You are on page 1of 16

G.R.No.175256.August23,2012.

LILY LIM, petitioner, vs. KOU CO PING a.k.a. CHARLIE CO,


respondent.

G.R.No.179160.August23,2012.*
KOU CO PING a.k.a. CHARLIE CO, petitioner, vs. LILY LIM,
respondent.

Civil Liability A single act or omission that causes damage to an


offended party may give rise to two separate civil liabilities on the part of
theoffender(1)civilliabilityexdelicto,thatis,civilliabilityarisingfrom
the criminal offense under Article 100 of the Revised Penal Code, and (2)
independent civil liability, that is, civil liability that may be pursued
independently of the criminal proceedings.A single act or omission that
causes damage to an offended party may give rise to two separate civil
liabilitiesonthepartoftheoffender.(1)civilliabilityexdelicto,thatis,
civil liability arising from the criminal offense under Article 100 of the
Revised Penal Code, and (2) independent civil liability, that is, civil
liabilitythatmaybepursuedindependentlyofthecriminalproceedings.The
independent civil liability may be based on an obligation not arising from
theactoromissioncomplainedofasafelony,asprovidedinArticle31of
the Civil Code (such as for breach of contract or for tort). It may also be
based on an act or omission that may constitute felony but, nevertheless,
treated independently from the criminal action by specific provision of
Article 33 of the Civil Code (in cases of defamation, fraud and physical
injuries).
Same Remedial Law Criminal Procedure If the action for the civil
liability ex delicto is instituted prior to or subsequent to the filing of the
criminalaction,itsproceedingsaresuspendeduntilthefinaloutcomeofthe
criminalaction.Thecivilliabilityarisingfromtheoffenseorexdelictois
basedontheactsoromissionsthatconstitutethecriminaloffensehence,its
trial is inherently intertwined with the criminal action. For this reason, the
civilliabilityexdelicto

_______________

*FIRSTDIVISION.

115
VOL.679,AUGUST23,2012 115

Limvs.KouCoPing

is impliedly instituted with the criminal offense. If the action for the civil
liability ex delicto is instituted prior to or subsequent to the filing of the
criminalaction,itsproceedingsaresuspendeduntilthefinaloutcomeofthe
criminal action. The civil liability based on delict is extinguished when the
court hearing the criminal action declares that the act or omission from
whichthecivilliabilitymayarisedidnotexist.
Same Same Same Because of the distinct and independent nature of
thetwokindsofcivilliabilities,jurisprudenceholdsthattheoffendedparty
may pursue the two types of civil liabilities simultaneously or cumulatively,
without offending the rules on forum shopping, litis pendentia, or res
judicata.The independent civil liabilities are separate from the criminal
actionandmaybepursuedindependently,asprovidedinArticles31and33
oftheCivilCode,whichstatethat:ART.31.Whenthecivilactionisbased
onanobligationnotarisingfromtheactoromissioncomplainedofasa
felony, such civil action may proceed independently of the criminal
proceedings and regardless of the result of the latter. (Emphasis supplied.)
ART. 33. In cases of defamation, fraud, and physical injuries a civil action
fordamages,entirelyseparateanddistinctfromthecriminalaction,maybe
broughtbytheinjuredparty.Suchcivilactionshallproceedindependently
of the criminal prosecution, and shall require only a preponderance of
evidence. (Emphasis supplied.) Because of the distinct and independent
nature of the two kinds of civil liabilities, jurisprudence holds that the
offendedpartymaypursuethetwotypesofcivilliabilitiessimultaneouslyor
cumulatively,withoutoffendingtherulesonforumshopping,litispendentia,
orresjudicata.

PETITIONS for review on certiorari of the decision and resolution


oftheCourtofAppeals.
ThefactsarestatedintheopinionoftheCourt.
Yorac,Arroyo,Chua,Caedo&CoronelLawFirmforLilyLim.
Albon&SerranoLawOfficeforKouCoPing.

