernando Gabat,
Investigating Fiscal Alfredo Cantos, filed an information in
was riding in a 1978 Volkswagen Kombi owned by his
court against Rogelio Ligon dated December 6, 1983
father, Antonio Gabat, and driven by the other accused,
Rogelio Ligon. The Kombi was coming from Espana charging him with Homicide thru Reckless
Imprudence.7 Six months later, however, or on June 28,
Street going towards the direction of Quiapo. Fernando
1984, Assistant Fiscal Cantos filed another information
Gabat was seated beside the driver, in the front seat by
against Rogelio Ligon and Fernando Gabat for Robbery
the window on the right side of the Kombi. At the
with Homicide.8 He filed the latter information on the basis
intersection of Quezon Boulevard and Lerma Street
before turning left towards the underpass at C.M. Recto of a Supplemental Affidavit of Prudencio Castillo 9 and a
Avenue, the Kombi had to stop as the traffic light was red. joint affidavit of Armando Espino and Romeo Castil,
cigarette vendors, who allegedly witnessed the incident
While waiting for the traffic light to change, Fernando
on October 23, 1983.10These affidavits were already
Gabat beckoned a cigarette vendor, Jose Rosales y Ortiz
prepared and merely sworn to before Fiscal Cantos on
(Rosales for short) to buy some cigarettes from him.
January 17, 1984.
Rosales approached the Kombi and handed Gabat two
sticks of cigarettes. While this transaction was occurring,
the traffic light changed to green, and the Kombi driven by On October 31, 1983, an autopsy was conducted by the
Rogelio Ligon suddenly moved forward. As to what medico-legal officer of the National Bureau of
precisely happened between Gabat and Rosales at the Investigation, Dr. Orlando V. Salvador, who stated in his
crucial moment, and immediately thereafter, is the subject autopsy report that the cause of death of Rosales was
of conflicting versions by the prosecution and the defense. "pneumonia hypostatic, bilateral, secondary to traumatic
It is not controverted, however, that as the Kombi injuries of the head."11
continued to speed towards Quiapo, Rosales clung to the
window of the Kombi but apparently lost his grip and fell The prosecution tried to establish, through the sole
down on the pavement. Rosales was rushed by some testimony of the taxicab driver, Prudencio Castillo, that
bystanders to the Philippine General Hospital, where he Gabat grabbed the box of cigarettes from Rosales and
was treated for multiple physical injuries and was confined pried loose the latter's hand from the window of the
thereat until his death on October 30, 1983. Kombi, resulting in the latter falling down and hitting the
pavement. In its decision, the trial court summarized the
Following close behind the Kombi at the time of the testimony of Castillo as follows: At about 6:00 o'clock in
incident was a taxicab driven by Prudencio Castillo. He the evening of October 23, 1983, Castillo was then driving
was behind the Kombi, at a distance of about three his taxicab along Lerma Street near Far Eastern
meters, travelling on the same lane in a slightly oblique University, and at the intersection of Lerma and Quezon
position ("a little bit to the right").2 As the Kombi did not Boulevard, the traffic light changed from green to red. The
stop after the victim fell down on the pavement near the vehicular traffic stopped and Prudencio Castillo's taxi was
foot of the underpass, Castillo pursued it as it sped right behind a Volkswagen Kombi. While waiting for the
towards Roxas Boulevard, beeping his horn to make the traffic light to change to green, Castillo Idly watched the
driver stop. When they reached the Luneta near the Rizal Volkswagen Kombi and saw Gabat, the passenger sitting
monument, Castillo saw an owner-type jeep with two beside the driver, signal to a cigarette vendor. The
persons in it. He sought their assistance in chasing the cigarette vendor, Rosales, approached the right side of
Kombi, telling them "nakaaksidente ng tao."3 The two men the Kombi. While Rosales was handing the cigarettes to
Gabat, the traffic light suddenly changed to green. When On the other hand, the trial court dismissed as incredible
the Kombi moved forward, Gabat suddenly grabbed the the testimony of Gabat that the cigarette vendor placed
cigarette box held by Rosales. Taken aback, Jose the cigarette box on the windowsill of the Kombi, holding
Rosales ran beside the Kombi and was able to hold on to it with his left hand, while he was trying to get from his
the windowsill of the right front door with his right hand. pocket the change for the 5-peso bill of Gabat. The court
While Rosales was clinging to the windowsill, with both said that it is of common knowledge that cigarette vendors
feet off the ground, the Kombi continued to speed towards plying their trade in the streets do not let go of their
the C.M. Recto underpass. Castillo, who was closely cigarette box; no vendor lets go of his precious box of
following the Kombi, then saw Gabat forcibly remove the cigarettes in order to change a peso bin given by a
hand of Rosales from the windowsill and the latter fell face customer.
down on Quezon Boulevard near the Recto underpass.12
As a rule, the findings of fact of the trial court are accorded
The version of the defense, on the other hand, was great respect and are not disturbed on appeal, unless it is
summarized by the court as follows: On the date and time shows that the findings are not supported by the
in question, Fernando Gabat, 31 years old, an evidence, or the court failed to consider certain material
underwriter, was on board the Volkswagen Kombi driven facts and circumstances in its evaluation of the evidence.
by Rogelio Ligon. The Kombi had to stop at the In the case at bar, a careful review of the record shows
intersection of Lerma Street and Quezon Boulevard when that certain material facts and circumstances had been
the traffic light turned red. Fernando Gabat, who wanted overlooked by the trial court which, if taken into account,
to buy cigarettes, called a cigarette vendor who would alter the result of the case in that they would
approached the right side of the Kombi. Gabat bought two introduce an element of reasonable doubt which would
sticks of cigarettes and handed to the cigarette vendor, entitle the accused to acquittal.
Rosales, a P5.00 bill. In order to change the P5.00 big,
Rosales placed his cigarette box containing assorted While the prosecution witness, Castillo, may be a
cigarettes on the windowsill of the front door of the Kombi disinterested witness with no motive, according to the
between the arm of Gabat and the window frame. court a quo, "other than to see that justice be done," his
Suddenly, the traffic light changed from red to green and testimony, even if not tainted with bias, is not entirely free
Rogelio Ligon moved the vehicle forward, heedless of the from doubt because his observation of the event could
transaction between Gabat and the cigarette vendor. As have been faulty or mistaken. The taxicab which Castillo
the vehicle sped onward, the cigarette box which was was driving was lower in height compared to the Kombi in
squeezed between the right arm of Gabat and the window which Gabat was riding-a fact admitted by Castillo at the
frame fell inside the Kombi. Rosales then ran beside the trial.14Judicial notice may also be taken of the fact that the
vehicle and clung to the windowsill of the moving vehicle. rear windshield of the 1978 Volkswagen Kombi is on the
Gabat testified that when he saw the cigarette vendor upper portion, occupying approximately one-third (1/3) of
clinging on the side of the front door, he told Ligon to veer the rear end of the vehicle, thus making it visually difficult
to the right in order that Rosales could get off at the for Castillo to observe clearly what transpired inside the
sidewalk. However, Gabat declared, that Ligon said that Kombi at the front end where Gabat was seated. These
it could not be done because of the moving vehicular are circumstances which must be taken into consideration
traffic. Then, while the vehicle slowed down and Ligon in evaluating Castillo's testimony as to what exactly
was maneuvering to the right in an attempt to go toward happened between Gabat and the cigarette vendor during
the sidewalk, Rosales lost his grip on the window frame that crucial moment before the latter fell down. As the
and fell to the pavement of Quezon Boulevard. Gabat taxicab was right behind the Kombi, following it at a
allegedly shouted at Ligon to stop but Ligon replied that distance of about three meters, Castillo's line of vision
they should go on to Las Pinas and report the incident to was partially obstructed by the back part of the Kombi. His
the parents of Gabat, and later they would come back to testimony that he saw Gabat grab the cigarette box from
the scene of the incident. However, while the Kombi was Rosales and forcibly pry loose the latter's hand from the
speeding along Dewey Boulevard, it was blocked by the windowsill of the Kombi is thus subject to a reasonable
taxi of Prudencio Castillo and a jeep driven by policemen. doubt, specially considering that this occurrence
Gabat and Ligon were brought to police headquarters, but happened in just a matter of seconds, and both vehicles
neither of them executed any written statement.13 during that time were moving fast in the traffic.

The trial court gave full credence to the prosecution's We find it significant that in his statement given to the
version, stating that there can be no doubt that Gabat police that very evening,15 Castillo did not mention that he
forcibly took or grabbed the cigarette box from Rosales saw Gabat forcibly prying off the hand of Rosales from the
because, otherwise, there could be no reason for the windowsill of the Kombi, although the police report
latter to run after the Kombi and hang on to its window. prepared by the investigating officer, Pfc. Fermin M.
The court also believed Castillo's testimony that Gabat Payuan, on the same date, stated that when the traffic
forcibly removed or pried off the right hand of Rosales signal changed to green and the driver stepped on the
from the windowsill of the Kombi, otherwise, the latter gas, the cigarette box of the cigarette vendor (Rosales)
could not have fallen down, having already been able to was grabbed by the passenger Gabat and "instantly the
balance himself on the stepboard. former clung to the door and was dragged at a distance
while at the same time the latter punched the vendor's different from each other that article 1813 of the
arm until the same (sic) fell to the pavement," thus present (Spanish) Civil Code reads thus: "There may
showing that during the police investigation Castillo must be a compromise upon the civil action arising from a
have given a statement to the police which indicated that crime; but the public action for the imposition of the
Gabat did something to cause Rosales to fall from the legal penalty shall not thereby be extinguished." It is
Kombi.16 It was by way of a supplementary affidavit just and proper that, for the purposes of the
prepared by the lawyer of the complainant and sworn to imprisonment of or fine upon the accused, the offense
by Castillo before the Assistant City Fiscal on January 17, should be proved beyond reasonable doubt. But for
1984 that this vital detail was added. This supplementary the purpose of indemnifying the complaining party,
affidavit was made the basis for filing another information why should the offense also be proved beyond
charging both Gabat and the driver with the crime of reasonable doubt? Is not the invasion or violation of
Robbery with Homicide. every private right to be proved only by a
preponderance of evidence? Is the right of the
Considering the above circumstances, the Court is not aggrieved person any less private because the
convinced with moral certainty that the guilt of the wrongful act is also punishable by the criminal law?
accused Fernando Gabat has been established beyond
reasonable doubt. In our view, the quantum of proof For these reasons, the Commission recommends the
necessary to sustain Gabat's conviction of so serious a adoption of the reform under discussion. It will correct
crime as robbery with homicide has not been met in this a serious defect in our law. It will close up an
case. He is therefore entitled to acquittal on reasonable inexhaustible source of injustice a cause for
doubt. disillusionment on the part of the innumerable
persons injured or wronged. 19
However, it does not follow that a person who is not
criminally liable is also free from civil In the instant case, we find that a preponderance of
liability.1avvphi1 While the guilt of the accused in a evidence exists sufficient to establish the facts from which
criminal prosecution must be established beyond the civil liability of Gabat arises. On the basis of the trial
reasonable doubt, only a preponderance of evidence is court's evaluation of the testimonies of both prosecution
required in a civil action for damages.17 The judgment of and defense witnesses at the trial and applying the
acquittal extinguishes the civil liability of the accused only quantum of proof required in civil cases, we find that a
when it includes a declaration that the facts from which preponderance of evidence establishes that Gabat by his
the civil liability might arise did not exist.18 act and omission with fault and negligence caused
damage to Rosales and should answer civilly for the
The reason for the provisions of Article 29 of the Civil damage done. Gabat's wilfull act of calling Rosales, the
Code, which provides that the acquittal of the accused on cigarette vendor, to the middle of a busy street to buy two
the ground that his guilt has not been proved beyond sticks of cigarettes set the chain of events which led to the
reasonable doubt does not necessarily exempt him from death of Rosales. Through fault and negligence, Gabat
civil liability for the same act or omission, has been (1) failed to prevent the driver from moving forward while
explained by the Code Commission as follows: the purchase was completed; (2) failed to help Rosales
while the latter clung precariously to the moving vehicle,
and (3) did not enforce his order to the driver to stop.
The old rule that the acquittal of the accused in a
criminal case also releases him from civil liability is Finally, Gabat acquiesced in the driver's act of speeding
one of the most serious flaws in the Philippine legal away, instead of stopping and picking up the injured
victim. These proven facts taken together are firm bases
system. It has given rise to numberless instances of
for finding Gabat civilly liable under the Civil Code20 for the
miscarriage of justice, where the acquittal was due to
damage done to Rosales.
a reasonable doubt in the mind of the court as to the
guilt of the accused. The reasoning followed is that
inasmuch as the civil responsibility is derived from the WHEREFORE, judgment is rendered acquitting the
criminal offense, when the latter is not proved, civil appellant Gabat for the crime of Robbery with Homicide.
liability cannot be demanded. However, he is hereby held civilly liable for his acts and
omissions, there being fault or negligence, and sentenced
This is one of those cases where confused thinking to indemnify the heirs of Jose Rosales y Ortiz in the
leads to unfortunate and deplorable consequences. amount of P15.000.00 for the latter's death, P1,733.35 for
hospital and medical expenses, and P4,100.00 for funeral
Such reasoning fails to draw a clear line of
expenses. The alleged loss of income amounting to
demarcation between criminal liability and civil
P20,000.00, not being supported by sufficient evidence,
responsibility, and to determine the logical result of
is DENIED. Costs de officio.
the distinction. The two liabilities are separate and
distinct from each other. One affects the social order
and the other, private rights. One is for the SO ORDERED.
punishment or correction of the offender while the
other is for reparation of damages suffered by the
aggrieved party. The two responsibilities are so
G.R. No. 75357 November 27, 1987 The aforesaid judgment was promulgated on November
9, 1983. On November 11, 1983, Cabiliza filed a Notice of
RUFO MAURICIO CONSTRUCTION and/or RUFO Appeal. But he did not live to pursue his appeal as he died
MAURICIO, petitioner, on January 5, 1984. A notice of death dated February 4,
vs. 1984 was filed by his counsel Atty. Eustaquio S. Beltran.
HON. INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT, and In the same notice of death, Atty. Beltran manifested the
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents. intention of Rufo Mauricio, as employer of Cabiliza to
proceed with the case on appeal pursuant to his right as
PARAS, J : employer who is subsidiarily liable.

