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G.R. No.

L-4197

March 20, 1952

FIDELA SALES DE GONZAGA, plaintiff-appellant,


vs.
THE CROWN LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY, defendant-appellee.
Beltran and Anuat for appellant.
Nicodemus L. Dasig for appellee.
TUASON, J.:
This is one more case wherein the question of the effects of war in a pre-war insurance
contracts is presented.
Reduced to their absolute essentials, the facts are that, on September 26, 1939 the
Crown Life Insurance Co., whose home office is in Toronto, Canada, issued to Ramon
Gonzaga through its branch office in Manila a 20-year endowment policy for P15,000.
The insured paid in due time the agreed yearly premium, which was P591.00, for three
consecutive years, the last payment having been effected on September 6, 1941. On
account of the outbreak of war, no premiums were paid after that date, although the
policy was continued in force up to June 12, 1943, under its automatic premium loan
clause.
Ramon Gonzaga died on June 27, 1945 from an accident. Unsuccessful in her attempt
to collect the amount of the policy his widow and the beneficiary named in the policy
began this suit on December 18, 1947. The defendant set up the defense that the
policy had lapsed by non-payment of the stipulated premiums of the stipulated dates.
And the trial court in a carefully written decision ruled against the plaintiff.
Since this action was decided by the court below, several cases analogous to this one
in its main characteristics have come up before this Court. (Paz Lopez de Constantino
vs. Asia Life Insurance Company,1 G.R. No. L-1669; Agustina Peralta vs. Asia Life
Insurance Company,2 G.R. No. L-1670; James McGuire vs. The Manufacturers Life
Insurance Co;3 G. R. No. L-3581; National Leather Co; Inc. vs. The United States Life
Insurance Co.,4 G.R. No. L-2668; Victoria Hidalgo Vda. de Carrero, et al., vs. The
Manufacturers Life Insurance Co.,5 G. R. No. L-3032; and West Coast Life Insurance
Co. vs. Patricio H. Gubagaras,6 G. R. No. L-2810) In Paz Lopez de Constantinos. Asia
Life Insurance Company, G. R. No. L-1669, the leading case, the Court speaking
through Mr. Justice Bengzon, adopted this doctrine:

The case, therefore, is one in which time is material and of the essence of the
contract. Non-payment at the day involves absolute forfeiture is such be the
terms of the contract, as is the case here. Courts cannot with safety vary the
stipulation of the parties by introducing equities for the relief of the insured
against their own negligence.
The aforecited decisions are decisive of the proposition that non-payment of premiums
by reason of war puts an end to the contract.
There is, however, one aspect of the case at bar not raised before and upon which the
plaintiff rest her case in the alternative.
In its answer, the defendant alleged that "through its General Agents, Hanson, Orth
and Stevenson, Inc., it had its offices open in the city of Manila during the Japanese
occupation in the Philippines." Taking advantage of this allegation, and ignoring her
own in her complaint that "for the whole duration of the (war) and from thence to
sometime thereafter, that is, in October, 1945, . . . defendant closed its business in the
Islands, and had absolutely no agency or representative here to represent it, with
authority to collect premiums from the Insured." the plaintiff asserts that it was the
defendant's duty to notify her husbands of its postal address during the war, and that
its failure to do so excused deliquency in the payment of the premiums. The plaintiff
cites the provision of the contract which states that "all premiums subsequent to the
first year are payable to the Company's authorized cashier at the place stated in the
fourth page hereof, or at such other place instead thereof as may be designated from
time to time by noticed to the Company mailed to the Insured at his last known post
office address."
The evidence on this feature of the case reveals that, the defendant being an enemy
corporation, its offices, which were housed at the Chaco building when the hostilities
broke out, were ordered closed by the Japanese Military authorities in January 1942,
and the officers of Hanson, Orth and Stevenson, Inc., defendants general agents,
being American citizens, were entered. In addition, on August 25 the Japanese
administration issued "Instruction No. 71" by which enemy alien insurance companies
were expressly prohibited from doing business.
But before that instruction was promulgated Hanson, Orth and Stevenson, had opened
in the house of one of their Filipino employees on Gonzales Street in Ermita an office
with skeleton force, all Filipinos, for the purpose of receiving premiums from their policy
holders; and notwithstanding the prohibition that office was not closed.

In the face of the Japanese Military decrees, which found sanctions in international law,
the failure of the defendant or its Filipino employees to advise the insured of the
defendant's new address did not work as a forfeiture of the right to have the premiums
satisfied promptly. While clandestine transactions between the parties during the war
might be binding, it was not obligatory on the insurer, and it was well-nigh risky for its
employees, to send out notices to its widely scattered policy holders, what with the
postal service under the control and administration of the ruthless occupants.
There is no duty when the law forbids; and there is no obligation without corresponding
right enjoyed by another. The insured had no right to demand that the defendant
maintain an office during the war, and the defendant was not obligated to do so. Had
the defendant not opened any office at all during the occupation and stopped receiving
premiums absolutely, the plaintiff's position would not have been any better or worse
for the closing and suspension of the defendant's business. Had the plaintiff's husband
actually tendered his premiums and the defendant's employees rejected them, he
could not have insisted on the payment as a matter of right. Stated otherwise, the
defendant's opening of an interim office partook of the nature of the privilege to the
policy holders to keep their policies operative rather than a duty to them under the
contract.
Of this privilege, incidentally, Gonzaga could have taken advantage if he was really
intent on preserving his policy. Uncontroverted or admitted is the fact that the
defendant's agent, through whom he had been insured, lived in Malabon, Rizal, and
was his close acquaintance; and so were some of the defendant's Filipino employees
who handled the insurance business of Hanson, Orth and Stevenson during the
occupation. And Gonzaga admittedly come to Manila on a visit every now and then,
and could have, without difficulty, contacted any of those people.
For another thing, the policy carried a clause providing for its reinstatement under
certain conditions within three years from the date of lapse on application of the
insured. The present policy lapsed on June 12, 1943, the Company's Manila branch
was reopened on May 1, 1945 and resumed regular business through the same
general agents at the Wilson Building on Juan Luna Street, Manila and Ramon
Gonzaga died on June 27, 1945. It is undoubted that Gonzaga knew all that. It is not
denied that he was an employee in the United States Navy, that the united States Navy
had an office in the same Wilson Building, and that he came at least twice a month to
that office for his salary.
Both in law and in reason, the action was properly dismissed and the appealed
decision is hereby affirmed, with costs.

Villaroel v. Estrada, 71 Phil 140 (1940)


GR No. L-47362 December 19, 1940JOHN F. VILLARROEL
, appellant-appellant,vs.
Bernardino Estrada
, turned-appellee.
D. Felipe Agoncillo in representation of the appellant-appelante.D. Crispin Oben in
representation of the defendant-appellee.
DECISION
Avancea,J.:
On May 9, 1912, Alejandro F. Callao, mother of defendant John F. Villarroel, obtained from
thespousesMariano Estrada and Severina a loan of P1, 000 payable after seven years
(ExhibitoA). Alejandra died,leaving as sole heir to the defendant.Spouses Mariano Estrada and
Severina alsodied, leaving as soleheir to the plaintiff Bernardino Estrada. On August 9, 1930, the
defendant signeda document (Exhibito B) bywhich the applicant must declare in the amount of P1,
000, with aninterest of 12 percent per year. Thisaction relates to the recovery of this amount.The
Court of First Instance of Laguna, which was filed in this action, condemn the defendant to
paytheclaimed amount of P1, 000 with legal interest of 12 percent per year since the August 9,
1930until full pay.He appealed the sentence.It will be noted that the parties in the present case are,
respectively, the only heirs and creditors of theoriginal debtor. This action is brought under the
defendant's liability as the only son of the originaldebtor infavor of the plaintiff contracted, sole heir
of primitive loa creditors. It is recognized that theamount of P1, 000to which contracts this obligation
is the same debt of the mother's parents sued theplaintiff. Although the action to recover
the original debt has prescribed and when the lawsuit was filed in thiscase,the question
raised in this appeal is primarily whether, notwithstanding such requirement, theaction taken
isappropriate. However, this action is based on the original obligation contracted by themother of

thedefendant, who has already prescribed, but in which the defendant contracted theAugust 9,
1930 (ExhibitoB) by assuming the fulfillment of that obligation, as prescribed. Being theonly
defendant in the originalherdero debtor eligible successor into his inheritance, that debt broughtby
his mother in law, although it lostits effectiveness by prescription, is now, however, for a
moralobligation, that is consideration enough tocreate and make effective and enforceable
obligationvoluntarily contracted its August 9, 1930 in Exhibito B.The rule that a new promise to pay
a debt prrescrita must be made by the same person obligatedorotherwise legally authorized by it,
is not applicable to the present case is not required in compliancewiththe mandatory obligation
orignalmente but which would give it voluntarily assumed thisobligation.It confirmsthe judgment
appealed from, with costs against the appellant. IT IS SO ORDERED.
Imperial, Diaz, Laurel, and Horrilleno, MM., Concur.

PhilippineLaw.info Jurisprudence 1942 July


PhilippineLaw.info Jurisprudence Phil. Rep. Vol. 73

G.R. No. 48006, Barredo v. Garcia and


Almario, 73 Phil. 607
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
July 8, 1942
G.R. No. 48006
FAUSTO BARREDO, petitioner,
vs.
SEVERINO GARCIA and TIMOTEA ALMARIO, respondents.
Celedonio P. Gloria and Antonio Barredo for petitioner.
Jose G. Advincula for respondents.
BOCOBO, J.:
This case comes up from the Court of Appeals which held the petitioner herein,
Fausto Barredo, liable in damages for the death of Faustino Garcia caused by
the negligence of Pedro Fontanilla, a taxi driver employed by said Fausto
Barredo.

At about half past one in the morning of May 3, 1936, on the road between
Malabon and Navotas, Province of Rizal, there was a head-on collision between
a taxi of the Malate Taxicab driven by Pedro Fontanilla and a carretela guided
by Pedro Dimapalis. The carretela was overturned, and one of its passengers,
16-year-old boy Faustino Garcia, suffered injuries from which he died two days
later. A criminal action was filed against Fontanilla in the Court of First Instance
of Rizal, and he was convicted and sentenced to an indeterminate sentence of
one year and one day to two years of prision correccional. The court in the
criminal case granted the petition that the right to bring a separate civil action
be reserved. The Court of Appeals affirmed the sentence of the lower court in
the criminal case. Severino Garcia and Timotea Almario, parents of the
deceased on March 7, 1939, brought an action in the Court of First Instance of
Manila against Fausto Barredo as the sole proprietor of the Malate Taxicab and
employer of Pedro Fontanilla. On July 8, 1939, the Court of First Instance of
Manila awarded damages in favor of the plaintiffs for P2,000 plus legal interest
from the date of the complaint. This decision was modified by the Court of
Appeals by reducing the damages to P1,000 with legal interest from the time
the action was instituted. It is undisputed that Fontanilla 's negligence was the
cause of the mishap, as he was driving on the wrong side of the road, and at
high speed. As to Barredo's responsibility, the Court of Appeals found:
... It is admitted that defendant is Fontanilla's employer. There is proof that he
exercised the diligence of a good father of a family to prevent damage. (See p.
22, appellant's brief.) In fact it is shown he was careless in employing Fontanilla
who had been caught several times for violation of the Automobile Law and
speeding (Exhibit A) violation which appeared in the records of the Bureau of
Public Works available to be public and to himself. Therefore, he must
indemnify plaintiffs under the provisions of article 1903 of the Civil Code.
The main theory of the defense is that the liability of Fausto Barredo is
governed by the Revised Penal Code; hence, his liability is only subsidiary, and
as there has been no civil action against Pedro Fontanilla, the person criminally
liable, Barredo cannot be held responsible in the case. The petitioner's brief
states on page 10:
... The Court of Appeals holds that the petitioner is being sued for his failure to
exercise all the diligence of a good father of a family in the selection and
supervision of Pedro Fontanilla to prevent damages suffered by the
respondents. In other words, The Court of Appeals insists on applying in the

case article 1903 of the Civil Code. Article 1903 of the Civil Code is found in
Chapter II, Title 16, Book IV of the Civil Code. This fact makes said article to a
civil liability arising from a crime as in the case at bar simply because Chapter
II of Title 16 of Book IV of the Civil Code, in the precise words of article 1903 of
the Civil Code itself, is applicable only to "those (obligations) arising from
wrongful or negligent acts or commission notpunishable by law.
The gist of the decision of the Court of Appeals is expressed thus:
... We cannot agree to the defendant's contention. The liability sought to be
imposed upon him in this action is not a civil obligation arising from a felony or
a misdemeanor (the crime of Pedro Fontanilla,), but an obligation imposed in
article 1903 of the Civil Code by reason of his negligence in the selection or
supervision of his servant or employee.
The pivotal question in this case is whether the plaintiffs may bring this
separate civil action against Fausto Barredo, thus making him primarily and
directly, responsible under article 1903 of the Civil Code as an employer of
Pedro Fontanilla. The defendant maintains that Fontanilla's negligence being
punishable by the Penal Code, his (defendant's) liability as an employer is only
subsidiary, according to said Penal code, but Fontanilla has not been sued in a
civil action and his property has not been exhausted. To decide the main issue,
we must cut through the tangle that has, in the minds of many confused and
jumbled together delitos and cuasi delitos, or crimes under the Penal Code and
fault or negligence under articles 1902-1910 of the Civil Code. This should be
done, because justice may be lost in a labyrinth, unless principles and
remedies are distinctly envisaged. Fortunately, we are aided in our inquiry by
the luminous presentation of the perplexing subject by renown jurists and we
are likewise guided by the decisions of this Court in previous cases as well as
by the solemn clarity of the consideration in several sentences of the Supreme
Tribunal of Spain.
Authorities support the proposition that a quasi-delict or "culpa aquiliana " is a
separate legal institution under the Civil Code with a substantivity all its own,
and individuality that is entirely apart and independent from delict or crime.
Upon this principle and on the wording and spirit article 1903 of the Civil Code,
the primary and direct responsibility of employers may be safely anchored.
The pertinent provisions of the Civil Code and Revised Penal Code are as
follows:

CIVIL CODE
ART. 1089 Obligations arise from law, from contracts and quasi-contracts, and
from acts and omissions which are unlawful or in which any kind of fault or
negligence intervenes.
xxxxxxxxx
ART. 1092. Civil obligations arising from felonies or misdemeanors shall be
governed by the provisions of the Penal Code.
ART. 1093. Those which are derived from acts or omissions in which fault or
negligence, not punishable by law, intervenes shall be subject to the provisions
of Chapter II, Title XVI of this book.
xxxxxxxxx
ART 1902. Any person who by an act or omission causes damage to another by
his fault or negligence shall be liable for the damage so done.
ART. 1903. The obligation imposed by the next preceding article is enforcible,
not only for personal acts and omissions, but also for those of persons for
whom another is responsible.
The father and in, case of his death or incapacity, the mother, are liable for any
damages caused by the minor children who live with them.
Guardians are liable for damages done by minors or incapacitated persons
subject to their authority and living with them.
Owners or directors of an establishment or business are equally liable for any
damages caused by their employees while engaged in the branch of the
service in which employed, or on occasion of the performance of their duties.
The State is subject to the same liability when it acts through a special agent,
but not if the damage shall have been caused by the official upon whom
properly devolved the duty of doing the act performed, in which case the
provisions of the next preceding article shall be applicable.

Finally, teachers or directors of arts trades are liable for any damages caused
by their pupils or apprentices while they are under their custody.
The liability imposed by this article shall cease in case the persons mentioned
therein prove that they are exercised all the diligence of a good father of a
family to prevent the damage.
ART. 1904. Any person who pays for damage caused by his employees may
recover from the latter what he may have paid.
REVISED PENAL CODE
ART. 100. Civil liability of a person guilty of felony. Every person criminally
liable for a felony is also civilly liable.
ART. 101. Rules regarding civil liability in certain cases. The exemption from
criminal liability established in subdivisions 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6 of article 12 and in
subdivision 4 of article 11 of this Code does not include exemption from civil
liability, which shall be enforced to the following rules:
First. In cases of subdivision, 1, 2 and 3 of article 12 the civil liability for acts
committed by any imbecile or insane person, and by a person under nine years
of age, or by one over nine but under fifteen years of age, who has acted
without discernment shall devolve upon those having such person under their
legal authority or control, unless it appears that there was no fault or
negligence on their part.
Should there be no person having such insane, imbecile or minor under his
authority, legal guardianship, or control, or if such person be insolvent, said
insane, imbecile, or minor shall respond with their own property, excepting
property exempt from execution, in accordance with the civil law.
Second. In cases falling within subdivision 4 of article 11, the person for whose
benefit the harm has been prevented shall be civilly liable in proportion to the
benefit which they may have received.
The courts shall determine, in their sound discretion, the proportionate amount
for which each one shall be liable.
When the respective shares can not be equitably determined, even
approximately, or when the liability also attaches to the Government, or to the

majority of the inhabitants of the town, and, in all events, whenever the
damage has been caused with the consent of the authorities or their agents,
indemnification shall be made in the manner prescribed by special laws or
regulations.
Third. In cases falling within subdivisions 5 and 6 of article 12, the persons
using violence or causing the fear shall be primarily liable and secondarily, or,
if there be no such persons, those doing the act shall be liable, saving always
to the latter that part of their property exempt from execution.
ART. 102. Subsidiary civil liability of innkeepers, tavern keepers and proprietors
of establishment. In default of persons criminally liable, innkeepers, tavern
keepers, and any other persons or corporation shall be civilly liable for crimes
committed in their establishments, in all cases where a violation of municipal
ordinances or some general or special police regulation shall have been
committed by them or their employees.
Innkeepers are also subsidiarily liable for the restitution of goods taken by
robbery or theft within their houses lodging therein, or the person, or for the
payment of the value thereof, provided that such guests shall have notified in
advance the innkeeper himself, or the person representing him, of the deposit
of such goods within the inn; and shall furthermore have followed the
directions which such innkeeper or his representative may have given them
with respect to the care of and vigilance over such goods. No liability shall
attach in case of robbery with violence against or intimidation against or
intimidation of persons unless committed by the innkeeper's employees.
ART. 103. Subsidiary civil liability of other persons. The subsidiary liability
established in the next preceding article shall also apply to employers,
teachers, persons, and corporations engaged in any kind of industry for
felonies committed by their servants, pupils, workmen, apprentices, or
employees in the discharge of their duties.
xxxxxxxxx
ART. 365. Imprudence and negligence. Any person who, by reckless
imprudence, shall commit any act which, had it been intentional, would
constitute a grave felony, shall suffer the penalty of arresto mayor in its
maximum period to prision correccional in its minimum period; if it would have

constituted a less grave felony, the penalty of arresto mayor in its minimum
and medium periods shall be imposed.
Any person who, by simple imprudence or negligence, shall commit an act
which would otherwise constitute a grave felony, shall suffer the penalty
of arresto mayorin its medium and maximum periods; if it would have
constituted a less serious felony, the penalty of arresto mayor in its minimum
period shall be imposed."
It will thus be seen that while the terms of articles 1902 of the Civil Code seem
to be broad enough to cover the driver's negligence in the instant case,
nevertheless article 1093 limits cuasi-delitos to acts or omissions "not
punishable by law." But inasmuch as article 365 of the Revised Penal
Code punishes not only reckless but even simple imprudence or negligence,
the fault or negligence under article 1902 of the Civil Code has apparently
been crowded out. It is this overlapping that makes the "confusion worse
confounded." However, a closer study shows that such a concurrence of scope
in regard to negligent acts does not destroy the distinction between the civil
liability arising from a crime and the responsibility for cuasi-delitos or culpa
extra-contractual. The same negligent act causing damages may produce civil
liability arising from a crime under article 100 of the Revised Penal Code, or
create an action for cuasi-delito orculpa extra-contractual under articles 19021910 of the Civil Code.
The individuality of cuasi-delito or culpa extra-contractual looms clear and
unmistakable. This legal institution is of ancient lineage, one of its early
ancestors being the Lex Aquilia in the Roman Law. In fact, in Spanish legal
terminology, this responsibility is often referred to as culpa aquiliana. The
Partidas also contributed to the genealogy of the present fault or negligence
under the Civil Code; for instance, Law 6, Title 15, of Partida 7, says: "Tenudo
es de fazer emienda, porque, como quier que el non fizo a sabiendas en dao
al otro, pero acaescio por su culpa."
The distinctive nature of cuasi-delitos survives in the Civil Code. According to
article 1089, one of the five sources of obligations is this legal institution
of cuasi-delito orculpa extra-contractual: "los actos . . . en que intervenga
cualquier genero de culpa o negligencia." Then article 1093 provides that this
kind of obligation shall be governed by Chapter II of Title XVI of Book IV,
meaning articles 1902-0910. This portion of the Civil Code is exclusively
devoted to the legal institution of culpa aquiliana.

Some of the differences between crimes under the Penal Code and the culpa
aquilianaor cuasi-delito under the Civil Code are:
1. That crimes affect the public interest, while cuasi-delitos are only of private
concern.
2. That, consequently, the Penal Code punishes or corrects the criminal act,
while the Civil Code, by means of indemnification, merely repairs the damage.
3. That delicts are not as broad as quasi-delicts, because the former are
punished only if there is a penal law clearly covering them, while the
latter, cuasi-delitos, include all acts in which "any king of fault or negligence
intervenes." However, it should be noted that not all violations of the penal law
produce civil responsibility, such as begging in contravention of ordinances,
violation of the game laws, infraction of the rules of traffic when nobody is
hurt. (See Colin and Capitant, "Curso Elemental de Derecho Civil," Vol. 3, p.
728.)
Let us now ascertain what some jurists say on the separate existence of quasidelicts and the employer's primary and direct liability under article 1903 of the
Civil Code.
Dorado Montero in his essay on "Responsibilidad" in the "Enciclopedia Juridica
Espaola" (Vol. XXVII, p. 414) says:
El concepto juridico de la responsabilidad civil abarca diversos aspectos y
comprende a diferentes personas. Asi, existe una responsabilidad civil
propiamente dicha, que en ningun casl lleva aparejada responsabilidad
criminal alguna, y otra que es consecuencia indeclinable de la penal que nace
de todo delito o falta."
The juridical concept of civil responsibility has various aspects and comprises
different persons. Thus, there is a civil responsibility, properly speaking, which
in no case carries with it any criminal responsibility, and another which is a
necessary consequence of the penal liability as a result of every felony or
misdemeanor."
Maura, an outstanding authority, was consulted on the following case: There
had been a collision between two trains belonging respectively to the
Ferrocarril Cantabrico and the Ferrocarril del Norte. An employee of the latter
had been prosecuted in a criminal case, in which the company had been made

a party as subsidiarily responsible in civil damages. The employee had been


acquitted in the criminal case, and the employer, the Ferrocarril del Norte, had
also been exonerated. The question asked was whether the Ferrocarril
Cantabrico could still bring a civil action for damages against the Ferrocarril del
Norte. Maura's opinion was in the affirmative, stating in part
(Maura,Dictamenes, Vol. 6, pp. 511-513):
Quedando las cosas asi, a proposito de la realidad pura y neta de los hechos,
todavia menos parece sostenible que exista cosa juzgada acerca de la
obligacion civil de indemnizar los quebrantos y menoscabos inferidos por el
choque de los trenes. El titulo en que se funda la accion para demandar el
resarcimiento, no puede confundirse con las responsabilidades civiles nacidas
de delito, siquiera exista en este, sea el cual sea, una culpa rodeada de notas
agravatorias que motivan sanciones penales, mas o menos severas. La lesion
causada por delito o falta en los derechos civiles, requiere restituciones,
reparaciones o indemnizaciones, que cual la pena misma ataen al orden
publico; por tal motivo vienen encomendadas, de ordinario, al Ministerio Fiscal;
y claro es que si por esta via se enmiendan los quebrantos y menoscabos, el
agraviado excusa procurar el ya conseguido desagravio; pero esta eventual
coincidencia de los efectos, no borra la diversidad originaria de las acciones
civiles para pedir indemnizacion.
Estas, para el caso actual (prescindiendo de culpas contractuales, que no
vendrian a cuento y que tiene otro regimen), dimanan, segun el articulo 1902
del Codigo Civil, de toda accion u omision, causante de daos o perjuicios, en
que intervenga culpa o negligencia. Es trivial que acciones semejantes son
ejercitadas ante los Tribunales de lo civil cotidianamente, sin que la Justicia
punitiva tenga que mezclarse en los asuntos. Los articulos 18 al 21 y 121 al
128 del Codigo Penal, atentos al espiritu y a los fines sociales y politicos del
mismo, desenvuelven y ordenan la materia de responsabilidades
civiles nacidas de delito, en terminos separados del regimen por ley comun de
la culpa que se denomina aquiliana, por alusion a precedentes legislativos
del Corpus Juris. Seria intempestivo un paralelo entre aquellas ordenaciones, y
la de la obligacion de indemnizar a titulo de culpa civil; pero viene al caso y es
necesaria una de las diferenciaciones que en el tal paralelo se notarian.
Los articulos 20 y 21 del Codigo Penal, despues de distribuir a su modo las
responsabilidades civiles, entre los que sean por diversos conceptos culpables
del delito o falta, las hacen extensivas a las empresas y los establecimientos al

servicio de los cuales estan los delincuentes; pero con caracter subsidiario, o
sea, segun el texto literal, en defecto de los que sean responsables
criminalmente. No coincide en ello el Codigo Civil, cuyo articulo 1903, dice; La
obligacion que impone el articulo anterior es exigible, no solo por los actos y
omisiones propios, sino por los de aquellas personas de quienes se debe
responder; personas en la enumeracion de las cuales figuran los dependientes
y empleados de los establecimientos o empresas, sea por actos del servicio,
sea con ocasion de sus funciones. Por esto acontece, y se observa en la
jurisprudencia, que las empresas, despues de intervenir en las causas
criminales con el caracter subsidiario de su responsabilidad civil por razon del
delito, son demandadas y condenadas directa y aisladamente, cuando se trata
de la obligacion, ante los tribunales civiles.
Siendo como se ve, diverso el titulo de esta obligacion, y formando verdadero
postulado de nuestro regimen judicial la separacion entre justicia punitiva y
tribunales de lo civil, de suerte que tienen unos y otros normas de fondo en
distintos cuerpos legales, y diferentes modos de proceder, habiendose, por
aadidura, abstenido de asistir al juicio criminal la Compaia del Ferrocarril
Cantabrico, que se reservo ejercitar sus acciones, parece innegable que la de
indemnizacion por los daos y perjuicios que le irrogo el choque, no estuvo sub
judice ante el Tribunal del Jurado, ni fue sentenciada, sino que permanecio
intacta, al pronunciarse el fallo de 21 de marzo. Aun cuando el veredicto no
hubiese sido de inculpabilidad, mostrose mas arriba, que tal accion quedaba
legitimamente reservada para despues del proceso; pero al declararse que no
existio delito, ni responsabilidad dimanada de delito, materia unica sobre que
tenian jurisdiccion aquellos juzgadores, se redobla el motivo para la obligacion
civil ex lege, y se patentiza mas y mas que la accion para pedir su
cumplimiento permanece incolume, extraa a la cosa juzgada.
As things are, apropos of the reality pure and simple of the facts, it seems less
tenable that there should be res judicata with regard to the civil obligation for
damages on account of the losses caused by the collision of the trains. The
title upon which the action for reparation is based cannot be confused with the
civil responsibilities born of a crime, because there exists in the latter,
whatever each nature, a culpa surrounded with aggravating aspects which give
rise to penal measures that are more or less severe. The injury caused by a
felony or misdemeanor upon civil rights requires restitutions, reparations, or
indemnifications which, like the penalty itself, affect public order; for this

reason, they are ordinarily entrusted to the office of the prosecuting attorney;
and it is clear that if by this means the losses and damages are repaired, the
injured party no longer desires to seek another relief; but this coincidence of
effects does not eliminate the peculiar nature of civil actions to ask for
indemnity.
Such civil actions in the present case (without referring to contractual faults
which are not pertinent and belong to another scope) are derived, according to
article 1902 of the Civil Code, from every act or omission causing losses and
damages in which culpa or negligence intervenes. It is unimportant that such
actions are every day filed before the civil courts without the criminal courts
interfering therewith. Articles 18 to 21 and 121 to 128 of the Penal Code,
bearing in mind the spirit and the social and political purposes of that Code,
develop and regulate the matter of civil responsibilities arising from a crime,
separately from the regime under common law, of culpa which is known
as aquiliana, in accordance with legislative precedent of the Corpus Juris. It
would be unwarranted to make a detailed comparison between the former
provisions and that regarding the obligation to indemnify on account of
civil culpa; but it is pertinent and necessary to point out to one of such
differences.
Articles 20 and 21 of the Penal Code, after distriburing in their own way the
civil responsibilities among those who, for different reasons, are guilty of felony
or misdemeanor, make such civil responsibilities applicable to enterprises and
establishments for which the guilty parties render service, but with subsidiary
character, that is to say, according to the wording of the Penal Code, in default
of those who are criminally responsible. In this regard, the Civil Code does not
coincide because article 1903 says: "The obligation imposed by the next
preceding article is demandable, not only for personal acts and omissions, but
also for those of persons for whom another is responsible." Among the persons
enumerated are the subordinates and employees of establishments or
enterprises, either for acts during their service or on the occasion of their
functions. It is for this reason that it happens, and it is so observed in judicial
decisions, that the companies or enterprises, after taking part in the criminal
cases because of their subsidiary civil responsibility by reason of the crime, are
sued and sentenced directly and separatelywith regard to the obligation,
before the civil courts.

