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G.R. No.

L-24803 May 26, 1977


PEDRO ELCANO and PATRICIA ELCANO, in their capacity as Ascendants of Agapito Elcano,
deceased,plaintiffs-appellants,
vs.
REGINALD HILL, minor, and MARVIN HILL, as father and Natural Guardian of said minor, defendantsappellees.
BARREDO, J.:
Appeal from the order of the Court of First Instance of Quezon City dated January 29, 1965 in Civil Case No. Q8102, Pedro Elcano et al. vs. Reginald Hill et al. dismissing, upon motion to dismiss of defendants, the complaint of
plaintiffs for recovery of damages from defendant Reginald Hill, a minor, married at the time of the occurrence, and
his father, the defendant Marvin Hill, with whom he was living and getting subsistence, for the killing by Reginald of
the son of the plaintiffs, named Agapito Elcano, of which, when criminally prosecuted, the said accused was
acquitted on the ground that his act was not criminal, because of "lack of intent to kill, coupled with mistake."
Actually, the motion to dismiss based on the following grounds:
1. The present action is not only against but a violation of section 1, Rule 107, which is now Rule III, of the
Revised Rules of Court;
2. The action is barred by a prior judgment which is now final and or in res-adjudicata;
3. The complaint had no cause of action against defendant Marvin Hill, because he was relieved as guardian of
the other defendant through emancipation by marriage.
(P. 23, Record [p. 4, Record on Appeal.])
was first denied by the trial court. It was only upon motion for reconsideration of the defendants of such denial,
reiterating the above grounds that the following order was issued:
Considering the motion for reconsideration filed by the defendants on January 14, 1965 and after thoroughly
examining the arguments therein contained, the Court finds the same to be meritorious and well-founded.
WHEREFORE, the Order of this Court on December 8, 1964 is hereby reconsidered by ordering the dismissal
of the above entitled case.
SO ORDERED.
Quezon City, Philippines, January 29, 1965. (p. 40, Record [p. 21, Record on Appeal.)
Hence, this appeal where plaintiffs-appellants, the spouses Elcano, are presenting for Our resolution the following
assignment of errors:
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN DISMISSING THE CASE BY UPHOLDING THE CLAIM OF DEFENDANTS
THAT I
THE PRESENT ACTION IS NOT ONLY AGAINST BUT ALSO A VIOLATION OF SECTION 1, RULE 107, NOW
RULE 111, OF THE REVISED RULES OF COURT, AND THAT SECTION 3(c) OF RULE 111, RULES OF
COURT IS APPLICABLE;
II
THE ACTION IS BARRED BY A PRIOR JUDGMENT WHICH IS NOW FINAL OR RES-ADJUDICTA;
III
THE PRINCIPLES OF QUASI-DELICTS, ARTICLES 2176 TO 2194 OF THE CIVIL CODE, ARE
INAPPLICABLE IN THE INSTANT CASE; and
IV

THAT THE COMPLAINT STATES NO CAUSE OF ACTION AGAINST DEFENDANT MARVIN HILL BECAUSE
HE WAS RELIEVED AS GUARDIAN OF THE OTHER DEFENDANT THROUGH EMANCIPATION BY
MARRIAGE. (page 4, Record.)
It appears that for the killing of the son, Agapito, of plaintiffs-appellants, defendant- appellee Reginald Hill was
prosecuted criminally in Criminal Case No. 5102 of the Court of First Instance of Quezon City. After due trial, he was
acquitted on the ground that his act was not criminal because of "lack of intent to kill, coupled with mistake."
Parenthetically, none of the parties has favored Us with a copy of the decision of acquittal, presumably because
appellants do not dispute that such indeed was the basis stated in the court's decision. And so, when appellants filed
their complaint against appellees Reginald and his father, Atty. Marvin Hill, on account of the death of their son, the
appellees filed the motion to dismiss above-referred to.
As We view the foregoing background of this case, the two decisive issues presented for Our resolution are:
1. Is the present civil action for damages barred by the acquittal of Reginald in the criminal case wherein the action
for civil liability, was not reversed?
2. May Article 2180 (2nd and last paragraphs) of the Civil Code he applied against Atty. Hill, notwithstanding the
undisputed fact that at the time of the occurrence complained of. Reginald, though a minor, living with and getting
subsistenee from his father, was already legally married?
The first issue presents no more problem than the need for a reiteration and further clarification of the dual character,
criminal and civil, of fault or negligence as a source of obligation which was firmly established in this jurisdiction
in Barredo vs. Garcia, 73 Phil. 607. In that case, this Court postulated, on the basis of a scholarly dissertation by
Justice Bocobo on the nature of culpa aquiliana in relation to culpa criminal or delito and mereculpa or fault, with
pertinent citation of decisions of the Supreme Court of Spain, the works of recognized civilians, and earlier
jurisprudence of our own, that the same given act can result in civil liability not only under the Penal Code but also
under the Civil Code. Thus, the opinion holds:
The, above case is pertinent because it shows that the same act machinist. come under both the Penal Code
and the Civil Code. In that case, the action of the agent killeth unjustified and fraudulent and therefore could
have been the subject of a criminal action. And yet, it was held to be also a proper subject of a civil action under
article 1902 of the Civil Code. It is also to be noted that it was the employer and not the employee who was
being sued. (pp. 615-616, 73 Phil.). 1
It will be noticed that the defendant in the above case could have been prosecuted in a criminal case because
his negligence causing the death of the child was punishable by the Penal Code. Here is therefore a clear
instance of the same act of negligence being a proper subject matter either of a criminal action with its
consequent civil liability arising from a crime or of an entirely separate and independent civil action for fault or
negligence under article 1902 of the Civil Code. Thus, in this jurisdiction, the separate individuality of a cuasidelito or culpa aquiliana, under the Civil Code has been fully and clearly recognized, even with regard to a
negligent act for which the wrongdoer could have been prosecuted and convicted in a criminal case and for
which, after such a conviction, he could have been sued for this civil liability arising from his crime. (p. 617, 73
Phil.) 2
It is most significant that in the case just cited, this Court specifically applied article 1902 of the Civil Code. It is
thus that although J. V. House could have been criminally prosecuted for reckless or simple negligence and not
only punished but also made civilly liable because of his criminal negligence, nevertheless this Court awarded
damages in an independent civil action for fault or negligence under article 1902 of the Civil Code. (p. 618, 73
Phil.) 3
The legal provisions, authors, and cases already invoked should ordinarily be sufficient to dispose of this case.
But inasmuch as we are announcing doctrines that have been little understood, in the past, it might not he
inappropriate to indicate their foundations.

Firstly, the Revised Penal Code in articles 365 punishes not only reckless but also simple negligence. If we
were to hold that articles 1902 to 1910 of the Civil Code refer only to fault or negligence not punished by law,
accordingly to the literal import of article 1093 of the Civil Code, the legal institution of culpa aquiliana would
have very little scope and application in actual life. Death or injury to persons and damage to property- through
any degree of negligence - even the slightest - would have to be Idemnified only through the principle of civil
liability arising from a crime. In such a state of affairs, what sphere would remain for cuasi-delito or culpa
aquiliana? We are loath to impute to the lawmaker any intention to bring about a situation so absurd and
anomalous. Nor are we, in the interpretation of the laws, disposed to uphold the letter that killeth rather than the
spirit that giveth life. We will not use the literal meaning of the law to smother and render almost lifeless a
principle of such ancient origin and such full-grown development as culpa aquiliana or cuasi-delito, which is
conserved and made enduring in articles 1902 to 1910 of the Spanish Civil Code.
Secondary, to find the accused guilty in a criminal case, proof of guilt beyond reasonable doubt is required,
while in a civil case, preponderance of evidence is sufficient to make the defendant pay in damages. There are
numerous cases of criminal negligence which can not be shown beyond reasonable doubt, but can be proved
by a preponderance of evidence. In such cases, the defendant can and should be made responsible in a civil
action under articles 1902 to 1910 of the Civil Code. Otherwise. there would be many instances of unvindicated
civil wrongs. "Ubi jus Idemnified remedium." (p. 620,73 Phil.)
Fourthly, because of the broad sweep of the provisions of both the Penal Code and the Civil Code on this
subject, which has given rise to the overlapping or concurrence of spheres already discussed, and for lack of
understanding of the character and efficacy of the action for culpa aquiliana, there has grown up a common
practice to seek damages only by virtue of the civil responsibility arising from a crime, forgetting that there is
another remedy, which is by invoking articles 1902-1910 of the Civil Code. Although this habitual method is
allowed by, our laws, it has nevertheless rendered practically useless and nugatory the more expeditious and
effective remedy based on culpa aquiliana or culpa extra-contractual. In the present case, we are asked to help
perpetuate this usual course. But we believe it is high time we pointed out to the harms done by such practice
and to restore the principle of responsibility for fault or negligence under articles 1902 et seq. of the Civil Code
to its full rigor. It is high time we caused the stream of quasi-delict or culpa aquiliana to flow on its own natural
channel, so that its waters may no longer be diverted into that of a crime under the Penal Code. This will, it is
believed, make for the better safeguarding or private rights because it realtor, an ancient and additional remedy,
and for the further reason that an independent civil action, not depending on the issues, limitations and results
of a criminal prosecution, and entirely directed by the party wronged or his counsel, is more likely to secure
adequate and efficacious redress. (p. 621, 73 Phil.)
Contrary to an immediate impression one might get upon a reading of the foregoing excerpts from the opinion in
Garcia that the concurrence of the Penal Code and the Civil Code therein referred to contemplate only acts of
negligence and not intentional voluntary acts - deeper reflection would reveal that the thrust of the pronouncements
therein is not so limited, but that in fact it actually extends to fault or culpa. This can be seen in the reference made
therein to the Sentence of the Supreme Court of Spain of February 14, 1919, supra, which involved a case of fraud
or estafa, not a negligent act. Indeed, Article 1093 of the Civil Code of Spain, in force here at the time of Garcia,
provided textually that obligations "which are derived from acts or omissions in which fault or negligence, not
punishable by law, intervene shall be the subject of Chapter II, Title XV of this book (which refers to quasi-delicts.)"
And it is precisely the underline qualification, "not punishable by law", that Justice Bocobo emphasized could lead to
an ultimo construction or interpretation of the letter of the law that "killeth, rather than the spirit that giveth lift- hence,
the ruling that "(W)e will not use the literal meaning of the law to smother and render almost lifeless a principle of
such ancient origin and such full-grown development as culpa aquiliana orquasi-delito, which is conserved and made
enduring in articles 1902 to 1910 of the Spanish Civil Code." And so, because Justice Bacobo was Chairman of the
Code Commission that drafted the original text of the new Civil Code, it is to be noted that the said Code, which was
enacted after the Garcia doctrine, no longer uses the term, 11 not punishable by law," thereby making it clear that the
concept of culpa aquiliana includes acts which are criminal in character or in violation of the penal law, whether
voluntary or matter. Thus, the corresponding provisions to said Article 1093 in the new code, which is Article 1162,
simply says, "Obligations derived fromquasi-delicto shall be governed by the provisions of Chapter 2, Title XVII of
this Book, (on quasi-delicts) and by special laws." More precisely, a new provision, Article 2177 of the new code
provides:

ART. 2177. Responsibility for fault or negligence under the preceding article is entirely separate and distinct
from the civil liability arising from negligence under the Penal Code. But the plaintiff cannot recover damages
twice for the same act or omission of the defendant.
According to the Code Commission: "The foregoing provision (Article 2177) through at first sight startling, is not so
novel or extraordinary when we consider the exact nature of criminal and civil negligence. The former is a violation of
the criminal law, while the latter is a "culpa aquiliana" or quasi-delict, of ancient origin, having always had its own
foundation and individuality, separate from criminal negligence. Such distinction between criminal negligence and
"culpa extracontractual" or "cuasi-delito" has been sustained by decision of the Supreme Court of Spain and
maintained as clear, sound and perfectly tenable by Maura, an outstanding Spanish jurist. Therefore, under the
proposed Article 2177, acquittal from an accusation of criminal negligence, whether on reasonable doubt or not, shall
not be a bar to a subsequent civil action, not for civil liability arising from criminal negligence, but for damages due to
a quasi-delict or 'culpa aquiliana'. But said article forestalls a double recovery.", (Report of the Code) Commission, p.
162.)
Although, again, this Article 2177 does seem to literally refer to only acts of negligence, the same argument of
Justice Bacobo about construction that upholds "the spirit that giveth lift- rather than that which is literal that killeth
the intent of the lawmaker should be observed in applying the same. And considering that the preliminary chapter on
human relations of the new Civil Code definitely establishes the separability and independence of liability in a civil
action for acts criminal in character (under Articles 29 to 32) from the civil responsibility arising from crime fixed by
Article 100 of the Revised Penal Code, and, in a sense, the Rules of Court, under Sections 2 and 3 (c), Rule 111,
contemplate also the same separability, it is "more congruent with the spirit of law, equity and justice, and more in
harmony with modern progress"- to borrow the felicitous relevant language in Rakes vs. Atlantic. Gulf and Pacific
Co., 7 Phil. 359, to hold, as We do hold, that Article 2176, where it refers to "fault or negligencia covers not only acts
"not punishable by law" but also acts criminal in character, whether intentional and voluntary or negligent.
Consequently, a separate civil action lies against the offender in a criminal act, whether or not he is criminally
prosecuted and found guilty 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 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 a quasi-delict only and not as a crime is not
estinguished 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 stated, We here hold, in reiteration of Garcia, thatculpa aquiliana includes
voluntary and negligent acts which may be punishable by law.4
It results, therefore, that the acquittal of Reginal Hill in the criminal case has not extinguished his liability for quasidelict, hence that acquittal is not a bar to the instant action against him.
Coming now to the second issue about the effect of Reginald's emancipation by marriage on the possible civil liability
of Atty. Hill, his father, it is also Our considered opinion that the conclusion of appellees that Atty. Hill is already free
from responsibility cannot be upheld.
While it is true that parental authority is terminated upon emancipation of the child (Article 327, Civil Code), and
under Article 397, emancipation takes place "by the marriage of the minor (child)", it is, however, also clear that
pursuant to Article 399, emancipation by marriage of the minor is not really full or absolute. Thus "(E)mancipation by
marriage or by voluntary concession shall terminate parental authority over the child's person. It shall enable the
minor to administer his property as though he were of age, but he cannot borrow money or alienate or encumber real
property without the consent of his father or mother, or guardian. He can sue and be sued in court only with the
assistance of his father, mother or guardian."
Now under Article 2180, "(T)he obligation imposed by article 2176 is demandable not only for one's own acts or
omissions, but also for those of persons for whom one is responsible. The father and, in case of his death or
incapacity, the mother, are responsible. The father and, in case of his death or incapacity, the mother, are
responsible for the damages caused by the minor children who live in their company." In the instant case, it is not
controverted that Reginald, although married, was living with his father and getting subsistence from him at the time

of the occurrence in question. Factually, therefore, Reginald was still subservient to and dependent on his father, a
situation which is not unusual.
It must be borne in mind that, according to Manresa, the reason behind the joint and solidary liability of presuncion
with their offending child under Article 2180 is that is the obligation of the parent to supervise their minor children in
order to prevent them from causing damage to third persons. 5 On the other hand, the clear implication of Article 399,
in providing that a minor emancipated by marriage may not, nevertheless, sue or be sued without the assistance of
the parents, is that such emancipation does not carry with it freedom to enter into transactions or do any act that can
give rise to judicial litigation. (See Manresa, Id., Vol. II, pp. 766-767, 776.) And surely, killing someone else invites
judicial action. Otherwise stated, the marriage of a minor child does not relieve the parents of the duty to see to it that
the child, while still a minor, does not give answerable for the borrowings of money and alienation or encumbering of
real property which cannot be done by their minor married child without their consent. (Art. 399; Manresa, supra.)
Accordingly, in Our considered view, Article 2180 applies to Atty. Hill notwithstanding the emancipation by marriage of
Reginald. However, inasmuch as it is evident that Reginald is now of age, as a matter of equity, the liability of Atty.
Hill has become milling, subsidiary to that of his son.
WHEREFORE, the order appealed from is reversed and the trial court is ordered to proceed in accordance with the
foregoing opinion. Costs against appellees.
G.R. No. 80194 March 21, 1989
EDGAR JARANTILLA, petitioner,
vs.
COURT OF APPEALS and JOSE KUAN SING, respondents.
REGALADO, J.:
The records show that private respondent Jose Kuan Sing was "side-swiped by a vehicle in the evening of July 7,
1971 in lznart Street, Iloilo City" 1 The respondent Court of Appeals concurred in the findings of the court a quo that
the said vehicle which figured in the mishap, a Volkswagen (Beetle type) car, was then driven by petitioner Edgar
Jarantilla along said street toward the direction of the provincial capitol, and that private respondent sustained
physical injuries as a consequence. 2
Petitioner was accordingly charged before the then City Court of Iloilo for serious physical injuries thru reckless
imprudence in Criminal Case No. 47207 thereof. 3 Private respondent, as the complaining witness therein, did not
reserve his right to institute a separate civil action and he intervened in the prosecution of said criminal case through
a private prosecutor. 4 Petitioner was acquitted in said criminal case "on reasonable doubt".5
On October 30, 1974, private respondent filed a complaint against the petitioner in the former Court of First Instance
of Iloilo, Branch IV, 6 docketed therein as Civil Case No. 9976, and which civil action involved the same subject
matter and act complained of in Criminal Case No. 47027. 7 In his answer filed therein, the petitioner alleged as
special and affirmative detenses that the private respondent had no cause of action and, additionally, that the latter's
cause of action, if any, is barred by the prior judgment in Criminal Case No. 47207 inasmuch as when said criminal
case was instituted the civil liability was also deemed instituted since therein plaintiff failed to reserve the civil aspect
and actively participated in the criminal case. 8
Thereafter, acting on a motion to dismiss of therein defendant, the trial court issued on April 3, 1975 an order of
denial, with the suggestion that "(t)o enrich our jurisprudence, it is suggested that the defendant brings (sic) this
ruling to the Supreme Court by certiorari or other appropriate remedy, to review the ruling of the court". 9
On June 17, 1975, petitioner filed in this Court a petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus, which was
docketed as G.R. No. L-40992, 10 assailing the aforesaid order of the trial court. Said petition was dismissed for lack
of merit in the Court's resolution of July 23, 1975, and a motion for reconsideration thereof was denied for the same
reason in a resolution of October 28, 1975. 11

After trial, the court below rendered judgment on May 23, 1977 in favor of the herein private respondent and ordering
herein petitioner to pay the former the sum of P 6,920.00 for hospitalization, medicines and so forth, P2,000.00 for
other actual expenses, P25,000.00 for moral damages, P5,000.00 for attorney's fees, and costs. 12
On July 29, 1987, the respondent Court of Appeals 13 affirmed the decision of the lower court except as to the award
for moral damages which it reduced from P25,000.00 to P18,000.00. A motion for reconsideration was denied by
respondent court on September 18, 1987. 14
The main issue for resolution by Us in the present recourse is whether the private respondent, who was the
complainant in the criminal action for physical injuries thru reckless imprudence and who participated in the
prosecution thereof without reserving the civil action arising from the act or omission complained of, can file a
separate action for civil liability arising from the same act or omission where the herein petitioner was acquitted in the
criminal action on reasonable doubt and no civil liability was adjudicated or awarded in the judgment of acquittal.
Prefatorily, We note that petitioner raises a collateral issue by faulting the respondent court for refusing to resolve an
assignment of error in his appeal therein, said respondent court holding that the main issue had been passed upon
by this Court in G.R. No. L-40992 hereinbefore mentioned. It is petitioner's position that the aforesaid two resolutions
of the Court in said case, the first dismissing the petition and the second denying the motion for reconsideration, do
not constitute the "law of the case' which would control the subsequent proceed ings in this controversy.
1. We incline favorably to petitioner's submission on this score.
The "doctrine of the law of the case" has no application at the aforesaid posture of the proceedings when the two
resolutions were handed down. While it may be true that G.R. No. L-40992 may have involved some of the issues
which were thereafter submitted for resolution on the merits by the two lower courts, the proceedings involved there
was one for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus assailing an interlocutory order of the court a quo, specifically, its
order denying therein defendants motion to dismiss. This Court, without rendering a specific opinion or explanation
as to the legal and factual bases on which its two resolutions were predicated, simply dismissed the special civil
action on that incident for lack of merit. It may very well be that such resolution was premised on the fact that the
Court, at that stage and on the basis of the facts then presented, did not consider that the denial order of the court a
quo was tainted with grave abuse of discretion. 15 To repeat, no rationale for such resolutions having been
expounded on the merits of that action, no law of the case may be said to have been laid down in G.R. No. L-40992
to justify the respondent court's refusal to consider petitioner's claim that his former acquittal barred the separate
action.
'Law of the case' has been defined as the opinion delivered on a former appeal. More specifically, it means that
whatever is once irrevocably established, as the controlling legal rule of decision between the same parties in
the same case continues to be the law of the case, whether correct on general principles or not, so long as the
facts on which such decision was predicated continue to be the facts of the case before the court (21 C.J.S.
330). (Emphasis supplied). 16
It need not be stated that the Supreme Court being the court of last resort, is the final arbiter of all legal
questions properly brought before it and that its decision in any given case constitutes the law of that particular
case . . . (Emphasis supplied). 17
It is a rule of general application that the decision of an appellate court in a case is the law of the case on the
points presented throughout all the subsequent proceedings in the case in both the trial and the appellate
courts, and no question necessarily involved and decided on that appeal will be considered on a second appeal
or writ of error in the same case, provided the facts and issues are substantially the same as those on which the
first question rested and, according to some authorities, provided the decision is on the merits . . . 18
2. With the foregoing ancillary issue out of the way, We now consider the principal plaint of petitioner.
Apropos to such resolution is the settled rule that the same act or omission (in this case, the negligent sideswiping of
private respondent) can create two kinds of liability on the part of the offender, that is, civil liability ex delictoand civil

liability ex quasi delicto. Since the same negligence can give rise either to a delict or crime or to a quasi-delict or tort,
either of these two types of civil liability may be enforced against the culprit, subject to the caveat under Article 2177
of the Civil Code that the offended party cannot recover damages under both types of liability.19
We also note the reminder of petitioner that in Roa vs. De la Cruz, et al., 20 it was held that where the offended party
elected to claim damages arising from the offense charged in the criminal case through her intervention as a private
prosecutor, the final judgment rendered therein constituted a bar to the subsequent civil action based upon the same
cause. It is meet, however, not to lose sight of the fact that the criminal action involved therein was for serious oral
defamation which, while within the contemplation of an independent civil action under Article 33 of the Civil Code,
constitutes only a penal omen and cannot otherwise be considered as a quasi-delict or culpa aquiliana under Articles
2176 and 2177 of the Civil Code. And while petitioner draws attention to the supposed reiteration of the Roa doctrine
in the later case of Azucena vs. Potenciano, et al., 21 this time involving damage to property through negligence as
to make out a case of quasi-delict under Articles 2176 and 2180 of the Civil Code, such secondary reliance is
misplaced since the therein plaintiff Azucena did not intervene in the criminal action against defendant Potenciano.
The citation of Roa in the later case ofAzucena was, therefore, clearly obiter and affords no comfort to petitioner.
These are aside from the fact that there have been doctrinal, and even statutory, 22 changes on the matter of civil
actions arising from criminal offenses and quasi-delicts. We will reserve our discussion on the statutory aspects for
another case and time and, for the nonce, We will consider the doctrinal developments on this issue.
In the case under consideration, private respondent participated and intervened in the prosecution of the criminal suit
against petitioner. Under the present jurisprudential milieu, where the trial court acquits the accused on reasonable
doubt, it could very well make a pronounce ment on the civil liability of the accused 23 and the complainant could file
a petition for mandamus to compel the trial court to include such civil liability in the judgment of acquittal. 24
Private respondent, as already stated, filed a separate civil aciton after such acquittal. This is allowed under Article
29 of the Civil Code. We have ruled in the relatively recent case of Lontoc vs. MD Transit & Taxi Co., Inc., et
al. 25 that:
In view of the fact that the defendant-appellee de la Cruz was acquitted on the ground that 'his guilt was not
proven beyond reasonable doubt' the plaintiff-appellant has the right to institute a separate civil action to
recover damages from the defendants-appellants (See Mendoza vs. Arrieta, 91 SCRA 113). The well-settled
doctrine is that a person, while not criminally liable may still be civilly liable. 'The judgment of acquittal
extinguishes the civil liability of the accused only when it includes a declaration that the facts from which the civil
liability might arise did not exist'. (Padilla vs. Court of Appeals, 129 SCRA 558 cited in People vs. Rogelio Ligon
y Tria, et al., G.R. No. 74041, July 29, 1987; Filomeno Urbano vs. Intermediate Appellate Court, G.R. No.
72964, January 7, 1988). The ruling is based on Article 29 of the Civil Code which provides:
When the accused in a criminal prosecution is acquitted on the ground that his guilt has not
been proved beyond reasonable doubt, a civil action for damages for the same act or omission may
be instituted. Such action requires only a preponderance of evidence ...26
Another consideration in favor of private respondent is the doctrine that the failure of the court to make any
pronouncement, favorable or unfavorable, as to the civil liability of the accused amounts to a reservation of the right
to have the civil liability litigated and determined in a separate action. The rules nowhere provide that if the court fails
to determine the civil liability it becomes no longer enforceable. 27