On March 5, 1984, the lower court issued an Order


Illustre Cabiliza was charged before the Regional Trial
requiring the heirs of Cabiliza to appear and to substitute
Court of the 5th Judicial Region, Branch II, Legaspi City
with homicide and damage to property through reckless him as appellant with respect to the civil aspect of the
imprudence, in an information which reads- case.

On motion of the heirs of the victim, the lower court in its


That on or about the 20th day of September, 1979,
order dated August 23, 1984 ordered the issuance of a
in the city of Legaspi, Philippines, and within the
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above- writ of execution and accordingly on the same date, the
named accused, being then the driver of an Izusu Branch Clerk of Court issued a writ.
dump truck, bearing Plate No. WD-224 T Philippines
"79, belonging to and owned by RUFO MAURICIO The writ of execution was however returned unsatisfied
CONSTRUCTIONS, did then and there willfully, per Sheriff's return of service dated September 3, 1984,
unlawfully and feloniously drive, operate and because Cabiliza was found insolvent. A certificate of
manage the said vehicle in a reckless and imprudent insolvency was issued by the Register of Deeds of the
manner without taking the necessary precaution to Province of Cagayan and by the Municipal Assessor of
prevent and/or avoid accident to persons and/or Claveria Cagayan where Cabiliza appears to be a
damage to property, and without regard to traffic permanent resident.
rules and regulations, causing as a result of his
carelessness and imprudence the said vehicle that On September 3, 1984, the victim's widow, Mrs. Aurora
he was driving to sideswipe and hit a Colt Gallant Solidum, filed a motion for the issuance of a subsidiary
with Plate No. AC -206 S Pilipinas "79, driven and writ of execution to be enforced against the employer of
owned by the late JUDGE ARSENIO SOLIDUM, Cabiliza, Rufo Mauricio and/or Rufo Mauricio
thereby inflicting injuries upon the said Judge Construction Co., which was granted by the court in its
Arsenio Solidum which directly caused his untimely order dated September 6, 1984. A subsidiary writ of
death, and further causing damage to the said Colt execution was issued by the Clerk of Court also on
Gallant in the amount of Thirty Thousand September 6, 1984.
(P30,000.00) PESOS, Philippine Currency to the
damage and prejudice of the late Judge Arsenio On September 12, 1984, Rufo Mauricio thru his counsel
Solidum and/or his family, and likewise causing Atty. Beltran filed a motion to quash the subsidiary writ of
damage to the house owned by PABLO NAVARRA, execution. Resolution of this motion was held in
to the damage and prejudice of the said Pablo abeyance.
Navarro.
Meanwhile, Rufo Mauricio, as the employer of Cabiliza
After arraignment and trial on the merits, Cabiliza was pursued the latter's appeal before the Intermediate
convicted of the crime charged in a Decision dated Appellate Court (AC-G.R. No. 01829). He interposed the
October 12, 1983, the dispositive portion of which reads following assignment of errors —

I
WHEREFORE, this Court finds accused Illustre
Cabiliza guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN CONCLUDING
of homicide and damage to property thru reckless
THAT THE ACCUSED WAS GROSSLY
imprudence and hereby sentences him to suffer the
NEGLIGENT AND IMPRUDENT IN TRYING TO
indeterminate penalty of two (2) years and four (4)
OVERTAKE ANOTHER TRUCK WHEN THERE
months, as minimum to six (6) years, as maximum WAS AN ON COMING CAR FROM THE OPPOSITE
of prision correccional to indemnify the heirs of the
DIRECTION;
deceased Judge Arsenio G. Solidum, the sum of
P115,723.05 as actual and compensatory damages,
Pl,447,200.00 for the loss of earning capacity of the II
deceased; P200,000.00 as moral damages; and
P20,000.00 as exemplary damages, and to pay the THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN NOT
costs. (Rollo, p. 75) CONCLUDING THAT THE PROXIMATE CAUSE
OF THE COLLISION RESULTING IN DEATH OF the exemption of criminal liability implies
JUDGE ARSENIO SOLIDUM AND DAMAGE TO exemption from civil liability arising from crime.
HIS CAR, WAS DUE TO THE LATTER'S GROSS
NEGLIGENCE AND IMPRUDENCE IN INVADING b. The civil liability of the employer petitioner is
THE PROPER LANE OF THE ISUZU DUMP based, if any, on quasi-delict, since the accused
TRUCK OWNED BY RUFO MAURICIO was exempted from criminal liability.
CONSTRUCTION;
2. Exemplary damages cannot be imposed upon an
III employer who at the time of the alleged incident was
not present nor inside the vehicle involved in the
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN AWARDING THE accident.
TOTAL OF P 1,782,923.05 DAMAGES IN FAVOR
OF THE COMPLAIN ANTS; 3. The petitioner employer cannot be condemned (to
pay) an exhorbitant amount of damages to the tune of
IV P1,417,946.89, without giving him opportunity to
cross examine the witness supporting such claim and
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN NOT affording him opportunity to adduce evidence to resist
DISMISSING THE INFORMATION AGAINST THE the claim, because that would be deprivation of
ACCUSED UPON PROOF OF HIS DEATH AND IN property without due process of law, repugnant to the
NOT RELEASING THE EMPLOYER RUFO Freedom Constitution.
MAURICIO CONSTRUCTIONS AND/OR RUFO
MAURICIO FROM LIABILITY; 4. The Honorable Intermediate Appellate Court
misapplied the facts contrary to the physical evidence
V and relied on conjectures and surmises that depicted
a different picture of the accident when the evidence
shows that it was the victim who was negligent at the
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN NOT GIVING
time of the accident. (Rollo, pp. 18-19)
APPELLANT RUFO MAURICIO AND/OR RUFO
MAURICIO CONSTRUCTION A DAY IN COURT
TO RESIST THE DAMAGES BEING CLAIMED BY The first contention of petitioner that the death of the
THE HEIRS OF THE VICTIM. accused-employee wipes out not only the employee's
primary civil liability but also his employer's subsidiary
On April 8, 1986, the Intermediate Appellate Court liability is without merit. The death of the accused during
promulgated its now assailed Decision, 1 the pertinent the pendency of his appeal or before the judgment of
conviction (rendered against him by the lower court)
portion of which reads —
became final and executory extinguished his criminal
liability meaning his obligation to serve the imprisonment
We find that the proper amount of damages for loss imposed and his pecuniary liability for fines, but not his
of earnings based on Life expectancy of the civil liability should the liability or obligation arise (not from
deceased is Pl,082,223.84. In this respect, the trial a crime, for here, no crime was committed, the accused
court's findings is modified. The Judgment appealed not having been convicted by final judgment, and
from is affirmed in all other aspects. therefore still regarded as innocent) but from a quasi-
delict (See Arts. 2176 and 2177, Civil Code), as in this
WHEREFORE, with the afore-mentioned case. The liability of the employer here would not be
modifications, the appealed Judgment is AFFIRMED. subsidiary but solidary with his driver (unless said
(Rollo, p. 86) employer can prove there was no negligence on his part
at all, that is, if he can prove due diligence in the selection
Rufo Mauricio filed a motion for reconsideration which and supervision of his driver). (See 8th par. of Art. 2180,
was denied for lack of merit in the Resolution of the Art. 2194, Civil Code; also People vs. Navoa, 132 SCRA
Intermediate Appellate Court dated July 18, 1986. 412; People vs. Tirol, 102 SCRA 558; People vs.
Sandaydiego 82 SCRA 120).
The said Decision and Resolution are the subject of the
present petition. Petitioner contends that — Inasmuch as the employer (petitioner herein) was not a
party in the criminal case, and to grant him his day in court
1. The dismissal of the criminal case against the for the purpose of cross-examining the prosecution
accused employee wipes out not only the employee's witnesses on their testimonies on the driver's alleged
primary civil liability, but also his employer's subsidiary negligence and the amount of damages to which the heirs
liability for such criminal negligence, because: of the victim are entitled, as well as to introduce any
evidence or witnesses he may care to present in his
defense, the hearing on the motion to quash the
a. The criminal case is based on Article 100 of the
subsidiary writ of execution must be reopened precisely
Revised Penal Code wherein criminal liability and
for the purpose adverted to hereinabove.
PREMISES CONSIDERED, the assailed decision of the
appellate court is hereby SET ASIDE, and this case is
REMANDED to the trial court for the hearing adverted to
in the next preceding paragraph.

SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 108017 April 3, 1995 TORZUELA (defendant TORZUELA),
the latter impliedly acknowledged
MARIA BENITA A. DULAY, in her own behalf and in responsibility for the acts of defendant
behalf of the minor children KRIZTEEN ELIZABETH, TORZUELA by extending its sympathies
BEVERLY MARIE and NAPOLEON II, all surnamed to plaintiffs.
DULAY, petitioners,
vs. Defendant BENIGNO TORZUELA is of
THE COURT OF APPEALS, Former Eighth Division, legal age, an employee of defendant
HON. TEODORO P. REGINO, in his capacity as SAFEGUARD and/or defendant
Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court National SUPERGUARD and, at the time of the
Capital Region, Quezon City, Br. 84, SAFEGUARD incident complained of, was under their
INVESTIGATION AND SECURITY CO., INC., and control and supervision. . . .
SUPERGUARD SECURITY
CORPORATION, respondents. 3. On December 7, 1988 at around 8:00
a.m., defendant TORZUELA, while he
was on duty as security guard at the "Big
Bang sa Alabang," Alabang Village,
BIDIN, J.: Muntinlupa, Metro Manila shot and killed
NAPOLEON V. DULAY with a .38 caliber
This petition for certiorari prays for the reversal of the revolver belonging to defendant
SAFEGUARD, and/or SUPERGUARD
decision of the Court of Appeals dated October 29, 1991
(per Police Report dated January 7,
in CA-G.R. CV No. 24646 which affirmed the order of the
1989, copy attached as Annex A);
Regional Trial Court dismissing Civil Case No. Q-89-
1751, and its resolution dated November 17, 1991
denying herein, petitioner's motion for reconsideration. 4. The incident resulting in the death of
NAPOLEON V. DULAY was due to the
concurring negligence of the defendants.
The antecedent facts of the case are as follows:
Defendant TORZUELA'S wanton and
reckless discharge of the firearm issued
On December 7, 1988, an altercation between Benigno to him by defendant SAFEGUARD
Torzuela and Atty. Napoleon Dulay occurred at the "Big and/or SUPERGUARD was the
Bang Sa Alabang," Alabang Village, Muntinlupa as a immediate and proximate cause of the
result of which Benigno Torzuela, the security guard on injury, while the negligence of defendant
duty at the said carnival, shot and killed Atty. Napoleon SAFEGUARD and/or SUPERGUARD
Dulay. consists in its having failed to exercise
the diligence of a good father of a family
Herein petitioner Maria Benita A. Dulay, widow of the in the supervision and control of its
deceased Napoleon Dulay, in her own behalf and in employee to avoid the injury.
behalf of her minor children, filed on February 8, 1989 an
action for damages against Benigno Torzuela and herein xxx xxx xxx
private respondents Safeguard Investigation and Security
Co., Inc., ("SAFEGUARD") and/or Superguard Security
(Rollo, pp. 117-118)
Corp. ("SUPERGUARD"), alleged employers of
defendant Torzuela. The complaint, docketed as Civil
Case No. Q-89-1751 among others alleges the following: Petitioners prayed for actual, compensatory, moral and
exemplary damages, and attorney's fees. The said Civil
Case No. Q-89-1751 was raffled to Branch 84 of the
1. . . .
Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, presided by
respondent Judge Teodoro Regino.
Defendants SAFEGUARD
INVESTIGATION AND SECURITY CO.,
On March 2, 1989, private respondent SUPERGUARD
INC., (Defendant Safeguard) and
filed a Motion to Dismiss on the ground that the complaint
SUPERGUARD SECURITY
does not state a valid cause of action. SUPERGUARD
CORPORATION (Defendant
Superguard) are corporations duly claimed that Torzuela's act of shooting Dulay was beyond
organized and existing in accordance the scope of his duties, and that since the alleged act of
shooting was committed with deliberate intent (dolo), the
with Philippine laws, with offices at 10th
civil liability therefor is governed by Article 100 of the
Floor, Manufacturers Building, Inc.,
Revised Penal Code, which states:
Plaza Santa Cruz, Manila. They are
impleaded as alternative defendants for,
while the former appears to be the
employer of defendant BENIGNO
Art. 100. Civil liability of a person guilty of On April 13, 1989, respondent Judge Regino issued an
a felony. — Every person criminally liable order granting SUPERGUARD'S motion to dismiss and
for a felony is also civilly liable. SAFEGUARD'S motion for exclusion as defendant. The
respondent judge held that the complaint did not state
Respondent SUPERGUARD further alleged that a facts necessary or sufficient to constitute a quasi-delict
complaint for damages based on negligence under Article since it does not mention any negligence on the part of
2176 of the New Civil Code, such as the one filed by Torzuela in shooting Napoleon Dulay or that the same
petitioners, cannot lie, since the civil liability under Article was done in the performance of his duties. Respondent
2176 applies only to quasi-offenses under Article 365 of judge ruled that mere allegations of the concurring
the Revised Penal Code. In addition, the private negligence of the defendants (private respondents
respondent argued that petitioners' filing of the complaint herein) without stating the facts showing such negligence
is premature considering that the conviction of Torzuela are mere conclusions of law (Rollo, p. 106). Respondent
in a criminal case is a condition sine qua non for the judge also declared that the complaint was one for
employer's subsidiary liability (Rollo, p. 55-59). damages founded on crimes punishable under Articles
100 and 103 of the Revised Penal Code as distinguished
from those arising from, quasi-delict. The dispositive
Respondent SAFEGUARD also filed a motion praying
portion of the order dated April 13, 1989 states:
that it be excluded as defendant on the ground that
defendant Torzuela is not one of its employees (Rollo, p.
96). WHEREFORE, this Court holds that in
view of the material and ultimate facts
alleged in the verified complaint and in
Petitioners opposed both motions, stating that their cause
accordance with the applicable law on
of action against the private respondents is based on their
the matter as well as precedents laid
liability under Article 2180 of the New Civil Code, which
down by the Supreme Court, the
provides:
complaint against the alternative
defendants Superguard Security
Art. 2180. The obligation imposed by Corporation and Safeguard Investigation
Article 2176 is demandable not only for and Security Co., Inc., must be and (sic)
one's own acts or omissions, but also for it is hereby dismissed. (Rollo, p. 110)
those of persons for whom one is
responsible.
The above order was affirmed by the respondent court
and petitioners' motion for reconsideration thereof was
xxx xxx xxx denied.

