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INDEPENDENT CIVIL ACTION (ART.

30 & 31, CC;

of money and damages with preliminary attachment

RULE 111(3) ROC)

arising out of the same transaction. In time, petitioner


sought the dismissal of the civil case on the following

[G.R. No. 129282. November 29, 2001]

grounds: (1) that there is a pending criminal case in RTC

DMPI EMPLOYEES CREDIT COOPERATIVE,


INC.,

(DMPI-ECCI), petitioner, vs. HON.

ALEJANDRO M. VELEZ, as Presiding


Judge of the RTC, Misamis Oriental, Br. 20,
and ERIBERTA VILLEGAS, respondents.

Branch 37, arising from the same facts, and (2) that the
complaint failed to contain a certification against forum
shopping as required by Supreme Court Circular No. 2891.[4]
On December 12, 1996, the trial court issued an
order[5] dismissing Civil Case No.

DECISION

CV-94-214. On

January 21, 1997, respondent filed a motion for


reconsideration[6] of the order.

PARDO, J.:

On February 21, 1997, the trial court issued an

The Case

order[7] granting respondents motion for reconsideration,


In this special civil action for certiorari, petitioner

thereby recalling the dismissal of the case.

DMPI Employees Credit Cooperative, Inc. (DMPIECCI) seeks the annulment of the order[1] of the
Regional Trial Court, Misamis Oriental, Branch 20,
granting the motion for reconsideration of respondent
Eriberta Villegas, and thus reversing the previous
dismissal of Civil Case No. CV-94-214.

The Issues
The issues raised are: (1) whether the plaintiffs
failure to attach a certification against forum shopping in
the complaint is a ground to dismiss the case; [9] and, (2)

The Facts

whether the civil case could proceed independently of

On February 18, 1994, the prosecuting attorney


filed with the Regional Trial Court, Misamis Oriental,
Branch 37, an information for estafa [2] against Carmen
Mandawe for alleged failure to account to respondent
Eriberta

Hence, this petition.[8]

Villegas

the

amount

the criminal case for estafa without having reserved the


filing of the civil action.
The Courts Ruling

of

On the first issue, Circular No. 28-91 [10] of the

P608,532.46. Respondent Villegas entrusted this amount

Supreme Court requires a certificate of non-forum

to Carmen Mandawe, an employee of petitioner DMPI-

shopping to be attached to petitions filed before the

ECCI, for deposit with the teller of petitioner.

Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals. This circular

Subsequently, on March 29, 1994, respondent


Eriberta Villegas filed with the Regional Trial Court,
Misamis Oriental, Branch 20, a complaint [3] against
Carmen Mandawe and petitioner DMPI-ECCI for a sum

was revised on February 8, 1994 [11] by extending the


requirement to all initiatory pleadings filed in all courts
and quasi-judicial agencies other than the Supreme
Court and the Court of Appeals.

Respondent Villegas failure to attach a certificate of

action unless the offended party waives the civil action,

non-forum shopping in her complaint did not violate

reserves the right to institute it separately or institutes

Circular No. 28-91, because at the time of filing, the

the civil action prior to the criminal action. [Emphasis

requirement applied only to petitions filed with the

supplied]

Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals.[12] Likewise,


Administrative Circular No. 04-94 is inapplicable for the
reason that the complaint was filed on March 29, 1994,
three days before April 1, 1994, the date of effectivity of
the circular.[13]

Rule 111, Section 2 further provides that


After the criminal action has been commenced, the
separate civil action arising therefrom cannot be
instituted until final judgment has been entered in the

On the second issue, as a general rule, an offense


causes two (2) classes of injuries. The first is the social
injury produced by the criminal act which is sought to be
repaired thru the imposition of the corresponding
penalty, and the second is the personal injury caused to
the victim of the crime which injury is sought to be
compensated through indemnity which is civil in nature.
[14]

criminal action. [Emphasis supplied]


However, with respect to civil actions for recovery
of civil liability under Articles 32, 33, 34 and 2176 of the
Civil Code arising from the same act or omission, the
rule has been changed.
Under the present rule, only the civil liability
arising from the offense charged is deemed instituted

Thus, every person criminally liable for a felony is


also civilly liable."[15] This is the law governing the
recovery of civil liability arising from the commission of
an offense. Civil liability includes restitution, reparation
for damage caused, and indemnification of consequential
damages.[16]

the civil action, reserves his right to institute it


separately, or institutes the civil action prior to the
criminal action.[17]
There is no more need for a reservation of the right
to file the independent civil actions under Articles 32,

The offended party may prove the civil liability of


an accused arising from the commission of the offense in
the criminal case since the civil action is either deemed
instituted with the criminal action or is separately
instituted.

33, 34 and 2176 of the Civil Code of the Philippines.


The reservation and waiver referred to refers only to the
civil action for the recovery of the civil liability arising
from the offense charged. This does not include recovery
of civil liability under Articles 32, 33, 34 and 2176 of the
Civil Code of the Philippines arising from the same act

Rule 111, Section 1 of the Revised Rules of


Criminal

with the criminal action unless the offended party waives

Procedure,

which

became

effective

on

December 1, 2000, provides that:


(a) When a criminal action is instituted, the civil action
for the recovery of civil liability arising from the offense
charged shall be deemed instituted with the criminal

or omission which may be prosecuted separately even


without a reservation.[18]
Rule 111, Section 3 reads:
Sec. 3. When civil action may proceed independently. In
the cases provided in Articles 32, 33, 34 and 2176 of the
Civil Code of the Philippines, the independent civil

action may be brought by the offended party. It shall


proceed independently of the criminal action and shall
require only a preponderance of evidence. In no case,
however, may the offended party recover damages twice

[G.R. No. 145391. August 26, 2002]

for the same act or omission charged in the criminal


AVELINO

action.

CASUPANAN

CAPITULO, petitioners,
The changes in the Revised Rules on Criminal

and
vs.

ROBERTO
MARIO

LLAVORE LAROYA, respondent.

Procedure pertaining to independent civil actions which


became effective on December 1, 2000 are applicable to
this case.

CARPIO, J.:

Procedural laws may be given retroactive effect to


actions pending and undetermined at the time of their
passage. There are no vested rights in the rules of
procedure.[19]

civil action for damages on account of the fraud


commited against respondent Villegas under Article 33
of the Civil Code, may proceed independently even if
there was no reservation as to its filing.

the petition for certiorari and the Resolution [2] dated


August 24, 2000 denying the motion for reconsideration,
both issued by the Regional Trial Court of Capas, Tarlac,
Branch 66, in Special Civil Action No. 17-C (99).

Two vehicles, one driven by respondent Mario


Court

DENIES

the

petition. The Court AFFIRMS the order dated February

No costs.

This is a petition for review on certiorari to set aside

The Facts

The Fallo

21, 1997.[20]

The Case

the Resolution[1] dated December 28, 1999 dismissing

Thus, Civil Case No. CV-94-214, an independent

WHEREFORE, the

DECISION

Llavore Laroya (Laroya for brevity) and the other owned


by petitioner Roberto Capitulo (Capitulo for brevity) and
driven by petitioner Avelino Casupanan (Casupanan for
brevity), figured in an accident. As a result, two cases
were filed with the Municipal Circuit Trial Court
(MCTC for brevity) of Capas, Tarlac. Laroya filed a

SO ORDERED.

criminal case against Casupanan for reckless imprudence


resulting in damage to property, docketed as Criminal
Case No. 002-99. On the other hand, Casupanan and
Capitulo filed a civil case against Laroya for quasidelict, docketed as Civil Case No. 2089.
When the civil case was filed, the criminal case was
then at its preliminary investigation stage. Laroya,
defendant in the civil case, filed a motion to dismiss the

civil case on the ground of forum-shopping considering

In a certain vehicular accident involving two parties,

the pendency of the criminal case. The MCTC granted

each one of them may think and believe that the accident

the motion in the Order of March 26, 1999 and

was caused by the fault of the other. x x x [T]he first

dismissed the civil case.

party, believing himself to be the aggrieved party, opted


to file a criminal case for reckless imprudence against

On Motion for Reconsideration, Casupanan and

the second party.On the other hand, the second party,

Capitulo insisted that the civil case is a separate civil

together with his operator, believing themselves to be the

action which can proceed independently of the criminal

real aggrieved parties, opted in turn to file a civil case

case. The MCTC denied the motion for reconsideration

for quasi-delict against the first party who is the very

in the Order of May 7, 1999. Casupanan and Capitulo

private complainant in the criminal case.[4]

filed a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 before the


Regional Trial Court (Capas RTC for brevity) of Capas,

Thus, the issue raised is whether an accused in a

Tarlac, Branch 66,[3] assailing the MCTCs Order of

pending criminal case for reckless imprudence can

dismissal.

validly file, simultaneously and independently, a


separate civil action for quasi-delict against the private

The Trial Courts Ruling


The Capas RTC rendered judgment on December

complainant in the criminal case.


The Courts Ruling

28, 1999 dismissing the petition for certiorari for lack of


merit. The Capas RTC ruled that the order of dismissal

Casupanan and Capitulo assert that Civil Case No.

issued by the MCTC is a final order which disposes of

2089, which the MCTC dismissed on the ground of

the case and therefore the proper remedy should have

forum-shopping, constitutes a counterclaim in the

been an appeal. The Capas RTC further held that a

criminal case. Casupanan and Capitulo argue that if the

special civil action for certiorari is not a substitute for a

accused in a criminal case has a counterclaim against the

lost appeal. Finally, the Capas RTC declared that even on

private complainant, he may file the counterclaim in a

the premise that the MCTC erred in dismissing the civil

separate civil action at the proper time. They contend

case, such error is a pure error of judgment and not an

that an action on quasi-delict is different from an action

abuse of discretion.

resulting from the crime of reckless imprudence, and an


accused in a criminal case can be an aggrieved party in a

Casupanan and Capitulo filed a Motion for

civil case arising from the same incident. They maintain

Reconsideration but the Capas RTC denied the same in

that under Articles 31 and 2176 of the Civil Code, the

the Resolution of August 24, 2000.

civil case can proceed independently of the criminal

Hence, this petition.


The Issue

action. Finally, they point out that Casupanan was not


the only one who filed the independent civil action based
on quasi-delict but also Capitulo, the owner-operator of
the vehicle, who was not a party in the criminal case.

The petition premises the legal issue in this wise:


In his Comment, Laroya claims that the petition is
fatally defective as it does not state the real antecedents.

Laroya further alleges that Casupanan and Capitulo

The essence of forum-shopping is the filing of

forfeited their right to question the order of dismissal

multiple suits involving the same parties for the same

when they failed to avail of the proper remedy of appeal.

cause of action, either simultaneously or successively, to

Laroya argues that there is no question of law to be

secure a favorable judgment. [8] Forum-shopping is

resolved as the order of dismissal is already final and a

present when in the two or more cases pending, there is

petition for certiorari is not a substitute for a lapsed

identity of parties, rights of action and reliefs sought.

appeal.

[9]

However, there is no forum-shopping in the instant

case because the law and the rules expressly allow the
In their Reply, Casupanan and Capitulo contend that
the petition raises the legal question of whether there is

filing of a separate civil action which can proceed


independently of the criminal action.

forum-shopping since they filed only one action - the


independent civil action for quasi-delict against Laroya.

Laroya filed the criminal case for reckless


imprudence resulting in damage to property based on the

Nature of the Order of Dismissal

Revised Penal Code while Casupanan and Capitulo filed

The MCTC dismissed the civil action for quasidelict on the ground of forum-shopping under Supreme
Court Administrative Circular No. 04-94. The MCTC
did not state in its order of dismissal [5] that the dismissal
was with prejudice. Under the Administrative Circular,
the order of dismissal is without prejudice to refiling the
complaint, unless the order of dismissal expressly states
it is with prejudice.[6] Absent a declaration that the

the civil action for damages based on Article 2176 of the


Civil Code. Although these two actions arose from the
same act or omission, they have different causes of
action. The criminal case is based on culpa criminal
punishable under the Revised Penal Code while the civil
case is based on culpa aquiliana actionable under
Articles 2176 and 2177 of the Civil Code.These articles
on culpa aquiliana read:

dismissal is with prejudice, the same is deemed without

Art. 2176. Whoever by act or omission causes damage to

prejudice. Thus, the MCTCs dismissal, being silent on

another, there being fault or negligence, is obliged to pay

the matter, is a dismissal without prejudice.

for the damage done. Such fault or negligence, if there is

Section 1 of Rule 41[7] provides that an order


dismissing

an

action

without

prejudice

is

not

appealable. The remedy of the aggrieved party is to file a

no pre-existing contractual relation between the parties,


is called a quasi-delict and is governed by the provisions
of this Chapter.

special civil action under Rule 65. Section 1 of Rule 41

Art. 2177. Responsibility for fault or negligence under

expressly states that where the judgment or final order is

the preceding article is entirely separate and distinct

not appealable, the aggrieved party may file an

from the civil liability arising from negligence under the

appropriate special civil action under Rule 65. Clearly,

Penal Code. But the plaintiff cannot recover damages

the Capas RTCs order dismissing the petition for

twice for the same act or omission of the defendant.

certiorari, on the ground that the proper remedy is an


ordinary appeal, is erroneous.

Any aggrieved person can invoke these articles


provided he proves, by preponderance of evidence, that

Forum-Shopping

he has suffered damage because of the fault or

negligence of another. Either the private complainant or

for violation of Articles 32, 33 and 34 of the Civil Code

the accused can file a separate civil action under these

on Human Relations.

articles. There is nothing in the law or rules that state


only the private complainant in a criminal case may

Thus, to file a separate and independent civil action


for quasi-delict under the 1985 Rules, the offended party

invoke these articles.

had to reserve in the criminal action the right to bring


Moreover, paragraph 6, Section 1, Rule 111 of the

such action. Otherwise, such civil action was deemed

2000 Rules on Criminal Procedure (2000 Rules for

impliedly instituted in the criminal action.Section 1,

brevity) expressly requires the accused to litigate his

Rule 111 of the 1985 Rules provided as follows:

counterclaim in a separate civil action, to wit:


Section 1. Institution of criminal and civil actions. When
SECTION 1. Institution of criminal and civil actions. (a)

a criminal action is instituted, the civil action for the

x x x.

recovery of civil liability is impliedly instituted with the


criminal action, unless the offended party waives the

No counterclaim, cross-claim or third-party complaint

action, reserves his right to institute it separately, or

may be filed by the accused in the criminal case, but any

institutes the civil action prior to the criminal action.

cause of action which could have been the subject


thereof

may

be

litigated

in

separate

civil

action. (Emphasis supplied)

Such civil action includes recovery of indemnity under


the Revised Penal Code, and damages under Articles
32, 33, 34 and 2176 of the Civil Code of the Philippines

Since the present Rules require the accused in a criminal

arising from the same act or omission of the accused.

action to file his counterclaim in a separate civil action,


there can be no forum-shopping if the accused files such

A waiver of any of the civil actions extinguishes the

separate civil action.

others. The institution of, or the reservation of the right


to file, any of said civil actions separately waives the

Filing of a separate civil action

others.

Section 1, Rule 111 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal

The reservation of the right to institute the separate civil

Procedure (1985 Rules for brevity), as amended in 1988,

actions shall be made before the prosecution starts to

allowed

action

present its evidence and under circumstances affording

independently of the criminal action provided the

the offended party a reasonable opportunity to make

offended party reserved the right to file such civil

such reservation.

the

filing

of

separate

civil

action.Unless the offended party reserved the civil action


before the presentation of the evidence for the

In no case may the offended party recover damages

prosecution, all civil actions arising from the same act or

twice for the same act or omission of the accused.

omission were deemed impliedly instituted in the


criminal case. These civil actions referred to the
recovery of civil liability ex-delicto, the recovery of
damages for quasi-delict, and the recovery of damages

x x x. (Emphasis supplied)
Section 1, Rule 111 of the 1985 Rules was amended
on December 1, 2000 and now provides as follows:

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

action. Verily, the civil actions based on these articles of

When a criminal action is instituted, the civil action

the Civil Code are separate, distinct and independent of

for the recovery of civil liability arising from the

the civil action deemed instituted in the criminal action.

offense charged shall be deemed instituted with the

[10]

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.

Under the present Rule 111, the offended party is


still given the option to file a separate civil action to
recover civil liability ex-delicto by reserving such right

The reservation of the right to institute separately the

in the criminal action before the prosecution presents its

civil action shall be made before the prosecution starts

evidence. Also, the offended party is deemed to make

presenting its evidence and under circumstances

such reservation if he files a separate civil action before

affording the offended party a reasonable opportunity to

filing the criminal action. If the civil action to recover

make such reservation.

civil liability ex-delicto is filed separately but its trial has


not yet commenced, the civil action may be consolidated

xxx
(b) x x x
Where the civil action has been filed separately and trial
thereof has not yet commenced, it may be consolidated
with the criminal action upon application with the court

with the criminal action. The consolidation under this


Rule does not apply to separate civil actions arising from
the same act or omission filed under Articles 32, 33, 34
and 2176 of the Civil Code.[11]
Suspension of the Separate Civil Action

trying the latter case. If the application is granted, the

Under Section 2, Rule 111 of the amended 1985

trial of both actions shall proceed in accordance with

Rules, a separate civil action, if reserved in the criminal

section 2 of this rule governing consolidation of the civil

action, could not be filed until after final judgment was

and criminal actions. (Emphasis supplied)

rendered in the criminal action. If the separate civil

Under Section 1 of the present Rule 111, what is


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

action was filed before the commencement of the


criminal action, the civil action, if still pending, was
suspended upon the filing of the criminal action until
final judgment was rendered in the criminal action. This
rule applied only to the separate civil action filed to
recover liability ex-delicto. The rule did not apply to
independent civil actions based on Articles 32, 33, 34
and 2176 of the Civil Code, which could proceed
independently regardless of the filing of the criminal
action.
The amended provision of Section 2, Rule 111 of
the 2000 Rules continues this procedure, to wit:

SEC. 2. When separate civil action is suspended. After

The crucial question now is whether Casupanan and

the criminal action has been commenced, the separate

Capitulo, who are not the offended parties in the

civil action arising therefrom cannot be instituted until

criminal case, can file a separate civil action against the

final judgment has been entered in the criminal action.

offended party in the criminal case. Section 3, Rule 111


of the 2000 Rules provides as follows:

If the criminal action is filed after the said civil action


has already been instituted, the latter shall be

SEC 3. When civil action may proceed independently.

suspended in whatever stage it may be found before

- In the cases provided in Articles 32, 33, 34 and 2176 of

judgment on the merits. The suspension shall last until

the Civil Code of the Philippines, the independent civil

final

criminal

action may be brought by the offended party. It shall

action. Nevertheless, before judgment on the merits is

proceed independently of the criminal action and shall

rendered in the civil action, the same may, upon motion

require only a preponderance of evidence. In no case,

of the offended party, be consolidated with the criminal

however, may the offended party recover damages twice

action in the court trying the criminal action. In case of

for the same act or omission charged in the criminal

consolidation, the evidence already adduced in the civil

action. (Emphasis supplied)

judgment

is

rendered

in

the

action shall be deemed automatically reproduced in the


criminal action without prejudice to the right of the

Section 3 of the present Rule 111, like its

prosecution to cross-examine the witnesses presented by

counterpart in the amended 1985 Rules, expressly allows

the offended party in the criminal case and of the parties

the offended party to bring an independent civil action

to present additional evidence. The consolidated criminal

under Articles 32, 33, 34 and 2176 of the Civil Code. As

and civil actions shall be tried and decided jointly.

stated in Section 3 of the present Rule 111, this civil


action shall proceed independently of the criminal action

During the pendency of the criminal action, the running

and shall require only a preponderance of evidence. In

of the period of prescription of the civil action which

no case, however, may the offended party recover

cannot be instituted separately or whose proceeding has

damages twice for the same act or omission charged in

been suspended shall be tolled.

the criminal action.

x x x. (Emphasis supplied)

There is no question that the offended party in the


criminal action can file an independent civil action for

Thus, Section 2, Rule 111 of the present Rules did not

quasi-delict against the accused. Section 3 of the present

change the rule that the separate civil action, filed to

Rule 111 expressly states that the offended party may

recover damages ex-delicto, is suspended upon the filing

bring such an action but the offended party may not

of the criminal action. Section 2 of the present Rule 111

recover damages twice for the same act or omission

also prohibits the filing, after commencement of the

charged in the criminal action. Clearly, Section 3 of Rule

criminal action, of a separate civil action to recover

111 refers to the offended party in the criminal action,

damages ex-delicto.

not to the accused.

When civil action may proceed independently

Casupanan and Capitulo, however, invoke the


ruling in Cabaero vs. Cantos[12] where the Court held

that the accused therein could validly institute a separate

offended

civil

private

commencement of the criminal action does not suspend

complainant in the criminal case. In Cabaero, the

the prosecution of the independent civil action under

accused in the criminal case filed his Answer with

these articles of the Civil Code. The suspension in

Counterclaim for malicious prosecution. At that time the

Section 2 of the present Rule 111 refers only to the civil

Court noted the absence of clear-cut rules governing the

action arising from the crime, if such civil action is

prosecution on impliedly instituted civil actions and

reserved or filed before the commencement of the

the necessary consequences and implications thereof.

criminal action.

action

for quasi-delict against

the

party

even

without

reservation. The

Thus, the Court ruled that the trial court should confine
itself to the criminal aspect of the case and disregard any

Thus, the offended party can file two separate suits

counterclaim for civil liability. The Court further ruled

for the same act or omission. The first a criminal case

that the accused may file a separate civil case against the

where the civil action to recover civil liability ex-

offended party after the criminal case is terminated

delicto is deemed instituted, and the other a civil case

and/or in accordance with the new Rules which may be

for quasi-delict - without violating the rule on non-forum

promulgated. The Court explained that a cross-claim,

shopping. The two cases can proceed simultaneously and

counterclaim or third-party complaint on the civil aspect

independently of each other. The commencement or

will only unnecessarily complicate the proceedings and

prosecution of the criminal action will not suspend the

delay the resolution of the criminal case.

civil action for quasi-delict. The only limitation is that


the offended party cannot recover damages twice for the

Paragraph 6, Section 1 of the present Rule 111 was

same act or omission of the defendant. In most cases, the

incorporated in the 2000 Rules precisely to address

offended party will have no reason to file a second civil

the lacuna mentioned in Cabaero. Under this provision,

action since he cannot recover damages twice for the

the accused is barred from filing a counterclaim, cross-

same act or omission of the accused. In some instances,

claim

the accused may be insolvent, necessitating the filing of

or

third-party

complaint

in

the

criminal

case. However, the same provision states that any cause

another case against his employer or guardians.

of action which could have been the subject (of the


counterclaim, cross-claim or third-party complaint) may

Similarly, the accused can file a civil action

be litigated in a separate civil action. The present Rule

for quasi-delict for the same act or omission he is

111 mandates the accused to file his counterclaim in a

accused of in the criminal case. This is expressly

separate civil action which shall proceed independently

allowed in paragraph 6, Section 1 of the present Rule

of the criminal action, even as the civil action of the

111 which states that the counterclaim of the

offended party is litigated in the criminal action.

accused may be litigated in a separate civil action. This


is only fair for two reasons. First, the accused is

Conclusion

prohibited from setting up any counterclaim in the civil


aspect that is deemed instituted in the criminal case. The

Under Section 1 of the present Rule 111, the

accused is therefore forced to litigate separately his

independent civil action in Articles 32, 33, 34 and 2176

counterclaim against the offended party. If the accused

of the Civil Code is not deemed instituted with the

does not file a separate civil action for quasi-delict, the

criminal action but may be filed separately by the

prescriptive period may set in since the period continues


to run until the civil action for quasi-delict is filed.

More than half a century has passed since the Civil


Code introduced the concept of a civil action separate
and independent from the criminal action although

Second, the accused, who is presumed innocent, has

arising from the same act or omission. The Court,

a right to invoke Article 2177 of the Civil Code, in the

however, has yet to encounter a case of conflicting and

same way that the offended party can avail of this

irreconcilable decisions of trial courts, one hearing the

remedy which is independent of the criminal action. To

criminal case and the other the civil action for quasi-

disallow the accused from filing a separate civil action

delict. The fear of conflicting and irreconcilable

for quasi-delict,

his

decisions may be more apparent than real. In any event,

counterclaim in the criminal case, is to deny him due

there are sufficient remedies under the Rules of Court to

process of law, access to the courts, and equal protection

deal with such remote possibilities.

while

refusing

to

recognize

of the law.
One final point. The Revised Rules on Criminal
Thus, the civil action based on quasi-delict filed

Procedure took effect on December 1, 2000 while the

separately by Casupanan and Capitulo is proper. The

MCTC issued the order of dismissal on December 28,

order of dismissal by the MCTC of Civil Case No. 2089

1999 or before the amendment of the rules. The Revised

on the ground of forum-shopping is erroneous.

Rules on Criminal Procedure must be given retroactive

We make this ruling aware of the possibility that the

effect considering the well-settled rule that -

decision of the trial court in the criminal case may vary

x x x statutes regulating the procedure of the court will

with the decision of the trial court in the independent

be construed as applicable to actions pending and

civil action. This possibility has always been recognized

undetermined at the time of their passage. Procedural

ever since the Civil Code introduced in 1950 the concept

laws are retroactive in that sense and to that extent. [14]

of an independent civil action under Articles 32, 33, 34


and 2176 of the Code. But the law itself, in Article 31 of

WHEREFORE, the petition for review on

the Code, expressly provides that the independent civil

certiorari is hereby GRANTED. The Resolutions dated

action may proceed independently of the criminal

December 28, 1999 and August 24, 2000 in Special Civil

proceedings and regardless of the result of the

Action No. 17-C (99) are ANNULLED and Civil Case

latter. In Azucena vs. Potenciano,[13] the Court declared:

No. 2089 is REINSTATED.

x x x. There can indeed be no other logical conclusion

SO ORDERED.

than this, for to subordinate the civil action contemplated


in the said articles to the result of the criminal
prosecution whether it be conviction or acquittal would
render meaningless the independent character of the civil
action and the clear injunction in Article 31 that this
action 'may proceed independently of the criminal
proceedings and regardless of the result of the latter.

7. At the time of the incident, plaintiff [Tuazon] was in


his proper lane when the second-named defendant
[Foronda], being then the driver and person in charge of
the Country Bus with plate number NYA 241, did then

[G.R. No. 141538. March 23, 2004]

and there willfully, unlawfully, and feloniously operate


Hermana

R.

Cerezo, petitioner,

vs. David

Tuazon, respondent.

the said motor vehicle in a negligent, careless, and


imprudent manner without due regard to traffic rules and
regulations, there being a Slow Down sign near the

DECISION

scene of the incident, and without taking the necessary


precaution to prevent loss of lives or injuries, his

CARPIO, J.:

negligence, carelessness and imprudence resulted to


severe damage to the tricycle and serious physical

The Case

injuries to plaintiff thus making him unable to walk and


[1]

This is a petition for review on certiorari to annul


[2]

the Resolution dated 21 October 1999 of the Court of

becoming disabled, with his thumb and middle finger on


the left hand being cut[.][4]

Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 53572, as well as its


Resolution dated 20 January 2000 denying the motion

On 1 October 1993, Tuazon filed a motion to

for reconsideration. The Court of Appeals denied the

litigate as a pauper. Subsequently, the trial court issued

petition for annulment of the Decision[3] dated 30 May

summons against Atty. Cerezo and Mrs. Cerezo (the

1995 rendered

by

Cerezo spouses) at the Makati address stated in the

56

complaint. However,

the Regional Trial Court of Angeles City,

Branch

the

summons

was

returned

(trial court), in Civil Case No. 7415. The trial court

unserved on 10 November 1993 as the Cerezo spouses

ordered petitioner Hermana R. Cerezo (Mrs. Cerezo) to

no longer held office nor resided in Makati. On 18 April

pay respondent David Tuazon (Tuazon) actual damages,

1994, the trial court issued alias summons against the

loss of earnings, moral damages, and costs of suit.

Cerezo spouses at their address in Barangay Sta. Maria,


Camiling, Tarlac. The alias summons and a copy of the

Antecedent Facts
Around noontime of 26 June 1993, a Country Bus
Lines passenger bus with plate number NYA 241
collided with a tricycle bearing plate number TC RV 126
along Captain M. Palo Street, Sta. Ines, Mabalacat,
Pampanga. On 1 October 1993, tricycle driver Tuazon
filed a complaint for damages against Mrs. Cerezo, as
owner of the bus line, her husband Attorney Juan Cerezo
(Atty. Cerezo), and bus driver Danilo A. Foronda
(Foronda). The complaint alleged that:

complaint were finally served on 20 April 1994 at the


office of Atty. Cerezo, who was then working as Tarlac
Provincial Prosecutor. Atty. Cerezo reacted angrily on
learning of the service of summons upon his
person. Atty. Cerezo allegedly told Sheriff William
Canlas: Punyeta, ano ang gusto mong mangyari? Gusto
mong hindi ka makalabas ng buhay dito? Teritoryo ko
ito. Wala ka sa teritoryo mo.[5]
The records show that the Cerezo spouses
participated in the proceedings before the trial court. The
Cerezo spouses filed a comment with motion for bill of

particulars dated 29 April 1994 and a reply to opposition

to prosecute his complaint in this case as a pauper has

to comment with motion dated 13 June 1994.[6]On 1

been cured by this Order.

August 1994, the trial court issued an order directing the


Cerezo spouses to file a comment to the opposition to

If within 15 days from receipt of this Order, the

the bill of particulars. Atty. Elpidio B. Valera (Atty.

defendants do not question on appeal this Order of this

Valera) of Valera and Valera Law Offices appeared on

Court, the Court shall proceed to resolve the Motion for

behalf of the Cerezo spouses. On 29 August 1994, Atty.

Bill of Particulars.[8]

Valera filed an urgent ex-parte motion praying for the


resolution of Tuazons motion to litigate as a pauper and
for the issuance of new summons on the Cerezo spouses
to satisfy proper service in accordance with the Rules of
Court.[7]
On 30 August 1994, the trial court issued an order
resolving Tuazons motion to litigate as a pauper and the
Cerezo spouses urgent ex-parte motion. The order reads:

On 27 September 1994, the Cerezo spouses filed an


urgent ex-parte motion for reconsideration. The trial
court denied the motion for reconsideration.
On 14 November 1994, the trial court issued an
order directing the Cerezo spouses to file their answer
within fifteen days from receipt of the order. The Cerezo
spouses did not file an answer. On 27 January 1995,
Tuazon filed a motion to declare the Cerezo spouses in

At the hearing on August 30, 1994, the plaintiff [Tuazon]

default. On 6 February 1995, the trial court issued an

testified that he is presently jobless; that at the time of

order declaring the Cerezo spouses in default and

the filing of this case, his son who is working in

authorizing Tuazon to present his evidence. [9]

Malaysia helps him and sends him once in a


while P300.00 a month, and that he does not have any
real property. Attached to the Motion to Litigate as
Pauper are his Affidavit that he is unemployed; a
Certification by the Barangay Captain of his poblacion
that his income is not enough for his familys
subsistence; and a Certification by the Office of the
Municipal Assessor that he has no landholding in
the Municipality ofMabalacat, Province of Pampanga.

On 30 May 1995, after considering Tuazons


testimonial and documentary evidence, the trial court
ruled in Tuazons favor. The trial court made no
pronouncement on Forondas liability because there was
no service of summons on him. The trial court did not
hold Atty. Cerezo liable as Tuazon failed to show that
Mrs. Cerezos business benefited the family, pursuant to
Article 121(3) of the Family Code. The trial court held
Mrs. Cerezo solely liable for the damages sustained by

The Court is satisfied from the unrebutted testimony of

Tuazon arising from the negligence of Mrs. Cerezos

the plaintiff that he is entitled to prosecute his complaint

employee, pursuant to Article 2180 of the Civil

in this case as a pauper under existing rules.

Code. The dispositive portion of the trial courts decision


reads:

On the other hand, the Court denies the prayer in the


Appearance and Urgent Ex-Parte Motion requiring new

WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered ordering

summons to be served to the defendants. The Court is of

the defendant Hermana Cerezo to pay the plaintiff:

the opinion that any infirmity in the service of the


summons to the defendant before plaintiff was allowed

a) For Actual Damages

1) Expenses for operation and medical

Exhibit 2 - Comment with Motion;

Treatment - P69,485.35

Exhibit 3 - Minutes of the hearing held


on August 1, 1994;

2) Cost

of

repair

of

the

tricycle - 39,921.00

Exhibit 3-A - Signature of defendants counsel;

b) For loss of earnings - 43,300.00

Exhibit 4 - Minutes of the hearing held


on August 30, 1994;

c) For moral damages - 20,000.00


Exhibit 4-A - Signature of the defendants
d) And to pay the cost of the suit.

counsel;

The docket fees and other expenses in the filing of this

Exhibit 5 - Appearance and Urgent Ex-Parte

suit shall be lien on whatever judgment may be rendered

Motion;

in favor of the plaintiff.


Exhibit 6 - Order dated November 14, 1994;
SO ORDERED.

[10]

Exhibit 6-A - Postal certification dated January


Mrs. Cerezo received a copy of the decision on 25

13, 1995;

June 1995. On 10 July 1995, Mrs. Cerezo filed before


the trial court a petition for relief from judgment on the
grounds

of

fraud,

mistake

or

Exhibit 7 - Order dated February [illegible];

excusable

negligence. Testifying before the trial court, both Mrs.

Exhibit 7-A - Courts return slip addressed to

Cerezo and Atty. Valera denied receipt of notices of

Atty. Elpidio

hearings and of orders of the court. Atty. Valera added


that he received no notice before or during the 8 May

Valera;

1995 elections, when he was a senatorial candidate for

Exhibit 7-B - Courts return slip addressed to

the KBL Party, and very busy, using his office and

Spouses Juan

residence as Party National Headquarters. Atty. Valera


claimed that he was able to read the decision of the trial

and Hermana Cerezo;

court only after Mrs. Cerezo sent him a copy.[11]


Exhibit 8 - Decision dated May [30], 1995
Tuazon did not testify but presented documentary
evidence to prove the participation of the Cerezo spouses
in the case. Tuazon presented the following exhibits:
Exhibit 1 - Sheriffs return and summons;
Exhibit 1-A - Alias summons dated April 20,
1994;

Exhibit 8-A - Courts return slip addressed to


defendant Hermana
Cerezo;
Exhibit 8-B - Courts return slip addressed to
defendants counsel,

Atty. Elpidio Valera;

there was no service of summons on Foronda, whom the


Cerezo spouses claimed was an indispensable party. In a

Exhibit 9 - Order dated September 21, 1995;

resolution[15] dated 21 January 1999, the Court of


Appeals denied the petition for certiorari and affirmed

Exhibit 9-A - Second Page of Exhibit 9;

the trial courts order denying the petition for relief from
judgment. The Court of Appeals declared that the Cerezo

Exhibit 9-B - Third page of Exhibit 9;

spouses failure to file an answer was due to their own


Exhibit 9-C - Fourth page of Exhibit 9;

negligence,

considering

that

they

continued

to

participate in the proceedings without filing an


Exhibit 9-D - Courts return slip addressed to

answer. There was also nothing in the records to show

Atty. Elpidio Valera;

that the Cerezo spouses actually offered a reasonable


settlement to Tuazon. The Court of Appeals also denied

and

Cerezo spouses motion for reconsideration for lack of


merit.

Exhibit 9-E - Courts return slip addressed to


plaintiffs counsel,

The Cerezo spouses filed before this Court a


petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45. Atty.

Atty. Norman Dick de Guzman.[12]

Cerezo himself signed the petition, docketed as G.R. No.


On 4 March 1998, the trial court issued an

137593. On 13 April 1999, this Court rendered a

[13]

resolution

order

denying

the

petition

for

relief

from

denying

the

petition

for

review

judgment. The trial court stated that having received the

on certiorari for failure to attach an affidavit of service

decision on 25 June 1995, the Cerezo spouses should

of copies of the petition to the Court of Appeals and to

have filed a notice of appeal instead of resorting to a

the adverse parties. Even if the petition complied with

petition for relief from judgment. The trial court refused

this requirement, the Court would still have denied the

to grant relief from judgment because the Cerezo

petition as the Cerezo spouses failed to show that the

spouses could have availed of the remedy of appeal.

Court of Appeals committed a reversible error. The

Moreover, the Cerezo spouses not only failed to prove

Courts resolution was entered in the Book of Entries and

fraud, accident, mistake or excusable negligence by

Judgments when it became final and executory on 28

conclusive evidence, they also failed to prove that they

June 1999.[16]

had a good and substantial defense. The trial court noted


that the Cerezo spouses failed to appeal because they
relied on an expected settlement of the case.

Undaunted, the Cerezo spouses filed before the


Court of Appeals on 6 July 1999 a petition for annulment
of judgment under Rule 47 with prayer for restraining

The Cerezo spouses subsequently filed before the

order. Atty. Valera and Atty. Dionisio S. Daga (Atty.

Court of Appeals a petition for certiorari under Section

Daga) represented Mrs. Cerezo in the petition, docketed

1 of Rule 65. The petition was docketed as CA-G.R. SP

as CA-G.R. SP No. 53572.[17] The petition prayed for the

No. 48132.[14] The petition questioned whether the trial

annulment of the 30 May 1995 decision of the trial court

court acquired jurisdiction over the case considering

and for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction

enjoining execution of the trial courts decision pending

Resolving the matter of jurisdiction over the subject

resolution of the petition.

matter, Section 19(1) of B[atas] P[ambansa] 129


provides that Regional Trial Courts shall exercise

The Court of Appeals denied the petition for

exclusive original jurisdiction in all civil actions in

annulment of judgment in a resolution dated 21 October

which the subject of the litigation is incapable of

1999. The resolution reads in part:

pecuniary estimation. Thus it was proper for the lower

In this case, records show that the petitioner previously

court to decide the instant case for damages.

filed with the lower court a Petition for Relief from

Unlike jurisdiction over the subject matter of a case

Judgment on the ground that they were wrongfully

which is absolute and conferred by law; any defects [sic]

declared in default while waiting for an amicable

in the acquisition of jurisdiction over a person (i.e.,

settlement of the complaint for damages. The court a

improper filing of civil complaint or improper service of

quo correctly ruled that such petition is without

summons) may be waived by the voluntary appearance

merit. The defendant spouses admit that during the

of parties.

initial hearing they appeared before the court and even


mentioned the need for an amicable settlement. Thus, the

The lower court admits the fact that no summons was

lower court acquired jurisdiction over the defendant

served on defendant Foronda. Thus, jurisdiction over the

spouses.

person of defendant Foronda was not acquired, for


which reason he was not held liable in this

Therefore, petitioner having availed of a petition for

case. However, it has been proven that jurisdiction over

relief, the remedy of an annulment of judgment is no

the other defendants was validly acquired by the court a

longer available. The proper action for the petitioner is

quo.

to appeal the order of the lower court denying the


petition for relief.