The allegations of the complaint filed by the private respondent supports and is constitutive of a case for a quasidelict committed by the petitioner, thus:
3. That in the evening of July 7, 197l at about 7:00 o'clock, the plaintiff crossed Iznart Street from his
restaurant situated at 220 lznart St., Iloilo City, Philippines, on his way to a meeting of the Cantonese Club
at Aldeguer Street, Iloilo City and while he was standing on the middle of the street as there were vehicles
coming from the Provincial Building towards Plazoleta Gay, Iloilo City, he was bumped and sideswiped by
Volkswagen car with plate No. B-2508 W which was on its way from Plazoleta Gay towards the Provincial
Capitol, Iloilo City, which car was being driven by the defendant in a reckless and negligent manner, at an
excessive rate of speed and in violation of the provisions of the Revised Motor Vehicle (sic) as amended,
in relation to the Land Transportation and Traffic Code as well as in violation of existing city ordinances,
and by reason of his inexcusable lack of precaution and failure to act with due negligence and by failing to
take into consideration (sic) his degree of intelligence, the atmospheric conditions of the place as well as
the width, traffic, visibility and other conditions of lznart Street; 29
Since this action is based on a quasi-delict, the failure of the respondent to reserve his right to file a separate civil
case and his intervention in the criminal case did not bar him from filing such separate civil action for
damages. 30The Court has also heretofore ruled in Elcano vs. Hill 31 that
... a separate civil action lies against the offender in a criminal act whether or not he is criminally prosecuted
and found guilty or acquitted, provided that the offended party is not allowed, if he is also actually charged
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 other words, the extinction of civil liability
referred to in Par. (c) of Sec. 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 a 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 . . .
The aforecited case of Lontoc vs. MD Transit & Taxi Co., Inc., et al. involved virtually the same factual situation. The
Court, in arriving at the conclusion hereinbefore quoted, expressly declared that the failure of the therein plaintiff to
reserve his right to file a separate civil case is not fatal; that his intervention in the criminal case did not bar him from
filing a separate civil action for damages, especially considering that the accused therein was acquitted because his
guilt was not proved beyond reasonable doubt; that the two cases were anchored on two different causes of action,
the criminal case being on a violation of Article 365 of the Revised Penal Code while the subsequent complaint for
damages was based on a quasi-delict; and that in the judgment in the criminal case the aspect of civil liability was
not passed upon and resolved. Consequently, said civil case may proceed as authorized by Article 29 of the Civil
Code.
Our initial adverse observation on a portion of the decision of respondent court aside, We hold that on the issues
decisive of this case it did not err in sustaining the decision a quo.
WHEREFORE, the writ prayed for is hereby DENIED and the decision of the respondent Court of Appeals is
AFFIRMED, without costs.
SO ORDERED.
SO ORDERED.

Furthermore, in the present case the civil liability sought to be recovered through the application of Article 29 is no
longer that based on or arising from the criminal offense. There is persuasive logic in the view that, under such
circumstances, the acquittal of the accused foreclosed the civil liability based on Article 100 of the Revised Penal
Code which presupposes the existence of criminal liability or requires a conviction of the offense charged. Divested
of its penal element by such acquittal, the causative act or omission becomes in effect a quasi-delict, hence only a
civil action based thereon may be instituted or prosecuted thereafter, which action can be proved by mere
preponderance of evidence. 28 Complementary to such considerations, Article 29 enunciates the rule, as already
stated, that a civil action for damages is not precluded by an acquittal on reasonable doubt for the same criminal act
or omission.

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


AVELINO CASUPANAN and ROBERTO CAPITULO, petitioners, vs. MARIO LLAVORE LAROYA, respondent.
DECISION
CARPIO, J.:
The Case

This is a petition for review on certiorari to set aside the Resolution [1] dated December 28, 1999 dismissing 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).

independently of the criminal 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 Facts
Two vehicles, one driven by respondent Mario 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 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 quasi-delict, docketed as Civil Case No. 2089.

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 forfeited their right to question the order of dismissal when they
failed to avail of the proper remedy of appeal. Laroya argues that there is no question of law to be resolved as the
order of dismissal is already final and a petition for certiorari is not a substitute for a lapsed appeal.

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 the
pendency of the criminal case. The MCTC granted the motion in the Order of March 26, 1999 and dismissed the civil
case.

Nature of the Order of Dismissal


The MCTC dismissed the civil action for quasi-delict 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 dismissal is with
prejudice, the same is deemed without prejudice. Thus, the MCTCs dismissal, being silent on the matter, is a
dismissal without prejudice.

On Motion for Reconsideration, Casupanan and Capitulo insisted that the civil case is a separate civil action
which can proceed independently of the criminal case. The MCTC denied the motion for reconsideration in the Order
of May 7, 1999. Casupanan and Capitulo filed a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 before the Regional Trial Court
(Capas RTC for brevity) of Capas, Tarlac, Branch 66,[3] assailing the MCTCs Order of dismissal.
The Trial Courts Ruling
The Capas RTC rendered judgment on December 28, 1999 dismissing the petition for certiorari for lack of
merit. The Capas RTC ruled that the order of dismissal issued by the MCTC is a final order which disposes of the
case and therefore the proper remedy should have been an appeal. The Capas RTC further held that a special civil
action for certiorari is not a substitute for a lost appeal. Finally, the Capas RTC declared that even on the premise
that the MCTC erred in dismissing the civil case, such error is a pure error of judgment and not an abuse of
discretion.
Casupanan and Capitulo filed a Motion for Reconsideration but the Capas RTC denied the same in the
Resolution of August 24, 2000.
Hence, this petition.
The Issue
The petition premises the legal issue in this wise:
In a certain vehicular accident involving two parties, each one of them may think and believe that the accident was
caused by the fault of the other. x x x [T]he first party, believing himself to be the aggrieved party, opted to file a
criminal case for reckless imprudence against the second party. On the other hand, the second party, together with
his operator, believing themselves to be the real aggrieved parties, opted in turn to file a civil case for quasi-delict
against the first party who is the very private complainant in the criminal case. [4]
Thus, the issue raised is whether an accused in a pending criminal case for reckless imprudence can validly
file, simultaneously and independently, a separate civil action for quasi-delict against the private complainant in the
criminal case.
The Courts Ruling
Casupanan and Capitulo assert that Civil Case No. 2089, which the MCTC dismissed on the ground of forumshopping, constitutes a counterclaim in the criminal case. Casupanan and Capitulo argue that if the accused in a
criminal case has a counterclaim against the private complainant, he may file the counterclaim in a separate civil
action at the proper time. They contend that an action on quasi-delict is different from an action resulting from the
crime of reckless imprudence, and an accused in a criminal case can be an aggrieved party in a civil case arising
from the same incident. They maintain that under Articles 31 and 2176 of the Civil Code, the civil case can proceed

In their Reply, Casupanan and Capitulo contend that the petition raises the legal question of whether there is
forum-shopping since they filed only one action - the independent civil action for quasi-delict against Laroya.

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 special civil action under Rule 65. Section 1 of Rule 41 expressly states
that where the judgment or final order is not appealable, the aggrieved party may file an appropriate special civil
action under Rule 65. Clearly, the Capas RTCs order dismissing the petition for certiorari, on the ground that the
proper remedy is an ordinary appeal, is erroneous.
Forum-Shopping
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. [8] Forum-shopping is present when in
the two or more cases pending, there is identity of parties, rights of action and reliefs sought. [9] However, there is no
forum-shopping in the instant case because the law and the rules expressly allow the filing of a separate civil action
which can proceed independently of the criminal action.
Laroya filed the criminal case for reckless imprudence resulting in damage to property based on the Revised
Penal Code while Casupanan and Capitulo filed 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:
Art. 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.
Art. 2177. Responsibility for fault or negligence under the preceding article is entirely separate and distinct from the
civil liability arising from negligence under the Penal Code. But the plaintiff cannot recover damages twice for the
same act or omission of the defendant.
Any aggrieved person can invoke these articles provided he proves, by preponderance of evidence, that he
has suffered damage because of the fault or negligence of another. Either the private complainant or the accused
can file a separate civil action under these articles. There is nothing in the law or rules that state only the private
complainant in a criminal case may invoke these articles.
Moreover, paragraph 6, Section 1, Rule 111 of the 2000 Rules on Criminal Procedure (2000 Rules for brevity)
expressly requires the accused to litigate his counterclaim in a separate civil action, to wit:

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


No counterclaim, cross-claim or third-party complaint may be filed by the accused in the criminal case, but any cause
of action which could have been the subject thereof may be litigated in a separate civil action. (Emphasis supplied)
Since the present Rules require the accused in a criminal action to file his counterclaim in a separate civil action,
there can be no forum-shopping if the accused files such separate civil action.
Filing of a separate civil action
Section 1, Rule 111 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure (1985 Rules for brevity), as amended in 1988,
allowed the filing of a separate civil action independently of the criminal action provided the offended party reserved
the right to file such civil action. Unless the offended party reserved the civil action before the presentation of the
evidence for the prosecution, all civil actions arising from the same act or 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 for violation of Articles 32, 33 and 34 of the Civil Code on
Human Relations.
Thus, to file a separate and independent civil action for quasi-delict under the 1985 Rules, the offended party
had to reserve in the criminal action the right to bring such action. Otherwise, such civil action was deemed
impliedly instituted in the criminal action. Section 1, Rule 111 of the 1985 Rules provided as follows:
Section 1. Institution of criminal and civil actions. When a criminal action is instituted, the civil action for the
recovery of civil liability is impliedly instituted with the criminal action, unless the offended party waives the action,
reserves his right to institute it separately, or institutes the civil action prior to the criminal action.
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 arising from the same act or omission of the
accused.
A waiver of any of the civil actions extinguishes the others. The institution of, or the reservation of the right to file, any
of said civil actions separately waives the others.
The reservation of the right to institute the separate civil actions shall be made before the prosecution starts to
present its evidence and under circumstances affording the offended party a reasonable opportunity to make such
reservation.
In no case may the offended party recover damages twice for the same act or omission of the accused.
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) 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 institute it separately or institutes the
civil action prior to the criminal action.
The reservation of the right to institute separately the civil action shall be made before the prosecution starts
presenting its evidence and under circumstances affording the offended party a reasonable opportunity to make such
reservation.
xxx
(b)
xxx
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 trying the latter case. If the application is granted, the trial of both
actions shall proceed in accordance with section 2 of this rule governing consolidation of the civil and criminal
actions. (Emphasis supplied)

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. Verily, the civil actions based on these articles of the Civil Code are separate, distinct and
independent of the civil action deemed instituted in the criminal action. [10]
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 in the criminal action before the prosecution presents its
evidence. Also, the offended party is deemed to make such reservation if he files a separate civil action before filing
the criminal action. If the civil action to recover civil liability ex-delicto is filed separately but its trial has not yet
commenced, the civil action may be consolidated 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
Under Section 2, Rule 111 of the amended 1985 Rules, a separate civil action, if reserved in the criminal
action, could not be filed until after final judgment was rendered in the criminal action. If the separate civil 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 criminal action has been commenced, the separate
civil action arising therefrom cannot be instituted until final judgment has been entered in the criminal action.
If the criminal action is filed after the said civil action has already been instituted, the latter shall be
suspended in whatever stage it may be found before judgment on the merits. The suspension shall last until
final judgment is rendered in the criminal action. Nevertheless, before judgment on the merits is rendered in the
civil action, the same may, upon motion of the offended party, be consolidated with the criminal action in the court
trying the criminal action. In case of consolidation, the evidence already adduced in the civil action shall be deemed
automatically reproduced in the criminal action without prejudice to the right of the prosecution to cross-examine the
witnesses presented by the offended party in the criminal case and of the parties to present additional evidence. The
consolidated criminal and civil actions shall be tried and decided jointly.
During the pendency of the criminal action, the running of the period of prescription of the civil action which cannot
be instituted separately or whose proceeding has been suspended shall be tolled.
x x x. (Emphasis supplied)
Thus, Section 2, Rule 111 of the present Rules did not change the rule that the separate civil action, filed to recover
damages ex-delicto, is suspended upon the filing of the criminal action. Section 2 of the present Rule 111 also
prohibits the filing, after commencement of the criminal action, of a separate civil action to recover damages exdelicto.
When civil action may proceed independently
The crucial question now is whether Casupanan and Capitulo, who are not the offended parties in the criminal
case, can file a separate civil action against the offended party in the criminal case. Section 3, Rule 111 of the 2000
Rules provides as follows:

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 for the same act or omission charged in the criminal action. (Emphasis
supplied)
Section 3 of the present Rule 111, like its counterpart in the amended 1985 Rules, expressly allows the
offended party to bring an independent civil action under Articles 32, 33, 34 and 2176 of the Civil Code. As stated
in Section 3 of the present Rule 111, this civil action 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 for
the same act or omission charged in the criminal action.
There is no question that the offended party in the criminal action can file an independent civil action for quasidelict against the accused. Section 3 of the present Rule 111 expressly states that the offended party may bring
such an action but the offended party may not recover damages twice for the same act or omission charged in the
criminal action. Clearly, Section 3 of Rule 111 refers to the offended party in the criminal action, not to the accused.
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 civil action for quasi-delict against the private complainant in the
criminal case. In Cabaero, the accused in the criminal case filed his Answer with Counterclaim for malicious
prosecution. At that time the Court noted the absence of clear-cut rules governing the prosecution on impliedly
instituted civil actions and the necessary consequences and implications thereof. Thus, the Court ruled that the
trial court should confine itself to the criminal aspect of the case and disregard any counterclaim for civil liability. The
Court further ruled that the accused may file a separate civil case against the offended party after the criminal case
is terminated and/or in accordance with the new Rules which may be promulgated. The Court explained that a
cross-claim, counterclaim or third-party complaint on the civil aspect will only unnecessarily complicate the
proceedings and delay the resolution of the criminal case.
Paragraph 6, Section 1 of the present Rule 111 was incorporated in the 2000 Rules precisely to address
the lacuna mentioned in Cabaero. Under this provision, the accused is barred from filing a counterclaim, cross-claim
or third-party complaint in the criminal case. However, the same provision states that any cause of action which
could have been the subject (of the counterclaim, cross-claim or third-party complaint) may be litigated in a separate
civil action. The present Rule 111 mandates the accused to file his counterclaim in a separate civil action which
shall proceed independently of the criminal action, even as the civil action of the offended party is litigated in the
criminal action.
Conclusion
Under Section 1 of the present Rule 111, the independent civil action in Articles 32, 33, 34 and 2176 of the Civil
Code is not deemed instituted with the criminal action but may be filed separately by the offended party even without
reservation. The commencement of the criminal action does not suspend the prosecution of the independent civil
action under these articles of the Civil Code. The suspension in Section 2 of the present Rule 111 refers only to the
civil action arising from the crime, if such civil action is reserved or filed before the commencement of the criminal
action.

the accused is prohibited from setting up any counterclaim in the civil aspect that is deemed instituted in the criminal
case. The accused is therefore forced to litigate separately his counterclaim against the offended party. If the
accused does not file a separate civil action for quasi-delict, the prescriptive period may set in since the period
continues to run until the civil action for quasi-delict is filed.
Second, the accused, who is presumed innocent, has a right to invoke Article 2177 of the Civil Code, in the
same way that the offended party can avail of this remedy which is independent of the criminal action. To disallow
the accused from filing a separate civil action for quasi-delict, while refusing to recognize his counterclaim in the
criminal case, is to deny him due process of law, access to the courts, and equal protection of the law.
Thus, the civil action based on quasi-delict filed separately by Casupanan and Capitulo is proper. The order of
dismissal by the MCTC of Civil Case No. 2089 on the ground of forum-shopping is erroneous.
We make this ruling aware of the possibility that the decision of the trial court in the criminal case may vary
with the decision of the trial court in the independent civil action. This possibility has always been recognized ever
since the Civil Code introduced in 1950 the concept of an independent civil action under Articles 32, 33, 34 and 2176
of the Code. But the law itself, in Article 31 of the Code, expressly provides that the independent civil action may
proceed independently of the criminal proceedings and regardless of the result of the latter. In Azucena vs.
Potenciano,[13] the Court declared:
x x x. There can indeed be no other logical conclusion 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.
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 arising from the same act or omission. The Court, however, has yet to
encounter a case of conflicting and irreconcilable decisions of trial courts, one hearing the criminal case and the
other the civil action for quasi-delict. The fear of conflicting and irreconcilable decisions may be more apparent than
real. In any event, there are sufficient remedies under the Rules of Court to deal with such remote possibilities.
One final point. The Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure took effect on December 1, 2000 while the MCTC
issued the order of dismissal on December 28, 1999 or before the amendment of the rules. The Revised Rules on
Criminal Procedure must be given retroactive effect considering the well-settled rule that x x x statutes regulating the procedure of the court will be construed as applicable to actions pending and
undetermined at the time of their passage. Procedural laws are retroactive in that sense and to that extent. [14]
WHEREFORE, the petition for review on certiorari is hereby GRANTED. The Resolutions dated December 28,
1999 and August 24, 2000 in Special Civil Action No. 17-C (99) are ANNULLED and Civil Case No. 2089 is
REINSTATED.
SO ORDERED.

Thus, the offended party can file two separate suits for the same act or omission. The first a criminal case
where the civil action to recover civil liability ex-delicto is deemed instituted, and the other a civil case for quasidelict - without violating the rule on non-forum shopping. The two cases can proceed simultaneously and
independently of each other. The commencement or prosecution of the criminal action will not suspend the civil
action for quasi-delict. The only limitation is that the offended party cannot recover damages twice for the same act
or omission of the defendant. In most cases, the offended party will have no reason to file a second civil action since
he cannot recover damages twice for the same act or omission of the accused. In some instances, the accused may
be insolvent, necessitating the filing of another case against his employer or guardians.
Similarly, the accused can file a civil action for quasi-delict for the same act or omission he is accused of in the
criminal case. This is expressly allowed in paragraph 6, Section 1 of the present Rule 111 which states that the
counterclaim of the accused may be litigated in a separate civil action. This is only fair for two reasons. First,

[G.R. No. 151452. July 29, 2005]


SPS. ANTONIO C. SANTOS and ESPERANZA C. SANTOS, NORA BARNALO, BELINDA LUMACTAD,
MARIENELA DY, NIKKA SANTOS and LEONARDO FERRER, petitioners, vs. HON. NORMANDIE B.
PIZARDO, as Presiding Judge, RTC of Quezon City, Branch 101, DIONISIO M SIBAYAN, and VIRON
TRANSPORTATION
COMPANY,
INC.,
represented
by
VIRGILIO
Q.
RONDARIS,
President/Chairman, respondents.
DECISION
TINGA, J.:
In this Petition for Review on Certiorari[1] dated March 1, 2002, petitioners assail the Resolutions of the Court of
Appeals dated September 10, 2001 and January 9, 2002, respectively dismissing their petition for certiorari and

denying their motion for reconsideration, arising from the dismissal of their complaint to recover civil indemnity for the
death and physical injuries of their kin.
The following facts are matters of record.
In an Information dated April 25, 1994, Dionisio M. Sibayan (Sibayan) was charged with Reckless Imprudence
Resulting to Multiple Homicide and Multiple Physical Injuries in connection with a vehicle collision between a
southbound Viron Transit bus driven by Sibayan and a northbound Lite Ace Van, which claimed the lives of the vans
driver and three (3) of its passengers, including a two-month old baby, and caused physical injuries to five (5) of the
vans passengers. After trial, Sibayan was convicted and sentenced to suffer the penalty of imprisonment for two (2)
years, four (4) months and one (1) day to four (4) years and two (2) months. However, as there was a reservation to
file a separate civil action, no pronouncement of civil liability was made by the municipal circuit trial court in its
decision promulgated on December 17, 1998.[2]
On October 20, 2000, petitioners filed a complaint for damages against Sibayan, Viron Transit and its
President/Chairman, Virgilio Q. Rondaris, with the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, pursuant to their reservation
to file a separate civil action.[3] They cited therein the judgment convicting Sibayan.
Viron Transit moved to dismiss the complaint on the grounds of improper service of summons, prescription and
laches, and defective certification of non-forum shopping. It also sought the dropping of Virgilio Q. Rondaris as
defendant in view of the separate personality of Viron Transit from its officers. [4]
Petitioners opposed the motion to dismiss contending, among others, that the right to file a separate action in
this case prescribes in ten (10) years reckoned from the finality of the judgment in the criminal action. As there was
no appeal of the decision convicting Sibayan, the complaint which was filed barely two (2) years thence was clearly
filed within the prescriptive period.
The trial court dismissed the complaint on the principal ground that the cause of action had already prescribed.
According to the trial court, actions based on quasi delict, as it construed petitioners cause of action to be, prescribe
four (4) years from the accrual of the cause of action. Hence, notwithstanding the fact that petitioners reserved the
right to file a separate civil action, the complaint ought to be dismissed on the ground of prescription. [5]
Improper service of summons was likewise cited as a ground for dismissal of the complaint as summons was
served through a certain Jessica Ubalde of the legal department without mentioning her designation or position.
Petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration pointing out yet again that the complaint is not based on quasi
delict but on the final judgment of conviction in the criminal case which prescribes ten (10) years from the finality of
the judgment.[6] The trial court denied petitioners motion for reconsideration reiterating that petitioners cause of
action was based on quasi delict and had prescribed under Article 1146 of the Civil Code because the complaint was
filed more than four (4) years after the vehicular accident. [7] As regards the improper service of summons, the trial
court reconsidered its ruling that the complaint ought to be dismissed on this ground.
Petitioners filed a petition for certiorari with the Court of Appeals which dismissed the same for error in the
choice or mode of appeal. [8] The appellate court also denied petitioners motion for reconsideration reasoning that
even if the respondent trial court judge committed grave abuse of discretion in issuing the order of
dismissal, certiorari is still not the permissible remedy as appeal was available to petitioners and they failed to allege
that the petition was brought within the recognized exceptions for the allowance of certiorari in lieu of appeal. [9]
In this petition, petitioners argue that a rigid application of the rule that certiorari cannot be a substitute for
appeal will result in a judicial rejection of an existing obligation arising from the criminal liability of private
respondents. Petitioners insist that the liability sought to be enforced in the complaint arose ex delicto and is not
based on quasi delict. The trial court allegedly committed grave abuse of discretion when it insisted that the cause of
action invoked by petitioners is based on quasi delict and concluded that the action had prescribed. Since the action
is based on the criminal liability of private respondents, the cause of action accrued from the finality of the judgment
of conviction.

Assuming that their petition with the appellate court was procedurally flawed, petitioners implore the Court to
exempt this case from the rigid operation of the rules as they allegedly have a legitimate grievance to
vindicate, i.e.,damages for the deaths and physical injuries caused by private respondents for which no civil liability
had been adjudged by reason of their reservation of the right to file a separate civil action.
In their Comment[10] dated June 13, 2002, private respondents insist that the dismissal of the complaint on the
ground of prescription was in order. They point out that the averments in the complaint make out a cause of action
forquasi delict under Articles 2176 and 2180 of the Civil Code. As such, the prescriptive period of four (4) years
should be reckoned from the time the accident took place.
Viron Transit also alleges that its subsidiary liability cannot be enforced since Sibayan was not ordered to pay
damages in the criminal case. It is Viron Transits contention that the subsidiary liability of the employer contemplated
in Article 103 of the Revised Penal Code presupposes a situation where the civil aspect of the case was instituted in
the criminal case and no reservation to file a separate civil case was made.
Private respondents likewise allege that the recourse to the Court of Appeals via certiorari was improper as
petitioners should have appealed the adverse order of the trial court. Moreover, they point out several other
procedural lapses allegedly committed by petitioners, such as lack of certification against forum-shopping; lack of
duplicate original or certified true copy of the assailed order of the trial court; and non-indication of the full names and
addresses of petitioners in the petition.
Petitioners filed a Reply[11] dated September 14, 2002, while private respondents filed a Rejoinder[12] dated
October 14, 2002, both in reiteration of their arguments.
We grant the petition.
Our Revised Penal Code provides that every person criminally liable for a felony is also civilly liable. [13] Such
civil liability may consist of restitution, reparation of the damage caused and indemnification of consequential
damages.[14] When a criminal action is instituted, the civil liability arising from the offense is impliedly instituted with
the criminal action, subject to three notable exceptions: first, when the injured party expressly waives the right to
recover damages from the accused; second, when the offended party reserves his right to have the civil damages
determined in a separate action in order to take full control and direction of the prosecution of his cause; and third,
when the injured party actually exercises the right to maintain a private suit against the offender by instituting a civil
action prior to the filing of the criminal case.
Notably, it was the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure, as amended in 1988, which governed the institution of
the criminal action, as well as the reservation of the right to file a separate civil action. Section 1, Rule 111 thereof
states:
Section 1. Institution of criminal and civil actions.When a criminal action is instituted, the civil action for the
recovery of civil liability is impliedly instituted with the criminal action, unless the offended party waives the civil
action, reserves his right to institute it separately, or institutes the civil action prior to the criminal action.
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 arising from the same act or omission of the accused.
A waiver of any of the civil actions extinguishes the others. The institution of, or the reservation of the right to file, any
of said civil actions separately waives the others.
The reservation of the right to institute the separate civil actions shall be made before the prosecution starts to
present its evidence and under circumstances affording the offended party a reasonable opportunity to make such
reservation.
In no case may the offended party recover damages twice for the same act or omission of the accused.