Employers shall be liable for the Petitioners take exception to the assailed decision and
damages caused by their employees and insist that quasi-delicts are not limited to acts of
household helpers acting within the negligence but also cover acts that are intentional and
scope of their assigned tasks, even voluntary, citing Andamo v. IAC (191 SCRA 195 [1990]).
though the former are not engaged in any Thus, petitioners insist that Torzuela' s act of shooting
business or an industry. Napoleon Dulay constitutes a quasi-delict actionable
under Article 2176 of the New Civil Code.
xxx xxx xxx
Petitioners further contend that under Article 2180 of the
(Emphasis supplied) New Civil Code, private respondents are primarily liable
for their negligence either in the selection or supervision
Petitioners contended that a suit against alternative of their employees. This liability is independent of the
defendants is allowed under Rule 3, Section 13 of the employee's own liability for fault or negligence and is
Rules of Court. Therefore, the inclusion of private distinct from the subsidiary civil liability under Article 103
respondents as alternative defendants in the complaint is of the Revised Penal Code. The civil action against the
justified by the following: the Initial Investigation Report employer may therefore proceed independently of the
prepared by Pat. Mario Tubon showing that Torzuela is criminal action pursuant to Rule 111 Section 3 of the
an employee of SAFEGUARD; and through overt acts, Rules of Court. Petitioners submit that the question of
SUPERGUARD extended its sympathies to petitioners whether Torzuela is an employee of respondent
(Rollo, pp. 64 and 98). SUPERGUARD or SAFEGUARD would be better
resolved after trial.
Meanwhile, an Information dated March 21, 1989
charging Benigno Torzuela with homicide was filed before Moreover, petitioners argue that Torzuela's act of
the Regional Trial Court of Makati and was docketed as shooting Dulay is also actionable under Article 33 of the
Criminal Case No. 89-1896. New Civil Code, to wit:
Art. 33. In cases of defamation, fraud, Such civil action includes recovery of
and physical injuries, a civil action for indemnity under the Revised Penal
damages, entirely separate and distinct Code, and damages under Articles 32,
from the criminal action, may be brought 33, 34, and 2176 of the Civil Code of the
by the injured party. Such civil action Philippines arising from the same act or
shall proceed independently of the omission of the accused. (Emphasis
criminal prosecution, and shall require supplied)
only a preponderance of evidence.
(Emphasis supplied) It is well-settled that the filing of an independent civil
action before the prosecution in the criminal action
In the same vein, petitioners cite Section 3, Rule 111 of presents evidence is even far better than a compliance
the Rules of Court which provides: with the requirement of express reservation (Yakult
Philippines v. Court of Appeals, 190 SCRA 357 [1990]).
Rule 111. . . . . This is precisely what the petitioners opted to do in this
case. However, the private respondents opposed the civil
action on the ground that the same is founded on a delict
Sec. 3. When civil action may proceed
and not on a quasi-delict as the shooting was not attended
independently — In the cases provided
by negligence. What is in dispute therefore is the nature
for in Articles 32, 33, 34 and 2176 of the
Civil Code of the Philippines, the of the petitioner's cause of action.
independent civil action which has been
reserved may be brought by the offended The nature of a cause of action is determined by the facts
party, shall proceed independently of the alleged in the complaint as constituting the cause of
criminal action, and shall require only a action (Republic v. Estenzo, 158 SCRA 282 [1988]). The
preponderance of evidence. (Emphasis purpose of an action or suit and the law to govern it is to
supplied) be determined not by the claim of the party filing the
action, made in his argument or brief, but rather by the
complaint itself, its allegations and prayer for relief. (De
The term "physical injuries" under Article 33 has been
Tavera v. Philippine Tuberculosis Society, 112 SCRA 243
held to include consummated, frustrated and attempted
homicide. Thus, petitioners maintain that Torzuela's prior [1982]). An examination of the complaint in the present
conviction is unnecessary since the civil action can case would show that the plaintiffs, petitioners herein, are
invoking their right to recover damages against the private
proceed independently of the criminal action. On the other
respondents for their vicarious responsibility for the injury
hand, it is the private respondents' argument that since
caused by Benigno Torzuela's act of shooting and killing
the act was not committed with negligence, the petitioners
Napoleon Dulay, as stated in paragraphs 1 and 2 of the
have no cause of action under Articles 2116 and 2177 of
the New Civil Code. The civil action contemplated in complaint.
Article 2177 is not applicable to acts committed with
deliberate intent, but only applies to quasi-offenses under Article 2176 of the New Civil Code provides:
Article 365 of the Revised Penal Code. Torzuela's act of
shooting Atty. Dulay to death, aside from being purely Art. 2176. Whoever by act or omission
personal, was done with deliberate intent and could not causes damage to another, there being
have been part of his duties as security guard. And since fault or negligence, is obliged to pay for
Article 2180 of the New Civil Code covers only: acts done the damage done. Such fault or
within the scope of the employee's assigned tasks, the negligence, if there is no pre-existing
private respondents cannot be held liable for damages. contractual relation between the parties
is called a quasi-delict and is governed
We find for petitioners. by the provisions of this Chapter.

It is undisputed that Benigno Torzuela is being prosecuted Contrary to the theory of private respondents, there is no
for homicide for the fatal shooting of Napoleon Dulay. justification for limiting the scope of Article 2176 of the
Rule 111 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure provides: Civil Code to acts or omissions resulting from negligence.
Well-entrenched is the doctrine that article 2176 covers
not only acts committed with negligence, but also acts
Sec. 1. Institution of criminal and civil
which are voluntary and intentional. As far back as the
actions. When a criminal action is
definitive case of Elcano v. Hill (77 SCRA 98 [1977]), this
instituted, the civil action for the recovery
of civil liability is impliedly instituted with Court already held that:
the criminal action, unless the offended
party waives the civil action , reserves his . . . Article 2176, where it refers to "fault
right to institute it separately or institutes or negligence," covers not only acts "not
the civil action prior to the criminal action. punishable by law" but also acts criminal
in character; whether intentional and
voluntary or negligent. Consequently, a
separate civil action against the offender injuries" in Article 33 has already been construed to
in a criminal act, whether or not he is include bodily injuries causing death (Capuno v. Pepsi-
criminally prosecuted and found guilty or Cola Bottling Co. of the Philippines, 121 Phil. 638 [1965);
acquitted, provided that the offended Carandang v. Santiago, 97 Phil. 94 [1955]). It is not the
party is not allowed, if he is actually crime of physical injuries defined in the Revised Penal
charged also criminally, to recover Code. It includes not only physical injuries but also
damages on both scores, and would be consummated, frustrated, and attempted homicide
entitled in such eventuality only to the (Madeja v. Caro, 126 SCRA 293 [1983]). Although in the
bigger award of the two, assuming the Marcia case (supra), it was held that no independent civil
awards made in the two cases vary. In action may be filed under Article 33 where the crime is the
other words, the extinction of civil liability result of criminal negligence, it must be noted however,
referred to in Par. (e) of Section 3, Rule that Torzuela, the accused in the case at bar, is charged
111, refers exclusively to civil liability with homicide, not with reckless imprudence, whereas the
founded on Article 100 of the Revised defendant in Marcia was charged with reckless
Penal Code, whereas the civil liability for imprudence. Therefore, in this case, a civil action based
the same act considered as quasi-delict on Article 33 lies.
only and not as a crime is not
extinguished even by a declaration in the Private respondents also contend that their liability is
criminal case that the criminal act subsidiary under the Revised Penal Code; and that they
charged has not happened or has not are not liable for Torzuela's act which is beyond the scope
been committed by the accused. Briefly of his duties as a security guard. It having been
stated, We here hold, in reiteration of established that the instant action is not ex-delicto,
Garcia, that culpa aquiliana includes petitioners may proceed directly against Torzuela and the
voluntary and negligent acts which may private respondents. Under Article 2180 of the New Civil
be punishable by law. (Emphasis Code as aforequoted, when an injury is caused by the
supplied) negligence of the employee, there instantly arises a
presumption of law that there was negligence on the part
The same doctrine was echoed in the case of Andamo v. of the master or employer either in the selection of the
Intermediate Appellate Court (191 SCRA 195 [1990]), servant or employee, or in supervision over him after
wherein the Court held: selection or both (Layugan v. Intermediate Appellate
Court, 167 SCRA 363 [1988]). The liability of the employer
Article 2176, whenever it refers to "fault under Article 2180 is direct and immediate; it is not
or negligence," covers not only acts conditioned upon prior recourse against the negligent
criminal in character, whether intentional employee and a prior showing of the insolvency of such
and voluntary or negligent. employee (Kapalaran Bus Lines v. Coronado, 176 SCRA
Consequently, a civil action lies against 792 [1989]). Therefore, it is incumbent upon the private
the offender in a criminal act, whether or respondents to prove that they exercised the diligence of
not he is prosecuted or found guilty or a good father of a family in the selection and supervision
acquitted, provided that the offended of their employee.
party is not allowed, (if the tortfeasor is
actually also charged criminally), to Since Article 2176 covers not only acts of negligence but
recover damages on both scores, and also acts which are intentional and voluntary, it was
would be entitled in such eventuality only therefore erroneous on the part of the trial court to dismiss
to the bigger award of the two, assuming petitioner's complaint simply because it failed to make
the awards made in the two cases vary. allegations of attendant negligence attributable to private
[citing Virata v. Ochoa, 81 SCRA 472] respondents.
(Emphasis supplied)
With respect to the issue of whether the complaint at hand
Private respondents submit that the word "intentional" in states a sufficient cause of action, the general rule is that
the Andamo case is inaccurate obiter, and should be read the allegations in a complaint are sufficient to constitute a
as "voluntary" since intent cannot be coupled with cause of action against the defendants if, admitting the
negligence as defined by Article 365 of the Revised Penal facts alleged, the court can render a valid judgment upon
Code. In the absence of more substantial reasons, this the same in accordance with the prayer therein. A cause
Court will not disturb the above doctrine on the coverage of action exist if the following elements are present,
of Article 2176. namely: (1) a right in favor of the plaintiff by whatever
means and under whatever law it arises or is created; (2)
Private respondents further aver that Article 33 of the New an obligation on the part of the named defendant to
Civil Code applies only to injuries intentionally committed respect or not to violate such right; and (3) an act or
pursuant to the ruling in Marcia v. CA (120 SCRA 193 omission on the part of such defendant violative of the
[1983]), and that the actions for damages allowed right of the plaintiff or constituting a breach of the
thereunder are ex-delicto. However, the term "physical obligation of the defendant to the plaintiff for which the
latter may maintain an action for recovery of damages
(Del Bros Hotel Corporation v. CA, 210 SCRA 33 [1992]);
Development Bank of the Philippines v. Pundogar, 218
SCRA 118 [1993])

This Court finds, under the foregoing premises, that the


complaint sufficiently alleged an actionable breach on the
part of the defendant Torzuela and respondents
SUPERGUARD and/or SAFEGUARD. It is enough that
the complaint alleged that Benigno Torzuela shot
Napoleon Dulay resulting in the latter's death; that the
shooting occurred while Torzuela was on duty; and that
either SUPERGUARD and/or SAFEGUARD was
Torzuela's employer and responsible for his acts. This
does not operate however, to establish that the
defendants below are liable. Whether or not the shooting
was actually reckless and wanton or attended by
negligence and whether it was actually done within the
scope of Torzuela's duties; whether the private
respondents SUPERGUARD and/or SAFEGUARD failed
to exercise the diligence of a good father of a family; and
whether the defendants are actually liable, are questions
which can be better resolved after trial on the merits
where each party can present evidence to prove their
respective allegations and defenses. In determining
whether the allegations of a complaint are sufficient to
support a cause of action, it must be borne in mind that
the complaint does not have to establish or allege the
facts proving the existence of a cause of action at the
outset; this will have to be done at the trial on the merits
of the case (Del Bros Hotel Corporation v. CA, supra). If
the allegations in a complaint can furnish a sufficient basis
by which the complaint can be maintained, the same
should not be dismissed regardless of the defenses that
may be assessed by the defendants (Rava Dev't. Corp. v.
CA, 211 SCRA 152 [1992] citing Consolidated Bank &
Trust Corporation v. Court of Appeals, 197 SCRA 663
[1991]). To sustain a motion to dismiss for lack of cause
of action, the complaint must show that the claim for relief
does not exist rather than that a claim has been
defectively stated, is ambiguous, indefinite or uncertain
(Azur v. Provincial Board, 27 SCRA 50 [1969]). Since the
petitioners clearly sustained an injury to their rights under
the law, it would be more just to allow them to present
evidence of such injury.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition for


review is hereby GRANTED. The decision of the Court of
Appeals as well as the Order of the Regional Trial Court
dated April 13, 1989 are hereby REVERSED and SET
ASIDE. Civil Case No. Q-89-1751 is remanded to the
Regional Trial Court for trial on the merits. This decision
is immediately executory.

SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 119255 April 9, 2003 After Haos testimony, Chua moved to exclude
[G.R. No. 150793. November 19, 2004] complainants counsels as private prosecutors in the case
on the ground that Hao failed to allege and prove any civil
FRANCIS CHUA, petitioner, vs. HON. COURT OF liability in the case.
APPEALS and LYDIA C. HAO, respondents.
In an Order, dated April 26, 1999, the MeTC granted
DECISION Chuas motion and ordered the complainants counsels to
be excluded from actively prosecuting Criminal Case No.
QUISUMBING, J.: 285721. Hao moved for reconsideration but it was denied.
Petitioner assails the Decision,[1] dated June 14, Hence, Hao filed a petition for certiorari docketed as
2001, of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 57070, SCA No. 99-94846,[7] entitled Lydia C. Hao, in her own
affirming the Order, dated October 5, 1999, of the behalf and for the benefit of Siena Realty Corporation v.
Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila, Branch 19. The Francis Chua, and the Honorable Hipolito dela Vega,
RTC reversed the Order, dated April 26, 1999, of the Presiding Judge, Branch 22, Metropolitan Trial Court of
Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC) of Manila, Branch 22. Manila, before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila,
Also challenged by herein petitioner is the Branch 19.
CA Resolution,[2] dated November 20, 2001, denying his
Motion for Reconsideration. The RTC gave due course to the petition and on
October 5, 1999, the RTC in an order reversed the MeTC
The facts, as culled from the records, are as follows: Order. The dispositive portion reads:
On February 28, 1996, private respondent Lydia
Hao, treasurer of Siena Realty Corporation, filed a WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The respondent
complaint-affidavit with the City Prosecutor of Manila Court is ordered to allow the intervention of the private
charging Francis Chua and his wife, Elsa Chua, of four prosecutors in behalf of petitioner Lydia C. Hao in the
counts of falsification of public documents pursuant to prosecution of the civil aspect of Crim. Case No. 285721,
Article 172[3] in relation to Article 171[4] of the Revised before Br. 22 [MeTC], Manila, allowing Attys. Evelyn Sua-
Penal Code. The charge reads: Kho and Ariel Bruno Rivera to actively participate in the
proceedings.
That on or about May 13, 1994, in the City of Manila,
Philippines, the said accused, being then a private individual, SO ORDERED.[8]
did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously commit Chua moved for reconsideration which was denied.
acts of falsification upon a public document, to wit: the said
accused prepared, certified, and falsified the Minutes of the Dissatisfied, Chua filed before the Court of Appeals
Annual Stockholders meeting of the Board of Directors of the a petition for certiorari. The petition alleged that the lower
Siena Realty Corporation, duly notarized before a Notary court acted with grave abuse of discretion in: (1) refusing
Public, Atty. Juanito G. Garcia and entered in his Notarial to consider material facts; (2) allowing Siena Realty
Registry as Doc No. 109, Page 22, Book No. IV and Series of Corporation to be impleaded as co-petitioner in SCA No.
1994, and therefore, a public document, by making or causing 99-94846 although it was not a party to the criminal
it to appear in said Minutes of the Annual Stockholders Meeting complaint in Criminal Case No. 285721; and (3)
that one LYDIA HAO CHUA was present and has participated effectively amending the information against the accused
in said proceedings, when in truth and in fact, as the said in violation of his constitutional rights.
accused fully well knew that said Lydia C. Hao was never
present during the Annual Stockholders Meeting held on April On June 14, 2001, the appellate court promulgated
30, 1994 and neither has participated in the proceedings thereof its assailed Decision denying the petition, thus:
to the prejudice of public interest and in violation of public faith
and destruction of truth as therein proclaimed. WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is hereby
DENIED DUE COURSE and DISMISSED. The Order, dated
CONTRARY TO LAW.[5] October 5, 1999 as well as the Order, dated December 3, 1999,
are hereby AFFIRMED in toto.
Thereafter, the City Prosecutor filed the Information
docketed as Criminal Case No. 285721 [6] for falsification SO ORDERED.[9]
of public document, before the Metropolitan Trial Court
(MeTC) of Manila, Branch 22, against Francis Chua but Petitioner had argued before the Court of Appeals
dismissed the accusation against Elsa Chua. that respondent had no authority whatsoever to bring a
suit in behalf of the Corporation since there was no Board
Herein petitioner, Francis Chua, was arraigned and Resolution authorizing her to file the suit.
trial ensued thereafter.
For her part, respondent Hao claimed that the suit
During the trial in the MeTC, private prosecutors Atty. was brought under the concept of a derivative suit.
Evelyn Sua-Kho and Atty. Ariel Bruno Rivera appeared as Respondent maintained that when the directors or
private prosecutors and presented Hao as their first trustees refused to file a suit even when there was a
witness. demand from stockholders, a derivative suit was allowed.
The Court of Appeals held that the action was indeed Petitioner misapprehends our ruling in Western
a derivative suit, for it alleged that petitioner falsified Institute. In that case, we said:
documents pertaining to projects of the corporation and
made it appear that the petitioner was a stockholder and Here, however, the case is not a derivative suit but is merely an
a director of the corporation. According to the appellate appeal on the civil aspect of Criminal Cases Nos. 37097 and
court, the corporation was a necessary party to the 37098 filed with the RTC of Iloilo for estafa and falsification of
petition filed with the RTC and even if private respondent public document. Among the basic requirements for a
filed the criminal case, her act should not divest the derivative suit to prosper is that the minority shareholder who
Corporation of its right to be a party and present its own is suing for and on behalf of the corporation must allege in his
claim for damages. complaint before the proper forum that he is suing on a
Petitioner moved for reconsideration but it was derivative cause of action on behalf of the corporation and all
denied in a Resolution dated November 20, 2001. other shareholders similarly situated who wish to join. . . .This
was not complied with by the petitioners either in their
Hence, this petition alleging that the Court of Appeals complaint before the court a quo nor in the instant petition
committed reversible errors: which, in part, merely states that this is a petition for review
on certiorari on pure questions of law to set aside a portion of
I. IN RULING THAT LYDIA HAOS FILING OF the RTC decision in Criminal Cases Nos. 37097 and 37098
CRIMINAL CASE NO. 285721 WAS IN THE since the trial courts judgment of acquittal failed to impose civil
NATURE OF A DERIVATIVE SUIT liability against the private respondents. By no amount of equity
II. IN UPHOLDING THE RULING OF JUDGE considerations, if at all deserved, can a mere appeal on the civil
DAGUNA THAT SIENA REALTY WAS A aspect of a criminal case be treated as a derivative suit.[12]
PROPER PETITIONER IN SCA NO. [99- Moreover, in Western Institute, we said that a mere
94846] appeal in the civil aspect cannot be treated as a derivative
III. IN UPHOLDING JUDGE DAGUNAS suit because the appeal lacked the basic requirement that
DECISION ALLOWING LYDIA HAOS it must be alleged in the complaint that the shareholder is
COUNSEL TO CONTINUE AS PRIVATE suing on a derivative cause of action for and in behalf of
PROSECUTORS IN CRIMINAL CASE NO. the corporation and other shareholders who wish to join.
285721 Under Section 36[13] of the Corporation Code, read in
IV. IN [OMITTING] TO CONSIDER AND RULE relation to Section 23,[14] where a corporation is an injured
UPON THE ISSUE THAT JUDGE DAGUNA party, its power to sue is lodged with its board of directors
ACTED IN GRAVE ABUSE OF or trustees.[15]An individual stockholder is permitted to
DISCRETION IN NOT DISMISSING THE institute a derivative suit on behalf of the corporation
PETITION IN SCA NO. [99-94846] FOR wherein he holds stocks in order to protect or vindicate
BEING A SHAM PLEADING.[10] corporate rights, whenever the officials of the corporation
refuse to sue, or are the ones to be sued, or hold the
The pertinent issues in this petition are the following: control of the corporation. In such actions, the suing
(1) Is the criminal complaint in the nature of a derivative stockholder is regarded as a nominal party, with the
suit? (2) Is Siena Realty Corporation a proper petitioner in corporation as the real party in interest.[16]
SCA No. 99-94846? and (3) Should private prosecutors
be allowed to actively participate in the trial of Criminal A derivative action is a suit by a shareholder to
Case No. 285721. enforce a corporate cause of action. The corporation is a
necessary party to the suit. And the relief which is granted
On the first issue, petitioner claims that the Court of is a judgment against a third person in favor of the
Appeals erred when (1) it sustained the lower court in corporation. Similarly, if a corporation has a defense to an
giving due course to respondents petition in SCA No. 99- action against it and is not asserting it, a stockholder may
94846 despite the fact that the Corporation was not the intervene and defend on behalf of the corporation.[17]
private complainant in Criminal Case No. 285721, and (2)
when it ruled that Criminal Case No. 285721 was in the Under the Revised Penal Code, every person
nature of a derivative suit. criminally liable for a felony is also civilly liable.[18] When a
criminal action is instituted, the civil action for the recovery
Petitioner avers that a derivative suit is by nature of civil liability arising from the offense charged shall be
peculiar only to intra-corporate proceedings and cannot deemed instituted with the criminal action, unless the
be made part of a criminal action. He cites the case offended party waives the civil action, reserves the right
of Western Institute of Technology, Inc. v. Salas,[11] where to institute it separately or institutes the civil action prior to
the court said that an appeal on the civil aspect of a the criminal action.[19]
criminal case cannot be treated as a derivative suit.
Petitioner asserts that in this case, the civil aspect of a In Criminal Case No. 285721, the complaint was
criminal case cannot be treated as a derivative suit, instituted by respondent against petitioner for falsifying
considering that Siena Realty Corporation was not the corporate documents whose subject concerns corporate
private complainant. projects of Siena Realty Corporation. Clearly, Siena
Realty Corporation is an offended party. Hence, Siena
Realty Corporation has a cause of action. And the civil
case for the corporate cause of action is deemed certiorari. The aggrieved parties in such a case are the
instituted in the criminal action. State and the private offended party or complainant.[24]
However, the board of directors of the corporation in In a string of cases, we consistently ruled that only a
this case did not institute the action against petitioner. party-in-interest or those aggrieved may file certiorari
Private respondent was the one who instituted the action. cases. It is settled that the offended parties in criminal
Private respondent asserts that she filed a derivative suit cases have sufficient interest and personality as
in behalf of the corporation. This assertion is inaccurate. person(s) aggrieved to file special civil action of
Not every suit filed in behalf of the corporation is a prohibition and certiorari.[25]
derivative suit. For a derivative suit to prosper, it is
required that the minority stockholder suing for and on In Ciudad Real, cited by petitioner, we held that the
behalf of the corporation must allege in his complaint that appellate court committed grave abuse of discretion when
he is suing on a derivative cause of action on behalf of the it sanctioned the standing of a corporation to join said
corporation and all other stockholders similarly situated petition for certiorari, despite the finality of the trial courts
who may wish to join him in the suit.[20] It is a denial of its Motion for Intervention and the subsequent
condition sine qua non that the corporation be impleaded Motion to Substitute and/or Join as Party/Plaintiff.
as a party because not only is the corporation an Note, however, that in Pastor, Jr. v. Court of
indispensable party, but it is also the present rule that it Appeals[26] we held that if aggrieved, even a non-party
must be served with process. The judgment must be may institute a petition for certiorari. In that case,
made binding upon the corporation in order that the petitioner was the holder in her own right of three mining
corporation may get the benefit of the suit and may not claims and could file a petition for certiorari, the fastest
bring subsequent suit against the same defendants for the and most feasible remedy since she could not intervene
same cause of action. In other words, the corporation in the probate of her father-in-laws estate.[27]
must be joined as party because it is its cause of action
that is being litigated and because judgment must be In the instant case, we find that the recourse of the
a res adjudicata against it.[21] complainant to the respondent Court of Appeals was
proper. The petition was brought in her own name and in
In the criminal complaint filed by herein respondent, behalf of the Corporation. Although, the corporation was
nowhere is it stated that she is filing the same in behalf not a complainant in the criminal action, the subject of the
and for the benefit of the corporation. Thus, the criminal falsification was the corporations project and the falsified
complaint including the civil aspect thereof could not be documents were corporate documents. Therefore, the
deemed in the nature of a derivative suit. corporation is a proper party in the petition for certiorari
We turn now to the second issue, is the corporation because the proceedings in the criminal case directly and
a proper party in the petition for certiorari under Rule 65 adversely affected the corporation.
before the RTC? Note that the case was titled Lydia C. We turn now to the third issue. Did the Court of
Hao, in her own behalf and for the benefit of Siena Realty Appeals and the lower court err in allowing private
Corporation v. Francis Chua, and the Honorable Hipolito prosecutors to actively participate in the trial of Criminal
dela Vega, Presiding Judge, Branch 22, Metropolitan Trial Case No. 285721?
Court of Manila. Petitioner before us now claims that the
corporation is not a private complainant in Criminal Case Petitioner cites the case of Tan, Jr. v.
No. 285721, and thus cannot be included as appellant in Gallardo,[28] holding that where from the nature of the
SCA No. 99-94846. offense or where the law defining and punishing the
offense charged does not provide for an indemnity, the
Petitioner invokes the case of Ciudad Real & Devt. offended party may not intervene in the prosecution of the
Corporation v. Court of Appeals.[22] In Ciudad Real, it was offense.
ruled that the Court of Appeals committed grave abuse of
discretion when it upheld the standing of Magdiwang Petitioners contention lacks merit. Generally, the
Realty Corporation as a party to the petition for certiorari, basis of civil liability arising from crime is the fundamental
even though it was not a party-in-interest in the civil case postulate that every man criminally liable is also civilly
before the lower court. liable. When a person commits a crime he offends two
entities namely (1) the society in which he lives in or the
In the present case, respondent claims that the political entity called the State whose law he has violated;
complaint was filed by her not only in her personal and (2) the individual member of the society whose
capacity, but likewise for the benefit of the corporation. person, right, honor, chastity or property has been
Additionally, she avers that she has exhausted all actually or directly injured or damaged by the same
remedies available to her before she instituted the case, punishable act or omission. An act or omission is
not only to claim damages for herself but also to recover felonious because it is punishable by law, it gives rise to
the damages caused to the company. civil liability not so much because it is a crime but because
Under Rule 65 of the Rules of Civil it caused damage to another. Additionally, what gives rise
Procedure,[23] when a trial court commits a grave abuse of to the civil liability is really the obligation and the moral
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, the duty of everyone to repair or make whole the damage
person aggrieved can file a special civil action for caused to another by reason of his own act or omission,
whether done intentionally or negligently. The indemnity
which a person is sentenced to pay forms an integral part Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC) of Manila. Costs against
of the penalty imposed by law for the commission of the petitioner.
crime.[29] The civil action involves the civil liability arising
from the offense charged which includes restitution, SO ORDERED.
reparation of the damage caused, and indemnification for
consequential damages.[30]
Under the Rules, where the civil action for recovery
of civil liability is instituted in the criminal action pursuant
to Rule 111, the offended party may intervene by counsel
in the prosecution of the offense.[31] Rule 111(a) of the
Rules of Criminal Procedure provides that, [w]hen a
criminal action is instituted, the civil action 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.
Private respondent did not waive the civil action, nor
did she reserve the right to institute it separately, nor
institute the civil action for damages arising from the
offense charged. Thus, we find that the private
prosecutors can intervene in the trial of the criminal
action.
Petitioner avers, however, that respondents
testimony in the inferior court did not establish nor prove
any damages personally sustained by her as a result of
petitioners alleged acts of falsification. Petitioner adds
that since no personal damages were proven therein,
then the participation of her counsel as private
prosecutors, who were supposed to pursue the civil
aspect of a criminal case, is not necessary and is without
basis.
When the civil action is instituted with the criminal
action, evidence should be taken of the damages claimed
and the court should determine who are the persons
entitled to such indemnity. The civil liability arising from
the crime may be determined in the criminal proceedings
if the offended party does not waive to have it adjudged
or does not reserve the right to institute a separate civil
action against the defendant. Accordingly, if there is no
waiver or reservation of civil liability, evidence should be
allowed to establish the extent of injuries suffered.[32]
In the case before us, there was neither a waiver nor
a reservation made; nor did the offended party institute a
separate civil action. It follows that evidence should be
allowed in the criminal proceedings to establish the civil
liability arising from the offense committed, and the
private offended party has the right to intervene through
the private prosecutors.
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DENIED. The
Decision, dated June 14, 2001, and the Resolution, dated
November 20, 2001, of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R.
SP No. 57070, affirming the Order, dated October 5,
1999, of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila, Branch
19, are AFFIRMED. Accordingly, the private prosecutors
are hereby allowed to intervene in behalf of private
respondent Lydia Hao in the prosecution of the civil
aspect of Criminal Case No. 285721 before Branch 22, of
G.R. No. 163753 January 15, 2014 At the trial, the Prosecution presented several witnesses,
including Dr. Rufino Agudera as an expert witness and as
DR. ENCARNACION C. LUMANTAS, the physician who had operated on Hanz twice to repair
M.D., Petitioner, vs. HANZ CALAPIZ, REPRESENTED the damaged urethra. Dr. Agudera testified that Hanz had
BY HIS PARENTS, HILARIO CALAPIZ, JR. and been diagnosed to have urethral stricture and cavernosal
HERLITA CALAPIZ,Respondent.; BERSAMIN, J.: injury left secondary to trauma that had necessitated the
conduct of two operations to strengthen and to lengthen
The acquittal of the accused does not necessarily mean the urethra. Although satisfactorily explaining that the
his absolution from civil liability. injury to the urethra had been caused by trauma, Dr.
Agudera could not determine the kind of trauma that had
caused the injury.
The Case
In his defense, the petitioner denied the charge. He
In this appeal, an accused desires the reversal of the contended that at the time of his examination of Hanz on
decision promulgated on February 20, 2003,1 whereby January 16, 1995, he had found an accumulation of pus
the Court of Appeals (CA) affirmed the judgment rendered at the vicinity of the appendix two to three inches from the
on August 6, 1999 by the Regional Trial Court (RTC), penis that had required immediate surgical operation; that
Branch 13, in Oroquieta City ordering him to pay moral after performing the appendectomy, he had circumcised
damages despite his acquittal of the crime of reckless Hanz with his parents’ consent by using a congo
imprudence resulting in serious physical injuries charged instrument, thereby debunking the parents’ claim that
against him.2 their child had been cauterized; that he had then cleared
Hanz on January 27, 1995 once his fever had subsided;
Antecedents that he had found no complications when Hanz returned
for his follow up check-up on February 2, 1995; and that
On January 16, 1995, Spouses Hilario Calapiz, Jr. and the abscess formation between the base and the shaft of
Herlita Calapiz brought their 8-year-old son, Hanz Calapiz the penis had been brought about by Hanz’s burst
(Hanz), to the Misamis Occidental Provincial Hospital, appendicitis.
Oroquieta City, for an emergency appendectomy. Hanz
was attended to by the petitioner, who suggested to the Ruling of the RTC
parents that Hanz also undergo circumcision at no added
cost to spare him the pain. With the parents’ consent, the In its decision rendered on August 6, 1999,6 the RTC
petitioner performed the coronal type of circumcision on acquitted the petitioner of the crime charged for
Hanz after his appendectomy. On the following day, Hanz insufficiency of the evidence. It held that the Prosecution’s
complained of pain in his penis, which exhibited blisters. evidence did not show the required standard of care to be
His testicles were swollen. The parents noticed that the observed by other members of the medical profession
child urinated abnormally after the petitioner forcibly under similar circumstances. Nonetheless, the RTC ruled
removed the catheter, but the petitioner dismissed the that the petitioner was liable for moral damages because
abnormality as normal. On January 30, 1995, Hanz was there was a preponderance of evidence showing that
discharged from the hospital over his parents’ Hanz had received the injurious trauma from his
protestations, and was directed to continue taking circumcision by the petitioner. The decision disposed as
antibiotics. follows:

On February 8, 1995, Hanz was confined in a hospital WHEREFORE, for insufficiency of evidence, this court
because of the abscess formation between the base and renders judgment acquitting the accused, Dr.
the shaft of his penis. Presuming that the ulceration was Encarnacion Lumantas, of reckless imprudence resulting
brought about by Hanz’s appendicitis, the petitioner in serious physical injuries, but ordering him to pay Hanz
referred him to Dr. Henry Go, an urologist, who diagnosed Calapiz ₱50,000.00 as moral damages. No costs.
the boy to have a damaged urethra. Thus, Hanz
underwent cystostomy, and thereafter was operated on
three times to repair his damaged urethra. SO ORDERED.

Ruling of the CA
When his damaged urethra could not be fully repaired and
reconstructed, Hanz’s parents brought a criminal charge
against the petitioner for reckless imprudence resulting to On appeal, the CA affirmed the RTC,7 sustaining the
serious physical injuries. On April 17, 1997, the award of moral damages. It opined that even if the
information3 was filed in the Municipal Trial Court in Cities petitioner had been acquitted of the crime charged, the
of Oroquieta City (MTCC), to which the latter pleaded not acquittal did not necessarily mean that he had not
guilty on May 22, 1998.4 Under the order of April 30, 1999, incurred civil liability considering that the Prosecution had
the case was transferred to the RTC pursuant to Supreme preponderantly established the sufferings of Hanz as the
Court Circular No. 11-99.5 result of the circumcision.
The petitioner moved for reconsideration, but the CA evidence.12 In this connection, the Court reminds that the
denied the motion on April 28, 2004.8 acquittal for insufficiency of the evidence did not require
that the complainant’s recovery of civil liability should be
Hence, this appeal. through the institution of a separate civil action for that
purpose.13
Issue
The petitioner’s contention that he could not be held civilly
Whether the CA erred in affirming the petitioner’s civil liable because there was no proof of his negligence
deserves scant consideration. The failure of the
liability despite his acquittal of the crime of reckless
Prosecution to prove his criminal negligence with moral
imprudence resulting in serious physical injuries.
certainty did not forbid a finding against him that there was
preponderant evidence of his negligence to hold him
Ruling civilly liable.14With the RTC and the CA both finding that
Hanz had sustained the injurious trauma from the hands
The petition for review lacks merit. of the petitioner on the occasion of or incidental to the
circumcision, and that the trauma could have been
It is axiomatic that every person criminally liable for a avoided, the Court must concur with their uniform
felony is also civilly liable.9 Nevertheless, the acquittal of findings. In that regard, the Court need not analyze and
an accused of the crime charged does not necessarily weigh again the evidence considered in the proceedings
extinguish his civil liability. In Manantan v. Court of a quo. The Court, by virtue of its not being a trier of facts,
Appeals,10the Court elucidates on the two kinds of should now accord the highest respect to the factual
acquittal recognized by our law as well as on the different findings of the trial court as affirmed by the CA in the
effects of acquittal on the civil liability of the accused, viz: absence of a clear showing by the petitioner that such
findings were tainted with arbitrariness, capriciousness or
Our law recognizes two kinds of acquittal, with different palpable error.
effects on the civil liability of the accused.1âwphi1 First is
an acquittal on the ground that the accused is not the Every person is entitled to the physical integrity of his
author of the act or omission complained of. This instance body.1âwphi1 Although we have long advocated the view
closes the door to civil liability, for a person who has been that any physical injury, like the loss or diminution of the
found to be not the perpetrator of any act or omission use of any part of one’s body, is not equatable to a
cannot and can never be held liable for such act or pecuniary loss, and is not susceptible of exact monetary
omission. There being no delict, civil liability ex delicto is estimation, civil damages should be assessed once that
out of the question, and the civil action, if any, which may integrity has been violated. The assessment is but an
be instituted must be based on grounds other than the imperfect estimation of the true value of one’s body. The
delict complained of. This is the situation contemplated in usual practice is to award moral damages for the physical
Rule 111 of the Rules of Court. The second instance is an injuries sustained.15 In Hanz’s case, the undesirable
acquittal based on reasonable doubt on the guilt of the outcome of the circumcision performed by the petitioner
accused. In this case, even if the guilt of the accused has forced the young child to endure several other procedures
not been satisfactorily established, he is not exempt from on his penis in order to repair his damaged urethra.
civil liability which may be proved by preponderance of Surely, his physical and moral sufferings properly
evidence only. warranted the amount of ₱50,000.00 awarded as moral
damages.
The Rules of Court requires that in case of an acquittal,
the judgment shall state "whether the evidence of the Many years have gone by since Hanz suffered the injury.
prosecution absolutely failed to prove the guilt of the Interest of 6% per annum should then be imposed on the
accused or merely failed to prove his guilt beyond award as a sincere means of adjusting the value of the
reasonable doubt. In either case, the judgment shall award to a level that is not only reasonable but just and
determine if the act or omission from which the civil commensurate. Unless we make the adjustment in the
liability might arise did not exist."11 permissible manner by prescribing legal interest on the
award, his sufferings would be unduly compounded. For
Conformably with the foregoing, therefore, the acquittal of that purpose, the reckoning of interest should be from the
an accused does not prevent a judgment from still being filing of the criminal information on April 17, 1997, the
rendered against him on the civil aspect of the criminal making of the judicial demand for the liability of the
case unless the court finds and declares that the fact from petitioner.
which the civil liability might arise did not exist.
WHEREFORE, the Court AFFIRMS the decision
Although it found the Prosecution’s evidence insufficient promulgated on February 20, 2003, with the modification
to sustain a judgment of conviction against the petitioner that legal interest of 6% per annum to start from April 17,
for the crime charged, the RTC did not err in determining 1997 is imposed on the award of:₱50,000.00 as moral
and adjudging his civil liability for the same act damages; and ORDERS the petitioner to pay the costs of
complained of based on mere preponderance of suit. SO ORDERED.
[G.R. No. 151452. July 29, 2005] from the finality of the judgment in the criminal action. As
there was no appeal of the decision convicting Sibayan,
the complaint which was filed barely two (2) years thence
was clearly filed within the prescriptive period.
SPS. ANTONIO C. SANTOS and ESPERANZA C.
The trial court dismissed the complaint on the
SANTOS, NORA BARNALO, BELINDA
principal ground that the cause of action had already
LUMACTAD, MARIENELA DY, NIKKA
prescribed. According to the trial court, actions based
SANTOS and LEONARDO
on quasi delict, as it construed petitioners cause of action
FERRER, petitioners, vs. HON. NORMANDIE
to be, prescribe four (4) years from the accrual of the
B. PIZARDO, as Presiding Judge, RTC of
cause of action. Hence, notwithstanding the fact that
Quezon City, Branch 101, DIONISIO M
petitioners reserved the right to file a separate civil action,
SIBAYAN, and VIRON TRANSPORTATION
the complaint ought to be dismissed on the ground of
COMPANY, INC., represented by VIRGILIO Q.
prescription.[5]
RONDARIS,
President/Chairman, respondents. Improper service of summons was likewise cited as
a ground for dismissal of the complaint as summons was
DECISION served through a certain Jessica Ubalde of the legal
department without mentioning her designation or
TINGA, J.: position.