116

116 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
Limvs.KouCoPing

DELCASTILLO,J.:
Is it forum shopping for a private complainant to pursue a
civil complaint for specific performance and damages, while
appealingthejudgmentonthecivilaspectofacriminalcasefor
estafa?
BeforetheCourtareconsolidatedPetitionsforReviewassailing
the separate Decisions of the Second and Seventeenth Divisions of
theCourtofAppeals(CA)ontheaboveissue.
Lily Lims (Lim) Petition for Review1 assails the October 20,
2005 Resolution2 of the Second Division in CAG.R. CV No.
85138,whichruledontheaboveissueintheaffirmative:

Due to the filing of the said civil complaint (Civil Case No. 5112396),
CharlieCofiledtheinstantmotiontodismiss[LilyLims]appeal,alleging
that in filing said civil case, Lily Lim violated the rule against forum
shoppingastheelementsoflitispendentiaarepresent.
ThisCourtagrees.3
xxxx
INVIEWOFTHEFOREGOING,theappealisDISMISSED.
SOORDERED.4

Ontheotherhand,CharlieCos(Co)PetitionforReview5assails
theApril10,2007Decision6oftheSeventeenthDivi

_______________
1RolloofG.R.No.175256,pp.927.
2Id.,atpp.2935pennedbyAssociateJusticeEugenioS.Labitoriaandconcurred
inbyAssociateJusticesEliezerR.DeLosSantosandJoseC.Reyes,Jr.
3Id.,atp.32.
4Id.,atp.34.
5RolloofG.R.No.179160,pp.845.

117

VOL.679,AUGUST23,2012 117
Limvs.KouCoPing

sion in CAG.R. SP No. 93395 for ruling on the same issue in the
negative:

We find no grave abuse of discretion committed by respondent judge.


The elements of litis pendentia and forumshopping were not met in this
case.7
xxxx
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the instant petition is
DENIED. This case is REMANDED to the court of origin for further
proceedings.
SOORDERED.8

FactualAntecedents
In February 1999, FR Cement Corporation (FRCC),
owner/operator of a cement manufacturing plant, issued several
withdrawal authorities9 for the account of cement dealers and
traders, FilCement Center and Tigerbilt. These withdrawal
authorities state the number of bags that the dealer/trader paid for
and can withdraw from the plant. Each withdrawal authority
containedaprovisionthatitisvalidforsixmonthsfromitsdateof
issuance,unlessrevokedbyFRCCMarketingDepartment.
FilCement Center and Tigerbilt, through their administrative
manager, Gail Borja (Borja), sold the withdrawal authorities
covering 50,000 bags of cement to Co for the amount of P3.15
millionorP63.00perbag.10OnFebruary15,1999,Co

_______________
6Id.,atpp.4861pennedbyAssociateJusticeLucenitoN.Tagleandconcurredin
byAssociateJusticesAmelitaG.TolentinoandSixtoMarella,Jr.
7Id.,atp.56.
8Id.,atp.60.
9RecordsofCriminalCaseNo.116377,pp.1557.
10TSN,February19,2004,pp.9,13RecordsofCriminalCaseNo.116377,p.424.

118

118 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
Limvs.KouCoPing

sold these withdrawal authorities to Lim allegedly at the price of


P64.00perbagoratotalofP3.2million.11
Usingthewithdrawalauthorities,Limwithdrewthecementbags
fromFRCConastaggeredbasis.Shesuccessfullywithdrew2,800
bags of cement, and sold back some of the withdrawal authorities,
covering10,000bags,toCo.
Sometime in April 1999, FRCC did not allow Lim to withdraw
the remaining 37,200 bags covered by the withdrawal authorities.
LimclarifiedthematterwithCoandBorja,whoexplainedthatthe
plantimplementedapriceincreaseandwouldonlyreleasethegoods
onceLimpaysforthepricedifferenceoragreestoreceivealesser
quantity of cement. Lim objected and maintained that the
withdrawal authorities she bought were not subject to price
fluctuations.LimsoughtlegalrecourseafterherdemandsforCoto
resolvetheproblemwiththeplantorforthereturnofhermoneyhad
failed.
Thecriminalcase
An Information for Estafa through Misappropriation or
ConversionwasfiledagainstCobeforeBranch154oftheRegional
Trial Court (RTC) of Pasig City. The accusatory portion thereof
reads:

On or about between the months of February and April 1999, in San


Juan,MetroManilaandwithinthejurisdictionofthisHonorableCourt,the
accused, with intent to defraud Lily Lim, with grave abuse of confidence,
with unfaithfulness, received in trust from Lily Lim cash money in the
amount of P2,380,800.00 as payment for the 37,200 bags of cement, under
obligation to deliver the 37,200 bags of cement to said Lily Lim, but far
from complying with his obligation, misappropriated, misapplied and
converted to his own personal use and benefit the said amount of
P2,300,800.00 [sic] and despite demands, the accused failed and refused to
returnsaid

_______________
11RecordsofCriminalCaseNo.116377,p.58.

119

VOL.679,AUGUST23,2012 119
Limvs.KouCoPing

amount, to the damage and prejudice of Lily Lim in the amount of


P2,380,800.00.
ContrarytoLaw.12

The private complainant, Lily Lim, participated in the criminal


proceedingstoproveherdamages.SheprayedforCotoreturnher
money amounting to P2,380,800.00, foregone profits, and legal
interest,andforanawardofmoralandexemplarydamages,aswell
asattorneysfees.13
On November 19, 2003, the RTC of Pasig City, Branch 154,
rendered its Order14 acquitting Co of the estafa charge for
insufficiencyofevidence.ThecriminalcourtsOrderreads:

The first and second elements of the crime of estafa [with abuse of
confidenceunderArticle315,paragraph1(b)]forwhichtheaccusedisbeing
chargedandprosecutedwerenotestablishedbytheprosecutionsevidence.
xxxx
In view of the absence of the essential requisites of the crime of estafa
for which the accused is being charged and prosecuted, as above discussed,
the Court has no alternative but to dismiss the case against the accused for
insufficiencyofevidence.15
WHEREFORE,inviewoftheforegoing,theDemurrertoEvidenceis
GRANTED,andtheaccusedisherebyACQUITTEDofthecrimeofestafa
charged against him under the present information for insufficiency of
evidence.Insofarasthecivilliabilityoftheaccusedisconcerned,however,
setthiscaseforthereceptionofhisevidenceonthematteronDecember11,
2003at8:30oclock[sic]inthemorning.
SOORDERED.16

_______________
12CARolloofCAG.R.CVNo.85138,p.8.
13RecordsofCriminalCaseNo.116377,pp.487488.
14Id.,atpp.328333pennedbyJudgeAbrahamB.Borreta.
15Id.,atpp.330331.
16Id.,atp.333.

120

120 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
Limvs.KouCoPing

Afterthetrialonthecivilaspectofthecriminalcase,thePasig
CityRTCalsorelievedCoofcivilliabilitytoLiminitsDecember1,
2004Order.17ThedispositiveportionoftheOrderreadsasfollows:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered


holding the accused CHARLIE CO not civilly liable to the private
complainantLilyLim.
SOORDERED.18

LimsoughtareconsiderationoftheaboveOrder,arguingthatshe
has presented preponderant evidence that Co committed estafa
againsther.19
The trial court denied the motion in its Order20 dated February
21,2005.
OnMarch14,2005,Limfiledhernoticeofappeal21onthecivil
aspect of the criminal case. Her appeal was docketed as CAG.R.
CVNo.85138andraffledtotheSecondDivisionoftheCA.
Thecivilactionforspecificperformance
On April 19, 2005, Lim filed a complaint for specific
performanceanddamagesbeforeBranch21oftheRTCofManila.
ThedefendantsinthecivilcasewereCoandallotherpartiestothe
withdrawal authorities, Tigerbilt, FilCement Center, FRCC,
Southeast Asia Cement, and La Farge Corporation. The complaint,
docketed as Civil Case No. 05112396, asserted two causes of
action:breachofcontractandabuseofrights.Herallegationsread:

_______________
17Id.,atpp.514519.
18Id.,atp.519.
19Id.,atp.528.
20Id.,atpp.555556.
21CARolloofCAG.R.CVNo.85138,p.18.

121

VOL.679,AUGUST23,2012 121
Limvs.KouCoPing
ALLEGATIONSCOMMON
TOALLCAUSESOFACTION
xxxx
23.. Charlie Co obligated himself to deliver to Lily Lim 50,000 bags of
cementofP64.00perbagonanxplantbasiswithin3monthsfromthedate
oftheirtransaction,i.e.February15,1999.Pursuanttosaidagreement,Lily
Lim paid Charlie Co P3.2 Million while Charlie Co delivered to Lily Lim
FRCementWithdrawalAuthoritiesrepresenting50,000bagsofcement.
24. The withdrawal authorities issued by FR Cement Corp. allowed the
assigneeorholderthereoftowithdrawwithinasixmonthperiodfromdatea
certain amount of cement indicated therein. The Withdrawal Authorities
given to Lily Lim were dated either 3 February 1999 or 23 February 1999.
The Withdrawal Authorities were first issued to Tigerbilt and FilCement
CenterwhichinturnassignedthemtoCharlieCo.CharlieCothenassigned
the Withdrawal Authorities to Lily Lim on February 15, 1999. Through
these series of assignments, Lily Lim acquired all the rights (rights to
withdrawcement)grantedinsaidWithdrawalAuthorities.
25.ThattheseWithdrawalAuthoritiesarevalidisestablishedbythefact
thatFRCementearlierallowedLilyLimtowithdraw2,800bagsofcement
onthebasisthereof.
26.However,sometime19April1999(withinthethree(3)monthperiod
agreed upon by Charlie Co and Lily Lim and certainly within the six (6)
monthperiodindicatedintheWithdrawalAuthoritiesissuedbyFRCement
Corp.), Lily Lim attempted but failed to withdraw the remaining bags of
cement on account of FR Cements unjustified refusal to honor the
WithdrawalAuthorities.xxx
xxxx
FIRSTCAUSEOFACTION:
BREACHOFCONTRACT
30. Charlie Co committed and is therefore liable to deliver to Lily Lim
37,200 bags of cement. If he cannot, then he must pay her the current fair
marketvaluethereof.
31. FR Cement Corporation is also liable to deliver to Lily Lim the
amountofcementasindicatedintheWithdrawalAuthori

122

122 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
Limvs.KouCoPing

ties it issued. xxx FR Cement Corporation has no right to impose price


adjustmentsasaqualificationforhonoringtheWithdrawalAuthorities.
32. FilCement Center, Tigerbilt and Gail Borja as the original
holders/assigneesoftheWithdrawalAuthoritiesrepeatedlyassuredLilyLim
thatthesamewerevalidandwouldbehonored.Theyareliabletomakegood
ontheirassurances.
SECONDCAUSEOFACTION:
ABUSEOFRIGHTSANDUNJUSTENRICHMENT
33.CharlieCosactsoffalselyrepresentingtoLilyLimthatshemaybe
able to withdraw the cement from FR Cement Corp. caused Lily Lim to
incurexpensesandlosses.Suchactwasmadewithoutjustice,withoutgiving
LilyLimwhatisdueherandwithoutobservinghonestyandgoodfaith,all
violativeofthelaw,morespecificallyArticles19and20oftheCivilCode.
Such willful act was also made by Charlie Co in a manner contrary to
morals,goodcustomsorpublicpolicy,inviolationofArticle21oftheCivil
Code.
34. FR Cement Corporations unjust refusal to honor the Withdrawal
Authorities they issued also caused damage to Lily Lim. Further, FR
CementCorporationsactofwithholdingthe37,200bagsofcementdespite
earning income therefor constitutes as an unjust enrichment because FR
Cement Corporation acquired income through an act or performance by
another or any other means at the expense of another without just or legal
groundinviolationofArticle22oftheCivilCode.
35. FilCement Center, Tigerbilt and Gail Borjas false assurances that
Lily Lim would be able to withdraw the remaining 37,200 bags of cement
causedLilyLimtoincurexpensesandlosses.xxxMoreover,FilCement
Centeradmittedreceivingpaymentforsaidamountofcement,thustheyare
deemed to have come into possession of money at the expense of Lily Lim
withoutjustorlegalground,inviolationofArticle22oftheCivilCode.