The defendant spouses admit to having appeared in the


initial hearings and in the hearing for plaintiffs motion to

Wherefore, the instant petition could not be given due

litigate as a pauper. They even mentioned conferences

course and should accordingly be dismissed.

where attempts were made to reach an amicable

SO ORDERED.[18]
On 20 January 2000, the Court of Appeals denied
the Cerezo spouses motion for reconsideration. [19] The
Court of Appeals stated:
A distinction should be made between a courts
jurisdiction over a person and its jurisdiction over the
subject matter of a case. The former is acquired by the
proper service of summons or by the parties voluntary
appearance; while the latter is conferred by law.

settlement with plaintiff. However, the possibility of


amicable settlement is not a good and substantial defense
which will warrant the granting of said petition.
xxx
Assuming arguendo that private respondent failed to
reserve his right to institute a separate action for
damages in the criminal action, the petitioner cannot
now raise such issue and question the lower courts
jurisdiction because petitioner and her husband have
waived such right by voluntarily appearing in the civil

case for damages. Therefore, the findings and the

negligence against defendant-driver Danilo

decision of the lower court may bind them.

Foronda [whom] the lower court did not


summon is null and void for want of due

Records show that the petitioner previously filed with

process and consequently, such findings of

the lower court a Petition for Relief from Judgment on

negligence which is [sic] null and void

the ground that they were wrongfully declared in default

cannot become the basis of the lower court

while waiting for an amicable settlement of the

to adjudge petitioner-employer liable for

complaint for damages. The court a quo correctly ruled

civil damages.

that such petition is without merit, jurisdiction having


been acquired by the voluntary appearance of defendant
spouses.

3. In dismissing the Petition for Annulment,


the Court of Appeals ignored the allegation
that defendant-driver Danilo A. Foronda

Once again, it bears stressing that having availed of a

whose negligence is the main issue is an

petition for relief, the remedy of annulment of judgment

indispensable party whose presence is

is no longer available.

compulsory but [whom] the lower court did

Based on the foregoing, the motion for reconsideration


could not be given due course and is hereby DENIED.

not summon.
4. In dismissing the Petition for Annulment,
the

SO ORDERED.[20]

Court

of

Appeals

ruled

that

assuming arguendo that private respondent


failed to reserve his right to institute a

The Issues

separate action for damages in the criminal


On 7 February 2000, Mrs. Cerezo, this time with

action, the petitioner cannot now raise such

Atty. Daga alone representing her, filed the present

issue and question the lower courts

petition for review on certiorari before this Court. Mrs.

jurisdiction because petitioner [has] waived

Cerezo claims that:

such right by voluntarily appearing in the


civil case for damages notwithstanding that

1. In dismissing the Petition for Annulment of

lack of jurisdiction cannot be waived.[21]

Judgment, the Court of Appeals assumes


that the issues raised in the petition for

The Courts Ruling

annulment is based on extrinsic fraud


related to the denied petition for relief
notwithstanding that the grounds relied
upon

involves

questions

of

lack

of

jurisdiction.
2. In dismissing the Petition for Annulment,

The petition has no merit. As the issues are


interrelated, we shall discuss them jointly.
Remedies Available
to a Party Declared in Default

the Court of Appeals disregarded the

An examination of the records of the entire

allegation that the lower court[s] findings of

proceedings shows that three lawyers filed and signed

pleadings on behalf of Mrs. Cerezo, namely, Atty. Daga,

over the objection of Mrs. Cerezo an order of execution

Atty. Valera, and Atty. Cerezo. Despite their number,

of the judgment in Civil Case No. 7415. On 21 October

Mrs. Cerezos counsels failed to avail of the proper

1999, the Court of Appeals dismissed the petition for

remedies. It is either by sheer ignorance or by malicious

annulment of judgment. On 20 January 2000, the Court

manipulation of legal technicalities that they have

of

managed to delay the disposition of the present case, to

reconsideration. On 7 February 2000, Mrs. Cerezo filed

the detriment of pauper litigant Tuazon.

the present petition for review on certiorari under Rule

Appeals

denied

Mrs.

Cerezos

motion

for

45 challenging the dismissal of her petition for


Mrs. Cerezo claims she did not receive any copy of

annulment of judgment.

the order declaring the Cerezo spouses in default. Mrs.


Cerezo asserts that she only came to know of the default
order on 25 June 1995, when she received a copy of the

Lina v. Court of Appeals[22] enumerates the


remedies available to a party declared in default:

decision. On 10 July 1995, Mrs. Cerezo filed before the


trial court a petition for relief from judgment under Rule

a) The defendant in default may, at any time

38, alleging fraud, mistake, or excusable negligence as

after

grounds. On 4 March 1998, the trial court denied Mrs.

judgment, file a motion under oath to set

Cerezos petition for relief from judgment. The trial court

aside the order of default on the ground

stated that Mrs. Cerezo could have availed of appeal as a

that his failure to answer was due to fraud,

remedy and that she failed to prove that the judgment

accident, mistake or excusable negligence,

was entered through fraud, accident, mistake, or

and that he has a meritorious defense (Sec.

excusable negligence. Mrs. Cerezo then filed before the

3, Rule 18 [now Sec. 3(b), Rule 9]);

Court of Appeals a petition for certiorari under Section


1 of Rule 65 assailing the denial of the petition for relief
from judgment. On 21 January 1999, the Court of
Appeals

dismissed

Mrs.

Cerezos

petition. On 24

February 1999, the appellate court denied Mrs. Cerezos


motion for reconsideration. On 11 March 1999, Mrs.
Cerezo filed before this Court a petition for review

discovery

thereof

and

before

b) If the judgment has already been rendered


when the defendant discovered the default,
but before the same has become final and
executory, he may file a motion for new
trial under Section 1 (a) of Rule 37;
c) If the defendant discovered the default after

on certiorari under Rule 45, questioning the denial of

the judgment has become

the petition for relief from judgment. We denied the

executory, he may file a petition for

petition and our resolution became final and executory

relief under Section 2 [now Section 1] of

on 28 June 1999.

Rule 38; and

final and

On 6 July 1999, a mere eight days after our

d) He may also appeal from the judgment

resolution became final and executory, Mrs. Cerezo filed

rendered against him as contrary to the

before the Court of Appeals a petition for annulment of

evidence or to the law, even if no petition to

the

set aside the order of default has been

judgment

of

the

trial

court

under

Rule

47. Meanwhile, on 25 August 1999, the trial court issued

presented by him (Sec. 2, Rule 41).

declare void both the order of default and the judgment

(Emphasis added)

of default.

Moreover, a petition for certiorari to declare the

Clearly, Mrs. Cerezo had every opportunity to avail

nullity of a judgment by default is also available if the

of these remedies within the reglementary periods

trial court improperly declared a party in default, or even

provided under the Rules of Court. However, Mrs.

if the trial court properly declared a party in default, if

Cerezo opted to file a petition for relief from judgment,

grave abuse of discretion attended such declaration. [23]

which is available only in exceptional cases. A petition


for relief from judgment should be filed within the

Mrs. Cerezo admitted that she received a copy of

reglementary period of 60 days from knowledge of

the trial courts decision on 25 June 1995. Based on this

judgment and six months from entry of judgment,

admission, Mrs. Cerezo had at least three remedies at her

pursuant to

disposal: an appeal, a motion for new trial, or a petition


for certiorari.

Rule 38 of the Rules of Civil Procedure.[30] Tuason


v. Court of Appeals[31] explained the nature of a petition

Mrs. Cerezo could have appealed under Rule

for relief from judgment:

41[24] from the default judgment within 15 days from


notice of the judgment. She could have availed of the

When a party has another remedy available to him,

power of the Court of Appeals to try cases and conduct

which may either be a motion for new trial or appeal

hearings, receive evidence, and perform all acts

from an adverse decision of the trial court, and he was

necessary to resolve factual issues raised in cases falling

not prevented by fraud, accident, mistake or excusable

within its appellate jurisdiction.[25]

negligence from filing such motion or taking such


appeal, he cannot avail himself of this petition. Indeed,

Mrs. Cerezo also had the option to file under Rule


[26]

37

relief will not be granted to a party who seeks avoidance

a motion for new trial within the period for taking

from the effects of the judgment when the loss of the

an appeal. If the trial court grants a new trial, the original

remedy at law was due to his own negligence; otherwise

judgment is vacated, and the action will stand for trial de

the petition for relief can be used to revive the right to

novo. The recorded evidence taken in the former trial, as

appeal which has been lost thru inexcusable negligence.

far as the same is material and competent to establish the


issues, shall be used at the new trial without retaking the
same.

[27]

Evidently, there was no fraud, accident, mistake, or


excusable negligence that prevented Mrs. Cerezo from
filing an appeal, a motion for new trial or a petition

Mrs. Cerezo also had the alternative of filing under


Rule 65[28] a petition for certiorari assailing the order of

for certiorari. It was error for her to avail of a petition


for relief from judgment.

default within 60 days from notice of the judgment. An


order of default is interlocutory, and an aggrieved party

After our resolution denying Mrs. Cerezos petition

may file an appropriate special civil action under Rule

for relief became final and executory, Mrs. Cerezo, in

65.[29] In a petition for certiorari, the appellate court may

her last ditch attempt to evade liability, filed before the


Court of Appeals a petition for annulment of the

judgment of the trial court. Annulment is available only

restriction is to prevent this extraordinary action from

on the grounds of extrinsic fraud and lack of

being used by a losing party to make a complete farce of

jurisdiction. If based on extrinsic fraud, a party must file

a duly promulgated decision that has long become final

the petition within four years from its discovery, and if

and executory. There would be no end to litigation if

based on lack of jurisdiction, before laches or estoppel

parties who have unsuccessfully availed of any of the

bars the petition. Extrinsic fraud is not a valid ground if

appropriate remedies or lost them through their fault

such fraud was used as a ground, or could have been

could still bring an action for annulment of judgment.

used as a ground, in a motion for new trial or petition for

[35]

relief from judgment.[32]

present petition to clear any doubt about the correctness

Nevertheless, we shall discuss the issues raised in the

of the decision of the trial court.


Mrs. Cerezo insists that lack of jurisdiction, not
extrinsic fraud, was her ground for filing the petition for

Mrs. Cerezos Liability and the

annulment of judgment. However, a party may avail of


the remedy of annulment of judgment under Rule 47
only if the ordinary remedies of new trial, appeal,
petition for relief from judgment, or other appropriate
remedies are no longer available through no fault of the
party.[33] Mrs. Cerezo could have availed of a new trial or
appeal but through her own fault she erroneously availed
of the remedy of a petition for relief, which was denied
with finality. Thus, Mrs. Cerezo may no longer avail of
the remedy of annulment.

Trial Courts Acquisition of Jurisdiction


Mrs. Cerezo contends that the basis of the present
petition for annulment is lack of jurisdiction. Mrs.
Cerezo asserts that the trial court could not validly
render judgment since it failed to acquire jurisdiction
over Foronda. Mrs. Cerezo points out that there was no
service of summons on Foronda. Moreover, Tuazon
failed to reserve his right to institute a separate civil
action for damages in the criminal action. Such

In any event, the trial court clearly acquired

contention betrays a faulty foundation. Mrs. Cerezos

jurisdiction over Mrs. Cerezos person. Mrs. Cerezo

contention proceeds from the point of view of criminal

actively participated in the proceedings before the trial

law and not of civil law, while the basis of the present

court, submitting herself to the jurisdiction of the trial

action of Tuazon is quasi-delict under the Civil Code,

court. The defense of lack of jurisdiction fails in light of

not delict under the Revised Penal Code.

her

active

participation

in

the

trial

court

proceedings. Estoppel or laches may also bar lack of


jurisdiction as a ground for nullity especially if raised for
the first time on appeal by a party who participated in
the proceedings before the trial court, as what happened
in this case.[34]

The same negligent act may produce civil liability


arising from a delict under Article 103 of the Revised
Penal Code, or may give rise to an action for a quasidelict under Article 2180 of the Civil Code. An
aggrieved party may choose between the two remedies.
An action based on a quasi-delict may proceed

For these reasons, the present petition should be

independently from the criminal action.[36] There is,

dismissed for utter lack of merit. The extraordinary

however, a distinction between civil liability arising

action to annul a final judgment is restricted to the

from a delict and civil liability arising from a quasi-

grounds specified in the rules. The reason for the

delict. The choice of remedy, whether to sue for a delict

or a quasi-delict, affects the procedural and jurisdictional

only mutual representation.[41] Where the obligation of

issues of the action.[37]

the parties is solidary, either of the parties is


indispensable, and the other is not even a necessary party

Tuazon chose to file an action for damages based on


a quasi-delict. In his complaint, Tuazon alleged that Mrs.

because complete relief is available from either.


[42]

Therefore, jurisdiction over Foronda is not even

Cerezo, without exercising due care and diligence in the

necessary as Tuazon may collect damages from Mrs.

supervision and management of her employees and

Cerezo alone.

buses, hired Foronda as her driver.Tuazon became


disabled because of Forondas recklessness, gross

Moreover, an employers liability based on a quasi-

negligence and imprudence, aggravated by Mrs. Cerezos

delict is primary and direct, while the employers liability

lack of due care and diligence in the selection and

based on a delict is merely subsidiary.[43] The words

supervision of her employees, particularly Foronda. [38]

primary and direct, as contrasted with subsidiary, refer to


the remedy provided by law for enforcing the obligation

The trial court thus found Mrs. Cerezo liable under


Article 2180 of the Civil Code. Article 2180 states in
part:

rather than to the character and limits of the obligation.


[44]

Although liability under Article 2180 originates from

the negligent act of the employee, the aggrieved party

Employers shall be liable for the damages caused by


their employees and household helpers acting within the
scope of their assigned tasks, even though the former are
not engaged in any business or industry.
Contrary to Mrs. Cerezos assertion, Foronda is not

may sue the employer directly. When an employee


causes damage, the law presumes that the employer has
himself committed an act of negligence in not preventing
or avoiding the damage. This is the fault that the law
condemns. While the employer is civilly liable in a
subsidiary

capacity

for

the

employees

criminal

an indispensable party to the case. An indispensable

negligence, the employer is also civilly liable directly

party is one whose interest is affected by the courts

and separately for his own civil negligence in failing to

action in the litigation, and without whom no final

exercise due diligence in selecting and supervising his

resolution of the case is possible. [39] However, Mrs.

employee. The idea that the employers liability is solely

Cerezos liability as an employer in an action for a quasi-

subsidiary is wrong.[45]

delict is not only solidary, it is also primary and


direct. Foronda is not an indispensable party to the final
resolution of Tuazons action for damages against Mrs.
Cerezo.

The action can be brought directly against the person


responsible (for another), without including the author of
the act. The action against the principal is accessory in
the sense that it implies the existence of a prejudicial act

The responsibility of two or more persons who are

committed by the employee, but it is not subsidiary in

liable for a quasi-delict is solidary.[40] Where there is a

the sense that it can not be instituted till after the

solidary obligation on the part of debtors, as in this case,

judgment against the author of the act or at least, that it

each debtor is liable for the entire obligation. Hence,

is subsidiary to the principal action; the action for

each debtor is liable to pay for the entire obligation in

responsibility (of the employer) is in itself a principal

full. There is no merger or renunciation of rights, but

action.[46]

Thus, there is no need in this case for the trial court

x x x [T]o hold that there is only one way to make

to acquire jurisdiction over Foronda. The trial courts

defendants liability effective, and that is, to sue the

acquisition of jurisdiction over Mrs. Cerezo is sufficient

driver and exhaust his (the latters) property first, would

to dispose of the present case on the merits.

be tantamount to compelling the plaintiff to follow a


devious

and

cumbersome

method

of

obtaining

In contrast, an action based on a delict seeks to

relief. True, there is such a remedy under our laws, but

enforce the subsidiary liability of the employer for the

there is also a more expeditious way, which is based on

criminal negligence of the employee as provided in

the primary and direct responsibility of the defendant

Article 103 of the Revised Penal Code. To hold the

under article [2180] of the Civil Code. Our view of the

employer liable in a subsidiary capacity under a delict,

law is more likely to facilitate remedy for civil wrongs,

the aggrieved party must initiate a criminal action where

because the procedure indicated by the defendant is

the employees delict and corresponding primary liability

wasteful and productive of delay, it being a matter of

are established.

[47]

If the present action proceeds from a

common knowledge that professional drivers of taxis

delict, then the trial courts jurisdiction over Foronda is

and other similar public conveyances do not have

necessary. However, the present action is clearly for the

sufficient means with which to pay damages. Why, then,

quasi-delict of Mrs. Cerezo and not for the delict of

should the plaintiff be required in all cases to go through

Foronda.

this roundabout, unnecessary, and probably useless

The Cerezo spouses contention that summons be


served anew on them is untenable in light of their
participation in the trial court proceedings. To uphold the

procedure? In

technicality.

the

laws,

courts

have

endeavored to shorten and facilitate the pathways of


right and justice.[50]

Cerezo spouses contention would make a fetish of a


[48]

construing

Interest at the rate of 6% per annum is due on the

Moreover, any irregularity in the service

amount of damages adjudged by the trial court. [51] The

of summons that might have vitiated the trial courts

6% per annum interest shall commence from 30 May

jurisdiction over the persons of the Cerezo spouses was

1995, the date of the decision of the trial court. Upon

deemed waived when the Cerezo spouses filed a petition

finality of this decision, interest at 12% per annum, in

for relief from judgment.

[49]

lieu of 6% per annum, is due on the amount of damages

We hold that the trial court had jurisdiction and was

adjudged by the trial court until full payment.

competent to decide the case in favor of Tuazon and


against

Mrs.

Cerezo

even

in

the

WHEREFORE, we DENY the instant petition for

of

review. The Resolution dated 21 October 1999 of the

Foronda. Contrary to Mrs. Cerezos contention, Foronda

Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 53572, as well as

is not an indispensable party to the present case. It is not

its Resolution dated 20 January 2000 denying the motion

even necessary for Tuazon to reserve the filing of a

for

separate civil action because he opted to file a civil

theMODIFICATION that the amount due shall earn

action for damages against Mrs. Cerezo who is primarily

legal interest at 6% per annum computed from 30 May

and directly liable for her own civil negligence. The

1995, the date of the trial courts decision. Upon finality

words of Justice Jorge Bocobo in Barredo v. Garciastill

of this decision, the amount due shall earn interest at

hold true today as much as it did in 1942:

absence

reconsideration,

is AFFIRMED with

12% per annum, in lieu of 6% per annum, until full

22). The Rules of Court allow the offended party to

payment.

intervene via a private prosecutor in each of these two


penal proceedings. However, the recovery of the single

SO ORDERED.

civil liability arising from the single act of issuing a


bouncing check in
__________________
* On official leave.

either criminal case bars the recovery of the same civil


liability in the other criminal action. While the law
MARY ANN RODRIGUEZ, G.R. Nos. 155531-34
Petitioner,

- versus - Panganiban, J.,


Chairman,
Sandoval-Gutierrez,
Hon. THELMA A. PONFERRADA, Corona,*
in Her Official Capacity as Carpio Morales, and
Presiding Judge of the Garcia, JJ
Regional Trial Court of
Quezon City, Branch 104;
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES; Promulgated:
and GLADYS NOCOM,
Respondents. July 29, 2005
x -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --- --- -- -- x
DECISION
PANGANIBAN, J.:
S
ettled is the rule that the single act of issuing a bouncing
check may give rise to two distinct criminal offenses:
estafa and violation of Batas Pambansa Bilang 22 (BP

allows two simultaneous civil remedies for the offended


party, it authorizes recovery in only one. In short, while
two crimes arise from a single set of facts, only one civil
Present:
liability attaches to it.
The Case
Before us is a Petition for Certiorari [1] under Rule 65 of
the Rules of Court, seeking to reverse the July 27, 2002
Order[2] of the Regional Court (RTC) of Quezon City
(Branch 104) in Criminal Case Nos. Q-01-106256 to Q01-106259. Also assailed is the August 16, 2002
Order[3] of the RTC denying petitioners Motion for
Reconsideration. The first assailed Order is quoted in
full as follows:
For

consideration

is

the

opposition of the accused, through


counsel,

to

the

formal

entry

of

appearance of private prosecutor.


Accused,

through

counsel,

contends that the private prosecutor is


barred from appearing before this Court
as his appearance is limited to the civil
aspect which must be presented and
asserted in B.P. 22 cases pending before

the Metropolitan Trial Court of Quezon


City.

The undisputed facts are narrated by petitioner as


follows:
The

private

prosecutor

submitted comment stating that the

On 10 December 2001, the Honorable

offended party did not manifest within

Assistant City Prosecutor Rossana S.

fifteen (15) days following the filing of

Morales-Montojo

the information that the civil liability

Prosecutors Office issued her Resolution

arising from the crime has been or

in I.S. No. 01-15902, the dispositive

would be separately prosecuted and that

portion of which reads as follows:

of

Quezon

City

she should therefore be required to pay


the legal fees pursuant to Section 20 of

Premises

considered,

Rule 141 of the Rules of Court, as

there

amended.

PROBABLE CAUSE to

being

charge respondent for


Considering that the prosecution

ESTAFA under Article

under B.P. 22 is without prejudice to any

315 paragraph 2(d) as

liability for violation of any provision of

amended by PD 818

the Revised Penal Code (BP 22, Sec. 5),

and for Violation of

the civil action for the recovery of the

Batas Pambansa Blg.

civil liability arising from the estafa

22, it is respectfully

cases pending before this Court is

recommended that the

deemed instituted with the criminal

attached Information be

action (Rule 111, Sec. 1 [a]). The

approved and filed in

offended party may thus intervene by

Court.

counsel in the prosecution of the offense


(Rule 110. Sec. 16).

As a consequence thereof, separate


informations

were

separately

filed

WHEREFORE, the appearance

against herein [p]etitioner before proper

of a private prosecutor shall be allowed

[c]ourts, for Estafa and [v]iolation of

upon payment of the legal fees for these

Batas Pambansa Blg. 22.

estafa cases pending before this Court


pursuant to Section 1 of Rule 141 of the
Rules of Court, as amended.

[4]

Upon payment of the assessed and


required docket fees by the [p]rivate
[c]omplainant,

the

informations

for

[v]iolation of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22


against herein [p]etitioner were filed and
The Facts

raffled to the Metropolitan Trial Court

of Quezon City, Branch 42, docketed as

On 31 July 2002, [a]ccused through

Criminal Cases Nos. 0108033 to 36.

counsel

filed

Motion

for

Reconsideration dated 26 July 2002.


On the other hand, the informations for
[e]stafa cases against herein [p]etitioner

On 16 August 2002, the [p]ublic

were likewise filed and raffled to the

[r]espondent court issued the second

Regional Trial Court of Quezon City,

assailed Order denying the Motion for

Branch 104, docketed as Criminal Cases

Reconsideration of herein [p]etitioner.[5]

Nos. 01-106256 to 59.


On 17 June 2002, petitioner through
counsel filed in open court before the
[p]ublic [r]espondent an Opposition to

Ruling of the Trial Court

the Formal Entry of Appearance of the


Private Prosecutor dated 14 June 2002.

Noting petitioners opposition to the private prosecutors


entry of appearance, the RTC held that the civil action

The [p]ublic [r]espondent court during

for the recovery of civil liability arising from the offense

the said hearing noted the Formal Entry

charged is deemed instituted, unless the offended party

of Appearance

R.

(1) waives the civil action, (2) reserves the right to

Solomon as [p]rivate [p]rosecutor as

institute it separately, or (3) institutes the civil action

well as the Opposition filed thereto by

prior to the criminal action. Considering that the

herein [p]etitioner. x x x.

offended party had paid the corresponding filing fee for

of Atty.

Felix

the estafa cases prior to the filing of the BP 22 cases with


As ordered by the Court, [p]rivate

the Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC), the RTC allowed

[c]omplainant through counsel filed her

the private prosecutor to appear and intervene in the

Comment to the Opposition of herein

proceedings.

[p]etitioner.
Hence, this Petition.[6]
On

27

June

2002,

the

[p]ublic

[r]espondent court issued the first

Issues

assailed Order allowing the appearance


of the [p]rivate [p]rosecutor in the

Petitioner raises this sole issue for the Courts

above-entitled

consideration:

criminal

cases

upon

payment of the legal fees pursuant to

Whether or not a [p]rivate [p]rosecutor

Section 1 of Rule 141 of the Rules of

can be allowed to intervene and

Court, as amended.

participate in the proceedings of the


above-entitled [e]stafa cases for the
purpose of prosecuting the attached civil

liability arising from the issuance of the

action unless the offended party waives

checks involved which is also subject

the civil action, reserves the right to

mater of the pending B.P. 22 cases.

[7]

institute it separately or institutes the


civil action prior to the criminal action.

The Courts Ruling

The reservation of the right to institute


separately the civil action shall be made

The Petition has no merit.

before the prosecution starts presenting


its evidence and under circumstances
affording

the

offended

party

Sole Issue:

reasonable opportunity to make such

Civil Action in BP 22 Case Not a Bar

reservation.

to Civil Action in Estafa Case


When the offended party seeks to
enforce civil liability against the accused
by way of moral, nominal, temperate, or
Petitioner

theorizes

that

the

civil

action

exemplary damages without specifying

necessarily arising from the criminal case pending

the amount thereof in the complaint or

before the MTC for violation of BP 22 precludes the

information, the filing fees therefor shall

institution of the corresponding civil action in the

constitute a first lien on the judgment

criminal case for estafa now pending before the RTC.

awarding such damages.

She hinges her theory on the following provisions of


Rules 110 and 111 of the Rules of Court:
SECTION

16. Intervention

xxxxxxxxx
of

the

(b) The criminal action for violation of

offended party in criminal action. --

Batas Pambansa Blg. 22 shall be

Where the civil action for recovery of

deemed to include the corresponding

civil liability is instituted in the criminal

civil action. No reservation to file such

action pursuant to Rule 111, the

civil action separately shall be allowed.

offended party may intervene by counsel


in the prosecution of the offense.

Upon filing of the aforesaid joint


criminal and civil actions, the offended

SECTION 1. Institution of criminal

party shall pay in full the filing fees

and civil actions. -- (a) When a criminal

based on the amount of the check

action is instituted, the civil action for

involved, which shall be considered as

the recovery of civil liability arising

the actual damages claimed. Where the

from the offense charged shall be

complaint or information also seeks to

deemed instituted with the criminal

recover

liquidated,

moral,

nominal,

temperate or exemplary damages, the

True, each of the overt acts in these instances may

offended party shall pay the filing fees

give rise to two criminal liabilities -- one for estafa and another

based on the amounts alleged therein. If

for violation of BP 22. But every such act of issuing a

the amounts are not so alleged but any

bouncing check involves only one civil liability for the

of these damages are subsequently

offended party, who has sustained only a single injury.[9] This

awarded by the court, the filing fees

is the import of Banal v. Tadeo,[10] which we quote in part as

based on the amount awarded shall

follows:

constitute a first lien on the judgment.


Generally, the basis of civil
Where the civil action has been filed

liability arising from crime is the

separately and trial thereof has not yet

fundamental postulate of our law that

commenced, it may be consolidated

Every man criminally liable is also

with

upon

civilly liable (Art. 100, The Revised

application with the court trying the

Penal Code). Underlying this legal

latter case. If the application is granted,

principle is the traditional theory that

the trial of both actions shall proceed in

when a person commits a crime he

accordance with section 2 of this Rule

offends two entities namely (1) the

governing consolidation of the civil and

society in which he lives in or the

criminal actions.

political entity called the State whose law

the

criminal

action

he had violated; and (2) the individual


member of that society whose person,
Based on the foregoing rules, an offended party

right, honor, chastity or property was

may intervene in the prosecution of a crime, except in the

actually or directly injured or damaged

following instances: (1) when, from the nature of the

by the same punishable act or omission.

crime and the law defining and punishing it, no civil

However, this rather broad and general

liability arises in favor of a private offended party; and (2)

provision is among the most complex and

when, from the nature of the offense, the offended parties

controversial

are entitled to civil indemnity, but (a) they waive the right

procedure. It can be misleading in its

to institute a civil action, (b) expressly reserve the right to

implications especially where the same

do so or (c) the suit has already been instituted. In any of

act or omission may be treated as a crime

these instances, the private complainants interest in the

in one instance and as a tort in another or

case disappears and criminal prosecution becomes the

where the law allows a separate civil

sole function of the public prosecutor.[8] None of these

action to proceed independently of the

exceptions apply to the instant case. Hence, the private

course of the criminal prosecution with

prosecutor cannot be barred from intervening in the estafa

which it is intimately intertwined. Many

suit.

legal scholars treat as a misconception or

topics

in

criminal

fallacy the generally accepted notion that


the civil liability actually arises from the

crime when, in the ultimate analysis, it

need of election by the offended party. As both remedies

does not. While an act or omission is

are simultaneously available to this party, there can be

felonious because it is punishable by law,

no forum shopping.[11]

it gives rise to civil liability not so much


because it is a crime but because it

Hence, this Court cannot agree with what

caused damage to another. Viewing

petitioner ultimately espouses. At the present stage, no

things pragmatically, we can readily see

judgment on the civil liability has been rendered in

that what gives rise to the civil liability is

either criminal case. There is as yet no call for the

really the obligation and the moral duty

offended party to elect remedies and, after choosing one

of everyone to repair or make whole the

of them, be considered barred from others available to

damage caused to another by reason of

her.

his

own

act

or

omission,

done

intentionally or negligently, whether or

Election of Remedies

not the same be punishable by law. In


other words, criminal liability will give

Petitioner is actually raising the doctrine of

rise to civil liability only if the same

election of remedies. In its broad sense, election of

felonious act or omission results in

remedies refers to the choice by a party to an action of

damage or injury to another and is the

one of two or more coexisting remedial rights, where

direct and proximate cause thereof.

several such rights arise out of the same facts, but the

Damage or injury to another is evidently

term has been generally limited to a choice by a party

the foundation of the civil action. Such is

between inconsistent remedial rights, the assertion of

not the case in criminal actions for, to be

one being necessarily repugnant to, or a repudiation of,

criminally liable, it is enough that the act

the other.[12] In its more restricted and technical sense,

or omission complained of is punishable,

the election of remedies is the adoption of one of two or

regardless of whether or not it also

more coexisting ones, with the effect of precluding a

causes material damage to another. (See

resort to the others.[13]

Sangco, Philippine Law on Torts and


Damages, 1978, Revised Edition, pp.

The Court further elucidates in Mellon Bank v.

246-247).

Magsino[14] as follows:
As a technical rule of procedure, the

Thus, the possible single civil liability arising

purpose of the doctrine of election of

from the act of issuing a bouncing check can be the

remedies is not to prevent recourse to

subject of both civil actions deemed instituted with the

any remedy, but to prevent double

estafa case and the BP 22 violation prosecution. In the

redress for a single wrong.[15] It is

crimes of both estafa and violation of BP 22, Rule 111 of

regarded as an application of the law

the Rules of Court expressly allows, even automatically in

of estoppel, upon the theory that a

the present case, the institution of a civil action without

party cannot, in the assertion of his

right occupy inconsistent positions

to seek inconsistent remedies in his

which form the basis of his respective

claim for relief without being required

remedies. However, when a certain

to elect between them at the pleading

state of facts under the law entitles a

stage of the litigation.[19]

party to alternative remedies, both


founded upon the identical state of
facts,

these

remedies

are

not

considered inconsistent remedies. In

In the present cases before us, the institution of

such case, the invocation of one

the civil actions with the estafa cases and the inclusion

remedy is not an election which will

of another set of civil actions with the BP 22 cases are

bar the other, unless the suit upon the

not exactly repugnant or inconsistent with each other.

remedy first invoked shall reach the

Nothing in the Rules signifies that the necessary

stage of final adjudication or unless by

inclusion of a civil action in a criminal case for

the invocation of the remedy first

violation of the Bouncing Checks Law[20] precludes the

sought to be enforced, the plaintiff

institution in an estafa case of the corresponding civil

shall

action, even if both offenses relate to the issuance of the

have

gained

an

advantage

thereby or caused detriment or change

same check.

of situation to the other.[16] It must be


pointed out that ordinarily, election of

The purpose of Section 1(b) of Rule 111 is

remedies is not made until the judicial

explained by Justice Florenz D. Regalado (ret.), former

proceedings has gone to judgment on

chairman of the committee tasked with the revision of the

the merits.

[17]

Rules of Criminal Procedure. He clarified that the special


rule on BP 22 cases was added, because the dockets of the

Consonant with these rulings, this

courts were clogged with such litigations; creditors were

Court, through Justice J.B.L. Reyes,

using the courts as collectors. While ordinarily no filing

opined that while some American

fees were charged for actual damages in criminal cases,

authorities hold that the mere initiation

the rule on the necessary inclusion of a civil action with

of proceedings constitutes a binding

the payment of filing fees based on the face value of the

choice of remedies that precludes

check involved was laid down to prevent the practice

pursuit

of creditors of using the threat of a criminal prosecution

of

alternative

courses, the

better rule is that no binding election

to collect on their credit free of charge.[21]

occurs before a decision on the merits


is had or a detriment to the other party
supervenes.

[18]

Clearly, it was not the intent of the special rule

This is because the

to preclude the prosecution of the civil action that

principle of election of remedies is

corresponds to the estafa case, should the latter also be

discordant with the modern procedural

filed. The crimes of estafa and violation of BP 22 are

concepts embodied in the Code of

different and distinct from each other. There is no

Civil Procedure which permits a party

identity of offenses involved, for which legal jeopardy in

one case may be invoked in the other. The offenses

The trial court was, therefore, correct in holding

charged in the informations are perfectly distinct from

that the private prosecutor may intervene before the RTC

each other in point of law, however nearly they may be

in the proceedings for estafa, despite the necessary

connected in point of fact.

[22]

inclusion of the corresponding civil action in the


proceedings for violation of BP 22 pending before the

What Section 1(b) of the Rules of Court

MTC. A recovery by the offended party under one

prohibits is the reservation to file the corresponding civil

remedy, however, necessarily bars that under the other.

action. The criminal action shall be deemed to include

Obviously stemming from the fundamental rule against

the corresponding civil action. [U]nless a separate civil

unjust enrichment,[28]this is in essence the rationale for

action has been filed before the institution of the

the proscription in our law against double recovery for

criminal action, no such civil action can be instituted

the same act or omission.

after the criminal action has been filed as the same has

WHEREFORE, the Petition is DISMISSED and

been included therein.[23] In the instant case, the criminal

the assailed Order AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner.

action for estafa was admittedly filed prior to the


criminal case for violation of BP 22, with the

SO ORDERED.

corresponding filing fees for the inclusion of the


corresponding civil action paid accordingly.[24]
Furthermore, the fact that the Rules do not allow
the reservation of civil actions in BP 22 cases cannot
deprive private complainant of the right to protect her
interests in the criminal action for estafa. Nothing in the
current law or rules on BP 22 vests the jurisdiction of the
corresponding civil case exclusively in the court trying
[G.R. No. 163597. July 29, 2005]

the BP 22 criminal case.[25]


In promulgating the Rules, this Court did not
intend to leave the offended parties without any remedy
to protect their interests in estafa cases. Its power to
promulgate the Rules of Court is limited in the sense that
rules shall not diminish, increase or modify substantive
rights.[26] Private

complainants

intervention

in

HYATT

INDUSTRIAL

CORP., petitioner,
ELECTRIX

MANUFACTURING
vs. ASIA

CORP.

and

DYNAMIC
COURT

OF

APPEALS, respondents.
DECISION

the

prosecution of estafa is justified not only for the

PUNO, J.:

prosecution of her interests, but also for the speedy and


inexpensive administration of justice as mandated by the
Constitution.[27]

This is a petition for review of the decision of the


Court of Appeals dated October 8, 2003 in CA-G.R. SP
No. 71467 and its resolution dated May 14, 2004. The
assailed decision and resolution reversed the order dated

December 10, 2001 of the Regional Trial Court of

Criminal Procedure does not apply to the obligation in

Mandaluyong City, Branch 210 in Civil Case No. MC

this case, it being ex-contractu and notex-delicto.[3]

01-1493 denying the motion to dismiss filed by herein


Respondent questioned said order before the Court

respondent, Asia Dynamic Electrix Corporation.

of Appeals in a petition for certiorari. The appellate


On April 4, 2001, petitioner Hyatt Industrial

court, in its decision dated October 8, 2003, reversed the

Manufacturing Corporation filed before the Regional

order of the trial court. It held that the civil actions

Trial Court of Mandaluyong City a complaint for

deemed instituted with the filing of the criminal cases

recovery of sum of money against respondent Asia

for violation of B.P. 22 and Civil Case No. MC 01-1493

Dynamic Electrix Corporation. The complaint alleged

are of the same nature, i.e., for sum of money between

that respondent purchased from petitioner various

the same parties for the same transaction. Considering

electrical

fittings

that the courts where the two criminal cases were

amounting P1,622,467.14. Respondent issued several

pending acquired jurisdiction over the civil actions,

checks in favor of petitioner as payment. The checks,

which were deemed instituted therein, the respondent

however, were dishonored by the drawee bank on the

court could no longer acquire jurisdiction over the same

ground of insufficient funds/account closed. The

case.[4]

conduits

and

complaint further alleged that respondent failed to pay


despite demand. It prayed that respondent be ordered to

Respondent filed a motion for reconsideration

pay the amount of purchase, plus interest and attorneys

which was denied by the Court of Appeals in its

fees.[1]

resolution dated May 14, 2004.[5]

Respondent moved to dismiss the complaint on the


following grounds: (1) the civil action was deemed
included in the criminal actions for violation of Batas
Pambansa Blg. 22 (B.P. 22) previously filed by
petitioner against the officers of respondent corporation;
(2) Section 1(b) of Rule 111 of the Revised Rules of
Criminal Procedure prohibits the filing of a separate civil
action in B.P. 22 cases; and (3) respondent was guilty of
forum shopping and unjust enrichment.[2]
The trial court denied the motion to dismiss in its
order dated December 10, 2001. It ruled that since the

Hence,

this

petition

raising

the

following

arguments:
1. There is no identity of interests, causes of action, and
reliefs in Civil Case No. MC 01-1493 before the
Regional Trial Court of Mandaluyong City and the
criminal complaints for violation of BP Blg. 22 filed
against Gil Santillan and Juanito Pamatmat before the
Metropolitan Trial Court of Pasig City docketed as I.S.
No. 00-01-00304 and I.S. No. 00-01-00300.
2. Petitioner is not guilty of forum shopping.

act complained of arose from the alleged non-payment

3. Petitioner did not violate Section 1(b) of Rule 111 of

of the petitioner of its contractual debt, and not the

the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure when it filed

issuance of checks with insufficient funds, in accordance

the complaint in Civil Case No. MC 01-1493.[6]

with Article 31 of the Civil Code, the civil action could


proceed independently of the criminal actions. It said
that Section 1(b) of Rule 111 of the Revised Rules of

The petition is unmeritorious.

It appears that prior to the filing of the case for

damages, the offended party shall pay additional filing

recovery of sum of money before the Regional Trial

fees based on the amounts alleged therein. If the

Court of Mandaluyong City, petitioner had already filed

amounts are not so alleged but any of these damages are

separate criminal complaints for violation of B.P. 22

subsequently awarded by the court, the filing fees based

against the officers of respondent corporation, Gil

on the amount awarded shall constitute a first lien on the

Santillan and Juanito Pamatmat. They were docketed as

judgment.

[7]

I.S. No. 00-01-00304 and I.S. No. 00-01-00300,


respectively, and were both pending before the

Where the civil action has been filed separately and trial

Metropolitan Trial Court of Pasig City. These cases

thereof has not yet commenced, it may be consolidated

involve the same checks which are the subjects of Civil

with the criminal action upon application with the court

Case No. MC 01-1493 before the Regional Trial Court

trying the latter case. If the application is granted, the

of Mandaluyong City.

trial of both actions shall proceed in accordance with

[8]

section 2 of this Rule governing consolidation of the


We agree with the ruling of the Court of Appeals

civil and criminal actions.

that upon filing of the criminal cases for violation of B.P.