In this Petition for Review on Certiorari[1] dated Petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration pointing
March 1, 2002, petitioners assail the Resolutions of the out yet again that the complaint is not based on quasi
Court of Appeals dated September 10, 2001 and January delict but on the final judgment of conviction in the
9, 2002, respectively dismissing their petition for certiorari criminal case which prescribes ten (10) years from the
and denying their motion for reconsideration, arising from finality of the judgment.[6] The trial court denied petitioners
the dismissal of their complaint to recover civil indemnity motion for reconsideration reiterating that petitioners
for the death and physical injuries of their kin. cause of action was based on quasi delictand had
prescribed under Article 1146 of the Civil Code because
The following facts are matters of record. the complaint was filed more than four (4) years after the
vehicular accident.[7] As regards the improper service of
In an Information dated April 25, 1994, Dionisio M. summons, the trial court reconsidered its ruling that the
Sibayan (Sibayan) was charged with Reckless complaint ought to be dismissed on this ground.
Imprudence Resulting to Multiple Homicide and Multiple
Physical Injuries in connection with a vehicle collision Petitioners filed a petition for certiorari with the Court
between a southbound Viron Transit bus driven by of Appeals which dismissed the same for error in the
Sibayan and a northbound Lite Ace Van, which claimed choice or mode of appeal.[8] The appellate court also
the lives of the vans driver and three (3) of its passengers, denied petitioners motion for reconsideration reasoning
including a two-month old baby, and caused physical that even if the respondent trial court judge committed
injuries to five (5) of the vans passengers. After trial, grave abuse of discretion in issuing the order of
Sibayan was convicted and sentenced to suffer the dismissal, certiorari is still not the permissible remedy as
penalty of imprisonment for two (2) years, four (4) months appeal was available to petitioners and they failed to
and one (1) day to four (4) years and two (2) months. allege that the petition was brought within the recognized
However, as there was a reservation to file a separate civil exceptions for the allowance of certiorari in lieu of
action, no pronouncement of civil liability was made by the appeal.[9]
municipal circuit trial court in its decision promulgated on
December 17, 1998.[2] In this petition, petitioners argue that a rigid
application of the rule that certiorari cannot be a substitute
On October 20, 2000, petitioners filed a complaint for for appeal will result in a judicial rejection of an existing
damages against Sibayan, Viron Transit and its obligation arising from the criminal liability of private
President/Chairman, Virgilio Q. Rondaris, with the respondents. Petitioners insist that the liability sought to
Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, pursuant to their be enforced in the complaint arose ex delicto and is not
reservation to file a separate civil action.[3] They cited based on quasi delict. The trial court allegedly committed
therein the judgment convicting Sibayan. grave abuse of discretion when it insisted that the cause
of action invoked by petitioners is based on quasi
Viron Transit moved to dismiss the complaint on the delict and concluded that the action had prescribed. Since
grounds of improper service of summons, prescription the action is based on the criminal liability of private
and laches, and defective certification of non-forum respondents, the cause of action accrued from the finality
shopping. It also sought the dropping of Virgilio Q. of the judgment of conviction.
Rondaris as defendant in view of the separate personality
of Viron Transit from its officers.[4] Assuming that their petition with the appellate court
was procedurally flawed, petitioners implore the Court to
Petitioners opposed the motion to dismiss exempt this case from the rigid operation of the rules as
contending, among others, that the right to file a separate they allegedly have a legitimate grievance to
action in this case prescribes in ten (10) years reckoned
vindicate, i.e., damages for the deaths and physical action, unless the offended party waives the civil action,
injuries caused by private respondents for which no civil reserves his right to institute it separately, or institutes the
liability had been adjudged by reason of their reservation civil action prior to the criminal action.
of the right to file a separate civil action.
In their Comment[10] dated June 13, 2002, private Such civil action includes recovery of indemnity under the
respondents insist that the dismissal of the complaint on Revised Penal Code, and damages under Articles 32, 33,
the ground of prescription was in order. They point out 34 and 2176 of the Civil Code of the Philippines arising
that the averments in the complaint make out a cause of from the same act or omission of the accused.
action for quasi delict under Articles 2176 and 2180 of the
Civil Code. As such, the prescriptive period of four (4) A waiver of any of the civil actions extinguishes the others.
years should be reckoned from the time the accident took The institution of, or the reservation of the right to file, any
place. of said civil actions separately waives the others.

Viron Transit also alleges that its subsidiary liability The reservation of the right to institute the separate civil
cannot be enforced since Sibayan was not ordered to pay actions shall be made before the prosecution starts to
damages in the criminal case. It is Viron Transits present its evidence and under circumstances affording
contention that the subsidiary liability of the employer the offended party a reasonable opportunity to make such
contemplated in Article 103 of the Revised Penal Code reservation.
presupposes a situation where the civil aspect of the case
was instituted in the criminal case and no reservation to
file a separate civil case was made. In no case may the offended party recover damages twice
for the same act or omission of the accused.
Private respondents likewise allege that the recourse
to the Court of Appeals via certiorari was improper as When the offended party seeks to enforce civil liability
petitioners should have appealed the adverse order of the against the accused by way of moral, nominal, temperate
trial court. Moreover, they point out several other or exemplary damages, the filing fees for such action as
procedural lapses allegedly committed by petitioners, provided in these Rules shall constitute a first lien on the
such as lack of certification against forum-shopping; lack judgment except in an award for actual damages.
of duplicate original or certified true copy of the assailed
order of the trial court; and non-indication of the full names In cases wherein the amount of damages, other than
and addresses of petitioners in the petition. actual, is alleged in the complaint or information, the
Petitioners filed a Reply[11] dated September 14, corresponding filing fees shall be paid by the offended
2002, while private respondents filed a Rejoinder[12] dated party upon filing thereof in court for trial.
October 14, 2002, both in reiteration of their arguments.
Petitioners expressly made a reservation of their
We grant the petition. right to file a separate civil action as a result of the crime
Our Revised Penal Code provides that every person committed by Sibayan. On account of this reservation, the
criminally liable for a felony is also civilly liable. [13] Such municipal circuit trial court, in its decision convicting
civil liability may consist of restitution, reparation of the Sibayan, did not make any pronouncement as to the
damage caused and indemnification of consequential latters civil liability.
damages.[14] When a criminal action is instituted, the civil Predicating their claim on the judgment of conviction
liability arising from the offense is impliedly instituted with and their reservation to file a separate civil action made in
the criminal action, subject to three notable the criminal case, petitioners filed a complaint for
exceptions: first, when the injured party expressly waives damages against Sibayan, Viron Transit and its
the right to recover damages from the President/Chairman. Petitioners assert that by the
accused; second, when the offended party reserves his institution of the complaint, they seek to recover private
right to have the civil damages determined in a separate respondents civil liability arising from crime.
action in order to take full control and direction of the Unfortunately, based on its misreading of the allegations
prosecution of his cause; and third, when the injured party in the complaint, the trial court dismissed the same,
actually exercises the right to maintain a private suit declaring that petitioners cause of action was based
against the offender by instituting a civil action prior to the on quasi delict and should have been brought within four
filing of the criminal case. (4) years from the time the cause of action
Notably, it was the 1985 Rules on Criminal accrued, i.e., from the time of the accident.
Procedure, as amended in 1988, which governed the A reading of the complaint reveals that the
institution of the criminal action, as well as the reservation allegations therein are consistent with petitioners claim
of the right to file a separate civil action. Section 1, Rule that the action was brought to recover civil liability arising
111 thereof states: from crime. Although there are allegations of negligence
on the part of Sibayan and Viron Transit, such does not
Section 1. Institution of criminal and civil actions.When a necessarily mean that petitioners were pursuing a cause
criminal action is instituted, the civil action for the recovery of action based on quasi delict, considering that at the
of civil liability is impliedly instituted with the criminal
time of the filing of the complaint, the cause of action ex after the rendition of a final judgment convicting the
quasi delicto had already prescribed. Besides, in cases of employee.
negligence, the offended party has the choice between an
action to enforce civil liability arising from crime under the Seen in this light, the trial court should not have
Revised Penal Code and an action for quasi delict under dismissed the complaint on the ground of prescription, but
the Civil Code. instead allowed the complaint for damages ex delicto to
be prosecuted on the merits, considering petitioners
An act or omission causing damage to another may allegations in their complaint, opposition to the motion to
give rise to two separate civil liabilities on the part of the dismiss[17] and motion for reconsideration[18] of the order
offender, i.e., (1) civil liability ex delicto, under Article 100 of dismissal, insisting that the action was to recover civil
of the Revised Penal Code; and (2) independent civil liability arising from crime.
liabilities, such as those (a) not arising from an act or
omission complained of as a felony, e.g., culpa This does not offend the policy that the reservation
contractual or obligations arising from law under Article 31 or institution of a separate civil action waives the other
of the Civil Code, intentional torts under Articles 32 and civil actions. The rationale behind this rule is the
34, and culpa aquiliana under Article 2176 of the Civil avoidance of multiple suits between the same litigants
Code; or (b) where the injured party is granted a right to arising out of the same act or omission of the
file an action independent and distinct from the criminal offender.[19] However, since the stale action for damages
action under Article 33 of the Civil Code.[15] Either of these based on quasi delict should be considered waived, there
liabilities may be enforced against the offender subject to is no more occasion for petitioners to file multiple suits
the caveat under Article 2177 of the Civil Code that the against private respondents as the only recourse
plaintiff cannot recover damages twice for the same act available to them is to pursue damages ex delicto. This
or omission of the defendant and the similar proscription interpretation is also consistent with the bar against
against double recovery under the Rules above-quoted. double recovery for obvious reasons.

At the time of the filing of the complaint for damages Now the procedural issue. Admittedly, petitioners
in this case, the cause of action ex quasi delicto had should have appealed the order of dismissal of the trial
already prescribed. Nonetheless, petitioners can pursue court instead of filing a petition for certiorari with the Court
the remaining avenue opened for them by their of Appeals. Such procedural misstep, however, should be
reservation, i.e., the surviving cause of action ex exempted from the strict application of the rules in order
delicto. This is so because the prescription of the to promote their fundamental objective of securing
action ex quasi delicto does not operate as a bar to an substantial justice.[20] We are loathe to deprive petitioners
action to enforce the civil liability arising from crime of the indemnity to which they are entitled by law and by
especially as the latter action had been expressly a final judgment of conviction based solely on a
reserved. technicality. It is our duty to prevent such an injustice.[21]

The case of Mendoza v. La Mallorca Bus WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered


Company[16] was decided upon a similar set of facts. SETTING ASIDE the resolutions of the Court of Appeals
Therein, the driver of La Mallorca Bus Company was dated September 10, 2001 and January 9, 2002,
charged with reckless imprudence resulting to damage to respectively dismissing the present action and denying
property. The plaintiff made an express reservation for the petitioners motion for reconsideration, as well as the
filing of a separate civil action. The driver was convicted orders of the lower court dated February 26, 2001 and
which conviction was affirmed by this Court. Later, plaintiff July 16, 2001. Let the case be REMANDED to the trial
filed a separate civil action for damages based on quasi court for further proceedings.
delict which was ordered dismissed by the trial court upon SO ORDERED.
finding that the action was instituted more than six (6)
years from the date of the accident and thus, had already
prescribed. Subsequently, plaintiff instituted another
action, this time based on the subsidiary liability of the bus
company. The trial court dismissed the action holding that
the dismissal of the earlier civil case operated as a bar to
the filing of the action to enforce the bus companys
subsidiary liability.
We held that the dismissal of the action based
on culpa aquiliana is not a bar to the enforcement of the
subsidiary liability of the employer. Once there is a
conviction for a felony, final in character, the employer
becomes subsidiarily liable if the commission of the crime
was in the discharge of the duties of the employees. This
is so because Article 103 of the Revised Penal Code
operates with controlling force to obviate the possibility of
the aggrieved party being deprived of indemnity even
G.R. No. 158995 September 26, 2006 Dismiss, principally arguing that the complaint is basically
a "claim for subsidiary liability against an employer" under
L.G. FOODS CORPORATION and VICTORINO the provision of Article 1035 of the Revised Penal Code.
GABOR, Vice-President and General Prescinding therefrom, they contend that there must first
Manager, petitioners, be a judgment of conviction against their driver as a
vs. condition sine qua non to hold them liable. Ergo, since the
HON. PHILADELFA B. PAGAPONG-AGRAVIADOR, in driver died during the pendency of the criminal action,
her capacity as Presiding Judge of Regional Trial the sine qua non condition for their subsidiary liability was
Court, Branch 43, Bacolod City, and SPS. not fulfilled, hence the of lack of cause of action on the
FLORENTINO and THERESA part of the plaintiffs. They further argue that since the
VALLEJERA, respondents. plaintiffs did not make a reservation to institute a separate
action for damages when the criminal case was filed, the
GARCIA, J.: damage suit in question is thereby deemed instituted with
the criminal action. which was already dismissed.
The antecedent facts may be briefly stated as follows:
In an Order dated September 4, 2001,6 the trial court
denied the motion to dismiss for lack of merit and set the
On February 26, 1996, Charles Vallereja, a 7-year old son case for pre-trial. With their motion for reconsideration
of the spouses Florentino Vallejera and Theresa having been denied by the same court in its subsequent
Vallejera, was hit by a Ford Fiera van owned by the order7 of September 26, 2001, the petitioners then went
petitioners and driven at the time by their employee, on certiorari to the CA in CA-G.R. SP No. 67600, imputing
Vincent Norman Yeneza y Ferrer. Charles died as a result grave abuse of discretion on the part of the trial judge in
of the accident. refusing to dismiss the basic complaint for damages in
Civil Case No. 99-10845.
In time, an Information for Reckless Imprudence
Resulting to Homicide was filed against the driver before In the herein assailed decision8 dated April 25, 2003, the
the Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC), Bacolod City, CA denied the petition and upheld the trial court. Partly
docketed as Criminal Case No. 67787, entitled People of says the CA in its challenged issuance:
the Philippines v. Vincent Norman Yeneza.
It is clear that the complaint neither represents
Unfortunately, before the trial could be concluded, the nor implies that the responsibility charged was
accused driver committed suicide, evidently bothered by the petitioner's subsidiary liability under Art.
conscience and remorse. On account thereof, the MTCC, 103, Revised Penal Code. As pointed out [by the
in its order of September 30, 1998, dismissed the criminal trial court] in the Order of September 4, 2001,
case. the complaint does not even allege the basic
elements for such a liability, like the conviction of
On June 23, 1999, in the RTC of Bacolod City, the the accused employee and his insolvency. Truly
spouses Vallejera filed a complaint3 for damages against enough, a civil action to enforce subsidiary
the petitioners as employers of the deceased driver, liability separate and distinct from the criminal
basically alleging that as such employers, they failed to action is even unnecessary.
exercise due diligence in the selection and supervision of
their employees. Thereat docketed as Civil Case No. 99- xxx xxx xxx
10845, the complaint was raffled to Branch 43 of the
court.
Specifically, Civil Case No. 99-10845 exacts
responsibility for fault or negligence under Art.
In their Answer with Compulsory Counterclaim,4 the 2176, Civil Code, which is
petitioners as defendants denied liability for the death of entirely separate and distinct from the civil
the Vallejeras' 7-year old son, claiming that they had liability arising from negligence under
exercised the required due diligence in the selection and the Revised Penal Code. Verily, therefore, the
supervision of their employees, including the deceased liability under Art. 2180, Civil Code, is direct and
driver. They thus prayed in their Answer for the dismissal immediate, and not conditioned upon prior
of the complaint for lack of cause of action on the part of recourse against the negligent employee or prior
the Vallejera couple. showing of the latter's insolvency. (Underscoring
in the original.)
During pre-trial, the defendant petitioners insisted that
their dismissal prayer be resolved. Hence, the trial court In time, the petitioners moved for a reconsideration but
required them to file within ten days a memorandum of their motion was denied by the CA in its resolution9 of July
authorities supportive of their position. 10, 2003. Hence, the petitioners' present recourse on
their submission that the appellate court committed
Instead, however, of the required memorandum of reversible error in upholding the trial court's denial of their
authorities, the defendant petitioners filed a Motion to motion to dismiss.
We DENY. necessary diligence required of a good father
of the family in the selection and supervision
As the Court sees it, the sole issue for resolution is of his employee, Vincent Norman Yeneza y
whether the spouses Vallejeras' cause of action in Civil Ferrer which diligence if exercised, would
Case No. 99-10845 is founded on Article 103 of the have prevented said incident. (Bracketed
Revised Penal Code, as maintained by the petitioners, or words and emphasis ours.)
derived from Article 218010 of the Civil Code, as ruled by
the two courts below. Nothing in the foregoing allegations suggests, even
remotely, that the herein petitioners are being made to
It thus behooves us to examine the allegations of the account for their subsidiary liability under Article 103 of
complaint for damages in Civil Case No. 99-10845. That the Revised Penal Code. As correctly pointed out by the
complaint alleged, inter alia, as follows: trial court in its order of September 4, 2001 denying the
petitioners' Motion to Dismiss, the complaint did not even
3. That defendant [LG Food Corporation] is the aver the basic elements for the subsidiary liability of an
employer under Article 103 of the Revised Penal Code,
registered owner of a Ford Fiera Van with Plate
such as the prior conviction of the driver in the criminal
No. NMS 881 and employer sometime February
case filed against him nor his insolvency.
of 1996 of one Vincent Norman Yeneza y Ferrer,
a salesman of said corporation;
Admittedly, the complaint did not explicitly state that
plaintiff Vallejeras were suing the defendant petitioners for
4. That sometime February 26, 1996 at around
damages based on quasi-delict. Clear it is, however, from
2:00 P.M. at Rosario St., Bacolod City, the minor
the allegations of the complaint that quasi-delict was their
son of said plaintiffs [now respondents], Charles
choice of remedy against the petitioners. To stress, the
Vallejera, 7 years old, was hit and bumped by
above-described vehicle then driven by said plaintiff spouses alleged in their complaint gross fault and
negligence on the part of the driver and the failure of the
employee, Vincent Norman Yeneza y Ferrer;
petitioners, as employers, to exercise due diligence in the
selection and supervision of their employees. The
5. That the mishap was due to the gross fault and spouses further alleged that the petitioners are civilly
negligence of defendant's employee, who drove liable for the negligence/imprudence of their driver since
said vehicle, recklessly, negligently and at a high they failed to exercise the necessary diligence required of
speed without regard to traffic condition and a good father of the family in the selection and supervision
safety of other road users and likewise to the fault of their employees, which diligence, if exercised, could
and negligence of the owner employer, herein have prevented the vehicular accident that resulted to the
defendants LG Food Corporation who failed to death of their 7-year old son.
exercise due diligence in the selection and
supervision of his employee, Vincent Norman
Section 2, Rule 2, of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure
Yeneza y Ferrer;
defines cause of action as the "act or omission by which
a party violates the right of another." Such act or omission
6. That as a result of said incident, plaintiffs' son gives rise to an obligation which may come from law,
suffered multiple body injuries which led to his contracts, quasi contracts, delicts or quasi-delicts.11
untimely demise on that very day;
Corollarily, an act or omission causing damage to another
7. That a criminal case was filed against the may give rise to two separate civil liabilities on the part of
defendant's employee, docketed as Criminal the offender, i.e., 1) civil liability ex delicto;12 and 2)
Case No. 67787, (earlier filed as Crim. Case No. independent civil liabilities, such as those (a) not arising
96-17570 before RTC) before MTC-Branch III, from an act or omission complained of as felony (e.g.,
entitled "People v. Yeneza" for "Reckless culpa contractual or obligations arising from law;13 the
Imprudence resulting to Homicide," but the same intentional torts;14 and culpa aquiliana15); or (b) where the
was dismissed because pending litigation, then injured party is granted a right to file an action
remorse-stricken [accused] committed suicide; independent and distinct from the criminal action.16 Either
of these two possible liabilities may be enforced against
xxx xxx xxx the offender.17