123

VOL.679,AUGUST23,2012 123
Limvs.KouCoPing

THIRDCAUSEOFACTION:
MORALANDEXEMPLARYDAMAGESand
ATTORNEYSFEESANDCOSTSOFSUIT22
Lim prayed for Co to honor his contractual commitments either by
delivering the 37,200 bags of cement, making arrangements with FRCC to
allow Lim to withdraw the cement, or to pay for their value. She likewise
askedthatthedefendantsbeheldsolidarilyliabletoherforthedamagesshe
incurred in her failed attempts to withdraw the cement and for the damages
theyinflictedonherasaresultoftheirabuseoftheirrights.23

Motionstodismissbothactions
In reaction to the filing of the civil complaint for specific
performanceanddamages,Cofiledmotionstodismissthesaidcivil
case24andLimsappealinthecivilaspectoftheestafacaseorCA
G.R.CVNo.85138.25Hemaintainedthatthetwoactionsraisethe
same issue, which is Cos liability to Lim for her inability to
withdraw the bags of cement,26 and should be dismissed on the
groundoflispendensandforumshopping.
RulingoftheCourtofAppealsSecondDivisioninCAG.RCVNo.
85138
The appellate court (Second Division) favorably resolved Cos
motion and dismissed Lims appeal from the civil aspect of the
estafa case. In its Resolution dated October 20, 2005, the CA
SecondDivisionheldthattheparties,causesofaction,

_______________
22RolloofG.R.No.179160,pp.95101.
23Id.,atpp.102103.
24Id.,atpp.124135.
25CARolloofCAG.R.CVNo.85138,pp.3137.
26RolloofG.R.No.179160,pp.128131.

124

124 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
Limvs.KouCoPing

andreliefsprayedforinLimsappealandinhercivilcomplaintare
identical.Bothactionsseekthesamerelief,whichisthepaymentof
the value of the 37,200 bags of cement.27 Thus, the CA Second
Division dismissed Lims appeal for forum shopping.28 The CA
denied29Limsmotionforreconsideration.30
Limfiledtheinstantpetitionforreview,whichwasdocketedas
G.R.No.175256.
RulingoftheManilaRegionalTrial
CourtinCivilCaseNo.05112396
Meanwhile, the Manila RTC denied Cos Motion to Dismiss in
anOrder31datedDecember6,2005.TheManilaRTCheldthatthere
wasnoforumshoppingbecausethecausesofactioninvokedinthe
twocasesaredifferent.Itobservedthatthecivilcomplaintbeforeit
is based on an obligation arising from contract and quasidelict,
whereasthecivilliabilityinvolvedintheappealofthecriminalcase
arosefromafelony.
Cofiledapetitionforcertiorari,32docketedasCAG.R.SPNo.
93395,beforetheappellatecourt.Heprayedforthenullificationof
the Manila RTCs Order in Civil Case No. 05112396 for having
beenissuedwithgraveabuseofdiscretion.33

_______________
27RolloofG.R.No.175256,p.34.
28Id.
29Id.,atpp.3738pennedbyAssociateJusticeJoseC.Reyes,Jr.andconcurredin
byAssociateJusticesMarinaL.BuzonandAmelitaG.Tolentino.
30Id.,atpp.3948.
31RolloofG.R.No.179160,pp.142144pennedbyJudgeAmorA.Reyes.
32CARolloofCAG.R.SPNo.93395,pp.224.
33Id.,atp.21.

125
VOL.679,AUGUST23,2012 125
Limvs.KouCoPing

RulingoftheCourtofAppealsSeven
teenthDivisioninCAG.R.SPNo.93395
TheCASeventeenthDivisiondeniedCospetitionandremanded
thecivilcomplainttothetrialcourtforfurtherproceedings.TheCA
SeventeenthDivisionagreedwiththeManilaRTCthattheelements
of litis pendentia and forum shopping are not met in the two
proceedings because they do not share the same cause of
action.34TheCAdenied35Cosmotionforreconsideration.36
CofiledtheinstantPetitionforReview,whichwasdocketedas
G.R.No.179160.
Upon Cos motion,37 the Court resolved to consolidate the two
petitions.38
KouCoPingsarguments
ComaintainsthatLimisguiltyofforumshoppingbecausesheis
assertingonly one cause of action in CAG.R. CV No. 85138 (the
appeal from the civil aspect of Criminal Case No. 116377) and in
CivilCaseNo.05112396,whichisforCosviolationofherrightto
receive37,200bagsofcement.Likewise,thereliefssoughtinboth
cases are the same, that is, for Co to deliver the 37,200 bags of
cement or its value to Lim. That Lim utilized different methods of
presenting her casea criminal action for estafa and a civil
complaint for specific performance and damagesshould not
detractfromthefactthatsheisattemptingtolitigatethesamecause
ofactiontwice.39

_______________
34RolloofG.R.No.179160,pp.5960.
35CARolloofCAG.R.SPNo.93395,p.485.
36Id.,atpp.448458.
37RolloofG.R.No.179160,pp.207210.
38Id.,atpp.239240.
39Id.,atp.288.