Seeing that the title of this obligation is different, and the separation between
punitive justice and the civil courts being a true postulate of our judicial
system, so that they have different fundamental norms in different codes, as
well as different modes of procedure, and inasmuch as the Compaa del
Ferrocarril Cantabrico has abstained from taking part in the criminal case and
has reserved the right to exercise its actions, it seems undeniable that the
action for indemnification for the losses and damages caused to it by the
collision was notsub judice before the Tribunal del Jurado, nor was it the
subject of a sentence, but it remained intact when the decision of March 21
was rendered. Even if the verdict had not been that of acquittal, it has already
been shown that such action had been legitimately reserved till after the
criminal prosecution; but because of the declaration of the non-existence of
the felony and the non-existence of the responsibility arising from the crime,
which was the sole subject matter upon which the Tribunal del Jurado had
jurisdiction, there is greater reason for the civil obligation ex lege, and it
becomes clearer that the action for its enforcement remain intact and is
not res judicata.
Laurent, a jurist who has written a monumental work on the French Civil Code,
on which the Spanish Civil Code is largely based and whose provisions
on cuasi-delito orculpa extra-contractual are similar to those of the Spanish
Civil Code, says, referring to article 1384 of the French Civil Code which
corresponds to article 1903, Spanish Civil Code:
The action can be brought directly against the person responsible (for
another), without including the author of the act. The action against the
principal is accessory in the sense that it implies the existence of a prejudicial
act committed by the employee, but it is not subsidiary in the sense that it can
not be instituted till after the judgment against the author of the act or at
least, that it is subsidiary to the principal action; the action for responsibility (of
the employer) is in itself a principal action. (Laurent, Principles of French Civil
Law, Spanish translation, Vol. 20, pp. 734-735.)
Amandi, in his "Cuestionario del Codigo Civil Reformado" (Vol. 4, pp. 429, 430),
declares that the responsibility of the employer is principal and not subsidiary.
He writes:
Cuestion 1. La responsabilidad declarada en el articulo 1903 por las acciones u
omisiones de aquellas personas por las que se debe responder, es subsidiaria?

es principal? Para contestar a esta pregunta es necesario saber, en primer


lugar, en que se funda el precepto legal. Es que realmente se impone una
responsabilidad por una falta ajena? Asi parece a primera vista; pero
semejante afirmacion seria contraria a la justicia y a la maxima universal,
segun la que las faltas son personales, y cada uno responde de aquellas que le
son imputables. La responsabilidad de que tratamos se impone con ocasion de
un delito o culpa, pero no por causa de ellos, sino por causa del causi delito,
esto es, de la imprudencia o de la negligencia del padre, del tutor, del dueo o
director del establecimiento, del maestro, etc. Cuando cualquiera de las
personas que enumera el articulo citado (menores de edad, incapacitados,
dependientes, aprendices) causan un dao, la ley presume que el padre, el
tutor, el maestro, etc., han cometido una falta de negligencia para prevenir o
evitar el dao. Esta falta es la que la ley castiga. No hay, pues, responsabilidad
por un hecho ajeno, sino en la apariencia; en realidad la responsabilidad se
exige por un hecho propio. La idea de que esa responsabilidad sea subsidiaria
es, por lo tanto, completamente inadmisible.
Question No. 1. Is the responsibility declared in article 1903 for the acts or
omissions of those persons for who one is responsible, subsidiary or principal?
In order to answer this question it is necessary to know, in the first place, on
what the legal provision is based. Is it true that there is a responsibility for the
fault of another person? It seems so at first sight; but such assertion would be
contrary to justice and to the universal maxim that all faults are personal, and
that everyone is liable for those faults that can be imputed to him. The
responsibility in question is imposed on the occasion of a crime or fault, but not
because of the same, but because of the cuasi-delito, that is to say, the
imprudence or negligence of the father, guardian, proprietor or manager of the
establishment, of the teacher, etc. Whenever anyone of the persons
enumerated in the article referred to (minors, incapacitated persons,
employees, apprentices) causes any damage, the law presumes that the
father, guardian, teacher, etc. have committed an act of negligence in not
preventing or avoiding the damage. It is this fault that is condemned by the
law. It is, therefore, only apparent that there is a responsibility for the act of
another; in reality the responsibility exacted is for one's own act. The idea that
such responsibility is subsidiary is, therefore, completely inadmissible.
Oyuelos, in his "Digesto: Principios, Doctrina y Jurisprudencia, Referentes al
Codigo Civil Espaol," says in Vol. VII, p. 743:

Es decir, no responde de hechos ajenos, porque se responde solo de su propia


culpa, doctrina del articulo 1902; mas por excepcion, se responde de la ajena
respecto de aquellas personas con las que media algun nexo o vinculo, que
motiva o razona la responsabilidad. Esta responsabilidad, es directa o es
subsidiaria? En el orden penal, el Codigo de esta clase distingue entre menores
e incapacitados y los demas, declarando directa la primera (articulo 19) y
subsidiaria la segunda (articulos 20 y 21); pero en el orden civil, en el caso del
articulo 1903, ha de entenderse directa, por el tenor del articulo que impone la
responsabilidad precisamente "por los actos de aquellas personas de quienes
se deba responder."
That is to say, one is not responsible for the acts of others, because one is
liable only for his own faults, this being the doctrine of article 1902; but, by
exception, one is liable for the acts of those persons with whom there is a bond
or tie which gives rise to the responsibility. Is this responsibility direct or
subsidiary? In the order of the penal law, the Penal Code distinguishes between
minors and incapacitated persons on the one hand, and other persons on the
other, declaring that the responsibility for the former is direct (article 19), and
for the latter, subsidiary (articles 20 and 21); but in the scheme of the civil law,
in the case of article 1903, the responsibility should be understood as direct,
according to the tenor of that articles, for precisely it imposes responsibility
"for the acts of those persons for whom one should be responsible."
Coming now to the sentences of the Supreme Tribunal of Spain, that court has
upheld the principles above set forth: that a quasi-delict or culpa extracontractual is a separate and distinct legal institution, independent from the
civil responsibility arising from criminal liability, and that an employer is, under
article 1903 of the Civil Code, primarily and directly responsible for the
negligent acts of his employee.
One of the most important of those Spanish decisions is that of October 21,
1910. In that case, Ramon Lafuente died as the result of having been run over
by a street car owned by the "compaia Electric Madrilea de Traccion." The
conductor was prosecuted in a criminal case but he was acquitted. Thereupon,
the widow filed a civil action against the street car company, paying for
damages in the amount of 15,000 pesetas. The lower court awarded damages;
so the company appealed to the Supreme Tribunal, alleging violation of articles
1902 and 1903 of the Civil Code because by final judgment the non-existence

of fault or negligence had been declared. The Supreme Court of Spain


dismissed the appeal, saying:
Considerando que el primer motivo del recurso se funda en el equivocado
supuesto de que el Tribunal a quo, al condonar a la compaia Electrica
Madrilea al pago del dao causado con la muerte de Ramon La fuente
Izquierdo, desconoce el valor y efectos juridicos de la sentencia absolutoria
deictada en la causa criminal que se siguio por el mismo hecho, cuando es lo
cierto que de este han conocido las dos jurisdicciones bajo diferentes as
pectos, y como la de lo criminal declrao dentro de los limites de su
competencia que el hecho de que se trata no era constitutivo de delito por no
haber mediado descuido o negligencia graves, lo que no excluye, siendo este
el unico fundamento del fallo absolutorio, el concurso de la culpa o negligencia
no califacadas, fuente de obligaciones civiles segun el articulo 1902 del
Codigo, y que alcanzan, segun el 1903, netre otras perosnas, a los Directores
de establecimientos o empresas por los daos causados por sus dependientes
en determinadas condiciones, es manifesto que la de lo civil, al conocer del
mismo hehco baho este ultimo aspecto y al condenar a la compaia recurrente
a la indemnizacion del dao causado por uno de sus empleados, lejos de
infringer los mencionados textos, en relacion con el articulo 116 de la Ley de
Enjuciamiento Criminal, se ha atenido estrictamente a ellos, sin invadir
atribuciones ajenas a su jurisdiccion propia, ni contrariar en lo mas minimo el
fallo recaido en la causa.
Considering that the first ground of the appeal is based on the mistaken
supposition that the trial court, in sentencing the Compaia Madrilea to the
payment of the damage caused by the death of Ramon Lafuente Izquierdo,
disregards the value and juridical effects of the sentence of acquittal rendered
in the criminal case instituted on account of the same act, when it is a fact that
the two jurisdictions had taken cognizance of the same act in its different
aspects, and as the criminal jurisdiction declared within the limits of its
authority that the act in question did not constitute a felony because there was
no grave carelessness or negligence, and this being the only basis of acquittal,
it does no exclude the co-existence of fault or negligence which is not
qualified, and is a source of civil obligations according to article 1902 of the
Civil Code, affecting, in accordance with article 1903, among other persons,
the managers of establishments or enterprises by reason of the damages
caused by employees under certain conditions, it is manifest that the civil

jurisdiccion in taking cognizance of the same act in this latter aspect and in
ordering the company, appellant herein, to pay an indemnity for the damage
caused by one of its employees, far from violating said legal provisions, in
relation with article 116 of the Law of Criminal Procedure, strictly followed the
same, without invading attributes which are beyond its own jurisdiction, and
without in any way contradicting the decision in that cause. (Emphasis
supplied.)
It will be noted, as to the case just cited:
First. That the conductor was not sued in a civil case, either separately or with
the street car company. This is precisely what happens in the present case: the
driver, Fontanilla, has not been sued in a civil action, either alone or with his
employer.
Second. That the conductor had been acquitted of grave criminal negligence,
but the Supreme Tribunal of Spain said that this did not exclude the coexistence of fault or negligence, which is not qualified, on the part of the
conductor, under article 1902 of the Civil Code. In the present case, the taxi
driver was found guilty of criminal negligence, so that if he had even sued for
his civil responsibility arising from the crime, he would have been held
primarily liable for civil damages, and Barredo would have been held
subsidiarily liable for the same. But the plaintiffs are directly suing Barredo, on
his primary responsibility because of his own presumed negligence which he
did not overcome under article 1903. Thus, there were two liabilities of
Barredo: first, the subsidiary one because of the civil liability of the taxi driver
arising from the latter's criminal negligence; and, second, Barredo's primary
liability as an employer under article 1903. The plaintiffs were free to choose
which course to take, and they preferred the second remedy. In so doing, they
were acting within their rights. It might be observed in passing, that the
plaintiff choose the more expeditious and effective method of relief, because
Fontanilla was either in prison, or had just been released, and besides, he was
probably without property which might be seized in enforcing any judgment
against him for damages.
Third. That inasmuch as in the above sentence of October 21, 1910, the
employer was held liable civilly, notwithstanding the acquittal of the employee
(the conductor) in a previous criminal case, with greater reason should
Barredo, the employer in the case at bar, be held liable for damages in a civil
suit filed against him because his taxi driver had been convicted. The degree

of negligence of the conductor in the Spanish case cited was less than that of
the taxi driver, Fontanilla, because the former was acquitted in the previous
criminal case while the latter was found guilty of criminal negligence and was
sentenced to an indeterminate sentence of one year and one day to two years
of prision correccional.
(See also Sentence of February 19, 1902, which is similar to the one above
quoted.)
In the Sentence of the Supreme Court of Spain, dated February 14, 1919, an
action was brought against a railroad company for damages because the
station agent, employed by the company, had unjustly and fraudulently,
refused to deliver certain articles consigned to the plaintiff. The Supreme Court
of Spain held that this action was properly under article 1902 of the Civil Code,
the court saying:
Considerando que la sentencia discutida reconoce, en virtud de los hechos que
consigna con relacion a las pruebas del pleito: 1., que las expediciones
facturadas por la compaia ferroviaria a la consignacion del actor de las vasijas
vacias que en su demanda relacionan tenian como fin el que este las
devolviera a sus remitentes con vinos y alcoholes; 2., que llegadas a su
destino tales mercanias no se quisieron entregar a dicho consignatario por el
jefe de la estacion sin motivo justificado y con intencion dolosa, y 3., que la
falta de entrega de estas expediciones al tiempo de reclamarlas el
demandante le originaron daos y perjuicios en cantidad de bastante
importancia como expendedor al por mayor que era de vinos y alcoholes por
las ganancias que dejo de obtener al verse privado de servir los pedidos que se
le habian hecho por los remitentes en los envases:
Considerando que sobre esta base hay necesidad de estimar los cuatro
motivos que integran este recurso, porque la demanda inicial del pleito a que
se contrae no contiene accion que nazca del incumplimiento del contrato de
transporte, toda vez que no se funda en el retraso de la llegada de las
mercancias ni de ningun otro vinculo contractual entre las partes
contendientes, careciendo, por tanto, de aplicacion el articulo 371 del Codigo
de Comercio, en que principalmente descansa el fallo recurrido, sino que se
limita a pedir la reparaction de los daos y perjuicios producidos en el
patrimonio del actor por la injustificada y dolosa negativa del porteador a la
entrega de las mercancias a su nombre consignadas, segun lo reconoce la
sentencia, y cuya responsabilidad esta claramente sancionada en el articulo

1902 del Codigo Civil, que obliga por el siguiente a la Compaia demandada
como ligada con el causante de aquellos por relaciones de caracter economico
y de jurarquia administrativa.
Considering that the sentence, in question recognizes, in virtue of the facts
which it declares, in relation to the evidence in the case: (1) that the invoice
issued by the railroad company in favor of the plaintiff contemplated that the
empty receptacles referred to in the complaint should be returned to the
consignors with wines and liquors; (2) that when the said merchandise reached
their destination, their delivery to the consignee was refused by the station
agent without justification and with fraudulent intent, and (3) that the lack of
delivery of these goods when they were demanded by the plaintiff caused him
losses and damages of considerable importance, as he was a wholesale vendor
of wines and liquors and he failed to realize the profits when he was unable to
fill the orders sent to him by the consignors of the receptacles:
Considering that upon this basis there is need of upholding the four
assignments of error, as the original complaint did not contain any cause of
action arising from non-fulfillment of a contract of transportation, because the
action was not based on the delay of the goods nor on any contractual relation
between the parties litigant and, therefore, article 371 of the Code of
Commerce, on which the decision appealed from is based, is not applicable;
but it limits to asking for reparation for losses and damages produced on the
patrimony of the plaintiff on account of the unjustified and fraudulent refusal of
the carrier to deliver the goods consigned to the plaintiff as stated by the
sentence, and the carrier's responsibility is clearly laid down in article 1902 of
the Civil Code which binds, in virtue of the next article, the defendant
company, because the latter is connected with the person who caused the
damage by relations of economic character and by administrative hierarchy.
(Emphasis supplied.)
The above case is pertinent because it shows that the same act may come
under both the Penal Code and the Civil Code. In that case, the action of the
agent was 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.
Let us now examine the cases previously decided by this Court.

In the leading case of Rakes vs. Atlantic Gulf and Pacific Co. (7 Phil., 359, 362365 [year 1907]), the trial court awarded damages to the plaintiff, a laborer of
the defendant, because the latter had negligently failed to repair a tramway in
consequence of which the rails slid off while iron was being transported, and
caught the plaintiff whose leg was broken. This Court held:
It is contended by the defendant, as its first defense to the action that the
necessary conclusion from these collated laws is that the remedy for injuries
through negligence lies only in a criminal action in which the official criminally
responsible must be made primarily liable and his employer held only
subsidiarily to him. According to this theory the plaintiff should have procured
the arrest of the representative of the company accountable for not repairing
the track, and on his prosecution a suitable fine should have been imposed,
payable primarily by him and secondarily by his employer.
This reasoning misconceived the plan of the Spanish codes upon this subject.
Article 1093 of the Civil Code makes obligations arising from faults or
negligencenot punished by the law, subject to the provisions of Chapter II of
Title XVI. Section 1902 of that chapter reads:
"A person who by an act or omission causes damage to another when there is
fault or negligence shall be obliged to repair the damage so done.
"SEC. 1903. The obligation imposed by the preceeding article is demandable,
not only for personal acts and omissions, but also for those of the persons for
whom they should be responsible.
"The father, and on his death or incapacity, the mother, is liable for the
damages caused by the minors who live with them.
xxxxxxxxx
"Owners or directors of an establishment or enterprise are equally liable for the
damages caused by their employees in the service of the branches in which
the latter may be employed or in the performance of their duties.
xxxxxxxxx

"The liability referred to in this article shall cease when the persons mentioned
therein prove that they employed all the diligence of a good father of a family
to avoid the damage."
As an answer to the argument urged in this particular action it may be
sufficient to point out that nowhere in our general statutes is the employer
penalized for failure to provide or maintain safe appliances for his workmen.
His obligation therefore is one 'not punished by the laws' and falls under civil
rather than criminal jurisprudence. But the answer may be a broader one. We
should be reluctant, under any conditions, to adopt a forced construction of
these scientific codes, such as is proposed by the defendant, that would rob
some of these articles of effect, would shut out litigants against their will from
the civil courts, would make the assertion of their rights dependent upon the
selection for prosecution of the proper criminal offender, and render recovery
doubtful by reason of the strict rules of proof prevailing in criminal actions.
Even if these articles had always stood alone, such a construction would be
unnecessary, but clear light is thrown upon their meaning by the provisions of
the Law of Criminal Procedure of Spain (Ley de Enjuiciamiento Criminal), which,
though never in actual force in these Islands, was formerly given a suppletory
or explanatory effect. Under article 111 of this law, both classes of action, civil
and criminal, might be prosecuted jointly or separately, but while the penal
action was pending the civil was suspended. According to article 112, the penal
action once started, the civil remedy should be sought therewith, unless it had
been waived by the party injured or been expressly reserved by him for civil
proceedings for the future. If the civil action alone was prosecuted, arising out
of a crime that could be enforced only on private complaint, the penal action
thereunder should be extinguished. These provisions are in harmony with
those of articles 23 and 133 of our Penal Code on the same subject.
An examination of this topic might be carried much further, but the citation of
these articles suffices to show that the civil liability was not intended to be
merged in the criminal nor even to be suspended thereby, except as expressly
provided in the law. Where an individual is civilly liable for a negligent act or
omission, it is not required that the injured party should seek out a third person
criminally liable whose prosecution must be a condition precedent to the
enforcement of the civil right.

Under article 20 of the Penal Code the responsibility of an employer may be


regarded as subsidiary in respect of criminal actions against his employees
only while they are in process of prosecution, or in so far as they determine the
existence of the criminal act from which liability arises, and his obligation
under the civil law and its enforcement in the civil courts is not barred thereby
unless by the election of the injured person. Inasmuch as no criminal
proceeding had been instituted, growing our of the accident in question, the
provisions of the Penal Code can not affect this action. This construction
renders it unnecessary to finally determine here whether this subsidiary civil
liability in penal actions has survived the laws that fully regulated it or has
been abrogated by the American civil and criminal procedure now in force in
the Philippines.
The difficulty in construing the articles of the code above cited in this case
appears from the briefs before us to have arisen from the interpretation of the
words of article 1093, "fault or negligence not punished by law," as applied to
the comprehensive definition of offenses in articles 568 and 590 of the Penal
Code. It has been shown that the liability of an employer arising out of his
relation to his employee who is the offender is not to be regarded as derived
from negligence punished by the law, within the meaning of articles 1902 and
1093. More than this, however, it cannot be said to fall within the class of acts
unpunished by the law, the consequence of which are regulated by articles
1902 and 1903 of the Civil Code. The acts to which these articles 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 articles 1101, 1103, and 1104 of the same code. A
typical application of this distinction may be found in the consequences of a
railway accident due to defective machinery supplied by the employer. His
liability to his employee would arise out of the contract of employment, that to
the passengers out of the contract for passage, while that to the injured
bystander would originate in the negligent act itself.
In Manzanares vs. Moreta, 38 Phil., 821 (year 1918), the mother of the 8 of 9year-old child Salvador Bona brought a civil action against Moreta to recover
damages resulting from the death of the child, who had been run over by an
automobile driven and managed by the defendant. The trial court rendered

judgment requiring the defendant to pay the plaintiff the sum of P1,000 as
indemnity: This Court in affirming the judgment, said in part:
If it were true that the defendant, in coming from the southern part of Solana
Street, had to stop his auto before crossing Real Street, because he had met
vehicles which were going along the latter street or were coming from the
opposite direction along Solana Street, it is to be believed that, when he again
started to run his auto across said Real Street and to continue its way along
Solana Street northward, he should have adjusted the speed of the auto which
he was operating until he had fully crossed Real Street and had completely
reached a clear way on Solana Street. But, as the child was run over by the
auto precisely at the entrance of Solana Street, this accident could not have
occurred if the auto had been running at a slow speed, aside from the fact that
the defendant, at the moment of crossing Real Street and entering Solana
Street, in a northward direction, could have seen the child in the act of crossing
the latter street from the sidewalk on the right to that on the left, and if the
accident had occurred in such a way that after the automobile had run over the
body of the child, and the child's body had already been stretched out on the
ground, the automobile still moved along a distance of about 2 meters, this
circumstance shows the fact that the automobile entered Solana Street from
Real Street, at a high speed without the defendant having blown the horn. If
these precautions had been taken by the defendant, the deplorable accident
which caused the death of the child would not have occurred.
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 individually 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.
Years later (in 1930) this Court had another occasion to apply the same
doctrine. InBernal and Enverso vs. House and Tacloban Electric & Ice Plant,

Ltd., 54 Phil., 327, the parents of the five-year-old child, Purificacion Bernal,
brought a civil action to recover damages for the child's death as a result of
burns caused by the fault and negligence of the defendants. On the evening of
April 10, 1925, the Good Friday procession was held in Tacloban, Leyte.
Fortunata Enverso with her daughter Purificacion Bernal had come from
another municipality to attend the same. After the procession the mother and
the daughter with two others were passing along Gran Capitan Street in front
of the offices of the Tacloban Electric & Ice Plant, Ltd., owned by defendants J.
V. House, when an automobile appeared from the opposite direction. The little
girl, who was slightly ahead of the rest, was so frightened by the automobile
that she turned to run, but unfortunately she fell into the street gutter where
hot water from the electric plant was flowing. The child died that same night
from the burns. The trial courts dismissed the action because of the
contributory negligence of the plaintiffs. But this Court held, on appeal, that
there was no contributory negligence, and allowed the parents P1,000 in
damages from J. V. House who at the time of the tragic occurrence was the
holder of the franchise for the electric plant. This Court said in part:
Although the trial judge made the findings of fact hereinbefore outlined, he
nevertheless was led to order the dismissal of the action because of the
contributory negligence of the plaintiffs. It is from this point that a majority of
the court depart from the stand taken by the trial judge. The mother and her
child had a perfect right to be on the principal street of Tacloban, Leyte, on the
evening when the religious procession was held. There was nothing abnormal
in allowing the child to run along a few paces in advance of the mother. No one
could foresee the coincidence of an automobile appearing and of a frightened
child running and falling into a ditch filled with hot water. The doctrine
announced in the much debated case of Rakes vs. Atlantic Gulf and Pacific Co.
([1907]), 7 Phil., 359), still rule. Article 1902 of the Civil Code must again be
enforced. The contributory negligence of the child and her mother, if any, does
not operate as a bar to recovery, but in its strictest sense could only result in
reduction of the damages.
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.
In Bahia vs. Litonjua and Leynes (30 Phil., 624 [year 1915), the action was for
damages for the death of the plaintiff's daughter alleged to have been caused
by the negligence of the servant in driving an automobile over the child. It
appeared that the cause of the mishap was a defect in the steering gear. The
defendant Leynes had rented the automobile from the International Garage of
Manila, to be used by him in carrying passengers during the fiesta of Tuy,
Batangas. Leynes was ordered by the lower court to pay P1,000 as damages to
the plaintiff. On appeal this Court reversed the judgment as to Leynes on the
ground that he had shown that the exercised the care of a good father of a
family, thus overcoming the presumption of negligence under article 1903.
This Court said:
As to selection, the defendant has clearly shown that he exercised the care and
diligence of a good father of a family. He obtained the machine from a
reputable garage and it was, so far as appeared, in good condition. The
workmen were likewise selected from a standard garage, were duly licensed by
the Government in their particular calling, and apparently thoroughly
competent. The machine had been used but a few hours when the accident
occurred and it is clear from the evidence that the defendant had no notice,
either actual or constructive, of the defective condition of the steering gear.
The legal aspect of the case was discussed by this Court thus:
Article 1903 of the Civil Code not only establishes liability in cases of
negligence, but also provides when the liability shall cease. It says:
"The liability referred to in this article shall cease when the persons mentioned
therein prove that they employed all the diligence of a good father of a family
to avoid the damage."
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 matter or employer either
in the selection of the servant or employee, or in supervision over him after the
selection, or both; and (2) 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 relieve from liability.
This theory bases the responsibility of the master ultimately on his own
negligence and not on that of his servant.
The doctrine of the case just cited was followed by this Court in Cerf vs.
Medel (33 Phil., 37 [year 1915]). In the latter case, the complaint alleged that
the defendant's servant had so negligently driven an automobile, which was
operated by defendant as a public vehicle, that said automobile struck and
damaged the plaintiff's motorcycle. This Court, applying article 1903 and
following the rule in Bahia vs. Litonjua and Leynes, said in part (p. 41) that:
The master is liable for the negligent acts of his servant where he is the owner
or director of a business or enterprise and the negligent acts are committed
while the servant is engaged in his master's employment as such owner.
Another case which followed the decision in Bahia vs. Litonjua and
Leynes was Cuison vs. Norton & Harrison Co., 55 Phil., 18 (year 1930). The
latter case was an action for damages brought by Cuison for the death of his
seven-year-old son Moises. The little boy was on his way to school with his
sister Marciana. Some large pieces of lumber fell from a truck and pinned the
boy underneath, instantly killing him. Two youths, Telesforo Binoya and
Francisco Bautista, who were working for Ora, an employee of defendant
Norton & Harrison Co., pleaded guilty to the crime of homicide through reckless
negligence and were sentenced accordingly. This Court, applying articles 1902
and 1903, held:
The basis of civil law liability is not respondent superior but the relationship
of pater familias. This theory bases the liability of the master ultimately on his
own negligence and not on that of his servant. (Bahia vs. Litonjua and Leynes
[1915], 30 Phil., 624; Cangco vs. Manila Railroad Co. [1918], 38 Phil., 768.)
In Walter A. Smith & Co. vs. Cadwallader Gibson Lumber Co., 55 Phil., 517 (year
1930) the plaintiff brought an action for damages for the demolition of its
wharf, which had been struck by the steamer Helen C belonging to the
defendant. This Court held (p. 526):
The evidence shows that Captain Lasa at the time the plaintiff's wharf
collapsed was a duly licensed captain, authorized to navigate and direct a

vessel of any tonnage, and that the appellee contracted his services because
of his reputation as a captain, according to F. C. Cadwallader. This being so, we
are of the opinion that the presumption of liability against the defendant has
been overcome by the exercise of the care and diligence of a good father of a
family in selecting Captain Lasa, in accordance with the doctrines laid down by
this court in the cases cited above, and the defendant is therefore absolved
from all liability.
It is, therefore, seen that the defendant's theory about his secondary liability is
negatived by the six cases above set forth. He is, on the authority of these
cases, primarily and directly responsible in damages under article 1903, in
relation to article 1902, of the Civil Code.
Let us now take up the Philippine decisions relied upon by the defendant. We
study first, City of Manila vs. Manila Electric Co., 52 Phil., 586 (year 1928). A
collision between a truck of the City of Manila and a street car of the Manila
Electric Co. took place on June 8, 1925. The truck was damaged in the amount
of P1,788.27. Sixto Eustaquio, the motorman, was prosecuted for the crime of
damage to property and slight injuries through reckless imprudence. He was
found guilty and sentenced to pay a fine of P900, to indemnify the City of
Manila for P1,788.27, with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency.
Unable to collect the indemnity from Eustaquio, the City of Manila filed an
action against the Manila Electric Company to obtain payment, claiming that
the defendant was subsidiarily liable. The main defense was that the defendant
had exercised the diligence of a good father of a family to prevent the damage.
The lower court rendered judgment in favor of the plaintiff. This Court held, in
part, that this case was governed by the Penal Code, saying:
With this preliminary point out of the way, there is no escaping the conclusion
that the provisions of the Penal Code govern. The Penal Code in easily
understandable language authorizes the determination of subsidiary liability.
The Civil Code negatives its application by providing that civil obligations
arising from crimes or misdemeanors shall be governed by the provisions of
the Penal Code. The conviction of the motorman was a misdemeanor falling
under article 604 of the Penal Code. The act of the motorman was not a
wrongful or negligent act or omission not punishable by law. Accordingly, the
civil obligation connected up with the Penal Code and not with article 1903 of
the Civil Code. In other words, the Penal Code affirms its jurisdiction while the