8. That the injuries and complications as well as Stated otherwise, victims of negligence or their heirs have
the resultant death suffered by the late minor a choice between an action to enforce the civil liability
Charles Vallejera were due to the negligence and arising from culpa criminal under Article 100 of the
imprudence of defendant's employee; Revised Penal Code, and an action for quasi-delict (culpa
aquiliana) under Articles 2176 to 2194 of the Civil Code.
9. That defendant LG Foods Corporation is If, as here, the action chosen is for quasi-delict, the
civilly liable for the negligence/imprudence of plaintiff may hold the employer liable for the negligent act
its employee since it failed to exercise the of its employee, subject to the employer's defense of
exercise of the diligence of a good father of the family. On All told, Civil Case No. 99-10845 is a negligence suit
the other hand, if the action chosen is for culpa criminal, brought under Article 2176 - Civil Code to recover
the plaintiff can hold the employer subsidiarily liable only damages primarily from the petitioners as employers
upon proof of prior conviction of its employee.18 responsible for their negligent driver pursuant to Article
2180 of the Civil Code. The obligation imposed by Article
Article 116119 of the Civil Code provides that civil 2176 is demandable not only for one's own acts or
obligation arising from criminal offenses shall be omissions, but also for those of persons for whom one is
governed by penal laws subject to the provision of Article responsible. Thus, the employer is liable for damages
217720 and of the pertinent provision of Chapter 2, caused by his employees and household helpers acting
Preliminary Title on Human Relation, and of Title XVIII of within the scope of their assigned tasks, even though the
this Book, regulating damages. Plainly, Article 2177 former is not engaged in any business or industry.
provides for the alternative remedies the plaintiff may
choose from in case the obligation has the possibility of Citing Maniago v. CA,25 petitioner would argue that Civil
arising indirectly from the delict/crime or directly Case No. 99-10845 should have been dismissed for
from quasi-delict/tort. The choice is with the plaintiff who failure of the respondent spouses to make a reservation
makes known his cause of action in his initiatory pleading to institute a separate civil action for damages when the
or complaint,21 and not with the defendant who can not criminal case against the driver was filed.
ask for the dismissal of the plaintiff's cause of action or
lack of it based on the defendant's perception that the The argument is specious.
plaintiff should have opted to file a claim under Article 103
of the Revised Penal Code. To start with, the petitioners' reliance on Maniago is
obviously misplaced. There, the civil case was filed while
Under Article 2180 of the Civil Code, the liability of the the criminal case against the employee was still pending.
employer is direct or immediate. It is not conditioned upon Here, the criminal case against the employee driver was
prior recourse against the negligent employee and a prior prematurely terminated due to his death. Precisely, Civil
showing of insolvency of such employee.22 Case No. 99-10845 was filed by the respondent spouses
because no remedy can be obtained by them against the
Here, the complaint sufficiently alleged that the death of petitioners with the dismissal of the criminal case against
the couple's minor son was caused by the negligent act of their driver during the pendency thereof.
the petitioners' driver; and that the petitioners themselves
were civilly liable for the negligence of their driver for The circumstance that no reservation to institute a
failing "to exercise the necessary diligence required of a separate civil action for damages was made when the
good father of the family in the selection and supervision criminal case was filed is of no moment for the simple
of [their] employee, the driver, which diligence, if reason that the criminal case was dismissed without any
exercised, would have prevented said accident." pronouncement having been made therein. In reality,
therefor, it is as if there was no criminal case to speak of
Had the respondent spouses elected to sue the in the first place. And for the petitioners to insist for the
petitioners based on Article 103 of the Revised Penal conviction of their driver as a condition sine qua non to
Code, they would have alleged that the guilt of the driver hold them liable for damages is to ask for the impossible.
had been proven beyond reasonable doubt; that such
accused driver is insolvent; that it is the subsidiary liability IN VIEW WHEREOF, the instant petition is DENIED for
of the defendant petitioners as employers to pay for the lack of merit.
damage done by their employee (driver) based on the
principle that every person criminally liable is also civilly
Costs against the petitioners.
liable.23 Since there was no conviction in the criminal case
against the driver, precisely because death intervened
prior to the termination of the criminal proceedings, the SO ORDERED.
spouses' recourse was, therefore, to sue the petitioners
for their direct and primary liability based on quasi-delict.

Besides, it is worthy to note that the petitioners, in their


Answer with Compulsory Counter-Claim,24 repeatedly
made mention of Article 2180 of the Civil Code and
anchored their defense on their allegation that "they had
exercised due diligence in the selection and supervision
of [their] employees." The Court views this defense as an
admission that indeed the petitioners acknowledged the
private respondents' cause of action as one for quasi-
delict under Article 2180 of the Civil Code.
G.R. No. 161075, July 15, 2013; RAFAEL JOSE- On January 27, 2000, the Office of the City Prosecutor of
CONSING, JR., Petitioner, vs. PEOPLE OF THE Makati City filed against Consing and De la Cruz an
PHILIPPINES, Respondent. BERSAMIN, J.: information for estafa through falsification of public
document in the RTC in Makati City (Criminal Case No.
An independent civil action based on fraud initiated by the 00-120), which was assigned to Branch 60 (Makati
defrauded party does not raise a prejudicial question to criminal case).8
stop the proceedings in a pending criminal prosecution of
the defendant for estafa through falsification. This is On February 15, 2001, Consing moved to defer his
because the result of the independent civil action is arraignment in the Makati criminal case on the ground of
irrelevant to the issue of guilt or innocence of the accused. existence of a prejudicial question due to the pendency of
the Pasig and Makati civil cases. On September 25, 2001,
Antecedents Consing reiterated his motion for deferment of his
arraignment, citing the additional ground of pendency of
Petitioner negotiated with and obtained for himself and his CA-G.R. SP No. 63712 in the CA. On November 19,
2001, the Prosecution opposed the motion.9
mother, Cecilia de la Cruz (de la Cruz) various loans
totaling ₱18,000,000.00 from Unicapital Inc. (Unicapital).
The loans were secured by a real estate mortgage On November 26, 2001, the RTC issued an order
constituted on a parcel of land (property) covered by suspending the proceedings in the Makati criminal case
Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. T-687599 of the on the ground of the existence of a prejudicial question,
Registry of Deeds for the Province of Cavite registered and on March 18, 2001, the RTC denied the Prosecution’s
under the name of de la Cruz.2 In accordance with its motion for reconsideration.10
option to purchase the mortgaged property, Unicapital
agreed to purchase one-half of the property for a total The State thus assailed in the CA the last two orders of
consideration of ₱21,221,500.00. Payment was effected the RTC in the Makati criminal case via petition for
by off-setting the amounts due to certiorari (C.A.-G.R. SP No. 71252).

Unicapital under the promissory notes of de la Cruz and On May 20, 2003, the CA promulgated its decision in
Consing in the amount of ₱18,000,000.00 and paying an C.A.-G.R. SP No. 71252,11 dismissing the petition for
additional amount of ₱3,145,946.50. The other half of the certiorari and upholding the RTC’s questioned orders,
property was purchased by Plus Builders, Inc. (Plus explaining:
Builders), a joint venture partner of Unicapital.3
Is the resolution of the Pasig civil case prejudicial to the
Before Unicapital and Plus Builders could develop the Cavite and Makati criminal cases?
property, they learned that the title to the property was
really TCT No. 114708 in the names of Po Willie Yu and We hold that it is. The resolution of the issue in the Pasig
Juanito Tan Teng, the parties from whom the property had case, i.e. whether or not private respondent may be held
been allegedly acquired by de la Cruz. TCT No. 687599 liable in the questioned transaction, will determine the
held by De la Cruz appeared to be spurious.4 guilt or innocence of private respondent Consing in both
the Cavite and Makati criminal cases.
On its part, Unicapital demanded the return of the total
amount of ₱41,377,851.48 as of April 19, 1999 that had The analysis and comparison of the Pasig civil case,
been paid to and received by de la Cruz and Consing, but Makati criminal case, Makati civil case and Cavite criminal
the latter ignored the demands.5 case show that: (1) the parties are identical; (2) the
transactions in controversy are identical; (3) the Transfer
On July 22, 1999, Consing filed Civil Case No. 1759 in the Certificate of Titles (TCT) involved are identical; (4) the
Pasig City Regional Trial Court (RTC) (Pasig civil case) questioned Deeds of Sale/Mortgage are identical; (5) the
for injunctive relief, thereby seeking to enjoin Unicapital dates in question are identical; and (6) the issue of private
from proceeding against him for the collection of the respondent’s culpability for the questioned transactions is
₱41,377,851.48 on the ground that he had acted as a identical in all the proceedings.
mere agent of his mother.
As discussed earlier, not only was the issue raised in the
On the same date, Unicapital initiated a criminal complaint Pasig civil case identical to or intimately related to the
for estafa through falsification of public document against criminal cases in Cavite and Makati. The similarities also
Consing and de la Cruz in the Makati City Prosecutor’s extend to the parties in the cases and the TCT and Deed
Office.6 of Sale/ Mortgage involved in the questioned transactions.