22, the civil action for the recovery of the amount of the

The foregoing rule was adopted from Circular No.

checks was also impliedly instituted under Section 1(b)

57-97 of this Court. It specifically states that the criminal

of Rule 111 of the 2000 Rules on Criminal Procedure.

action for violation of B.P. 22 shall be deemed to include

Under the present revised Rules, the criminal action for

the corresponding civil action. It also requires the

violation of B.P. 22 shall be deemed to include the

complainant to pay in full the filing fees based on the

corresponding civil action. The reservation to file a

amount of the check involved. Generally, no filing fees

separate civil action is no longer needed. [9] The Rules

are required for criminal cases, but because of the

provide:

inclusion of the civil action in complaints for violation


of B.P. 22, the Rules require the payment of docket fees

Section 1. Institution of criminal and civil actions.

upon the filing of the complaint. This rule was enacted to


help declog court dockets which are filled with B.P. 22

(a) x x x
(b) The criminal action for violation of Batas Pambansa
Blg. 22 shall be deemed to include the corresponding
civil action. No reservation to file such civil action
separately shall be allowed.

cases as creditors actually use the courts as collectors.


Because ordinarily no filing fee is charged in criminal
cases for actual damages, the payee uses the intimidating
effect of a criminal charge to collect his credit gratis and
sometimes, upon being paid, the trial court is not even
informed thereof.[10] The inclusion of the civil action in

Upon filing of the aforesaid joint criminal and civil

the criminal case is expected to significantly lower the

actions, the offended party shall pay in full the filing fees

number of cases filed before the courts for collection

based on the amount of the check involved, which shall

based on dishonored checks. It is also expected to

be considered as the actual damages claimed. Where the

expedite the disposition of these cases. Instead of

complaint or information also seeks to recover

instituting two separate cases, one for criminal and

liquidated, moral, nominal, temperate or exemplary

another for civil, only a single suit shall be filed and

tried. It should be stressed that the policy laid down by

case, Civil Case No. MC 01-1493, and the criminal

the Rules is to discourage the separate filing of the civil

cases, I.S. No. 00-01-00304 and I.S. No. 00-01-00300.

action. The Rules even prohibit the reservation of a


separate civil action, which means that one can no longer

First, the parties in Civil Case No. MC 01-1493

file a separate civil case after the criminal complaint is

represent the same interests as the parties in I.S. No. 00-

filed in court. The only instance when separate

01-00304 and I.S. No. 00-01-00300. I.S. No. 00-01-

proceedings are allowed is when the civil action is filed

00304 and I.S. No. 00-01-00300 were filed against the

ahead of the criminal case. Even then, the Rules

officers of respondent corporation who signed the checks

encourage the consolidation of the civil and criminal

as agents thereof. The records indicate that the checks

cases. We have previously observed that a separate civil

were in fact drawn in the account of respondent

action for the purpose of recovering the amount of the

corporation. It has not been alleged in the suit that said

dishonored checks would only prove to be costly,

officers acted beyond their authority in signing the

burdensome and time-consuming for both parties and

checks, hence, their acts may also be binding on

would further delay the final disposition of the case. This

respondent corporation, depending on the outcome of the

multiplicity of suits must be avoided. Where petitioners

proceedings.

rights may be fully adjudicated in the proceedings before


the trial court, resort to a separate action to recover civil
liability is clearly unwarranted.[11] In view of this special
rule governing actions for violation of B.P. 22, Article 31
of the Civil Code[12] cited by the trial court will not apply
to the case at bar.

Second, Civil Case No. MC 01-1493 and I.S. No.


00-01-00304 and I.S. No. 00-01-00300 seek to obtain
the same relief. With the implied institution of the civil
liability in the criminal actions before the Metropolitan
Trial Court of Pasig City, the two actions are merged
into one composite proceeding, with the criminal action

The pendency of the civil action before the court

predominating the civil. The prime purpose of the

trying the criminal case bars the filing of another civil

criminal action is to punish the offender to deter him and

action in another court on the ground of litis pendentia.

others from committing the same or similar offense, to

The elements of litis pendentia as a ground for dismissal

isolate him from society, reform or rehabilitate him or, in

of an action are: (1) identity of parties, or at least such

general, to maintain social order. The purpose,

parties who represent the same interest in both actions;

meanwhile, of the civil action is for the restitution,

(2) identity of rights asserted and relief prayed for, the

reparation or indemnification of the private offended

relief being founded on the same facts; and (3) the

party for the damage or injury he sustained by reason of

identity, with respect to the two preceding particulars in

the delictual or felonious act of the accused. [14] Hence,

the two cases, is such that any judgment that may be

the relief sought in the civil aspect of I.S. No. 00-01-

rendered in the pending case, regardless of which party

00304 and I.S. No. 00-01-00300 is the same as that

is successful, would amount to res judicata in the other.

sought in Civil Case No. MC 01-1493, that is, the


recovery of the amount of the checks, which, according

[13]

to petitioner, represents the amount to be paid by


We reject petitioners assertion that there is no

respondent for its purchases. To allow petitioner to

identity of parties and causes of action between the civil

proceed with Civil Case No. MC 01-1493 despite the

filing of I.S. No. 00-01-00304 and I.S. No. 00-01-00300


might result to a double payment of its claim.
Petitioner contends that there is no identity of
causes of action in the civil and criminal cases as the
amount claimed in Civil Case No. MC 01-1493 is
greater than the total amount of the checks involved in
I.S. No. 00-01-00304 and I.S. No. 00-01-00300. We are
not persuaded. We find that the inclusion of additional
checks in Civil Case No. MC 01-1493 is an attempt to

SAFEGUARD SECURITY G.R. NO. 165732

circumvent the rule against forum shopping, to make it

AGENCY, INC., and ADMER

appear that the objects of the civil and criminal

PAJARILLO,

proceedings are different. It is clear from the records that

Petitioners,

the checks involved in I.S. No. 00-01-00304[15] and I.S.

Present:

No. 00-01-00300[16] are the same checks cited by


petitioner in Civil Case No. MC 01-1493. [17] The Court

PANGANIBAN, C.J.*

will certainly not allow petitioner to recover a sum of

YNARES-SANTIAGO, (Working Chairperson)

money twice based on the same set of checks. Neither

- versus - AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ,

will the Court allow it to proceed with two actions based

CALLEJO, SR., and

on the same set of checks to increase its chances of

CHICO-NAZARIO, JJ.

obtaining a favorable ruling. Such runs counter to the


Courts policy against forum shopping which is a

LAURO TANGCO, VAL TANGCO,

deplorable practice of litigants in resorting to two

VERN LARRY TANGCO, VAN

different fora for the purpose of obtaining the same relief

LAURO TANGCO, VON LARRIE

to increase his chances of obtaining a favorable

TANGCO, VIEN LARI TANGCO

judgment.[18] It is a practice that ridicules the judicial

and VIVIEN LAURIZ TANGCO, Promulgated:

process, plays havoc with the rules on orderly procedure,

Respondents. December 14, 2006

and is vexatious and unfair to the other parties of the

x- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

case.[19]

-------------x

Thus, we find that the Court of Appeals committed


no reversible error in the assailed decision and

DECISION

resolution.
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.:
IN VIEW WHEREOF, the petition is DENIED.
SO ORDERED.

Before

us

is

petition

for

review

on certiorari filed by Safeguard Security Agency, Inc.

(Safeguard) and Admer Pajarillo (Pajarillo) assailing the


Decision[1] dated July

the

In their Answer,[6] petitioners denied the material

Resolution[2] dated October 20, 2004 issued by the Court

allegations in the complaint and alleged that Safeguard

of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No. 77462.

exercised the diligence of a good father of a family in

16,

2004 and

On November 3, 1997, at about 2:50 p.m.,


Evangeline Tangco (Evangeline) went

to

the

selection

and

supervision of Pajarillo;

that

Ecology

Evangelines death was not due toPajarillos negligence as

Bank, Katipunan Branch, Quezon City, to renew her

the latter acted only in self-defense. Petitioners set up a

time deposit per advise of the banks cashier as she would

compulsory counterclaim for moral damages and

sign a specimen card. Evangeline, a duly licensed

attorneys fees.

firearm holder with corresponding permit to carry the


same

outside

her

residence,

approached security

Trial thereafter ensued. On January 10, 2003, the

guard Pajarillo, who was stationed outside the bank, and

RTC rendered its Decision,[7] the dispositive portion of

pulled out her firearm from her bag to deposit the same

which reads:

for safekeeping. Suddenly,Pajarillo shot Evangeline with


his service shotgun hitting her in the abdomen instantly
causing her death.

WHEREFORE,
hereby

rendered

plaintiffs,

in

judgment
favor

the

of

heirs

is
the
of

Lauro Tangco, Evangelines husband, together with his

Evangeline Tangco,

six minor children (respondents) filed with the Regional

defendants Admer Pajarillo and

Trial Court (RTC) of Quezon City, a criminal case of

Safeguard

Homicide against Pajarillo, docketed as Criminal Case

ordering said defendants to pay the

No. 0-97-73806 and assigned to Branch 78. Respondents

plaintiffs, jointly and severally, the

reserved their right to file a separate civil action in the

following:

said

criminal

case. The

RTC

and

Security

against

Agency,

Inc.

of Quezon City

subsequently convicted Pajarillo of Homicide in its

1.

[3]

ONE HUNDRED

Decision dated January 19, 2000. On appeal to the CA,

FIFTY

SEVEN

the RTC decision was affirmed with modification as to

THOUSAND

the penalty in a Decision [4] dated July 31, 2000. Entry of

HUNDRED

Judgment was made on August 25, 2001.

PESOS (P157,430.00),

FOUR
THIRTY

as actual damages
Meanwhile, on January 14, 1998, respondents
filed

with

RTC,

Branch

273, Marikina City,

2.

FIFTY
THOUSAND

PESOS

complaint[5] for damages against Pajarillo for negligently

(P50,000.00) as death

shooting Evangeline and against Safeguard for failing to

indemnity;

observe the diligence of a good father of a family to

3.

ONE

MILLION

prevent the damage committed by its security guard.

PESOS

Respondents prayed for actual, moral and exemplary

(P1,000,000.00),

damages and attorneys fees.

moral damages;

as

4.

THREE

of its employee; that Safeguards evidence simply

HUNDRED

showed that it required its guards to attend trainings and

THOUSAND

PESOS

seminars which is not the supervision contemplated

as

under the law; that supervision includes not only the

(P300,000.00),
exemplary damages;
5.

issuance of regulations and instructions designed for the

THIRTY

protection of persons and property, for the guidance of

THOUSAND

PESOS

their servants and employees, but also the duty to see to

(P30,000.00),

as

it that such regulations and instructions are faithfully

attorneys fees; and


6.

complied with.

costs of suit.

Petitioners appealed the RTC decision to the


CA. On July 16, 2004, the CA issued its assailed

For lack of merit, defendants

Decision, the dispositive portion of which reads:

counterclaim is hereby DISMISSED.


IN
SO ORDERED.

[8]

VIEW

OF

ALL

THE

FOREGOING, the appealed decision is


hereby AFFIRMED, with

the

The RTC found respondents to be entitled to

modification that Safeguard Security

damages. It rejected Pajarillos claim that he merely acted

Agency, Inc.s civil liability in this case

in self-defense. It gave no credence to Pajarillos bare

is

claim that Evangeline was seen roaming around the area

103 of the Revised

prior to the shooting incident since Pajarillo had not

pronouncement as to costs.[9]

only

subsidiary

under

Penal

Art.

Code. No

made such report to the head office and the police


authorities. The RTC further ruled that being the guard
on duty, the situation demanded that he should have

In

finding

that

Safeguard

is

exercised proper prudence and necessary care by asking

only subsidiarily liable, the CA held that the applicable

Evangeline for him to ascertain the matter instead of

provisions are not Article 2180 in relation to Article

shooting her instantly; that Pajarillo had already been

2176 of the Civil Code, on quasi-delicts, but the

convicted of Homicide in Criminal Case No. 0-97-

provisions on civil liability arising from felonies under

73806; and that he also failed to proffer proof negating

the Revised Penal Code; that since Pajarillo had been

liability in the instant case.

found

guilty

of Homicide

in

final

and executory judgment and is said to be serving


The RTC also found Safeguard as employer
of Pajarillo to be

jointly

and

severally

sentence in Muntinlupa, he must be adjudged civilly

liable

liable under the provisions of Article 100 of the Revised

with Pajarillo. It ruled that while it may be conceded that

Penal Code since the civil liability recoverable in the

Safeguard had perhaps exercised care in the selection of

criminal action is one solely dependent upon conviction,

its employees, particularly of Pajarillo, there was no

because said liability arises from the offense charged and

sufficient evidence to show that Safeguard exercised the

no other; that this is also the civil liability that is deemed

diligence of a good father of a family in the supervision

extinguished with the extinction of the penal liability

with a pronouncement that the fact from which the civil

selection

and

supervision

of

its

action might proceed does not exist; that unlike in civil

employees, hence, should be excused

liability arising from quasi-delict, the defense of

from any liability.[10]

diligence of a good father of a family in the employment


and supervision of employees is inapplicable and

The

issues

resolution

are

whether

negligence

in

shooting

Safeguard

should

irrelevant in civil liabilities based on crimes or ex-

(1) Pajarillo is

delicto; that Article 103 of the Revised Penal Code

Evangeline;

provides that the liability of an employer for the civil

held solidarily liable for the damages awarded to

liability of their employees is only subsidiary, not joint

respondents.

or solidary.

guilty

for

and

of
(2)

be

Safeguard insists that the claim for damages by


respondents is based on culpa aquiliana under Article
for

2176[11] of the Civil Code, in which case, its liability is

Reconsideration which the CA denied in a Resolution

jointly and severally with Pajarillo. However, since it

dated October 20, 2004.

has established that it had exercised due diligence in the

Petitioners

filed

their

Motion

selection and supervision of Pajarillo, it should be


Hence,

the

instant

Petition

for

Review

exonerated from civil liability.

on Certiorari with the following assignment of errors, to


wit:

We will first resolve whether the CA correctly


held that respondents, in filing a separate civil action
against petitioners are limited to the recovery of
The

of

damages arising from a crime or delict, in which case the

finding

liability of Safeguard as employer under Articles 102

petitioner Pajarillo liable to respondents

and 103 of the Revised Penal Code[12] is subsidiary and

for the payment of damages and other

the defense of due diligence in the selection and

money claims.

supervision of employee is not available to it.

Appeals

Honorable

gravely

The

erred

Honorable

Court
in

Court

of

Appeals gravely erred when it applied

The CA erred in ruling that the liability of


Safeguard is only subsidiary.

Article 103 of the Revised Penal Code


in

holding

Safeguard solidarily [sic]

petitioner
liable

with

petitioner Pajarillo for the payment of

The law at the time the complaint for damages


was filed is Rule 111 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal
Procedure, as amended, to wit:

damages and other money claims.


The Honorable Court of Appeals
gravely erred in failing to find that
petitioner Safeguard Security Agency,
Inc. exercised due diligence in the

SECTION

1. Institution

of

criminal and civil actions. - When a

criminal action is instituted, the civil acti

Article 2176 of the Civil Code; or (b) where the injured

on for the recovery of civil

party is granted a right to file an action independent and


distinct from the criminal action under Article 33 of the
Civil Code. Either of these liabilities may be enforced

liability is impliedly instituted with the

against the offender subject to the caveat under Article

criminal action, unless the offended

2177 of the Civil Code that the offended party cannot

party waives the civil action, reserves

recover damages twice for the same act or omission or

his right to institute it separately, or

under both causes.[13]

institutes the civil action prior to the


criminal action.

It is important to determine the nature of


includes

respondents cause of action. The nature of a cause of

recovery of indemnity under the Revised

action is determined by the facts alleged in the complaint

Penal Code, and damages under Articles

as constituting the cause of action. [14] The purpose of an

32, 33, 34, and 2176 of the Civil Code

action or suit and the law to govern it is to be determined

of the Philippines arising from the same

not by the claim of the party filing the action, made in

act or omission of the accused.

his argument or brief, but rather by the complaint itself,

Such

civil

action

its allegations and prayer for relief.[15]


Respondents reserved the right to file a separate
civil action and in fact filed the same on January 14,

The pertinent portions of the complaint read:

1998.
7. That
The CA found that the source of damages in the

Defendant Admer A. Pajarillo was

the

instant case must be the crime of homicide, for which he

guard assigned and posted in the

had already been found guilty of and serving sentence

Ecology

thereof, thus must be governed by the Revised Penal

Bank Katipunan Branch, Quezon City,

Code.

who

was

employed

employment
We do not agree.

Safeguard

under
Security

Agency, Inc. hence there is employeremployee

An act or omission causing damage to another

of

and

relationship

between

co-

defendants.

may give rise to two separate civil liabilities on the part


of the offender, i.e., (1) civil liability ex delicto, under

The Safeguard Security Agency, Inc.

Article 100 of the Revised Penal Code; and (2)

failed to observe the diligence of a good

independent civil liabilities, such as those (a) not arising

father of a family to prevent damage to

from an act or omission complained of as a

herein plaintiffs.

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

8.

That

defendant Admer Pajarillo upon seeing

Evangeline Tangco, who brought her

only acts committed with negligence,

firearm out of her bag, suddenly without

but also acts which are voluntary and

exercising necessary caution/care, and in

intentional. As far back as the definitive

idiotic manner, with the use of his

case of Elcano v. Hill (77 SCRA 98

shotgun, fired and burst bullets upon

[1977]), this Court already held that:

Evangeline

M. Tangco,

killing

her

"x x x Article 2176, where it

instantly. x x x

refers to "fault or negligence," covers


not only acts "not punishable by law"

xxxx
16.

but also acts criminal in character,

That

defendants,

whether intentional and voluntary or

being

negligent. Consequently, a separate civil

employer and the employee are jointly

action lies against the offender in a

and severally liable for the death of

criminal act, whether or not he is

Evangeline M. Tangco.[16]

criminally prosecuted and found guilty

Thus, a reading of respondents complaint shows that the


latter are invoking their right to recover damages against
Safeguard for their vicarious responsibility for the injury
caused

by Pajarillos act

of

shooting

and

killing

Evangeline under Article 2176, Civil Code which


provides:

or acquitted, provided that the offended


party is not allowed, if he is actually
charged also criminally, to recover
damages on both scores, and would be
entitled in such eventuality only to the
bigger award of the two, assuming the
awards made in the two cases vary. In

ARTICLE 2176. Whoever by


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

other words, the extinction of civil


liability referred to in Par. (e) of Section
3, Rule 111, refers exclusively to civil
liability founded on Article 100 of the
Revised Penal Code, whereas the civil
liability for the same act considered as
quasi-delict only and not as a crime is
not extinguished even by a declaration
in the criminal case that the criminal act
charged has not happened or has not
been committed by the accused. Briefly

The scope of Article 2176 is not limited to acts


or omissions resulting from negligence. In Dulay v.
Court of Appeals,[17] we held:
x x x Well-entrenched

stated, We here hold, in reiteration of


Garcia,

the

doctrine that Article 2176 covers not

culpa aquilianaincludes

voluntary and negligent acts which may


be

is

that

punishable

supplied)

by

law." (Emphasis

ruling

in

Joaquin

vs. Aniceto,

L-

18719, Oct. 31, 1964.


The civil action filed by respondents was not
derived from the criminal liability of Pajarillo in the

We do not agree. The doctrine

criminal case but one based on culpa aquiliana or quasi-

in the case cited by the trial court is

delict which is separate and distinct from the civil

inapplicable to the instant case x x x.

liability arising from crime.

[18]

The source of the

xxxx

obligation sought to be enforced in the civil case is

In cases of negligence, the

a quasi-delict not an act or omission punishable by law.

injured party or his heirs has the choice


In Bermudez v. Melencio-Herrera,[19] where the

between an action to enforce the civil

issue involved was whether the civil action filed by

liability arising from crime under Article

plaintiff-appellants is founded on crime or on quasi-

100 of the Revised Penal Code and an

delict, we held:

action

for quasi-delict under

Article

2176-2194 of the Civil Code. If a party


x x x The trial court treated the

chooses the latter, he may hold the

case as an action based on a crime in

employer solidarily liable

view of the reservation made by the

negligent act of his employee, subject to

offended party in the criminal case

the employer's defense of exercise of the

(Criminal

diligence of a good father of the family.

Case

No.

92944),

also

for

the

pending before the court, to file a

In the case at bar, the action

separate civil action. Said the trial court:

filed by appellant was an action for


damages based on quasi-delict. The fact

It would appear that plaintiffs

that appellants reserved their right in

instituted this action on the assumption

the

that defendant Pontino's negligence in

independent civil action did not

the accident of May 10, 1969 constituted

preclude them from choosing to file a

a quasi-delict. The Court cannot accept

civil

the validity of that assumption. In

[20]

criminal

case

action

to

file

an

for quasi-delict.

(Emphasis supplied)

Criminal Case No. 92944 of this Court,


plaintiffs had already appeared as

Although the judgment in the criminal case

complainants. While that case was

finding Pajarillo guilty of Homicide is already final

pending, the offended parties reserved

and executory, such judgment has no relevance or

the right to institute a separate civil

importance to this case.[21] It would have been entirely

action. If, in a criminal case, the right to

different if respondents cause of action was for damages

file a separate civil action for damages is

arising from a delict, in which case the CA is correct in

reserved, such civil action is to be based

finding Safeguard to be only subsidiary liable pursuant

on crime and not on tort. That was the

to Article 103 of the Revised Penal Code.[22]

parties and which, if properly considered, would justify a


As clearly shown by the allegations in the
complaint, respondents

cause

of

action

is

based

on quasi-delict. Under Article 2180 of the Civil Code,

different conclusion; and (9) when the findings of fact of


the CA are premised on the absence of evidence and are
contradicted by the evidence on record. [24]

when the injury is caused by the negligence of the


employee, there instantly arises a presumption of law

A thorough review of the records of the case

that there was negligence on the part of the master or the

fails to show any cogent reason for us to deviate from

employer either in the selection of the servant or

the factual finding of the trial court and affirmed by the

employee, or in the supervision over him after selection

CA that petitioner Pajarillo was guilty of negligence in

or both. The liability of the employer under Article 2180

shooting Evangeline.

is direct and immediate. Therefore, it is incumbent upon


petitioners to prove that they exercised the diligence of a

Respondents

evidence

established

that

good father of a family in the selection and supervision

Evangelines purpose in going to the bank was to renew

of their employee.

her time deposit.[25] On the other hand, Pajarillo claims


that Evangeline drew a gun from her bag and aimed the

We

must

first

resolve

the

issue

of

whether Pajarillo was negligent in shooting Evangeline.

same at him, thus, acting instinctively, he shot her in


self-defense.

The issue of negligence is factual in nature.

Pajarillo testified that when Evangeline aimed

Whether a person is negligent or not is a question of fact,

the gun at him at a distance of about one meter or one

which, as a general rule, we cannot pass upon in a

arms length[26] he stepped backward, loaded the chamber

petition for review on certiorari, as our jurisdiction is

of his gun and shot her.[27] It is however unimaginable

limited to reviewing errors of law.[23]Generally, factual

that petitioner Pajarillo could still make such movements

findings of the trial court, affirmed by the CA, are final

if indeed the gun was already pointed at him. Any

and conclusive and may not be reviewed on appeal. The

movement could have prompted Evangeline to pull the

established exceptions are: (1) when the inference made

trigger to shoot him.

is manifestly mistaken, absurd or impossible; (2) when


there is grave abuse of discretion; (3) when the findings

Petitioner Pajarillo would like to justify his

are grounded entirely on speculations, surmises or

action in shooting Evangeline on his mere apprehension

conjectures; (4) when the judgment of the CA is based

that Evangeline will stage a bank robbery. However,

on misapprehension of facts; (5) when the findings of

such

fact are conflicting; (6) when the CA, in making its

own testimony. Pajarillo testified

findings, went beyond the issues of the case and the

incident, he saw Evangeline roaming under the fly over

same is contrary to the admissions of both appellant

which was about 10 meters away from the bank [28] and

and appellee; (7) when the findings of fact are

saw her talking to a man thereat; [29] that she left the man

conclusions without citation of specific evidence on

under the fly-over, crossed the street and approached the

which they are based; (8) when the CA manifestly

bank. However,

overlooked certain relevant facts not disputed by the

of Pajarillo, the records do not show that indeed

claim

is

except

befuddled

for

that

the

prior

bare

by his
to

the

testimony

Evangeline was seen roaming near the vicinity of the

beset by fear and perceived the act as a dangerous threat,

bank and acting suspiciously prior to the shooting

shot and killed the deceased out of pure instinct; [32] that

incident. In fact, there is no evidence that Pajarillo called

the act of drawing a gun is a threatening act, regardless

the attention of his head guard or the banks branch

of whether or not the gun was intended to be used

manager regarding his concerns or that he reported the

against petitioner Pajarillo;[33] that the fear that was

same to the police authorities whose outpost is just about

created in the mind of petitioner Pajarillo as he saw

15 meters from the bank.

EvangelineTangco drawing a gun from her purse was

Moreover, if Evangeline was already roaming


the vicinity of the bank, she could have already apprised

suddenly very real and the former merely reacted out of


pure self-preservation.[34]

herself that Pajarillo, who was posted outside the bank,


was armed with a shotgun; that there were two guards

Considering that unlawful aggression on the part

inside the bank[30] manning the entrance door. Thus, it is

of Evangeline is absent, Pajarillos claim of self-defense

quite incredible that if she really had a companion, she

cannot be accepted specially when such claim was

would leave him under the fly-over which is 10 meters

uncorroborated by any separate competent evidence

far from the bank and stage a bank robbery all by herself

other

without a back-up. In fact, she would have known, after

doubtful. Pajarillos apprehension that Evangeline will

surveying

gun

shoot him to stage a bank robbery has no basis at all. It is

at Pajarillo would not ensure entrance to the bank as

therefore clear that the alleged threat of bank robbery

there were guards manning the entrance door.

was just a figment of Pajarillos imagination which

the area,

that aiming

her

than

his

testimony

which

was

even

caused such unfounded unlawful aggression on his part.


Evidence, to be believed, must not only proceed
from the mouth of a credible witness, but it must be

Petitioners argue that Evangeline was guilty of

credible in itself such as the common experience and

contributory negligence. Although she was a licensed

observation of mankind can approve as probable under

firearm holder, she had no business bringing the gun in

the circumstances. We have no test of the truth of human

such

testimony, except its conformity to our knowledge,

instinctively upon seeing the gun; that had Evangeline

observation and experience. Whatever is repugnant to

been prudent, she could have warned Pajarillo before

these belongs to the miraculous and is outside judicial

drawing the gun and did not conduct herself with

cognizance.[31]

suspicion by roaming outside the vicinity of the bank;

establishment

where

people

would

react

that she should not have held the gun with the nozzle
That Evangeline just wanted to deposit her gun
before entering the bank and was actually in the act of
pulling

her

gun

from

her

bag

pointed at Pajarillo who mistook the act as hold up or


robbery.

when

petitioner Pajarillo recklessly shot her, finds support

We are not persuaded.

from the contentions raised in petitioners petition for


review where they argued that when Evangeline

As we have earlier held, Pajarillo failed to

approached the bank, she was seen pulling a gun from

substantiate his claim that Evangeline was seen roaming

inside her bag and petitioner Pajarillo who was suddenly

outside the vicinity of the bank and acting suspiciously

prior to the shooting incident. Evangelines death was


merely due to Pajarillos negligence in shooting her on
his imagined threat that Evangeline will rob the bank.

Employers shall be liable for the


damages caused by their employees and
household helpers acting within the

Safeguard contends that it cannot be jointly held

scope of their assigned tasks, even

liable since it had adequately shown that it had exercised

though the former are not engaged in

the diligence required in the selection and supervision of

any business or industry.

its employees. It claims that it had required the guards to


undergo the necessary training and to submit the

xxxx

requisite qualifications and credentials which even the


RTC found to have been complied with; that the RTC

The responsibility treated of in

erroneously found that it did not exercise the diligence

this article shall cease when the persons

required in the supervision of its employee. Safeguard

herein

further claims that it conducts monitoring of the

observed all the diligence of a good

activities of its personnel, wherein supervisors are

father of a family to prevent damage.

mentioned

prove

that

they

assigned to routinely check the activities of the security


guards which include among others, whether or not they

As the employer of Pajarillo, Safeguard is

are in their proper post and with proper equipment, as

primarily

well

employees

delict committed by the former. Safeguard is presumed

performances; that the fact that Pajarillo loaded his

to be negligent in the selection and supervision of his

firearm contrary to Safeguards operating procedure is

employee by operation of law. This presumption may be

not sufficient basis to say that Safeguard had failed its

overcome only by satisfactorily showing that the

duty of proper supervision; that it was likewise error to

employer exercised the care and the diligence of a good

say that Safeguard was negligent in seeing to it that the

father of a family in the selection and the supervision of

procedures and policies were not properly implemented

its employee.

as

regular

evaluations

of

the

and solidarily liable

for

the quasi-

by reason of one unfortunate event.


In the selection of prospective employees,
We are not convinced.

employers are required to examine them as to their


qualifications, experience, and service records. [35] On the

Article 2180 of the Civil Code provides:

other hand, due diligence in the supervision of


employees includes the formulation of suitable rules and

Art.

2180. The

obligation

regulations for the guidance of employees and the

imposed by Article 2176 is demandable

issuance of proper instructions intended for the

not only for ones own acts or omissions,

protection of the public and persons with whom the

but also for those of persons for whom

employer has relations through his or its employees and

one is responsible.

the imposition of necessary disciplinary measures upon


employees in case of breach or as may be warranted to

xxxx

ensure the performance of acts indispensable to the

business of and beneficial to their employer. To this, we

records do not show that Pajarillo had attended such

add that actual implementation and monitoring of

classroom instructions.

consistent compliance with said rules should be the

The records also failed to show that there was

constant concern of the employer, acting through

adequate training and continuous evaluation of the

dependable supervisors who should regularly report on

security guards performance. Pajarillo had only attended

their supervisory functions.[36] To establish these factors

an in-service training on March 1, 1997 conducted by

in a trial involving the issue of vicarious liability,

Toyota Sta. Rosa, his first assignment as security guard

employers must submit concrete proof, including

of Safeguard, which was in collaboration with

documentary evidence.

Safeguard. It was established that the concept of such


training was purely on security of equipments to be

We agree with the RTCs finding that Safeguard


had

exercised

of Pajarillo since

the

diligence
the

in

the

record

guarded and protection of the life of the employees. [43]

selection
shows

It

had

not

been

established

that

that Pajarillo underwent a psychological and neuro-

after Pajarillos training in Toyota, Safeguard had ever

psychiatric evaluation conducted by the St. Martin

conducted further training of Pajarillo when he was later

de Porres Center where no psychoses ideations were

assigned to guard a bank which has a different nature of

noted, submitted a certification on the Pre-licensing

business with that of Toyota. In fact, Pajarillotestified

training course for security guards, as well as police and

that being on duty in a bank is different from being on

NBI clearances.

duty in a factory since a bank is a very sensitive area. [44]

The RTC did not err in ruling that Safeguard fell

Moreover, considering

his

reactions

to

short of the diligence required in the supervision of its

Evangelines act of just depositing her firearm for

employee, particularly Pajarillo. In this case, while

safekeeping, i.e., of immediately shooting her, confirms

Safeguard presented Capt. James Camero, its Director

that there was no training or seminar given on how to

for Operations, who testified on the issuance of company

handle bank clients and on human psychology.

rules and regulations, such as the Guidelines of Guards


Who Will Be Assigned To Banks, [37] Weapons Training,
[38]

Furthermore, while Safeguard would like to

Safeguard Training Center Marksmanship Training

show that there were inspectors who go around the bank

Lesson Plan,[39] Disciplinary/Corrective Sanctions,[40] it

two times a day to see the daily performance of the

had

during Cameros cross-

security guards assigned therein, there was no record

examination that Pajarillo was not aware of such rules

ever presented of such daily inspections. In fact, if there

and

regulations.

was really such inspection made, the alleged suspicious

Notwithstanding Cameros clarification on his re-

act of Evangeline could have been taken noticed and

[41]

also

been

established

direct examination that these company rules and

reported.

regulations are lesson plans as a basis of guidelines of


the instructors during classroom instructions and not
necessary to give students copy of the same, [42] the

Turning now to the award of damages, we find


that

the

award

of

actual

damages

in

the

amount P157,430.00 which were the expenses incurred

by respondents in connection with the burial of

and minor children as they were deprived of her love and

Evangeline were supported by receipts. The award

care by her untimely demise.

ofP50,000.00 as civil indemnity for the death of


Evangeline is likewise in order.

We likewise uphold the award of exemplary


damages in the amount of P300,000.00. Under Article

As to the award of moral damages, Article 2206

2229 of the Civil Code, exemplary damages are imposed

of the Civil Code provides that the spouse, legitimate

by way of example or correction for the public good, in

children and illegitimate descendants and ascendants of

addition to moral, temperate, liquidated or compensatory

the deceased may demand moral damages for mental

damages.[49] It is awarded as a deterrent to socially

anguish by reason of the death of the deceased. Moral

deleterious actions. In quasi-delict, exemplary damages

damages are awarded to enable the injured party to

may be granted if the defendant acted with gross

obtain means, diversions or amusements that will serve

negligence.[50]

to alleviate the moral suffering he/she has undergone, by


reason of the defendants culpable action. Its award is

Pursuant to Article 2208 of the Civil Code,

aimed at restoration, as much as possible, of the

attorney's fees may be recovered when, as in the instant

spiritual status quo ante; thus it must be proportionate to

case, exemplary damages are awarded. Hence, we affirm

the suffering inflicted. [45] The intensity of the pain

the award of attorney's fees in the amount of P30,000.00.

experienced

by

the

relatives

of

the

victim

is

WHEREFORE,

the

petition

for

review

proportionate to the intensity of affection for him and

is DENIED. The Decision dated July 16, 2004 of the

bears no relation whatsoever with the wealth or means of

Court

the offender.[46]

is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION that the civil

of

Appeals

liability of petitioner Safeguard Security Agency, Inc.


In this case, respondents testified as to their
moral suffering caused by Evangelines death was so

is SOLIDARY andPRIMARY under Article 2180 of


the Civil Code.

sudden causing respondent Lauro to lose a wife and a


mother to six children who were all minors at the time of
[47]

her death. In People v. Teehankee, Jr.,

SO ORDERED.

we awarded one

million pesos as moral damages to the heirs of a


seventeen-year-old girl who was murdered. In Metro
Manila Transit Corporation v. Court of Appeals,[48] we
likewise awarded the amount of one million pesos as
moral damages to the parents of a third year high school
student and who was also their youngest child who died
in a vehicular accident since the girls death left a void in
their lives. Hence, we hold that the respondents are also
entitled to the amount of one million pesos as
Evangelines death left a void in the lives of her husband

[G.R. No. 147703. April 14, 2004]

PHILIPPINE RABBIT BUS LINES, INC., petitioner,


vs. PEOPLE

OF

THE

PHILIPPINES, respondent.

On

July

27,

1994,

Roman y Macadangdang]

accused

was

found

[Napoleon
guilty

and

convicted of the crime of reckless imprudence resulting


to triple homicide, multiple physical injuries and damage

DECISION

to property and was sentenced to suffer the penalty of


four (4) years, nine (9) months and eleven (11) days to

PANGANIBAN, J.:

six (6) years, and to pay damages as follows:

When the accused-employee absconds or jumps


bail, the judgment meted out becomes final and

a. to pay the heirs of JUSTINO TORRES the


sum of P50,000.00 as indemnity for his

executory. The employer cannot defeat the finality of the

death, plus the sum of P25,383.00, for

judgment by filing a notice of appeal on its own behalf

funeral expenses, his unearned income

in the guise of asking for a review of its subsidiary civil

for

liability. Both the primary civil liability of the accused-

one

year

at P2,500.00

month, P50,000.00 as indemnity for the

employee and the subsidiary civil liability of the

support of Renato Torres, and the further

employer are carried in one single decision that has

sum ofP300,000.00 as moral damages;

become final and executory.

b. to the heirs of ESTRELLA VELERO, the

The Case

sum of P50,000.00 as indemnity for her

Before this Court is a Petition for Review [1] under

death, the sum of P237,323.75 for

Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, assailing the March 29,

funeral expenses, her unearned income

2000[2] and the March 27, 2001[3] Resolutions of the

for three years at P45,000.00 per annum,

Court

No.

and the further sum of P1,000,000.00 as

59390. Petitioners appeal from the judgment of the

moral damages and P200,000.00 as

Regional Trial Court (RTC) of San Fernando, La Union

attorneys fees[;]

of

Appeals

(CA)

in

CA-GR

CV

in Criminal Case No. 2535 was dismissed in the first


Resolution as follows:

c. to the heirs of LORNA ANCHETA, the sum


of P50,000.00 as indemnity for her

WHEREFORE, for all the foregoing, the motion to

death, the sum of P22,838.00 as funeral

dismiss is GRANTED and the appeal is ordered

expenses, the sum of P20,544.94 as

DISMISSED.[4]

medical expenses and her loss of income


for 30 years at P1,000.00 per month, and

The second Resolution denied petitioners Motion


for Reconsideration.

the further sum of P100,000.00 for

[5]

The Facts

moral damages;
d. to

MAUREEN

BRENNAN,

the

sum

of P229,654.00 as hospital expenses,


The facts of the case are summarized by the CA in
this wise:

doctors fees of P170,000.00 for the


orthopedic surgeon, P22,500.00 for the

[n]eurologist, an additional indemnity

damages, P1,200.00 for loss of income

[of] at least P150,000.00 to cover future

and P5,000.00 as moral damages;

correction of deformity of her limbs, and


moral

damages

in

the

amount

k. to La Union Electric Company as the


registered owner of the Toyota Hi-Ace

of P1,000,000.00;

Van, the amount of P250,000.00 as


e. to ROSIE BALAJO, the sum of P3,561.46 as

actual damages for the cost of the totally

medical expenses, P2,000.00 as loss of

wrecked vehicle; to the owner of the

income,

jeepney, the amount of P22,698.38 as

and P25,000.00

as

moral

damages;

actual damages;

f. to TERESITA TAMONDONG, the sum


of P19,800.47

g. to

as

The court further ruled that [petitioner], in the event of

medical

the insolvency of accused, shall be liable for the civil

expenses, P800.00 for loss of income,

liabilities of the accused. Evidently, the judgment against

and P25,000.00 as moral damages;

accused had become final and executory.