When the offended party seeks to enforce civil liability against the accused by way of moral, nominal, temperate or
exemplary damages, the filing fees for such action as provided in these Rules shall constitute a first lien on the
judgment except in an award for actual damages.
In cases wherein the amount of damages, other than actual, is alleged in the complaint or information, the
corresponding filing fees shall be paid by the offended party upon filing thereof in court for trial.
Petitioners expressly made a reservation of their right to file a separate civil action as a result of the crime
committed by Sibayan. On account of this reservation, the municipal circuit trial court, in its decision convicting
Sibayan, did not make any pronouncement as to the latters civil liability.
Predicating their claim on the judgment of conviction and their reservation to file a separate civil action made in
the criminal case, petitioners filed a complaint for damages against Sibayan, Viron Transit and its
President/Chairman. Petitioners assert that by the institution of the complaint, they seek to recover private
respondents civil liability arising from crime. Unfortunately, based on its misreading of the allegations in the
complaint, the trial court dismissed the same, declaring that petitioners cause of action was based on quasi
delict and should have been brought within four (4) years from the time the cause of action accrued, i.e., from the
time of the accident.
A reading of the complaint reveals that the allegations therein are consistent with petitioners claim that the
action was brought to recover civil liability arising from crime. Although there are allegations of negligence on the
part of Sibayan and Viron Transit, such does not necessarily mean that petitioners were pursuing a cause of action
based on quasi delict, considering that at the time of the filing of the complaint, the cause of action ex quasi
delicto had already prescribed. Besides, in cases of negligence, the offended party has the choice between an
action to enforce civil liability arising from crime under the Revised Penal Code and an action for quasi delict under
the Civil Code.

because Article 103 of the Revised Penal Code operates with controlling force to obviate the possibility of the
aggrieved party being deprived of indemnity even after the rendition of a final judgment convicting the employee.
Seen in this light, the trial court should not have dismissed the complaint on the ground of prescription, but
instead allowed the complaint for damages ex delicto to be prosecuted on the merits, considering petitioners
allegations in their complaint, opposition to the motion to dismiss [17] and motion for reconsideration[18] of the order of
dismissal, insisting that the action was to recover civil liability arising from crime.
This does not offend the policy that the reservation or institution of a separate civil action waives the other civil
actions. The rationale behind this rule is the avoidance of multiple suits between the same litigants arising out of the
same act or omission of the offender.[19] However, since the stale action for damages based on quasi delict should be
considered waived, there is no more occasion for petitioners to file multiple suits against private respondents as the
only recourse available to them is to pursue damages ex delicto. This interpretation is also consistent with the bar
against double recovery for obvious reasons.
Now the procedural issue. Admittedly, petitioners should have appealed the order of dismissal of the trial court
instead of filing a petition for certiorari with the Court of Appeals. Such procedural misstep, however, should be
exempted from the strict application of the rules in order to promote their fundamental objective of securing
substantial justice.[20] We are loathe to deprive petitioners of the indemnity to which they are entitled by law and by a
final judgment of conviction based solely on a technicality. It is our duty to prevent such an injustice.[21]
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered SETTING ASIDE the resolutions of the Court of Appeals dated
September 10, 2001 and January 9, 2002, respectively dismissing the present action and denying petitioners motion
for reconsideration, as well as the orders of the lower court dated February 26, 2001 and July 16, 2001. Let the case
be REMANDED to the trial court for further proceedings.
SO ORDERED.

An act or omission causing damage to another may give rise to two separate civil liabilities on the part of the
offender, i.e., (1) civil liability ex delicto, under Article 100 of the Revised Penal Code; and (2) independent civil
liabilities, such as those (a) not arising from an act or omission complained of as a felony, e.g., culpa contractual or
obligations arising from law under Article 31 of the Civil Code, intentional torts under Articles 32 and 34, and culpa
aquiliana under Article 2176 of the Civil Code; or (b) where the injured party is granted a right to file an action
independent and distinct from the criminal action under Article 33 of the Civil Code. [15] Either of these liabilities may
be enforced against the offender subject to the caveat under Article 2177 of the Civil Code that the plaintiff cannot
recover damages twice for the same act or omission of the defendant and the similar proscription against double
recovery under the Rules above-quoted.
At the time of the filing of the complaint for damages in this case, the cause of action ex quasi delicto had
already prescribed. Nonetheless, petitioners can pursue the remaining avenue opened for them by their
reservation, i.e.,the surviving cause of action ex delicto. This is so because the prescription of the action ex quasi
delicto does not operate as a bar to an action to enforce the civil liability arising from crime especially as the latter
action had been expressly reserved.
The case of Mendoza v. La Mallorca Bus Company[16] was decided upon a similar set of facts. Therein, the
driver of La Mallorca Bus Company was charged with reckless imprudence resulting to damage to property. The
plaintiff made an express reservation for the filing of a separate civil action. The driver was convicted which
conviction was affirmed by this Court. Later, plaintiff filed a separate civil action for damages based on quasi
delict which was ordered dismissed by the trial court upon finding that the action was instituted more than six (6)
years from the date of the accident and thus, had already prescribed. Subsequently, plaintiff instituted another action,
this time based on the subsidiary liability of the bus company. The trial court dismissed the action holding that the
dismissal of the earlier civil case operated as a bar to the filing of the action to enforce the bus companys subsidiary
liability.
We held that the dismissal of the action based on culpa aquiliana is not a bar to the enforcement of the
subsidiary liability of the employer. Once there is a conviction for a felony, final in character, the employer becomes
subsidiarily liable if the commission of the crime was in the discharge of the duties of the employees. This is so

G.R. No. L-12191


October 14, 1918
JOSE CANGCO, plaintiff-appellant,
vs.
MANILA RAILROAD CO., defendant-appellee.
FISHER, J.:
At the time of the occurrence which gave rise to this litigation the plaintiff, Jose Cangco, was in the employment of
Manila Railroad Company in the capacity of clerk, with a monthly wage of P25. He lived in the pueblo of San Mateo,
in the province of Rizal, which is located upon the line of the defendant railroad company; and in coming daily by
train to the company's office in the city of Manila where he worked, he used a pass, supplied by the company, which
entitled him to ride upon the company's trains free of charge. Upon the occasion in question, January 20, 1915, the
plaintiff arose from his seat in the second class-car where he was riding and, making, his exit through the door, took
his position upon the steps of the coach, seizing the upright guardrail with his right hand for support.
On the side of the train where passengers alight at the San Mateo station there is a cement platform which begins to
rise with a moderate gradient some distance away from the company's office and extends along in front of said office
for a distance sufficient to cover the length of several coaches. As the train slowed down another passenger, named
Emilio Zuiga, also an employee of the railroad company, got off the same car, alighting safely at the point where the
platform begins to rise from the level of the ground. When the train had proceeded a little farther the plaintiff Jose
Cangco stepped off also, but one or both of his feet came in contact with a sack of watermelons with the result that
his feet slipped from under him and he fell violently on the platform. His body at once rolled from the platform and
was drawn under the moving car, where his right arm was badly crushed and lacerated. It appears that after the
plaintiff alighted from the train the car moved forward possibly six meters before it came to a full stop.
The accident occurred between 7 and 8 o'clock on a dark night, and as the railroad station was lighted dimly by a
single light located some distance away, objects on the platform where the accident occurred were difficult to discern
especially to a person emerging from a lighted car.

The explanation of the presence of a sack of melons on the platform where the plaintiff alighted is found in the fact
that it was the customary season for harvesting these melons and a large lot had been brought to the station for the
shipment to the market. They were contained in numerous sacks which has been piled on the platform in a row one
upon another. The testimony shows that this row of sacks was so placed of melons and the edge of platform; and it is
clear that the fall of the plaintiff was due to the fact that his foot alighted upon one of these melons at the moment he
stepped upon the platform. His statement that he failed to see these objects in the darkness is readily to be credited.
The plaintiff was drawn from under the car in an unconscious condition, and it appeared that the injuries which he
had received were very serious. He was therefore brought at once to a certain hospital in the city of Manila where an
examination was made and his arm was amputated. The result of this operation was unsatisfactory, and the plaintiff
was then carried to another hospital where a second operation was performed and the member was again
amputated higher up near the shoulder. It appears in evidence that the plaintiff expended the sum of P790.25 in the
form of medical and surgical fees and for other expenses in connection with the process of his curation.
Upon August 31, 1915, he instituted this proceeding in the Court of First Instance of the city of Manila to recover
damages of the defendant company, founding his action upon the negligence of the servants and employees of the
defendant in placing the sacks of melons upon the platform and leaving them so placed as to be a menace to the
security of passenger alighting from the company's trains. At the hearing in the Court of First Instance, his Honor, the
trial judge, found the facts substantially as above stated, and drew therefrom his conclusion to the effect that,
although negligence was attributable to the defendant by reason of the fact that the sacks of melons were so placed
as to obstruct passengers passing to and from the cars, nevertheless, the plaintiff himself had failed to use due
caution in alighting from the coach and was therefore precluded form recovering. Judgment was accordingly entered
in favor of the defendant company, and the plaintiff appealed.
It can not be doubted that the employees of the railroad company were guilty of negligence in piling these sacks on
the platform in the manner above stated; that their presence caused the plaintiff to fall as he alighted from the train;
and that they therefore constituted an effective legal cause of the injuries sustained by the plaintiff. It necessarily
follows that the defendant company is liable for the damage thereby occasioned unless recovery is barred by the
plaintiff's own contributory negligence. In resolving this problem it is necessary that each of these conceptions of
liability, to-wit, the primary responsibility of the defendant company and the contributory negligence of the plaintiff
should be separately examined.
It is important to note that the foundation of the legal liability of the defendant is the contract of carriage, and that the
obligation to respond for the damage which plaintiff has suffered arises, if at all, from the breach of that contract by
reason of the failure of defendant to exercise due care in its performance. That is to say, its liability is direct and
immediate, differing essentially, in legal viewpoint from that presumptive responsibility for the negligence of its
servants, imposed by article 1903 of the Civil Code, which can be rebutted by proof of the exercise of due care in
their selection and supervision. Article 1903 of the Civil Code is not applicable to obligations arising ex contractu, but
only to extra-contractual obligations or to use the technical form of expression, that article relates only
to culpa aquiliana and not to culpa contractual.
Manresa (vol. 8, p. 67) in his commentaries upon articles 1103 and 1104 of the Civil Code, clearly points out this
distinction, which was also recognized by this Court in its decision in the case of Rakes vs. Atlantic, Gulf and Pacific
Co. (7 Phil. rep., 359). In commenting upon article 1093 Manresa clearly points out the difference between "culpa,
substantive and independent, which of itself constitutes the source of an obligation between persons not formerly
connected by any legal tie" and culpa considered as an accident in the performance of an obligation already
existing . . . ."
In the Rakes case (supra) the decision of this court was made to rest squarely upon the proposition that article 1903
of the Civil Code is not applicable to acts of negligence which constitute the breach of a contract.
Upon this point the Court said:
The acts to which these articles [1902 and 1903 of the Civil Code] are applicable are understood to be those not
growing out of pre-existing duties of the parties to one another. But where relations already formed give rise to