On August 6, 1999, Unicapital sued Consing in the RTC The respondent Judge, in ordering the suspension of the
in Makati City (Civil Case No. 99-1418) for the recovery of arraignment of private respondent in the Makati case, in
a sum of money and damages, with an application for a view of CA-G.R. SP No. 63712, where Unicapital was not
writ of preliminary attachment (Makati civil case).7 a party thereto, did so pursuant to its mandatory power to
take judicial notice of an official act of another judicial SCA 1759 for Injunctive Relief is irrelevant to the guilt or
authority. It was also a better legal tack to prevent innocence of the respondent in the criminal case for
multiplicity of action, to which our legal system abhors. estafa through falsification of public document.

Applying the Tuanda ruling, the pendency of CA-G.R. SP Likewise, the resolution of PBI’s right to be paid damages
No. 63712 may be validly invoked to suspend private and the purchase price of the lot in question will not be
respondent’s arraignment in the Makati City criminal case, determinative of the culpability of the respondent in the
notwithstanding the fact that CA-G.R. SP No. 63712 was criminal case for even if PBI is held entitled to the return
an offshoot, merely, in the Cavite criminal case.12 of the purchase price plus damages, it does not ipso facto
follow that respondent should be held guilty of estafa
In the meanwhile, on October 13, 1999, Plus Builders through falsification of public document. Stated
commenced its own suit for damages against Consing differently, a ruling of the court in the civil case that PBI
(Civil Case No. 99-95381) in the RTC in Manila (Manila should not be paid the purchase price plus damages will
civil case).13 not necessarily absolve respondent of liability in the
criminal case where his guilt may still be established
under penal laws as determined by other evidence.
On January 21, 2000, an information for estafa through
falsification of public document was filed against Consing
and De la Cruz in the RTC in Imus, Cavite, docketed as Moreover, neither is there a prejudicial question if the civil
Criminal Case No. 7668-00 and assigned to Branch 21 and the criminal action can, according to law, proceed
(Cavite criminal case). Consing filed a motion to defer the independently of each other. Under Rule 111, Section 3
arraignment on the ground of the existence of a prejudicial of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure, in the cases
question, i.e., the pendency of the Pasig and Manila civil provided in Articles 32, 33, 34 and 2176 of the Civil Code,
cases. On January 27, 2000, however, the RTC handling the independent civil action may be brought by the
the Cavite criminal case denied Consing’s motion. Later offended party. It shall proceed independently of the
on, it also denied his motion for reconsideration. criminal action and shall require only a preponderance of
Thereafter, Consing commenced in the CA a special civil evidence. In no case, however, may the offended party
action for certiorari with prayer for the issuance of a recover damages twice for the same act or omission
temporary restraining order (TRO) and/or writ of charged in the criminal action.
preliminary injunction (C.A.-G.R. SP No. 63712), seeking
to enjoin his arraignment and trial in the Cavite criminal Thus, in Rojas v. People, the petitioner was accused in a
case. The CA granted the TRO on March 19, 2001, and criminal case for violation of Article 319 of the Revised
later promulgated its decision on May 31, 2001, granting Penal Code, for executing a new chattel mortgage on
Consing’ petition for certiorari and setting aside the personal property in favor of another party without
January 27, 2000 order of the RTC, and permanently consent of the previous mortgagee. Thereafter, the
enjoining the RTC from proceeding with the arraignment offended party filed a civil case for termination of
and trial until the Pasig and Manila civil cases had been management contract, one of the causes of action of
finally decided. which consisted of petitioner having executed a chattel
mortgage while the previous chattel mortgage was still
Not satisfied, the State assailed the decision of the CA in valid and subsisting. Petitioner moved that the
this Court (G.R. No. 148193), praying for the reversal of arraignment and trial of the criminal case be held in
the May 31, 2001 decision of the CA. On January 16, abeyance on the ground that the civil case was a
2003, the Court granted the petition for review in G.R. No. prejudicial question, the resolution of which was
148193, and reversed and set aside the May 31, 2001 necessary before the criminal proceedings could
decision of the CA,14 viz: proceed. The trial court denied the suspension of the
criminal case on the ground that no prejudicial question
In the case at bar, we find no prejudicial question that exist. We affirmed the order of the trial court and ruled
that:
would justify the suspension of the proceedings in the
criminal case (the Cavite criminal case). The issue in Civil
Case No. SCA 1759 (the Pasig civil case) for Injunctive … the resolution of the liability of the defendant in the civil
Relief is whether or not respondent (Consing) merely case on the eleventh cause of action based on the
acted as an agent of his mother, Cecilia de la Cruz; while fraudulent misrepresentation that the chattel mortgage
in Civil Case No. 99-95381 (the Manila civil case), for the defendant executed in favor of the said CMS Estate,
Damages and Attachment, the question is whether Inc. on February 20, 1957, that his D-6 "Caterpillar"
respondent and his mother are liable to pay damages and Tractor with Serial No. 9-U-6565 was "free from all liens
to return the amount paid by PBI for the purchase of the and encumbrances" will not determine the criminal liability
disputed lot. Even if respondent is declared merely an of the accused in the said Criminal Case No. 56042 for
agent of his mother in the transaction involving the sale of violation of paragraph 2 of Article 319 of the Revised
the questioned lot, he cannot be adjudged free from Penal Code. . . . (i) That, even granting for the sake of
criminal liability. An agent or any person may be held argument, a prejudicial question is involved in this case,
liable for conspiring to falsify public documents. Hence, the fact remains that both the crime charged in the
the determination of the issue involved in Civil Case No. information in the criminal case and the eleventh cause of
action in the civil case are based upon fraud, hence both Article 33 of the Civil Code. As such, it will not operate as
the civil and criminal cases could proceed independently a prejudicial question that will justify the suspension of the
of the other pursuant to Article 33 of the new Civil Code criminal case at bar." In view of the aforementioned
which provides: "In cases of defamation, fraud and decision of the Supreme Court, We are thus amending
physical injuries, a civil action for damages, entirely Our May 20, 2003 decision.
separate and distinct from the criminal action shall
proceed independently of the criminal prosecution, and WHEREFORE, the petitioner’s motion for reconsideration
shall require only a preponderance of evidence." (j) That, is GRANTED. The Orders dated November 26, 2001 and
therefore, the act of respondent judge in issuing the March 18, 2002 issued by the respondent Judge are
orders referred to in the instant petition was not made with hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Respondent Judge
"grave abuse of discretion." is hereby ordered to proceed with the hearing of Criminal
Case No. 00-120 with dispatch.
In the instant case, Civil Case No. 99-95381, for Damages
and Attachment on account of the alleged fraud SO ORDERED.16
committed by respondent and his mother in selling the
disputed lot to PBI is an independent civil action under
Consing filed a motion for reconsideration,17 but the CA
Article 33 of the Civil Code. As such, it will not operate as
denied the motion through the second assailed resolution
a prejudicial question that will justify the suspension of the
of December 11, 2003.18
criminal case at bar.15
Hence, this appeal by petition for review on certiorari.
Turning back to the Makati criminal case, the State moved
for the reconsideration of the adverse decision of the CA,
citing the ruling in G.R. No. 148193, supra, to the effect Issue
that the Pasig and Manila civil cases did not present a
prejudicial question that justified the suspension of the Petitioner reiterates his contention that the decision in
proceedings in the Cavite criminal case, and claiming that G.R. No. 148193 was not controlling in relation to C.A.-
under the ruling in G.R. No. 148193, the Pasig and Makati G.R. No. 71252, which involved Plus Builders, not
civil cases did not raise a prejudicial question that would Unicapital, the complainant in Criminal Case No. 00-120.
cause the suspension of the Makati criminal case. He posits that in arriving at its amended decision, the CA
did not consider the pendency of the Makati civil case
In his opposition to the State’s motion for reconsideration, (Civil Case No. 99-1418), which raised a prejudicial
Consing contended that the ruling in G.R. No. 148193 question, considering that the resolution of such civil
was not binding because G.R. No. 148193 involved Plus action would include the issue of whether he had falsified
Builders, which was different from Unicapital, the a certificate of title or had willfully defrauded Unicapital,
complainant in the Makati criminal case. He added that the resolution of either of which would determine his guilt
the decision in G.R. No. 148193 did not yet become final or innocence in Criminal Case No. 00-120.
and executory, and could still be reversed at any time, and
thus should not control as a precedent to be relied upon; In its comment,19 the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG)
and that he had acted as an innocent attorney-in-fact for counters that Unicapital brought the Makati civil case as
his mother, and should not be held personally liable under an independent civil action intended to exact civil liability
a contract that had involved property belonging to his separately from Criminal Case No. 00-120 in a manner
mother as his principal. fully authorized under Section 1(a) and Section 2, Rule
111 of the Rules of Court.20 It argues that the CA correctly
On August 18, 2003, the CA amended its decision, took cognizance of the ruling in G.R. No. 148193, holding
reversing itself. It relied upon the ruling in G.R. No. in its challenged amended decision that the Makati civil
148193, and held thusly: case, just like the Manila civil case, was an independent
civil action instituted by virtue of Article 33 of the Civil
Code; that the Makati civil case did not raise a prejudicial
CA-G.R. SP No. 63712 is similar with the case at bench.
question that justified the suspension of Criminal Case
The transactions in controversy, the documents involved; No. 00-120; and that as finally settled in G.R. No. 148193,
the issue of the respondent’s culpability for the questioned the Pasig civil case did not also raise any prejudicial
transactions are all identical in all the proceedings; and it
question, because the sole issue thereat was whether
deals with the same parties with the exception of private
Consing, as the mere agent of his mother, had any
complainant Unicapital.
obligation or liability toward Unicapital.

However, the Supreme Court, upon review of CA-G.R. SP In his reply,21 Consing submits that the Pasig civil case
No. 63712, People of the Philippines vs. Rafael Jose
that he filed and Unicapital’s Makati civil case were not
Consing, Jr. (G.R. No. 148193, January 16, 2003) held
intended to delay the resolution of Criminal Case No. 00-
that "Civil Case No. 99-95381, for Damages and
120, nor to pre-empt such resolution; and that such civil
attachment on account of alleged fraud committed by
cases could be validly considered determinative of
respondent and his mother in selling the disputed lot to
Plus Builders, Inc. is an independent civil action under
whether a prejudicial question existed to warrant the xxxx
suspension of Criminal Case No. 00-120.
In the instant case, Civil Case No. 99-95381, for Damages
Did the CA err in reversing itself on the issue of the and Attachment on account of the alleged fraud
existence of a prejudicial question that warranted the committed by respondent and his mother in selling the
suspension of the proceedings in the Makati criminal disputed lot to PBI is an independent civil action under
case? Article 33 of the Civil Code. As such, it will not operate as
a prejudicial question that will justify the suspension of the
Ruling criminal case at bar.24

The petition for review on certiorari is absolutely meritless. Contrary to Consing’s stance, it was not improper for the
CA to apply the ruling in G.R. No. 148193 to his case with
Consing has hereby deliberately chosen to ignore the firm Unicapital, for, although the Manila and Makati civil cases
involved different complainants (i.e., Plus Builders and
holding in the ruling in G.R. No. 148193 to the effect that
Unicapital), the civil actions Plus Builders and Unicapital
the proceedings in Criminal Case No. 00-120 could not be
had separately instituted against him were undeniably of
suspended because the Makati civil case was an
similar mold, i.e., they were both based on fraud, and
independent civil action, while the Pasig civil case raised
no prejudicial question. That was wrong for him to do were thus covered by Article 33 of the Civil Code. Clearly,
considering that the ruling fully applied to him due to the the Makati criminal case could not be suspended pending
the resolution of the Makati civil case that Unicapital had
similarity between his case with Plus Builders and his
filed.
case with Unicapital.

A perusal of Unicapital’s complaint in the Makati civil case As far as the Pasig civil case is concerned, the issue of
reveals that the action was predicated on fraud. This was Consing’s being a mere agent of his mother who should
not be criminally liable for having so acted due to the
apparent from the allegations of Unicapital in its complaint
property involved having belonged to his mother as
to the effect that Consing and de la Cruz had acted in a
principal has also been settled in G.R. No. 148193, to wit:
"wanton, fraudulent, oppressive, or malevolent manner in
offering as security and later object of sale, a property
which they do not own, and foisting to the public a In the case at bar, we find no prejudicial question that
spurious title."22 As such, the action was one that could would justify the suspension of the proceedings in the
proceed independently of Criminal Case No. 00-120 criminal case (the Cavite criminal case). The issue in Civil
pursuant to Article 33 of the Civil Code, which states as Case No. SCA 1759 (the Pasig civil case) for Injunctive
follows: Relief is whether or not respondent (Consing) merely
acted as an agent of his mother, Cecilia de la Cruz; while
in Civil Case No. 99-95381 (the Manila civil case), for
Article 33. In cases of defamation, fraud, and physical
Damages and Attachment, the question is whether
injuries a civil action for damages, entirely separate and
respondent and his mother are liable to pay damages and
distinct from the criminal action, may be brought by the
to return the amount paid by PBI for the purchase of the
injured party. Such civil action shall proceed
independently of the criminal prosecution, and shall disputed lot. Even if respondent is declared merely an
require only a preponderance of evidence. agent of his mother in the transaction involving the sale of
the questioned lot, he cannot be adjudged free from
criminal liability. An agent or any person may be held
It is well settled that a civil action based on defamation, liable for conspiring to falsify public documents. Hence,
fraud and physical injuries may be independently the determination of the issue involved in Civil Case No.
instituted pursuant to Article 33 of the Civil Code, and SCA 1759 for Injunctive Relief is irrelevant to the guilt or
does not operate as a prejudicial question that will justify innocence of the respondent in the criminal case for
the suspension of a criminal case.23 This was precisely estafa through falsification of public document.25 (Words
the Court’s thrust in G.R. No. 148193, thus: in parentheses supplied; bold underscoring supplied for
emphasis)
Moreover, neither is there a prejudicial question if the civil
and the criminal action can, according to law, proceed WHEREFORE, the Court AFFIRMS the amended
independently of each other. Under Rule 111, Section 3 decision promulgated on August 18, 2003; and ORDERS
of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure, in the cases petitioner to pay the costs of suit.
provided in Articles 32, 33, 34 and 2176 of the Civil Code,
the independent civil action may be brought by the
offended party. It shall proceed independently of the SO ORDERED.
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.