JULIANA

amount

Admittedly, accused had jumped bail and remained at-

medical

large. It is worth mention[ing] that Section 8, Rule 124

expenses, P4,600.00 as actual damages

of the Rules of Court authorizes the dismissal of appeal

and her loss earnings of P1,400.00 as

when appellant jumps bail. Counsel for accused, also

well as moral damages in the amount

admittedly hired and provided by [petitioner], filed a

of P10,000.00;

notice of appeal which was denied by the trial court. We

TABTAB,

of P580.81

the

as

affirmed the denial of the notice of appeal filed in behalf


h. to

MIGUEL

ARQUITOLA,

of P12,473.82

as

expenses, P14,530.00
fees, P1,000.00

the

sum

of accused.

hospital
as

for

doctors

Simultaneously, on August 6, 1994, [petitioner] filed its

medicines

notice of appeal from the judgment of the trial

and P50,000.00 as moral damages;

court. On April 29, 1997, the trial court gave due course
to [petitioners] notice of appeal. On December 8, 1998,

i. to

CLARITA

CABANBAN,

sum

[petitioner] filed its brief. On December 9, 1998, the

medical

Office of the Solicitor General received [a] copy of

for

[petitioners] brief. On January 8, 1999, the OSG moved

medicines, P1,710.00 as actual damages

to be excused from filing [respondents] brief on the

and P5,000.00 as moral damages;

ground that the OSGs authority to represent People is

of P155.00

the

for

expenses, P87.00

j. to

MARIANO

CABANBAN,

the

sum

of P1,395.00 for hospital bills, P500.00


for

medicine, P2,100.00

as

actual

confined to criminal cases on appeal. The motion was


however denied per Our resolution of May 31, 1999. On
March 2, 1999, [respondent]/private prosecutor filed the
instant motion to dismiss.[6] (Citations omitted)

Ruling of the Court of Appeals

The Petition has no merit.

The CA ruled that the institution of a criminal case

Main Issue:

implied the institution also of the civil action arising


from the offense. Thus, once determined in the criminal
case against the accused-employee, the employers
subsidiary civil liability as set forth in Article 103 of the
Revised

Penal

Code

becomes

conclusive

and

enforceable.

Propriety of Appeal by the Employer


Pointing out that it had seasonably filed a notice of
appeal from the RTC Decision, petitioner contends that
the judgment of conviction against the accusedemployee has not attained finality. The former insists

The appellate court further held that to allow an

that its appeal stayed the finality, notwithstanding the

employer to dispute independently the civil liability

fact that the latter had jumped bail. In effect, petitioner

fixed in the criminal case against the accused-employee

argues that its appeal takes the place of that of the

would be to amend, nullify or defeat a final

accused-employee.

judgment. Since the notice of appeal filed by the accused


had already been dismissed by the CA, then the
judgment of conviction and the award of civil liability

We are not persuaded.


Appeals in Criminal Cases

became final and executory. Included in the civil liability


of the accused was the employers subsidiary liability.

Section 1 of Rule 122 of the 2000 Revised Rules of


Criminal Procedure states thus:

Hence, this Petition.

[7]

Any party may appeal from a judgment or final order,


The Issues
Petitioner states the issues of this case as follows:
A. Whether or not an employer, who dutifully
participated in the defense of its accused-employee, may
appeal the judgment of conviction independently of the
accused.

unless the accused will be placed in double jeopardy.


Clearly, both the accused and the prosecution may
appeal a criminal case, but the government may do so
only if the accused would not thereby be placed in
double jeopardy.[9] Furthermore, the prosecution cannot
appeal on the ground that the accused should have been
given a more severe penalty.[10] On the other hand, the

B. Whether or not the doctrines of Alvarez v. Court of

offended parties may also appeal the judgment with

Appeals (158 SCRA 57) and Yusay v. Adil (164 SCRA

respect to their right to civil liability. If the accused has

494) apply to the instant case.[8]

the right to appeal the judgment of conviction, the


offended parties should have the same right to appeal as

There is really only one issue. Item B above is

much of the judgment as is prejudicial to them.[11]

merely an adjunct to Item A.


Appeal by the Accused
The Courts Ruling
Who Jumps Bail

Well-established in our jurisdiction is the principle

Finality of a Decision

that the appellate court may, upon motion or motu


proprio, dismiss an appeal during its pendency if the
accused jumps bail. The second paragraph of Section 8
of Rule 124 of the 2000 Revised Rules of Criminal
Procedure provides:
The Court of Appeals may also, upon motion of the
appellee or motu proprio, dismiss the appeal if the
appellant escapes from prison or confinement, jumps
bail or flees to a foreign country during the pendency of
the appeal.[12]

in a Criminal Case
As to when a judgment of conviction attains finality
is explained in Section 7 of Rule 120 of the 2000 Rules
of Criminal Procedure, which we quote:
A judgment of conviction may, upon motion of the
accused, be modified or set aside before it becomes final
or before appeal is perfected. Except where the death
penalty is imposed, a judgment becomes final after the
lapse of the period for perfecting an appeal, or when the

This rule is based on the rationale that appellants

sentence has been partially or totally satisfied or served,

lose their standing in court when they abscond. Unless

or when the accused has waived in writing his right to

they surrender or submit to the courts jurisdiction, they

appeal, or has applied for probation.

are deemed to have waived their right to seek judicial


relief.[13]

In the case before us, the accused-employee has


escaped and refused to surrender to the proper

Moreover, this doctrine applies not only to the

authorities; thus, he is deemed to have abandoned his

accused who jumps bail during the appeal, but also to

appeal. Consequently, the judgment against him has

one who does so during the trial. Justice Florenz D.

become final and executory.[17]

Regalado succinctly explains the principle in this wise:


x x x. When, as in this case, the accused escaped after
his arraignment and during the trial, but the trial in
absentia proceeded resulting in the promulgation of a
judgment against him and his counsel appealed, since he

Liability of an Employer
in a Finding of Guilt
Article 102 of the Revised Penal Code states the
subsidiary civil liabilities of innkeepers, as follows:

nonetheless remained at large his appeal must be


dismissed by analogy with the aforesaid provision of this

In default of the persons criminally liable, innkeepers,

Rule [Rule 124, 8 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure]. x

tavernkeepers, and any other persons or corporations

x x[14]

shall be civilly liable for crimes committed in their


establishments, in all cases where a violation of

The accused cannot be accorded the right to appeal

municipal ordinances or some general or special police

unless they voluntarily submit to the jurisdiction of the

regulation shall have been committed by them or their

court or are otherwise arrested within 15 days from

employees.

notice of the judgment against them. [15] While at large,


they cannot seek relief from the court, as they are

Innkeepers are also subsidiary liable for restitution of

deemed to have waived the appeal.[16]

goods taken by robbery or theft within their houses from

guests lodging therein, or for payment of the value

reserves the right to institute it separately or institutes

thereof, provided that such guests shall have notified in

the civil action prior to the criminal action.

advance

the

innkeeper

himself,

or

the

person

representing him, of the deposit of such goods within the

xxxxxxxxx

inn; and shall furthermore have followed the directions


which such innkeeper or his representative may have
given them with respect to the care and vigilance over
such goods. No liability shall attach in case of robbery
with violence against or intimidation of persons unless
committed by the innkeepers employees.
Moreover, the foregoing subsidiary liability applies
to employers, according to Article 103 which reads:

Only the civil liability of the accused arising from


the crime charged is deemed impliedly instituted in a
criminal action, that is, unless the offended party waives
the civil action, reserves the right to institute it
separately, or institutes it prior to the criminal action.
[18]

Hence, the subsidiary civil liability of the employer

under Article 103 of the Revised Penal Code may be


enforced by execution on the basis of the judgment of
conviction meted out to the employee.[19]

The subsidiary liability established in the next preceding


article shall also apply to employers, teachers, persons,

It is clear that the 2000 Rules deleted the

and corporations engaged in any kind of industry for

requirement of reserving independent civil actions and

felonies committed by their servants, pupils, workmen,

allowed these to proceed separately from criminal

apprentices, or employees in the discharge of their

actions. Thus, the civil actions referred to in Articles 32,

duties.

[20]

33,[21]34[22] and 2176[23] of the Civil Code shall remain

separate, distinct and independent of any criminal


Having laid all these basic rules and principles, we
now address the main issue raised by petitioner.
Civil Liability Deemed Instituted

prosecution based on the same act. Here are some direct


consequences of such revision and omission:
1. The right to bring the foregoing actions based on
the Civil Code need not be reserved in the criminal

in the Criminal Prosecution

prosecution, since they are not deemed included therein.

At the outset, we must explain that the 2000 Rules

2. The institution or the waiver of the right to file a

of Criminal Procedure has clarified what civil actions are

separate civil action arising from the crime charged does

deemed instituted in a criminal prosecution.

not extinguish the right to bring such action.

Section 1 of Rule 111 of the current Rules of


Criminal Procedure provides:
When a criminal action is instituted, the civil action for

3. The only limitation is that the offended party


cannot recover more than once for the same act or
omission.[24]

the recovery of civil liability arising from the offense

What is deemed instituted in every criminal

charged shall be deemed instituted with the criminal

prosecution is the civil liability arising from the crime or

action unless the offended party waives the civil action,

delict per se (civil liability ex delicto), but not those


liabilities arising from quasi-delicts, contracts or quasi-

contracts. In fact, even if a civil action is filed separately,

act independently on their own behalf, but can only

the ex delicto civil liability in the criminal prosecution

defend the accused.

remains, and the offended party may -- subject to the


control of the prosecutor -- still intervene in the criminal
action, in order to protect the remaining civil interest
therein.[25]
This discussion is completely in accord with the
Revised Penal Code, which states that [e]very person
criminally liable for a felony is also civilly liable. [26]

Waiver of Constitutional Safeguard


Against Double Jeopardy
Petitioners appeal obviously aims to have the
accused-employee

absolved

responsibility and

the

of

judgment

his

criminal

reviewed

as

whole. These intentions are apparent from its Appellants

Petitioner argues that, as an employer, it is

Brief[29] filed with the CA and from its Petition[30] before

considered a party to the criminal case and is

us, both of which claim that the trial courts finding of

conclusively

guilt is not supported by competent evidence.[31]

bound

by

the

outcome

thereof. Consequently, petitioner must be accorded the


right to pursue the case to its logical conclusion -including the appeal.

An appeal from the sentence of the trial court


implies a waiver of the constitutional safeguard against
double jeopardy and throws the whole case open to a

The argument has no merit. Undisputedly, petitioner

review by the appellate court. The latter is then called

is not a direct party to the criminal case, which was filed

upon to render judgment as law and justice dictate,

solely against Napoleon M. Roman, its employee.

whether favorable or unfavorable to the appellant.


[32]

This is the risk involved when the accused decides to

appeal a sentence of conviction. [33] Indeed, appellate

comprehensive list of cases dealing with the subsidiary

courts have the power to reverse, affirm or modify the

liability of employers. Thereafter, it noted that none can

judgment of the lower court and to increase or reduce the

be applied to it, because in all th[o]se cases, the accuseds

penalty it imposed.[34]

In

its

Memorandum,

petitioner

cited

employer did not interpose an appeal. [27] Indeed,


petitioner cannot cite any single case in which the

If the present appeal is given course, the whole case

employer appealed, precisely because an appeal in such

against

the

accused-employee

becomes

open

to

circumstances is not possible.

review. It thus follows that a penalty higher than that


which has already been imposed by the trial court may

The cases dealing with the subsidiary liability of

be meted out to him. Petitioners appeal would thus

employers uniformly declare that, strictly speaking, they

violate his right against double jeopardy, since the

are not parties to the criminal cases instituted against

judgment against him could become subject to

their employees.[28] Although in substance and in effect,

modification without his consent.

they have an interest therein, this fact should be viewed


in the light of their subsidiary liability. While they may

We are not in a position to second-guess the reason

assist their employees to the extent of supplying the

why the accused effectively waived his right to appeal

latters lawyers, as in the present case, the former cannot

by jumping bail. It is clear, though, that petitioner may

not appeal without violating his right against double

employee; that by jumping bail, he has waived his right

jeopardy.

to appeal; and that the judgment in the criminal case


against him is now final.

Effect of Absconding
Subsidiary Liability
on the Appeal Process
Upon Finality of Judgment
Moreover, within the meaning of the principles
governing the prevailing criminal procedure, the accused

As a matter of law, the subsidiary liability of

impliedly withdrew his appeal by jumping bail and

petitioner now accrues. Petitioner argues that the rulings

thereby made the judgment of the court below final.

of this Court in Miranda v. Malate Garage & Taxicab,

[35]

Having been a fugitive from justice for a long period

Inc.,[41] Alvarez v. CA[42] and Yusay v. Adil[43] do not apply

of time, he is deemed to have waived his right to

to the present case, because it has followed the Courts

appeal. Thus,

directive to the employers in these cases to take part in

his

conviction

is

now

final

and

executory. The Court in People v. Ang Gioc[36] ruled:

the

criminal

cases

against

their

employees. By

participating in the defense of its employee, herein


There are certain fundamental rights which cannot be

petitioner tries to shield itself from the undisputed

waived even by the accused himself, but the right of

rulings laid down in these leading cases.

appeal is not one of them. This right is granted solely for


the benefit of the accused. He may avail of it or not, as

Such posturing is untenable. In dissecting these

he pleases. He may waive it either expressly or by

cases on subsidiary liability, petitioner lost track of the

implication. When the accused flees after the case has

most basic tenet they have laid down -- that an

been submitted to the court for decision, he will be

employers liability in a finding of guilt against its

deemed to have waived his right to appeal from the

accused-employee is subsidiary.

judgment rendered against him. x x x.[37]


Under Article 103 of the Revised Penal Code,
By fleeing, the herein accused exhibited contempt

employers are subsidiarily liable for the adjudicated civil

of the authority of the court and placed himself in a

liabilities of their employees in the event of the latters

position to speculate on his chances for a reversal. In the

insolvency.[44] The provisions of the Revised Penal Code

process, he kept himself out of the reach of justice, but

on subsidiary liability -- Articles 102 and 103 -- are

hoped to render the judgment nugatory at his option.

deemed written into the judgments in the cases to which

[38]

they are applicable.[45] Thus, in the dispositive portion of

Such conduct is intolerable and does not invite

leniency on the part of the appellate court.[39]

its decision, the trial court need not expressly pronounce


the subsidiary liability of the employer.

Consequently, the judgment against an appellant


who escapes and who refuses to surrender to the proper
authorities becomes final and executory.[40]

In the absence of any collusion between the


accused-employee and the offended party, the judgment
of conviction should bind the person who is subsidiarily

Thus far, we have clarified that petitioner has no


right to appeal the criminal case against the accused-

liable.[46] In effect and implication, the stigma of a

its liability has transformed its nature; its liability

criminal conviction surpasses mere civil liability.[47]

remains subsidiary. Neither will its participation erase its


subsidiary liability. The fact remains that since the

To allow employers to dispute the civil liability

accused-employees conviction has attained finality, then

fixed in a criminal case would enable them to amend,

the

nullify or defeat a final judgment rendered by a

facto attaches.

subsidiary

liability

of

the

employer ipso

competent court.[48] By the same token, to allow them to


appeal the final criminal conviction of their employees

According to the argument of petitioner, fairness

without the latters consent would also result in

dictates that while the finality of conviction could be the

improperly amending, nullifying or defeating the

proper sanction to be imposed upon the accused for

judgment.

jumping bail, the same sanction should not affect it. In


effect, petitioner-employer splits this case into two:first,

The decision convicting an employee in a criminal

for itself; and second, for its accused-employee.

case is binding and conclusive upon the employer not


only with regard to the formers civil liability, but also

The untenability of this argument is clearly

with regard to its amount. The liability of an employer

evident. There is only one criminal case against the

cannot be separated from that of the employee.

[49]

accused-employee. A finding of guilt has both criminal


and civil aspects. It is the height of absurdity for this

Before the employers subsidiary liability is exacted,

single case to be final as to the accused who jumped bail,

however, there must be adequate evidence establishing

but not as to an entity whose liability is dependent upon

that (1) they are indeed the employers of the convicted

the conviction of the former.

employees; (2) that the former are engaged in some kind


of industry; (3) that the crime was committed by the

The subsidiary liability of petitioner is incidental to

employees in the discharge of their duties; and (4) that

and dependent on the pecuniary civil liability of the

the execution against the latter has not been satisfied due

accused-employee. Since the civil liability of the latter

to insolvency.[50]

has become final and enforceable by reason of his flight,


then the formers subsidiary civil liability has also

The resolution of these issues need not be done in a

become immediately enforceable. Respondent is correct

separate civil action. But the determination must be

in arguing that the concept of subsidiary liability is

based on the evidence that the offended party and the

highly contingent on the imposition of the primary civil

employer

liability.

may

fully

and

freely

present. Such

determination may be done in the same criminal action


in which the employees liability, criminal and civil, has
been pronounced;

[51]

No Deprivation

and in a hearing set for that precise

purpose, with due notice to the employer, as part of the


proceedings for the execution of the judgment.

of Due Process
As to the argument that petitioner was deprived of

Just because the present petitioner participated in

due process, we reiterate that what is sought to be

the defense of its accused-employee does not mean that

enforced is the subsidiary civil liability incident to and

dependent upon the employees criminal negligence. In


other

words,

the

becomes ipso

RTC Decision against the accused. It should be clear that

factosubsidiarily liable upon the conviction of the

only after proof of his insolvency may the subsidiary

employee and upon proof of the latters insolvency, in the

liability of petitioner be enforced. It has been sufficiently

same way that acquittal wipes out not only his primary

proven

civil liability, but also his employers subsidiary liability

relationship; that the employer is engaged in some kind

[52]

of industry; and that the employee has been adjudged

for his criminal negligence.

employer

All told, what is left to be done is to execute the

that

there

exists

an

employer-employee

guilty of the wrongful act and found to have committed


It should be stressed that the right to appeal is

the offense in the discharge of his duties. The proof is

neither a natural right nor a part of due process. [53] It is

clear from the admissions of petitioner that [o]n 26

merely a procedural remedy of statutory origin, a

August 1990, while on its regular trip from Laoag to

remedy that may be exercised only in the manner

Manila, a passenger bus owned by petitioner, being then

prescribed by the provisions of law authorizing such

operated

exercise.[54] Hence, the legal requirements must be

Roman, figured in an accident in San Juan, La Union x

strictly complied with.[55]

x x.[61] Neither does petitioner dispute that there was

It would be incorrect to consider the requirements


of the rules on appeal as merely harmless and trivial
technicalities that can be discarded. [56] Indeed, deviations
from the rules cannot be tolerated.

[57]

In these times when

court dockets are clogged with numerous litigations,

by

petitioners

driver,

Napoleon

already a finding of guilt against the accused while he


was in the discharge of his duties.
WHEREFORE,
hereby DENIED, and

the

Petition
the

is
assailed

Resolutions AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner.

such rules have to be followed by parties with greater


fidelity, so as to facilitate the orderly disposition of those
cases.

SO ORDERED.

[58]

After a judgment has become final, vested rights are


acquired by the winning party. If the proper losing party
has the right to file an appeal within the prescribed
period, then the former has the correlative right to enjoy
the finality of the resolution of the case. [59]
EXTINCTION OF CIVIL LIABILITY (RULE 111(2B),
In fact, petitioner admits that by helping the
accused-employee, it participated in the proceedings
before the RTC; thus, it cannot be said that the employer
was deprived of due process. It might have lost its right

ROC)
JOSEPHINE M. SANCHEZ, G.R. No. 155309
Petitioner,

to appeal, but it was not denied its day in court. [60] In


fact, it can be said that by jumping bail, the accusedemployee, not the court, deprived petitioner of the right
to appeal.

P
resent:

P
a
n
g
a

n
i

t bottom, the resolution of this case hinges on the

credibility of the witnesses and their testimonies. Since

the factual findings of the lower courts are disparate, this

Court

reviewed the records. It found no sufficient reason to

painstakingly

disbelieve the well-explained findings and equally


J

logical conclusions of the trial court. The evidence

proffered by respondent even corroborated relevant

portions of those of petitioner. Thus, the evidence


supported the ruling of the trial court that the acquittal of

Chairman,

petitioner was based on its reasonable finding that she

- versus - Sandoval-Gutierrez,

Corona,

had not committed the crime imputed to her.


Consequently, she incurred no civil liability for the
alleged offense.

Carpio Morales, and


Garcia, JJ

The Case

FAR EAST BANK AND TRUST Promulgated:


COMPANY,[1]
Respondent. November 15, 2005

Before us is a Petition for Review[2] under Rule


45 of the Rules of Court, seeking to reverse the July 31,
2001 Decision[3] and the August 30, 2002 Resolution[4] of

x -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --- -- -- -- x

the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-GR CV No. 53715.


The challenged Decision disposed as follows:

WHEREFORE,
DECISION

the

assailed

order is REVERSED and SET ASIDE.


[Petitioner] JOSEPHINE SANCHEZ is
hereby ordered to pay [Respondent] Far
East Bank and Trust Company, the
amount of One Million One Hundred

PANGANIBAN, J.:

Eighty Seven Thousand Five Hundred

Thirty Pesos and Eighty Six Centavos

the said current and money market

(P1,187,530.86) as actual damages. This

accounts.

is without prejudice to [petitioner]s


recourse of reimbursement from the
other persons who participated in the
transactions.[5]

According to [respondent], [petitioner]


made unauthorized withdrawals from
the account of CIFL in FEBTC through
the

use

of

forged

or

falsified

applications for cashiers checks which


were deposited to her personal accounts.
The assailed Resolution denied reconsideration.

Once credited to her account, she


withdrew

the

misappropriated,

amounts

and

misapplied

and

converted them to her personal benefit


and advantage, to the damage of

The Facts

FEBTC.

The antecedents of the case are related by the


CA as follows:

[Petitioner supposedly] employed three


modes

in

the

said

fraudulent

transactions, namely:
It is undisputed that Kai J. Chin was the
director and representative of Chemical
Bank. Its subsidiary, the Chemical
International Finance Limited (CIFL),
was an investor in [Respondent] Far
East

Bank

and

Trust

[C]ompany

(FEBTC), x x x. In representing the


interest of CIFL in FEBTC, Chin was
made a director and sr. vice president of
FEBTC. [Petitioner] Josephine Sanchez
was, in turn, assigned as secretary of
Chin. CIFL also maintained a checking
account

(CA#

0009-04212-1)

in

FEBTCs investment arm, the Far East


Bank Investment, Inc. (FEBII). Chin
was one of the authorized signatories in

In the First Mode, [petitioner] caused


the issuance of a cashiers check payable
to bearer with number 461390, dated
September 29, 1992, in the sum
of P250,040.86. This is the subject of
Crim.

Case

No.

93-126175.

She

presented a forged letter of confirmation


bearing the forged signature of Chin
addressed to Beatriz Bagsit, Cash
Department Head of FEBTC. This
check was paid pursuant to the said
confirmation. [Petitioner] immediately
deposited this check to her FEBTC

Savings Account No. 0101-39109-9 and

The Third Mode, was frequently used

on

which involved checks payable to Chin.

September

30,

1992,

she

withdrew P200,040.86.

[Petitioner] was designated as Chins


Under the Second Mode, [petitioner]

representative

to

purchase

cashiers

filed applications forms to purchase

checks using applications which bore

cashiers checks payable to her, [with]

forged signatures of Chin as a purchaser

Chin as the supposed purchaser. Said

and the payee.

applications were accompanied by a


forged

memorandum

of

Chin

confirming [petitioner] as the payeebeneficiary. After


Bagsit

of

the

the

approval

applications

After

by

Bagsit

application

and

and

has
has

approved

the

checked

the

authenticity of Chins signatures, a

memoranda, checks were issued, as

cashiers

follows:

check

is

issued.

Then

[petitioner] claimed the check, left then


came back soon to encash it. The check
when presented for encashment already

Check No. Date Amount Exhibit

had two signatures of Chin on its dorsal


side, both signatures being forged. The
first forged signature represents Chins
endorsement of the check as payee and

461739 10/22/92 P489,450.00 F

the second, Chins purported receipt of


the checks proceeds. The teller pays the

461963 04/11/92 160,550.00 G

value of the check only if initialed by


464801 05/24/93 180,090.00 H

Bagsit.

465405 06/30/93 107,400.00 I


In this mode, 16 checks were issued, to
wit:
In compliance with bank procedures
[petitioner] signs the checks twice, one
as an endorsement and two as proof of
receipt of the proceeds which she then
deposited to her FEBTC account.

Check No.

Date

Amount

Exhibit

1417

1488

2197

1318

2420

2482

2717

2946

[Petitioner allegedly] confessed to Chin


10/13/92

P100,000.00

account. Chin referred the matter to the


10/20/92

150,000.00

11/17/92

11/26/92

50,000.00

190,000.00

funded by an unauthorized debit against


the CIFL account, as well as the
corresponding applications for their
issuance
Philippine

12/09/92

200,400.00

were

examined

National

at

Police

the
Crime

Laboratory. All of Chins signatures


borne on all the checks and applications

12/12/92

220,000.00

were found to have been good forgeries.


With the damage done, FEBTC had to

01/04/93

210,000.00

reimburse
ultimately

01/18/93

200,000.00

the

CIFL

suffered

misappropriated

account

and

the

total
amount

of P3,787,530.86.[6]
02/01/93

180,000.00

3606

02/26/93

180,000.00

3776

03/08/93

200,000.00

U
The main defense of petitioner consisted of a

3850

03/19/93

200,000.00

4108

04/01/93

150,000.00

4329

04/20/93

100,000.00

4620

FEBTCs audit division for further


investigation. All the cashiers checks,

3241

4432

that she tampered with the CIFL

denial of the forgeries. She asserted that she had


deposited the checks to her account, under the authority
and instructions of Kai Chin. Afterwards, petitioner
withdrew the amounts and gave them to him.[7]

Kai Chin denied that he had given that authority


04/27/93

150,000.00

to her, and insisted that she had signed the subject


documents. However, he did not rebut her testimony that

05/13/93

150,000.00

she had turned over the proceeds of the checks to him.

and consequently acquits her from all


the charges, with costs de oficio. Her

Ruling of the Trial Court

bail bonds are released and the hold


departure order as well as the order of
attachment are lifted.[11]

The Regional Trial Court (RTC) did not find Kai Chin to
be a credible witness. According to the RTC, FEBTCs
records showed that, contrary to his testimony, he had
expressly authorized petitioner to transact matters
concerning Chemical Banks account.[8]

Subsequently, respondent filed a Motion for


The trial judge doubted the integrity of the findings and
the report of the PNP handwriting expert. He noted the
nonuse during the handwriting analysis of Kai Chins
contemporaneous signatures. Besides, the examination
was initiated unilaterally by FEBTC officials, who had
submitted sample signatures of their own choice.[9]

Reconsideration of the civil aspect of the RTC Decision.


In an Order[12] dated March 20, 1996, the trial court
denied reconsideration. Quoting portions of its Decision,
the RTC said in its Order that the acquittal of the
accused was not exactly on the ground of reasonable
doubt, but that she was not the author of the frauds
allegedly perfpetrated (sic). Thus, it held that no civil
liability against her may properly be made.

The RTC added that the allegedly fraudulent transactions


had occurred from September 1992 to June 1993, with
the

use

of

documents bearing the signatures of other officials and

Ruling of the Court of Appeals

employees of respondent. In other words, all the


questioned transactions had been approved and allowed

Granting respondents appeal, the appellate court ruled

by the bank officials concerned, despite apparent

that the trial courts judgment of acquittal did not

procedural

infirmities.[10] Yet,

only

petitioner

indicted.

was

preclude recovery of civil indemnity based on a quasi


delict.[13] The CA held that the outcome of the criminal
case,

whether

conviction

or

acquittal,

was

inconsequential in adjudging civil liability arising from


Thus, the RTC disposed as follows:

the same act that could also be considered a quasi delict.


Moreover, FEBTC did not have to reserve its right to file
a separate civil action for damages, because the law had

FOR

ALL

THE

FOREGOING

already made that reservation on respondents behalf. [14]

CONSIDERATIONS, the Court finds


and so holds that the prosecution failed
to prove the culpability of the accused in
any of these cases with moral certainty,

The CA further held that, contrary to the trial courts


clarifications in its March 20, 1996 Order, petitioner had
been acquitted merely on reasonable doubt arising from

insufficiency of evidence to establish her identity as

accused for being not the author of the

perpetrator of the crime. Her acquittal was not due to the

crime?

nonexistence of the crime for which civil liability could


arise.[15] Although it agreed with the RTC that forgery
had not been satisfactorily proven by FEBTC, the CA
nonetheless found petitioner liable for her failure to turn
over to respondent the proceeds of the checks. The

(3) Whether a separate civil


action is necessary to be instituted after
the accused is acquitted in a criminal
case based on reasonable doubt?

failure supposedly constituted an actionable fraud. [16]


(4) Whether the civil aspect of
Thus, the appellate court ordered petitioner to pay
respondent P1,187,530.86

as

actual

damages,

representing the value of the checks that had been paid


in her name and to her account.[17]

the criminal offenses where the accused


was acquitted may be pursued by a party
other

than

the

offended

parties?

Otherwise stated, whether the civil


liability may be pursued by a party
which is not a real party in interest after
the acquittal of the accused of the

Hence, this Petition.[18]

offenses charged?[19]

The Issues
The Courts Ruling
Petitioner raises the following issues for this

The Petition is meritorious.

Courts consideration:
First Issue:
(1) Whether the judgment of
conviction had already become final at

Timeliness of the
Motion for Reconsideration

the time the motion for reconsideration


of the civil aspect was filed by the
complainant-appellant?

Because the RTC Decision had been promulgated on


December 15, 1995, and respondents Motion for

(2) Whether an appeal on the


civil aspect may be made from a
decision in a criminal case acquitting the

Reconsideration was filed two months after, on February


14, 1996, petitioner instantly concludes that the Motion
was filed out of time.

Respondent, however, contends that the time for filing

of the accused, or was promulgated in the manner set

the Motion should be counted from February 1, 1996 --

forth in Section 6 of Rule 116 (now Section 6 [24] of Rule

when

received

120) of the Rules of Court. This ruling was reiterated

the trial courts Decision -- not from the date of notice to

in People v. Tamani,[25] in which the Court has further

the public prosecutor.[20] To determine the period for

clarified that the word promulgation in the old provision

filing from the latter date would undermine the dual

should

it

aspects of a criminal litigation, in which the right of the

be

construed

as

referring

to

judgment;

[26]

and notice, to order.

offended party to appeal the civil aspect is independent


of the decision of the accused on whether or not to
appeal the case.[21]

The above ruling, however, is relevant and


applicable to the accused who appeals. In the present
case, we are confronted with the Motion filed by

We uphold respondent on this issue. Section 6 of Rule


122 of the Rules of Court states as follows:
SEC. 6. When appeal to be
taken. An appeal must be taken within
fifteen (15) days from promulgation of
the judgment or from notice of the final
order appealed from. This period for
perfecting an appeal shall be suspended
from the time a motion for new trial or
reconsideration is filed until notice of
the order overruling the motion has been
served upon the accused or his counsel
at which time the balance of the period
begins to run.[22]

the private offended party for reconsideration of the civil


aspect of the RTC judgment. It should also be noted that
she was not required to be present during the
promulgation of the judgment.
In a long line of cases[27] as far back as People v. Ursua,
[28]

this Court has ruled that the appeal period accorded to

the accused should also be available to the offended


party who seeks redress of the civil aspect of a decision.
Similarly, courts may apply this ruling to the filing of a
motion for reconsideration of a judgment. For them to do
so will be consistent with this Courts policy of giving
lower tribunals a chance to rectify their possible
errors[29]and thereby promote the speedy and just
disposition of controversies.
The relevant question is, when should the period for the
filing of a motion by a private offended party begin?
In Neplum v. Orbeso,[30] this Court explained that the
period begins to toll upon service of the notice of
judgment upon the offended party. Thus:

Clearly, the period available to the accused for filing an


appeal is fifteen (15) days from the promulgation of the

Indeed, the rules governing the period of

judgment or from notice of the final order appealed

appeal in a purely civil action should be

from. As early as Landicho v. Tan,

[23]

the Court has held

the same as those covering the civil

that one who desires a review of a criminal case must

aspects of criminal judgments. If these

appeal within fifteen days from the date the decision or

rules are not completely identical, the

judgment was announced in open court in the presence

former may be suppletory to the latter. x

x x. Being akin to a civil action, the

committed but the accused is exempt from criminal

present appeal may be guided by the

liability under the instances enumerated in Article 12 of

Rules on Civil Procedure.

[31]

the Revised Penal Code (RPC).[32]


Petitioner finally argues that the real party-in-interest is
not respondent, but Chemical Bank and/or Kai Chin, the

In the case before us, respondent undisputedly


claims that petitioner received notice of the RTC

owners of the accounts from which the withdrawals were


made.[33]

Decision only on February 1, 1996. Records show that


FEBTC filed its Motion for Reconsideration on February

Respondent, on the other hand, asserts that the offended

14, 1996. The Motion was thus filed within the

party may appeal the civil aspect of the criminal

reglementary period.

proceeding despite the judgment of acquittal.[34]

Second, Third and Fourth Issues:

Civil Action Deemed Instituted

Civil Liability in Case of Acquittal

in the Criminal Proceeding


Article 100 of the RPC states that every person
criminally liable for a felony is also civilly liable. This
rule holds true, except in instances when no actual
damage results from an offense, such as espionage,

Being interrelated, the second, third and fourth issues

violation of neutrality, flight to an enemy country, and

will be discussed together.

crime against popular representation.[35]

Petitioner contends that her acquittal was not based


merely on reasonable doubt, but on the determination
that she was not the author of the imputed felonies. She
reiterates the trial courts ruling in its March 20, 1996
Order that she could not be held civilly liable, because

Clearly, the extinction of the penal liability does not

she was not responsible for the crimes charged.

always carry with it the extinction of the civil.


[36]

According to Article 29 of the Civil Code, if the

Arguing on the assumption that she was acquitted on the

acquittal is made on the ground that the guilt has not

basis of reasonable doubt, petitioner explains that the

been proved beyond reasonable doubt, the accused may

appellate court was nevertheless precluded from taking

be held civilly liable for damages arising from the same

cognizance of the civil aspect of the case, as a separate

act or omission constituting the offense. As in any

civil action should have been filed after the judgment of

ordinary civil case, the liability may be established by a

acquittal. She contends that Article 29 of the Civil Code,

mere preponderance of evidence.

which mandates the courts to make a finding on the civil


liability in case of an acquittal based on reasonable
ground, applies only to situations when a crime has been

Section 1 of Rule 111 of the 1985 Rules of Court, the

separate one, or (3) the civil action was filed prior to the

prevailing law during the trial of this case below,

criminal complaint.

[37]

provided the consequences of acts that produced both

civil and criminal liabilities, as follows:


SECTION

1. Institution

of

criminal and civil actions. (a) When a


criminal action is instituted, the civil
action for the recovery of civil liability
arising from the offense charged shall be
deemed instituted with the criminal
action unless the offended party waives
the civil action, reserves the right to

For this purpose, the offended parties are allowed to


intervene in the criminal proceedings, but solely to
enforce their right to claim indemnification for damages
arising from the criminal act. [38] In Roa v. De la Cruz,
[39]

in which the offended party failed to submit evidence

of damages despite having participated in the criminal


proceedings, we had the occasion to rule in this wise:

institute it separately or institutes the


civil action prior to the criminal action.

x x x. For such failure, she has only


herself or her counsel to blame. Of
course, she could have still filed a
motion for reconsideration or an appeal

Such

civil

action

includes

to rectify the error. But this she failed to

recovery of indemnity under the Revised

do, thus allowing the decision to become

Penal Code, and damages under Articles

final and executory. Under the principle

32, 33, 34 and 2176 of the Civil Code of

of

the Philippines arising from the same act

conclusive as to future proceedings at

or omission of the accused.

law not only as to every matter which

res

judicata,

that

judgment

is

was offered and received to sustain the


claim or demand, but as to any other
x x x x x x x x x.

admissible matter that could have been


offered for that purpose.

In the present case, the original action involved a


prosecution for estafa or swindling through falsification
Clearly, under the foregoing 1985 rule, an action

of commercial documents, an offense defined under the

for the recovery of civil liability arising from an offense

RPC. Records do not show -- and respondent does not

charged is necessarily included in the criminal

claim -- the presence of any of the three instances

proceedings, unless (1) there is an express waiver of the

precluding the automatic institution of the civil action

civil action, or (2) there is a reservation to institute a

together with the criminal complaint. Ineluctably,

respondents right to damages, if any, was deemed

for damages is for the same act or

prosecuted in the criminal proceeding. Thus, a separate

omission. x x x.

civil action may no longer be instituted.


Appeal of the Civil Aspect of the

In Salazar v. People,[41] the Court further expounded

Decision Acquitting the Accused

thus:

The consequences of an acquittal on the civil liability of


the accused are discussed by the Court in Manantan v.
CA[40] in this wise:
Our law recognizes two kinds of
acquittal, with different effects on the
civil liability of the accused. First is an
acquittal on the ground that the accused
is not the author of the act or omission
complained of. This instance closes the
door to civil liability, for a person who
has been found to be not the perpetrator
of any act or omission cannot and can
never be held liable for such act or
omission. There being no delict, civil
liability ex delicto is out of the question,
and the civil action, if any, which may
be instituted must be based on grounds
other than the delict complained of. This
is the situation contemplated in Rule 111

The acquittal of the accused


does not prevent a judgment against him
on the civil aspect of the case where (a)
the acquittal is based on reasonable
doubt

as

only

preponderance of evidence is required;


(b) where the court declared that the
liability of the accused is only civil; (c)
where the civil liability of the accused
does not arise from or is not based upon
the crime of which the accused was
acquitted. Moreover, the civil action
based on the delict is extinguished if
there is a finding in the final judgment
in the criminal action that the act or
omission from which the civil liability
may arise did not exist or where the
accused did not commit the acts or
omission imputed to him.

of the Rules of Court. The second


instance is an acquittal based on
reasonable doubt on the guilt of the

If the accused is acquitted on

accused. In this case, even if the guilt of

reasonable doubt but the court renders

the accused has not been satisfactorily

judgment on the civil aspect of the

established, he is not exempt from civil

criminal case, the prosecution cannot

liability which may be proved by

appeal from the judgment of acquittal as

preponderance of evidence only. This is

it would place the accused in double

the situation contemplated in Article 29

jeopardy. However, the aggrieved party,

of the Civil Code, where the civil action

the offended party or the accused or

both may appeal from the judgment on

happened on 29 September

1992.

the civil aspect of the case within the

According to FEBTC records, this was

period therefor.

the initial transaction concerning the


Chemical account wherein a cashiers
check payable to Chemical (CIF) was
used by the accused to purchase another

Based on the foregoing jurisprudence, it is settled that

cashiers check payable to bearer which

the private offended party may appeal the civil aspect of

was later deposited to the account of

the judgment despite the acquittal of the accused. But

accused. During the investigation by the

this recourse may prosper only if the nature of the trial

banks Investigation Committee, Mrs.

courts judgment falls under any of the three categories

Bagsit averred that she confirmed the

stated in Salazar.

transaction with Kai Chin and which


was

later

on

supported

by

an

authorization letter from Kai Chin. (p.


11, Exh. 1).