Civil Code negatives its jurisdiction. This is a case of criminal negligence out of
which civil liability arises and not a case of civil negligence.
xxxxxxxxx
Our deduction, therefore, is that the case relates to the Penal Code and not to
the Civil Code. Indeed, as pointed out by the trial judge, any different ruling
would permit the master to escape scot-free by simply alleging and proving
that the master had exercised all diligence in the selection and training of its
servants to prevent the damage. That would be a good defense to a strictly
civil action, but might or might not be to a civil action either as a part of or
predicated on conviction for a crime or misdemeanor. (By way of parenthesis, it
may be said further that the statements here made are offered to meet the
argument advanced during our deliberations to the effect that article 0902 of
the Civil Code should be disregarded and codal articles 1093 and 1903
applied.)
It is not clear how the above case could support the defendant's proposition,
because the Court of Appeals based its decision in the present case on the
defendant's primary responsibility under article 1903 of the Civil Code and not
on his subsidiary liability arising from Fontanilla's criminal negligence. In other
words, the case of City of Manila vs. Manila Electric Co., supra, is predicated on
an entirely different theory, which is the subsidiary liability of an employer
arising from a criminal act of his employee, whereas the foundation of the
decision of the Court of Appeals in the present case is the employer's primary
liability under article 1903 of the Civil Code. We have already seen that this is a
proper and independent remedy.
Arambulo vs. Manila Electric Co. (55 Phil., 75), is another case invoked by the
defendant. A motorman in the employ of the Manila Electric Company had
been convicted o homicide by simple negligence and sentenced, among other
things, to pay the heirs of the deceased the sum of P1,000. An action was then
brought to enforce the subsidiary liability of the defendant as employer under
the Penal Code. The defendant attempted to show that it had exercised the
diligence of a good father of a family in selecting the motorman, and therefore
claimed exemption from civil liability. But this Court held:

In view of the foregoing considerations, we are of opinion and so hold, (1) that
the exemption from civil liability established in article 1903 of the Civil Code for
all who have acted with the diligence of a good father of a family, is not
applicable to the subsidiary civil liability provided in article 20 of the Penal
Code.
The above case is also extraneous to the theory of the defendant in the instant
case, because the action there had for its purpose the enforcement of the
defendant's subsidiary liability under the Penal Code, while in the case at bar,
the plaintiff's cause of action is based on the defendant's primary and direct
responsibility under article 1903 of the Civil Code. In fact, the above case
destroys the defendant's contention because that decision illustrates the
principle that the employer's primary responsibility under article 1903 of the
Civil Code is different in character from his subsidiary liability under the Penal
Code.
In trying to apply the two cases just referred to, counsel for the defendant has
failed to recognize the distinction between civil liability arising from a crime,
which is governed by the Penal Code, and the responsibility for cuasidelito or culpa aquilianaunder the Civil Code, and has likewise failed to give the
importance to the latter type of civil action.
The defendant-petitioner also cites Francisco vs. Onrubia (46 Phil., 327). That
case need not be set forth. Suffice it to say that the question involved was also
civil liability arising from a crime. Hence, it is as inapplicable as the two cases
above discussed.
The foregoing authorities clearly demonstrate the separate individuality
of cuasi-delitosor culpa aquiliana under the Civil Code. Specifically they show
that there is a distinction between civil liability arising from criminal negligence
(governed by the Penal Code) and responsibility for fault or negligence under
articles 1902 to 1910 of the Civil Code, and that the same negligent act may
produce either a civil liability arising from a crime under the Penal Code, or a
separate responsibility for fault or negligence under articles 1902 to 1910 of
the Civil Code. Still more concretely, the authorities above cited render it
inescapable to conclude that the employer in this case the defendantpetitioner is primarily and directly liable under article 1903 of the Civil Code.
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 be inappropriate to
indicate their foundations.
Firstly, the Revised Penal Code in article 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, according 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 indemnified 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.
Secondly, 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 ibi remedium.
Thirdly, to hold that there is only one way to make defendant's liability
effective, and that is, to sue the driver and exhaust his (the latter's) property
first, would be tantamount to compelling the plaintiff to follow a devious and
cumbersome method of obtaining relief. True, there is such a remedy under our
laws, but there is also a more expeditious way, which is based on the primary
and direct responsibility of the defendant under article 1903 of the Civil Code.
Our view of the law is more likely to facilitate remedy for civil wrongs, because
the procedure indicated by the defendant is wasteful and productive of delay,
it being a matter of common knowledge that professional drivers of taxis and
similar public conveyance usually do not have sufficient means with which to

pay damages. Why, then, should the plaintiff be required in all cases to go
through this roundabout, unnecessary, and probably useless procedure? In
construing the laws, courts have endeavored to shorten and facilitate the
pathways of right and justice.
At this juncture, it should be said that the primary and direct responsibility of
employers and their presumed negligence are principles calculated to protect
society. Workmen and employees should be carefully chosen and supervised in
order to avoid injury to the public. It is the masters or employers who
principally reap the profits resulting from the services of these servants and
employees. It is but right that they should guarantee the latter's careful
conduct for the personnel and patrimonial safety of others. As Theilhard has
said, "they should reproach themselves, at least, some for their weakness,
others for their poor selection and all for their negligence." And according to
Manresa, "It is much more equitable and just that such responsibility should fall
upon the principal or director who could have chosen a careful and prudent
employee, and not upon the injured person who could not exercise such
selection and who used such employee because of his confidence in the
principal or director." (Vol. 12, p. 622, 2nd Ed.) Many jurists also base this
primary responsibility of the employer on the principle of representation of the
principal by the agent. Thus, Oyuelos says in the work already cited (Vol. 7, p.
747) that before third persons the employer and employee "vienen a ser como
una sola personalidad, por refundicion de la del dependiente en la de quien le
emplea y utiliza." ("become as one personality by the merging of the person of
the employee in that of him who employs and utilizes him.") All these
observations acquire a peculiar force and significance when it comes to motor
accidents, and there is need of stressing and accentuating the responsibility of
owners of motor vehicles.
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 onculpa


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 harm 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 of private rights because it re-establishes 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.
In view of the foregoing, the judgment of the Court of Appeals should be and is
hereby affirmed, with costs against the defendant-petitioner.
Yulo, C.J., Moran, Ozaeta and Paras, JJ., concur.

G.R. No. , 91 SCRA 113


Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
DECISION
May 31, 1979

G.R. No. , ,
vs.
,.
, J.:
Petitioner, Edgardo Mendoza, seeks a review on certiorari of the Orders of
respondent Judge in Civil Case No. 80803 dismissing his Complaint for
Damages based on quasi-delict against respondents Felino Timbol and Rodolfo
Salazar.
The facts which spawned the present controversy may be summarized as
follows:
On October 22, 1969, at about 4:00 o'clock in the afternoon, a three- way
vehicular accident occurred along Mac-Arthur Highway, Marilao, Bulacan,
involving a Mercedes Benz owned and driven by petitioner; a private jeep
owned and driven by respondent Rodolfo Salazar; and a gravel and sand truck
owned by respondent Felipino Timbol and driven by Freddie Montoya. As a
consequence of said mishap, two separate Informations for Reckless
Imprudence Causing Damage to Property were filed against Rodolfo Salazar
and Freddie Montoya with the Court of First Instance of Bulacan. The race
against truck-driver Montoya, docketed as Criminal Case No. SM-227, was for
causing damage to the jeep owned by Salazar, in the amount of Pl,604.00, by
hitting it at the right rear portion thereby causing said jeep to hit and bump an
oncoming car, which happened to be petitioner's Mercedes Benz. The case
against jeep-owner-driver Salazar, docketed as Criminal Case No. SM 228, was
for causing damage to the Mercedes Benz of petitioner in the amount of
P8,890.00
At the joint trial of the above cases, petitioner testified that jeep-owner- driver
Salazar overtook the truck driven by Montoya, swerved to the left going
towards the poblacion of Marilao, and hit his car which was bound for Manila.
Petitioner further testified that before the impact, Salazar had jumped from the
jeep and that he was not aware that Salazar's jeep was bumped from behind
by the truck driven by Montoya. Petitioner's version of the accident was
adopted by truck driver Montoya. Jeep-owner-driver Salazar, on the other hand,
tried to show that, after overtaking the truck driven by Montoya, he flashed a

signal indicating his intention to turn left towards the poblacion of Marilao but
was stopped at the intersection by a policeman who was directing traffic; that
while he was at a stop position, his jeep was bumped at the rear by the truck
driven by Montova causing him to be thrown out of the jeep, which then
swerved to the left and hit petitioner's car, which was coming from the
opposite direction.
On July 31, 1970, the Court of First Instance of Bulacan, Branch V, Sta. Maria,
rendered judgment, stating in its decretal portion:
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, this Court finds the accused Freddie Montoya
GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of damage to property thru
reckless imprudence in Crime. Case No. SM-227, and hereby sentences him to
pay a fine of P972.50 and to indemnify Rodolfo Salazar in the same amount of
P972.50 as actual damages, with subsidiary imprisonment in case of
insolvency, both as to fine and indemnity, with costs.
Accused Rodolfo Salazar is hereby ACQUITTED from the offense charged in
Crime. Case No. SM-228, with costs de oficio, and his bond is ordered canceled
SO ORDERED. 1
Thus, the trial Court absolved jeep-owner-driver Salazar of any liability, civil
and criminal, in view of its findings that the collision between Salazar's jeep
and petitioner's car was the result of the former having been bumped from
behind by the truck driven by Montoya. Neither was petitioner awarded
damages as he was not a complainant against truck-driver Montoya but only
against jeep-owner-driver Salazar.
On August 22, 1970, or after the termination of the criminal cases, petitioner
filed Civil Case No. 80803 with the Court of First Instance of Manila against
respondents jeep-owner-driver Salazar and Felino Timbol, the latter being the
owner of the gravel and sand truck driven by Montoya, for indentification for
the damages sustained by his car as a result of the collision involving their
vehicles. Jeep-owner-driver Salazar and truck-owner Timbol were joined as
defendants, either in the alternative or in solidumallegedly for the reason that
petitioner was uncertain as to whether he was entitled to relief against both on
only one of them.

On September 9, 1970, truck-owner Timbol filed a Motion to Dismiss Civil Case


No. 80803 on the grounds that the Complaint is barred by a prior judgment in
the criminal cases and that it fails to state a cause of action. An Opposition
thereto was filed by petitioner.
In an Order dated September 12, 1970, respondent Judge dismissed the
Complaint against truck-owner Timbol for reasons stated in the aforementioned Motion to Dismiss On September 30, 1970, petitioner sought before
this Court the review of that dismissal, to which petition we gave due course.
On January 30, 1971, upon motion of jeep-owner-driver Salazar, respondent
Judge also dismissed the case as against the former. Respondent Judge
reasoned out that "while it is true that an independent civil action for liability
under Article 2177 of the Civil Code could be prosecuted independently of the
criminal action for the offense from which it arose, the New Rules of Court,
which took effect on January 1, 1964, requires an express reservation of the
civil action to be made in the criminal action; otherwise, the same would be
barred pursuant to Section 2, Rule 111 ... 2 Petitioner's Motion for
Reconsideration thereof was denied in the order dated February 23, 1971, with
respondent Judge suggesting that the issue be raised to a higher Court "for a
more decisive interpretation of the rule. 3
On March 25, 1971, petitioner then filed a Supplemental Petition before us,
also to review the last two mentioned Orders, to which we required jeep-ownerdriver Salazar to file an Answer.
The Complaint against
truck-owner Timbol
We shall first discuss the validity of the Order, dated September 12, 1970,
dismissing petitioner's Complaint against truck-owner Timbol.
In dismissing the Complaint against the truck-owner, respondent Judge
sustained Timbol's allegations that the civil suit is barred by the prior joint
judgment in Criminal Cases Nos. SM-227 and SM-228, wherein no reservation
to file a separate civil case was made by petitioner and where the latter
actively participated in the trial and tried to prove damages against jeep-

driver-Salazar only; and that the Complaint does not state a cause of action
against truck-owner Timbol inasmuch as petitioner prosecuted jeep-ownerdriver Salazar as the one solely responsible for the damage suffered by his car.
Well-settled is the rule that for a prior judgment to constitute a bar to a
subsequent case, the following requisites must concur: (1) it must be a final
judgment; (2) it must have been rendered by a Court having jurisdiction over
the subject matter and over the parties; (3) it must be a judgment on the
merits; and (4) there must be, between the first and second actions, Identity of
parties, Identity of subject matter and Identity of cause of action.
It is conceded that the first three requisites of res judicata are present.
However, we agree with petitioner that there is no Identity of cause of action
between Criminal Case No. SM-227 and Civil Case No. 80803. Obvious is the
fact that in said criminal case truck-driver Montoya was not prosecuted for
damage to petitioner's car but for damage to the jeep. Neither was truckowner Timbol a party in said case. In fact as the trial Court had put it "the
owner of the Mercedes Benz cannot recover any damages from the accused
Freddie Montoya, he (Mendoza) being a complainant only against Rodolfo
Salazar in Criminal Case No. SM-228. 4 And more importantly, in the criminal
cases, the cause of action was the enforcement of the civil liability arising from
criminal negligence under Article l of the Revised Penal Code, whereas Civil
Case No. 80803 is based on quasi-delict under Article 2180, in relation to
Article 2176 of the Civil Code As held in Barredo vs. Garcia, et al. 5
The foregoing authorities clearly demonstrate the separate in. individuality of
cuasi-delitos or culpa aquiliana under the Civil Code. Specifically they show
that there is a distinction between civil liability arising from criminal negligence
(governed by the Penal Code) and responsibility for fault or negligence under
articles 1902 to 1910 of the Civil Code, and that the same negligent act may
produce either a civil liability arising from a crime under the Penal Code, or a
separate responsibility for fault or negligence under articles 1902 to 1910 of
the Civil Code. Still more concretely, the authorities above cited render it
inescapable to conclude that the employer in this case the defendantpetitioner is primarily and directly liable under article 1903 of the Civil Code.
That petitioner's cause of action against Timbol in the civil case is based
on quasi-delict is evident from the recitals in the complaint to wit: that while

petitioner was driving his car along MacArthur Highway at Marilao, Bulacan, a
jeep owned and driven by Salazar suddenly swerved to his (petitioner's) lane
and collided with his car That the sudden swerving of Salazar's jeep was
caused either by the negligence and lack of skill of Freddie Montoya, Timbol's
employee, who was then driving a gravel and sand truck iii the same direction
as Salazar's jeep; and that as a consequence of the collision, petitioner's car
suffered extensive damage amounting to P12,248.20 and that he likewise
incurred actual and moral damages, litigation expenses and attorney's fees.
Clearly, therefore, the two factors that a cause of action must consist of,
namely: (1) plaintiff's primary right, i.e., that he is the owner of a Mercedes
Benz, and (2) defendant's delict or wrongful act or omission which violated
plaintiff's primary right, i.e., the negligence or lack of skill either of jeep-owner
Salazar or of Timbol's employee, Montoya, in driving the truck, causing
Salazar's jeep to swerve and collide with petitioner's car, were alleged in the
Complaint. 6
Consequently, petitioner's cause of action being based on quasi-delict,
respondent Judge committed reversible error when he dismissed the civil suit
against the truck-owner, as said case may proceed independently of the
criminal proceedings and regardless of the result of the latter.
Art. 31. When the civil action is based on an obligation not arising from the act
or omission complained of as a felony, such civil action may proceed
independently of the criminal proceedings and regardless of the result of the
latter.
But it is truck-owner Timbol's submission (as well as that of jeep-owner-driver
Salazar) that petitioner's failure to make a reservation in the criminal action of
his right to file an independent civil action bars the institution of such separate
civil action, invoking section 2, Rule 111, Rules of Court, which says:
Section 2. ? Independent civil action. ? In the cases provided for in Articles 31,
32, 33, 34 and 2177 of the Civil Code of the Philippines, an independent civil
action entirely separate and distinct from the criminal action may be brought
by the injured party during the pendency of the criminal case, provided the
right is reserved as required in the preceding section. Such civil action shau
proceed independently of the criminal prosecution, and shall require only a
preponderance of evidence.

Interpreting the above provision, this Court, in Garcia vs. Florida 7 said:
As we have stated at the outset, the same negligent act causing damages may
produce a civil liability arising from crime or create an action for quasi-delict or
culpa extra-contractual. The former is a violation of the criminal law, while the
latter is a distinct and independent negligence, having always had its own
foundation and individuality. Some legal writers are of the view that in
accordance with Article 31, the civil action based upon quasi-delict may
proceed independently of the criminal proceeding for criminal negligence and
regardless of the result of the latter. Hence, 'the proviso in Section 2 of Rule
111 with reference to ... Articles 32, 33 and 34 of the Civil Code is contrary to
the letter and spirit of the said articles, for these articles were drafted ... and
are intended to constitute as exceptions to the general rule stated in what is
now Section 1 of Rule 111. The proviso, which is procedural, may also be
regarded as an unauthorized amendment of substantive law, Articles 32, 33
and 34 of the Civil Code, which do not provide for the reservation required in
the proviso ... .
In his concurring opinion in the above case, Mr. Justice Antonio Barredo further
observed that inasmuch as Articles 2176 and 2177 of the Civil Code create a
civil liability distinct and different from the civil action arising from the offense
of negligence under the Revised Penal Code, no reservation, therefore, need be
made in the criminal case; that Section 2 of Rule 111 is inoperative, "it being
substantive in character and is not within the power of the Supreme Court to
promulgate; and even if it were not substantive but adjective, it cannot stand
because of its inconsistency with Article 2177, an enactment of the legislature
superseding the Rules of 1940."
We declare, therefore, that in so far as truck-owner Timbol is concerned, Civil
Case No. 80803 is not barred by the fact that petitioner failed to reserve, in the
criminal action, his right to file an independent civil action based on quasidelict.
The suit against
jeep-owner-driver Salazar

The case as against jeep-owner-driver Salazar, who was acquitted in Criminal


Case No. SM-228, presents a different picture altogether.
At the outset it should be clarified that inasmuch as civil liability co-exists with
criminal responsibility in negligence cases, the offended party has the option
between an action for enforcement of civil liability based on culpa criminal
under Article 100 of the Revised Penal Code, and an action for recovery of
damages based on culpa aquiliana under Article 2177 of the Civil Code. The
action for enforcement of civil liability based on culpa criminal under section 1
of Rule 111 of the Rules of Court is deemed simultaneously instituted with the
criminal action, unless expressly waived or reserved for separate application
by the offended party. 8
The circumstances attendant to the criminal case yields the conclusion that
petitioner had opted to base his cause of action against jeep-owner-driver
Salazar on culpa criminal and not on culpa aquiliana as evidenced by his active
participation and intervention in the prosecution of the criminal suit against
said Salazar. The latter's civil liability continued to be involved in the criminal
action until its termination. Such being the case, there was no need for
petitioner to have reserved his right to file a separate civil action as his action
for civil liability was deemed impliedly instituted in Criminal Case No. SM-228.
Neither would an independent civil action he. Noteworthy is the basis of the
acquittal of jeep-owner-driver Salazar in the criminal case, expounded by the
trial Court in this wise:
In view of what has been proven and established during the trial, accused
Freddie Montoya would be held able for having bumped and hit the rear portion
of the jeep driven by the accused Rodolfo Salazar,
Considering that the collision between the jeep driven by Rodolfo Salazar and
the car owned and driven by Edgardo Mendoza was the result of the hitting on
the rear of the jeep by the truck driven by Freddie Montoya, this Court behaves
that accused Rodolfo Salazar cannot be held able for the damages sustained
by Edgardo Mendoza's car. 9
Crystal clear is the trial Court's pronouncement that under the facts of the
case, jeep-owner-driver Salazar cannot be held liable for the damages

sustained by petitioner's car. In other words, "the fact from which the civil
might arise did not exist. " Accordingly, inasmuch as petitioner's cause of
action as against jeep-owner-driver Salazar is ex- delictu, founded on Article
100 of the Revised Penal Code, the civil action must be held to have been
extinguished in consonance with Section 3(c), Rule 111 of the Rules of Court 10
which provides:
Sec. 3. Other civil actions arising from offenses. ? In all cases not included in
the preceding section the following rules shall be observed:
xxx xxx xxx
c) Extinction of the penal action does not carry with it extinction of the civil,
unless the extinction proceeds from a declaration in a final judgment that the
fact from which the civil night arise did not exist. ...
And even if petitioner's cause of action as against jeep-owner-driver Salazar
were not ex-delictu, the end result would be the same, it being clear from the
judgment in the criminal case that Salazar's acquittal was not based upon
reasonable doubt, consequently, a civil action for damages can no longer be
instituted. This is explicitly provided for in Article 29 of the Civil Code quoted
here under:
Art. 29. 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 ...
If in a criminal case the judgment of acquittal is based upon reasonable doubt,
the court shall so declare. In the absence of any declaration to that effect, it
may be inferred from the text of the decision whether or not the acquittal is
due to that ground.
In so far as the suit against jeep-owner-driver Salazar is concerned, therefore,
we sustain respondent Judge's Order dated January 30, 1971 dismissing the
complaint, albeit on different grounds.
WHEREFORE, 1) the Order dated September 12, 1970 dismissing Civil Case No.
80803 against private respondent Felino Timbol is set aside, and respondent

Judge, or his successor, hereby ordered to proceed with the hearing on the
merits; 2) but the Orders dated January 30, 1971 and February 23, 1971
dismissing the Complaint in Civil Case No. 80803 against respondent Rodolfo
Salazar are hereby upheld.
No costs.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 84698 February 4, 1992


PHILIPPINE SCHOOL OF BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION, JUAN D. LIM, BENJAMIN P. PAULINO, ANTONIO M.
MAGTALAS, COL. PEDRO SACRO and LT. M. SORIANO, petitioners,
vs.
COURT OF APPEALS, HON. REGINA ORDOEZ-BENITEZ, in her capacity as Presiding Judge of Branch 47,
Regional Trial Court, Manila, SEGUNDA R. BAUTISTA and ARSENIA D. BAUTISTA, respondents.
Balgos and Perez for petitioners.
Collantes, Ramirez & Associates for private respondents.

PADILLA, J.:
A stabbing incident on 30 August 1985 which caused the death of Carlitos Bautista while on the second-floor
premises of the Philippine School of Business Administration (PSBA) prompted the parents of the deceased to file
suit in the Regional Trial Court of Manila (Branch 47) presided over by Judge (now Court of Appeals justice) Regina
Ordoez-Benitez, for damages against the said PSBA and its corporate officers. At the time of his death, Carlitos
was enrolled in the third year commerce course at the PSBA. It was established that his assailants were not
members of the school's academic community but were elements from outside the school.
Specifically, the suit impleaded the PSBA and the following school authorities: Juan D. Lim (President), Benjamin P.
Paulino (Vice-President), Antonio M. Magtalas (Treasurer/Cashier), Col. Pedro Sacro (Chief of Security) and a Lt. M.
Soriano (Assistant Chief of Security). Substantially, the plaintiffs (now private respondents) sought to adjudge them
liable for the victim's untimely demise due to their alleged negligence, recklessness and lack of security precautions,
means and methods before, during and after the attack on the victim. During the proceedings a quo, Lt. M. Soriano
terminated his relationship with the other petitioners by resigning from his position in the school.
Defendants a quo (now petitioners) sought to have the suit dismissed, alleging that since they are presumably sued
under Article 2180 of the Civil Code, the complaint states no cause of action against them, as jurisprudence on the
subject is to the effect that academic institutions, such as the PSBA, are beyond the ambit of the rule in the aforestated article.

The respondent trial court, however, overruled petitioners' contention and thru an order dated 8 December 1987,
denied their motion to dismiss. A subsequent motion for reconsideration was similarly dealt with by an order dated
25 January 1988. Petitioners then assailed the trial court's disposition before the respondent appellate court which,
in a decision * promulgated on 10 June 1988, affirmed the trial court's orders. On 22 August 1988, the respondent
appellate court resolved to deny the petitioners' motion for reconsideration. Hence, this petition.
At the outset, it is to be observed that the respondent appellate court primarily anchored its decision on the law
ofquasi-delicts, as enunciated in Articles 2176 and 2180 of the Civil Code. 1 Pertinent portions of the appellate court's
now assailed ruling state:
Article 2180 (formerly Article 1903) of the Civil Code is an adoption from the old Spanish Civil Code.
The comments of Manresa and learned authorities on its meaning should give way to present day
changes. The law is not fixed and flexible (sic); it must be dynamic. In fact, the greatest value and
significance of law as a rule of conduct in (sic) its flexibility to adopt to changing social conditions
and its capacity to meet the new challenges of progress.
Construed in the light of modern day educational system, Article 2180 cannot be construed in its
narrow concept as held in the old case of Exconde vs. Capuno 2 and Mercado vs. Court of
Appeals; 3hence, the ruling in the Palisoc 4 case that it should apply to all kinds of educational institutions,
academic or vocational.
At any rate, the law holds the teachers and heads of the school staff liable unless they relieve
themselves of such liability pursuant to the last paragraph of Article 2180 by "proving that they
observed all the diligence to prevent damage." This can only be done at a trial on the merits of the
case. 5
While we agree with the respondent appellate court that the motion to dismiss the complaint was correctly denied
and the complaint should be tried on the merits, we do not however agree with the premises of the appellate court's
ruling.
Article 2180, in conjunction with Article 2176 of the Civil Code, establishes the rule of in loco parentis. This Court
discussed this doctrine in the afore-cited cases of Exconde, Mendoza, Palisoc and, more recently, in Amadora
vs.Court of Appeals. 6 In all such cases, it had been stressed that the law (Article 2180) plainly provides that the damage
should have been caused or inflicted by pupils or students of he educational institution sought to be held liable for the acts
of its pupils or students while in its custody. However, this material situation does not exist in the present case for, as
earlier indicated, the assailants of Carlitos were not students of the PSBA, for whose acts the school could be made liable.
However, does the appellate court's failure to consider such material facts mean the exculpation of the petitioners
from liability? It does not necessarily follow.
When an academic institution accepts students for enrollment, there is established a contract between them,
resulting in bilateral obligations which both parties are bound to comply with. 7 For its part, the school undertakes to
provide the student with an education that would presumably suffice to equip him with the necessary tools and skills to
pursue higher education or a profession. On the other hand, the student covenants to abide by the school's academic
requirements and observe its rules and regulations.
Institutions of learning must also meet the implicit or "built-in" obligation of providing their students with an
atmosphere that promotes or assists in attaining its primary undertaking of imparting knowledge. Certainly, no
student can absorb the intricacies of physics or higher mathematics or explore the realm of the arts and other
sciences when bullets are flying or grenades exploding in the air or where there looms around the school premises
a constant threat to life and limb. Necessarily, the school must ensure that adequate steps are taken to maintain
peace and order within the campus premises and to prevent the breakdown thereof.