126

126 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
Limvs.KouCoPing

Co makes light of the distinction between civil liability ex


contractu and ex delicto. According to him, granting that the two
civilliabilitiesareindependentofeachother,nevertheless,thetwo
cases arising from them would have to be decided using the same
evidenceandgoingoverthesamesetoffacts.Thus,anyjudgment
rendered in one of these cases will constitute res judicata on the
other.40
In G.R. No. 179160, Co prays for the annulment of the CA
DecisionandResolutioninCAG.R.SPNo.93395,foradeclaration
thatLimisguiltyofforumshopping,andforthedismissalofCivil
CaseNo.05112396.41
In G.R. No. 175256, Co prays for the affirmation of the CA
DecisioninCAG.R.CVNo.85138(whichdismissedLimsappeal
fromthetrialcourtsdecisioninCriminalCaseNo.116377).42
LilyLimsarguments
Lim admits that the two proceedings involve substantially the
same set of facts because they arose from only one transaction.43
Sheisquicktoadd,however,thatasingleactoromissiondoesnot
alwaysmakeasinglecauseofaction.44Itcanpossiblygiveriseto
two separate civil liabilities on the part of the offender(1) ex
delicto or civil liability arising from crimes, and (2) independent
civil liabilities or those arising from contracts or intentional torts.
The only caveat provided in Article 2177 of the Civil Code is that
theoffendedpartycannotrecoverdamagestwiceforthesameactor
omission.45Becausethelawallowshertwoindependentcausesof

_______________
40RolloofG.R.No.175256,pp.213214RolloofG.R.No.179160,p.289.
41Id.,atp.215id.,atp.290.
42Id.id.
43RolloofG.R.No.175256,p.232.
44Id.,atp.231.
45Id.,atp.235RolloofG.R.No.179160,pp.303304.

127

VOL.679,AUGUST23,2012 127
Limvs.KouCoPing

action,Limcontendsthatitisnotforumshoppingtopursuethem.46
She then explains the separate and distinct causes of action
involved in the two cases. Her cause of action in CAG.R CV No.
85138isbasedonthecrimeofestafa.CoviolatedLimsrighttobe
protected against swindling. He represented to Lim that she can
withdraw 37,200 bags of cement using the authorities she bought
from him. This is a fraudulent representation because Co knew, at
thetimethattheyenteredintothecontract,thathecouldnotdeliver
what he promised.47 On the other hand, Lims cause of action in
Civil Case No. 05112396 is based on contract. Co violated Lims
rightsasabuyerinacontractofsale.Coreceivedpaymentforthe
37,200 bags of cement but did not deliver the goods that were the
subjectofthesale.48

InG.R.No.179160,LimpraysforthedenialofCospetition.49
InG.R.No.179160,LimpraysforthedenialofCospetition.49
InG.R.No.175256,shepraysforthereversaloftheCADecisionin
CAG.R. CV No. 85138, for a declaration that she is not guilty of
forumshopping,andforthereinstatementofherappealinCriminal
CaseNo.116377totheCA.50
Issue
Did Lim commit forum shopping in filing the civil case for
specific performance and damages during the pendency of her
appealonthecivilaspectofthecriminalcaseforestafa?
OurRuling
Asingleactoromissionthatcausesdamagetoanoffendedparty
maygiverisetotwoseparatecivilliabilitiesonthepart

_______________
46Id.,atp.232id.,atp.301.
47Id.id.,atpp.301302.
48Id.id.
49RolloofG.R.No.179160,p.309.
50RolloofG.R.No.175256,p.237.