Acquittal of Petitioner Due to the


There is no dispute that the check was

Noncommission of the Imputed Acts

deposited to the personal account of the


accused (Exhs. C, C-1 and D) and part
of the amount thereof was subsequently

A close scrutiny of the RTC Decision and Order

withdrawn by her (Exh. E), but accused

leads us to the conclusion that petitioner did not commit

asserted that the deposit of said check to

the crime imputed to her. Hence, her acquittal likewise

her

extinguished the action for her civil liability.

withdrawal of its amount were upon the

account

and

the

subsequent

authority and instructions of Kai Chin,


and that the withdrawn amount was
In support of this conclusion, we initially quote

actually given by her to Kai Chin.

at length these findings of the trial court:


Although Kai Chin denied having
Re: Crim. Cases No. 93-126175. This
case involves the bearer check for the
amount of P250,040.86[.] This is the
earliest

questionable

transaction

allegedly committed by the accused as it

signed the confirmation memorandum


(Exh. B), there is absolutely no evidence
on record that the money was never
turned over to Kai Chin. Kai Chin did
not testify, on direct evidence or on

rebuttal, concerning this aspect of the

check and also the back of the check

case. x x x.

itself, there is also no showing that the


value thereof did not reach him.
Accused asserted that this check was

Re: Crim. Cases Nos. 93-126172, 93126178, 93-126189 and 93-126190. -These four cases involve the Cashiers
Checks applied for and made payable to

applied for and encashed upon the


authority and instruction of Kai Chin,
and that the value thereof was turned
over to the latter.

the accused (Exhs. G-1, F-2, H-2 and I2). Exhs. G-1 and F-2 were encashed by
the accused because they bear at their

xxxxxxxxx

back two signatures of hers, and


according to the witnesses for the
prosecution the first of such signatures
constitutes the indorsement while the
second signifies receipt of the proceeds
of the payment thereof. On the other
hand, Exhs. H-2 and I-2 were deposited
by

her

in

her

personal

account.

According to the accused the drawing of


the checks in her name and their
encashments and deposit to her account
were upon the authority and instructions

Re: the rest of the other criminal cases.


-- The remaining fifteen other cases
involve checks applied for and drawn in
the name of Kai Chin and twice signed
at the back. As intimated earlier, the first
signature at the back of the check
constitutes

the

indorsement

thereof

while the second signifies receipt of the


payment of the value.

of Kai Chin, and that the values thereof


were all turned over to Kai Chin.
The only intervention of the accused
concerning these checks, as appearing in
xxxxxxxxx

the documentary exhibits, was her being


named as the representative of the

Re: Crim. Case No. 93-126171. This

purchaser and she must have picked up

case involves a Cashiers Check applied

the checks for and in behalf of the

for and made payable to Kai Chin,

purchaser. (See Exhs. P, N, O, K, L, S, T,

signed twice at the back but accused

M, U, V, W, X, Y and Z). There is no

nonetheless signed for the receipt of the

indication, at least from the documents of

payment thereof. x x x While Kai Chin

the prosecution, that accused had a hand

denied on direct evidence that he signed

in the encashments of the checks,

the application for the purchase of this

otherwise, she should have been made to

sign, as what was done in the case of the

be the payee and/or beneficiary of the

check marked as Exh. Q-1.[42]

checks.

Initially, Kai Chin sweepingly testified


as follows:

As can be clearly gleaned from the above,


petitioner consistently claimed that she had acted merely

Q:

In

her

upon the instructions and authority of her superior, Kai

capacit

Chin. While admitting that she had deposited the

proceeds of some of the checks to her personal account,

your

she firmly insisted that she subsequently withdrew the

secretar

cash proceeds and turned them over to him. She denied

y, when

-- and the records do not show -- that she had ever

she was

appropriated those moneys for her personal gain.

your

as

secretar
y
On the other hand, as the trial judge clearly
noted, Kai Chin did not even bother to rebut the
statement of petitioner that she had turned over the
proceeds of the checks to him.[43] All he asserted was that
he had neither signed the applications for the purchase of
the checks nor endorsed those checks. His credibility
was assessed by the judge thus:

did

Josephi
ne
Sanche
z have
anythin
g to do
with the
Chemic
al
Internat

Credibility of Kai Chin. It must be

ional

noticed that, with the exception of the

Finance

bearer check involved in Crim. Case No.

account

93-126175, the value of the Cashiers

Checks involve[d] were debited from


the Chemical account. Kai Chin is

A: No, sir. (tsn,

undisputably one of the authorized

p. 9, 8

signatories to the Chemical account, and

Nov

under ordinary course of things, he must

1994)

Jo Sanchez for
proper
The records of the bank and FEBII,

disposition.

however, show otherwise. Thus, as early


as April, 1992, Kai Chin had already
authorized the accused to transact
matters

concerning

the

Chemical

In

view

of

my

home

account, through a memorandum he sent

leave/business trip scheduled on

to Mrs. Beatriz Bagsit and one Ms.

April 29-June 8, 1992, the

Enriquez, reading as follows:

above

requests

will

be

confirmed by Ms. Sanchez upon


my instructions before the end
of May, 1992. (Memo [dated]
This is to request for the following:

28 April 1992, attached as


Annex B to Exh. 2.)

1) Ms. Enriquez
to

partially

terminate

the

Kai Chin never denied his signature on


this document, either on direct evidence

amount

or on rebuttal (as he was not presented

of P250,000.00

as a rebuttal witness).[44]

from

the

CIFs placement
(P3M)

and

credit the same


to

SA#0101-

58459-8
maintained

at

The authority conferred by Kai Chin upon

Intramuros

petitioner was also borne out by the reports of the

Branch.

FEBTC Investigating Committee, pertinent parts of

2) Ms. Bagsit to

which were quoted in the RTC Decision as follows:

debit SA#010158459-8
for P290,000.00

4. Initial interview with the officers of

and entrust the

FEBII disclosed the following:

same

to

my

Secretary,

Ms.

4.1 In January, 1992, Mr. Kai

Office

in

Intramuros

Chin personally went to the

January 1992, he personally

office of MS. URSULA A.

went to see me in my office to

ALANO, Vice

President of

inform me that he was directly

FEBII and allegedly informed

managing the CIF account. He

the latter that he will directly

also

manage the CIF [also referred to

that instructions concerning the

as CIFL or Chemical] account.

account will either originate

Mr. Chin informed MS ALANO

from him or his authorized

that instructions concerning the

representative,

account will either originate

Sanchez.

informed

Ms.

last

me

J.

M.

from his or his representative,


MS. J. M. SANCHEZ;
Based on the given instructions
of

Mr.

Kai

Chin,

Based on Mr. Chins instructions,

placements/preterminations/pay

placements

ments

/preterminations/payments of the

were transacted by Mr. Kai Chin

account were transacted by Mr.

himself

Chin himself or his authorized

representative,

representative, J. SANCHEZ. (p.

Sanchez. [Underscoring by the

9, Exh. 1, underscoring supplied;

RTC.][45]

of
or

the
his
Ms.

account
authorized
J.

M.

see also p. 11 of the same


exhibit.)

The above evidence led the trial court to


the

conclude that Kai Chin, definitely, was less candid to the

Memorandum of Ms. U.A. Ulano,

[c]ourt when he testified[46] that petitioner had nothing to

attached as Annex B to Exh. 1, which

do with the CIFL account.

These

facts

were

recited

in

reads as follows:

As regards petitioners testimony, the trial judge


Facts: Due to the transfer of Mr.

observed that she had firmly and straightforwardly

Kai Chin to FEBTC Head

echoed the material allegations in her Counter-Affidavit;

and

that,

furthermore,

her

testimony

had

been

Contrary to the trial court, the CA disbelieved

corroborated by the Peoples exhibits themselves.

petitioners assertions that she had turned over the

[47]

Indeed, her claim that she had prior authorization

proceeds of the checks to Kai Chin. Granting that she

from Kai Chin to undertake the questioned transactions

was authorized to encash the checks, she supposedly had

was supported by no less than the prosecution evidence.

no like authority to deposit the proceeds to her personal


bank account. The appellate court concluded that, in
breach of Article 33[51] of the Civil Code, she abused the
confidence reposed in her by [respondent] in the

Thus, the trial court emphatically concluded that


petitioner was not the author of the frauds allegedly
perfpetrated [sic],[48] if any. The Court of Appeals
concurred in that conclusion when it categorically held
thus: We rule out the issue of forgery as this was not
satisfactorily proved x x x.[49]

performance of her duty.[52] Thus, the CA ordered her to


pay respondent the amount of P1,187,530.86 as actual
damages, representing the total value of five checks paid
in her name and to her account.[53]
In view of the conflicting findings of the lower
courts as regards the credibility of the witnesses, we
invoke the time-honored rule that the assessment of the
credibility

of

witnesses

and

their

Under Section 2(b) of Rule 111 of the Revised

testimonies is a matter best undertaken by the trial court

Rules of Court, a finding in a final judgment that the fact

because of its unique opportunity to observe the

from which civil liability may arise does not exist carries

witnesses firsthand and note their demeanor, conduct and

with it the extinction of the liability. Thus, the critical

attitude under grilling examination. These are the most

issue in the present appeal is this: was the civil liability

significant factors in evaluating the sincerity of

of petitioner duly established by the evidence?

witnesses and in unearthing the truth, especially in the


face of conflicting testimonies. Through its observations
during the entire proceedings, the trial court can be

Answering in the affirmative, the CA explained


that a single act or omission may produce two forms of
civil liability: one is for ex delicto or that which arises
from a crime under our penal statutes; and the other is
for a quasi delict or culpa extra-contractual. In the
present case, civil liability ex delicto was foreclosed by
the acquittal. Nonetheless, [a]lthough the act from which
the civil liability might arise did not exist due to
[petitioners] acquittal, [respondents] cause of action
makes out a case of quasi delict.[50]

expected to determine, with reasonable discretion, whose


testimony to accept and which witness to disbelieve. [54]
Barring arbitrariness and oversight of facts that
might affect the result of the case otherwise, the RTCs
assessment of the witnesses and their testimonies in this
case binds even this Court.[55] In any event, we scoured
the records and, unlike the CA, we found no sufficient
reason to reject the trial courts assessment. There was no
arbitrariness or oversight of any fact or circumstance of
weight and influence to justify a different conclusion.

Moreover, the CA based its imposition of civil


liability upon petitioner on her supposed abuse of her
employers confidence. Granting for the sake of argument
that she indeed forged the checks and misappropriated

MAURICIO

MANLICLIC

and

the proceeds to her personal benefit, it must be recalled

PHILIPPINE RABBIT BUS LINES, INC.,

that it was Kai Chins signatures that she purportedly

Petitioners,

Presen

forged; and CIFLs account that she, in effect,


misappropriated. Be it remembered that respondents

YNAR

own documentary evidence unequivocally concurred in


the assertion of petitioner that Kai Chin had given her

G.R. N

- versus -

Chairp

express authority to transact CIFLs account on his

AUST

behalf. Consequently, it was his, not respondents,


confidence that she had exploited. In other words, the
factual premises of the CA did not support its

MODESTO CALAUNAN,

conclusion.

Respondent.

In sum, we hold that petitioners acquittal was

CALL

CHIC

Promu

based on the fact that she had not committed the offense
imputed to her. Consequently, she cannot be held civilly
liable. In concluding that she, as well as her testimony,
was credible, the trial court cannot be faulted with
arbitrariness or negligence. Tellingly, her testimony that
she turned over the proceeds of the subject checks to Kai

Januar
x- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -----------x

Chin stands unrebutted.


WHEREFORE, the Petition is hereby GRANTED, and
the assailed CA Decision and Resolution SET ASIDE.

DECISION

The December 15, 1995 Decision and the March 20,


1996 Order of the Regional Trial Court of Manila,
Branch

52,

are

hereby REINSTATED.

pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.

No

CHICO-NAZARIO, J.:

Assailed before Us is the decision[1] of the Court


of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 55909 which
affirmed in toto the decision[2] of the Regional Trial
Court (RTC) of Dagupan City, Branch 42, in Civil Case
No. D-10086, finding petitioners Mauricio Manliclic and

Philippine

Rabbit

Bus

Lines,

Inc.

(PRBLI) solidarily liable to pay damages and attorneys


fees to respondent Modesto Calaunan.

By reason of such collision, a criminal case was


filed before the RTC of Malolos, Bulacan, charging
petitioner Manliclic with Reckless Imprudence Resulting
in

The factual antecedents are as follows:

Damage

to

Property with

Physical

Injuries,

docketed as Crim. Case No. 684-M-89.Subsequently


on 2 December 1991, respondent filed a complaint for

The vehicles involved in this case are: (1)

damages

against

petitioners Manliclic and

Philippine Rabbit Bus No. 353 with plate number CVD-

PRBLI before the RTC

478, owned by petitioner PRBLI and driven by

docketed as Civil Case No. D-10086. The criminal case

petitioner Mauricio Manliclic; and (2) owner-type jeep

was tried ahead of the civil case. Among those who

with plate number PER-290, owned by respondent

testified in the criminal case were respondent Calaunan,

Modesto Calaunan and driven by Marcelo Mendoza.

Marcelo Mendoza and Fernando Ramos.

At around 6:00 to 7:00 oclock in the morning


of 12 July 1988, respondent Calaunan, together with
Marcelo

Mendoza,

was

on

his

jeep. The Philippine Rabbit Bus was likewise bound


Kilometer

40

of

the

North

Luzon

in Barangay Lalangan, Plaridel, Bulacan,

approximately
Expressway
the

In the civil case (now before this Court), the


parties admitted the following:

way

to Manila from Pangasinan on board his owner-type


forManila from Concepcion, Tarlac. At

of Dagupan City,

two

1. The parties agreed on the


capacity of the parties to sue and be
sued as well as the venue and the
identities of the vehicles involved;

vehicles collided. The front right side of the Philippine


Rabbit Bus hit the rear left side of the jeep causing the
latter to move to the shoulder on the right and then fall
on a ditch with water resulting to further extensive

2. The identity of the drivers


and the fact that they are duly licensed;

damage. The bus veered to the left and stopped 7 to 8


meters from point of collision.

3. The date and place of the


vehicular collision;

Respondent suffered minor injuries while his


driver was unhurt. He was first brought for treatment to

4. The extent of the injuries

the Manila Central University Hospital in Kalookan City

suffered by plaintiff Modesto Calaunan

by Oscar Buan, the conductor of the Philippine Rabbit

and the existence of the medical

Bus,

certificate;

and

was

later

transferred

the Veterans Memorial Medical Center.

to

5. That both vehicles were going

TSNs of the testimonies of respondent Calaunan,

towards the south; the private jeep being

[5]

Marcelo Mendoza[6] and Fernando Ramos[7] in said

ahead of the bus;

case, together with other documentary evidence marked


therein. Instead of the Branch Clerk of Court, it was
Enrique

Santos

Guevara,

Court

Interpreter, who

6. That the weather was fair and

appeared before the court and identified the TSNs of the

the road was well paved and straight,

three afore-named witnesses and other pertinent

although there was a ditch on the right

documents he had brought.[8] Counsel for respondent

side where the jeep fell into.[3]

wanted to mark other TSNs and documents from the said


criminal case to be adopted in the instant case, but since
the same were not brought to the trial court, counsel for
petitioners compromised that said TSNs and documents

When the civil case was heard, counsel for


respondent prayed that the transcripts of stenographic
notes

(TSNs)[4] of

the

testimonies

of

could be offered by counsel for respondent as rebuttal


evidence.

respondent

Calaunan, Marcelo Mendoza and Fernando Ramos in the


criminal case be received in evidence in the civil case in

For the defendants, petitioner Manliclic and bus

as much as these witnesses are not available to testify in

conductor

Oscar Buan testified. The

the civil case.

testimony

of Donato Ganiban,

TSN[9] of

investigator

the

of

the

PRBLI, in Criminal Case No. 684-M-89 was marked and


allowed to be adopted in the civil case on the ground that
Francisco Tuliao testified that his brother-in-law,

he was already dead.

respondent Calaunan, left for abroad sometime in


November,

1989

and

has

not

returned

since

then. Rogelio Ramos took the stand and said that his

Respondent

further

marked,

among

other

brother, Fernando Ramos, left for Amman,Jordan, to

documents, as rebuttal evidence, the TSNs[10] of the

work. Rosalia Mendoza testified that her husband,

testimonies

Marcelo Mendoza, left their residence to look for a

petitioner Manliclic in Criminal Case No. 684-M-89.

of Donato Ganiban,

Oscar Buan and

job. She narrated that she thought her husband went to


his hometown in Panique, Tarlac, when he did not return
after one month. She went to her husbands hometown to
look for him but she was informed that he did not go

The disagreement arises from the question: Who


is to be held liable for the collision?

there.
Respondent
The trial court subpoenaed the Clerk of Court of
Branch 8, RTC, Malolos, Bulacan, the court where
Criminal Case No. 684-M-89 was tried, to bring the

insists

it

was

petitioner Manliclic who should be liable while the latter


is resolute in saying it was the former who caused the
smash up.

in front of the Philippine Rabbit Bus. He


The versions of the parties are summarized by
the trial court as follows:

testified that the jeep of plaintiff


swerved to the right because it was
bumped by the Philippine Rabbit bus
from behind.

The parties differed only on the


manner the collision between the two
(2) vehicles took place. According to the
plaintiff and his driver, the jeep was
cruising at the speed of 60 to 70
kilometers per hour on the slow lane of
the expressway when the Philippine
Rabbit Bus overtook the jeep and in the
process of overtaking the jeep, the
Philippine Rabbit Bus hit the rear of the
jeep on the left side. At the time the
Philippine Rabbit Bus hit the jeep, it
was about to overtake the jeep. In other
words, the Philippine Rabbit Bus was
still at the back of the jeep when the jeep
was hit. Fernando Ramos corroborated
the testimony of the plaintiff and
Marcelo Mendoza. He said that he was
on another jeep following the Philippine

Both Mauricio Manliclic and his


driver, Oscar Buan admitted that the
Philippine Rabbit Bus bumped the jeep
in question. However, they explained
that when the Philippine Rabbit bus was
about to go to the left lane to overtake
the jeep, the latter jeep swerved to the
left because it was to overtake another
jeep in front of it. Such was their
testimony before the RTC in Malolos in
the criminal case and before this Court
in the instant case. [Thus, which of the
two versions of the manner how the
collision took place was correct, would
be determinative of who between the
two drivers was negligent in the
operation of their respective vehicles.][11]

Rabbit Bus and the jeep of plaintiff


when the incident took place. He said,
the jeep of the plaintiff overtook them
and the said jeep of the plaintiff was

Petitioner PRBLI maintained that it observed

followed by the Philippine Rabbit Bus

and exercised the diligence of a good father of a family

which was running very fast. The bus

in the selection and supervision of its employee,

also overtook the jeep in which he was

specifically petitioner Manliclic.

riding. After that, he heard a loud


sound. He saw the jeep of the plaintiff
swerved to the right on a grassy portion
of the road. The Philippine Rabbit Bus
stopped

and

they

overtook

the

Philippine Rabbit Bus so that it could


not moved (sic), meaning they stopped

On 22 July 1996, the trial court rendered its


decision in favor of respondent Calaunan and against
petitioners Manliclic and PRBLI. The dispositive portion
of its decision reads:

EVIDENCE
WHEREFORE,

judgment

is

rendered in favor of the plaintiff and

OF

THE TSNs AND

OTHER DOCUMENTS PRESENTED


IN THE CRIMINAL CASE.

against the defendants ordering the said


defendants to pay plaintiff jointly
and solidarily the amount of P40,838.00

II

as actual damages for the towing as well


as the repair and the materials used for

THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED

the

in

ON A QUESTION OF LAW IN

moral

AFFIRMING THE TRIAL COURTS

damages and another P100,000.00 as

RELIANCE ON THE VERSION OF

exemplary damages and P15,000.00 as

THE RESPONDENT ON HOW THE

attorneys fees, including appearance

ACCIDENT

fees of the lawyer. In addition, the

OCCURRED.

repair

of

the

question; P100,000.00

jeep
as

SUPPOSEDLY

defendants are also to pay costs.[12]

III

Petitioners appealed the decision via Notice of Appeal to


THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED

the Court of Appeals.[13]

ON A QUESTION OF LAW IN
AFFIRMING THE TRIAL COURTS
In a decision dated 28 September 2001, the Court of

UNFAIR DISREGARD OF HEREIN

Appeals, finding no reversible error in the decision of

PETITIONER PRBLs DEFENSE

the trial court, affirmed it in all respects. [14]

EXERCISE OF DUE DILIGENCE IN


THE

SELECTION

OF
AND

SUPERVISION OF ITS EMPLOYEES.


Petitioners are now before us by way of petition for
review assailing the

decision of the

Court of
IV

Appeals. They assign as errors the following:

THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED

I
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED
ON A QUESTION OF LAW IN
AFFIRMING THE TRIAL COURTS
QUESTIONABLE

ADMISSION

IN

ON A QUESTION OF LAW IN
AFFIRMING THE TRIAL COURTS
QUESTIONABLE

AWARD

OF

DAMAGES AND ATTORNEYS FEE.

party had an opportunity to cross-examine the witness in


the former case.[22]
With the passing away of respondent Calaunan during
the pendency of this appeal with this Court, we granted

Admittedly, respondent failed to show the

the Motion for the Substitution of Respondent filed by

concurrence of all the requisites set forth by the Rules

his wife, Mrs. Precila Zarate Vda. De Calaunan, and

for a testimony given in a former case or proceeding to

children, Virgilio Calaunan, Carmelita Honeycomb,

be

Evelyn Calaunan, Marko Calaunan and Liwayway

rule. Petitioner PRBLI, not being a party in Criminal

Calaunan.[15]

Case No. 684-M-89, had no opportunity to cross-

admissible

as

an exception to the hearsay

examine the three witnesses in said case. The criminal


case was filed exclusively against petitioner Manliclic,
In their Reply to respondents Comment,
petitioners informed this Court of a Decision

[16]

petitioner PRBLIs employee. The cases dealing with the

of the

subsidiary liability of employers uniformly declare that,

Court of Appeals acquitting petitioner Manliclic of the

strictly speaking, they are not parties to the criminal

charge

[17]

of Reckless Imprudence Resulting in Damage

cases instituted against their employees. [23]

to Property with Physical Injuries attaching thereto a


photocopy thereof.
Notwithstanding the fact that petitioner PRBLI
was not a party in said criminal case, the testimonies of
On the first assigned error, petitioners argue that
the TSNs containing
respondent Calaunan,

the
[18]

testimonies

Marcelo

Mendoza

of
[19]

the three witnesses are still admissible on the ground that


petitioner PRBLI failed to object on their admissibility.

and

Fernando Ramos[20] should not be admitted in evidence


for failure of respondent to comply with the requisites of
Section 47, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court.

It is elementary that an objection shall be made


at the time when an alleged inadmissible document is
offered in evidence; otherwise, the objection shall be
treated as waived, since the right to object is merely a

For Section 47, Rule 130

[21]

to apply, the

privilege which the party may waive. Thus, a failure to

following requisites must be satisfied: (a) the witness is

except to the evidence because it does not conform to the

dead or unable to testify; (b) his testimony or deposition

statute is a waiver of the provisions of the law. Even

was given in a former case or proceeding, judicial or

assuming ex gratia argumenti that these documents are

administrative, between the same parties or those

inadmissible for being hearsay, but on account of failure

representing the same interests; (c) the former case

to object thereto, the same may be admitted and

involved the same subject as that in the present case,

considered as sufficient to prove the facts therein

although on different causes of action; (d) the issue

asserted.[24] Hearsay evidence alone may be insufficient

testified to by the witness in the former trial is the same

to establish a fact in a suit but, when no objection is

issue involved in the present case; and (e) the adverse

made thereto, it is, like any other evidence, to be

waived its right to object that the TSNs did not comply

considered and given the importance it deserves. [25]

with Section 47.

In the case at bar, petitioner PRBLI did not

In Mangio v. Court of Appeals,[27] this Court,

object to the TSNs containing the testimonies of

through Associate Justice Reynato S. Puno,[28] admitted

respondent Calaunan, Marcelo Mendoza and Fernando

in evidence a TSN of the testimony of a witness in

Ramos in the criminal case when the same were offered

another case despite therein petitioners assertion that he

in evidence in the trial court. In fact, theTSNs of the

would be denied due process. In admitting the TSN, the

testimonies of Calaunan and Mendoza were admitted by

Court ruled that the raising of denial of due process in

both petitioners.[26] Moreover, petitioner PRBLI even

relation to Section 47, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court, as

offered in evidence the TSN containing the testimony

a ground for objecting to the admissibility of the TSN

of Donato Ganiban in the criminal case. If petitioner

was belatedly done. In so doing, therein petitioner

PRBLI argues that the TSNs of the testimonies of

waived his right to object based on said ground.

plaintiffs witnesses in the criminal case should not be


admitted in the instant case, why then did it offer the
TSN of the testimony of Ganiban which was given in the

Petitioners contend that the documents in the

criminal case? It appears that petitioner PRBLI wants to

criminal case should not have been admitted in the

have its cake and eat it too. It cannot argue that

instant civil case because Section 47 of Rule 130 refers

the TSNs of the testimonies of the witnesses of the

only to testimony or deposition. We find such contention

adverse party in the criminal case should not be admitted

to be untenable. Though said section speaks only of

and at the same time insist that the TSN of the testimony

testimony and deposition, it does not mean that

of the witness for the accused be admitted in its favor. To

documents from a former case or proceeding cannot be

disallow admission in evidence of the TSNs of the

admitted. Said documents can be admitted they being

testimonies

and

part of the testimonies of witnesses that have been

Fernando Ramos in the criminal case and to admit the

admitted.Accordingly, they shall be given the same

TSN of the testimony of Ganiban would be unfair.

weight as that to which the testimony may be entitled. [29]

of Calaunan,

Marcelo

Mendoza

to

On the second assigned error, petitioners

petitioner PRBLIs argument that it will be denied due

contend that the version of petitioner Manliclic as to

process when the TSNs of the testimonies of Calaunan,

how the accident occurred is more credible than

Marcelo Mendoza and Fernando Ramos in the criminal

respondents version. They anchor their contention on the

case are to be admitted in the civil case. It is too late for

fact that petitioner Manliclic was acquitted by the Court

petitioner PRBLI to raise denial of due process in

of Appeals of the charge of Reckless Imprudence

relation to Section 47, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court, as

Resulting in Damage to Property with Physical Injuries.

We

do

not

subscribe

a ground for objecting to the admissibility of


the TSNs. For failure to object at the proper time, it

To be resolved by the Court is the effect of


petitioner Manliclics acquittal in the civil case.

6. That as a result of the impact


of the collision the above-described
motor vehicle was forced off the North
Luzon

Express

Way

towards

From the complaint, it can be gathered that the

the rightside where it fell on its drivers

civil case for damages was one arising from, or based

side on a ditch, and that as a

[30]

on, quasi-delict.

Petitioner Manliclic was sued for his

consequence, the above-described motor

negligence or reckless imprudence in causing the

vehicle which maybe valued at EIGHTY

collision, while petitioner PRBLI was sued for its failure

THOUSAND PESOS (P80,000) was

to exercise the diligence of a good father in the selection

rendered a total wreck as shown by

and

pictures to be presented during the pre-

supervision

of

its

employees,

particularly

petitioner Manliclic. The allegations read:

trial and trial of this case;

4. That sometime on July 12,

7. That also as a result of said

1988 at around 6:20 A.M. plaintiff was

incident,

on board the above-described motor

injuries which compounded plaintiffs

vehicle travelling at a moderate speed

frail physical condition and required his

along the North Luzon Expressway

hospitalization from July 12, 1988 up to

heading South towards Manila together

and until July 22, 1988, copy of the

with MARCELO MENDOZA, who was

medical certificate is hereto attached as

then driving the same;

Annex A and made an integral part

plaintiff

sustained

bodily

hereof;
5.

That

approximately

at

kilometer 40 of the North Luzon

8. That the vehicular collision

Express Way, the above-described motor

resulting in the total wreckage of the

vehicle was suddenly bumped from

above-described motor vehicle as well

behind by a Philippine Rabbit Bus with

as bodily (sic) sustained by plaintiff,

Body No. 353 and with plate No. CVD

was

478

imprudence of the defendant driver

then

being

driven

by

one

Mauricio Manliclic of San


Jose, Concepcion, Tarlac,

solely

due

to

Mauricio Manliclic who

reckless

drove

his

was

Philippine Rabbit Bus No. 353 at a fast

then travelling recklessly at a very fast

speed without due regard or observance

speed and had apparently lost control of

of existing traffic rules and regulations;

his vehicle;

who

the

9. That defendant Philippine

Absent evidence of negligence,

Rabbit Bus Line Corporation failed to

therefore, accused-appellant cannot be

exercise the diligence of a good father of

held liable for Reckless Imprudence

(sic) family in the selection and

Resulting in Damage to Property with

supervision of its drivers; x x x[31]

Physical Injuries as defined in Article


365 of the Revised Penal Code.[32]

Can Manliclic still be held liable for the


collision and be found negligent notwithstanding the
declaration of the Court of Appeals that there was an
absence of negligence on his part?

From the foregoing declaration of the Court of


Appeals,

it

appears

that

petitioner Manliclic was

acquitted not on reasonable doubt, but on the ground that


In

exonerating

petitioner Manliclic in

criminal case, the Court of Appeals said:

To the following findings of the


court a quo, to wit: that accusedappellant was negligent when the bus he
was driving bumped the jeep from
behind; that the proximate cause of the
accident was his having driven the bus
at a great speed while closely following

the

he is not the author of the act complained of which is


based on Section 2(b) of Rule 111 of the Rules of
Criminal Procedure which reads:

(b) Extinction of the penal


action does not carry with it extinction
of the civil, unless the extinction
proceeds from a declaration in a final
judgment that the fact from which the
civil might arise did not exist.

the jeep; xx x
In spite of said ruling, petitioner Manliclic can
We do not agree.

still be held liable for the mishap. The afore-quoted


section applies only to a civil action arising from crime
or ex delicto and not to a civil action arising from quasi-

The swerving of Calaunans jeep when it

delict or culpa aquiliana. The extinction of civil liability

tried to overtake the vehicle in front of it

referred to in Par. (e) of Section 3, Rule 111 [now

was beyond the control of accused-

Section 2 (b) of Rule 111], refers exclusively to civil

appellant.

liability founded on Article 100 of the Revised Penal


Code, whereas the civil liability for the same act
considered as aquasi-delict only and not as a crime is not

xxxx

extinguished even by a declaration in the criminal case


that the criminal act charged has not happened or has not
been committed by the accused.[33]

might arise did not exist). The responsibility arising


A quasi-delict or culpa aquiliana is a separate
legal

institution

under

the

Civil

Code

with

a substantivity all its own, and individuality that is


entirely apart and independent from a delict or crime a
distinction exists between the civil liability arising from

from fault or negligence in a quasi-delict is entirely


separate and distinct from the civil liability arising from
negligence under the Penal Code. [36] An acquittal or
conviction in the criminal case is entirely irrelevant in
the civil case[37] based on quasi-delict or culpa aquiliana.

a crime and the responsibility for quasi-delicts or culpa


extra-contractual. The

same

negligence

causing

damages may produce civil liability arising from a crime


under the Penal Code, or create an action for quasidelicts or culpa extra-contractualunder the Civil Code.
[34]

It is now settled that acquittal of the accused, even if

based on a finding that he is not guilty, does not carry


with it the extinction of the civil liability based on
quasi delict.[35]

In other words, if an accused is acquitted based


on reasonable doubt on his guilt, his civil liability arising
from the crime may be proved by preponderance of
evidence only. However, if an accused is acquitted on
the basis that he was not the author of the act or
omission complained of (or that there is declaration in a

Petitioners ask us to give credence to their


version of how the collision occurred and to disregard
that of respondents. Petitioners insist that while the
PRBLI bus was in the process of overtaking respondents
jeep, the latter, without warning, suddenly swerved to
the left (fast) lane in order to overtake another jeep
ahead of it, thus causing the collision.

As a general rule, questions of fact may not be


raised in a petition for review. The factual findings of
the trial court, especially when affirmed by the appellate
court, are binding and conclusive on the Supreme Court.
[38]

Not being a trier of facts, this Court will not allow a

review thereof unless:

final judgment that the fact from which the civil might
arise did not exist), said acquittal closes the door to civil

(1) the conclusion is a finding grounded

liability based on the crime or ex delicto. In this second

entirely on speculation, surmise and

instance, there being no crime or delict to speak of, civil

conjecture; (2) the inference made is

liability based thereon or ex delicto is not possible. In

manifestly mistaken; (3) there is grave

this case, a civil action, if any, may be instituted on

abuse of discretion; (4) the judgment is

grounds other than the delict complained of.

based on a misapprehension of facts; (5)


the findings of fact are conflicting; (6)

As regards civil liability arising from quasidelict or culpa aquiliana, same will not be extinguished
by an acquittal, whether it be on ground of reasonable
doubt or that accused was not the author of the act or
omission complained of (or that there is declaration in a
final judgment that the fact from which the civil liability

the Court of Appeals went beyond the


issues of the case and its findings are
contrary to the admissions of both
appellant and appellees; (7) the findings
of fact of the Court of Appeals are
contrary to those of the trial court; (8)

said findings of fact are conclusions

that another jeep was being overtaken

without citation of specific evidence on

by the jeep of Calaunan was testified to

which they are based; (9) the facts set

by him only in Crim. Case No. 684-M-

forth in the petition as well as in the

89 before the Regional Trial Court

petitioner's main and reply briefs are not

in Malolos, Bulacan and

disputed by the respondents; and (10)

Court. Evidently, it was a product of an

the findings of fact of the Court of

afterthought

Appeals are premised on the supposed

Mauricio Manliclic so that he could

absence of evidence and contradicted by

explain why he should not be held

the evidence on record.[39]

responsible for the incident. His attempt

on

before

the

part

this
of

to veer away from the truth was also


apparent when it would be considered
After going over the evidence on record, we do

that in his statement given to the

not find any of the exceptions that would warrant our

Philippine

departure from the general rule. We fully agree in the

CV Cabading (Exh. 15), he alleged that

finding of the trial court, as affirmed by the Court of

the Philippine Rabbit Bus bumped the

Appeals, that it was petitionerManliclic who was

jeep of Calaunan while the Philippine

negligent in driving the PRBLI bus which was the cause

Rabbit Bus was behind the said jeep. In

of the collision. In giving credence to the version of the

his testimony before the Regional Trial

respondent, the trial court has this say:

Court in Malolos, Bulacan as well as in

Rabbit

Investigator

this Court, he alleged that the Philippine


Rabbit Bus was already on the left side
x x x Thus, which of the two versions of
the manner how the collision took place
was correct, would be determinative of
who between the two drivers was
negligent in the operation of their
respective vehicle.

of the jeep when the collision took


place. For this inconsistency between
his

statement

and

testimony,

his

explanation regarding the manner of


how the collision between the jeep and
the bus took place should be taken with
caution. It might be true that in the

In this regard, it should be noted


that

in

the

statement

of

Mauricio Manliclic (Exh. 15) given to


the

Philippine

Rabbit

Investigator

CV Cabading no mention was made by


him about the fact that the driver of the
jeep was overtaking another jeep when
the collision took place. The allegation

statement of Oscar Buan given to the


Philippine

Rabbit

Investigator

CV Cabading, it was mentioned by the


former that the jeep of plaintiff was in
the act of overtaking another jeep when
the collision between the latter jeep and
the

Philippine

Rabbit

Bus

took

place. But the fact, however, that his


statement was given on July 15, 1988,

one day after Mauricio Manliclic gave

road. Useless, likewise to emphasize

his

escape

that the Philippine Rabbit was running

difference

very fast as testified to by Ramos which

the

was notcontroverted by the defendants.

statement

should

attention. The
between

not

one-day

the

giving

of

two

[40]

statements would be significant enough


to

entertain

the

possibility

of

Oscar Buan having received legal advise


before giving his statement. Apart from
that, as between his statement and the

Having ruled that it was petitioner Manliclics negligence

statement

of Manliclic himself,

the

that caused the smash up, there arises the juris tantum

statement

of

should

presumption that the employer is negligent, rebuttable

Affidavit

only by proof of observance of the diligence of a good

of March 10, 1989, (Exh. 14), the

father of a family.[41] Under Article 2180[42] of the New

unreliability

of

Civil Code, when an injury is caused by the negligence

to

of the employee, there instantly arises a presumption of

CV Cabading rear its ugly head when he

law that there was negligence on the part of the master

did not mention in said affidavit that the

or employer either in the selection of the servant or

jeep of Calaunan was trying to overtake

employee, or in supervision over him after selection or

another jeep when the collision between

both. The liability of the employer under Article 2180 is

the jeep in question and the Philippine

direct and immediate; it is not conditioned upon prior

Rabbit bus took place.

recourse against the negligent employee and a prior

prevail. Besides,
of

Oscar Buan(Exh.

the

latter

in

his

the

statement

13)

given

showing of the insolvency of such employee. Therefore,


it is incumbent upon the private respondents to prove

xxxx

that they exercised the diligence of a good father of a


family in the selection and supervision of their

If
testimony

one
of

would

the

employee.[43]

defendant,

In the case at bar, petitioner PRBLI maintains that it had

Mauricio Manliclic, and his conductor,

shown that it exercised the required diligence in the

Oscar Buan, that the Philippine Rabbit

selection and supervision of its employees, particularly

Bus was already somewhat parallel to

petitioner Manliclic. In the matter of selection, it showed

the jeep when the collision took place,

the

the point of collision on the jeep should

petitioner Manliclic underwent before he became a

have been somewhat on the left side

regular driver. As to the exercise of due diligence in the

thereof

its

supervision of its employees, it argues that presence of

rear. Furthermore, the jeep should have

ready investigators (Ganiban and Cabading) is sufficient

fallen on the road itself rather than

proof that it exercised the required due diligence in the

having

supervision of its employees.

rather

been

the

believe

than

forced

on

off

the

screening

process

that

In the selection of prospective employees,

In order that the defense of due

employers are required to examine them as to their

diligence

qualifications, experience and service records. In the

supervision of employees

supervision of employees, the employer must formulate

deemed sufficient and plausible, it is not

standard

their

enough to emptily invoke the existence

implementation and impose disciplinary measures for

of said company guidelines and policies

the breach thereof. To fend off vicarious liability,

on

employers must submit concrete proof, including

negligence of the employee gives rise to

documentary

the presumption of negligence on the

operating

procedures,

evidence,

that

they

everything that was incumbent on them.

monitor

complied

with

[44]

in

hiring

the

and

selection

and

may be

supervision. As

the

part of the employer, the latter has the


burden of proving that it has been
diligent not only in the selection of

In Metro Manila Transit Corporation v. Court of


[45]

Appeals,

it was explained that:

employees but also in the actual


supervision of their work. The mere
allegation of the existence of hiring
procedures and supervisory policies,

Due diligence in the supervision of


employees on the other hand, includes
the formulation of suitable rules and
regulations

for

the

guidance

without anything more, is decidedly not


sufficient

to

overcome

such

presumption.

of

employees and the issuance of proper


instructions intended for the protection

We emphatically reiterate our holding,

of the public and persons with whom the

as a warning to all employers, that the

employer has relations through his or its

formulation of various company policies

employees

of

on safety without showing that they

necessary disciplinary measures upon

were being complied with is not

employees in case of breach or as may

sufficient to exempt petitioner from

be warranted to ensure the performance

liability arising from negligence of its

of acts indispensable to the business of

employees. It

and beneficial to their employer. To this,

petitioner to show that in recruiting and

we add that actual implementation and

employing

monitoring of consistent compliance

recruitment procedures and company

with said rules should be the constant

policies on efficiency and safety were

concern of the employer, acting through

followed. x x x.

and

the

imposition

dependable supervisors who should


regularly report on their supervisory
functions.

is
the

incumbent
erring

driver

upon
the

The trial court found that petitioner PRBLI

been shown and established. This, petitioner failed to

exercised the diligence of a good father of a family in

do. The lack of supervision can further be seen by the

the selection but not in the supervision of its

fact that there is only one set of manual containing the

employees. It expounded as follows:

rules

and

regulations

for

all

the

drivers

of

PRBLI. [46] How then can all the drivers of petitioner


PRBLI know and be continually informed of the rules
From the evidence of the defendants, it
seems that the Philippine Rabbit Bus Lines has a

and regulations when only one manual is being lent to all


the drivers?

very good procedure of recruiting its driver as


well as in the maintenance of its vehicles. There
is no evidence though that it is as good in the

For failure to adduce proof that it exercised the

supervision of its personnel. There has been no

diligence of a good father of a family in the selection

iota of evidence introduced by it that there are

and supervision of its employees, petitioner PRBLI is

rules promulgated by the bus company regarding

held solidarily responsible for the damages caused by

the safe operation of its vehicle and in the way

petitioner Manliclics negligence.

its driver should manage and operate the


vehicles assigned to them. There is no showing
that somebody in the bus company has been

We now go to the award of damages. The trial

employed to oversee how its driver should

court correctly awarded the amount of P40,838.00 as

behave while operating their vehicles without

actual damages representing the amount paid by

courting incidents similar to the herein case. In

respondent for the towing and repair of his jeep. [47] As

regard to supervision, it is not difficult to

regards the awards for moral and exemplary damages,

observe that the Philippine Rabbit Bus Lines,

same,

Inc. has been negligent as an employer and it

modified. The P100,000.00 awarded by the trial court as

should be made responsible for the acts of its

moral

employees, particularly the driver involved in

[48]

under
damages

the
must

circumstances,
be

reduced

must

be

to P50,000.00.