duties, whether springing from contract or quasi-contract, then breaches of those duties are subject to article
1101, 1103, and 1104 of the same code. (Rakes vs. Atlantic, Gulf and Pacific Co., 7 Phil. Rep., 359 at 365.)
This distinction is of the utmost importance. The liability, which, under the Spanish law, is, in certain cases imposed
upon employers with respect to damages occasioned by the negligence of their employees to persons to whom they
are not bound by contract, is not based, as in the English Common Law, upon the principle ofrespondeat superior
if it were, the master would be liable in every case and unconditionally but upon the principle announced in
article 1902 of the Civil Code, which imposes upon all persons who by their fault or negligence, do injury to another,
the obligation of making good the damage caused. One who places a powerful automobile in the hands of a servant
whom he knows to be ignorant of the method of managing such a vehicle, is himself guilty of an act of negligence
which makes him liable for all the consequences of his imprudence. The obligation to make good the damage arises
at the very instant that the unskillful servant, while acting within the scope of his employment causes the injury. The
liability of the master is personal and direct. But, if the master has not been guilty of any negligence whatever in the
selection and direction of the servant, he is not liable for the acts of the latter, whatever done within the scope of his
employment or not, if the damage done by the servant does not amount to a breach of the contract between the
master and the person injured.
It is not accurate to say that proof of diligence and care in the selection and control of the servant relieves the master
from liability for the latter's acts on the contrary, that proof shows that the responsibility has never existed. As
Manresa says (vol. 8, p. 68) the liability arising from extra-contractual culpa is always based upon a voluntary act or
omission which, without willful intent, but by mere negligence or inattention, has caused damage to another. A master
who exercises all possible care in the selection of his servant, taking into consideration the qualifications they should
possess for the discharge of the duties which it is his purpose to confide to them, and directs them with equal
diligence, thereby performs his duty to third persons to whom he is bound by no contractual ties, and he incurs no
liability whatever if, by reason of the negligence of his servants, even within the scope of their employment, such
third person suffer damage. True it is that under article 1903 of the Civil Code the law creates a presumption that he
has been negligent in the selection or direction of his servant, but the presumption is rebuttable and yield to proof of
due care and diligence in this respect.
The supreme court of Porto Rico, in interpreting identical provisions, as found in the Porto Rico Code, has held that
these articles are applicable to cases of extra-contractual culpa exclusively. (Carmona vs. Cuesta, 20 Porto Rico
Reports, 215.)
This distinction was again made patent by this Court in its decision in the case of Bahia vs. Litonjua and Leynes, (30
Phil. rep., 624), which was an action brought upon the theory of the extra-contractual liability of the defendant to
respond for the damage caused by the carelessness of his employee while acting within the scope of his
employment. The Court, after citing the last paragraph of article 1903 of the Civil Code, said:
From this article two things are apparent: (1) That when an injury is caused by the negligence of a servant or
employee there instantly arises a presumption of law that there was negligence on the part of the master or
employer either in selection of the servant or employee, or in supervision over him after the selection, or both;
and (2) that that presumption is juris tantum and not juris et de jure, and consequently, may be rebutted. It
follows necessarily that if the employer shows to the satisfaction of the court that in selection and supervision he
has exercised the care and diligence of a good father of a family, the presumption is overcome and he is
relieved from liability.
This theory bases the responsibility of the master ultimately on his own negligence and not on that of his
servant. This is the notable peculiarity of the Spanish law of negligence. It is, of course, in striking contrast to
the American doctrine that, in relations with strangers, the negligence of the servant in conclusively the
negligence of the master.
The opinion there expressed by this Court, to the effect that in case of extra-contractual culpa based upon
negligence, it is necessary that there shall have been some fault attributable to the defendant personally, and that
the last paragraph of article 1903 merely establishes a rebuttable presumption, is in complete accord with the
authoritative opinion of Manresa, who says (vol. 12, p. 611) that the liability created by article 1903 is imposed by

reason of the breach of the duties inherent in the special relations of authority or superiority existing between the
person called upon to repair the damage and the one who, by his act or omission, was the cause of it.
On the other hand, the liability of masters and employers for the negligent acts or omissions of their servants or
agents, when such acts or omissions cause damages which amount to the breach of a contact, is not based upon a
mere presumption of the master's negligence in their selection or control, and proof of exercise of the utmost
diligence and care in this regard does not relieve the master of his liability for the breach of his contract.
Every legal obligation must of necessity be extra-contractual or contractual. Extra-contractual obligation has its
source in the breach or omission of those mutual duties which civilized society imposes upon it members, or which
arise from these relations, other than contractual, of certain members of society to others, generally embraced in the
concept of status. The legal rights of each member of society constitute the measure of the corresponding legal
duties, mainly negative in character, which the existence of those rights imposes upon all other members of society.
The breach of these general duties whether due to willful intent or to mere inattention, if productive of injury, give rise
to an obligation to indemnify the injured party. The fundamental distinction between obligations of this character and
those which arise from contract, rests upon the fact that in cases of non-contractual obligation it is the wrongful or
negligent act or omission itself which creates the vinculum juris, whereas in contractual relations the vinculum exists
independently of the breach of the voluntary duty assumed by the parties when entering into the contractual relation.
With respect to extra-contractual obligation arising from negligence, whether of act or omission, it is competent for
the legislature to elect and our Legislature has so elected whom such an obligation is imposed is morally
culpable, or, on the contrary, for reasons of public policy, to extend that liability, without regard to the lack of moral
culpability, so as to include responsibility for the negligence of those person who acts or mission are imputable, by a
legal fiction, to others who are in a position to exercise an absolute or limited control over them. The legislature which
adopted our Civil Code has elected to limit extra-contractual liability with certain well-defined exceptions to
cases in which moral culpability can be directly imputed to the persons to be charged. This moral responsibility may
consist in having failed to exercise due care in the selection and control of one's agents or servants, or in the control
of persons who, by reason of their status, occupy a position of dependency with respect to the person made liable for
their conduct.
The position of a natural or juridical person who has undertaken by contract to render service to another, is wholly
different from that to which article 1903 relates. When the sources of the obligation upon which plaintiff's cause of
action depends is a negligent act or omission, the burden of proof rests upon plaintiff to prove the negligence if he
does not his action fails. But when the facts averred show a contractual undertaking by defendant for the benefit of
plaintiff, and it is alleged that plaintiff has failed or refused to perform the contract, it is not necessary for plaintiff to
specify in his pleadings whether the breach of the contract is due to willful fault or to negligence on the part of the
defendant, or of his servants or agents. Proof of the contract and of its nonperformance is sufficientprima facie to
warrant a recovery.
As a general rule . . . it is logical that in case of extra-contractual culpa, a suing creditor should assume the
burden of proof of its existence, as the only fact upon which his action is based; while on the contrary, in a case
of negligence which presupposes the existence of a contractual obligation, if the creditor shows that it exists
and that it has been broken, it is not necessary for him to prove negligence. (Manresa, vol. 8, p. 71 [1907 ed., p.
76]).
As it is not necessary for the plaintiff in an action for the breach of a contract to show that the breach was due to the
negligent conduct of defendant or of his servants, even though such be in fact the actual cause of the breach, it is
obvious that proof on the part of defendant that the negligence or omission of his servants or agents caused the
breach of the contract would not constitute a defense to the action. If the negligence of servants or agents could be
invoked as a means of discharging the liability arising from contract, the anomalous result would be that person
acting through the medium of agents or servants in the performance of their contracts, would be in a better position
than those acting in person. If one delivers a valuable watch to watchmaker who contract to repair it, and the bailee,
by a personal negligent act causes its destruction, he is unquestionably liable. Would it be logical to free him from his
liability for the breach of his contract, which involves the duty to exercise due care in the preservation of the watch, if
he shows that it was his servant whose negligence caused the injury? If such a theory could be accepted, juridical
persons would enjoy practically complete immunity from damages arising from the breach of their contracts if caused

by negligent acts as such juridical persons can of necessity only act through agents or servants, and it would no
doubt be true in most instances that reasonable care had been taken in selection and direction of such servants. If
one delivers securities to a banking corporation as collateral, and they are lost by reason of the negligence of some
clerk employed by the bank, would it be just and reasonable to permit the bank to relieve itself of liability for the
breach of its contract to return the collateral upon the payment of the debt by proving that due care had been
exercised in the selection and direction of the clerk?
This distinction between culpa aquiliana, as the source of an obligation, and culpa contractual as a mere incident to
the performance of a contract has frequently been recognized by the supreme court of Spain. (Sentencias of June
27, 1894; November 20, 1896; and December 13, 1896.) In the decisions of November 20, 1896, it appeared that
plaintiff's action arose ex contractu, but that defendant sought to avail himself of the provisions of article 1902 of the
Civil Code as a defense. The Spanish Supreme Court rejected defendant's contention, saying:
These are not cases of injury caused, without any pre-existing obligation, by fault or negligence, such as
those to which article 1902 of the Civil Code relates, but of damages caused by the defendant's failure to carry
out the undertakings imposed by the contracts . . . .
A brief review of the earlier decision of this court involving the liability of employers for damage done by the negligent
acts of their servants will show that in no case has the court ever decided that the negligence of the defendant's
servants has been held to constitute a defense to an action for damages for breach of contract.
In the case of Johnson vs. David (5 Phil. Rep., 663), the court held that the owner of a carriage was not liable for the
damages caused by the negligence of his driver. In that case the court commented on the fact that no evidence had
been adduced in the trial court that the defendant had been negligent in the employment of the driver, or that he had
any knowledge of his lack of skill or carefulness.
In the case of Baer Senior & Co's Successors vs. Compania Maritima (6 Phil. Rep., 215), the plaintiff sued the
defendant for damages caused by the loss of a barge belonging to plaintiff which was allowed to get adrift by the
negligence of defendant's servants in the course of the performance of a contract of towage. The court held, citing
Manresa (vol. 8, pp. 29, 69) that if the "obligation of the defendant grew out of a contract made between it and the
plaintiff . . . we do not think that the provisions of articles 1902 and 1903 are applicable to the case."
In the case of Chapman vs. Underwood (27 Phil. Rep., 374), plaintiff sued the defendant to recover damages for the
personal injuries caused by the negligence of defendant's chauffeur while driving defendant's automobile in which
defendant was riding at the time. The court found that the damages were caused by the negligence of the driver of
the automobile, but held that the master was not liable, although he was present at the time, saying:
. . . unless the negligent acts of the driver are continued for a length of time as to give the owner a reasonable
opportunity to observe them and to direct the driver to desist therefrom. . . . The act complained of must be
continued in the presence of the owner for such length of time that the owner by his acquiescence, makes the
driver's acts his own.
In the case of Yamada vs. Manila Railroad Co. and Bachrach Garage & Taxicab Co. (33 Phil. Rep., 8), it is true that
the court rested its conclusion as to the liability of the defendant upon article 1903, although the facts disclosed that
the injury complaint of by plaintiff constituted a breach of the duty to him arising out of the contract of transportation.
The express ground of the decision in this case was that article 1903, in dealing with the liability of a master for the
negligent acts of his servants "makes the distinction between private individuals and public enterprise;" that as to the
latter the law creates a rebuttable presumption of negligence in the selection or direction of servants; and that in the
particular case the presumption of negligence had not been overcome.
It is evident, therefore that in its decision Yamada case, the court treated plaintiff's action as though founded in tort
rather than as based upon the breach of the contract of carriage, and an examination of the pleadings and of the
briefs shows that the questions of law were in fact discussed upon this theory. Viewed from the standpoint of the
defendant the practical result must have been the same in any event. The proof disclosed beyond doubt that the
defendant's servant was grossly negligent and that his negligence was the proximate cause of plaintiff's injury. It also

affirmatively appeared that defendant had been guilty of negligence in its failure to exercise proper discretion in the
direction of the servant. Defendant was, therefore, liable for the injury suffered by plaintiff, whether the breach of the
duty were to be regarded as constituting culpa aquiliana or culpa contractual. As Manresa points out (vol. 8, pp. 29
and 69) whether negligence occurs an incident in the course of the performance of a contractual undertaking or its
itself the source of an extra-contractual undertaking obligation, its essential characteristics are identical. There is
always an act or omission productive of damage due to carelessness or inattention on the part of the defendant.
Consequently, when the court holds that a defendant is liable in damages for having failed to exercise due care,
either directly, or in failing to exercise proper care in the selection and direction of his servants, the practical result is
identical in either case. Therefore, it follows that it is not to be inferred, because the court held in the Yamada case
that defendant was liable for the damages negligently caused by its servants to a person to whom it was bound by
contract, and made reference to the fact that the defendant was negligent in the selection and control of its servants,
that in such a case the court would have held that it would have been a good defense to the action, if presented
squarely upon the theory of the breach of the contract, for defendant to have proved that it did in fact exercise care in
the selection and control of the servant.
The true explanation of such cases is to be found by directing the attention to the relative spheres of contractual and
extra-contractual obligations. The field of non- contractual obligation is much more broader than that of contractual
obligations, comprising, as it does, the whole extent of juridical human relations. These two fields, figuratively
speaking, concentric; that is to say, the mere fact that a person is bound to another by contract does not relieve him
from extra-contractual liability to such person. When such a contractual relation exists the obligor may break the
contract under such conditions that the same act which constitutes the source of an extra-contractual obligation had
no contract existed between the parties.
The contract of defendant to transport plaintiff carried with it, by implication, the duty to carry him in safety and to
provide safe means of entering and leaving its trains (civil code, article 1258). That duty, being contractual, was
direct and immediate, and its non-performance could not be excused by proof that the fault was morally imputable to
defendant's servants.
The railroad company's defense involves the assumption that even granting that the negligent conduct of its servants
in placing an obstruction upon the platform was a breach of its contractual obligation to maintain safe means of
approaching and leaving its trains, the direct and proximate cause of the injury suffered by plaintiff was his own
contributory negligence in failing to wait until the train had come to a complete stop before alighting. Under the
doctrine of comparative negligence announced in the Rakes case (supra), if the accident was caused by plaintiff's
own negligence, no liability is imposed upon defendant's negligence and plaintiff's negligence merely contributed to
his injury, the damages should be apportioned. It is, therefore, important to ascertain if defendant was in fact guilty of
negligence.
It may be admitted that had plaintiff waited until the train had come to a full stop before alighting, the particular injury
suffered by him could not have occurred. Defendant contends, and cites many authorities in support of the
contention, that it is negligence per se for a passenger to alight from a moving train. We are not disposed to
subscribe to this doctrine in its absolute form. We are of the opinion that this proposition is too badly stated and is at
variance with the experience of every-day life. In this particular instance, that the train was barely moving when
plaintiff alighted is shown conclusively by the fact that it came to stop within six meters from the place where he
stepped from it. Thousands of person alight from trains under these conditions every day of the year, and sustain no
injury where the company has kept its platform free from dangerous obstructions. There is no reason to believe that
plaintiff would have suffered any injury whatever in alighting as he did had it not been for defendant's negligent
failure to perform its duty to provide a safe alighting place.
We are of the opinion that the correct doctrine relating to this subject is that expressed in Thompson's work on
Negligence (vol. 3, sec. 3010) as follows:
The test by which to determine whether the passenger has been guilty of negligence in attempting to alight from
a moving railway train, is that of ordinary or reasonable care. It is to be considered whether an ordinarily
prudent person, of the age, sex and condition of the passenger, would have acted as the passenger acted
under the circumstances disclosed by the evidence. This care has been defined to be, not the care which may