Because the circumstances of the present case evince a contractual relation between the PSBA and Carlitos
Bautista, the rules on quasi-delict do not really govern. 8 A perusal of Article 2176 shows that obligations arising from quasi-delicts or tort,
also known as extra-contractual obligations, arise only between parties not otherwise bound by contract, whether express or implied. However, this impression has
not prevented this Court from determining the existence of a tort even when there obtains a contract. In Air France vs. Carrascoso (124 Phil. 722), the private
respondent was awarded damages for his unwarranted expulsion from a first-class seat aboard the petitioner airline. It is noted, however, that the Court referred to
the petitioner-airline's liability as one arising from tort, not one arising from a contract of carriage. In effect, Air France is authority for the view that liability from tort
may exist even if there is a contract, for the act that breaks the contract may be also a tort. (Austro-America S.S. Co. vs. Thomas, 248 Fed. 231).

This view was not all that revolutionary, for even as early as 1918, this Court was already of a similar mind.
InCangco vs. Manila Railroad (38 Phil. 780), Mr. Justice Fisher elucidated thus:
The field of non-contractual obligation is much broader than that of contractual obligation,
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
a breach of the contract would have constituted the source of an extra-contractual obligation had no
contract existed between the parties.
Immediately what comes to mind is the chapter of the Civil Code on Human Relations, particularly Article 21, which
provides:
Any person who wilfully causes loss or injury to another in a manner that is contrary to morals, good
custom or public policy shall compensate the latter for the damage. (emphasis supplied).
Air France penalized the racist policy of the airline which emboldened the petitioner's employee to forcibly oust the
private respondent to cater to the comfort of a white man who allegedly "had a better right to the seat." InAustroAmerican, supra, the public embarrassment caused to the passenger was the justification for the Circuit Court of
Appeals, (Second Circuit), to award damages to the latter. From the foregoing, it can be concluded that should the
act which breaches a contract be done in bad faith and be violative of Article 21, then there is a cause to view the
act as constituting a quasi-delict.
In the circumstances obtaining in the case at bar, however, there is, as yet, no finding that the contract between the
school and Bautista had been breached thru the former's negligence in providing proper security measures. This
would be for the trial court to determine. And, even if there be a finding of negligence, the same could give rise
generally to a breach of contractual obligation only. Using the test of Cangco, supra, the negligence of the school
would not be relevant absent a contract. In fact, that negligence becomes material only because of the contractual
relation between PSBA and Bautista. In other words, a contractual relation is a condition sine qua nonto the school's
liability. The negligence of the school cannot exist independently of the contract, unless the negligence occurs under
the circumstances set out in Article 21 of the Civil Code.
This Court is not unmindful of the attendant difficulties posed by the obligation of schools, above-mentioned, for
conceptually a school, like a common carrier, cannot be an insurer of its students against all risks. This is specially
true in the populous student communities of the so-called "university belt" in Manila where there have been reported
several incidents ranging from gang wars to other forms of hooliganism. It would not be equitable to expect of
schools to anticipate all types of violent trespass upon their premises, for notwithstanding the security measures
installed, the same may still fail against an individual or group determined to carry out a nefarious deed inside
school premises and environs. Should this be the case, the school may still avoid liability by proving that the breach
of its contractual obligation to the students was not due to its negligence, here statutorily defined to be the omission
of that degree of diligence which is required by the nature of the obligation and corresponding to the circumstances
of persons, time and place. 9

As the proceedings a quo have yet to commence on the substance of the private respondents' complaint, the record
is bereft of all the material facts. Obviously, at this stage, only the trial court can make such a determination from the
evidence still to unfold.
WHEREFORE, the foregoing premises considered, the petition is DENIED. The court of origin (RTC, Manila, Br. 47)
is hereby ordered to continue proceedings consistent with this ruling of the Court. Costs against the petitioners.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. , 18 SCRA 155


Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
September 28, 1966
G.R. No. L-21438
AIR FRANCE, petitioner,
vs.
RAFAEL CARRASCOSO and the HONORABLE COURT OF
APPEALS, respondents.
Lichauco, Picazo and Agcaoili for petitioner.
Bengzon Villegas and Zarraga for respondent R. Carrascoso.
SANCHEZ, J.:
The Court of First Instance of Manila 1 sentenced petitioner to pay respondent
Rafael Carrascoso P25,000.00 by way of moral damages; P10,000.00 as
exemplary damages; P393.20 representing the difference in fare between first
class and tourist class for the portion of the trip Bangkok-Rome, these various
amounts with interest at the legal rate, from the date of the filing of the
complaint until paid; plus P3,000.00 for attorneys' fees; and the costs of suit.
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On appeal, 2 the Court of Appeals slightly reduced the amount of refund on


Carrascoso's plane ticket from P393.20 to P383.10, and voted to affirm the
appealed decision "in all other respects", with costs against petitioner.
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The case is now before us for review on certiorari.


The facts declared by the Court of Appeals as " fully supported by the evidence
of record", are:
Plaintiff, a civil engineer, was a member of a group of 48 Filipino pilgrims that
left Manila for Lourdes on March 30, 1958.
On March 28, 1958, the defendant, Air France, through its authorized agent,
Philippine Air Lines, Inc., issued to plaintiff a "first class" round trip airplane
ticket from Manila to Rome. From Manila to Bangkok, plaintiff travelled in "first
class", but at Bangkok, the Manager of the defendant airline forced plaintiff to
vacate the "first class" seat that he was occupying because, in the words of the
witness Ernesto G. Cuento, there was a "white man", who, the Manager
alleged, had a "better right" to the seat. When asked to vacate his "first class"
seat, the plaintiff, as was to be expected, refused, and told defendant's
Manager that his seat would be taken over his dead body; a commotion
ensued, and, according to said Ernesto G. Cuento, "many of the Filipino
passengers got nervous in the tourist class; when they found out that Mr.
Carrascoso was having a hot discussion with the white man [manager], they
came all across to Mr. Carrascoso and pacified Mr. Carrascoso to give his seat
to the white man" (Transcript, p. 12, Hearing of May 26, 1959); and plaintiff
reluctantly gave his "first class" seat in the plane. 3
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1. The trust of the relief petitioner now seeks is that we review "all the
findings" 4 of respondent Court of Appeals. Petitioner charges that respondent
court failed to make complete findings of fact on all the issues properly laid
before it. We are asked to consider facts favorable to petitioner, and then, to
overturn the appellate court's decision.
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Coming into focus is the constitutional mandate that "No decision shall be
rendered by any court of record without expressing therein clearly and
distinctly the facts and the law on which it is based". 5 This is echoed in the
statutory demand that a judgment determining the merits of the case shall
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state "clearly and distinctly the facts and the law on which it is based"; 6 and
that "Every decision of the Court of Appeals shall contain complete findings of
fact on all issues properly raised before it". 7
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A decision with absolutely nothing to support it is a nullity. It is open to direct


attack. 8 The law, however, solely insists that a decision state the "essential
ultimate facts" upon which the court's conclusion is drawn. 9 A court of justice
is not hidebound to write in its decision every bit and piece of
evidence 10 presented by one party and the other upon the issues raised.
Neither is it to be burdened with the obligation "to specify in the sentence the
facts" which a party "considered as proved". 11 This is but a part of the mental
process from which the Court draws the essential ultimate facts. A decision is
not to be so clogged with details such that prolixity, if not confusion, may
result. So long as the decision of the Court of Appeals contains the necessary
facts to warrant its conclusions, it is no error for said court to withhold
therefrom "any specific finding of facts with respect to the evidence for the
defense". Because as this Court well observed, "There is no law that so
requires". 12 Indeed, "the mere failure to specify (in the decision) the
contentions of the appellant and the reasons for refusing to believe them is not
sufficient to hold the same contrary to the requirements of the provisions of
law and the Constitution". It is in this setting that in Manigque, it was held that
the mere fact that the findings "were based entirely on the evidence for the
prosecution without taking into consideration or even mentioning the
appellant's side in the controversy as shown by his own testimony", would not
vitiate the judgment. 13 If the court did not recite in the decision the testimony
of each witness for, or each item of evidence presented by, the defeated party,
it does not mean that the court has overlooked such testimony or such item of
evidence. 14 At any rate, the legal presumptions are that official duty has been
regularly performed, and that all the matters within an issue in a case were
laid before the court and passed upon by it. 15
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Findings of fact, which the Court of Appeals is required to make, maybe defined
as "the written statement of the ultimate facts as found by the court ... and
essential to support the decision and judgment rendered thereon". 16 They
consist of the court's"conclusions" with respect to the determinative facts in
issue". 17 A question of law, upon the other hand, has been declared as "one
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which does not call for an examination of the probative value of the evidence
presented by the parties." 18
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2. By statute, "only questions of law may be raised" in an appeal by certiorari


from a judgment of the Court of Appeals. 19 That judgment is conclusive as to
the facts. It is not appropriately the business of this Court to alter the facts or
to review the questions of fact. 20
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With these guideposts, we now face the problem of whether the findings of fact
of the Court of Appeals support its judgment.
3. Was Carrascoso entitled to the first class seat he claims?
It is conceded in all quarters that on March 28, 1958 he paid to and received
from petitioner a first class ticket. But petitioner asserts that said ticket did not
represent the true and complete intent and agreement of the parties; that said
respondent knew that he did not have confirmed reservations for first class on
any specific flight, although he had tourist class protection; that, accordingly,
the issuance of a first class ticket was no guarantee that he would have a first
class ride, but that such would depend upon the availability of first class seats.
These are matters which petitioner has thoroughly presented and discussed in
its brief before the Court of Appeals under its third assignment of error, which
reads: "The trial court erred in finding that plaintiff had confirmed reservations
for, and a right to, first class seats on the "definite" segments of his journey,
particularly that from Saigon to Beirut". 21
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And, the Court of Appeals disposed of this contention thus:


Defendant seems to capitalize on the argument that the issuance of a firstclass ticket was no guarantee that the passenger to whom the same had been
issued, would be accommodated in the first-class compartment, for as in the
case of plaintiff he had yet to make arrangements upon arrival at every station
for the necessary first-class reservation. We are not impressed by such a
reasoning. We cannot understand how a reputable firm like defendant airplane
company could have the indiscretion to give out tickets it never meant to
honor at all. It received the corresponding amount in payment of first-class
tickets and yet it allowed the passenger to be at the mercy of its employees. It

is more in keeping with the ordinary course of business that the company
should know whether or riot the tickets it issues are to be honored or not. 22
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Not that the Court of Appeals is alone. The trial court similarly disposed of
petitioner's contention, thus:
On the fact that plaintiff paid for, and was issued a "First class" ticket, there
can be no question. Apart from his testimony, see plaintiff's Exhibits "A", "A-1",
"B", "B-1," "B-2", "C" and "C-1", and defendant's own witness, Rafael Altonaga,
confirmed plaintiff's testimony and testified as follows:
Q. In these tickets there are marks "O.K." From what you know, what does this
OK mean?
A. That the space is confirmed.
Q. Confirmed for first class?
A. Yes, "first class". (Transcript, p. 169)
xxxxxxxxx
Defendant tried to prove by the testimony of its witnesses Luis Zaldariaga and
Rafael Altonaga that although plaintiff paid for, and was issued a "first class"
airplane ticket, the ticket was subject to confirmation in Hongkong. The court
cannot give credit to the testimony of said witnesses. Oral evidence cannot
prevail over written evidence, and plaintiff's Exhibits "A", "A-l", "B", "B-l", "C"
and "C-1" belie the testimony of said witnesses, and clearly show that the
plaintiff was issued, and paid for, a first class ticket without any reservation
whatever.
Furthermore, as hereinabove shown, defendant's own witness Rafael Altonaga
testified that the reservation for a "first class" accommodation for the plaintiff
was confirmed. The court cannot believe that after such confirmation
defendant had a verbal understanding with plaintiff that the "first class" ticket
issued to him by defendant would be subject to confirmation in Hongkong. 23
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We have heretofore adverted to the fact that except for a slight difference of a
few pesos in the amount refunded on Carrascoso's ticket, the decision of the

Court of First Instance was affirmed by the Court of Appeals in all other
respects. We hold the view that such a judgment of affirmance has merged the
judgment of the lower court. 24 Implicit in that affirmance is a determination by
the Court of Appeals that the proceeding in the Court of First Instance was free
from prejudicial error and "all questions raised by the assignments of error and
all questions that might have been raised are to be regarded as finally
adjudicated against the appellant". So also, the judgment affirmed "must be
regarded as free from all error". 25 We reached this policy construction
because nothing in the decision of the Court of Appeals on this point would
suggest that its findings of fact are in any way at war with those of the trial
court. Nor was said affirmance by the Court of Appeals upon a ground or
grounds different from those which were made the basis of the conclusions of
the trial court. 26
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If, as petitioner underscores, a first-class-ticket holder is not entitled to a first


class seat, notwithstanding the fact that seat availability in specific flights is
therein confirmed, then an air passenger is placed in the hollow of the hands of
an airline. What security then can a passenger have? It will always be an easy
matter for an airline aided by its employees, to strike out the very stipulations
in the ticket, and say that there was a verbal agreement to the contrary. What
if the passenger had a schedule to fulfill? We have long learned that, as a rule,
a written document speaks a uniform language; that spoken word could be
notoriously unreliable. If only to achieve stability in the relations between
passenger and air carrier, adherence to the ticket so issued is desirable. Such
is the case here. The lower courts refused to believe the oral evidence
intended to defeat the covenants in the ticket.
The foregoing are the considerations which point to the conclusion that there
are facts upon which the Court of Appeals predicated the finding that
respondent Carrascoso had a first class ticket and was entitled to a first class
seat at Bangkok, which is a stopover in the Saigon to Beirut leg of the
flight. 27 We perceive no "welter of distortions by the Court of Appeals of
petitioner's statement of its position", as charged by petitioner. 28 Nor do we
subscribe to petitioner's accusation that respondent Carrascoso "surreptitiously
took a first class seat to provoke an issue". 29 And this because, as petitioner
states, Carrascoso went to see the Manager at his office in Bangkok "to confirm
my seat and because from Saigon I was told again to see the
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Manager". 30 Why, then, was he allowed to take a first class seat in the plane
at Bangkok, if he had no seat? Or, if another had a better right to the seat?
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4. Petitioner assails respondent court's award of moral damages. Petitioner's


trenchant claim is that Carrascoso's action is planted upon breach of contract;
that to authorize an award for moral damages there must be an averment of
fraud or bad faith; 31 and that the decision of the Court of Appeals fails to make
a finding of bad faith. The pivotal allegations in the complaint bearing on this
issue are:
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3. That ... plaintiff entered into a contract of air carriage with the Philippine Air
Lines for a valuable consideration, the latter acting as general agents for and
in behalf of the defendant, under which said contract, plaintiff was entitled to,
as defendant agreed to furnish plaintiff, First Class passage on defendant's
plane during the entire duration of plaintiff's tour of Europe with Hongkong as
starting point up to and until plaintiff's return trip to Manila, ..
4. That, during the first two legs of the trip from Hongkong to Saigon and from
Saigon to Bangkok, defendant furnished to the plaintiff First Class
accommodation but only after protestations, arguments and/or insistence were
made by the plaintiff with defendant's employees.
5. That finally, defendant failed to provide First Class passage, but instead
furnished plaintiff only Tourist Class accommodations from Bangkok to Teheran
and/or Casablanca, ... the plaintiff has been compelled by defendant's
employees to leave the First Class accommodation berths at Bangkok after he
was already seated.
6. That consequently, the plaintiff, desiring no repetition of the inconvenience
and embarrassments brought by defendant's breach of contract was forced to
take a Pan American World Airways plane on his return trip from Madrid to
Manila. 32
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2. That likewise, as a result of defendant's failure to furnish First Class
accommodations aforesaid, plaintiff suffered inconveniences, embarrassments,
and humiliations, thereby causing plaintiff mental anguish, serious anxiety,

wounded feelings, social humiliation, and the like injury, resulting in moral
damages in the amount of P30,000.00. 33
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xxxxxxxxx
The foregoing, in our opinion, substantially aver: First, That there was a
contract to furnish plaintiff a first class passage covering, amongst others, the
Bangkok-Teheran leg; Second, That said contract was breached when petitioner
failed to furnish first class transportation at Bangkok; and Third, that there was
bad faith when petitioner's employee compelled Carrascoso to leave his first
class accommodation berth "after he was already, seated" and to take a seat in
the tourist class, by reason of which he suffered inconvenience,
embarrassments and humiliations, thereby causing him mental anguish,
serious anxiety, wounded feelings and social humiliation, resulting in moral
damages. It is true that there is no specific mention of the term bad faith in the
complaint. But, the inference of bad faith is there, it may be drawn from the
facts and circumstances set forth therein. 34 The contract was averred to
establish the relation between the parties. But the stress of the action is put on
wrongful expulsion.
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Quite apart from the foregoing is that (a) right the start of the trial,
respondent's counsel placed petitioner on guard on what Carrascoso intended
to prove: That while sitting in the plane in Bangkok, Carrascoso was ousted by
petitioner's manager who gave his seat to a white man; 35 and (b) evidence of
bad faith in the fulfillment of the contract was presented without objection on
the part of the petitioner. It is, therefore, unnecessary to inquire as to whether
or not there is sufficient averment in the complaint to justify an award for
moral damages. Deficiency in the complaint, if any, was cured by the evidence.
An amendment thereof to conform to the evidence is not even required. 36 On
the question of bad faith, the Court of Appeals declared:
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That the plaintiff was forced out of his seat in the first class compartment of
the plane belonging to the defendant Air France while at Bangkok, and was
transferred to the tourist class not only without his consent but against his will,
has been sufficiently established by plaintiff in his testimony before the court,
corroborated by the corresponding entry made by the purser of the plane in his
notebook which notation reads as follows:

"First-class passenger was forced to go to the tourist class against his will,
and that the captain refused to intervene",
and by the testimony of an eye-witness, Ernesto G. Cuento, who was a
co-passenger. The captain of the plane who was asked by the manager of
defendant company at Bangkok to intervene even refused to do so. It is
noteworthy that no one on behalf of defendant ever contradicted or
denied this evidence for the plaintiff. It could have been easy for
defendant to present its manager at Bangkok to testify at the trial of the
case, or yet to secure his disposition; but defendant did neither. 37
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The Court of appeals further stated


Neither is there evidence as to whether or not a prior reservation was made by
the white man. Hence, if the employees of the defendant at Bangkok sold a
first-class ticket to him when all the seats had already been taken, surely the
plaintiff should not have been picked out as the one to suffer the
consequences and to be subjected to the humiliation and indignity of being
ejected from his seat in the presence of others. Instead of explaining to the
white man the improvidence committed by defendant's employees, the
manager adopted the more drastic step of ousting the plaintiff who was then
safely ensconsced in his rightful seat. We are strengthened in our belief that
this probably was what happened there, by the testimony of defendant's
witness Rafael Altonaga who, when asked to explain the meaning of the letters
"O.K." appearing on the tickets of plaintiff, said "that the space is confirmed for
first class. Likewise, Zenaida Faustino, another witness for defendant, who was
the chief of the Reservation Office of defendant, testified as follows:
"Q How does the person in the ticket-issuing office know what reservation
the passenger has arranged with you?
A They call us up by phone and ask for the confirmation." (t.s.n., p. 247,
June 19, 1959)
In this connection, we quote with approval what the trial Judge has said
on this point:

Why did the, using the words of witness Ernesto G. Cuento, "white man"
have a "better right" to the seat occupied by Mr. Carrascoso? The record
is silent. The defendant airline did not prove "any better", nay, any right
on the part of the "white man" to the "First class" seat that the plaintiff
was occupying and for which he paid and was issued a corresponding
"first class" ticket.
If there was a justified reason for the action of the defendant's Manager in
Bangkok, the defendant could have easily proven it by having taken the
testimony of the said Manager by deposition, but defendant did not do so;
the presumption is that evidence willfully suppressed would be adverse if
produced [Sec. 69, par (e), Rules of Court]; and, under the circumstances,
the Court is constrained to find, as it does find, that the Manager of the
defendant airline in Bangkok not merely asked but threatened the plaintiff
to throw him out of the plane if he did not give up his "first class" seat
because the said Manager wanted to accommodate, using the words of
the witness Ernesto G. Cuento, the "white man". 38
[[

]]

It is really correct to say that the Court of Appeals in the quoted portion
first transcribed did not use the term "bad faith". But can it be doubted
that the recital of facts therein points to bad faith? The manager not only
prevented Carrascoso from enjoying his right to a first class seat; worse,
he imposed his arbitrary will; he forcibly ejected him from his seat, made
him suffer the humiliation of having to go to the tourist class
compartment - just to give way to another passenger whose right thereto
has not been established. Certainly, this is bad faith. Unless, of course,
bad faith has assumed a meaning different from what is understood in
law. For, "bad faith" contemplates a "state of mind affirmatively operating
with furtive design or with some motive of self-interest or will or for
ulterior purpose." 39
[[

]]

And if the foregoing were not yet sufficient, there is the express finding
of bad faith in the judgment of the Court of First Instance, thus:
The evidence shows that the defendant violated its contract of
transportation with plaintiff in bad faith, with the aggravating
circumstances that defendant's Manager in Bangkok went to the extent of
threatening the plaintiff in the presence of many passengers to have him

thrown out of the airplane to give the "first class" seat that he was
occupying to, again using the words of the witness Ernesto G. Cuento, a
"white man" whom he (defendant's Manager) wished to accommodate,
and the defendant has not proven that this "white man" had any "better
right" to occupy the "first class" seat that the plaintiff was occupying, duly
paid for, and for which the corresponding "first class" ticket was issued by
the defendant to him. 40
[[

]]

5. The responsibility of an employer for the tortious act of its employees need
not be essayed. It is well settled in law. 41 For the willful malevolent act of
petitioner's manager, petitioner, his employer, must answer. Article 21 of the
Civil Code says:
[[

]]

ART. 21. Any person who willfully causes loss or injury to another in a manner
that is contrary to morals, good customs or public policy shall compensate the
latter for the damage.
In parallel circumstances, we applied the foregoing legal precept; and, we held
that upon the provisions of Article 2219 (10), Civil Code, moral damages are
recoverable. 42
[[

]]

6. A contract to transport passengers is quite different in kind and degree from


any other contractual relation. 43 And this, because of the relation which an
air-carrier sustains with the public. Its business is mainly with the travelling
public. It invites people to avail of the comforts and advantages it offers. The
contract of air carriage, therefore, generates a relation attended with a public
duty. Neglect or malfeasance of the carrier's employees, naturally, could give
ground for an action for damages.
[[

]]

Passengers do not contract merely for transportation. They have a right to be


treated by the carrier's employees with kindness, respect, courtesy and due
consideration. They are entitled to be protected against personal misconduct,
injurious language, indignities and abuses from such employees. So it is, that
any rule or discourteous conduct on the part of employees towards a
passenger gives the latter an action for damages against the carrier. 44
[[

]]

Thus, "Where a steamship company 45 had accepted a passenger's check, it


was a breach of contract and a tort, giving a right of action for its agent in the
[[

]]

presence of third persons to falsely notify her that the check was worthless and
demand payment under threat of ejection, though the language used was not
insulting and she was not ejected." 46 And this, because, although the relation
of passenger and carrier is "contractual both in origin and nature" nevertheless
"the act that breaks the contract may be also a tort". 47 And in another case,
"Where a passenger on a railroad train, when the conductor came to collect his
fare tendered him the cash fare to a point where the train was scheduled not to
stop, and told him that as soon as the train reached such point he would pay
the cash fare from that point to destination, there was nothing in the conduct
of the passenger which justified the conductor in using insulting language to
him, as by calling him a lunatic," 48 and the Supreme Court of South Carolina
there held the carrier liable for the mental suffering of said passenger.
[[

]]

[[

[[

]]

]]

Petitioner's contract with Carrascoso is one attended with public duty. The
stress of Carrascoso's action as we have said, is placed upon his wrongful
expulsion. This is a violation of public duty by the petitioner air carrier a
case of quasi-delict. Damages are proper.
7. Petitioner draws our attention to respondent Carrascoso's testimony, thus
Q You mentioned about an attendant. Who is that attendant and purser?
A When we left already that was already in the trip I could not help it. So
one of the flight attendants approached me and requested from me my ticket
and I said, What for? and she said, "We will note that you transferred to the
tourist class". I said, "Nothing of that kind. That is tantamount to accepting my
transfer." And I also said, "You are not going to note anything there because I
am protesting to this transfer".
Q Was she able to note it?
A No, because I did not give my ticket.
Q About that purser?
A Well, the seats there are so close that you feel uncomfortable and you don't
have enough leg room, I stood up and I went to the pantry that was next to me
and the purser was there. He told me, "I have recorded the incident in my
notebook." He read it and translated it to me because it was recorded in

French "First class passenger was forced to go to the tourist class against his
will, and that the captain refused to intervene."
Mr. VALTE
I move to strike out the last part of the testimony of the witness because the
best evidence would be the notes. Your Honor.
COURT
I will allow that as part of his testimony.

[[

49]]

Petitioner charges that the finding of the Court of Appeals that the purser
made an entry in his notebook reading "First class passenger was forced to go
to the tourist class against his will, and that the captain refused to intervene" is
predicated upon evidence [Carrascoso's testimony above] which is
incompetent. We do not think so. The subject of inquiry is not the entry, but
the ouster incident. Testimony on the entry does not come within the
proscription of the best evidence rule. Such testimony is admissible. 49a
[[

]]

Besides, from a reading of the transcript just quoted, when the dialogue
happened, the impact of the startling occurrence was still fresh and continued
to be felt. The excitement had not as yet died down. Statements then, in this
environment, are admissible as part of the res gestae. 50 For, they grow "out of
the nervous excitement and mental and physical condition of the
declarant". 51 The utterance of the purser regarding his entry in the notebook
was spontaneous, and related to the circumstances of the ouster incident. Its
trustworthiness has been guaranteed. 52 It thus escapes the operation of the
hearsay rule. It forms part of the res gestae.
[[

[[

]]

]]

[[

]]

At all events, the entry was made outside the Philippines. And, by an employee
of petitioner. It would have been an easy matter for petitioner to have
contradicted Carrascoso's testimony. If it were really true that no such entry
was made, the deposition of the purser could have cleared up the matter.
We, therefore, hold that the transcribed testimony of Carrascoso is admissible
in evidence.