Exemplary damages are imposed by way of example

or correction for the public good. [49] The amount

this case.

awarded by the trial court must, likewise, be lowered


to P50,000.00.[50] The award of P15,000.00 for attorneys
fees and expenses of litigation is in order and authorized
We agree. The presence of ready investigators

by law.[51]

after the occurrence of the accident is not enough to


exempt petitioner PRBLI from liability arising from the
negligence

of

petitioner Manliclic. Same

does

not

comply with the guidelines set forth in the cases abovementioned. The presence of the investigators after the
accident is not enough supervision. Regular supervision
of employees, that is, prior to any accident, should have

WHEREFORE,

premises

considered,

the

instant petition for review is DENIED. The decision of


the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 55909
is AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION that (1) the
award of moral damages shall be reduced to P50,000.00;

and (2) the award of exemplary damages shall be

Case No. 066, the appellate court found petitioner

lowered to P50,000.00. Costs against petitioners.

Manantan civilly liable and ordered him to indemnify


private respondents Marcelino Nicolas and Maria
Nicolas P104,400.00 representing loss of support,
P50,000.00 as death indemnity, and moral damages of
P20,000.00 or a total of P174,400.00 for the death of
their son, Ruben Nicolas.
The facts of this case are as follows:

SO ORDERED.

On June 1, 1983, the Provincial Fiscal of Isabela


filed an information charging petitioner Manantan with
reckless imprudence resulting in homicide, allegedly
committed as follows:
That on or about the 25th day of September 1982, in the
municipality

of

Santiago,

province

of

Isabela,

Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable


Court, the said accused, being then the driver and
person-in-charge of an automobile bearing Plate No.
NGA-816, willfully and unlawfully drove and operated

[G.R. No. 107125. January 29, 2001]

the same while along the Daang Maharlika at Barangay

GEORGE MANANTAN, petitioner, vs. THE COURT


OF APPEALS, SPOUSES MARCELINO
NICOLAS

and

MARIA

Malvar, in said municipality, in a negligent, careless and


imprudent manner, without due regard to traffic laws,
regulations and ordinances and without taking the
necessary precaution to prevent accident to person and

NICOLAS, respondents.

damage to property, causing by such negligence,


carelessness and imprudence said automobile driven and

DECISION

operated by him to sideswipe a passenger jeep bearing


QUISUMBING, J.:

plate No. 918-7F driven by Charles Codamon, thereby

This is a petition for review of the decision dated


January 31, 1992 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R.
CV No. 19240, modifying the judgment of the Regional
Trial Court of Santiago, Isabela, Branch 21, in Criminal
Case

No.

066. Petitioner

George

Manantan

causing the said automobile to turn down (sic) resulting


to the death of Ruben Nicolas a passenger of said
automobile.
CONTRARY TO LAW.[1]

was

acquitted by the trial court of homicide through reckless


imprudence without a ruling on his civil liability. On
appeal from the civil aspect of the judgment in Criminal

On arraignment, petitioner pleaded not guilty to the


charge. Trial on the merits ensued.

The prosecutions evidence, as summarized by the

driving at a speed of about 40 kilometers per hour along

trial court and adopted by the appellate court, showed

the Maharlika Highway at Malvar, Santiago, Isabela, at

that:

the middle portion of the highway (although according


to Charles Cudamon, the car was running at a speed of

[I]n the morning of September 25, 1982, Fiscal Wilfredo

80 to 90 kilometers per hours on [the] wrong lane of the

Ambrocio decided to catch shrimps at the irrigation

highway because the car was overtaking a tricycle) when

canal at his farm. He invited the deceased who told him

they met a passenger jeepney with bright lights on. The

that they (should) borrow the Ford Fiera of the accused

accused immediately tried to swerve the car to the right

George Manantan who is also from Cordon. The

and move his body away from the steering wheel but he

deceased went to borrow the Ford Fiera butsaid that the

was not able to avoid the oncoming vehicle and the two

accused also wanted to (come) along. So Fiscal

vehicles collided with each other at the center of the

Ambrocio and the deceased dropped by the accused at

road.

the Manantan Technical School. They drank beer there


before they proceeded to the farm using the Toyota

xxx

Starlet of the accused. At the farm they consumed one


(more) case of beer. At about 12:00 oclock noon they

As a result of the collision the car turned turtle twice and

went home. Then at about 2:00 or 3:00 oclock that

landed on its top at the side of the highway immediately

afternoon, (defense witness Miguel) Tabangin and

at the approach of the street going to the Flores Clinic

(Ruben) Nicolas and the accused returned to the house

while the jeep swerved across the road so that one half

of Fiscal Ambrocio with a duck. They cooked the duck

front portion landed on the lane of the car while the back

and ate the same with one more case of beer. They ate

half portion was at its right lane five meters away from

and drank until about 8:30 in the evening when the

the point of impact as shown by a sketch (Exhibit A)

accused invited them to go bowling. They went to

prepared by Cudamon the following morning at the

Santiago, Isabela on board the Toyota Starlet of the

Police Headquarters at the instance of his lawyer. Fiscal

accused who drove the same. They went to the Vicap

Ambrocio

Bowling Lanes at Mabini, Santiago, Isabela but

consciousness he was still inside the car (lying) on his

unfortunately there was no vacant alley. While waiting

belly with the deceased on top of him. Ambrocio pushed

for a vacant alley they drank one beer each. After

(away) the deceased and then he was pulled out of the

waiting for about 40 minutes and still no alley became

car by Tabangin. Afterwards, the deceased who was still

vacant the accused invited his companions to go to the

unconscious was pulled out from the car. Both Fiscal

LBC Night Club. They had drinks and took some lady

Ambrocio and the deceased were brought to the Flores

partners at the LBC. After one hour, they left the LBC

Clinic. The deceased died that night (Exhibit B) while

and proceeded to a nearby store where they ate arroz

Ambrocio suffered only minor injuries to his head and

caldoand then they decided to go home. Again the

legs.[2]

accused drove the car. Miguel Tabangin sat with the


accused in the front seat while the deceased and Fiscal
Ambrocio sat at the back seat with the deceased
immediately behind the accused. The accused was

lost

consciousness. When

he

regained

The defense version as to the events prior to the


incident was essentially the same as that of the
prosecution, except that defense witness Miguel

Tabangin declared that Manantan did not drink beer that


night. As to the accident, the defense claimed that:

On January 31, 1992, the appellate court decided


CA-G.R. CV No. 19240 in favor of the Nicolas spouses,
thus:

The accused was driving slowly at the right lane [at]


about 20 inches from the center of the road at about 30

WHEREFORE,

kilometers per hour at the National Highway at Malvar,

MODIFIED in that defendant-appellee is hereby held

Santiago, Isabela, when suddenly a passenger jeepney

civilly liable for his negligent and reckless act of driving

with bright lights which was coming from the opposite

his car which was the proximate cause of the vehicular

direction and running very fast suddenly swerve(d) to

accident,

the cars lane and bumped the car which turned turtle

appellants in the amount of P174,400.00 for the death of

twice and rested on its top at the right edge of the road

Ruben Nicolas,

and

the

decision

sentenced

to

appealed

indemnify

from

is

plaintiffs-

while the jeep stopped across the center of the road as


shown by a picture taken after the incident (Exhibit 1)
and a sketch (Exhibit 3) drawn by the accused during his
rebuttal testimony. The car was hit on the drivers
side. As a result of the collision, the accused and Miguel
Tabangin and Fiscal Ambrocio were injured while Ruben
Nicolas died at the Flores Clinic where they were all
brought for treatment.[3]

SO ORDERED.[5]
In finding petitioner civilly liable, the court a
quo noted that at the time the accident occurred,
Manantan was in a state of intoxication, due to his
having consumed all in all, a total of at least twelve (12)
bottles of beerbetween 9 a.m. and 11 p.m.[6] It found that
petitioners act of driving while intoxicated was a clear

In its decision dated June 30, 1988, promulgated on

violation of Section 53 of the Land Transportation and

August 4, 1988, the trial court decided Criminal Case

Traffic Code (R.A. No. 4136)[7] and pursuant to Article

No. 066 in petitioners favor, thus:

2185 of the Civil Code,[8] a statutory presumption of


negligence existed. It held that petitioners act of

WHEREFORE,

in

the

light

of

the

foregoing

violating the Traffic Code is negligence in itself because

considerations, the Court finds the accused NOT

the mishap, which occurred, was the precise injury

GUILTY of the crime charged and hereby acquits him.

sought to be prevented by the regulation.[9]

SO ORDERED.[4]

Petitioner moved for reconsideration, but the


appellate court in its resolution of August 24, 1992

On August 8, 1988, private respondents filed their

denied the motion.

notice of appeal on the civil aspect of the trial courts


judgment. In their appeal, docketed as CA-G.R. CV No.

Hence,

the

present

case. Petitioner,

in

his

19240, the Nicolas spouses prayed that the decision

memorandum, submits the following issues for our

appealed from be modified and that appellee be ordered

consideration:

to pay indemnity and damages.


FIRST THE DECISION OF THE TRIAL COURT
ACQUITTING THE PETITIONER OF THE CRIME
OF RECKLESS IMPRUDENCE RESULTING TO

HOMICIDE

FORECLOSED

FURTHER

(1) Did the acquittal of petitioner foreclose any

INQUIRY ON THE ACCUSEDS (PETITIONERS)

further inquiry by the Court of Appeals as

NEGLIGENCE

to his negligence or reckless imprudence?

OR

ANY

RECKLESS

IMPRUDENCE

BECAUSE BY THEN HE WILL BE PLACED IN


DOUBLE JEOPARDY AND THEREFORE THE

(2) Did the court a quo err in finding that

COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN PASSING UPON

petitioners acquittal did not extinguish his

THE SAME ISSUE AGAIN.

civil liability?

SECOND THE COURT OF APPEALS DID NOT

(3) Did the appellate court commit a reversible

HAVE JURISDICTION TO AWARD DAMAGES AND

error in failing to apply the Manchester

INDEMNITY TO THE PRIVATE RESPONDENTS

doctrine to CA-G.R. CV No. 19240?

CONSIDERING THAT THE NON-DECLARATION


OF ANY INDEMNITY OR AWARD OF DAMAGES
BY THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF ISABELA,
BRANCH XXI, WAS ITSELF CONSISTENT WITH
THE

PETITIONERS

REASON

THAT

ACQUITTAL

THE

CIVIL

FOR

THE

ACTION

WAS

IMPLIEDLY INSTITUTED WITH THE CRIMINAL


ACTION AND THERE WAS NO EXPRESS WAIVER
OF THE CIVIL ACTION OR RESERVATION TO
INSTITUTE IT SEPARATELY BY THE PRIVATE
RESPONDENTS IN THE TRIAL COURT.
THIRD THE COURT OF APPEALS DID NOT HAVE
JURISDICTION TO TAKE COGNIZANCE OF THE
CASE CA-G.R. CV No. 19240 ENTITLED: SPOUSES
MARCELINO NICOLAS AND MARIA NICOLAS v.
GEORGE

MANANTAN, AND

RENDER

THE

DECISION SOUGHT TO BE REVIEWED WHEN


THE SAME WAS PROSECUTED BY THE PRIVATE
RESPONDENTS

IN

THEIR

PERSONAL

CAPACITIES AND THE FILING FEES NOT HAVING


BEEN

PAID,

THUS

VIOLATING

THE MANCHESTER DOCTRINE.


In brief, the issues for our resolution are:

On the first issue, petitioner opines that the Court of


Appeals should not have disturbed the findings of the
trial court on the lack of negligence or reckless
imprudence under the guise of determining his civil
liability. He argues that the trial courts finding that he
was neither imprudent nor negligent was the basis for his
acquittal, and not reasonable doubt. He submits that in
finding him liable for indemnity and damages, the
appellate court not only placed his acquittal in suspicion,
but also put him in double jeopardy.
Private respondents contend that while the trial
court found that petitioners guilt had not been proven
beyond reasonable doubt, it did not state in clear and
unequivocal terms that petitioner was not recklessly
imprudent or negligent. Hence, impliedly the trial court
acquitted him on reasonable doubt. Since civil liability is
not extinguished in criminal cases, if the acquittal is
based on reasonable doubt, the Court of Appeals had to
review the findings of the trial court to determine if there
was a basis for awarding indemnity and damages.
Preliminarily, petitioners claim that the decision of
the appellate court awarding indemnity placed him in
double jeopardy is misplaced. The constitution provides
that no person shall be twice put in jeopardy for the
same offense. If an act is punished by a law and an

ordinance, conviction or acquittal under either shall

action, if any, which may be instituted must be based on

constitute a bar to another prosecution for the same act.

grounds other than the delict complained of. This is the

[10]

situation contemplated in Rule 111 of the Rules of Court.

When a person is charged with an offense and the

case is terminated either by acquittal or conviction or in

[14]

any other manner without the consent of the accused, the

reasonable doubt on the guilt of the accused. In this case,

latter cannot again be charged with the same or identical

even if the guilt of the accused has not been

offense.

[11]

The second instance is an acquittal based on

This is double jeopardy. For double jeopardy

satisfactorily established, he is not exempt from civil

to exist, the following elements must be established: (a)

liability which may be proved by preponderance of

a first jeopardy must have attached prior to the second;

evidence only.[15] This is the situation contemplated in

(2) the first jeopardy must have terminated; and (3) the

Article 29 of the Civil Code, [16] where the civil action for

second jeopardy must be for the same offense as the

damages is for the same act or omission. Although the

first.[12] In the instant case, petitioner had once been

two actions have different purposes, the matters

placed in jeopardy by the filing of Criminal Case No.

discussed in the civil case are similar to those discussed

066

his

in the criminal case. However, the judgment in the

became

criminal proceeding cannot be read in evidence in the

immediately final. Note, however, that what was

civil action to establish any fact there determined, even

elevated to the Court of Appeals by private respondents

though both actions involve the same act or omission.

was the civil aspect of Criminal Case No. 066. Petitioner

[17]

was not charged anew in CA-G.R. CV No. 19240 with a

same and secondarily, different rules of evidence are

second criminal offense identical to the first offense. The

applicable. Hence, notwithstanding herein petitioners

records clearly show that no second criminal offense was

acquittal, the Court of Appeals in determining whether

being imputed to petitioner on appeal. In modifying the

Article 29 applied, was not precluded from looking into

lower courts judgment, the appellate court did not

the question of petitioners negligence or reckless

modify the judgment of acquittal. Nor did it order the

imprudence.

and

the

discharge. The

jeopardy
judgment

was

terminated

of

acquittal

by

The reason for this rule is that the parties are not the

filing of a second criminal case against petitioner for the


same offense. Obviously, therefore, there was no second

On the second issue, petitioner insists that he was

jeopardy to speak of. Petitioners claim of having been

acquitted on a finding that he was neither criminally

placed in double jeopardy is incorrect.

negligent nor recklessly imprudent. Inasmuch as his civil


liability is predicated on the criminal offense, he argues

Our law recognizes two kinds of acquittal, with

that when the latter is not proved, civil liability cannot

different effects on the civil liability of the accused. First

be demanded. He concludes that his acquittal bars any

is an acquittal on the ground that the accused is not the

civil action.

author of the act or omission complained of. This


instance closes the door to civil liability, for a person

Private respondents counter that a closer look at the

who has been found to be not the perpetrator of any act

trial courts judgment shows that the judgment of

or omission cannot and can never be held liable for such

acquittal did not clearly and categorically declare the

act

or

omission.[13] There

being

no delict,

civil

liability ex delicto is out of the question, and the civil

non-existence

of

petitioners

negligence

or

imprudence. Hence, they argue that his acquittal must be

deemed based on reasonable doubt, allowing Article 29

which the civil case was impliedly instituted, was filed

of the Civil Code to come into play.

on July 1, 1983, while the Manchester requirements as


to docket and filing fees took effect only with the

Our scrutiny of the lower courts decision in

promulgation of Supreme Court Circular No. 7 on

Criminal Case No. 066 supports the conclusion of the

March 24, 1988. Moreover, the information filed by the

appellate court that the acquittal was based on

Provincial Prosecutor of Isabela did not allege the

reasonable doubt; hence, petitioners civil liability was

amount of indemnity to be paid. Since it was not then

not extinguished by his discharge. We note the trial

customarily or legally required that the civil damages

courts declaration that did not discount the possibility

sought be stated in the information, the trial court had no

that the accused was really negligent. However, it found

basis in assessing the filing fees and demanding payment

that a hypothesis inconsistent with the negligence of the

thereof. Moreover, assuming that the Manchester ruling

accused presented itself before the Court and since said

is applied retroactively, under the Rules of Court, the

hypothesis is consistent with the recordthe Courts mind

filing fees for the damages awarded are a first lien on the

cannot rest on a verdict of conviction.[18]The foregoing

judgment. Hence,

clearly shows that petitioners acquittal was predicated on

the Manchester doctrine to speak of.

there

is

no

violation

of

the conclusion that his guilt had not been established


with moral certainty. Stated differently, it is an acquittal

At the time of the filing of the information in 1983,

based on reasonable doubt and a suit to enforce civil

the implied institution of civil actions with criminal

liability for the same act or omission lies.

actions was governed by Rule 111, Section 1 of the 1964


Rules of Court.[20] As correctly pointed out by private

On the third issue, petitioner argues that the Court

respondents, under said rule, it was not required that the

of Appeals erred in awarding damages and indemnity,

damages sought by the offended party be stated in the

since private respondents did not pay the corresponding

complaint or information. With the adoption of the 1985

filing fees for their claims for damages when the civil

Rules of Criminal Procedure, and the amendment of

case was impliedly instituted with the criminal

Rule 111, Section 1 of the 1985 Rules of Criminal

action. Petitioner submits that the non-payment of filing

Procedure by a resolution of this Court dated July 7,

fees on the amount of the claim for damages violated the

1988, it is now required that:

doctrine in Manchester Development Corporation v.


Court of Appeals, 149 SCRA 562 (1987) and Supreme

When the offended party seeks to enforce civil liability

Court Circular No. 7 dated March 24, 1988. [19] He avers

against the accused by way of moral, nominal, temperate

that since Manchester held that The Court acquires

or exemplary damages, the filing fees for such civil

jurisdiction over any case only upon payment of the

action as provided in these Rules shall constitute a first

prescribed docket fees, the appellate court was without

lien on the judgment except in an award for actual

jurisdiction to hear and try CA-G.R. CV No. 19240,

damages.

much less award indemnity and damages.


In cases wherein the amount of damages, other than
Private

respondents

argue

that

actual, is alleged in the complaint or information, the

the Manchester doctrine is inapplicable to the instant

corresponding filing fees shall be paid by the offended

case. They ask us to note that the criminal case, with

party upon the filing thereof in court for trial.

The foregoing were the applicable provisions of the


Rules of Criminal Procedure at the time private
respondents appealed the civil aspect of Criminal Case
No. 066 to the court a quo in 1989. Being in the nature
of a curative statute, the amendment applies retroactively
and affects pending actions as in this case.
Thus, where the civil action is impliedly instituted
together with the criminal action, the actual damages
claimed by the offended parties, as in this case, are not

PREJUDICIAL QUESTION (ART. 36, CC; RULE 111,

included in the computation of the filing fees. Filing fees

SEC. 6, ROC)

are to be paid only if other items of damages such as

respondent judge to suspend the hearing in the ejectment

moral, nominal, temperate, or exemplary damages are

case until after the resolution of said petition. As prayed

alleged in the complaint or information, or if they are not

for, the then CFI of Rizal issued a restraining order

so alleged, shall constitute a first lien on the judgment.

enjoining further proceedings in the ejectment case.

[21]

Recall that the information in Criminal Case No. 066


of

In his answer, respondent municipal judge submitted

damages. Considering that the Rules of Criminal

himself to the sound discretion of the CFI in the

Procedure effectively guarantee that the filing fees for

disposition of the petition for certiorari. Private

the award of damages are a first lien on the judgment,

respondents, on the other hand, filed a motion to dismiss

the effect of the enforcement of said lien must retroact to

the petition, maintaining that the administrative case did

the institution of the criminal action. The filing fees are

not constitute a prejudicial question as it involved the

deemed paid from the filing of the criminal complaint or

question of ownership, unlike the ejectment case which

information.We therefore find no basis for petitioners

involved merely the question of possession.

contained

no

specific

allegations

allegations that the filing fees were not paid or


improperly paid and that the appellate court acquired no

Meanwhile, the Land Authority filed an Urgent Motion


for Leave to Intervene in Civil Case No. C-1576 alleging

jurisdiction.

the pendency of an administrative case between the same


is

parties on the same subject matter in L.A. Case No. 968

DISMISSED for lack of merit. The assailed decision of

and praying that the petition for certiorari be granted, the

the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 19240

ejectment complaint be dismissed and the Office of the

promulgated on January 31, 1992, as well as its

Land Authority be allowed to decide the matter

resolution dated August 24, 1992, denying herein

exclusively.

WHEREFORE, the

petitioners

motion

instant

for

petition

reconsideration,

AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner.

are
Finding the issue involved in the ejectment case to be
one of prior possession, the CFI dismissed the petition

SO ORDERED.

for certiorari and lifted the restraining order previously


issued. Petitioner's motion for reconsideration of the
dismissal order, adopted in toto by Intervenor Land

Authority was denied for lack of merit. Hence, this

on the resolution of the pending administrative case. For

appeal filed by petitioner Quiambao and intervenor Land

while it may be true that private respondents had prior

Authority with the Court of Appeals, and certified to Us

possession of the lot in question, at the time of the

as aforesaid.

institution of the ejectment case, such right of possession


had been terminated, or at the very least, suspended by

The instant controversy boils down to the sole question

the cancellation by the Land Authority of the Agreement

of whether or not the administrative case between the

to Sell executed in their favor. Whether or not private

private parties involving the lot subject matter of the

respondents can continue to exercise their right of

ejectment case constitutes a prejudicial question which

possession is but a necessary, logical consequence of the

would operate as a bar to said ejectment case.

issue involved in the pending administrative case

A prejudicial question is understood in law to be that


which arises in a case the resolution of which is a logical
antecedent of the issue involved in said case and the
cognizance of which pertains to another tribunal. 1 The
doctrine of prejudicial question comes into play
generally in a situation where civil and criminal actions
are pending and the issues involved in both cases are
similar or so closely related that an issue must be preemptively resolved in the civil case before the criminal

assailing the validity of the cancellation of the


Agreement to Sell and the subsequent award of the
disputed portion to petitioner. If the cancellation of the
Agreement to Sell and the subsequent award to
petitioner are voided, then private respondents would
have every right to eject petitioner from the disputed
area. Otherwise, private respondent's light of possession
is lost and so would their right to eject petitioner from
said portion.

action can proceed. Thus, the existence of a prejudicial

Faced with these distinct possibilities, the more prudent

question in a civil case is alleged in the criminal case to

course for the trial court to have taken is to hold the

cause the suspension of the latter pending final

ejectment proceedings in abeyance until after a

determination of the former.

determination of the administrative case. Indeed, logic

The essential elements of a prejudicial question as


provided under Section 5, Rule 111 of the Revised Rules
of Court are: [a] the civil action involves an issue similar
or intimately related to the issue in the criminal action;
and [b] the resolution of such issue determines whether
or not the criminal action may proceed.
The actions involved in the case at bar being
respectively civil and administrative in character, it is
obvious that technically, there is no prejudicial question
to speak of. Equally apparent, however, is the intimate
correlation between said two [2] proceedings, stemming
from the fact that the right of private respondents to eject
petitioner from the disputed portion depends primarily

and pragmatism, if not jurisprudence, dictate such move.


To allow the parties to undergo trial notwithstanding the
possibility of petitioner's right of possession being
upheld in the pending administrative case is to
needlessly require not only the parties but the court as
well to expend time, effort and money in what may turn
out to be a sheer exercise in futility. Thus, 1 Am Jur
2d tells us:
The court in which an action is pending
may, in the exercise of a sound
discretion, upon proper application for a
stay of that action, hold the action in
abeyance to abide the outcome of

another

pending

in

another

court,

"As it appears that the

especially where the parties and the

genuineness

of

issues are the same, for there is power

document

allegedly

inherent in every court to control the

forged by respondent

disposition of causes on its dockets with

attorneys

economy of time and effort for itself, for

Administrative

counsel, and for litigants. Where the

No. 77 [Richard Ignacio

rights parties to the second action cannot

Celdran

be

the

Catane, etc., et al.] is

questions raised in the first action are

necessarily involved in

settled the second action should be

Civil Case No. R-3397

stayed. 2

of the Cebu Court of

properly

determined

until

the

in

vs.

Case
Santiago

First Instance, action on


While this rule is properly applicable to instances

the herein complaint is

involving two [2] court actions, the existence in the

withheld

until

instant case of the same considerations of Identity of

litigation

has

parties and issues, economy of time and effort for the

been

decided.

court, the counsels and the parties as well as the need to

Complainant

Celdran

resolve the parties' right of possession before the

shall inform the Court

ejectment case may be properly determined, justifies the

about such decision." 3

that
finally

rule's analogous application to the case at bar.


If a pending civil case may be considered to be in the
Fortich-Celdran, et al. vs. Celdran, et al., 19 SCRA 502,

nature of a prejudicial question to an administrative case,

provides another analogous situation. In sustaining the

We see no reason why the reverse may not be so

assailed order of the then Court of First Instance of

considered in the proper case, such as in the petition at

Misamis Oriental ordering the suspension of the criminal

bar. Finally, events occuring during the pendency of this

case for falsification of public document against several

petition attest to the wisdom of the conclusion herein

persons, among them the subscribing officer Santiago

reached. For in the Manifestation filed by counsel for

Catane until the civil case involving the issue of the

petitioner, it was stated that the intervenor Land

genuineness of the alleged forged document shall have

Authority which later became the Department of

been decided, this Court cited as a reason therefor its

Agrarian Reform had promulgated a decision in the

own action on the administrative charges against said

administrative case, L.A. Case No. 968 affiriming the

Santiago Catane, as follows:

cancellation of Agreement to Sell No. 3482 issued in

It should be mentioned here also that an


administrative case filed in this Court
against Santiago Catane upon the same
charge was held by Us in abeyance,
thus:

favor of private respondents. With this development, the


folly of allowing the ejectment case to proceed is too
evident to need further elaboration.

WHEREFORE,

the

instant

petition

is

hereby

On October 31, 1971, according to Yap, Paras sold to her

GRANTED. Civil Case No. 2526 of the then Municipal

his share in the intestate estate for P300.00. The sale was

Court of Malabon, Rizal is hereby ordered DISMISSED.

evidenced by a private document. Nineteen years later,

No Costs.

on May 2, 1990, Paras sold the same property to


Santiago Saya-ang for P5,000.00. This was evidenced by

SO ORDERED.

a notarized Deed of Absolute Sale.


When Yap learned of the second sale, she filed a
complaint for estafa against Paras and Saya-ang with the
Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of General Santos
City. 1 On the same date, she filed a complaint for the
nullification of the said sale with the Regional Trial
Court of General Santos City. 2
After investigation, the Provincial Prosecutor instituted a

GR. No. 101236 January 30, 1992


JULIANA

P.

criminal complaint for estafa against Paras with the


YAP, petitioner,

vs.
MARTIN PARAS and ALFREDO D. BARCELONA,
SR., Judge of the 3rd MTC of Glan Malapatan,
South Cotabato, respondents.
Mariano C. Alegarbes for petitioner.
Public Attorney's Office for private respondent.

Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Glan-Malapatan, South


Cotabato, presided by Judge Alfredo D. Barcelona, Sr.
On April 17, 1991, before arraignment of the accused,
the trial judge motu proprio issued an order dismissing
the criminal case on the ground that:
. . . after a careful scrutiny of the
statements of complainant, Juliana P.
Yap and of the respondent Martin Paras
and his witnesses, the Court holds and
maintained

CRUZ, J.:
This is still another dispute between brother and sister
over a piece of property they inherited from their
parents. The case is complicated by the circumstance
that the private respondent's counsel in this petition is
the son of the judge, the other respondent, whose action
is being questioned.

(sic)

that there

is

prejudicial question to a civil action,


which must be ventilated in the proper
civil court. In the case of Ras vs.Rasul,
100 SCRA 125, the Supreme Court had
already made a pronouncement that "a
criminal action for Estafa for alleged
double sale of property is a prejudicial
question to a civil action for nullity of

Petitioner Juliana P. Yap was the sister of private

the alleged Deed of Sale and defense of

respondent Martin Paras.*

the alleged vendors of forgeries of their


signatures to the Deed." 3

The Petitioner moved for reconsideration, which was

The Court has deliberated on the issues and finds that the

denied on April 30, 1990. She then came to this Court

respondent judge did indeed commit grave abuse of

for relief in this special civil action for certiorari.

discretion in motu proprio issuing the order of dismissal.

The Court could have referred this petition to the Court

Section 6, Rule 111 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal

of Appeals, which has concurrent jurisdiction under BP

Procedure as amended by this Court on July 7, 1988,

129, but decided to resolve the case directly in view of

provides as follows:

the peculiar circumstances involved.


Sec. 6. Suspension by reason of
The petitioner's contention is that where there is a

prejudicial question. A petition for

prejudicial question in a civil case, the criminal action

suspension of the criminal action based

may not be dismissed but only suspended. Moreover,

upon the pendency of a prejudicial

this suspension may not be done motu proprio by the

question in a civil action may be filed in

judge trying the criminal case but only upon petition of

the office of the fiscal or the court

the defendant in accordance with the Rules of Court. It is

conducting

also stressed that a reversal of the order of dismissal

investigation. When the criminal action

would not bar the prosecution of the accused under the

has been filed in court for trial, the

double jeopardy rule because he has not yet been

petition to suspend shall be filed in the

arraigned.

same criminal action at any time before

the

preliminary

the prosecution rests.


The Court notes that the counsel for private respondent
Paras who filed the comment in his behalf is the son and

Judge Barcelona's precipitate action is intriguing, to say

namesake of Judge Barcelona. Atty. Alfredo L.

the least, in light of the clear provision of the above-

Barcelona, Jr. is employed in the Public Attorney's

quoted rule. The rule is not even new, being only a

Office. He has made it of record that he was not the

rewording of the original provision in the Rules of Court

counsel of Paras at the time the questioned order of

before they were amended. It plainly says that the

dismissal was issued by his father. He thus impliedly

suspension may be made only upon petition and not at

rejects the charge of bias against his father.

the

instance

of

the

judge

alone,

and

it

also

says suspension, and not dismissal. One also wonders if


Perhaps out of filial loyalty, Atty. Barcelona suggests

the person who notarized the disputed second sale,

there may have been a basis for the order in view of the

Notary Public Alexander C. Barcelona, might be related

alleged double sale of the property which was being

to the respondent judge.

litigated in the regional trial court. He concedes,


however, that the order may have been premature and

But more important than the preceding considerations is

that it could not have been issued motu proprio.

the trial judge's misapprehension of the concept of a

Agreeing that double jeopardy would not attach because

prejudicial question.

of the lack of arraignment, he asks that his Comment be


considered a motion for the suspension of the criminal

Section 5, Rule 111 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal

action on the ground of prejudicial question.

Procedure as amended provides:

Sec. 5. Elements of prejudicial question.

The excerpt quoted by the respondent judge in his Order

The two (2) essential elements of a

does not appear anywhere in the decision of Ras

prejudicial question are: (a) the civil

v.Rasul. 7 Worse, he has not only misquoted the decision

action involves an issue similar or

but also wrongly applied it. The facts of that case are not

intimately related to the issue raised in

analogous to those in the case at bar.

the

criminal

action;

and

(b)

the

resolution of such issue determines

In that case, Ras allegedly sold to Pichel a parcel of land

whether or not the criminal action may

which he later also sold to Martin. Pichel brought a civil

proceed.

action for nullification of the second sale and asked that


the sale made by Ras in his favor be declared valid. Ras's

A prejudicial question is defined as that which arises in a

defense was that he never sold the property to Pichel and

case the resolution of which is a logical antecedent of the

his purported signatures appearing in the first deed of

issue involved therein, and the congnizance of which

sale were forgeries. Later, an information for estafa was

pertains to another tribunal. The prejudicial question

filed against Ras based on the same double sale that was

must be determinative of the case before the court but

the subject of the civil action. Ras filed a "Motion for

the jurisdiction to try and resolve the question must be

Suspension of Action" (that is, the criminal case),

lodged in another court or tribunal. 4 It is a question

claiming that the resolution of the issues in the civil case

based on a fact distinct and separate from the crime but

would necessarily be determinative of his guilt or

so intimately connected with it that it determines the

innocence.

guilt or innocence of the accused. 5


Through then Associate Justice Claudio Teehankee, this
We have held that "for a civil case to be considered

Court ruled that a suspension of the criminal action was

prejudicial to a criminal action as to cause the

in order because:

suspension

of

the

criminal

action

pending

the

determination of the civil action, it must appear not only

On the basis of the issues raised in both

that the civil case involves the same facts upon which

the criminal and civil cases against

the criminal prosecution is based, but also that the

petitioner and in the light of the

resolution of the issues raised in said civil action would

foregoing concepts of a prejudicial

be necessarily determinative of the guilt or innocence of

question, there indeed appears to be a

the accused". 6

prejudicial question in the case at bar,


considering that petitioner Alejandro

It is the issue in the civil action that is prejudicial to the

Ras' defense (as defendant) in Civil

continuation of the criminal action, not the criminal

Case No. 73 of the nullity and forgery of

action that is prejudicial to the civil action.

the alleged prior deed of sale in favor of


Luis Pichel (plaintiff in the civil case
and

complaining

witnesses

in

the

criminal case) is based on the very same


facts

which

would

be

necessarily

determinative of petitioner Ras' guilt or

innocence as accused in the criminal

contrast, there was no motion for suspension in the case

case. If the first alleged sale in favor of

at bar; and no less importantly, the respondent judge had

Pichel is void or fictitious, then there

not been informed of the defense Paras was raising in the

would be no double sale and petitioner

civil action. Judge Barcelona could not have ascertained

would be innocent of the offense

then if the issue raised in the civil action would

charged. A conviction in the criminal

determine the guilt or innocence of the accused in the

case (if it were allowed to proceed

criminal case.

ahead) would be a gross injustice and


would have to be set aside if it were

It is worth remarking that not every defense raised in the

finally decided in the civil action that

civil action will raise a prejudicial question to justify

indeed the alleged prior deed of sale was

suspension of the criminal action. The defense must

a forgery and spurious.

involve an issue similar or intimately related to the same


issue raised in the criminal action and its resolution

xxx xxx xxx

should determine whether or not the latter action may


proceed.

The petitioner Alejandro Ras claims in


his answer to the complaint in Civil

The order dismissing the criminal action without a

Case No. 73 that he had never sold the

motion for suspension in accordance with Rule 111,

property in litigation to the plaintiff

Section 6, of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure as

(Luis Pichel) and that his signatures in

amended, and even without the accused indicating his

the alleged deed of sale and that of his

defense in the civil case for the annulment of the second

wife were forged by the plaintiff. It is,

sale, suggests not only ignorance of the law but also bias

therefore, necessary that the truth or

on the part of the respondent judge.

falsity of such claim be first determined


because if his claim is true, then he did

Judge Alfredo D. Barcelona, Sr. is sternly reminded that

not sell his property twice and no estafa

under the Code of Judicial Conduct, "a judge shall be

was committed. The question of nullity

faithful

of the sale is distinct and separate from

competence" and "should administer justice impartially."

the crime of estafa (alleged double sale)

He is hereby reprimanded for his questionable conduct

but so intimately connected with it that

in the case at bar, with the warning that commission of

it determines the guilt or innocence of

similar acts in the future will be dealt with more

herein petitioner in the criminal action.

severely.

to

the

law

and

maintain

professional

In the Ras case, there was a motion to suspend the

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Order

criminal action on the ground that the defense in the civil

issued by Judge Alfredo D. Barcelona, Sr. dated April

case forgery of his signature in the first deed of sale

17, 1991, dismissing Criminal Case No. 1902-G, and the

had to be threshed out first. Resolution of that

Order dated April 30, 1991, denying the motion for

question would necessarily resolve the guilt or

reconsideration, are REVERSED and SET ASIDE.

innocence of the accused in the criminal case. By

Criminal Case No. 1902-G is ordered REINSTATED for

further proceedings, but to be assigned to a different

On

September

24,

1990,

petitioner

municipality

judge.

represented by its mayor Domiciano E. Real filed with


the Regional Trial Court of Zamboanga del Sur, Branch

SO ORDERED.

23, Molave, presided by the petitioner Judge, a


complaint denominated as "Ejectment with Preliminary
Injunction and Damages" against respondents Vicente
Medina and Fortunata Rosellon.
The complaint alleged that the plaintiff (petitioner
municipality herein) is the owner of a parcel of
residential land located at Poblacion, Dumingag,
Zamboanga del Sur with an area of 5,894 square meters
more or less; that the parcel of land was reserved for
public plaza under Presidential Proclamation No. 365

G.R. No. 97477 May 8, 1992

dated March 15, 1968; that during the incumbency of the

RTC JUDGE CAMILO E. TAMIN, Presiding Judge,


Regional

Trial

Court,

Branch

23,

Molave,

Zamboanga del Sur and the MUNICIPALITY OF


DUMINGAG,
represented

ZAMBOANGA
by

MAYOR

DEL

DOMICIANO

SUR;
E.

