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SANTOS vs.

PIZARRO 465 SCRA 232 (July 29, 2005) Facts: In April 1994, Viron Transit driver Sibayan was charged with reckless imprudence resulting to multiple homicide and multiple physical injuries for which Sibayan was eventually convicted in December 1998. As there was a reservation to file a separate civil action, no pronouncement of civil liability was made by the MCTC. In October 2000 Santos filed a complaint for damages against Sibayan and Rondaris, the president and chairman of Viron Transit. Viron Transit moved for the dismissal of the complaint citing, among others, prescription alleging that actions based on quasi delict prescribe in 4 years from the accrual of the cause of action. Held: Petitioners expressly made a reservation of their right to file a separate civil action as a result of the crime committed by Sibayan. On account of this reservation the MCTC did not make any pronouncement as to the latters civil liability. Although there were allegations of negligence on the part of Sibayan and Viron Transit, such does not necessarily mean that petitioners were pursuing a cause of action based on quasi delict, considering that at the time of the filing of the complaint, the cause of action ex quasi delicto had already prescribed. Besides, in cases of negligence, the offended party has the choice between an action to enforce liability arising from crime under the Revised Penal Code and an action for quasi delict under the Civil Code. An act or omission causing damage to another may give rise to 2 separate civil liabilities on the part of the offender, i.e. (1) civil liability ex delicto, under Article 100 of the RPC; and (2) independent civil liabilities (a) not arising from an act or omission complained of as a felony, e.g., culpa contractual or obligations arising from law under Article 31 of the Civil Code, intentional torts under Articles 32 and 34, and culpa aquiliana under Article 2176 of the Civil Code; or (b) where the injured party is granted a right to file an action independent and distinct from the criminal proceedings. While the cause of action ex quasi delicto had already prescribed, petitioners can still pursue the remaining avenue opened for them by their reservation, i.e., the surviving cause of action ex delicto. This is so because the prescription of the action ex quasi delicto does not operate as a bar to an action to enforce the civil liability arising from crime especially as the latter action had been expressly reserved. 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 discharge of the duties of the employees. This is so because Article 103 of the RPC operates the controlling force to obviate the possibility of the aggrieved party being deprived of indemnity even after the rendition of a final judgment convicting the employee.