8. Exemplary damages are well awarded. The Civil Code gives the court ample
power to grant exemplary damages in contracts and quasi- contracts. The
only condition is that defendant should have "acted in a wanton, fraudulent,
reckless, oppressive, or malevolent manner." 53 The manner of ejectment of
respondent Carrascoso from his first class seat fits into this legal precept. And
this, in addition to moral damages. 54
[[

[[

]]

]]

9. The right to attorney's fees is fully established. The grant of exemplary


damages justifies a similar judgment for attorneys' fees. The least that can be
said is that the courts below felt that it is but just and equitable that attorneys'
fees be given. 55 We do not intend to break faith with the tradition that
discretion well exercised as it was here should not be disturbed.
[[

]]

10. Questioned as excessive are the amounts decreed by both the trial court
and the Court of Appeals, thus: P25,000.00 as moral damages; P10,000.00, by
way of exemplary damages, and P3,000.00 as attorneys' fees. The task of
fixing these amounts is primarily with the trial court. 56 The Court of Appeals
did not interfere with the same. The dictates of good sense suggest that we
give our imprimatur thereto. Because, the facts and circumstances point to the
reasonableness thereof. 57
[[

[[

]]

]]

On balance, we say that the judgment of the Court of Appeals does not suffer
from reversible error. We accordingly vote to affirm the same. Costs against
petitioner. So ordered.
Concepcion, C.J., Reyes, J.B.L., Barrera, Dizon, Regala, Makalintal, Zaldivar and
Castro, JJ., concur.
Bengzon, J.P., J., took no part.

G.R. No. L-7089, De La Cruz v.


Northern Theatrical Enterprises Inc.
et al., 95 Phil. 739
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
August 31, 1954
G.R. No. L-7089
DOMINGO DE LA CRUZ, plaintiff-appellant,
vs.
NORTHERN THEATRICAL ENTERPRISES INC., ET AL., defendantsappellees.
Conrado Rubio for appellant.
Ruiz, Ruiz, Ruiz, Ruiz, and Benjamin Guerrero for appellees.
MONTEMAYOR, J.:
The facts in this case based on an agreed statement of facts are simple. In the
year 1941 the Northern Theatrical Enterprises Inc., a domestic corporation
operated a movie house in Laoag, Ilocos Norte, and among the persons
employed by it was the plaintiff DOMINGO DE LA CRUZ, hired as a special
guard whose duties were to guard the main entrance of the cine, to maintain
peace and order and to report the commission of disorders within the
premises. As such guard he carried a revolver. In the afternoon of July 4, 1941,
one Benjamin Martin wanted to crash the gate or entrance of the movie house.
Infuriated by the refusal of plaintiff De la Cruz to let him in without first
providing himself with a ticket, Martin attacked him with a bolo. De la Cruz
defendant himself as best he could until he was cornered, at which moment to
save himself he shot the gate crasher, resulting in the latter's death.

For the killing, De la Cruz was charged with homicide in Criminal Case No. 8449
of the Court of First Instance of Ilocos Norte. After a re-investigation conducted
by the Provincial Fiscal the latter filed a motion to dismiss the complaint, which
was granted by the court in January 1943. On July 8, 1947, De la Cruz was
again accused of the same crime of homicide, in Criminal Case No. 431 of the
same Court. After trial, he was finally acquitted of the charge on January 31,
1948. In both criminal cases De la Cruz employed a lawyer to defend him. He
demanded from his former employer reimbursement of his expenses but was
refused, after which he filed the present action against the movie corporation
and the three members of its board of directors, to recover not only the
amounts he had paid his lawyers but also moral damages said to have been
suffered, due to his worry, his neglect of his interests and his family as well in
the supervision of the cultivation of his land, a total of P15,000. On the basis of
the complaint and the answer filed by defendants wherein they asked for the
dismissal of the complaint, as well as the agreed statement of facts, the Court
of First Instance of Ilocos Norte after rejecting the theory of the plaintiff that he
was an agent of the defendants and that as such agent he was entitled to
reimbursement of the expenses incurred by him in connection with the agency
(Arts. 1709-1729 of the old Civil Code), found that plaintiff had no cause of
action and dismissed the complaint without costs. De la Cruz appealed directly
to this Tribunal for the reason that only questions of law are involved in the
appeal.
We agree with the trial court that the relationship between the movie
corporation and the plaintiff was not that of principal and agent because the
principle of representation was in no way involved. Plaintiff was not employed
to represent the defendant corporation in its dealings with third parties. He
was a mere employee hired to perform a certain specific duty or task, that of
acting as special guard and staying at the main entrance of the movie house to
stop gate crashers and to maintain peace and order within the premises. The
question posed by this appeal is whether an employee or servant who in line of
duty and while in the performance of the task assigned to him, performs an act
which eventually results in his incurring in expenses, caused not directly by his
master or employer or his fellow servants or by reason of his performance of
his duty, but rather by a third party or stranger not in the employ of his
employer, may recover said damages against his employer.

The learned trial court in the last paragraph of its decision dismissing the
complaint said that "after studying many laws or provisions of law to find out
what law is applicable to the facts submitted and admitted by the parties, has
found none and it has no other alternative than to dismiss the complaint." The
trial court is right. We confess that we are not aware of any law or judicial
authority that is directly applicable to the present case, and realizing the
importance and far-reaching effect of a ruling on the subject-matter we have
searched, though vainly, for judicial authorities and enlightenment. All the laws
and principles of law we have found, as regards master and servants, or
employer and employee, refer to cases of physical injuries, light or serious,
resulting in loss of a member of the body or of any one of the senses, or
permanent physical disability or even death, suffered in line of duty and in the
course of the performance of the duties assigned to the servant or employee,
and these cases are mainly governed by the Employer's Liability Act and the
Workmen's Compensation Act. But a case involving damages caused to an
employee by a stranger or outsider while said employee was in the
performance of his duties, presents a novel question which under present
legislation we are neither able nor prepared to decide in favor of the employee.
In a case like the present or a similar case of say a driver employed by a
transportation company, who while in the course of employment runs over and
inflicts physical injuries on or causes the death of a pedestrian; and such driver
is later charged criminally in court, one can imagine that it would be to the
interest of the employer to give legal help to and defend its employee in order
to show that the latter was not guilty of any crime either deliberately or
through negligence, because should the employee be finally held criminally
liable and he is found to be insolvent, the employer would be subsidiarily
liable. That is why, we repeat, it is to the interest of the employer to render
legal assistance to its employee. But we are not prepared to say and to hold
that the giving of said legal assistance to its employees is a legal obligation.
While it might yet and possibly be regarded as a normal obligation, it does not
at present count with the sanction of man-made laws.
If the employer is not legally obliged to give, legal assistance to its employee
and provide him with a lawyer, naturally said employee may not recover the
amount he may have paid a lawyer hired by him.

Viewed from another angle it may be said that the damage suffered by the
plaintiff by reason of the expenses incurred by him in remunerating his lawyer,
is not caused by his act of shooting to death the gate crasher but rather by the
filing of the charge of homicide which made it necessary for him to defend
himself with the aid of counsel. Had no criminal charge been filed against him,
there would have been no expenses incurred or damage suffered. So the
damage suffered by plaintiff was caused rather by the improper filing of the
criminal charge, possibly at the instance of the heirs of the deceased gate
crasher and by the State through the Fiscal. We say improper filing, judging by
the results of the court proceedings, namely, acquittal. In other words, the
plaintiff was innocent and blameless. If despite his innocence and despite the
absence of any criminal responsibility on his part he was accused of homicide,
then the responsibility for the improper accusation may be laid at the door of
the heirs of the deceased and the State, and so theoretically, they are the
parties that may be held responsible civilly for damages and if this is so, we fail
to see now this responsibility can be transferred to the employer who in no way
intervened, much less initiated the criminal proceedings and whose only
connection or relation to the whole affairs was that he employed plaintiff to
perform a special duty or task, which task or duty was performed lawfully and
without negligence.
Still another point of view is that the damages incurred here consisting of the
payment of the lawyer's fee did not flow directly from the performance of his
duties but only indirectly because there was an efficient, intervening cause,
namely, the filing of the criminal charges. In other words, the shooting to death
of the deceased by the plaintiff was not the proximate cause of the damages
suffered but may be regarded as only a remote cause, because from the
shooting to the damages suffered there was not that natural and continuous
sequence required to fix civil responsibility.
In view of the foregoing, the judgment of the lower court is affirmed. No costs.
Bengzon, Padilla, Reyes, A., Bautista Angelo, Labrador, Concepcion, and Reyes,
J.B.L., JJ., concur

G.R. No. 4089, Pelayo v. Lauron et


al., 12 Phil. 453
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
January 12, 1909
G.R. No. 4089
ARTURO PELAYO, plaintiff-appellant,
vs.
MARCELO LAURON, ET AL., defendants-appellees.
J.H. Junquera, for appellant.
Filemon Sotto, for appellee.
TORRES, J.:
On the 23rd of November, 1906, Arturo Pelayo, a physician residing in Cebu,
filed a complaint against Marcelo Lauron and Juana Abella setting forth that on
or about the 13th of October of said year, at night, the plaintiff was called to
the house of the defendants, situated in San Nicolas, and that upon arrival he
was requested by them to render medical assistance to their daughter-in-law
who was about to give birth to a child; that therefore, and after consultation
with the attending physician, Dr. Escao, it was found necessary, on account of
the difficult birth, to remove the fetus by means of forceps which operation
was performed by the plaintiff, who also had to remove the afterbirth, in which
services he was occupied until the following morning, and that afterwards, on
the same day, he visited the patient several times; that the just and equitable
value of the services rendered by him was P500, which the defendants refuse
to pay without alleging any good reason therefor; that for said reason he
prayed that the judgment be entered in his favor as against the defendants, or

any of them, for the sum of P500 and costs, together with any other relief that
might be deemed proper.
In answer to the complaint counsel for the defendants denied all of the
allegation therein contained and alleged as a special defense, that their
daughter-in-law had died in consequence of the said childbirth, and that when
she was alive she lived with her husband independently and in a separate
house without any relation whatever with them, and that, if on the day when
she gave birth she was in the house of the defendants, her stay their was
accidental and due to fortuitous circumstances; therefore, he prayed that the
defendants be absolved of the complaint with costs against the plaintiff.
The plaintiff demurred to the above answer, and the court below sustained the
demurrer, directing the defendants, on the 23rd of January, 1907, to amend
their answer. In compliance with this order the defendants presented, on the
same date, their amended answer, denying each and every one of the
allegations contained in the complaint, and requesting that the same be
dismissed with costs.
As a result of the evidence adduced by both parties, judgment was entered by
the court below on the 5th of April, 1907, whereby the defendants were
absolved from the former complaint, on account of the lack of sufficient
evidence to establish a right of action against the defendants, with costs
against the plaintiff, who excepted to the said judgment and in addition moved
for a new trial on the ground that the judgment was contrary to law; the
motion was overruled and the plaintiff excepted and in due course presented
the corresponding bill of exceptions. The motion of the defendants requesting
that the declaration contained in the judgment that the defendants had
demanded therefrom, for the reason that, according to the evidence, no such
request had been made, was also denied, and to the decision the defendants
excepted.
Assuming that it is a real fact of knowledge by the defendants that the plaintiff,
by virtue of having been sent for by the former, attended a physician and
rendered professional services to a daughter-in-law of the said defendants
during a difficult and laborious childbirth, in order to decide the claim of the
said physician regarding the recovery of his fees, it becomes necessary to

decide who is bound to pay the bill, whether the father and mother-in-law of
the patient, or the husband of the latter.
According to article 1089 of the Civil Code, obligations are created by law, by
contracts, by quasi-contracts, and by illicit acts and omissions or by those in
which any kind of fault or negligence occurs.
Obligations arising from law are not presumed. Those expressly determined in
the code or in special laws, etc., are the only demandable ones. Obligations
arising from contracts have legal force between the contracting parties and
must be fulfilled in accordance with their stipulations. (Arts. 1090 and 1091.)
The rendering of medical assistance in case of illness is comprised among the
mutual obligations to which the spouses are bound by way of mutual support.
(Arts. 142 and 143.)
If every obligation consists in giving, doing or not doing something (art. 1088),
and spouses are mutually bound to support each other, there can be no
question but that, when either of them by reason of illness should be in need of
medical assistance, the other is under the unavoidable obligation to furnish the
necessary services of a physician in order that health may be restored, and he
or she may be freed from the sickness by which life is jeopardized; the party
bound to furnish such support is therefore liable for all expenses, including the
fees of the medical expert for his professional services. This liability originates
from the above-cited mutual obligation which the law has expressly
established between the married couple.
In the face of the above legal precepts it is unquestionable that the person
bound to pay the fees due to the plaintiff for the professional services that he
rendered to the daughter-in-law of the defendants during her childbirth, is the
husband of the patient and not her father and mother- in-law, the defendants
herein. The fact that it was not the husband who called the plaintiff and
requested his assistance for his wife is no bar to the fulfillment of the said
obligation, as the defendants, in view of the imminent danger, to which the life
of the patient was at that moment exposed, considered that medical
assistance was urgently needed, and the obligation of the husband to furnish
his wife in the indispensable services of a physician at such critical moments is
specially established by the law, as has been seen, and compliance therewith

is unavoidable; therefore, the plaintiff, who believes that he is entitled to


recover his fees, must direct his action against the husband who is under
obligation to furnish medical assistance to his lawful wife in such an
emergency.
From the foregoing it may readily be understood that it was improper to have
brought an action against the defendants simply because they were the parties
who called the plaintiff and requested him to assist the patient during her
difficult confinement, and also, possibly, because they were her father and
mother-in-law and the sickness occurred in their house. The defendants were
not, nor are they now, under any obligation by virtue of any legal provision, to
pay the fees claimed, nor in consequence of any contract entered into between
them and the plaintiff from which such obligation might have arisen.
In applying the provisions of the Civil Code in an action for support, the
supreme court of Spain, while recognizing the validity and efficiency of a
contract to furnish support wherein a person bound himself to support another
who was not his relative, established the rule that the law does impose the
obligation to pay for the support of a stranger, but as the liability arose out of a
contract, the stipulations of the agreement must be held. (Decision of May 11,
1897.)
Within the meaning of the law, the father and mother-in-law are strangers with
respect to the obligation that devolves upon the husband to provide support,
among which is the furnishing of medical assistance to his wife at the time of
her confinement; and, on the other hand, it does not appear that a contract
existed between the defendants and the plaintiff physician, for which reason it
is obvious that the former can not be compelled to pay fees which they are
under no liability to pay because it does not appear that they consented to
bind themselves.
The foregoing suffices to demonstrate that the first and second errors assigned
to the judgment below are unfounded, because, if the plaintiff has no right of
action against the defendants, it is needless to declare whether or not the use
of forceps is a surgical operation.

Therefore, in view of the consideration hereinbefore set forth, it is our opinion


that the judgment appealed from should be affirmed with the costs against the
appellant. So ordered.

G.R. No. L-46179 January 31, 1978


CANDIDA VIRATA, TOMAS VIRATA, MANOLITO VIRATA, EDERLINDA VIRATA, NAPOLEON VIRATA,
ARACELY VIRATA, ZENAIDA VIRATA, LUZMINDA VIRATA, PACITA VIRATA, and EVANGELINA
VIRATA,petitioners,
vs.
VICTORIO OCHOA, MAXIMO BORILLA and THE COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE OF CAVITE, 7th JUDICIAL
DISTRICT, BRANCH V, stationed at BACOOR, CAVITE, respondents.
Remulla, Estrella & Associates for petitioners
Exequil C. Masangkay for respondents.

FERNANDEZ, J.:
This is an appeal by certiorari, from the order of the Court of First Instance of Cavite, Branch V, in Civil Case No. B134 granting the motion of the defendants to dismiss the complaint on the ground that there is another action
pending between the same parties for the same cause. 1
The record shows that on September 24, 1975 one Arsenio Virata died as a result of having been bumped while
walking along Taft Avenue, Pasay City by a passenger jeepney driven by Maximo Borilla and registered in the name
Of Victoria Ochoa; that Borilla is the employer of Ochoa; that for the death of Arsenio Virata, a action for homicide
through reckless imprudence was instituted on September 25, 1975 against Maximo Borilla in the Court of First
Instance of Rizal at Pasay City, docketed as C Case No. 3162-P of said court; that at the hearing of the said criminal
case on December 12, 1975, Atty. Julio Francisco, the private prosecutor, made a reservation to file a separate civil
action for damages against the driver on his criminal liability; that on February 19, 1976 Atty. Julio Francisco filed a
motion in said c case to withdraw the reservation to file a separate civil action; that thereafter, the private prosecutor
actively participated in the trial and presented evidence on the damages; that on June 29, 1976 the heirs of Arsenio
Virata again reserved their right to institute a separate civil action; that on July 19, 1977 the heirs of Arsenio Virata,
petitioners herein, commenced Civil No. B-134 in the Court of First Instance of Cavite at Bacoor, Branch V, for
damages based on quasi-delict against the driver Maximo Borilla and the registered owner of the jeepney, Victorio
Ochoa; that on August 13, 1976 the defendants, private respondents filed a motion to dismiss on the ground that
there is another action, Criminal Case No. 3162-P, pending between the same parties for the same cause; that on
September 8, 1976 the Court of First Instance of Rizal at Pasay City a decision in Criminal Case No. 3612-P
acquitting the accused Maximo Borilla on the ground that he caused an injury by name accident; and that on
January 31, 1977, the Court of First Instance of Cavite at Bacoor granted the motion to Civil Case No. B-134 for
damages. 2

The principal issue is weather or not the of the Arsenio Virata, can prosecute an action for the damages based on
quasi-delict against Maximo Borilla and Victoria Ochoa, driver and owner, respectively on the passenger jeepney
that bumped Arsenio Virata.
It is settled that in negligence cases the aggrieved parties may choose between an action under the Revised Penal
Code or of quasi-delict under Article 2176 of the Civil Code of the Philippines. What is prohibited by Article 2177 of
the Civil Code of the Philippines is to recover twice for the same negligent act.
The Supreme Court has held that:
According to the Code Commission: 'The foregoing provision (Article 2177) though 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 extra-contractual' or
quasi-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 Bocobo about construction that upholds 'the spirit that given life' 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
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 language in Rakes vs. Atlantic Gulf and
Pacific Co., 7 Phil. to 359, to hod as We do hold, that Article 2176, where it refers to 'fault covers not
only acts 'not punishable by law' but also criminal in character, whether intentional and voluntary or
consequently, a separate civil action lies against the in a criminal act, whether or not he is criminally
prosecuted and found guilty and 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 refereed to in Par. (c) of Section 13, 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. Brief stated, We hold, in reitration of Garcia, that culpa aquilina
includes voluntary and negligent acts which may be punishable by law. 3
The petitioners are not seeking to recover twice for the same negligent act. Before Criminal Case No. 3162-P was
decided, they manifested in said criminal case that they were filing a separate civil action for damages against the
owner and driver of the passenger jeepney based on quasi-delict. The acquittal of the driver, Maximo Borilla, of the
crime charged in Criminal Case No. 3162-P is not a bar to the prosecution of Civil Case No. B-134 for damages
based on quasi-delict The source of the obligation sought to be enforced in Civil Case No. B-134 isquasi-delict, not
an act or omission punishable by law. Under Article 1157 of the Civil Code of the Philippines, quasi-delict and an act
or omission punishable by law are two different sources of obligation.

Moreover, for the petitioners to prevail in the action for damages, Civil Case No. B-134, they have only to establish
their cause of action by preponderance of the evidence.
WHEREFORE, the order of dismissal appealed from is hereby set aside and Civil Case No. B-134 is reinstated and
remanded to the lower court for further proceedings, with costs against the private respondents.
SO ORDERED.

SECOND DIVISION
L.G. FOODS CORPORATION
and VICTORINO GABOR,
Vice-President
and
General Manager,
Petitioners,

- versus -

G.R. No. 158995


Present:

PUNO, J.,
Chairperson,
SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ,
CORONA,

HON.
PHILADELFA
B.
PAGAPONG-AGRAVIADOR,
in
her
capacity
as
Presiding
Judge
of
Regional
Trial
Court,
Branch 43, Bacolod City,
and SPS. FLORENTINO and
THERESA VALLEJERA,
Respondents
.

AZCUNA, and
GARCIA, JJ.

Promulgated:

September 26, 2006

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

DECISION

GARCIA, J.:

Assailed and sought to be set aside in this petition for review on certiorari is the
Decision[1] dated April 25, 2003 of the Court of Appeals (CA), as reiterated in its Resolution of
July 10, 2003,[2] in CA-G.R. SP No. 67600, affirming an earlier Order of the Regional Trial
Court (RTC) of Bacolod City, Branch 43, which denied the petitioners motion to dismiss in
Civil Case No. 99-10845, an action for damages arising from a vehicular accident thereat
instituted by the herein private respondents - the spouses Florentino Vallejera and Theresa
Vallejera - against the petitioners.

The antecedent facts may be briefly stated as follows:


On February 26, 1996, Charles Vallereja, a 7-year old son of the spouses Florentino
Vallejera and Theresa Vallejera, was hit by a Ford Fiera van owned by the petitioners and driven
at the time by their employee, Vincent Norman Yeneza y Ferrer. Charles died as a result of the
accident.

In time, an Information for Reckless Imprudence Resulting to Homicide was filed against
the driver before the Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC), Bacolod City, docketed as
Criminal Case No. 67787, entitled People of the Philippines v. Vincent Norman Yeneza.

Unfortunately, before the trial could be concluded, the accused driver committed suicide,
evidently bothered by conscience and remorse. On account thereof, the MTCC, in its order
of September 30, 1998, dismissed the criminal case.

On June 23, 1999, in the RTC of Bacolod City, the spouses Vallejera filed a
complaint[3] for damages against the petitioners as employers of the deceased driver, basically
alleging that as such employers, they failed to exercise due diligence in the selection and
supervision of their employees. Thereat docketed as Civil Case No. 99-10845, the complaint
was raffled to Branch 43 of the court.

In their Answer with Compulsory Counterclaim,[4] the petitioners as defendants denied


liability for the death of the Vallejeras 7-year old son, claiming that they had exercised the
required due diligence in the selection and supervision of their employees, including the
deceased driver. They thus prayed in their Answer for the dismissal of the complaint for lack of
cause of action on the part of the Vallejera couple.

During pre-trial, the defendant petitioners insisted that their dismissal prayer be resolved.
Hence, the trial court required them to file within ten days a memorandum of authorities
supportive of their position.

Instead, however, of the required memorandum of authorities, the defendant petitioners


filed a Motion to Dismiss, principally arguing that the complaint is basically a claim for
subsidiary liability against an employer under the provision of Article 103 [5] of the Revised
Penal Code. Prescinding therefrom, they contend that there must first be a judgment of
conviction against their driver as a condition sine qua non to hold them liable. Ergo, since the
driver died during the pendency of the criminal action, the sine qua non condition for their
subsidiary liability was not fulfilled, hence the of lack of cause of action on the part of the

plaintiffs. They further argue that since the plaintiffs did not make a reservation to institute a
separate action for damages when the criminal case was filed, the damage suit in question is
thereby deemed instituted with the criminal action. which was already dismissed.

In an Order dated September 4, 2001,[6] the trial court denied the motion to dismiss for
lack of merit and set the case for pre-trial. With their motion for reconsideration having been
denied by the same court in its subsequent order [7] of September 26, 2001, the petitioners then
went on certiorari to the CA in CA-G.R. SP No. 67600, imputing grave abuse of discretion on
the part of the trial judge in refusing to dismiss the basic complaint for damages in Civil Case
No. 99-10845.

In the herein assailed decision[8] dated April 25, 2003, the CA denied the petition and
upheld the trial court. Partly says the CA in its challenged issuance:

xxx

xxx

xxx

It is clear that the complaint neither represents nor implies that the responsibility charged
was the petitioners subsidiary liability under Art. 103, Revised Penal Code. As pointed out [by
the trial court] in the Order of September 4, 2001, the complaint does not even allege the basic
elements for such a liability, like the conviction of the accused employee and his insolvency.
Truly enough, a civil action to enforce subsidiary liability separate and distinct from the criminal
action is even unnecessary.

xxx

xxx

xxx

Specifically, Civil Case No. 99-10845 exacts responsibility for fault or negligence under
Art. 2176, Civil Code, which is entirely separate and distinct from the civil liability arising from
negligence under the Revised Penal Code. Verily, therefore, the liability under Art. 2180, Civil
Code, is direct and immediate, and not conditioned upon prior recourse against the negligent
employee or prior showing of the latters insolvency. (Underscoring in the original.)

In time, the petitioners moved for a reconsideration but their motion was denied by the
CA in its resolution[9] of July 10, 2003. Hence, the petitioners present recourse on their
submission that the appellate court committed reversible error in upholding the trial courts
denial of their motion to dismiss.

We DENY.

As the Court sees it, the sole issue for resolution is whether the spouses Vallejeras cause
of action in Civil Case No. 99-10845 is founded on Article 103 of the Revised Penal Code, as
maintained by the petitioners, or derived from Article 2180 [10] of the Civil Code, as ruled by the
two courts below.

It thus behooves us to examine the allegations of the complaint for damages in Civil
Case No. 99-10845. That complaint alleged, inter alia, as follows:

xxx

xxx

xxx

3.
That defendant [LG Food Corporation] is the registered owner of a Ford Fiera Van
with Plate No. NMS 881 and employer sometime February of 1996 of one Vincent Norman
Yeneza y Ferrer, a salesman of said corporation;

4.
That
sometime February
26,
1996 at
around 2:00
P.M. at Rosario
St., Bacolod City, the minor son of said plaintiffs [now respondents], Charles Vallejera, 7 years
old, was hit and bumped by above-described vehicle then driven by said employee, Vincent
Norman Yeneza y Ferrer;

5.
That the mishap was due to the gross fault and negligence of defendants
employee, who drove said vehicle, recklessly, negligently and at a high speed without regard to
traffic condition and safety of other road users and likewise to the fault and negligence of the
owner employer, herein defendants LG Food Corporation who failed to exercise due diligence in
the selection and supervision of his employee, Vincent Norman Yeneza y Ferrer;

6.
That as a result of said incident, plaintiffs son suffered multiple body injuries
which led to his untimely demise on that very day;
7.
That a criminal case was filed against the defendants employee, docketed as
Criminal Case No. 67787, (earlier filed as Crim. Case No. 96-17570 before RTC) before MTCBranch III, entitled People v. Yeneza for Reckless Imprudence resulting to Homicide, but the
same was dismissed because pending litigation, then remorse-stricken [accused] committed
suicide;

xxx

xxx

xxx

8.
That the injuries and complications as well as the resultant death suffered by the
late minor Charles Vallejera were due to the negligence and imprudence of defendants
employee;

9.
That defendant LG Foods Corporation is civilly liable for the
negligence/imprudence of its employee since it failed to exercise the necessary diligence
required of a good father of the family in the selection and supervision of his employee,
Vincent Norman Yeneza y Ferrer which diligence if exercised, would have prevented said
incident. (Bracketed words and emphasis ours.)

Nothing in the foregoing allegations suggests, even remotely, that the herein petitioners
are being made to account for their subsidiary liability under Article 103 of the Revised Penal
Code. As correctly pointed out by the trial court in its order of September 4, 2001 denying the
petitioners Motion to Dismiss, the complaint did not even aver the basic elements for the
subsidiary liability of an employer under Article 103 of the Revised Penal Code, such as the
prior conviction of the driver in the criminal case filed against him nor his insolvency.

Admittedly, the complaint did not explicitly state that plaintiff Vallejeras were suing the
defendant petitioners for damages based on quasi-delict. Clear it is, however, from the
allegations of the complaint that quasi-delict was their choice of remedy against the petitioners.
To stress, the plaintiff spouses alleged in their complaint gross fault and negligence on the part
of the driver and the failure of the petitioners, as employers, to exercise due diligence in the
selection and supervision of their employees. The spouses further alleged that the petitioners are
civilly liable for the negligence/imprudence of their driver since they failed to exercise the
necessary diligence required of a good father of the family in the selection and supervision of
their employees, which diligence, if exercised, could have prevented the vehicular accident that
resulted to the death of their 7-year old son.