REAL, petitioners,
vs.
COURT OF APPEALS, VICENTE MEDINA and
FORTUNATA ROSELLON, respondents.

late Mayor Isidoro E. Real, Sr. or in 1958, the


municipality leased an Area of 1,350 square meters to
the defendants (respondents herein) subject to the
condition that they should vacate the place in case it is
needed for public purposes; that the defendants
religiously paid the rentals until 1967; that thereafter, the
defendants refused to pay the rentals; that the incumbent
mayor discovered that the defendants filed a "Cadastral
Answer" over said lot; that the defendants refused to
vacate the place despite efforts of the municipality; that
the national government had alloted an appropriation for
the construction of a municipal gymnasium within the

GUTIERREZ, JR., J.:


The present petition seeks to annul and set aside the
decision and resolution dated January 21, 1991 and
February 20, 1991, respectively of the Court of Appeals
which declared as null and void the October 10, 1991
order of the petitioner Judge in a civil case "for
ejectment with preliminary injunction and damages"
filed by petitioner municipality against the private
respondents granting the petitioner municipality's motion
for a writ of possession and the writ issued pursuant to it.

public plaza but the said construction which was already


started could not continue because of the presence of the
buildings constructed by the defendants; that the
appropriation for the construction of the gymnasium
might be reverted back to the national government which
would result to "irreparable damage, injury and
prejudice" to the municipality and its people who are
expected to derive benefit from the accomplishment of
the project.
The complaint prayed:

1. That a restraining order shall be

subject of this case, to the end that the public

issued immediately after the filing of

construction

this case;

(CA Rollo, p. 22)

2. That after due notice and hearing, a

In denying the motion to dismiss, the petitioner Judge

writ

said:

of

preliminary

mandatory

thereon

will

not

be

jeopardized."

injunction shall be issued against the


herein defendants for them (sic) form
further occupying the leased portion to
them (sic), and/or that a Writ of
Possession be immediately issued to
preserve the rights of the herein
plaintiff;

xxx xxx xxx


2. In the complaint, the plaintiff alleges
that the defendant is claiming ownership
over the land which was previously
rented to defendant by the plaintiff
municipality. This action is, therefore,

3. That judgment should be entered

clearly anaccion de reivindicacion, a

against the herein defendants to vacate

real action within the jurisdiction of this

the premises of the leased portion given

court.

to them. (CA Rollo, pp. 11-12)

3. As the complaint is for recovery of

On the same day, September 24, 1990, the petitioner

ownership of the land not to enforce the

Judge issued an order setting the preliminary hearing for

contract, the Statute of Fraud does not

the issuance of a writ of preliminary mandatory

apply.

injunction and/or writ of possession on October 10,


1990.

4. The land subject of this case is


covered by P.D. No. 365, withdrawing

Instead of filing an answer, the respondents filed a

this land from sale of settlement and

motion to dismiss alleging the lack of jurisdiction of the

reserving the same for school site

trial court, since the complaint is for illegal detainer

purposes under the administration of the

which is within the original jurisdiction of the municipal

Director of Public School and public

court and the pendency of a cadastral case (Cadastral

plaza under the administration of the

Case No. N-10, LRC Cad. Rec. No. N-108, Lot 9481

Municipality of Dumingag, therefore the

[Pls-61] TS-218) between the parties over the ownership

Cadastral court has no jurisdiction over

of the same parcel of land.

the

land

involved

in

this

case.

(CA Rollo, p. 20)


On October 10, 1990, the petitioner Judge issued two (2)
orders. The first order denied the motion to dismiss. The

The petitioner Judge justified his granting the motion for

second order granted the petitioner municipality's motion

a writ of possession with the ancillary writ of demolition

for a writ of possession "with the ancillary writ of

by applying the rule an eminent domain (Rule 67 of the

demolition to place in possession the plaintiff on the land

Revised Rules of Court, erroneously referred to as Rule

68) in analogy in that under this Rule the complainant is

Before the petitioner Judge could further act on the case,

given the right to the writ of possession in order that

the

public construction and projects will not be delayed.

for certiorari with the Court of Appeals questioning the

According to the petitioner Judge, the necessity of a writ

October 10 and October 19, 1990 orders of the petitioner

of possession is greater in the instant case considering

Judge.

private

respondents

filed

petition

that the parcel of land is covered by a Presidential


Proclamation and the on-going construction thereon is

In a resolution dated November 14, 1990, the petition

being endangered to be left unfinished on account of the

was given due course and a temporary restraining order

buildings standing on the parcel of land because the

was issued enjoining the petitioner Judge from

appropriation for the construction might be reverted

proceeding with the hearing of the case and from

back to the national treasury.

enforcing the October 10, and 19, 1990 orders.

The private respondents filed an omnibus motion for

On January 21, 1990, the appellate court rendered the

reconsideration with motion to set aside order and to

questioned decision. A motion for reconsideration was

quash writ of possession and demolition but this was

denied in a resolution dated February 20, 1991.

denied in an order dated October 19, 1990.


On October 19, 1990, the petitioner municipality
implemented the writ of possession and ancillary writ of
demolition issued by the petitioner Judge resulting in the

Hence, this petition.


In a resolution dated November 26, 1991, we gave due
course to the petition.

dispossession of the private respondents from the parcel

The appellate court rightfully upheld the jurisdiction of

of land and the demolition of structures and buildings

the Regional Trial Court over the case based on the

thereon owned by the respondents.

allegations in the complaint. The allegations and not the

On October 23, 1990, the private respondents filed their


answer to the complaint alleging therein that the subject
parcel of land has been owned, occupied and possess by
respondent Vicente Medina since 1947 when he bought

title control the cause of action of the complaint.


(Andamo v. Intermediate Appellate Court, 191 SCRA
195 [1990]).
The Court said:

the subject parcel from a Subanan native; that the other


respondent Fortunata Rosellon leased from Medina a

First, Does the Regional Trial Court

portion of the parcel of land; that the respondents were

have jurisdiction over the case brought

never lessees of the petitioner municipality; that

by the Municipality of Dimangag? As

Proclamation No-365 issued on March 15, 1968

already noted, the gist of the complaint

recognized "private rights"; and, that a case is pending

below is that the land in question is part

before the Cadastral court between respondent Medina

of

and petitioner municipality as regards the ownership of

President of the Philippines, under

the subject parcel of land.

Proclamation No. 365, dated March 25,

the

public

domain

which

the

(should be 15) 1968, reserved for school


site and public plaza in the Municipality

of Dumingag and that the petitioners, to

In that connection, it should be borne in

whom the former town mayor had

mind that the law specifies when a writ

leased a part of the land, refused to

of possession may be issued. That writ

vacate and to pay rents. If this is the

is available (1) in a land registration

theory on which the complaint is based,

proceeding, which is a proceeding in

then the action may really be considered

rem (Sec. 17, Act No. 496; Estipona v.

one for recovery of possession. For

Navarro, 69 SCRA 285, 291); (2) in an

though a lease is alleged, the lease

extra-judicial foreclosure of a realty

would be void and the municipality

mortgage (Sec. 7, Act No. 3135); (3) in

could recover the possession of the land.

a judicial foreclosure of mortgage,

This is the teaching of the leading case

a quasi in remproceeding, provided that

of Municipality of Cavite v. Rojas, 30

the mortgagor is in possession of the

Phil. 602 [1915] in which it was held

mortgaged realty and no third person,

that the lease by a municipal corporation

not party to the foreclosure suit, had

of a public plaza is null and void

intervened (Rivera v. Court of First

because land for public use is outside

Instance of Nueva Ecija and Rupac, 61

the commerce of man and, therefore, the

Phil. 201; Ramos v. Maalac and Lopez,

lessee must restore possession of the

89 Phil. 270, 275) and (4) in execution

land by vacating it. As in this case, in

sales (last par. of sec. 35, Rule 39, Rules

the Rojas case the action was for

of Court).

recovery of possession instituted in the


Court of First Instance, the counterpart

The appellate court also ruled that the trial court

of which at present is the Regional Trial

committed an error when it applied by analogy the rule

Court. We, therefore, hold that the

on eminent domain (Rule 67, Revised Rules of Court) to

respondent judge has jurisdiction of the

justify the issuance of the writ of possession and writ of

case brought against petitioners for

demolition. The appellate court pointed out that under

recovery of possession of what is

this rule:

alleged to be land for public use of the


respondent municipality. (CA Rollo, pp.
53-54)
Prescinding from the finding that the complaint is for
recovery of possession the appellate court concluded that
the trial court did not have authority to issue a writ of
possession and a writ of demolition citing the case
of Mabale v. Apalisok (88 SCRA 234 [1979]), to wit:

xxx xxx xxx


. . . (i) There is clear statutory authority
for the taking of possession by the
government and (ii) The authority is
premised on the government depositing
the value of the land to be taken. For
unless the taking of the land is done
under these conditions, the taking would
constitute

deprivation

of

property

without due process of law which the

Constitution prohibits.

(See

Manila

xxx xxx xxx

Railroad Co. v. Paredes, 31 Phil. 118


(5) Hinders or impairs the use of

[1915]) (CA Rollo, p. 55)

property.
The appellate court then stated:
while Article 695 provides:
In the case at bar, there is neither
statutory authority for the trial court's

Art. 695 Nuisance is either public or

action nor bond given to compensate the

private. A public nuisance affects a

petitioners for the deprivation of their

community or neighborhood or any

possession and the destruction of their

considerable

houses if it turns out that the land

although the extent of the annoyance,

belongs to them. For this reason, we

danger or damage upon individuals may

think the trial courts order is arbitrary

be unequal. . . .

and void. For the fact is that petitioners


claim ownership of the land in question
and until that question is resolved either
in

the

case

pending

before

the

respondent judge or in the cadastral


proceeding, it would be unjust to
deprive petitioners of its possession.
(CA Rollo,

pp.

55-56)

number

of

persons,

Applying these criteria, we agree with the petitioners


that the complaint alleges factual circumstances of a
complaint for abatement of public nuisance. Thus, the
complaint states: that petitioner municipality is the
owner of a parcel of land covered by Presidential
Proclamation No 365 which is reserved for a public
plaza; that the private respondents by virtue of a contract
of lease entered into by the former mayor occupied a
portion of the parcel of land constructing buildings

The petitioners now contend that the allegations in the

thereon; that the private respondents refused to vacate

complaint constitute a cause of action for abatement of

the premises despite demands; that the municipality is

public nuisance under Article 694 of the Civil Code. On

constructing a municipal gymnasium in the area

the basis of this proposition, the petitioners assert that

financed by appropriationsprovided by the national

petitioner municipality is entitled to the writ of

government; and that the appropriations are in danger of

possession and writ of demolition.

being reverted to the national treasury because the


construction had to be stopped in view of the refusal of

Article 694 of the Civil Code defines nuisance as

the private respondents to vacate the area.

follows:
The issue, however, is not the nature of the cause of
Art. 694. A nuisance is any act,

action alleged in the complaint. The more important

omission,

business,

question is whether or not the petitioner municipality is

condition of property or anything else

entitled to a writ of possession and a writ of demolition

which:

even before the trial of the case starts.

establishment,

Article 699 of the Civil Code provides for the following

of residences, and that

remedies against a public nuisance:

such

structures

constitute

a nuisance

(1) A prosecution under the Penal Code

subject

or any local ordinance; or

according to law. Town

Abatement,

abatement

plazas are properties of

(2) A civil action; or


(3)

to

public dominion, to be
without

devoted to public use

judicial

and

proceedings.

to

be

made

available to the public


The petitioner municipality had three remedies from

in general. They are

which to select its cause of action. It chose to file a civil

outside the commerce

action for the recovery of possession of the parcel of

of man and cannot be

land occupied by the private respondents. Obviously,

disposed of or even

petitioner municipality was aware that under the then

leased

Local

municipality to private

Government

Code

(B.P.

Blg.

337)

the

Sangguniang Bayan has to first pass an ordinance before

by

the

parties.

the municipality may summarily abate a public nuisance.


Applying this well-settled doctrine, we

(Sec. 149(z) (ee).

rule that petitioners had no right in the


On the premise that the parcel of land forms part of a

first place to occupy the disputed

public plaza, the petitioners now contend that the Judge

premises and cannot insist in remaining

was justified in issuing the writ of possession and writ of

there now on the strength of their

demolition.

alleged lease contracts. They should


have realized and accepted this earlier,

A public plaza is outside the commerce of man and


constructions thereon can be abated summarily by the
municipality. We ruled in the case of Villanueva
v. Castaeda, Jr. (154 SCRA 142 [1987]):

Council of Pozorrubio, (102 Phil. 869870) where the Supreme Court declared:
There is absolutely no
question that the town
plaza cannot be used for
construction

No. 2040 was decided, the municipal


council of San Fernando had already
adopted Resolution No. 29, series of

Exactly in point is Espiritu v. Municipal

the

considering that even before Civil Case

of

market stalls, specially

1964, declaring this area as the parking


place

and

public

plaza

of

the

municipality.
It is the decision in Civil Case No. 2040
and the said resolution of the municipal
council of San Fernando that respondent
Macalino was seeking to enforce when
he ordered the demolition of the stalls

constructed in the disputed area. As

We have to consider the fact that Proclamation No. 365

officer-in-charge of the office of the

dated March 15, 1968 recognizes private rights which

mayor, he had the duty to clear the area

may have been vested on other persons, to wit:

and restore it to its intended use as a


parking place and public plaza of the

BY

municipality

PHILIPPINES

of

San

Fernando,

conformably to the aforementioned


orders from the court and the council. It
is, therefore, not correct to say that he
had acted without authority or taken the
law into his hands in issuing his order.

THE

PRESIDENT

OF

THE

PROCLAMATION NO. 365


RESERVING FOR SCHOOL SITE,
PUBLIC

PLAZA

PLAYGROUND

AND
PURPOSES

CERTAIN PARCELS OF LAND OF


THE PUBLIC DOMAIN SITUATED

xxx xxx xxx

IN

THE

MUNICIPALITY

OF

The Court observes that even without

DUMINGAG,

such

ZAMBOANGA DEL SUR, ISLAND

investigatiom

and

recommendation, the respondent mayor

PROVINCE

OF

OF MINDANAO.

was justified in ordering the area cleared


on the strength alone of its status as a

Upon recommendation of the Secretary

public plaza as declared by the judicial

of Agriculture and Natural Resources

and legislative authorities. . . .

and pursuant to the authority vested in


me

by

law,

FERDINAND

If, therefore, the allegations in the complaint are true and

MARCOS,

that the parcel of land being occupied by the private

PHILIPPINES, do hereby withdraw

respondents is indeed a public plaza, then the writ of

from sale or settlement and under the

possession and writ of demolition would have been

administration of the Director of Public

justified. In fact, under such circumstances, there would

Schools administration of the Municipal

have been no need for a writ of possession in favor of

Government of Dumingag, subject to

the petitioner municipality since the private respondents'

private rights, if any there be, certain

occupation over the subject parcel of land can not be

parcels of land of the public domain

recognized by any law. A writ of demolition would have

situated

been sufficient to eject the private respondents.

Dumingag, Province of Zamboanga del

in

PRESIDENT

the

OF

E.
THE

Municipality

of

Sur, Island of Mindanao, . . . (CA Rollo,


However, not only did the municipality avoid the use of

pp. 41-A 42) (Emphasis supplied).

abatement without judicial proceedings, but the status of


the subject parcel of land has yet to be decided.

It is to be noted that even before the Proclamation, the


parcel of land was the subject of cadastral proceedings
before another branch of the Regional Trial Court of
Zamboanga del Sur. At the time of the filing of the

instant case, the cadastral proceedings intended to settle

A prejudicial question is understood in

the ownership over the questioned portion of the parcel

law to be that which arises in a case the

of land under Proclamation No. 365 were still pending.

resolution

One of the claimants in the cadastral proceedings is

antecedent of the issue involved in said

private respondent Vicente Medina who traced his

case and the cognizance of which

ownership over the subject parcel of land as far back as

pertains to another tribunal. (Zapanta v.

1947 when he allegedly bought the same from a

Montesa, 4 SCRA 510 [1962]; People v.

Subanan native.

Aragon, 50 O.G. No. 10, 4863) The

of

which

is

logical

doctrine of prejudicial question comes


Under the cadastral system, the government through the

as in to play generally in a situation

Director of Lands initiates the proceedings by filing a

where civil and criminal actions are

petition in court after which all owners or claimants are

pending and the issues involved in bath

compelled to act and present their answers otherwise

cases are similar or so closely-related

they lose their right to their own property. The purpose is

that an issue must be pre-emptively

to serve the public interests by requiring that the titles to

resolved in the civil case before the

any lands "be settled and adjudicated." (Section 1

criminal action can proceed. Thus, the

Cadastral Act [No. 22593] Government of the Philippine

existence it a prejudicial question in a

Islands v. Abural, 39 Phil. 996 [1919]. It is a

civil case is alleged in the criminal case

proceeding in rem somewhat akin to a judicial inquiry

to cause the suspension of the latter

and investigation leading to a judicial decree. (Director

pending final determination of the

of Lands v. Roman Archbishop of Manila, 41 Phil. 120

former.

[1920])
The essential elements of a prejudicial
Considering therefore, the nature and purpose of the

question as provided under Section 5,

Cadastral proceedings, the outcome of said proceedings

Rule 111 of the Revised Rules of Court

becomes a prejudicial question which must be addressed

area: [a] the civil action involves an

in the resolution of the instant case. We apply by analogy

issue similar or intimately related to the

the ruling in the case of Quiambao v. Osorio (158 SCRA

issue in the criminal action; and [b] the

674 [1988]), to wit:

resolution of such issue determines

The instant controversy boils down to


the sole question of whether or not the

whether or not the criminal action may


proceed.

administrative case between the private

The actions involved in the case at bar

parties involving the lot subject matter

being

of the ejectment case constitutes a

administrative in character, it is obvious

prejudicial

that technically, there is no prejudicial

question

which

would

operate as a bar to said ejectment case.

respectively

civil

and

question to speak of. Equally apparent,


however, is the intimate correlation

between said two [2] proceedings,

possibility

of

petitioner's

stemming from the fact that the right of

possession being upheld in the pending

private respondents to eject petitioner

administrative case is to needlessly

from the disputed portion depends

require not only the parties but the court

primarily on the resolution of the

as well to expend time, effort in what

pending administrative case. For while it

may turn out to be a sheer exercise in

may be true that private respondents had

futility.

prior possession of the lot in question, at

tells us:

Thus,

right

Am

Jur

of

2d

the time of the institution of the


ejectment case, such right of possession

The court in which an

had been terminated, or at the very least,

action is pending may,

suspended by the cancellation by the

in the exercise of a

Land Authority of the Agreement to Sell

sound discretion, upon

executed in their favor. Whether or not

proper application for a

private respondents can continue to

stay of that action, hold

exercise their right of possession is but a

the action in abeyance

necessary, logical consequence of the

to abide the outcome of

issue

another

involved

in

the

pending

pending

in

administrative case assailing the validity

another court, especially

of the cancellation of the Agreement to

where the parties and

Sell and the subsequent award of the

the issues are the same,

disputed portion to petitioner. If the

for

cancellation of the agreement, to Sell

inherent in every court

and the subsequent award to petitioner

to

are voided, then private respondent's

disposition of causes an

right of possession is lost and so would

its

their right to eject petitioner from said

economy of time and

portion.

effort

there

is

power

control
dockets

with

itself,

for

counsel,

and

for

Faced with these distinct possibilities,

litigants.

Where

the

the more prudent course for the trial

rights of parties in the

court to have taken is to hold the

record action cannot be

ejectment proceedings in abeyance until

properly

after

until

determination

of

the

for

the

the

determined
questions

administrative case. Indeed, logic and

raised in the first action

pragmatism, if not jurisprudence, dictate

are settled the second

such move. To allow the parties to

action should be stayed.

undergo

trial

notwithstanding

the

While this rule is properly applicable to

building was demolished by the municipality even

instances

court

before a proper tribunal could decide whether or not the

actions, the existence in the instant case

building constituted a nuisance in law. Our ruling was

of the same considerations of identity of

premised on the ground that the owner of the building

parties and issues, economy of time and

was in lawful possession of the lot and the building by

effort for the court, the counsels and the

virtue of the permit from the authorized government

parties as well as the need to resolve the

agency when the demolition was effected.

involving

two

[2]

parties' right of possession before the


properly

We cannot, however, apply this ruling to the present

determined, justifies the rule's analogous

case. The legality of the occupation by the private

application to the case at bar.

respondents of the subject parcel of land is still to be

ejectment

case

may

be

resolved in the cadastral proceedings. In the event that


Technically, a prejudicial question shall not rise in the

respondent Vicente Medina is declared owner of the

instant case since the two actions involved are both civil

subject

in nature. However, we have to consider the fact that the

respondents would be entitled to just compensation for

cadastral proceedings will ultimately settle the real

the precipitate demolition of their buildings. On the

owner/s of the disputed parcel of land. In case

other hand, if private respondent Medina is declared to

respondent Vicente Medina is adjudged the real owner of

have no rights over the subject parcel of land then, the

the parcel of land, then the writ of possession and writ of

private respondents would not be entitle to any

demolition would necessarily be null and void. Not only

compensation for the demolition of their buildings. In

that. The demolition of the constructions in the parcel of

such a case the private respondents are considered

land would prove truly unjust to the private respondents.

squatters and therefore, the demolition of their buildings

parcel

of

land,

necessarily,

the

private

would turnout to have been justified.


Parenthetically, the issuance of the writ of possession
and writ of demolition by the petitioner Judge in the

Faced with these alternative possibilities, and in the

ejectment proceedings was premature. What the

interest

petitioner should have done was to stop the proceedings

municipality must put up a bond to be determined by the

in the instant case and wait for the final outcome of the

trial court to answer for just compensation to which the

cadastral proceedings.

private respondents may be entitled in case the

of

justice, we

rule

that the petitioner

demolition of their buildings is adjudged to be illegal.


At any rate, affirmative relief based an the above
discussions is no longer possible. The demolition of the

Moreover, the appellate court correctly ruled this Rule

buildings owned by the private respondents is now a fait

67 of the Revised Rules of Court on eminent domain can

accompli.

not be made a subterfuge to justify the petitioner Judge's


issuance of a writ of possession in favor of petitioner

In the case of Estate of Gregoria Francisco v. Court of

municipality. In the recent case of National Power

Appeals (199 SCRA 595 [1991] we awarded just

Corporation v. Hon. Enrique T. Jocson, et al. (G.R. No.

compensation the amount of which was for the trial

94193-99, February 25, 1992) we said:

court to determine in favor of the petitioner whose

In Municipality of Bian v. Hon. Jose

Republic, 143 SCRA

Mar Garcia, et al. (180 SCRA 576

466.)An

[1989]) this Court ruled that there are

dismissal, if this be

two (2) stages in every action of

ordained, would be a

expropriation:

final one, of course,

order

of

since it finally disposes


The first is concerned

of the action and leaves

with the determination

nothing more to be done

of the authority of the

by the Court on the

plaintiff to exercise the

merits.

power

eminent

(CitingInvestments, Inc.

the

v. Court of Appeals, et

propriety of its exercise

al., 147 SCRA 334) So,

in the content of the

too, would an order of

facts involved in the

condemnation on be a

suit. (Citing Sections 1,

final one, for thereafter

2 and 3, Rule 67 of the

as the rules expressly

Rules of Court.) It ends

state, in the proceedings

with an order, if not of

before the Trial Court,

dismissal of the action,

"no objection to the

"of

exercise of the right of

of

domain

and

condemnation

declaring

the

condemnation (or the

plaintiff has a lawful

propriety thereof) shall

right

be filed or heard.

to

that
take

the

property sought to be
condemned,

for

the

The second phase of the

public use or purpose

eminent domain action

described

in

the

is concerned with the

complaint,

upon

the

determination

payment

of

just

Court

compensation

to

of

to

the

"the

just

be

compensation in for the

determined as of the

property sought to be

date of the filing of the

taken." This is done by

complaint."

the

(Citing

Court

with

the

Section 4, Rule 67;

assistance of not more

Nieto v. Isip, 97 Phil.

than

31;

commissioners

Consolidated

Benguet
v.

three

(3)

(CitingSections 5 to 8,

Rule 67 of the Rules of

Presidential Decree 42. It is only after the deposit of the

Court) The order fixing

just compensation that petitioner municipality would be

the just compensation

entitled to a writ of possession.

on the basis of the


evidence

before,

and

Another point raised by the petitioners questions the

findings

of,

the

alleged ruling of the appellate court "that the petitioners

would

are personally liable for damages to the private

be final, too. It would

respondents for the abatement of public nuisance."

finally dispose of the

(Rollo, p. 50)

commissioners

second stage of the suit,


and leave nothing more
to be done by the Court
regarding the issue. . . .
However, upon

the

filing

of

The petitioners misread the appellate court's decision.


The records show Chat the private respondents prayed
for, in their petition for certiorari filed with the appellate
court, among others:

the

It is likewise, prayed that respondents be

complaint or at any time thereafter, the

ordered to pay jointly and severally the

petitioner has the right to take enter

value of the house illegally demolished

upon the possession of the property

in

involved upon compliance with P.D. No.

the

attorney's

42 which requires the petitioner, after

amount
fees

of
in

P1,000.00
the

amount

00,
of

P50,000.00, moral damages in the

due notice to the defendant, to deposit

amount of P100,000.00 and exemplary

with the Philippine National Bank in its

damages in the amount of P50,000.00,

main office or any of its branches or

to pay the costs, . . .

agencies, "an amount equivalent to the


assessed value of the property for

xxx xxx xxx

purposes of taxation." This assessed


(CA Rollo, p. 6)

value is that indicated in the tax


declaration.

In response to this prayer, however, the appellate court


Hence, even if we concede that Rule 67 is applicable to

stated:

the instant case and that petitioner municipality had the


lawful right to eject the private respondents from the
subject parcel of land the issuance of a writ of
possession in favor of petitioner municipality would still
not be legal if the petitioner municipality really owns the
land. The Judge did not require petitioner municipality to
deposit an amount equivalent to the just compensation
due the private respondents as provided for under

We do not, however, have jurisdiction


over petitioners' claim for damages. This
must be pursued in an appropriate action
instituted in the Regional Trial Court.
(Rollo, p. 26)
Moreover, the dispositive portion of the decision does
not mention any personal liability for damages against

the petitioners. The apprehension of the petitioners lacks

Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. 58982 and the CA

factual basis.

Resolution dated April 26, 2001, which denied


petitioners Motion for Reconsideration.

WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DISMISSED. The


questioned decision and resolution of the Court of

The factual background of the case is as follows:

Appeals are AFFIRMED. The trial court is ordered to


require the petitioner municipality to put up a bond to be

Under a Real Estate Mortgage dated August 15,

determined by the court after hearing to answer, for just

19942 and Amendments of Real Estate Mortgage dated

compensation due the private respondents in case the

April 4, 19953 and December 4, 1995,4 spouses Vicente

demolition of their buildings is adjudged to be illegal.

Yu and Demetria Lee-Yu (petitioners) and spouses

The "Motion to Declare in Contempt" filed by petitioner

Ramon T. Yu and Virginia A. Tiu, or Yu Tian Hock aka

Judge is referred to the Regional Trial Court of Pagadian

Victorino/Vicente Yu, mortgaged their title, interest, and

City, Branch 18 in Civil Case No. 3156 for appropriate

participation over several parcels of land located in

action.

Dagupan City and Quezon City, in favor of the


Philippine Commercial International Bank (respondent)

SO ORDERED.

as security for the payment of a loan in the amount


of P9,000,000.00.5
As the petitioners failed to pay the loan, the interest, and
the penalties due thereon, respondent filed on July 21,
1998 with the Office of the Clerk of Court and ExOfficio Sheriff of the Regional Trial Court of Dagupan
City a Petition for Extra-Judicial Foreclosure of Real
Estate Mortgage on the Dagupan City properties. 6 On
August 3, 1998, the City Sheriff issued a Notice of
Extra-Judicial Sale scheduling the auction sale on

G.R. No. 147902

March 17, 2006

SPOUSES VICENTE YU AND DEMETRIA LEEYU, Petitioners,

September 10, 1998 at 10:00 oclock in the morning or


soon thereafter in front of the Justice Hall, Bonuan,
Tondaligan, Dagupan City.7

vs.

At the auction sale on September 10, 1998, respondent

PHILIPPINE COMMERCIAL INTERNATIONAL

emerged as the highest bidder.8 On September 14, 1998,

BANK, Respondent.

a Certificate of Sale was issued in favor of

DECISION
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.:
Before the Court is a Petition for Review on Certiorari of
the Decision1 dated November 14, 2000 of the Court of

respondent.9 On October 1, 1998, the sale was registered


with the Registry of Deeds of Dagupan City.
About two months before the expiration of the
redemption period, or on August 20, 1999, respondent
filed an Ex-Parte Petition for Writ of Possession before

the Regional Trial Court of Dagupan City, docketed as

On May 8, 2000, RTC Branch 43 denied petitioners

Special Proceeding No. 99-00988-D and raffled to

Motion for Reconsideration, holding that the principle of

10

Branch 43 (RTC Branch 43). Hearing was conducted

prejudicial question is not applicable because the case

on September 14, 1999 and respondent presented its

pending before RTC Branch 44 is also a civil case and

evidence ex-parte.11 The testimony of Rodante Manuel

not a criminal case.16

was admitted ex-parte and thereafter the petition was


deemed submitted for resolution.

On June 1, 2000, petitioners filed a Petition for


Certiorari with the CA.17 On November 14, 2000, the CA

On September 30, 1999, petitioners filed a Motion to

dismissed petitioners Petition for Certiorari on the

Dismiss and to Strike Out Testimony of Rodante Manuel

grounds that petitioners violated Section 8 of Act No.

stating that the Certificate of Sale dated September 14,

3135 and disregarded the rule against multiplicity of

1998 is void because respondent violated Article 2089 of

suits in filing Civil Case No. 99-03169-D in RTC Branch

the Civil Code on the indivisibility of the mortgaged by

44 despite full knowledge of the pendency of Spec. Proc.

conducting two separate foreclosure proceedings on the

No. 99-00988-D in RTC Branch 43; that since the one-

mortgage properties in Dagupan City and Quezon City

year period of redemption has already lapsed, the

and indicating in the two notices of extra-judicial sale

issuance of a writ of possession in favor of respondent

that petitioners obligation is P10,437,015.2012 as of

becomes a ministerial duty of the trial court; that the

March 31, 1998, when petitioners are not indebted for

issues in Civil Case No. 99-03169-D are not prejudicial

the total amount of P20,874,031.56.13

questions to Spec. Proc. No. 99-00988-D because: (a)


the special proceeding is already fait accompli, (b) Civil

In the meantime, petitioners filed a complaint for

Case No. 99-03169-D is deemed not filed for being

Annulment of Certificate of Sale before the Regional

contrary to Section 8 of Act No. 3135, (c) the filing of

Trial Court of Dagupan City, docketed as Civil Case No.

Civil Case No. 99-03169-D is an afterthought and

99-03169-D and raffled to Branch 44 (RTC Branch 44).

dilatory in nature, and (d) legally speaking what seems

On February 14, 2000, RTC Branch 43 denied

to exist is litis pendentia and not prejudicial question. 18

petitioners Motion to Dismiss and to Strike Out

Petitioners filed a Motion for Reconsideration19 but it

Testimony of Rodante Manuel, ruling that the filing of a

was denied by the CA on April 26, 2001.20

motion to dismiss is not allowed in petitions for issuance


of writ of possession under Section 7 of Act No. 3135.14

Hence, the present Petition for Review on Certiorari.

On February 24, 2000, petitioners filed a Motion for

Petitioners pose two issues for resolution, to wit:

Reconsideration, further arguing that the pendency of


Civil Case No. 99-03169-D in RTC Branch 44 is a

A. Whether or not a real estate mortgage over

prejudicial issue to Spec. Proc. No. 99-00988-D in RTC

several properties located in different locality

Branch 43, the resolution of which is determinative on

[sic] can be separately foreclosed in different

the propriety of the issuance of a writ of possession. 15

places.

B. Whether or not the pendency of a prejudicial

As to the second issue, respondent maintains that there is

issue renders the issues in Special Proceedings

no prejudicial question between Civil Case No. 99-

No. 99-00988-D as [sic] moot and academic.

21

03169-D and Spec. Proc. No. 99-00988-D since the


pendency of a civil action questioning the validity of the

Anent the first issue, petitioners contend that since a real

mortgage and the extra-judicial foreclosure thereof does

estate mortgage is indivisible, the mortgaged properties

not bar the issuance of a writ of possession. Respondent

in Dagupan City and Quezon City cannot be separately

also insists that petitioners should have filed their

foreclosed. Petitioners further point out that two notices

Petition to Annul the Certificate of Sale in the same case

of

petitioners

where possession is being sought, that is, in Spec. Proc.

obligation is P10,437,015.20 each as of March 31,

No. 99-00988-D, and not in a separate proceeding (Civil

1998 or a total ofP20,874,030.40,23 yet their own

Case No. 99-01369-D) because the venue of the action

computation yields only P9,957,508.90 as of February

to question the validity of the foreclosure is not

27, 1998.

discretionary since the use of the word "may" in Section

extra-judicial

sale

indicated

that

22

As to the second issue, petitioners posit that the


pendency of Civil Case No. 99-03169-D is a prejudicial
issue, the resolution of which will render the issues in
Spec. Proc. No. 99-00988-D moot and academic.
Petitioners further aver that they did not violate Section
8 of Act No. 3135 in filing a separate case to annul the
certificate of sale since the use of the word "may" in said
provision indicates that they have the option to seek

8 of Act No. 3135 refers to the filing of the petition or


action itself and not to the venue. Respondent further
argues that even if petitioners filed the Petition to Annul
the Certificate of Sale in Spec. Proc. No. 99-00988-D,
the writ of possession must still be issued because
issuance of the writ in favor of the purchaser is a
ministerial act of the trial court and the one-year period
of redemption has already lapsed.

relief of filing a petition to annul the certificate of sale in

Anent the first issue, the Court finds that petitioners have

the proceeding involving the application for a writ of

a mistaken notion that the indivisibility of a real estate

possession or in a separate proceeding.

mortgage relates

Respondent contends24 that, with respect to the first


issue, the filing of two separate foreclosure proceedings
did not violate Article 2089 of the Civil Code on the

to the

venue of extra-judicial

foreclosure proceedings. The rule on indivisibility of a


real estate mortgage is provided for in Article 2089 of
the Civil Code, which provides:

indivisibility of a real estate mortgage since Section 2 of

Art. 2089. A pledge or mortgage is indivisible, even

Act No. 3135 expressly provides that extra-judicial

though the debt may be divided among the successors in

foreclosure may only be made in the province or

interest of the debtor or of the creditor.

municipality where the property is situated. Respondent


further submits that the filing of separate applications for

Therefore, the debtors heir who has paid a part of the

extra-judicial foreclosure of mortgage involving several

debt cannot ask for the proportionate extinguishment of

properties in different locations is allowed by A.M. No.

the pledge or mortgage as the debt is not completely

99-10-05-0, the Procedure on Extra-Judicial Foreclosure

satisfied.

of Mortgage, as further amended on August 7, 2001.

Neither can the creditors heir who received his share of

SECTION 2. Said sale cannot be made legally outside of

the debt return the pledge or cancel the mortgage, to the

the province in which the property sold is situated; and

prejudice of the other heirs who have not been paid.

in case the place within said province in which the sale


is to be made is subject to stipulation, such sale shall be

From these provisions is excepted the case in which,

made in said place or in the municipal building of the

there being several things given in mortgage or pledge,

municipality in which the property or part thereof is

each one of them guarantees only a determinate portion

situated.

of the credit.
A.M. No. 99-10-05-0,30 the Procedure on Extra-Judicial
The debtor, in this case, shall have a right to the

Foreclosure of Mortgage, lays down the guidelines for

extinguishment of the pledge or mortgage as the portion

extra-judicial foreclosure proceedings on mortgaged

of the debt for which each thing is specially answerable

properties located in different provinces. It provides that

is satisfied.

the venue of the extra-judicial foreclosure proceedings is

This rule presupposes several heirs of the debtor or


creditor25 and therefore not applicable to the present

the place where each of the mortgaged property is


located. Relevant portion thereof provides:

case. Furthermore, what the law proscribes is the

Where the application concerns the extrajudicial

foreclosure of only a portion of the property or a number

foreclosure of mortgages of real estates and/or chattels in

of the several properties mortgaged corresponding to the

different locations covering one indebtedness, only one

unpaid portion of the debt where, before foreclosure

filing fee corresponding to such indebtedness shall be

proceedings, partial payment was made by the debtor on

collected. The collecting Clerk of Court shall, apart from

his total outstanding loan or obligation. This also means

the official receipt of the fees, issue a certificate of

that the debtor cannot ask for the release of any portion

payment indicating the amount of indebtedness, the

of the mortgaged property or of one or some of the

filing fees collected, the mortgages sought to be

several lots mortgaged unless and until the loan thus

foreclosed, the real estates and/or chattels mortgaged and

secured has been fully paid, notwithstanding the fact that

their respective locations, which certificate shall serve

there has been partial fulfillment of the obligation.

the purpose of having the application docketed with

Hence, it is provided that the debtor who has paid a part

the Clerks of Court of the places where the other

of

properties

the

debt

cannot

ask

for

the

proportionate

are

located

extinguishment of the mortgage as long as the debt is not

extrajudicial

completely satisfied.26 In essence, indivisibility means

(Emphasis supplied)

foreclosures

and
to

of

allowing

proceed

the

thereat.

that the mortgage obligation cannot be divided among


the different lots,27 that is, each and every parcel under

The indivisibility of the real estate mortgage is not

mortgage answers for the totality of the debt. 28

violated by conducting two separate foreclosure


proceedings on mortgaged properties located in different

On the other hand, the venue of the extra-judicial

provinces as long as each parcel of land is answerable

foreclosure proceedings is the place where each of the

for the entire debt. Petitioners assumption that their total

mortgaged property is located, as prescribed by Section

obligation is P20,874,030.40 because the two notices of

2 of Act No. 3135,29 to wit:

extra-judicial sale indicated that petitioners obligation

is P10,437,015.2031 each,

is

therefore

flawed.

former is whether the respondent, as the purchaser in the

Considering the indivisibility of a real estate mortgage,

extrajudicial foreclosure proceedings, may be compelled

the mortgaged properties in Dagupan City and Quezon

to have the property repurchased or resold to a

City are made to answer for the entire debt

mortgagors successor-in-interest (petitioner); while that

of P10,437,015.29.32

in the latter is merely whether the respondent, as the


purchaser in the extrajudicial foreclosure proceedings, is

As to the second issue, that is, whether a civil case for

entitled to a writ of possession after the statutory period

annulment of a certificate of sale is a prejudicial

for redemption has expired. The two cases, assuming

question to a petition for issuance of a writ of

both are pending, can proceed separately and take their

possession, this issue is far from novel and, in fact, not

own direction independent of each other.34

33

without precedence. In Pahang v. Vestil, the Court said:


In the present case, Civil Case No. 99-01369-D and
A prejudicial question is one that arises in a case the

Spec. Proc. No. 99-00988-D are both civil in nature. The

resolution of which is a logical antecedent of the issue

issue in Civil Case No. 99-01369-D is whether the extra-

involved therein, and the cognizance of which pertains

judicial foreclosure of the real estate mortgage executed

to another tribunal. It generally comes into play in a

by the petitioners in favor of the respondent and the sale

situation where a civil action and a criminal action are

of their properties at public auction are null and void,

both pending and there exists in the former an issue that

whereas, the issue in Spec. Proc. No. 99-00988-D is

must be preemptively resolved before the criminal action

whether the respondent is entitled to a writ of possession

may proceed, because howsoever the issue raised in the

of the foreclosed properties. Clearly, no prejudicial

civil action is resolved would be determinative juris et

question can arise from the existence of the two actions.

de jure of the guilt or innocence of the accused in the

The two cases can proceed separately and take their own

criminal case. The rationale behind the principle of

direction independently of each other.

prejudicial question is to avoid two conflicting


decisions. 1avvph!l.net

Nevertheless, there is a need to correct the CAs view


that petitioners violated Section 8 of Act No. 3135 and

In the present case, the complaint of the petitioners for

disregarded the proscription on multiplicity of suits by

Annulment of Extrajudicial Sale is a civil action and the

instituting a separate civil suit for annulment of the

respondents petition for the issuance of a writ of

certificate of sale while there is a pending petition for

possession of Lot No. 3-A, Block 1, Psd-07-021410,

issuance of the writ of possession in a special

TCT No. 44668 is but an incident in the land registration

proceeding.

case and, therefore, no prejudicial question can arise


from the existence of the two actions. A similar issue

Section 8 of Act No. 3135 provides:

was raised in Manalo v. Court of Appeals, where we held


that:

Sec. 8. Setting aside of sale and writ of possession.