128

128 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
Limvs.KouCoPing

of the offender.51(1) civil liability ex delicto, that is, civil


liability arising from the criminal offense under Article 100 of the
Revised Penal Code,52 and (2) independent civil liability, that is,
civil liability that may be pursued independently of the criminal
proceedings. The independent civil liability may be based on an
obligation not arising from the act or omission complained of as a
felony, as provided in Article 31 of the Civil Code (such as for
breach of contract or for tort53). It may also be based on an act or
omission that may constitute felony but, nevertheless, treated
independently from the criminal action by specific provision of
Article 33 of the Civil Code (in cases of defamation, fraud and
physicalinjuries).
Thecivilliabilityarisingfromtheoffenseorexdelictoisbased
ontheactsoromissionsthatconstitutethecriminaloffensehence,
its trial is inherently intertwined with the criminal action. For this
reason, the civil liability ex delicto is impliedly instituted with the
criminal offense.54 If the action for the civil liability ex delicto is
institutedpriortoorsubsequenttothefilingofthecriminalaction,
itsproceedingsaresuspendeduntilthefinaloutcomeofthecriminal
action.55Thecivilliabilitybasedondelictisextinguishedwhenthe
courthearingthecriminal action declares that the act or omission
fromwhichthecivilliabilitymayarisedidnotexist.56
On the other hand, the independent civil liabilities are separate
from the criminal action and may be pursued independently, as
providedinArticles31and33oftheCivilCode,whichstatethat:

_______________
51Cancio,Jr.v.Isip,440Phil.29,34391SCRA393,396(2002).
52Art.100.Civilliabilityofapersonguiltyoffelony.Everypersoncriminally
liableforafelonyisalsocivillyliable.
53SeeArticles32,34,2176,and1157oftheCivilCode.
54RulesofCourt,Rule111,Section1(a).
55Id.,Section2.
56Id.

129

VOL.679,AUGUST23,2012 129
Limvs.KouCoPing

ART. 31. When the civil action is based on an obligation not arising
fromtheactoromissioncomplainedofasafelony,suchcivilactionmay
proceed independently of the criminal proceedings and regardless of the
resultofthelatter.(Emphasissupplied.)
ART. 33. In cases of defamation, fraud, and physical injuries a civil
action for damages, entirely separate and distinct from the criminal action,
may be brought by the injured party. Such civil action shall proceed
independently of the criminal prosecution, and shall require only a
preponderanceofevidence.(Emphasissupplied.)

Becauseofthedistinctandindependentnatureofthetwokinds
of civil liabilities, jurisprudence holds that the offended party may
pursue the two types of civil liabilities simultaneously or
cumulatively, without offending the rules on forum shopping, litis
pendentia,orresjudicata.57AsexplainedinCancio,Jr.v.Isip:58

Oneoftheelementsofresjudicataisidentityofcausesofaction.Inthe
instant case, it must be stressed that the action filed by petitioner is an
independent civil action, which remains separate and distinct from any
criminal prosecution based on the same act. Not being deemed instituted in
thecriminalactionbasedonculpacriminal,arulingontheculpabilityofthe
offender will have no bearing on said independent civil action based on an
entirelydifferentcauseofaction,i.e.,culpacontractual.
In the same vein, the filing of the collection case after the dismissal of
the estafa cases against [the offender] did not amount to forumshopping.
The essence of forum shopping is the filing of multiple suits involving the
same parties for the same cause of action, either simultaneously or
successively, to secure a favorable judgment. Although the cases filed by
[the offended party] arose from the same act or omission of [the offender],
they are, however, based on different causes of action. The criminal cases
forestafaarebasedon

_______________
57Cancio,Jr.v.Isip,supranote51atp.40p.402Casupananv.Laroya,436Phil.582,
600388SCRA28,37(2002).
58Supranote51.

130

130 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
Limvs.KouCoPing

culpa criminal while the civil action for collection is anchored on culpa
contractual. Moreover, there can be no forumshopping in the instant case
because the law expressly allows the filing of a separate civil action which
canproceedindependentlyofthecriminalaction.59