Section 2, Rule 2, of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure defines cause of action as the act
or omission by which a party violates the right of another. Such act or omission gives rise to
an obligation which may come from law, contracts, quasi contracts, delicts or quasi-delicts.[11]

Corollarily, 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;[12] and 2) independent
civil liabilities, such as those (a) not arising from an act or omission complained of as felony
(e.g., culpa contractual or obligations arising from law;[13] the intentional torts;[14] and culpa
aquiliana[15]); or (b) where the injured party is granted a right to file an action independent and
distinct from the criminal action.[16] Either of these two possible liabilities may be enforced
against the offender.[17]

Stated otherwise, victims of negligence or their heirs have a choice between an action to
enforce the civil liability arising from culpa criminal under Article 100 of the Revised Penal
Code, and an action for quasi-delict (culpa aquiliana) under Articles 2176 to 2194 of the Civil
Code. If, as here, the action chosen is for quasi-delict, the plaintiff may hold the employer
liable for the negligent act of its employee, subject to the employers defense of exercise of the

diligence of a good father of the family. On the other hand, if the action chosen is for culpa
criminal, the plaintiff can hold the employer subsidiarily liable only upon proof of prior
conviction of its employee.[18]

Article 1161[19] of the Civil Code provides that civil obligation arising from criminal
offenses shall be governed by penal laws subject to the provision of Article 2177 [20]and of the
pertinent provision of Chapter 2, Preliminary Title on Human Relation, and of Title XVIII of
this Book, regulating damages. Plainly, Article 2177 provides for the alternative remedies the
plaintiff may choose from in case the obligation has the possibility of arising indirectly from the
delict/crime or directly from quasi-delict/tort. The choice is with the plaintiff who makes
known his cause of action in his initiatory pleading or complaint, [21] and not with the defendant
who can not ask for the dismissal of the plaintiffs cause of action or lack of it based on the
defendants perception that the plaintiff should have opted to file a claim under Article 103 of
the Revised Penal Code.

Under Article 2180 of the Civil Code, the liability of the employer is direct or immediate.
It is not conditioned upon prior recourse against the negligent employee and a prior showing of
insolvency of such employee.[22]

Here, the complaint sufficiently alleged that the death of the couples
minor son was caused by the negligent act of the petitioners driver; and that the petitioners
themselves were civilly liable for the negligence of their driver for failing to exercise the
necessary diligence required of a good father of the family in the selection and supervision
of [their] employee, the driver, which diligence, if exercised, would have prevented said
accident.

Had the respondent spouses


Article 103 of the Revised Penal

elected to sue the


Code, they would have

petitioners based on
alleged
that

the guilt of the driver had been proven beyond reasonable doubt; that such accused driver is
insolvent; that it is the subsidiary liability of the defendant petitioners as employers to pay for
the damage done by their employee (driver) based on the principle that every person criminally
liable is also civilly liable.[23] Since there was no conviction in the criminal case against the
driver, precisely because death intervened prior to the termination of the criminal proceedings,
the spouses recourse was, therefore, to sue the petitioners for their direct and primary liability
based on quasi-delict.

Besides, it is worthy to note that the petitioners, in their Answer with Compulsory
Counter-Claim,[24] repeatedly made mention of Article 2180 of the Civil Code and anchored
their defense on their allegation that they had exercised due diligence in the selection and
supervision of [their] employees. The Court views this defense as an admission that indeed the
petitioners acknowledged the private respondents cause of action as one for quasi-delict under
Article 2180 of the Civil Code.

All told, Civil Case No. 99-10845 is a negligence suit brought under Article 2176 Civil Code to recover damages primarily from the petitioners as employers responsible for their
negligent driver pursuant to Article 2180 of the Civil Code. The obligation imposed by Article
2176 is demandable not only for ones own acts or omissions, but also for those of persons for
whom one is responsible. Thus, the employer is liable for damages caused by his employees and
household helpers acting within the scope of their assigned tasks, even though the former is not
engaged in any business or industry.

Citing Maniago v. CA,[25] petitioner would argue that Civil Case No. 99-10845 should
have been dismissed for failure of the respondent spouses to make a reservation to institute a
separate civil action for damages when the criminal case against the driver was filed.
The argument is specious.

To start with, the petitioners reliance on Maniago is obviously misplaced. There, the civil
case was filed while the criminal case against the employee was still pending. Here, the
criminal case against the employee driver was prematurely terminated due to his death.
Precisely, Civil Case No. 99-10845 was filed by the respondent spouses because no remedy can
be obtained by them against the petitioners with the dismissal of the criminal case against their
driver during the pendency thereof.

The circumstance that no reservation to institute a separate civil action for damages was
made when the criminal case was filed is of no moment for the simple reason that the criminal
case was dismissed without any pronouncement having been made therein. In reality, therefor, it
is as if there was no criminal case to speak of in the first place. And for the petitioners to insist
for the conviction of their driver as a condition sine qua non to hold them liable for damages is
to ask for the impossible.

IN VIEW WHEREOF, the instant petition is DENIED for lack of merit.

Costs against the petitioners.

SO ORDERED.

THIRD DIVISION

ABS-CBN BROADCASTING

G.R. No. 133347

CORPORATION, EUGENIO LOPEZ,


JR., AUGUSTO ALMEDA-LOPEZ,
Present:
and OSCAR M. LOPEZ,
Petitioners,

YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.,
Chairperson,

- versus -

AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ,

OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN,


ROBERTO S.
BENEDICTO,*EXEQUIEL B.
GARCIA, MIGUEL V. GONZALES,
and SALVADOR (BUDDY) TAN,*
Respondents.

CHICO-NAZARIO,
NACHURA, and
REYES, JJ.

Promulgated:

October 15, 2008

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

DECISION

NACHURA, J.:

At bar is a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court


challenging the Joint Resolution [1] dated May 2, 1997 of then Ombudsman
Aniano Desierto in OMB-0-94-1109, dismissing the complaint filed by
petitioners against private respondents, and the Order [2] denying their
motion for reconsideration.

This case stems from an all too familiar chapter in Philippine


history, i.e., the declaration of martial law by then President Ferdinand
Marcos and the simultaneous sequestration of not a few private
corporations, including one of the petitioners herein, ABS-CBN Broadcasting
Corporation (ABS-CBN).

On April 18 and 26, 1994, petitioners Eugenio, Jr., Oscar and Augusto
Almeda, all surnamed Lopez, as officers and on behalf of ABS-CBN, executed
separate complaint-affidavits charging private respondents Roberto S.
Benedicto, Exequiel B. Garcia, Miguel V. Gonzalez, and Salvador (Buddy) Tan
with the following crimes penalized under the Revised Penal Code (RPC): (a)
Article 298 - Execution of Deeds by Means of Violence or Intimidation; (b)
Article 315 paragraphs 1[b], 2[a], 3[a] - Estafa; (c) Article 308 - Theft; (d)
Article 302 - Robbery; (e) Article 312 - Occupation of Real Property or
Usurpation of Real Rights in Property; and (f) Article 318 - Other Deceits.

Individual petitioners complaint-affidavits [3] uniformly narrated the


following facts:

1.
The day after the declaration of martial law, or on September
22, 1972, just before midnight, military troops arrived at the ABS-CBN
Broadcast Center in Bohol Avenue, Quezon City, and informed the officers
and personnel thereat of the seizure and closure of the premises by virtue of
Letter of Instruction (LOI) No. 1 issued by President Marcos ordering the
closure of all radio and television stations in the country.

2.
LOI No. 1 authorized the Secretary of National Defense to take
over or control, or cause the taking over and control of all x x x newspapers,
magazines, radio and television facilities and all other media of
communications throughout the country. Consequently, a total of seven (7)
television stations owned and operated by ABS-CBN were closed down by
the government.[4]

3.
When it became apparent that petitioners would not be granted
a permit to re-open, ABS-CBN on October 31, 1972, terminated the services
of all its employees, giving each employee his/her retirement benefits.
Corollary thereto, sometime in November 1972, Eugenio Lopez, Jr., then
president of ABS-CBN, wrote then Secretary of National Defense, Juan Ponce
Enrile,[5] of their desire to sell ABS-CBN to the government. In that same
month, however, Eugenio Lopez, Jr. was arrested by the military, and
detained at Fort Bonifacio for almost five (5) years until his escape
therefrom on September 30, 1977.

4.
Subsequently, after the proposal to sell ABS-CBN to the Marcos
government did not materialize, ABS-CBN started negotiations with then
Governor of Leyte, Benjamin Kokoy Romualdez, who expressed his desire
and intention to acquire the former. However, the negotiations with Kokoy
Romualdez in 1973 likewise did not result in the sale and re-opening of ABSCBN.

5.
On June 6, 1973, the television and radio stations of Kanlaon
Broadcasting System (KBS) on Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City were consumed
by fire. KBS was the umbrella corporation of the Benedicto Group of
broadcasting companies, including Radio Philippines Network (RPN),
[6]
which operated TV Channel 9, the only television station allowed to
continue operating during the early years of the martial law regime.
Respondent Benedicto, then Philippine Ambassador to Japan, managed,
controlled, and was one of the principal stockholders of RPN.

6.
On even date, both Benedicto and Alfredo Montelibano, who at
that time was Chairperson of the Board of Directors (BOD) of ABS-CBN, were
in Bacolod. Benedicto constituted Montelibano as his emissary to the
Lopezes, relaying his plan to temporarily use ABS-CBNs broadcast studios
in Quezon City, from which to operate TV Channel 9, for such period of time
as
may
be
necessary
to
rebuild
KBS
burned
studios.

7.
On June 8, 1973, Montelibano met with other officers and
executives of ABS-CBN, including herein petitioners Oscar and Augusto

Lopez, informing them of Benedictos request. Oscar and Augusto, and the
rest of the ABS-CBN management team, strongly opposed the request.
Eventually, however, when Montelibano mentioned that Malacaang and
Romualdez had cleared said request, the possibility of a governmentordered confiscation of ABS-CBN, and not least of all, the possible release of
Eugenio Lopez, Jr., petitioners Oscar and Augusto, as with the rest of ABSCBNs executives, acquiesced to Benedictos request.

8.
Thus, at noontime on the same day, representatives of KBS
headed by Jose Montalvo arrived at the Meralco Building to finalize the
proposed arrangement with ABS-CBN. The transaction between ABS-CBN
and KBS is evidenced by a letter-agreement dated June 8, 1973, which reads
in relevant part:

This is to confirm the agreement arrived at between RPN and ABS-CBN to


the following effect:

1.
Commencing on the date hereof, ABS-CBN hereby conveys to RPN by
way of lease its TV and radio equipment (excluding TV channels and radio
frequencies) and its premises at the ABS-CBN Broadcast Center, Bohol Avenue,
Quezon City (collectively called the leased facilities) listed in the schedule
attached hereto and marked as Annex A.

2.
RPN shall pay ABS-CBN monthly rental as is reasonable
compensation for the use of the leased facilities. The amount of the rental shall be
determined after a discussion with Ambassador Roberto Benedicto.

3.
The term of this lease shall commence on the date hereof and
continue for such reasonable time as may be normally necessary for the
rehabilitation of RPNs facilities unless an earlier period may be fixed by RPN and
ABS-CBN after discussion with Ambassador Benedicto.

4.
RPN hereby assumes full and complete responsibility for the leased
facilities and shall be answerable for any and all losses and damages to such
facilities.

xxxx

6.
Upon termination of this lease, RPN shall return the possession of the
leased facilities to ABS-CBN and vacate the same without the need of notice or
demand.

7.
ABS-CBN, through its Chairman, Mr. Alfredo Montelibano, shall have
the right to select and designate the personnel (not to exceed 20 at any one time)
to maintain and operate all specialized TV and radio equipment.

xxxx

10.
ABS-CBN shall have the right to enter the Broadcast Center at any
reasonable time during the term of this lease for the purpose of determining
compliance by RPN of the terms hereof.

xxxx

12.
RPN shall not, without the prior written consent of ABS-CBN, sublease the leased facilities or any part thereof nor shall any part be removed from the
premises
except
the
equipment,
which
are
intended
for
operation
the Broadcast Center in due course of operations.

9.
Meanwhile, it appears that the parties were hard pressed to
negotiate and fix the monthly rental rate. Several attempts by Oscar to set
up a meeting with Benedicto for the fixing of the monthly rentals proved
unsuccessful.

10.
After more than four months of trying, a meeting between
Oscar and Benedicto finally materialized on October 31, 1973. At that
meeting, the discussion not only covered fixing of reasonable rentals for the
lease of the ABS-CBN studios, but likewise included the possibility of an
outright sale.

11.
Thereafter, the discussions and negotiations stopped as none of
the petitioners were able to meet anew with Benedicto who had supposedly
referred the matter to people above and the man on top.

12.
Frustrated, then Senator Lorenzo Taada, as counsel for ABSCBN, in May 1976, wrote Benedicto demanding vacation of the ABSCBN Broadcast Center and payment of back rentals for the use of the ABSCBN studios and facilities.

13.
In response, Senator Estanislao Fernandez, on behalf of
Benedicto, met with Senator Taada in June 1976. Another meeting took
place between the parties respective counsels which included respondent
Gonzales, another counsel for Benedicto. Despite these meetings, no
agreement was reached between Benedicto and ABS-CBN. On the whole,
from June 8, 1973, the time KBS occupied the ABS-CBN studios in Quezon
City, no rental was paid by the former to the latter.

14.
In the years following until the Marcos government was toppled
in 1986, the ABS-CBN stations were transferred to the National Media
Production Center (NMPC) headed by Gregorio Cendaa of the Ministry of
Information. Starting in January 1980, KBS, on a staggered basis,
transferred possession, control and management of ABS-CBNs provincial
television stations to NMPC. Some of the radio stations of ABS-CBN were
turned over to the governments Bureau of Broadcast, while some were
retained by KBS thru the Banahaw Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and
Radio Philippines Network (RPN).

15.
Parenthetically, during a military inventory in 1979-1980, and a
visit by ABS-CBN executives at ABS-CBNs radio transmitting stations in
Meycauayan, Bulacan, headed by petitioner Augusto, on August 13, 1984,
ABS-CBN properties and massive equipment were found to be missing. In
addition, the musical records and radio dramas accumulated by ABS-CBN in
a span of twenty-five (25) years and stored in its library were now gone.

16.
In June 1986, President Corazon Aquino, acting on the request
of ABS-CBN through Senator Taada, returned to ABS-CBN these radio and
TV stations on a gradual and scheduled basis.

As required by the Ombudsman, the respondents, except for Garcia,


filed their respective counter-affidavits, [7] with Benedicto adopting that of
Gonzales, denying petitioners charges, and averring that:

1.
The execution of the June 8, 1973 letter-agreement was a free
and voluntary act of ABS-CBN which agreed thereto fully expecting
remuneration in the form of rentals, thus:

2. RPN shall pay ABS-CBN monthly rental as is reasonable compensation for


the use of the lease facilities. The amount of the rental shall be determined after a
discussion with Ambassador Roberto Benedicto.

2.
In that regard, respondent Gonzales, counsel for KBS, RPN and
Benedicto, participated in the negotiations and was present at three (3)
meetings for the fixing of rentals. Also in attendance were former Senator
Estanislao Fernandez, specially engaged to represent RPN and Benedicto,
and Senator Taada and petitioner Augusto for ABS-CBN.

3.
Initially, the discussions centered on the possible formulas for
the fixing of rentals. Later on, however, before an agreement on the rental
rate could be reached, the discussions shifted to the possibility of an
outright sale. The discussions on the sale were expanded as various
creditors of ABS-CBN had made and presented claims before respondent
Garcia, then Comptroller of KBS-RPN.

4.
However, the discussions were discontinued when then
Secretary of National Defense Juan Ponce Enrile reminded KBS of the

sequestered status of ABS-CBN facilities such that arrangements undertaken


for the use and lease thereof should be taken up with the government. [8]

5.
Meanwhile, in July 1974, Secretary Ponce Enrile authorized KBS,
acting on behalf of BBC, to make use of the ABS-CBN provincial stations
which were not covered by the June 8, 1973 letter-agreement. The
authorization was granted in connection with the increased undertakings
assigned by the Department of National Defense (DND) to KBS, specifically,
for the governments mass-media developmental peace and order
nationwide campaign.

7.
Thereafter, in October 1977, RPN vacated the ABS-CBN studios
and turned over the properties to George Viduya, the general manager of
the government station GTV-4. Viduya continued operations of GTV-4 at the
ABS-CBN properties, after which, the properties were all delivered in 1979 to
the NMPC headed by Cendaa. The provincial stations were delivered and
turned over on a staggered basis, with the DZRI station in Dagupan handed
over in 1979. The successive transfer of all ABS-CBN studios and stations,
in Quezon City and the provinces, were covered by receipts which were
collated by the law firm of respondent Gonzales retained by KBS for that
purpose.

8.
The use of the ABS-CBN studios involved only three (3) juridical
entities, RPN, ABS-CBN and the government. The charges leveled by
petitioners in their complaint-affidavits merely point to civil liability as
specified in the letter-agreement itself:

4. RPN hereby assumes full and complete responsibility for the leased
facilities and shall be answerable for any and all losses and damages to such
facilities.

On the whole, the allegations of petitioners do not support the elements of


the crimes charged.

9.
Lastly, respondents invoke the grant of absolute immunity to
Benedicto as part of the Compromise Agreement in Sandiganbayan Civil
Case No. 34 which states:

The Government hereby extends absolute immunity, as authorized under


the pertinent provisions of Executive Orders Nos. 1, 2, 14 and 14-A, to Benedicto,
the members of his family, officers and employees of the corporations above
mentioned, who are included in past, present and future cases and investigations of
the Philippine Government, such that there shall be no criminal investigation or
prosecution against said persons for acts, omissions committed prior to February
25, 1986 that may be alleged to have violated any penal law, including but not
limited to Republic Act No. 3019, in relation to the acquisition of any asset treated,
mentioned or included in this Agreement.

Expectedly, the petitioners in their joint reply-affidavit refuted


respondents counter-affidavits. Contrary to respondents allegations,
petitioners reiterated Benedictos over-all ploy, in conspiracy with the other
respondents who were officers of KBS and/or RPN, to use and occupy ABSCBN properties without paying compensation therefor. Petitioners maintain
that respondents grand scheme was to take-over ABS-CBN, albeit
ostensibly covered by the letter-lease agreement, giving the take over a
semblance of legality.

Thereafter, with the issues having been joined, the Ombudsman


issued the herein assailed Joint Resolution dismissing petitioners
complaints. To the Ombudsman, the following circumstances did not give
rise to probable cause necessary to indict respondents for the various
felonies charged:

1.
The Letter-Agreement of June 8, 1973 belie any illegal take-over of the ABSCBN complex.

While the Lopezes are now complaining that the letter-agreement was
virtually forced unto them thru intimidation, hence, the vitiated consent of Mr.

Montelibano, there is nothing however which the complainants adduced to prove


this allegation except their threadbare allegations of threats. On the contrary, it
appears that the Lopezes blessed the letter-agreement hoping that their financial
difficulties with respect to the affairs of the ABS-CBN and their problem concerning
the continued detention of Eugenio Lopez, Jr. by the military, would at least be
mitigated. x x x

It is thus clear that the ABS-CBN complex was freely leased by Montelibano
upon consultation with the Lopezes who entertained some ulterior motives of their
own which they expect would result from the agreement, either directly or indirectly.
Of course, the Lopezes may not have realized some of these expectations (i.e., the
rentals, the release of Eugenio, Jr. from detention) but this does not change the fact
that the parties consent to the contract appears to have been freely given.
Perforce, the complaint under Article 298 of the Revised Penal Code of
thePhilippines must fail.

2.
Other TV and radio stations were taken over pursuant to LOI 1-A, hence no
violations of Art. 312, 302 and 308 of RPC.

To the alleged violation of Art. 312 of the Revised Penal Code, the
respondents contended that their use of ABS-CBNs facilities other than those
included in the lease-agreement, was in fact with the authority of the then
Department of National Defense (DND). There is no denying that all of the ABS-CBN
properties including the provincial ones are under sequestration pursuant to
Presidential Letter of Instruction No. 1-A, issued on September 28, 1972. It was
under the strength of this Presidential Letter of Instruction that KBS-RPN was
authorized to enter, occupy and operate the facilities of ABS-CBN. This was also
confirmed by DND Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile in his letter to RPN dated June 26,
1976. Unmistakably, KBS-RPNs possession of the ABS-CBNs property other than
those in the ABS-CBN complex is primarily anchored on the authority pursuant to
LOI 1-A. With this apparent authority, this investigation can not see in any which
way how the respondents could have illegally taken over the properties of the
[petitioners], particularly those in the province; there is therefore no convincing
proof to support a charge under Article 312 of the Revised Penal Code. It may come
to mind that occupation of real property or usurpation of real rights in property
under Article 312 requires as one of its elements the presence of violence against or
intimidation of persons as a means in securing real property or rights belonging to
another. Plainly, this element is not shown. The complainants may have felt
intimidated by the sequestration order, but it is in the nature of such Order to be
coercive. It was an act flowing from the martial law powers of then President
Marcos.

3.

No unlawful taking as to justify charges for Robbery or Theft.

Robbery and Theft under Articles 302 and 308 of the Revised Penal Code
were also attributed by the [petitioners] against the respondents. From the records,
it is clear that KBS-RPN has juridical possession of the ABS-CBN properties subject of
this complaint; a right which can be validly set-up even against ABS-CBN itself. It
can be recalled that KBS-RPN was authorized to enter, occupy and operate ABS-CBN
facilities by virtue of the authority granted by the President, pursuant to LOI No. 1-A.
Aside, the Broadcast Center itself was covered by the lease-agreement. Under these
situations, there is obviously no basis to charge the respondents for robbery and
theft; for these penal offense require as an element the act of unlawful taking or
asportation. Asportation is simply poles apart from the juridical possession which
KBS-RPN enjoyed over the properties.

4.
No deceit was employed to gain possession of the Broadcast Center and the
provincial TV and radio stations.

In the prosecution for estafa under [Articles 315, paragraphs 2(a), 3(a) and
318] of the Revised Penal Code, it is indispensable that the element of deceit,
consisting in the false statement of fraudulent representation of the accused, be
made prior to, or, at least simultaneously with, the delivery of the thing by the
complainants, it being essential that such false statement or fraudulent
representation constitutes the very cause or the only motive which induces the
complainants to part with the thing. If there be no such prior or simultaneous false
statement or fraudulent representation, any subsequent act of the respondent,
however fraudulent or suspicious it may appear, can not serve as basis for the
prosecution of these crimes.

[From petitioners complaint-affidavits], it is very clear that the late Alfredo


Montelibano was the one who talked with Roberto Benedicto, preparatory to the
signing of the lease-agreement. As the complainants did not identify exactly which
constitute the deceitful act (or the intimidation) which could have induced the
Lopezes into accepting the lease agreement, in most probability, the occurrences
which vitiated their consent happened during this preliminary discussion. Noticeably
however, it is not Alfredo Montelibano, the one who supposedly talked with
Benedicto, who is testifying on the alleged veiled threat or deceits, if there are.
Precisely, because he is already dead.

x x x [I]t is submitted that the Lopezes can not now testify on something
which are not derived from their own personal perception. The bottomline is that
what they are now trying to adduce, pertaining to the alleged deceits [or
intimidation] attending the negotiation of the lease agreement are purely hearsay.
This is a matter which only Alfredo Montelibano could testify competently. [9]

The Ombudsman saw no need to discuss the defenses of prescription


and immunity from suit raised by the respondents given his dismissal of the
complaint-affidavits on the merits. However, in a subsequent Order denying
petitioners Motion for Reconsideration of the Joint Resolution, the
Ombudsman lifted the Office of the Chief Legal Counsels ratiocination for
dismissing the complaint-affidavits, thus:

Incidentally, RPN has been identified as among the corporation in which respondent
Benedicto has substantial interests. In fact, it was one of the subject matters of the
Compromise Agreement reached by the government and respondent Benedicto in
Sandiganbayan Civil Case no. 34.

In that Compromise Agreement, for and in consideration of respondent


Benedictos cession of equities, and assignment of his rights and interest in
corporations therein listed, among them RPN, the government extended absolute
immunity to Benedicto, including officers of his corporations as therein mentioned,
such that there shall be no criminal investigation or prosecution against said
persons for acts or omissions committed prior to February 25, 1986 that may be
alleged to have violated any penal law, including but not limited to Republic Act No.
3019, in relation to the acquisition of any asset treated or included in this
Agreement.

In effect, the People of the Philippines as the offended party in criminal


cases has waived its right to proceed criminally against Benedicto, et. al., for
whatever crime they may have committed relative to, among others, the alleged
plunder of ABS-CBN properties. Again, whatever liability that remains thereabout on
respondents part is perforce only civil in nature. [10]

Hence, this recourse by the petitioners alleging grave abuse of


discretion in the Ombudsmans Joint Resolution and Order.

Before anything else, we note that on April 5, 1999 and June 13,
2000, the respective counsel for respondents Tan and Benedicto, in
compliance with Section 16,[11] Rule 3 of the Rules of Court, filed pleadings

informing the Court of their clients demise. Benedictos counsel filed a


Notice of Death (With Prayer for Dismissal) [12] moving that Benedicto be
dropped as respondent in the instant case for the reason that the pending
criminal cases subject of this appeal are actions which do not survive the
death of the party accused.

Petitioners opposed the move to drop Benedicto as respondent,


citing Torrijos v. Court of Appeals [13] which held that civil liability of the
accused survives his death; because death is not a valid cause for the
extinguishment of civil obligations.

Our ruling on this issue need not be arduous. The rules on whether
the civil liability of an accused, upon death, is extinguished together with his
criminal liability, has long been clarified and settled in the case of People v.
Bayotas:[14]

1.
Death of an accused pending appeal of his conviction extinguishes his
criminal liability as well as the civil liability based solely thereon. As opined by
Justice Regalado, in this regard, the death of the accused prior to final judgment
terminates his criminal liability and only the civil liability directly arising from and
based solely on the offense committed, i.e., civil liability ex delicto in senso
strictiore.

2.
Corollarily, the claim for civil liability survives notwithstanding the death of
accused, if the same may also be predicated on a source of obligation other than
delict. Article 1157 of the Civil Code enumerates these other sources of obligation
from which the civil liability may arise as a result of the same act or omission:

a)

Law

b)

Contracts

c)

Quasi-contracts

d)

xxx

e)

Quasi-delicts

3.
Where the civil liability survives, as explained in Number 2 above, an action
for recovery therefor may be pursued but only by way of filing a separate civil
action and subject to Section 1, Rule 111 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal
Procedure[15] as amended. The separate civil action may be enforced either against
the executor/administrator or the estate of the accused, depending on the source of
obligation upon which the same is based as explained above.

4.
Finally, the private offended party need not fear a forfeiture of his right to
file this separate civil action by prescription, in cases where during the prosecution
of the criminal action and prior to its extinction, the private-offended party
instituted together therewith the civil action. In such case, the statute of limitations
on the civil liability is deemed interrupted during the pendency of the criminal case,
conformably with provisions of Article 1155 of the Civil Code, that should thereby
avoid any apprehension on a possible [de]privation of right by prescription.

Applying the foregoing rules, ABS-CBNs insistence that the case at


bench survives because the civil liability of the respondents subsists is
stripped of merit.

To begin with, there is no criminal case as yet against the respondents.


The Ombudsman did not find probable cause to prosecute respondents for
various felonies in the RPC. As such, the rule that a civil action is deemed
instituted along with the criminal action unless the offended party: (a)
waives the civil action, (b) reserves the right to institute it separately, or (c)
institutes the civil action prior to the criminal action, [16] is not applicable.

In any event, consistent with People v. Bayotas,[17] the death of the


accused necessarily calls for the dismissal of the criminal case against him,
regardless of the institution of the civil case with it. The civil action which
survives the death of the accused must hinge on other sources of obligation
provided in Article 1157 of the Civil Code. In such a case, a surviving civil
action against the accused founded on other sources of obligation must be
prosecuted in a separate civil action. In other words, civil liability based
solely on the criminal action is extinguished, and a different civil action
cannot be continued and prosecuted in the same criminal action.

Significantly, this Court in Benedicto v. Court of Appeals,[18] taking


cognizance of respondent Benedictos death on May 15, 2000, has ordered
that the latter be dropped as a party, and declared extinguished any
criminal as well as civil liability ex delicto that might be attributable to him
in Criminal Cases Nos. 91-101879 to 91-101883, 91-101884 to 101892, and
92-101959 to 92-101969 pending before the Regional Trial Court of Manila.