or should be used by the prudent man generally, but the care which a man of ordinary prudence would use
under similar circumstances, to avoid injury." (Thompson, Commentaries on Negligence, vol. 3, sec. 3010.)
Or, it we prefer to adopt the mode of exposition used by this court in Picart vs. Smith (37 Phil. rep., 809), we may say
that the test is this; Was there anything in the circumstances surrounding the plaintiff at the time he alighted from the
train which would have admonished a person of average prudence that to get off the train under the conditions then
existing was dangerous? If so, the plaintiff should have desisted from alighting; and his failure so to desist was
contributory negligence.1awph!l.net
As the case now before us presents itself, the only fact from which a conclusion can be drawn to the effect that
plaintiff was guilty of contributory negligence is that he stepped off the car without being able to discern clearly the
condition of the platform and while the train was yet slowly moving. In considering the situation thus presented, it
should not be overlooked that the plaintiff was, as we find, ignorant of the fact that the obstruction which was caused
by the sacks of melons piled on the platform existed; and as the defendant was bound by reason of its duty as a
public carrier to afford to its passengers facilities for safe egress from its trains, the plaintiff had a right to assume, in
the absence of some circumstance to warn him to the contrary, that the platform was clear. The place, as we have
already stated, was dark, or dimly lighted, and this also is proof of a failure upon the part of the defendant in the
performance of a duty owing by it to the plaintiff; for if it were by any possibility concede that it had right to pile these
sacks in the path of alighting passengers, the placing of them adequately so that their presence would be revealed.
As pertinent to the question of contributory negligence on the part of the plaintiff in this case the following
circumstances are to be noted: The company's platform was constructed upon a level higher than that of the roadbed
and the surrounding ground. The distance from the steps of the car to the spot where the alighting passenger would
place his feet on the platform was thus reduced, thereby decreasing the risk incident to stepping off. The nature of
the platform, constructed as it was of cement material, also assured to the passenger a stable and even surface on
which to alight. Furthermore, the plaintiff was possessed of the vigor and agility of young manhood, and it was by no
means so risky for him to get off while the train was yet moving as the same act would have been in an aged or
feeble person. In determining the question of contributory negligence in performing such act that is to say, whether
the passenger acted prudently or recklessly the age, sex, and physical condition of the passenger are
circumstances necessarily affecting the safety of the passenger, and should be considered. Women, it has been
observed, as a general rule are less capable than men of alighting with safety under such conditions, as the nature
of their wearing apparel obstructs the free movement of the limbs. Again, it may be noted that the place was perfectly
familiar to the plaintiff as it was his daily custom to get on and of the train at this station. There could, therefore, be no
uncertainty in his mind with regard either to the length of the step which he was required to take or the character of
the platform where he was alighting. Our conclusion is that the conduct of the plaintiff in undertaking to alight while
the train was yet slightly under way was not characterized by imprudence and that therefore he was not guilty of
contributory negligence.
The evidence shows that the plaintiff, at the time of the accident, was earning P25 a month as a copyist clerk, and
that the injuries he has suffered have permanently disabled him from continuing that employment. Defendant has not
shown that any other gainful occupation is open to plaintiff. His expectancy of life, according to the standard mortality
tables, is approximately thirty-three years. We are of the opinion that a fair compensation for the damage suffered by
him for his permanent disability is the sum of P2,500, and that he is also entitled to recover of defendant the
additional sum of P790.25 for medical attention, hospital services, and other incidental expenditures connected with
the treatment of his injuries.
The decision of lower court is reversed, and judgment is hereby rendered plaintiff for the sum of P3,290.25, and for
the costs of both instances. So ordered.
G.R. No. 147791
September 8, 2006
CONSTRUCTION DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner,
vs.
REBECCA G. ESTRELLA, RACHEL E. FLETCHER, PHILIPPINE PHOENIX SURETY & INSURANCE INC.,
BATANGAS LAGUNA TAYABAS BUS CO., and WILFREDO DATINGUINOO, respondents.
DECISION
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:

This petition for review assails the March 29, 2001 Decision1 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 46896,
which affirmed with modification the February 9, 1993 Decision2 of the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 13, in
Civil Case No. R-82-2137, finding Batangas Laguna Tayabas Bus Co. (BLTB) and Construction Development
Corporation of the Philippines (CDCP) liable for damages.
The antecedent facts are as follows:
On December 29, 1978, respondents Rebecca G. Estrella and her granddaughter, Rachel E. Fletcher, boarded in
San Pablo City, a BLTB bus bound for Pasay City. However, they never reached their destination because their bus
was rammed from behind by a tractor-truck of CDCP in the South Expressway. The strong impact pushed forward
their seats and pinned their knees to the seats in front of them. They regained consciousness only when rescuers
created a hole in the bus and extricated their legs from under the seats. They were brought to the Makati Medical
Center where the doctors diagnosed their injuries to be as follows:
Medical Certificate of Rebecca Estrella
Fracture, left tibia mid 3rd
Lacerated wound, chin
Contusions with abrasions, left lower leg
Fracture, 6th and 7th ribs, right3
Medical Certificate of Rachel Fletcher
Extensive lacerated wounds, right leg posterior aspect popliteal area
and antero-lateral aspect mid lower leg with severance of muscles.
Partial amputation BK left leg with severance of gastro-soleus and
antero-lateral compartment of lower leg.
Fracture, open comminuted, both tibial4
Thereafter, respondents filed a Complaint5 for damages against CDCP, BLTB, Espiridion Payunan, Jr. and Wilfredo
Datinguinoo before the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 13. They alleged (1) that Payunan, Jr. and
Datinguinoo, who were the drivers of CDCP and BLTB buses, respectively, were negligent and did not obey traffic
laws; (2) that BLTB and CDCP did not exercise the diligence of a good father of a family in the selection and
supervision of their employees; (3) that BLTB allowed its bus to operate knowing that it lacked proper maintenance
thus exposing its passengers to grave danger; (4) that they suffered actual damages amounting to P250,000.00 for
Estrella and P300,000.00 for Fletcher; (5) that they suffered physical discomfort, serious anxiety, fright and mental
anguish, besmirched reputation and wounded feelings, moral shock, and lifelong social humiliation; (6) that
defendants failed to act with justice, give respondents their due, observe honesty and good faith which entitles them
to claim for exemplary damage; and (7) that they are entitled to a reasonable amount of attorney's fees and litigation
expenses.
CDCP filed its Answer6 which was later amended to include a third-party complaint against Philippine Phoenix Surety
and Insurance, Inc. (Phoenix).7
On February 9, 1993, the trial court rendered a decision finding CDCP and BLTB and their employees liable for
damages, the dispositive portion of which, states:
WHEREFORE, judgment is rendered:
In the Complaint
1. In favor of the plaintiffs and against the defendants BLTB, Wilfredo Datinguinoo, Construction and
Development Corporation of the Philippines (now PNCC) and Espiridion Payunan, Jr., ordering said defendants,
jointly and severally to pay the plaintiffs the sum of P79,254.43 as actual damages and to pay the sum of
P10,000.00 as attorney's fees or a total of P89,254.43;
2. In addition, defendant Construction and Development Corporation of the Philippines and defendant Espiridion
Payunan, Jr., shall pay the plaintiffs the amount of Fifty Thousand (P50,000.00) Pesos to plaintiff Rachel
Fletcher and Twenty Five Thousand (P25,000.00) Pesos to plaintiff Rebecca Estrella;
3. On the counterclaim of BLTB Co. and Wilfredo Datinguinoo
Dismissing the counterclaim;

4. On the crossclaim against Construction and Development Corporation of the Philippines (now PNCC) and
Espiridion Payunan, Jr.
Dismissing the crossclaim;
5. On the counterclaim of Construction and Development Corporation of the Philippines (now PNCC)
Dismissing the counterclaim;
6. On the crossclaim against BLTB
Dismissing the crossclaim;
7. On the Third Party Complaint by Construction and Development Corporation of the Philippines against
Philippine Phoenix Surety and Insurance, Incorporated
Dismissing the Third Party Complaint.
SO ORDERED.8
The trial court held that BLTB, as a common carrier, was bound to observe extraordinary diligence in the vigilance
over the safety of its passengers. It must carry the passengers safely as far as human care and foresight provide,
using the utmost diligence of very cautious persons, with a due regard for all the circumstances. Thus, where a
passenger dies or is injured, the carrier is presumed to have been at fault or has acted negligently. BLTB's inability to
carry respondents to their destination gave rise to an action for breach of contract of carriage while its failure to rebut
the presumption of negligence made it liable to respondents for the breach.9
Regarding CDCP, the trial court found that the tractor-truck it owned bumped the BLTB bus from behind. Evidence
showed that CDCP's driver was reckless and driving very fast at the time of the incident. The gross negligence of its
driver raised the presumption that CDCP was negligent either in the selection or in the supervision of its employees
which it failed to rebut thus making it and its driver liable to respondents.10
Unsatisfied with the award of damages and attorney's fees by the trial court, respondents moved that the decision be
reconsidered but was denied. Respondents elevated the case11 to the Court of Appeals which affirmed the decision
of the trial court but modified the amount of damages, the dispositive portion of which provides:
WHEREFORE, the assailed decision dated October 7, 1993 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 13, Manila is
hereby AFFIRMED with the following MODIFICATION:
1. The interest of six (6) percent per annum on the actual damages of P79,354.43 should commence to run
from the time the judicial demand was made or from the filing of the complaint on February 4, 1980;
2. Thirty (30) percent of the total amount recovered is hereby awarded as attorney's fees;
3. Defendants-appellants Construction and Development Corporation of the Philippines (now PNCC) and
Espiridion Payunan, Jr. are ordered to pay plaintiff-appellants Rebecca Estrella and Rachel Fletcher the amount
of Twenty Thousand (P20,000.00) each as exemplary damages and P80,000.00 by way of moral damages to
Rachel Fletcher.
SO ORDERED.12
The Court of Appeals held that the actual or compensatory damage sought by respondents for the injuries they
sustained in the form of hospital bills were already liquidated and were ascertained. Accordingly, the 6% interest per
annum should commence to run from the time the judicial demand was made or from the filing of the complaint and
not from the date of judgment. The Court of Appeals also awarded attorney's fees equivalent to 30% of the total
amount recovered based on the retainer agreement of the parties. The appellate court also held that respondents
are entitled to exemplary and moral damages. Finally, it affirmed the ruling of the trial court that the claim of CDCP
against Phoenix had already prescribed.
Hence, this petition raising the following issues:
I
WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN NOT HOLDING RESPONDENTS BLTB
AND/OR ITS DRIVER WILFREDO DATINGUINOO SOLELY LIABLE FOR THE DAMAGES SUSTAINED BY
HEREIN RESPONDENTS FLETCHER AND ESTRELLA.
II

WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN AWARDING EXCESSIVE OR


UNFOUNDED DAMAGES, ATTORNEY'S FEES AND LEGAL INTEREST TO RESPONDENTS FLETCHER
AND ESTRELLA.
III
WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN NOT HOLDING RESPONDENT
PHOENIX LIABLE UNDER ITS INSURANCE POLICY ON THE GROUND OF PRESCRIPTION.
The issues for resolution are as follows: (1) whether BLTB and its driver Wilfredo Datinguinoo are solely liable for the
damages sustained by respondents; (2) whether the damages, attorney's fees and legal interest awarded by the CA
are excessive and unfounded; (3) whether CDCP can recover under its insurance policy from Phoenix.
Petitioner contends that since it was made solidarily liable with BLTB for actual damages and attorney's fees in
paragraph 1 of the trial court's decision, then it should no longer be held liable to pay the amounts stated in
paragraph 2 of the same decision. Petitioner claims that the liability for actual damages and attorney's fees is based
on culpa contractual, thus, only BLTB should be held liable. As regards paragraph 2 of the trial court's decision,
petitioner claims that it is ambiguous and arbitrary because the dispositive portion did not state the basis and nature
of such award.
Respondents, on the other hand, argue that petitioner is also at fault, hence, it was properly joined as a party. There
may be an action arising out of one incident where questions of fact are common to all. Thus, the cause of action
based on culpa aquiliana in the civil suit they filed against it was valid.
The petition lacks merit.
The case filed by respondents against petitioner is an action for culpa aquiliana or quasi-delict under Article 2176 of
the Civil Code.13 In this regard, Article 2180 provides that the obligation imposed by Article 2176 is demandable for
the acts or omissions of those persons for whom one is responsible. Consequently, an action based on quasi-delict
may be instituted against the employer for an employee's act or omission. The liability for the negligent conduct of
the subordinate is direct and primary, but is subject to the defense of due diligence in the selection and supervision
of the employee.14 In the instant case, the trial court found that petitioner failed to prove that it exercised the diligence
of a good father of a family in the selection and supervision of Payunan, Jr.