The debtor may, in the proceedings in which possession

At any rate, it taxes our imagination why the questions

was requested, but not later than thirty days after the

raised in Case No. 98-0868 must be considered

purchaser was given possession, petition that the sale be

determinative of Case No. 9011. The basic issue in the

set aside and the writ of possession cancelled, specifying

the damages suffered by him, because the mortgage was

allow the purchaser to have possession of the foreclosed

not violated or the sale was not made in accordance with

property without delay, such possession being founded

the provisions hereof, and the court shall take

on his right of ownership.37

cognizance of this petition in accordance with the


summary procedure provided for in section one hundred

Accordingly, Section 8 of Act No. 3135 is not applicable

and twelve of Act Numbered Four hundred and ninety-

to the present case since at the time of the filing of the

six; and if it finds the complaint of the debtor justified, it

separate civil suit for annulment of the certificate of sale

shall dispose in his favor of all or part of the bond

in RTC Branch 44, no writ of possession was yet issued

furnished by the person who obtained possession. Either

by RTC Branch 43.

of the parties may appeal from the order of the judge in


accordance with section fourteen of Act Numbered Four
hundred and ninety-six; but the order of possession shall
continue in effect during the pendency of the appeal.
(Emphasis supplied)

Similarly, the Court rejects the CAs application of the


principle of litis pendentia to Civil Case No. 99-03169-D
in relation to Spec. Proc. No. 99-00988-D. Litis
pendentia refers to that situation wherein another action
is pending between the same parties for the same cause

Under the provision above cited, the mortgagor may file

of actions and that the second action becomes

a petition to set aside the sale and for the cancellation of

unnecessary and vexatious. For litis pendentia to be

a writ of possession with the trial court which issued the

invoked, the concurrence of the following requisites is

writ of possession within 30 days after the purchaser

necessary: (a) identity of parties or at least such as

mortgagee was given possession. It provides the plain,

represent the same interest in both actions; (b) identity of

speedy, and adequate remedy in opposing the issuance of

rights asserted and reliefs prayed for, the reliefs being

a writ of possession.35 Thus, this provision presupposes

founded on the same facts; and, (c) the identity in the

that the trial court already issued a writ of possession. In

two cases should be such that the judgment that may be

Sps. Ong v. Court of Appeals,36 the Court elucidated:

rendered in one would, regardless of which party is


successful, amount to res judicatain the other.38

The law is clear that the purchaser must first be placed in


pending

Applying the foregoing criteria in the instant case, litis

proceedings assailing the issuance of the writ of

pendentia does not obtain in this case because of the

possession. If the trial court later finds merit in the

absence of the second and third requisites. The issuance

petition to set aside the writ of possession, it shall

of the writ of possession being a ministerial function,

dispose in favor of the mortgagor the bond furnished by

and summary in nature, it cannot be said to be a

the purchaser. Thereafter, either party may appeal from

judgment on the merits, but simply an incident in the

the order of the judge in accordance with Section 14 of

transfer of title. Hence, a separate case for annulment of

Act 496, which provides that "every order, decision, and

mortgage and foreclosure sale cannot be barred by litis

decree of the Court of Land Registration may be

pendentiaor res judicata.39 Thus, insofar as Spec. Proc.

reviewedin the same manner as an order, decision,

No. 99-00988-D and Civil Case No. 99-03169-D

decree or judgment of a Court of First Instance (RTC)

pending before different branches of RTC Dagupan City

might be reviewed." The rationale for the mandate is to

are concerned, there is no litis pendentia.

possession

of

the

mortgaged

property

To sum up, the Court holds that the rule on indivisibility


of the real estate mortgage cannot be equated with the
venue

of

foreclosure

proceedings

on

mortgaged

properties located in different provinces since these are

[G.R. No. 138509. July 31, 2000]

two unrelated concepts. Also, no prejudicial question can


arise from the existence of a civil case for annulment of

IMELDA

a certificate of sale and a petition for the issuance of a

vs. ISAGANI D. BOBIS, respondent.

writ of possession in a special proceeding since the two


cases are both civil in nature which can proceed
separately and take their own direction independently of
each other.
Furthermore, since the one-year period to redeem the
foreclosed properties lapsed on October 1, 1999, title to
the foreclosed properties had already been consolidated
under the name of the respondent. As the owner of the
properties, respondent is entitled to its possession as a
matter of right.40 The issuance of a writ of possession
over the properties by the trial court is merely a
ministerial function. As such, the trial court neither
exercises its official discretion nor judgment. 41 Any
question regarding the validity of the mortgage or its
foreclosure cannot be a legal ground for refusing the
issuance of a writ of possession. 42 Regardless of the
pending suit for annulment of the certificate of sale,
respondent is entitled to a writ of possession, without
prejudice of course to the eventual outcome of said
case.43
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED.
SO ORDERED.

MARBELLA-BOBIS, petitioner,

DECISION
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:
On October 21, 1985, respondent contracted a first
marriage with one Maria Dulce B. Javier. Without said
marriage having been annulled, nullified or terminated,
the same respondent contracted a second marriage with
petitioner Imelda Marbella-Bobis on January 25, 1996
and allegedly a third marriage with a certain Julia Sally
Hernandez. Based on petitioners complaint-affidavit, an
information for bigamy was filed against respondent on
February 25, 1998, which was docketed as Criminal
Case No. Q98-75611 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch
226, Quezon City. Sometime thereafter, respondent
initiated a civil action for the judicial declaration of
absolute nullity of his first marriage on the ground that it
was celebrated without a marriage license. Respondent
then filed a motion to suspend the proceedings in the
criminal case for bigamy invoking the pending civil case
for nullity of the first marriage as a prejudicial question
to the criminal case. The trial judge granted the motion
to suspend the criminal case in an Order dated December
29, 1998.[1]Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration,
but the same was denied.
Hence, this petition for review on certiorari. Petitioner
argues that respondent should have first obtained a
judicial declaration of nullity of his first marriage before
entering into the second marriage, inasmuch as the
alleged prejudicial question justifying suspension of the

bigamy case is no longer a legal truism pursuant to

single evidence on the indictment or may not yet have

Article 40 of the Family Code.[2]

rested its case. A challenge of the allegations in the


information on the ground of prejudicial question is in

The issue to be resolved in this petition is whether the

effect a question on the merits of the criminal charge

subsequent filing of a civil action for declaration of

through a non-criminal suit.

nullity of a previous marriage constitutes a prejudicial


question to a criminal case for bigamy.

Article 40 of the Family Code, which was effective at


the time of celebration of the second marriage, requires a

A prejudicial question is one which arises in a case the

prior judicial declaration of nullity of a previous

resolution of which is a logical antecedent of the issue

marriage before a party may remarry. The clear

[3]

involved therein. It is a question based on a fact

implication of this is that it is not for the parties,

distinct and separate from the crime but so intimately

particularly the accused, to determine the validity or

connected with it that it determines the guilt or

invalidity of the marriage.[8] Whether or not the first

[4]

innocence of the accused. It must appear not only that

marriage was void for lack of a license is a matter of

the civil case involves facts upon which the criminal

defense because there is still no judicial declaration of its

action is based, but also that the resolution of the issues

nullity at the time the second marriage was contracted. It

raised in the civil action would necessarily be

should be remembered that bigamy can successfully be

determinative of the criminal case. [5] Consequently, the

prosecuted provided all its elements concur two of which

defense must involve an issue similar or intimately

are a previous marriage and a subsequent marriage

related to the same issue raised in the criminal action and

which would have been valid had it not been for the

its resolution determinative of whether or not the latter

existence at the material time of the first marriage. [9]

[6]

action may proceed. Its two essential elements are:

[7]

In the case at bar, respondents clear intent is to obtain a


(a) the civil action involves an issue

judicial declaration of nullity of his first marriage and

similar or intimately related to the issue

thereafter to invoke that very same judgment to prevent

raised in the criminal action; and

his prosecution for bigamy. He cannot have his cake and

(b)

the

resolution

of

such

issue

determines whether or not the criminal


action may proceed.

eat it too. Otherwise, all that an adventurous bigamist


has to do is to disregard Article 40 of the Family Code,
contract a subsequent marriage and escape a bigamy
charge by simply claiming that the first marriage is void

A prejudicial question does not conclusively resolve the

and that the subsequent marriage is equally void for lack

guilt or innocence of the accused but simply tests the

of a prior judicial declaration of nullity of the first. A

sufficiency of the allegations in the information in order

party may even enter into a marriage aware of the

to sustain the further prosecution of the criminal case. A

absence of a requisite - usually the marriage license -

party who raises a prejudicial question is deemed to have

and thereafter contract a subsequent marriage without

hypothetically admitted that all the essential elements of

obtaining a declaration of nullity of the first on the

a crime have been adequately alleged in the information,

assumption that the first marriage is void. Such scenario

considering that the prosecution has not yet presented a

would render nugatory the provisions on bigamy. As

render. Thus, as ruled in Landicho v. Relova,[14] he who

succinctly held in Landicho v. Relova:[10]

contracts a second marriage before the judicial


declaration of nullity of the first marriage assumes the

(P)arties to a marriage should not be

risk of being prosecuted for bigamy, and in such a case

permitted to judge for themselves its

the criminal case may not be suspended on the ground of

nullity, only competent courts having

the pendency of a civil case for declaration of nullity. In

such authority. Prior to such declaration

a recent case for concubinage, we held that the pendency

of nullity, the validity of the first

of a civil case for declaration of nullity of marriage is

marriage is beyond question. A party

not a prejudicial question.[15] This ruling applies here by

who contracts a second marriage then

analogy since both crimes presuppose the subsistence of

assumes the risk of being prosecuted for

a marriage.

bigamy.
Ignorance of the existence of Article 40 of the Family
Respondent alleges that the first marriage in the case
before us was void for lack of a marriage license.

Code cannot even be successfully invoked as an excuse.


[16]

The contracting of a marriage knowing that the

Petitioner, on the other hand, argues that her marriage to

requirements of the law have not been complied with or

respondent was exempt from the requirement of a

that the marriage is in disregard of a legal impediment is

marriage license. More specifically, petitioner claims

an act penalized by the Revised Penal Code. [17] The

that prior to their marriage, they had already attained the

legality of a marriage is a matter of law and every person

age of majority and had been living together as husband

is presumed to know the law. As respondent did not

and wife for at least five years. [11] The issue in this case

obtain the judicial declaration of nullity when he entered

is limited to the existence of a prejudicial question, and

into the second marriage, why should he be allowed to

we are not called upon to resolve the validity of the first

belatedly obtain that judicial declaration in order to

marriage. Be that as it may, suffice it to state that the

delay his criminal prosecution and subsequently defeat it

Civil Code, under which the first marriage was

by his own disobedience of the law? If he wants to raise

celebrated, provides that "every intendment of law or

the nullity of the previous marriage, he can do it as a

fact leans toward the validity of marriage, the

matter of defense when he presents his evidence during

indissolubility of the marriage bonds."

[12]

Hence, parties

the trial proper in the criminal case.

should not be permitted to judge for themselves the


nullity of their marriage, for the same must be submitted

The burden of proof to show the dissolution of the first

to the determination of competent courts. Only when the

marriage before the second marriage was contracted

nullity of the marriage is so declared can it be held as

rests upon the defense,[18] but that is a matter that can be

void, and so long as there is no such declaration the

raised in the trial of the bigamy case. In the meantime, it

presumption is that the marriage exists. [13] No matter

should be stressed that not every defense raised in the

how obvious, manifest or patent the absence of an

civil action may be used as a prejudicial question to

element is, the intervention of the courts must always be

obtain the suspension of the criminal action. The lower

resorted to. That is why Article 40 of the Family Code

court, therefore, erred in suspending the criminal case

requires a "final judgment," which only the courts can

for bigamy. Moreover, when respondent was indicted for

bigamy, the fact that he entered into two marriage

SO ORDERED.

ceremonies appeared indubitable. It was only after he


was sued by petitioner for bigamy that he thought of
seeking a judicial declaration of nullity of his first
marriage. The obvious intent, therefore, is that
respondent merely resorted to the civil action as a
potential prejudicial question for the purpose of
frustrating or delaying his criminal prosecution. As has
been discussed above, this cannot be done.
In the light of Article 40 of the Family Code, respondent,
without first having obtained the judicial declaration of
nullity of the first marriage, can not be said to have

SUBSIDIARY LIABILITY (ART. 102-103, RPC; ART.


106-109 LABOR CODE)

validly entered into the second marriage. Per current


jurisprudence, a marriage though void still needs a
judicial declaration of such fact before any party can
marry again; otherwise the second marriage will also be
void.[19] The reason is that, without a judicial declaration
of its nullity, the first marriage is presumed to be
subsisting. In the case at bar, respondent was for all legal
intents and purposes regarded as a married man at the
time he contracted his second marriage with petitioner.
[20]

G.R. No. 84516 December 5, 1989


DIONISIO

CARPIO, petitioner,

vs.
HON. SERGIO DOROJA, (Presiding Judge, MTC,
Branch

IV,

Zamboanga

City)

and

EDWIN

RAMIREZ Y WEE,respondents.

Against this legal backdrop, any decision in the civil

action for nullity would not erase the fact that


respondent entered into a second marriage during the

PARAS, J.:

subsistence of a first marriage. Thus, a decision in the


civil case is not essential to the determination of the
criminal charge. It is, therefore, not a prejudicial
question. As stated above, respondent cannot be
permitted to use his own malfeasance to defeat the

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The order


dated December 29, 1998 of the Regional Trial Court,
Branch 226 of Quezon City is REVERSED and
and

the

trial

court

is

ordered

to

IMMEDIATELY proceed with Criminal Case No. Q9875611.

decision of the Municipal Trial Court of Zamboanga


City, Branch IV, which denied petitioner's motion for
subsidiary writ of execution against the owner-operator
of the vehicle which figured in the accident.

criminal action against him.[21]

SET ASIDE

Before us is a petition to review by certiorari the

The facts of the case are undisputed.


Sometime on October 23, 1985, accused-respondent
Edwin Ramirez, while driving a passenger Fuso Jitney
owned and operated by Eduardo Toribio, bumped
Dionisio Carpio, a pedestrian crossing the street, as a
consequence of which the latter suffered from a

fractured left clavicle as reflected in the medico-legal

latter a day in court, on the ground that the accused is

certificate and sustained injuries which required medical

not only indigent but also jobless and thus cannot answer

attention for a period of (3) three months.

any civil liability that may be imposed upon him by the


court. The private prosecutor, however, did not move for

An information for Reckless Imprudence Resulting to

the appearance of Eduardo Toribio.

Serious Physical Injuries was filed against Edwin


Ramirez with the Municipal Trial Court of Zamboanga

The civil aspect of the above-quoted decision was

City, Branch IV. On January 14, 1987, the accused

appealed by the private prosecutor to the Regional Trial

voluntarily pleaded guilty to a lesser offense and was

Court Branch XVI, appellant praying for moral damages

accordingly

Imprudence

in the amount of P 10,000.00, compensatory damages at

Resulting to Less Serious Physical Injuries under an

P6,186.40, and attorney's fees of P 5,000.00. The

amended information punishable under Article 365 of

appellate court, on January 20, 1988, modified the trial

the Revised Penal Code. The dispositive portion of the

court's decision, granting the appellant moral damages in

decision handed down on May 27, 1987 reads as

the amount of Five Thousand Pesos (P 5,000.00), while

follows:

affirming all other civil liabilities.

WHEREFORE, finding the accused EDWIN RAMIREZ

Thereafter, a writ of execution dated March 10, 1988

y WEE guilty as a principal beyond reasonable doubt of

was duly served upon the accused but was, however,

the Amended Information to which he voluntarily

returned unsatisfied due to the insolvency of the accused

pleaded

mitigating

as shown by the sheriffs return. Thus, complainant

circumstance in his favor, hereby sentences him to suffer

moved for a subsidiary writ of execution against the

the penalty of One (1) month and One (1) day to Two (2)

subsidiary liability of the owner-operator of the vehicle.

months of Arresto Mayor in its minimum period. The

The same was denied by the trial court on two grounds,

accused

the

namely, the decision of the appellate court made no

complainant Dionisio A. Carpio the amount of P45.00

mention of the subsidiary liability of Eduardo Toribio,

representing the value of the 1/2 can of tomatoes lost;

and the nature of the accident falls under "culpa-

the amount of P200.00 which complainant paid to the

aquiliana" and not culpa-contractual." A motion for

Zamboanga General Hospital, to pay complainant the

reconsideration of the said order was disallowed for the

amount of Pl,500.00 as attorney's fees and to pay the

reason that complainant having failed to raise the matter

cost of this suit. SO ORDERED. (p. 7, Rollo)

of subsidiary liability with the appellate court, said court

convicted

guilty

is

and

likewise

for

Reckless

appreciating

ordered

to

this

indemnify

rendered its decision which has become final and


Thereafter, the accused filed an application for

executory and the trial court has no power to alter or

probation.

modify such decision.

At the early stage of the trial, the private prosecutor

Hence, the instant petition.

manifested his desire to present evidence to establish the


civil liability of either the accused driver or the owner-

Petitioner relies heavily on the case of Pajarito v.

operator of the vehicle. Accused's counsel moved that

Seneris, 87 SCRA 275, which enunciates that "the

the court summon the owner of the vehicle to afford the

subsidiary liability of the owner-operator is fixed by the

judgment, because if a case were to be filed against said

committed

by

their

servants,

pupils,

workmen,

operator, the court called upon to act thereto has no other

apprentices, or employees in the discharge of their

function than to render a decision based on the

duties.

indemnity award in the criminal case without power to


amend or modify it even if in his opinion an error has

Respondent contends that the case of Pajarito v.

been committed in the decision." Petitioner maintains

Seneris cannot be applied to the present case, the former

that the tenor of the aforesaid decision implies that the

being an action involving culpa-contractual, while the

subsidiary liability of the owner-operator may be

latter being one of culpa-aquiliana. Such a declaration is

enforced in the same proceeding and a separate action is

erroneous. The subsidiary liability in Art. 103 should be

no longer necessary in order to avoid undue delay,

distinguished from the primary liability of employers,

notwithstanding the fact that said employer was not

which is quasi-delictual in character as provided in Art.

made a party in the criminal action.

2180 of the New Civil Code. Under Art. 103, the


liability emanated from a delict. On the other hand, the

It is the theory of respondent that the owner-operator

liability under Art. 2180 is founded on culpa-aquiliana.

cannot be validly held subsidiarily liable for the

The present case is neither an action for culpa-

following reasons, namely: (a) the matter of subsidiary

contractual nor for culpa-aquiliana. This is basically an

liability was not raised on appeal; (b) contrary to the

action to enforce the civil liability arising from crime

case of Pajarito v. Seneris, the injuries sustained by the

under Art. 100 of the Revised Penal Code. In no case can

complainant did not arise from the so-called "culpa-

this be regarded as a civil action for the primary liability

contractual"

of the employer under Art. 2180 of the New Civil Code,

but

from

"culpa-aquiliana";

(c)

the

judgments of appellate courts may not be altered,

i.e., action for culpa-aquiliana.

modified, or changed by the court of origin; and (d) said


owner was never made a party to the criminal

In order that an employer may be held subsidiarily liable

proceedings.

for the employee's civil liability in the criminal action, it


should be shown (1) that the employer, etc. is engaged in

Thus, the underlying issue raised in this case is; whether

any kind of industry, (2) that the employee committed

or not the subsidiary liability of the owner-operator may

the offense in the discharge of his duties and (3) that he

be enforced in the same criminal proceeding against the

is insolvent (Basa Marketing Corp. v. Bolinao, 117

driver where the award was given, or in a separate civil

SCRA 156). The subsidiary liability of the employer,

action.

however, arises only after conviction of the employee in


the criminal action. All these requisites present, the

The law involved in the instant case is Article 103 in

employer becomes ipso facto subsidiarily liable upon the

relation to Article 100, both of the Revised Penal Code,

employee's conviction and upon proof of the latter's

which reads thus:

insolvency. Needless to say, the case at bar satisfies all

Art. 103. Subsidiary civil liability of other persons. The

these requirements.

subsidiary liability established in the next preceding

Furthermore, we are not convinced that the owner-

article shall apply to employers, teachers, persons, and

operator has been deprived of his day in court, because

corporations engaged in any kind of industry for felonies

the case before us is not one wherein the operator is sued

for a primary liability under the Civil Code but one in

party, is conclusive upon the employer in an action for

which the subsidiary civil liability incident to and

the enforcement of the latter's subsidiary liability not

dependent upon his employee's criminal negligence is

only with regard to the civil liability, but also with

sought to be enforced. Considering the subsidiary

regard to its amount." This being the case, this Court

liability imposed upon the employer by law, he is in

stated in Rotea v. Halili, 109 Phil. 495, "that the court

substance and in effect a party to the criminal case. Ergo,

has no other function than to render decision based upon

the employer's subsidiary liability may be determined

the indemnity awarded in the criminal case and has no

and enforced in the criminal case as part of the execution

power to amend or modify it even if in its opinion an

proceedings against the employee. This Court held in the

error has been committed in the decision. A separate and

earlier case of Pajarito v. Seneris, supra, that "The

independent action is, therefore, unnecessary and would

proceeding for the enforcement of the subsidiary civil

only unduly prolong the agony of the heirs of the

liability may be considered as part of the proceeding for

victim."

the execution of the judgment. A case in which an


execution has been issued is regarded as still pending so

Finally, the position taken by the respondent appellate

that all proceedings on the execution are proceedings in

court that to grant the motion for subsidiary writ of

the suit. There is no question that the court which

execution would in effect be to amend its decision which

rendered the judgment has a general supervisory control

has already become final and executory cannot be

over its process of execution, and this power carries with

sustained. Compelling the owner-operator to pay on the

it the right to determine every question of fact and law

basis of his subsidiary liability does not constitute an

which may be involved in the execution."

amendment of the judgment because in an action under


Art. 103 of the Revised Penal Code, once all the

The argument that the owner-operator cannot be held

requisites as earlier discussed are met, the employer

subsidiarily liable because the matter of subsidiary

becomes ipso facto subsidiarily liable, without need of a

liability was not raised on appeal and in like manner, the

separate action. Such being the case, the subsidiary

appellate court's decision made no mention of such

liability can be enforced in the same case where the

subsidiary liability is of no moment. As already

award was given, and this does not constitute an act of

discussed, the filing of a separate complaint against the

amending the decision. It becomes incumbent upon the

operator for recovery of subsidiary liability is not

court to grant a motion for subsidiary writ of execution

necessary since his liability is clear from the decision

(but only after the employer has been heard), upon

against the accused. Such being the case, it is not

conviction of the employee and after execution is

indispensable for the question of subsidiary liability to

returned unsatisfied due to the employee's insolvency.

be passed upon by the appellate court. Such subsidiary


liability is already implied from the appellate court's

WHEREFORE,

the

order

of

respondent

court

decision. In the recent case of Vda. de Paman v. Seneris,

disallowing the motion for subsidiary writ of execution

115 SCRA 709, this Court reiterated the following

is hereby SET ASIDE. The Court a quo is directed to

pronouncement: "A judgment of conviction sentencing a

hear and decide in the same proceeding the subsidiary

defendant employer to pay an indemnity in the absence

liability of the alleged owner-operator of the passenger

of any collusion between the defendant and the offended

jitney. Costs against private respondent.

SO ORDERED.

daughter of appellees, inflicting serious injuries that led


to her death a few days later. The City Fiscal of Bacolod
filed an information charging Bobis with homicide
through reckless imprudence, to which Bobis pleaded
guilty. He was, accordingly, sentenced to 2 months and 1
day of arresto mayor and to indemnify the deceased
girl's heirs (appellees herein) in the sum of P3,000.00.
By amended complaint of 8 October 1959, appellees
Vicente Bantoto and Florita Lanceta, for themselves and
their other children, instituted the present action against
Salvador Bobis, Juan Maceda (later absolved) and

G.R. No. L-18966

November 22, 1966

Crispin Vallejo in the court of first instance, pleading the


foregoing facts and seeking to have the three defendants

VICENTE BANTOTO, ET AL., plaintiffs-appellees,

declared solidarily responsible for damages, consisting

vs.

of the civil indemnity required of the driver Bobis in the

SALVADOR

BOBIS,

ET

AL., defendants.

judgment of conviction, plus moral and exemplary

CRISPIN VALLEJO, defendant-appellant.

damages and attorneys' fees and costs.

Arturo

Vallejo moved to dismiss on the ground of failure to

M.

Glaraga

for

plaintiffs-appellees.

Casiano P. Laquihon for defendant-appellant.

state a cause of action against him, for the reason that the
amended complaint did not aver that the driver, Bobis,

REYES, J.B.L., J.:


Crispin Vallejo appeals from a decision rendered in Civil
Case No. 5422 of the Court of First Instance of
Occidental Negros, sentencing him to pay to Vicente
Bantoto and Florita Lanceta, parents of the late Damiana
Bantoto, civil indemnity in the sum of P3,000.00, plus
P1,000.00 exemplary damages and the further sum of
P500.00 attorneys' fees, without pronouncement as to
costs.
The basic facts are not controverted. Appellant Crispin
Vallejo was the registered owner of a "jeepney" named
"Jovil 11", with plate TPU-20948, that was operated by
him in Bacolod City through driver Salvador Bobis. On
24 October 1948, through the driver's negligence, the
"jeepney" struck a 3-year old girl, Damiana Bantoto, a

was insolvent. The court overruled the motion to


dismiss, and on 20 February 1960 Vallejo answered the
complaint, setting up denials and affirmative defenses,
specifically averring that the brothers and sisters of the
deceased were not real parties in interest; that the
complaint stated no cause of action against Vallejo; that
his liability was only subsidiary; that the action was
barred by prior judgment; and that the liability had been
satisfied. Bobis was declared in default.
At the trial, the court of origin (overruling Vallejo's
objections) admitted as Exhibit "A" for plaintiffs the writ
of execution against the driver, Salvador Bobis, issued in
the criminal case, and as Exhibit "B" the sheriff's
returnnulla bona. Vallejo presented no evidence.
Wherefore, the court absolved defendant Maceda and

rendered judgment against Crispin Vallejo in the terms

The subsidiary character of the employer's responsibility

described at the start of this opinion.

merely imports that the latter's property is not be seized


without first exhausting that of the servant. And by

Vallejo appealed directly to this Supreme Court,

analogy to a regular guarantor (who is the prototype of

assigning three errors:

persons subsidiarily responsible), the master may not

I The trial Court erred in not dismissing the


complaint for lack of a cause of action.

demand prior exhaustion of the servant's (principal


obligor's) properties if he can not "point out to the
creditor available property of the debtor within

II The trial Court erred in admitting as

Philippine territory, sufficient to cover the amount of the

evidence Exhibits "A" and "B" of the appellees.

debt" (Cf. Civil Code, Article 1060). This rule is logical,


for as between the offended party (as creditor) and the

III The trial Court erred in condemning the

culprit's master or employer, it is the latter who is in a

defendant-appellant to pay to the appellees the

better position to determine the resources and solvency

sum of P3,000.00 as indemnity, P1,000.00 as

of the servant or employee.

moral

damages,

P1,000.00

as

exemplary

damages, and P500.00 as attorney's fee.

Appellant invokes the following passage in our decision


in Marquez vs. Castillo, 68 Phil. 571:

The first alleged error, predicated upon the lack of


allegation in the complaint that driver Bobis was

The subsidiary liability of the master, according

insolvent, is without merit. The master's liability, under

to the provisions of Article 103 of the Revised

the Revised Penal Code, for the crimes committed by his

Penal Code, arises and takes place only when

servants and employees in the discharge of their duties,

the servant, subordinate, or employee commits a

is not predicated upon the insolvency of the latter.

punishable criminal act while in the actual

Article 103 of the Penal Code prescribes that:

performance

of

his

ordinary

duties

and

service, and he is insolvent thereby rendering


ART. 103. Subsidiary civil liability of other

him incapable of satisfying by himself his own

persons. The subsidiary liability established

civil liability.

in the next preceding article shall also apply to


employees, teachers, persons, and corporations

The underlined passage is, however, mere obiter because

engaged in any kind of industry for felonies

the part immediately preceding the quotation shows that

committed by their servants, pupils, workmen,

the ratio decidendi of the case was that the accident

apprentices, or employees in the discharge of

involved, unlike in the case at bar, did not occur in the

their duties.

performance of the driver's assigned duties.

The insolvency of the servant or employee is nowhere

It should be noted that in said stipulation, there

mentioned in said article as a condition precedent. In

is a provision appearing in paragraph 3 thereof,

truth, such insolvency is required only when the liability

which reads as follows:

of the master is being made effective by execution levy,


but not for the rendition of judgment against the master.

"That the defendant Bernardo Castillo was not

not incur greater civil liability than his convicted

riding in the car at the time of the accident, and

employee, any more than a guarantor can be held

he did not know that his car was taken by the

responsible for more than the principal debtor (Cf. Civil

chauffeur Mariano Capulong."

Code, Article 2064).

This fact decides the question because it clearly

But we do not agree that the award of attorney's fees

shows that the accident did not occur in the

should be disallowed. Appellant had reason to know that

course of the performance of the duties or

his driver could not pay the P3,000.00 indemnity

service for which said chauffeur Mariano

imposed in the criminal case, because if he could, or if

Capulong had been hired. The defendant did not

he had money or leviable property worth that much,

hire him to do as he pleased, using the

Bobis would be operating his own jeepney instead of

defendant's car as if it were his own. His duties

another's. In fact, Article 2208, paragraph 9, authorizes

and service were confined to driving his master's

the award of counsel's fees "in a separate civil action to

car as the latter ordered him, and the accident

recover the civil liability arising from a crime."

did not take place under said circumstances.


As in awarding only P500.00 attorney's fees the court
As to the second error assigned, the same is non-

below could envisage only the services of counsel up to

prejudicial, if at all committed. Supposing, in gratia

the date of its judgment, and it could not know then that

argumenti, that Exhibits "A" and "B", the execution and

the decision would be appealed, we are of the opinion

the sheriff's return, in the criminal case were not

that counsel fees should now be at least doubled.

admissible at the trial of the case against the master, they


would certainly be material and admissible when

For the foregoing reasons, the decision under appeal is

issuance of a writ of execution of the appealed judgment

modified by eliminating the award of P1,000.00

is demanded. It is well to move here that this Court has

exemplary damages and doubling the award for counsel

ruled that in the absence of collusion the judgment

fees, with the result that appellant shall pay the

convicting and sentencing the servant to pay indemnity

indemnity of P3,000.00, with interest at 6% from the

is conclusive in an action to enforce the subsidiary

filing of the complaint, plus P1,000.00 attorney's fees. In

liability of the master or employer (Martinez vs.

all other respects, said decision is affirmed. No costs.

Barredo, 81 Phil. 1). Anyway, since Bobis, the driver,


was also a defendant, the writ of execution issued in the
criminal case to enforce the civil indemnity, and its
return without satisfaction, are not irrelevant evidence in
the action against him and his employer.
Anent the third error, we agree with appellant, that, as
the case was predicated upon the sentence of conviction
in the criminal case, the award of exemplary damages
was improper. No such damages were imposed on the
driver, and the master, as person subsidiarily liable, can

G.R. No. 112346 March 29, 1996

EVELYN

YONAHA, petitioner,

multiple severe traumatic injuries at


different parts of his body. 2

vs.
HON. COURT OF APPEALS and HEIRS OF

When arraigned, the accused pleaded "guilty" and, on 09

HECTOR CAETE, respondents.

March 1992, the trial court pronounced its judgment


Finding therefore the accused guilty
VITUG, J.:p

beyond reasonable doubt of the offense


charged against him and taking into

From the decision of the Court of Appeals dismissing for

account the mitigating circumstances of

lack of merit the petition for certiorari, with prayer for

voluntary surrender and plea of guilty

preliminary injunction, filed by Evelyn Yonaha against

which the prosecuting fiscal readily

an order, dated 29 May 1992, of the Regional Trial

accepted, the Court hereby sentences the

Court which had granted private respondent motion for

accused to suffer and undergo an

the issuance of a writ of subsidiary execution, the instant

imprisonment of 1 year and 1 day to 1

appeal was taken.

year and 8 months and to pay the heirs

In Criminal Case No. 01106-L, Elmer Ouano was


charged with the crime of "Reckless Imprudence
Resulting in Homicide" in an information which averred

of the victim the sum of P50,000.00 for


the death of the victim; P30,000.00 for
actual damages incurred in connection
with the burial and the nightly prayer of
the deceased victim and P10,000.00 as

That on April 14, 1990, at or about


11:45 A.M. in Basak, Lapulapu City,
Philippines, within the jurisdiction of
this Honorable Court, the aforenamed
accused,

while

driving

Toyota

Tamaraw sporting Plate No. GCX-237


duly registered in the name of Raul
Cabahug and owned by EK SEA

attorney's fees. 3
On 27 April 1992, a writ of execution was issued for the
satisfaction of the monetary award. In his Return of
Service, dated 07 May 1992, the MTCC Deputy City
Sheriff stated that he had served the writ on accused
Elmer Ouano but that the latter had manifested his
inability to pay the money obligation.

Products, did then and there unlawfully

Forthwith, private respondents presented a "motion for

and feloniously maneuver and operate it

subsidiary execution" with neither a notice of hearing

in a negligent and reckless manner,

nor notice to petitioner. Acting on the motion,

without taking the necessary precaution

nevertheless, the trial court issued an order, dated 29

to avoid injuries to person and damage

May 1992, directing the issuance of a writ of subsidiary

to property, as a result thereof the motor

execution. The sheriff went to petitioner's residence to

vehicle he was then driving bumped and

enforce the writ, and it was then, allegedly for the first

hit Hector Caete, which caused the

time, that petitioner was informed of Ouano's conviction.

latter's instantaneous death, due to the

Petitioner filed a motion to stay and to recall the

subsidiary writ of execution principally anchored on the

to stay and recall the writ of subsidiary

lack of prior notice to her and on the fact that the

execution in question. But from her said

employer's liability had yet to be established. Private

motion, it can be gleaned that except for

respondents opposed the motion.

the protestation of violation of due


process, and absence of notice to her of

On 24 August 1992, the trial court denied petitioner's

the motion for issuance of a writ of

motion. On 23 September 1992, petitioner's plea for

subsidiary

reconsideration of the denial was likewise rejected.

intimated no defense which could


the premises. Then, too, after the denial

Appeals (CA-GR SP No. 29116) for review. The

of her motion to stay and recall subject

appellate court initially restrained the implementation of

writ,

the assailed orders and issued a writ of preliminary

reconsideration,

Ultimately, however, the appellate court, in its decision

she

averred

no

the convicted Elmer Ouano. 4

injunction. The Court of Appeals ratiocinated:

of employer maybe done by motion in

for

from subsidiary liability, as employer of

merit and thereby lifted the writ of preliminary

of the secondary or subsidiary liability

moved

exculpatory facts which could save her

of 28 September 1993, dismissed the petition for lack of

vs. Seeris, supra. that enforcement

petitioner

reconsideration but in her motion for

injunction upon the filing of a P10,000.00 bond.

the aforecited case of Lucia Pajarito

petitioner

absolve her of subsidiary liability under

Petitioner promptly elevated the matter to the Court of

We are not unmindful of the ruling in

execution,

In the instant appeal, petitioner additionally reminds the


Court that Ouano's conviction was not the result of a
finding of proof beyond reasonable doubt but from his
spontaneous plea of guilt.
We find merit in the petition.

the same criminal case, a recourse which


presupposes

hearing.

But

even

The statutory basis for an employer's subsidiary liability

assuming that issuance of writ of

is found in Article 103 of the Revised Penal Code. 5 This

subsidiary execution requires notice and

Court has since sanctioned the enforcement of this

hearing, we believe a hearing in the

subsidiary liability in the same criminal proceedings in

present case would be sheer rigmarole,

which the employee is adjudged guilty, 6 on the thesis

an unnecessary formality, because, as

that it really is a part of, and merely an incident in, the

employer, petitioner became subsidiarily

execution process of the judgment. But, execution

liable upon the conviction of her

against the employer must not issue as just a matter of

accused driver, Elmer Ouano, and proof

course, and it behooves the court, as a measure of due

of the latter's insolvency. And if she had

process to the employer, to determine and resolve a

any defense to free herself from such

priori, in a hearing set for the purpose, the legal

subsidiary liability, she could have

applicability and propriety of the employer's liability.

ventilated and substantiated the same in

The

connection with her (petitioner's) motion

appears prima facie that execution against the convicted

requirement

is

mandatory

even

when

it

employee cannot be satisfied. The court must convince

and found to have committed the offense in the

itself that the convicted employee is in truth in the

discharge of his duties (not necessarily any offense he

employ of the employer; that the latter is engaged in an

commits "while" in the discharge of such duties); and (d)

industry of some kind; that the employee has committed

that said employee is insolvent. The judgment of

the crime to which civil liability attaches while in the

conviction of the employee, of course, concludes the

performance of his duties as such; and that execution

employer 8 and the subsidiary liability may be enforced

against the employee is unsuccessful by reason of

in the same criminal case, but to afford the employer due

insolvency.

process, the court should hear and decide that liability on


the basis of the conditions required therefor by law. 9

The assumption that, since petitioner in this case did not


aver any exculpatory facts in her "motion to stay and

WHEREFORE, finding the order, dated 29 May 1992, as

recall," as well as in her motion for reconsideration,

well as the order of 24 August 1992 to have been

which could save her from liability; a hearing would be a

improvidently issued, said orders are hereby SET

futile and a sheer rigmarole is unacceptable. The

ASIDE. Petitioner shall be given the right to a hearing

employer must be given his full day in court.

on the motion for the issuance of a writ of subsidiary


execution filed by private respondents, and the case is

To repeat, the subsidiary liability of an employer under

REMANDED to the trial court for further proceedings

Article 103 of the Revised Penal Code requires (a) the

conformably with our foregoing opinion. No costs.

existence of an employer-employee relationship; (b) that


the employer is engaged in some kind of industry; (c)
that the employee is adjudged guilty of the wrongful act