Lastly, we note that petitioners appear to have already followed our


ruling in People v. Bayotas[19] by filing a separate civil action to enforce a
claim against the estate of respondent Benedicto. [20] The claim against the
estate of Benedicto is based on contractthe June 8, 1973 letteragreementin consonance with Section 5, [21] Rule 86 of the Rules of Court.
Plainly, the dropping of respondents Benedicto and Tan as parties herein is
in order.

We now come to the core issue of whether the Ombudsman committed


grave abuse of discretion in dismissing petitioners complaint against the
respondents. We rule in the negative and, accordingly, dismiss the petition.

We cannot overemphasize the fact that the Ombudsman is a


constitutional officer duty bound to investigate on its own, or on complaint
by any person, any act or omission of any public official, employee, office or
agency, when such act or omission appears to be illegal, unjust, improper,
or inefficient.[22] The raison d etre for its creation and endowment of broad
investigative authority is to insulate it from the long tentacles of officialdom
that are able to penetrate judges and fiscals offices, and others involved in
the prosecution of erring public officials, and through the execution of
official pressure and influence, quash, delay, or dismiss investigations into
malfeasances and misfeasances committed by public officers. [23]

[24]

In Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) v. Desierto,


we dwelt on the powers, functions and duties of the Ombudsman, to wit:

The prosecution of offenses committed by public officers is vested primarily


in the Office of the Ombudsman. It bears emphasis that the Office has been given a
wide latitude of investigatory and prosecutory powers under the Constitution and
Republic Act No. 6770 (The Ombudsman Act of 1989). This discretion is all but free
from legislative, executive or judicial intervention to ensure that the Office is
insulated from any outside pressure and improper influence.

Indeed, the Ombudsman is empowered to determine whether there exist


reasonable grounds to believe that a crime has been committed and that the
accused is probably guilty thereof and, thereafter, to file the corresponding
information with the appropriate courts. The Ombudsman may thus conduct an
investigation if the complaint filed is found to be in the proper form and substance.
Conversely, the Ombudsman may also dismiss the complaint should it be found
insufficient in form or substance.

Unless there are good and compelling reasons to do so, the Court will refrain
from interfering with the exercise of the Ombudsmans powers, and respect the
initiative and independence inherent in the latter who, beholden to no one, acts as
the champion of the people and the preserver of the integrity of public service.

The pragmatic basis for the general rule was explained in Ocampo v.
Ombudsman:

The rule is based not only upon respect for the investigatory
and prosecutory powers granted by the Constitution to the Office of
the Ombudsman but upon practicality as well. Otherwise, the functions
of the courts will be grievously hampered by innumerable petitions
assailing the dismissal of investigatory proceedings conducted by the
Office of the Ombudsman with regard to complaints filed before it, in
much the same way that the courts would be extremely swamped if
they would be compelled to review the exercise of discretion on the
part of the fiscals or prosecuting attorneys each time they decide to
file an information in court or dismiss a complaint by private
complainants.[25]

From the foregoing, it is crystal clear that we do not interfere with the
Ombudsmans exercise of his investigatory and prosecutory powers vested
by the Constitution. In short, we do not review the Ombudsmans exercise of

discretion in prosecuting or dismissing a complaint except when the


exercise thereof is tainted with grave abuse of discretion.

By grave abuse of discretion is meant such capricious and whimsical


exercise of judgment tantamount to lack of jurisdiction. The abuse of
discretion must be so patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of a
positive duty or a virtual refusal to perform a duty enjoined by law, or to act
at all in contemplation of law, as where the power is exercised in an
arbitrary and despotic manner by reason of passion or hostility. [26] In this
regard, petitioners utterly failed to demonstrate the Ombudsmans abuse,
much less grave abuse, of discretion.

Apart from a blanket and general charge that remaining respondents


herein, Gonzales and Garcia, are officers of KBS/RPN and/or alter egos of
Benedicto, petitioners complaint-affidavits are bereft of sufficient ground to
engender a well-founded belief that crimes have been committed and the
respondents, namely, Gonzales and Garcia, are probably guilty thereof and
should be held for trial.[27] Certainly, the Ombudsman did not commit grave
abuse of discretion in dismissing petitioners complaint-affidavits.

From the entirety of the records, it is beyond cavil that petitioners


seek to attach criminal liability to an unequivocally civil undertaking gone
awry. As pointed out by the Ombudsman, although the petitioners may not
have realized their expectations in entering into the June 8, 1973 letteragreement, such does not render their consent thereto defective.

The execution and validity of this letter-agreement is connected with


respondents culpability for the felonies charged as these include the
element of whether they had juridical possession of the ABS-CBN properties.
Essentially, petitioners claim they did not freely give their consent to the
letter-agreement. However, on more than one occasion, petitioners have
invoked the letter-agreements provisions, and made claims thereunder.

First, petitioners met and discussed with respondents the fixing of the
rental rate for the ABS-CBN studios in Quezon City as provided in paragraph
2 of the letter-lease agreement. Next, petitioners counsel wrote a demand
letter to respondents for the payment of rentals for the latters occupation
and use of ABS-CBN properties pursuant to the letter-agreement. Last and
most importantly, petitioners have made a claim against the estate of
Benedicto based on the same June 8, 1973 letter-agreement.

This action of petitioners clearly evinces their ratification of the letteragreement. As previously discussed, the civil liability of respondents
Benedicto and Tan hinging on the charged criminal acts herein was
extinguished upon their death. But other civil liabilities founded on other
sources of obligations under Article 1157 of the Civil Code may still be
prosecuted either against the estate of the deceased if based on contract,
[28]
or against the executors and administrators of the deceaseds estate if
based on quasi-delict.[29]

As petitioners have ratified the letter-agreement, even after the lifting


of martial law and the toppling of the Marcos government, and advanced
the validity of the letter-agreement in their claim against the estate of
Benedicto, they cannot, in the same breath, aver that respondents
actuations in the execution of the letter-agreement were criminal in nature,
or that the letter-agreement was more ostensible than real and to insist on
the prosecution of respondents for felonies supposedly committed in
connection with this ubiquitous letter-agreement. [30]
In fine, the Ombudsman did not abuse his discretion in determining
that the allegations of petitioners against respondents are civil in nature,
bereft of criminal character. Perforce, he was correct in dismissing
petitioners complaint-affidavits.
WHEREFORE,
premises
considered,
the
petition
is
hereby DISMISSED. Roberto S. Benedicto and Salvador Tan are dropped as
private respondents without prejudice to the filing of separate civil actions
against their respective estates. The assailed Joint Resolution and Order of
the Ombudsman in OMB-0-94-1109 are AFFIRMED.

SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 88582 March 5, 1991


PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
HEINRICH S. RITTER, accused-appellant,
The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.
Esteban B. Bautista for accused-appellant.

GUTIERREZ, JR., J.:p


The appellant challenges his conviction of the crime involving a young girl of about 12 years old who had
been allegedly raped and who later died because of a foreign object left inside her vaginal canal.
Heinrich Stefan Ritter was charged with the crime of rape with homicide under an information which reads:
That on or about the tenth (10th day of October, 1986 in the City of Olongapo, Philippines,
and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused with lewd
design and with intent to kill one Rosario Baluyot, a woman under twelve (12) years of age,
did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously have carnal knowledge of said Rosario
Baluyot and inserted a foreign object into the vaginal canal of said Rosario Baluyot which
caused her death shortly thereafter, to the damage and prejudice of her relatives. (66)
When arraigned, the accused pleaded "Not Guilty". Thereafter, the case was set for trial on the merits.
To prove the guilt of the accused, the prosecutor presented the following witnesses, namely: (1) Jessie
Ramirez, (2) Maria Burgos y Turla, (3) P/Cpl. Mariano Victoria, (4) Policarpio Baluyot, (5) Dr. Reino Rosete, (6)
Sumulong Daniel, (7) Jessica Herrera, (8) Sister Eva Palencia, (9) Conrado Salonga, (10) Dr. Devonne Loop,
(11) Dr. Leo Cruz, (12) Paul Maclor, (13) Aida Sarmiento, (14) Patricia Prollamanta (15) Mel Santos, (16) Lorna
Limos, (17) Eduard Lee Bungarner, (18) Ronaldo Marquez, (19) Tom Bonte, (20) 2nd Asst. City Fiscal Nini
Alcala, (21) lst Asst. City Fiscal Dorentino Z. Floresta, (22) Corazon Caber, (23) Rodolfo Mercurio and (24) Fe
Israel.
On the other hand, the defense offered in evidence Exhibits "1" to "24" and the testimonies of (1) Heinrich
S. Ritter, (2) Father Roque Villanueva, (3) Angelita Amulong (4) Gaspar Alcantara, (5) Dr. Val Barcinal and (6)
Dr. Pedro C. Solis.
The facts of the case upon which the lower court based its finding of guilt beyond reasonable doubt are
summarized in its decision, as follows:
The people's evidence show that on October 10, 1986 about midnight, accused Heinrich
Stefan Ritter brought a boy and girl namely: Jessie Ramirez and Rosario Baluyot inside his
hotel room at MGM Hotel along Magsaysay Drive, Olongapo City. These two (2) children were
chosen from among a bunch of street children. Once inside the hotel room accused told

them to take a bath. Jessie Ramirez, alias "Egan", was the first to take a bath and when he
came out Rosario Baluyot went to the bathroom to do the same. While Rosario Baluyot was
inside the bathroom, accused Ritter took out some pictures depicting dressed up young
boys, and put them on top of the table. Other things which were taken out and placed on top
of a table were three (3) other objects which he described as like that of a vicks inhaler. One
of these objects the accused played with his hands and placed it on his palms. The color of
which is grayish blue which turned out later to be the foreign object which was inserted
inside the vagina of Rosario Baluyot. The other objects were later established to be anti-nasal
inhalers against pollution purchased by the accused in Bangkok when he went there as a
tourist. While Rosario was in the bathroom, accused told Ramirez to lay down on bed, and so
did the accused. He then started masturbating the young boy and also guided the boy's hand
for him to be masturbated, so that they masturbated each other, while they were both naked,
and he gave Jessie Ramirez an erection. When Rosario Baluyot came out of the bathroom,
she was told to remove her clothes by accused and to join him in bed. The accused then
placed himself between the two (2) children and accused started fingering Rosario.
At this time, Ramirez was already sleepy, but Rosario touched him to call his attention. He
looked, and he saw accused placing his penis against the vagina of Rosario and that he was
trying to penetrate the vagina but it would not fit. After what he saw, Ramirez did not anymore
bother to look because he was sleepy and fell asleep.
The following morning, the accused, whom the juveniles described as an "American, paid
Ramirez alias "Egan" P200.00 and Rosario P300.00. He then left them in the hotel. After the
American left, they went downstairs, and Rosario told Egan that the American inserted
something in her vagina. But they could not do anything anymore, because the American had
already left, and neither did they report the matter to the police. Sometime the following day,
Jessie saw Rosario and he asked her whether the object was already removed from her body
and Rosario said "Yes". However, Jessie Ramirez claimed that on the evening of that same
date, he saw Rosario and she was complaining of pain in her vagina and when Egan asked
her, she said that the foreign object was not yet removed. Then there was another occasion
wherein Jessie was summoned and when he came he saw Rosario writhing in pain and when
he tried to talk to Rosario she scolded him with defamatory remarks. Thereafter, he did not
see Rosario anymore because he already went home to his aunt's house who resided at
Barrio Barretto and resumed his studies in the primary grades.
On May 14, 1987, Gaspar Alcantara, a defense witness, while garbage scavenging at Lot 21,
near the gate of the U.S. Naval Base saw Rosario at Magsaysay Drive near the Happy Bake
Shop near Lot 21, being ogled by people because Rosario's skirt was bloodied and she was
unconscious and foul smelling. Since nobody helped Rosario, he took pity on her condition
and brought her to the Olongapo City General Hospital in an unconscious condition, via
jeepney. He went to the Information desk and he was the one who gave the personal
circumstances of Rosario as to her name, age, her residence as Nagbakulaw, Lower Kalaklan,
and Gaspar Alcantara signed as "guardian" of Rosario, while Rosario was already in the
emergency room. Although Gaspar Alcantara denied that he did not know the name of
Rosario Baluyot when he brought her to the hospital, this is belied by the testimony of the
Information clerk Lorna Limos, who was then on duty. Limos testified that it was Alcantara
who supplied the personal circumstances of Rosario. The Court gives more credence to the
testimony of Miss Limos as against Gaspar Alcantara who became a defense witness, for the
reason that through his own testimony, Gaspar Alcantara claimed that even prior to May 14,
1987, he had already known Rosario Baluyot for more than one (1) year, because he has seen
the said girl go to the house of his twin brother, Melchor Alcantara, who is his immediate

neighbor. Rosario used to visit a girl by the name of "Nora" who was then in the custody of
his brother. His brother Melchor was also living with their mother, brother and sister-in-law
and their two (2) children in his house. Rosario as per Gaspar's testimony even stays for one
week or a few days at his brother's house when she visits Nora. So the Court can safely
assume that of all the more than one (1) year that he had regularly seen Rosario at his
brother's house, he must have already did come to know the name of Rosario Baluyot
including her age. In his testimony in Court he stated that he even asked Rosario for movie
and softdrinks money which can safely be concluded that he knows her very well. It is
against normal behavior especially to a Filipino who have a characteristic of curiosity not to
have found out the real name of the girl he claims to know only as "Tomboy".
While Rosario Baluyot was confined at the Olongapo City General Hospital, nobody was
attending to her since she is a street child, having stowed away from the custody of her
grandmother. Three (3) good samaritans who belong to religious and civic organizations, in
the persons of Jessica Herrera, Fe Israel and Sr. Eva Palencia, in one of their missions in the
hospital chanced upon Rosario Baluyot who was all alone with no relatives attending to her
and after finding out that she was only 12 years old decided to help her. After a short
interview with Rosario, regarding her name and age only because she clamped up about her
residence and her relatives, they decided to help her by providing her the medicine she
needed during her confinement in readiness for an operation. It was Fe Israel who was able
to get the name and age of Rosario Baluyot from Rosario Baluyot herself when she saw her
for the first time. For Fe Israel, the age of Rosario Baluyot was an important factor because
their program assisted only indigent patients from infants up to 13 years old.
Rosario's first ailment at the Olongapo City General Hospital was loose bowel movement and
vomiting, which was first suspected as gastro-enteritis, but which came out later as
symptoms of peritonitis due to a massive infection in the abdominal cavity. Subsequently, on
May 17, 1987, after she was examined by the physicians at the hospital, it was found out that
there was a foreign object lodged in her vaginal canal and she had vaginal discharge tinged
with blood and foul smelling odor emanating from her body. One of the doctors who attended
to her was Dr. Barcinal, an OB-GYNE. Dr. Barcinal tried to extract the foreign object by means
of a forceps, but several attempts proved futile because said object was deeply embedded in
the vaginal canal and was covered by tissues. Her abdomen was enlarged, tender and
distended, symptoms of peritonitis. The patient was feverish and incoherent when she was
scheduled for operation on May 19, 1987, after the first attempt for an operation on May 17
was aborted allegedly because the consent of Dr. Reino Rosete, the hospital director was not
obtained. The surgeon who operated on her was Dr. Rosete himself. He testified that Rosario
had to be operated even in that condition in order to save her life. Her condition was guarded.
This was corroborated by Dr. Leo Cruz, the anesthesiologist during Rosario's operation. It
was in the evening of May 19 at about 7:00 p.m. when Dr. Rosete opened her abdomen by
making a 5 inch incision on her stomach. He found out that the fallopian tubes were
congested with pus and so with the peritonieum, and the pelvic cavity, and patches of pus in
the liver, although the gallbladder and kidney appeared to have septicemia, poisoning of the
blood. The peritonitis and septicemia were traced to have been caused through infection by
the foreign object which has been lodged in the intra-vaginal canal of Rosario. The foreign
object which was already agreed upon by both parties that it is a portion of a sexual vibrator
was extracted from the vagina of Rosario while under anesthesia. Said object was coated
with tissues, pus and blood. Dr. Rosete gave it to the assisting surgical nurse for safekeeping
and gave instructions to release it to the authorized person. This object was shown by the
nurse to Dr. Leo Cruz. Dr. Rosete considered the operation successful and the patient was
alive when he left her under Dr. Cruz. Dr. Cruz stayed with said patient in the ward for about

30 minutes and thereafter he left. The following day, Rosario got serious and it was Dr. Leo
Cruz who pronounced her death at 2:00 to 2:15 in the afternoon of May 20, 1987.
Thereafter, a death certificate was prepared under the direction of Dr. Cruz which was
indicated therein that the cause of death was cardio-respiratory arrest, secondary to
septicemia caused by the foreign object lodged in the intra uteral vaginal canal of Rosario
Baluyot.
The foreign object was washed by nurse Obedina, then placed it in a transparent small jar
and labelled "Rosario Baluyot". Jessica Herrera asked the nurse for the foreign object, and it
was given to her under proper receipt. Herrera then showed the same to the persons who
helped financially Rosario's case, and afterwards she gave it to Sister Eva Palencia. Sis.
Palencia was in custody of the said object until Mr. Salonga came and asked her for the
object.
After Rosario Baluyot died, Sis. Palencia and a companion went to Gaspar Alcantara to ask
him in locating the relatives of Rosario. They were able to trace Rosario's grandmother, Mrs.
Maria Burgos Turla, and informed her that her granddaughter was already dead and lying in
state at St. Martin Funeral Parlor. Mrs. Turla went there with her son, who shouldered all the
burial expenses for Rosario.
Subsequently, Sis. Palencia, Fr. Cullens and Mr. Salonga came to her residence at Sta. Rita
and asked her if she was interested in filing a case against the person who caused the death
of her granddaughter. Of course she agreed. Hence, she was brought to the Fiscal's (City)
Office to file the same.
After the case was filed against the herein accused, Atty. Edmundo Legaspi with his
messenger came to her house and told her that the accused was willing to settle the case,
but that accused Ritter had only P15,000.00. The old woman did not accept it because she
knows that the accused is liable to pay damages anyway. After that, she received a letter from
Atty. Legaspi telling her to get a lawyer for her case. By this time, Mrs. Turla, who wanted to
have the case settled once and for all giving the reason that she can no longer bear the
situation, sent her nephew, Conrado Marcelo to Atty. Legaspi. Her nephew obliged and told
her that she will be paid at the office of Atty. Legaspi. On a date not clear in the records, she
went with her nephew Conrado Marcelo, and Roberto Sundiam, an assistant barangay tanod
of Sta. Rita, and while they were there, she saw Ritter arrive at the law office. Ritter and Atty.
Legaspi talked at the office near the bathroom, and thereafter Ritter left. After he left, Atty.
Legaspi told Rosario's grandmother that they are willing to settle for P20,000.00, but that
Ritter left only P15,000.00, so she received the money with the understanding that there was
a balance of P5,000.00 yet. She was made to sign a statement, and she was asked to change
the age of her granddaughter Rosario. With the document prepared, she and the lawyer's
messenger went to the Fiscal's office to have it subscribed, and was subscribed before an
assistant city fiscal. But the balance of P5,000.00 was not paid, because later on Atty. Legaspi
became the OIC of Olongapo City and he could no longer attend to it. Atty. Legaspi, during
one of the hearings before the Court even apologized to her.
As to the case, P/Cpl. Marino Victoria, as criminal investigator of Station "A", was directed by
Col. Daos, Station Commander of the Olongapo Police Department to make a follow up of the
case of Rosario Baluyot. On the other hand, since the suspect who inserted the foreign
object inside Rosario's vagina was said to be an American, the NISRA Subic Naval Base also
conducted its investigation headed by criminal investigator Agent Conrado Salonga.

Coordinating with the local police and with Sister Eva Palencia, since Rosario was a street
child at Magsaysay Drive, they rounded up about 43 street children and from some of them
they learned that Rosario Baluyot was with Jessie Ramirez with an American at the MGM
Hotel when the foreign object was inserted in her vagina. After finding Jessie Ramirez, they
asked him about Rosario Baluyot. They found out that indeed he was with Rosario Baluyot
sometime before Christmas of 1986 with an American, who brought them to the said hotel.
Jessie Ramirez was taken inside the U.S. Naval Base, Olongapo City and took his statement.
Then he was brought to Mr. Edward Lee Bungarner, a cartographer, and out of the description
supplied by Ramirez, a composite drawing was photocopied and copies thereof were
distributed to the local police and to the sentries at the gate of the U.S. Naval Base. Some
American servicemen who had resemblance to the composite drawing were photographed
and these were shown to Jessie Ramirez, but the result was negative. Aside from the
physical description by Ramirez about the appearance of the suspect, he also described him
as having the mannerisms of a homo-sexual.
After obtaining information that foreign homo-sexuals frequented Ermita, Manila, and
thinking that the so-called American may be European or Australian national, the team
composed of Agent Salonga, Mr. Heinsell, P/Cpl. Marino Victoria and P/Cpl. Andres Montaon,
Jessie Ramirez and Michael Johnson, another juvenile, proceeded to Manila. They first went
to the Manila NISRA Office, and thereafter checked in a hotel. That was on September 23,
1987. On the first night, they went to Luneta Park where foreign homo-sexuals were said to
be frequenting, but the result was negative. Then on September 25, at about 11:00 p.m., while
they were standing at the corner of A. Mabini and M.H. del Pilar Street, a male caucasian who
looked like a homo-sexual stopped by admiringly infront of the two (2) juveniles, Ramirez and
Johnson. Jessie Ramirez then reported to Mr. Salonga that this foreigner had a similarity with
the American suspect, so the two minors were instructed to follow the foreigner and to strike
a conversation. They did, and when they returned, Jessie Ramirez told them that indeed the
said foreigner was the one who brought him and Rosario Baluyot to the MGM Hotel. Bobby
Salonga told Ramirez that this foreigner had no beard while the one previously described by
Ramirez had a beard. Jessie Ramirez told them that maybe he have just shaved it off. The
said caucasian then entered a bar, and after several minutes he came out, and Jessie
Ramirez upon his signal with his thumbs up, as a signal to confirm that the said foreigner is
the suspect, arrested Ritter and brought him to the Manila Western Police District. It could be
mentioned at this stage that in this operation they were accompanied by two (2) policemen
from the Western Police District. The foreigner was hand cuffed and was told that he was a
suspect for Rape with Homicide. After the arrest, they first went to the pension house of the
suspect in Ermita, Manila to get his shoulder bag which contained his personal belongings,
and from there they brought him to the Western Police Department. At the said police
headquarters, they were allowed a permissive search by the foreigner of his clutch bag and
his small shoulder bag and confiscated his passport, I.D., 3 inhalers, money in the form of
dollars and travellers checks amounting about $1,500.00 and about P100.00, all duly
receipted for. From the passport they learned that the suspect's name was Heinrich Stefan
Ritter, an Austrian national. During the questioning of Hitter, Salonga and his team already
left the headquarters and went to their hotel, because at this time Jessie Ramirez was already
shaking with fear after he identified the accused.
The following day, they brought the accused to Olongapo and was detained at the Olongapo
City Jail. The case for Rape with Homicide was filed against him at the City Fiscal of
Olongapo. At the preliminary investigation, accused was assisted by his own counsel. The
private complainant was Maria Burgos Turla because it was she who had custody of Rosario
Baluyot after her mother Anita Burgos died on January 12, 1982, and their father Policarpio

Baluyot had left them under her custody. When this case was filed, the father's whereabouts
was unknown, and he only appeared when the trial of this case before the Court was already
in progress. And upon his (Policarpio Baluyot) own admission, he only learned about the
death of his daughter Rosario Baluyot from the newspaper, long after Rosario was already
gone.
The defense tried to dislodge the case by claiming that there could be no crime of Rape with
Homicide because the suspect was described as an American while Ritter is an Austrian.
Also advanced by the defense is that, it is a case of mistaken identity. That Rosario Baluyot
was at the time of the commission of the offense, already more than 13 years old, she having
been born on December 26, 1973 as per baptismal certificate, wherein it appears that Rosario
Baluyot was baptized on December 25, 1974 and was born on December 26, 1973 as testified
to by Fr. Roque Villanueva of St. James Parish Church who issued the Baptismal Certificate,
having custody and possession of the book of baptism for the year 1975, but admitted that he
had no personal knowledge about the matters or entries entered therein. Likewise, the
defense's stand is that the accused cannot be liable for Homicide because a vibrator is not a
weapon of death but it is a thing for the purpose of giving sexual pleasure, and that the death
of Rosario Baluyot was due to the incompetence of Dr. Rosete, the surgeon and Director of
the Olongapo City General Hospital, who operated on her. (Rollo, pp. 109-116)
On March 29, 1989, the trial court rendered its decision. The dispositive portion of the decision reads as
follows:
WHEREFORE, IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the Court holds, that the prosecution has
established the GUILT of the accused beyond reasonable doubt for the crime of Rape with
Homicide as defined and penalized in Art. 335 No. 3 of the Revised Penal Code, and hereby
sentences HEINRICH STEFAN RITTER to a penalty of RECLUSION PERPETUA, to indemnify
the heirs of the deceased in the sum of SIXTY THOUSAND PESOS (P60,000.00) Philippine
Currency, and TEN THOUSAND PESOS (Pl0,000.00) by way of attorney's fees to the private
prosecutors and to pay the costs. (Rollo, p. 126)
The accused now comes to this Court on the following assigned errors allegedly committed by the court:
I
THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED AND ABUSED ITS DISCRETION IN FINDING THAT THE
ALLEGED OFFENSE WAS COMMITTED ON OCTOBER 10, 1986 AND THAT IT WAS ACCUSEDAPPELLANT WHO COMMITTED IT.
II
THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED AND ABUSED ITS DISCRETION IN FINDING THAT
ROSARIO BALUYOT WAS LESS THAN TWELVE (12) YEARS OLD WHEN THE ALLEGED
OFFENSE WAS COMMITTED AND IN HOLDING THAT THERE WAS RAPE WITH HOMICIDE.
III
THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED AND ABUSED ITS DISCRETION IN GIVING CREDENCE
TO AND NOT REJECTING THE PROSECUTION'S EVIDENCE AND IN NOT UPHOLDING THAT
OF THE DEFENSE AND ACQUITTING THE ACCUSED.

Inasmuch as it is the bounden duty of this Court to affirm a judgment of conviction only if the guilt of the
accused has been proved beyond reasonable doubt, it behooves us to exert the most painstaking effort to
examine the records in the light of the arguments of both parties if only to satisfy judicial conscience that
the appellant indeed committed the criminal act (See People v. Villapaa, 161 SCRA 73 [1988]).
The appellant was convicted by the trial court of the crime of rape with homicide of a young girl who died
after the rape because of a foreign object, believed to be a sexual vibrator, left inside her vagina.
As stated by the trial court one crucial issue in this case is the age of the victimwhether or not Rosario
Baluyot was less than twelve (12) years old at the time the alleged incident happened on October 10, 1986.
The age is important in determining whether or not there was statutory rape, Article 335 of the Revised
Penal Code defines the third type of rape as having carnal knowledge of a woman under 12 years of age, in
which case force, intimidation, deprivation of reason or unconscious state do not have to be present.
The trial court found that Rosario was below 12 years old when she was sexually abused by the accused
and, therefore, rape was committed inspite of the absence of force or intimidation.
In resolving the issue, the trial court put great weight on the testimonies of the victim's grandmother and
father who testified that she was born on December 22, 1975. These oral declarations were admitted
pursuant to then Rule 130, Section 33 of the Rules of Court where, in the absence of a birth certificate, the
act or declaration about pedigree may be received in evidence on any notable fact in the life of a member of
the family. Since birth is a matter of pedigree within the rule which permits the admission of hearsay
evidence, oral declarations are therefore admissible as proof of birth (Decision, p. 54).
The grandmother, Maria Burgos Turla, testified that she remembered Rosario's birth date because her
brother died in Pampanga and her daughter, Anita (Rosario's mother) was the only one who failed to attend
the funeral because the latter has just given birth allegedly to Rosario (T.S.N. p. 8, Jan. 13, 1988).
The father likewise testified that as far as he could remember, Rosario was born on December 22, 1975
(T.S.N., p. 4, Jan. 27, 1988) and he was certain that Rosario was more than one (1) year old when she was
baptized (T.S.N., p. 45, Jan. 27, 1988).
The trial court further added that their testimony is supported by the clinical record and the death certificate
indicating that she was 12 years old when she was admitted at the Olongapo City General Hospital for
treatment. The age was supplied by Rosario's alleged guardian, Gaspar Alcantara to the hospital's clinical
record clerk, Lorna Limos. Fe Israel, a social worker who interviewed Rosario Baluyot also testified that she
was told by Rosario that she was 12 years old. The trial court accepted this as adequate evidence of the
truth. Moreover, Jessie Ramirez, the principal witness in this case declared that he was born on September
5, 1973 and that he was older than Rosario Baluyot. Therefore, since he was 13 years old in 1986, Rosario
must have been less than 12 yeas old in 1986. (Decision, p. 55)
The trial court concluded that the oral declarations of the grandmother and father supported by other
independent evidence such as the clinical record, death certificate and the testimonies of Fe Israel and
Jessie Ramirez, rendered the baptismal certificate presented by the defense without any probative or
evidentiary value. (Decision, p. 55)
The findings of the trial court with respect to Rosario Baluyot's age cannot stand the application of
evidentiary rules.
The trial court relied on Section 33, Rule 130 (now Section 40 of Rule 130 of the 1989 Revised Rules of
Court).