Sincecivilliabilitiesarisingfromfeloniesandthosearisingfrom
other sources of obligations are authorized by law to proceed
independently of each other, the resolution of the present issue
hinges on whether the two cases herein involve different kinds of
civil obligations such that they can proceed independently of each
other.Theanswerisintheaffirmative.
Thefirstactionisclearlyacivilactionexdelicto,ithavingbeen
institutedtogetherwiththecriminalaction.60]
Ontheotherhand,thesecondaction,judgingbytheallegations
contained in the complaint,61 is a civil action arising from a
contractualobligationandfortortiousconduct(abuseofrights).In
hercivilcomplaint,Limbasicallyallegesthatsheenteredintoasale
contractwithCounderthefollowingterms:thatshebought37,200
bagsofcementattherateofP64.00perbagfromCothat,afterfull
payment, Co delivered to her the withdrawal authorities issued by
FRCCcorrespondingtothesebagsofcementthatthesewithdrawal
authoritieswillbehonoredbyFRCCforsixmonthsfromthedates
written thereon. Lim then maintains that the defendants breached
theircontractualobligationstoherunderthesalecontractandunder
thewithdrawalauthoritiesthatCoandhiscodefendantswantedher
topaymoreforeachbagofcement,contrarytotheiragreementto
fixthepriceatP64.00perbagandtothewordingofthewithdrawal
authorities that FRCC did not honor the terms of the withdrawal
authoritiesitissuedandthatCodidnotcomplywithhisobliga

_______________
59Id.,atp.40.
60RulesofCourt,Rule111,Section1.Casupananv.Laroya,supra note 57 at p.
596 p. 36 DMPIEmployees Credit Cooperative, Inc. v. Hon. Velez, 422 Phil. 381,
387371SCRA72,76(2001).
61Cancio,Jr.v.Isip,supranote51atp.39p.401.

131

VOL.679,AUGUST23,2012 131
Limvs.KouCoPing

tionunderthesalecontracttodeliverthe37,200bagsofcementto
Lim.Fromtheforegoingallegations,itisevidentthatLimseeksto
enforce the defendants contractual obligations, given that she has
already performed her obligations. She prays that the defendants
either honor their part of the contract or pay for the damages that
theirbreachhascausedher.
Lim also includes allegations that the actions of the defendants
werecommittedinsuchmannerastocausedamagetoLimwithout
regard for morals, good customs and public policy. These
allegations, if proven, would constitute tortious conduct (abuse of
rightsundertheHumanRelationsprovisionsoftheCivilCode).
Thus, Civil Case No. 05112396 involves only the obligations
arisingfromcontractandfromtort,whereastheappealintheestafa
case involves only the civil obligations of Co arising from the
offense charged. They present different causes of action, which,
underthelaw,areconsideredseparate,distinct,andindependent62
fromeachother.Bothcasescanproceedtotheirfinaladjudication,
subjecttotheprohibitionondoublerecoveryunderArticle2177of
theCivilCode.63
WHEREFORE,premisesconsidered,LilyLimsPetitioninG.R.
No. 175256 is GRANTED. The assailed October 20, 2005
Resolution of the Second Division of the Court of Appeals in CA
G.R. CV No. 85138 is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Lily Lims
appealinCAG.R.CVNo.85138isorderedREINSTATEDandthe
Court of Appeals is DIRECTED to RESOLVE the same with
DELIBERATEDISPATCH.

_______________
62Casupananv.Laroya,supranote57atp.596p.37.
63ART.2177.Responsibilityforfaultornegligenceundertheprecedingarticle
isentirelyseparateanddistinctfromthecivilliablityarisingfromnegligenceunder
thePenalCode.Buttheplaintiffcannotrecoverdamagestwiceforthesameactor
omissionofthedefendant.

132

132 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
Limvs.KouCoPing
Charlie Cos Petition in G.R. No. 179160 is DENIED. The
assailedApril10,2007DecisionoftheSeventeenthDivisionofthe
CourtofAppealsinCAG.R.SPNo.93395isAFFIRMEDintoto.
SOORDERED.

LeonardoDe Castro** (Acting Chairperson), Bersamin,


Villarama,Jr.andPerlasBernabe,***JJ.,concur.

Petition in G.R. No. 175256 granted, resolution dated October


20,2005reversedandsetasidewhilepetitioninG.R.No.179160
denied,judgmentaffirmedintoto.

Notes.Civil liability ex delicto may come in the form of


restitution, reparation and indemnification. (People vs. Combate,
638SCRA797[2010])
Civil indemnity ex delicto is the indemnity authorized in our
criminallawfortheoffendedparty,intheamountauthorizedbythe
prevailing judicial policy and apart from other proven actual
damages, which itself is equivalent to actual and compensatory
damagesincivillaw.(Id.)
o0o

_______________
**PerSpecialOrderNo.1226datedMay30,2012.
***PerSpecialOrderNo.1227datedMay30,2012.

Copyright2017CentralBookSupply,Inc.Allrightsreserved.