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GR No. 108017, 3 April 1995


The case stemmed out when there is an altercation between security guard Torzuela &
Atty. Dulay at a carnival, Torzuela shot & killed the Dulay. Petitioner, widow of the deceased, filed
an action for damages against Torzuela & Safeguard and/or Superguard, alleged employers of
Torzuela. The trial court dismissed the complaint against Superguard & Safeguard since it did not
state facts necessary or sufficient to constitute a quasi-delict as there was no mention of any
negligence on the part of Torzuela in shooting Dulay or that the same was done in the
performance of his duties. It also ruled that the complaint was one for damages founded on
crimes punishable under Arts. 100 & 103 of the RPC as distinguished from those arising from
quasi-delict. The CA affirmed the order of the trial court.

Petitioners take exception to the assailed decision and insist that quasi-delicts are not
limited to acts of negligence but also cover acts that are intentional and voluntary. Petitioners
further contend that under Article 2180 of the New Civil Code, private respondents are primarily
liable for their negligence either in the selection or supervision of their employees. Moreover,
petitioners argue that Torzuela's act of shooting Dulay is also actionable under Article 33 of the
New Civil Code.


Is the dismissal of the complaint was proper for failure to allege negligence attributable to private
respondents since quasi-delict are limited to acts of negligence?


NO. It was erroneous on the part of the trial court to dismiss the complaint simply
because it failed to make allegations of attendant negligence attributable to private respondents.
There is no justification for limiting the scope of Art 2176 of the Civil Code to acts or omissions
resulting from negligence. Art. 2176 covers not only acts committed w/ negligence, but also acts
which are voluntary & intentional. Consequently, a civil action lies against the offender in a
criminal act whether or not he is prosecuted or found guilty or acquitted, provided that the
offended party is not allowed, (if the tortfeasor is actually also charged criminally), to recover
damages on both scores, & would be entitled in such eventuality only to the bigger award of the
two, assuming the awards made in the two cases vary.

“Physical injuries” in Article 33 includes bodily injuries causing death. It is not the crime
of physical injuries defined in the RPC. It includes not only physical injuries but also
consummated, frustrated, & attempted homicide. In the case, where the accused is charged w/
homicide & not w/ reckless imprudence, a civil action based on Article 33 lies.

Under Art. 2180, when an injury is caused by the negligence of the employee, there
instantly arises a presumption of law that there was negligence on the part of the master or
employer either in the selection of the servant or employee, or in supervision over him after
selection or both. The liability of the employer under Art 2180 is direct & immediate; it is not
conditioned upon prior recourse against the negligent employee & a prior showing of the
insolvency of such employee. Thus, it is incumbent upon private respondents that they exercised
the diligence of a good father of a family in the selection & supervision of their employee.