As in the case of BLTB, private respondents in this case and her co-plaintiffs did not stake out their claim
against the carrier and the driver exclusively on one theory, much less on that of breach of contract alone.After
all, it was permitted for them to allege alternative causes of action and join as many parties as may be
liable on such causes of action so long as private respondent and her co-plaintiffs do not recover twice
for the same injury. What is clear from the cases is the intent of the plaintiff there to recover from both the
carrier and the driver, thus justifying the holding that the carrier and the driver were jointly and severally liable
because their separate and distinct acts concurred to produce the same injury.16(Emphasis supplied)
In a "joint" obligation, each obligor answers only for a part of the whole liability; in a "solidary" or "joint and several"
obligation, the relationship between the active and the passive subjects is so close that each of them must comply
with or demand the fulfillment of the whole obligation. In Lafarge Cement v. Continental Cement Corporation,17we
reiterated that joint tort feasors are jointly and severally liable for the tort which they commit. Citing Worcester v.
Ocampo,18 we held that:
x x x The difficulty in the contention of the appellants is that they fail to recognize that the basis of the present
action is tort. They fail to recognize the universal doctrine that each joint tort feasor is not only individually liable
for the tort in which he participates, but is also jointly liable with his tort feasors. x x x
It may be stated as a general rule that joint tort feasors are all the persons who command, instigate, promote,
encourage, advise, countenance, cooperate in, aid or abet the commission of a tort, or who approve of it after it
is done, if done for their benefit. They are each liable as principals, to the same extent and in the same manner
as if they had performed the wrongful act themselves. x x x
Joint tort feasors are jointly and severally liable for the tort which they commit. The persons injured may sue all
of them or any number less than all. Each is liable for the whole damages caused by all, and all together are
jointly liable for the whole damage. It is no defense for one sued alone, that the others who participated in the
wrongful act are not joined with him as defendants; nor is it any excuse for him that his participation in the tort
was insignificant as compared to that of the others. x x x
Joint tort feasors are not liable pro rata. The damages can not be apportioned among them, except among
themselves. They cannot insist upon an apportionment, for the purpose of each paying an aliquot part. They are
jointly and severally liable for the whole amount. x x x

The trial court and the Court of Appeals found petitioner solidarily liable with BLTB for the actual damages suffered
by respondents because of the injuries they sustained. It was established that Payunan, Jr. was driving recklessly
because of the skid marks as shown in the sketch of the police investigator.

A payment in full for the damage done, by one of the joint tort feasors, of course satisfies any claim which might
exist against the others. There can be but satisfaction. The release of one of the joint tort feasors by agreement
generally operates to discharge all. x x x

It is well-settled in Fabre, Jr. v. Court of Appeals,15 that the owner of the other vehicle which collided with a common
carrier is solidarily liable to the injured passenger of the same. We held, thus:

Of course the court during trial may find that some of the alleged tort feasors are liable and that others are not
liable. The courts may release some for lack of evidence while condemning others of the alleged tort feasors.
And this is true even though they are charged jointly and severally.19

The same rule of liability was applied in situations where the negligence of the driver of the bus on which
plaintiff was riding concurred with the negligence of a third party who was the driver of another vehicle, thus
causing an accident. In Anuran v. Buo, Batangas Laguna Tayabas Bus Co. v. Intermediate Appellate Court,
and Metro Manila Transit Corporation v. Court of Appeals, the bus company, its driver, the operator of the
other vehicle and the driver of the vehicle were jointly and severally held liable to the injured passenger
or the latter's heirs. The basis of this allocation of liability was explained in Viluan v. Court of Appeals, thus:
Nor should it make any difference that the liability of petitioner [bus owner] springs from contract while
that of respondents [owner and driver of other vehicle] arises from quasi-delict. As early as 1913, we
already ruled in Gutierrez vs. Gutierrez, 56 Phil. 177, that in case of injury to a passenger due to the negligence
of the driver of the bus on which he was riding and of the driver of another vehicle, the drivers as well as the
owners of the two vehicles are jointly and severally liable for damages. x x x
xxxx

Petitioner's claim that paragraph 2 of the dispositive portion of the trial court's decision is ambiguous and arbitrary
and also entitles respondents to recover twice is without basis. In the body of the trial court's decision, it was clearly
stated that petitioner and its driver Payunan, Jr., are jointly and solidarily liable for moral damages in the amount of
P50,000.00 to respondent Fletcher and P25,000.00 to respondent Estrella.20 Moreover, there could be no double
recovery because the award in paragraph 2 is for moral damages while the award in paragraph 1 is for actual
damages and attorney's fees.
Petitioner next claims that the damages, attorney's fees, and legal interest awarded by the Court of Appeals are
excessive.
Moral damages may be recovered in quasi-delicts causing physical injuries.21 The award of moral damages in favor
of Fletcher and Estrella in the amount of P80,000.00 must be reduced since prevailing jurisprudence fixed the same
at P50,000.00.22 While moral damages are not intended to enrich the plaintiff at the expense of the defendant, the
award should nonetheless be commensurate to the suffering inflicted.23

The Court of Appeals correctly awarded respondents exemplary damages in the amount of P20,000.00 each.
Exemplary damages may be awarded in addition to moral and compensatory damages.24 Article 2231 of the Civil
Code also states that in quasi-delicts, exemplary damages may be granted if the defendant acted with gross
negligence.25 In this case, petitioner's driver was driving recklessly at the time its truck rammed the BLTB bus.
Petitioner, who has direct and primary liability for the negligent conduct of its subordinates, was also found negligent
in the selection and supervision of its employees. In Del Rosario v. Court of Appeals,26 we held, thus:
ART. 2229 of the Civil Code also provides that such damages may be imposed, by way of example or
correction for the public good. While exemplary damages cannot be recovered as a matter of right, they
need not be proved, although plaintiff must show that he is entitled to moral, temperate or compensatory
damages before the court may consider the question of whether or not exemplary damages should be
awarded. Exemplary Damages are imposed not to enrich one party or impoverish another but to serve as
a deterrent against or as a negative incentive to curb socially deleterious actions.
Regarding attorney's fees, we held in Traders Royal Bank Employees Union-Independent v. National Labor Relations
Commission,27 that:
There are two commonly accepted concepts of attorney's fees, the so-called ordinary and extraordinary. In its
ordinary concept, an attorney's fee is the reasonable compensation paid to a lawyer by his client for the legal
services he has rendered to the latter. The basis of this compensation is the fact of his employment by and his
agreement with the client.
In its extraordinary concept, an attorney's fee is an indemnity for damages ordered by the court to be
paid by the losing party in a litigation. The basis of this is any of the cases provided by law where such
award can be made, such as those authorized in Article 2208, Civil Code, and is payable not to the lawyer
but to the client, unless they have agreed that the award shall pertain to the lawyer as additional
compensation or as part thereof.28 (Emphasis supplied)
In the instant case, the Court of Appeals correctly awarded attorney's fees and other expenses of litigation as they
may be recovered as actual or compensatory damages when exemplary damages are awarded; when the defendant
acted in gross and evident bad faith in refusing to satisfy the plaintiff's valid, just and demandable claim; and in any
other case where the court deems it just and equitable that attorney's fees and expenses of litigation should be
recovered.29
Regarding the imposition of legal interest at the rate of 6% from the time of the filing of the complaint, we held
inEastern Shipping Lines, Inc. v. Court of Appeals,30 that when an obligation, regardless of its source, i.e., law,
contracts, quasi-contracts, delicts or quasi-delicts is breached, the contravenor can be held liable for payment of
interest in the concept of actual and compensatory damages,31 subject to the following rules, to wit
1. When the obligation is breached, and it consists in the payment of a sum of money, i.e., a loan or
forbearance of money, the interest due should be that which may have been stipulated in writing. Furthermore,
the interest due shall itself earn legal interest from the time it is judicially demanded. In the absence of
stipulation, the rate of interest shall be 12% per annum to be computed from default, i.e., from judicial or
extrajudicial demand under and subject to the provisions of Article 1169 of the Civil Code.
2. When an obligation, not constituting a loan or forbearance of money, is breached, an interest on the amount
of damages awarded may be imposed at the discretion of the court at the rate of 6% per annum.No interest,
however, shall be adjudged on unliquidated claims or damages except when or until the demand can be
established with reasonable certainty. Accordingly, where the demand is established with reasonable certainty,
the interest shall begin to run from the time the claim is made judicially or extrajudicially (Art. 1169, Civil Code)
but when such certainty cannot be so reasonably established at the time the demand is made, the interest
shall begin to run only from the date the judgment of the court is made (at which time the quantification
of damages may be deemed to have been reasonably ascertained). The actual base for the computation of
legal interest shall, in any case, be on the amount finally adjudged.

3. When the judgment of the court awarding a sum of money becomes final and executory, the rate of
legal interest, whether the case falls under paragraph 1 or paragraph 2, above, shall be 12% per annum
from such finality until its satisfaction, this interim period being deemed to be by then an equivalent to
a forbearance of credit.32 (Emphasis supplied)
Accordingly, the legal interest of 6% shall begin to run on February 9, 1993 when the trial court rendered judgment
and not on February 4, 1980 when the complaint was filed. This is because at the time of the filing of the complaint,
the amount of the damages to which plaintiffs may be entitled remains unliquidated and unknown, until it is definitely
ascertained, assessed and determined by the court and only upon presentation of proof thereon. 33 From the time the
judgment becomes final and executory, the interest rate shall be 12% until its satisfaction.
Anent the last issue of whether petitioner can recover under its insurance policy from Phoenix, we affirm the findings
of both the trial court and the Court of Appeals, thus:
As regards the liability of Phoenix, the court a quo correctly ruled that defendant-appellant CDCP's claim
against Phoenix already prescribed pursuant to Section 384 of P.D. 612, as amended, which provides:
Any person having any claim upon the policy issued pursuant to this chapter shall, without any
unnecessary delay, present to the insurance company concerned a written notice of claim setting forth the
nature, extent and duration of the injuries sustained as certified by a duly licensed physician. Notice of
claim must be filed within six months from date of the accident, otherwise, the claim shall be deemed
waived. Action or suit for recovery of damage due to loss or injury must be brought in proper cases, with
the Commissioner or Courts within one year from denial of the claim, otherwise, the claimant's right of
action shall prescribe. (As amended by PD 1814, BP 874.)34
The law is clear and leaves no room for interpretation. A written notice of claim must be filed within six months from
the date of the accident. Since petitioner never made any claim within six months from the date of the accident, its
claim has already prescribed.
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DENIED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 46896 dated
March 29, 2001, which modified the Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 13, in Civil Case No. R82-2137, is AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATIONS that petitioner is held jointly and severally liable to pay (1) actual
damages in the amount of P79,354.43; (2) moral damages in the amount of P50,000.00 each for Rachel Fletcher
and Rebecca Estrella; (3) exemplary damages in the amount of P20,000.00 each for Rebecca Estrella and Rachel
Fletcher; and (4) thirty percent (30%) of the total amount recovered as attorney's fees. The total amount adjudged
shall earn interest at the rate of 6% per annum from the date of judgment of the trial court until finality of this
judgment. From the time this Decision becomes final and executory and the judgment amount remains unsatisfied,
the same shall earn interest at the rate of 12% per annum until its satisfaction.
SO ORDERED.