For oral evidence to be admissible under this Rule, the requisites are:
(1) That the declarant must be dead or outside of the Philippines or unable to testify;
(2) That pedigree is in issue;
(3) That the person whose pedigree is in question must be related to the declarant by birth or
marriage;
(4) That the declaration must be made before the controversy occurred or ante litem motam;
and
(5) That the relationship between the declarant and the person whose pedigree is in question
must as a general rule be shown by evidence other than such act or declaration.
These requirements were not satisfied by the evidence for the prosecution nor do the declarations fall
within the purview of the rule.
The victim's grandmother and father whose declarations regarding Rosario's age were admitted by the trial
court are both alive, in the Philippines and able to testify as they both did testify in court. Their declarations
were made at the trial which is certainly not before the controversy arose. The other witnesses who testified
on Rosario's age are not members of the victim's family. The testimonies of Rosario's relatives must be
weighed according to their own personal knowledge of what happened and not as hearsay evidence on
matters of family history.
At this point, we find the evidence regarding Rosario's age of doubtful value.
The trial court justified the admissibility of the grandmother's testimony pursuant to the ruling laid down
in U.S. v. Bergantino, (3 Phil., 118 [1903]) where the Court accepted the testimony of the mother that her
daughter was 14 years old and 4 months old. The mother stated that she knew the age because the child
was born about the time of the cholera epidemic of 1889. This was not hearsay, but came from one who had
direct knowledge of the child's birth.
It is however, equally true that human memory on dates or days is frail and unless the day is an
extraordinary or unusual one for the witness, there is no reasonable assurance of its correctness. (People v.
Dasig 93 Phil. 618, 632 [1953])
With respect to the grandmother's testimony, the date of the brother's death or funeral was never
established, which indicates that the day was rather insignificant to be remembered. The father's
declaration is likewise not entirely reliable. His testimony in court does not at all show that he had direct
knowledge of his daughter's birth. He was certain though that she was more than one (1) year old at the
time she was baptized.
The other witnesses are not at all competent to testify on the victim's age, nor was there any basis shown to
establish their competence for the purpose. The clinical records were based on Gaspar Alcantara's
incompetent information given when he brought the victim to the hospital. Alcantara came to know her only
about a year before her death. He had absolutely no knowledge about the circumstances of Rosario's birth.
The death certificate relied upon by the trial court was merely based on the clinical records. It is even less
reliable as a record of birth.

All the evidence presented by the prosecution showing that Rosario Baluyot was less than 12 years old at
the time of the alleged incident are not adequate to establish the exact date of birth, much less offset a
documentary record showing a different date.
The defense presented Rosario Baluyot's baptismal certificate which the trial court rejected as being
hearsay and of no value. As against the oral declarations made by interested witnesses establishing
Rosario's age to be less than 12 years old, the evidence on record is more convincing and worthy of belief.
(See Filinvest Land, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, 183 SCRA 664, 673 [1990]).
By virtue of a subpoena duces tecum and ad testificandum, issued by the lower court to the St. James
Parish Church, Subic, Zambales, Fr. Roque Villanueva a Roman Catholic priest testified and stated that he
is the head of said parish. He brought with him Baptismal Register No. 9 entitled "Liber Baptisnorum", a
latin term for baptismal book or record. On page 151, No. 3 of the said Registry Book, there appears the
name of Rosario Baluyot who was baptized on December 25, 1974, and born on December 26, 1973. Parents
are Policarpio Baluyot and Anita Burgos, residents of Subic, Zambales. Edita R. Milan appears as the only
sponsor with Olongapo City as her address.
In the case of Macadangdang v. Court of appeals (100 SCRA 73 [1980]), we held that:
xxx xxx xxx
In our jurisprudence, this Court has been more definite in its pronouncements on the value of
baptismal certificates. It thus ruled that while baptismal and marriage certificates may be
considered public documents, they are evidence only to prove the administration of the
sacraments on the dates therein specifiedbut not the veracity of the status or declarations
made therein with respect to his kinsfolk and/or citizenship (Paa v. Chan, L-25945, Oct. 31,
1967). Again, in the case of Fortus v. Novero (L-22378, 23 SCRA 1331 [1968]), this Court held
that a baptismal certificate is conclusive proof only of the baptism administered, in
conformity with the rites of the Catholic Church by the priest who baptized the child, but it
does not prove the veracity of the declarations and statements contained in the certificate
that concern the relationship of the person baptized. Such declarations and statements, in
order that their truth may be admitted, must indispensably be shown by proof recognized by
law. (At pp. 84-85)
In the same light, the entries made in the Registry Book may be considered as entries made in the course of
business under Section 43 of Rule 130, which is an exception to the hearsay rule. The baptisms
administered by the church are one of its transactions in the exercise of ecclesiastical duties and recorded
in a book of the church during the course of its business. (U.S. v. de Vera, 28 Phil. 105 [1914] Hence, the
certificate (Exhibit "22") presented by the defense that Rosario Baluyot was baptized on December 25, 1974
may be admitted in evidence as proof of baptism. Policarpio Baluyot, the victim's father testified that he had
in his possession a baptismal certificate different from the one presented in court. However, no other
baptismal record was ever presented to prove a date different from that brought by the official custodian.
Since the baptismal certificate states that Rosario was baptized on December 25, 1974, it is therefore highly
improbable that Rosario could have been born on December 22, 1975. She could not have been baptized
before she was born. Exhibit "22" may be proof only of baptism but it puts a lie to the declaration that
Rosario was born in 1975. With the father's assertion that Rosario was more than one (1) year old when she
was baptized, we are then more inclined to agree that Rosario was born in 1973 as stated in the Baptismal
Registry.
In the case of People v. Rebancos (172 SCRA 425 [1989]), the Court stated:

xxx xxx xxx


. . . Although no birth certificate was presented because her birth had allegedly not been
registered, her baptismal certificate, coupled by her mother's testimony, was sufficient to
establish that Mary Rose was below twelve years old when she was violated by Rebancos.
(At. p. 426)
Unfortunately, in the instant case, nobody could corroborate the date on a more reliable document as to
Rosario's birth which could serve as sufficient proof that she was born on December 26, 1973. Therefore,
she was more than 12 years old at the time of the alleged incident on October 10, 1986.
Moreover, it is not incumbent upon the defense to prove Rosario's age. The burden of proof lies on the
prosecution to prove that Rosario was less than 12 years old at the time of the alleged incident in a charge
of statutory rape. The prosecution failed in this respect.
Since Rosario was not established to have been under 12 years of age at the time of the alleged sexual
violation, it was necessary to prove that the usual elements of rape were present; i.e. that there was force of
intimidation or that she was deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious in accordance with Article 335 of
the Revised Penal Code.
We agree with the defense that there was no proof of such facts. On the contrary, the evidence shows that
Rosario submitted herself to the sexual advances of the appellant. In fact, she appears to have consented to
the act as she was paid P300.00 the next morning while her companion, Jessie Ramirez was paid P200.00
(T.S.N. p. 50, January 6, 1988). The environmental circumstances coupled with the testimonies and evidence
presented in court clearly give the impression that Rosario Baluyot, a poor street child, was a prostitute
inspite of her tender age. Circumstances in life may have forced her to submit to sex at such a young age
but the circumstances do not come under the purview of force or intimidation needed to convict for rape.
In view of these clear facts which the prosecution failed to refute, no rape was committed. But was Ritter
guilty of homicide?
The trial court justified its ruling by saying that the death of the victim was a consequence of the insertion
of the foreign object into the victim's vagina by the appellant.
We now ask "Was the appellant responsible for the sexual vibrator left inside Rosario's vagina which led to
her death?
The trial court convicted the accused based on circumstantial evidence. Unfortunately, the circumstances
are capable of varying interpretations and are not enough to justify conviction.
Jessie Ramirez, the principal witness did not actually see the object inserted in Rosario's vagina. Neither
could he identify the object (Exhibit "C-2") taken from Rosario as the same object which the appellant was
holding at that time of the alleged incident.
In his sworn statement given to the police investigator on September 4, 1987, he answered that:
xxx xxx xxx
T Habang kayo ay nasa loob ng kuwarto ng otel, mayroon ka bang napansin na
inilabas ng kano sa kanyang daladalahan kung mayroon man?

S Ang Amerikano ay may dala-dalang shoulder bag na kulay itim, at napansin


ko na may inilabas siya sa kanyang bag na parang vicks inhaler, na kanyang
inamoy-amoy habang nasa otel kami at pagkatapos niya ay inilapag niya sa
lamiseta.
T Ilarawan mo nga sa akin ang bagay na nakita mong inilabas ng Amerikano?
S Ito ay may habang tatlong pulgada at ang takip nito ay may habang dalawang
pulgada. Iyong takip ay bilog na patulis at may tabang mga kalahating pulgada.
Hindi ko napansin ang hugis ng dulo ng bagay na may takip dahil natatakpan
ng kamay at ilong ng Amerikano.
T Ipinakikita ko sa iyo ang isang larawan. Tignan mong mabuti ang larawang
ito at sabihin mo nga sa akin kung makikilala mo ang mga bagay na nasa
larawang ito, na may kinalaman sa nakita mong kinuha ng Amerikano sa
kanyang bag?
S Napansin ko na ang kulay asul na bagay sa larawan ay katulad na katulad
noong takip ng bagay na inilabas ng Amerikano sa kanyang bag. Kaya lang ay
bakit naging kulay asul gayong ng makita ko ito ay kulay puti? (Exhibit "A", p.
2; Emphasis Supplied)
Presumably, what Jessie Ramirez saw was merely the Vicks inhaler which the appellant does not deny
having possessed at that time. He was certain that the object was white. (T.S.N. p. 91, January 6, 1988)
Later, Ramirez retracted and corrected himself. He said that it was grayish in color with color blue (Medyo
kulay abo na may kulay na parang blue). (T.S.N. p. 92, January 6, 1988) The inconsistency of the witness'
testimony casts doubt as to the veracity of the statements made especially when he answered on additional
cross-examination that the reason why he concluded that Exhibit "C-2" was the same object being held by
Ritter was because it was the only one shown to him by the prosecution (T.S.N. pp. 109-110, January 6,
1988). Jessie Ramirez was not all certain about the sexual vibrator because he did not actually see it in the
possession of the appellant.
What he merely remembers is the revelation made by Rosario the next morning that the foreigner inserted
something inside her vagina. The trial court admitted such statement as part of the res gestae. In a strained
effort to accept such statement as part of res gestae, the trial court focused the test of admissibility on the
lapse of time between the event and the utterance. For the average 13 years old, the insertion of a
mechanical device or anything for that matter into the vagina of a young girl is undoubtedly startling. For
Rosario and Jessie, however, there must be more evidence to show that the statement, given after a night's
sleep had intervened, was given instinctively because the event was so startling Res gestae does not apply.
(Section 42, Rule 130, Rules of Court)
Even if it were established that the appellant did insert something inside Rosario's vagina, the evidence is
still not adequate to impute the death of Rosario to the appellant's alleged act.
Jessie Ramirez testified that Rosario was able to remove the object inserted in her vagina. We quote:
Q Now, you also stated on direct examination that later on Rosario even
categorically admitted to you that she was already able to remove the object
allegedly inserted inside her vagina, is that correct?

A Yes, sir.
xxx xxx xxx
ATTY. CARAAN:
Q Will you kindly tell to this Honorable Court the exact words used by Rosario
Baluyot later on when you met her when you asked her and when she told you
that she was already able to remove that object from her vagina?
A "Oy, Jessie, natanggal na, "she told me that. I asked her, "Was it already
removed?" And she answered, "Yes, it was removed." But the same night, she
again complained of pain of her stomach. She sent one of her friends to call for
me. And as a matter of fact, Tomboy was uttering defamatory words against me
as she was groaning in pain. (TSN, Jan. 6,1988, pp. 72-73)
This encounter happened on the night of the day following the day after both children were invited by the
foreigner to the hotel. (T.S.N. p. 73, January 6, 1988). Rosario was said to be groaning in pain so we can just
imagine the distress she was undergoing at this point in time. If the device inserted by the appellant caused
the pain, it is highly inconceivable how she was able to endure the pain and discomfort until May, 1987,
seven (7) months after the alleged incident. Evidence must not only proceed from the mouth of a credible
witness but it must be credible in itself such as the common experience and observation of mankind can
approve as probable under the circumstances. (People vs. Patog, 144 SCRA 429 [1986]).
At this juncture, we find Dr. Pedro Solis' testimony rather significant. Dr. Pedro Solis, a witness for the
defense is considered an expert witness. (A Doctor of Medicine and a graduate of the State University in
1940, a degree of Bachelor of Laws and member of the Bar 1949, and a graduate of the Institute of
Criminology University. He was awarded Post Graduate Diploma in Criminology in 1963, and also a
graduate of United Nations Asia and Far East Asia Institute on the Prevention of Crimes in Tokyo Japan
1965. He was appointed Medico Legal Officer of the National Bureau of Investigation in 1940 until 1944. He
became Chief Medico Legal Officer in 1970 and became the Deputy Director of the NBI up to 1984. He is at
present a Professorial Lecturer on Legal Medicine at the UP, FEU, UE, and Fatima College of Medicine; a
Medico Legal Consultant of the PGH Medical Center, Makati Medical Center, UERM Medical Center, MCU
Medical Center. He has been with the NBI for 43 years. He has attended no less than 13 conferences abroad.
He is the author of the textbooks entitled "Legal Medicine" and "Medical Jurisprudence".) With his
impressive legal and medical background, his testimony is too authoritative to ignore. We quote the
pertinent portions of his testimony:
Q Now Dr. Solis, would you kindly go over this object marked as Exh. "C-2"
which object was described as a part of a sexual vibrator battery operated.
Now, given this kind of object, would you kindly tell us what would be the
probable effect upon a 12 years old girl when it is inserted into her vagina?
A Well, this vibrator must be considered a foreign body placed into a human
being and as such be considered a foreign object. As a foreign object, the
tendency of the body may be: No. 1expel the foreign bodyNo. 2.The
tendency of the body is to react to that foreign body. One of the reactions that
maybe manifested by the person wherein such foreign body is concerned is to
cover the foreign body with human tissue, in a way to avoid its further injury to
the body.

Now, the second reaction is irritation thereby producing certain manifest


symptoms and changes in the area where the foreign body is located.
In severe cases, the symptoms manifestation might not only be localized but
may be felt all over the body, we call it systemic reaction. Now, considering the
fact that this foreign body as shown to me is already not complete, this shows
exposure of its different parts for the body to react. If there is mechanism to
cause the foreign body to vibrate, there must be some sort of power from
within and that power must be a dry cell battery. [The] composition of the
battery are, manganese dioxide ammonium, salts, water and any substance
that will cause current flow. All of these substances are irritants including
areas of the container and as such, the primary reaction of the body is to
cause irritation on the tissues, thereby inflammatory changes develop and in
all likelihood, aside from those inflammatory changes would be a supervening
infection in a way that the whole generative organ of the woman will suffer
from diseased process causing her the systemic reaction like fever, swelling of
the area, and other systemic symptoms. . . . . (TSN., pp. 13-15, October 19,1988)
xxx xxx xxx
Q Now, given this object, how long would it take, Doctor before any reaction
such as an infection would set in, how many days after the insertion of this
object in the vagina of a 12 year old girl?
A In the example given to me, considering that one of the ends is exposed, in a
way that vaginal secretion has more chance to get in, well, liberation of this
irritant chemicals would be enhanced and therefore in a shorter period of time,
there being this vaginal reaction.
Q How many days or weeks would you say would that follow after the
insertion?
A As I said, with my experience at the NBI, insertion of any foreign body in the
vaginal canal usually developed within, a period of two (2) weeks . . .
xxx xxx xxx
Q . . . [T]he subject in this case was allegedly raped, and a sexual vibrator was
inserted in her vagina on October 10, 1986 and she was operated on, on May
19, 1987 the following year, so it took more than 7 months before this was
extracted, would you say that it will take that long before any adverse infection
could set in inside the vagina?
A Infection and inflamatory changes will develop in a shorter time. (TSN., Oct.
19,1988, p. 18)
xxx xxx xxx
Q When you said shorter, how long would that be, Doctor?

A As I said, in my personal experience, hair pins, cottonballs and even this


lipstick of women usually, there are only about two (2) weeks time that the
patient suffer some abnormal symptoms.
Q Now, considering that this is a bigger object to the object that you
mentioned, this object has a shorter time?
A Yes, Sir shorter time. (TSN., Oct. 19. 1988, p. 20)
The trial court, however, ruled that "there is no hard and fast rule as to the time frame wherein infection sets
in upon insertion of a foreign body in the vagina canal. For Dr. Solis, the time frame is not more than 10
months, and this case is still within the said time frame."
A more generous time interval may be allowed in non-criminal cases. But where an accused is facing a
penalty of reclusion perpetua, the evidence against him cannot be based on probabilities which are less
likely than those probabilities which favor him.
It should be clarified that the time frame depends upon the kind of foreign body lodged inside the body. An
examination of the object gave the following results:
(1) Color: Blue
Size: (a) Circumference3.031
inches (b) Lengthapproximately
2.179 inches.
Composition: Showed the general
characteristics of a styrene-butadiene plastic.
(2) The specimen can be electrically operated by means of a battery as per certification dated
01 June 1988, signed by Mr. Rodolfo D. Mercuric, Shipboard Electrical Systems Mechanics,
Foreman II, SRF Shop 51, Subic (see attached certification).
(3) No comparative examination was made on specimen #1 and vibrator depicted in the
catalog because no actual physical dimensions and/or mechanical characteristics were
shown in the catalog. (Exhibit "LL")
The vibrator end was further subjected to a macro-photographic examination on the open end portion
which revealed the following:
Result of Examination
Macro-photographic examination on the open end portion of specimen #1 shows the
following inscription:
MABUCHI MOTOR JAPAN RE 14 PAT (Exhibit "MM")
From the above results, the subject object is certainly not considered as inert and based on Dr. Solis'
testimony, it is more likely that infection should set in much earlier. Considering also that the object was
inserted inside the vagina which is part of the generative organ of a woman, an organ which is lined with a
very thin layer of membrane with plenty of blood supply, this part of the body is more susceptible to
infection. (T.S.N. p. 34, October 19, 1988)

The truth of Dr. Solis' testimony is more probable under the circumstances of the case. We see no reason
why his opinions qualified by training and experience should not be controlling and binding upon the Court
in the determination of guilt beyond reasonable doubt. (People v. Tolentino, 166 SCRA 469 [1988]).
Dr. Barcinal, another witness for the defense also testified that he examined Rosario Baluyot on May 17,
1986 as a referral patient from the Department of Surgery to give an OB-GYN clearance to the patient prior
to operation. (T.S.N. p. 6, September 28, 1988)
Q And how many times did you examine this patient Rosario Baluyot on that
day?
A I examined her twice on that day.
Q The first time that you examined her, what is the result of your findings, if
any?
A My first examination, I examined the patient inside the delivery room. The
patient was brought to the delivery room wheel-chaired then from the wheel
chair, the patient was ambigatory (sic). She was able to walk from the door to
the examining table. On examination, the patient is conscious, she was fairly
nourished, fairly developed, she had fever, she was uncooperative at that time
and examination deals more on the abdomen which shows slightly distended
abdomen with muscle guarding with tenderness all over, with maximum
tenderness over the hypogastric area. (T.S.N. p. 5, September 28, 1988)
xxx xxx xxx
Q What about your second examination to the patient, what was your findings,
if any?
A In my second examination, I repeated the internal examination wherein I
placed my index finger and middle finger inside the vagina of the patient and
was able to palpate a hard object. After which, I made a speculum examination
wherein I was able to visualize the inner portion of the vaginal canal, there I
saw purulent foul smelling, blood tints, discharge in the vaginal canal and a
foreign body invaded on the posterior part of the vaginal canal.
xxx xxx xxx
A I referred back to Dr. Fernandez about my findings and he asked me to try to
remove the said foreign object by the use of forceps which I tried to do so also
but I failed to extract the same.
Q All this time that you were examining the patient Rosario Baluyot both in the
first and second instance, Rosario Baluyot was conscious and were you able
to talk to her when you were examining her?
A Yes, sir.
Q And did you ask her why there is a foreign object lodge inside her vagina?

A Yes, Sir I asked her.


Q And what did she tell you, if any?
A She said in her own words that "GINAMIT AKO NG NEGRO AT SIYA ANG
NAGLAGAY NITO."
Q Did she also tell you when, this Negro who used her and who inserted and
placed the foreign object on her vagina?
A Yes, Sir I asked her and she said he used me three (3) months ago from the
time I examined her.
Q Now, you said that you referred the patient to the ward, what happened next
with your patient?
A To my knowledge, the patient is already scheduled on operation on that date.
Q Meaning, May 17, 1987?
A Yes, Sir I was presuming that the patient would undergo surgery after that?
(TSN, Sept. 28,1988, pp. 8-9; Emphasis supplied)
The trial court debunked Dr. Barcinals testimony considering Rosario's condition at that time. It ruled that it
is inconceivable that she would be striking a normal conversation with the doctors and would be sitting on
the examination table since Gaspar Alcantara stated that when he brought Rosario Baluyot to the hospital,
she was unconscious and writhing in pain.
It was not improbable for Rosario Baluyot to still be conscious and ambulant at that time because there
were several instances testified to by different witnesses that she was still able to talk prior to her
operation:
(1) Fe Israel, a witness for the prosecution and a member of the Olongapo Catholic Charismatic Renewal
Movement testified that as a member of this group she visits indigent children in the hospital every
Saturday and after office hours on working days.
On the Saturday prior to Rosario's death which was May 17, she was still able to talk to Rosario Baluyot. In
fact, one of her groupmates helped Rosario go to the comfort room to urinate. (T.S.N., pp. 16-19, May 25,
1988)
(2) Angelita Amulong, a witness for the defense is another para social worker who worked at Pope John
23rd Community Center under Sister Eva Palencia. In one of her hospital visits, she encountered Rosario
Baluyot in the month of May, 1987. She actually saw a child who happened to be Rosario Baluyot seated on
the cement floor and when she asked why she was seated there, she was told that it was too hot in the bed.
She saw Rosario Baluyot for about 2 or 3 days successively. (T.S.N. pp. 10-13, September 7, 1988)
(3) Gaspar Alcantara, the person who brought Rosario to the hospital actually testified that she was
conscious (T.S.N. p. 36, September 14, 1988) but writhing in pain. He took pity on her so he brought her to
the hospital (T.S.N. p. 12, September 14, 1988)

From the above testimonies, it is clear that Rosario was still conscious and could still answer questions
asked of her although she was complaining of stomach pains. Unfortunately, the medical attention given to
her failed to halt the aggravation of her condition. The operation on May 19 was too late.
Rosario died because of septicemia, which in layman's language is blood poisoning, and peritonitis, which
is massive infection, in the abdominal cavity caused by the foreign object or the cut sexual vibrator lodged
in the vagina of the victim. This led to the infection from the uterus to the fallopian tubes and into the
peritoneum and the abdominal cavity.
The trial court convicted the accused citing the rationale of Article 4 of the RPC
He who is the cause of the cause is the cause of the evil caused.
But before the conviction is affirmed, we must first follow the rule as stated in the case of Urbano
vs.Intermediate Appellate Court (157 SCRA 1 [1988]) to wit:
The rule is that the death of the victim must be the direct, natural and logical consequence of
the wounds inflicted upon him by the accused. And since we are dealing with a criminal
conviction, the proof that the accused caused the victim's death must convince a rational
mind beyond reasonable doubt. (Emphasis supplied)
In People v. Tempongko, Jr., (144 SCRA 583, 592 [1986]), we explained that:
xxx xxx xxx
The basic principle in every criminal prosecution is that accusation is not synonymous with
guilt. The accused is presumed innocent until the contrary is proved by the prosecution. If
the prosecution fails, it fails utterly, even if the defense is weak or, indeed, even if there is no
defense at all. The defendant faces the full panoply of state authority with all "The People of
the Philippines" arrayed against him. In a manner of speaking, he goes to bat with all the
bases loaded. The odds are heavily against him. It is important, therefore, to equalize the
positions of the prosecution and the defense by presuming the innocence of the accused
until the state is able to refute the presumption by proof of guilt beyond reasonable doubt.
(At. p. 592)
The evidence for the accused maybe numerically less as against the number of witnesses and
preponderance of evidence presented by the prosecution but there is no direct and convincing proof that
the accused was responsible for the vibrator left inside the victim's vagina which caused her death seven
(7) months after its insertion. What the prosecution managed to establish were mere circumstances which
were not sufficient to overcome the constitutional presumption of innocence. While circumstantial evidence
may suffice to support a conviction it is imperative, though, that the following requisites should concur:
(a) There is more than one circumstance;
(b) The facts from which the inferences are derived are proven; and
(c) The combination of all the circumstances is such as to produce a conviction beyond reasonable doubt.
(Rule 133, Sec. 4 Revised Rules of Court)
For the well-entrenched rule in evidence is that "before conviction can be had upon circumstantial
evidence, the circumstances proved should constitute an unbroken chain which leads to one fair and

reasonable conclusion pointing to the defendant, to the exclusion of all others, as the author of the crime
(People v. Subano, 73 Phil. 692 [1942]; Emphasis supplied). It must fairly exclude every reasonable
hypothesis of innocence (Dorado v. Court of Appeals, 153 SCRA 420, 433 [1987]). In this case the
circumstantial evidence presented by the prosecution does not conclusively point to the liability of the
appellant for the crime charged. (People v. Tolentino, supra)
We are aware of the wide publicity given to the plight of Rosario Baluyot and how her death exemplified
starkly the daily terrors that most street children encounter as they sell their bodies in order to survive. At
an age when innocence and youthful joys should preponderate in their lives, they experience life in its most
heartless and inhuman form. Instead of nothing more than gentle disappointments occupying their young
minds, they daily cope with tragedies that even adults should never be made to carry.
It is with distressing reluctance that we have to seemingly set back the efforts of Government to dramatize
the death of Rosario Baluyot as a means of galvanizing the nation to care for its street children. It would
have meant a lot to social workers and prosecutors alike if one pedophile-killer could be brought to justice
so that his example would arouse public concern, sufficient for the formulation and implementation of
meaningful remedies. However, we cannot convict on anything less than proof beyond reasonable doubt.
The protections of the Bill of Rights and our criminal justice system are as much, if not more so, for the
perverts and outcasts of society as they are for normal, decent, and law-abiding people.
The requirement of proof which produces in an unprejudiced mind moral certainty or conviction that the
accused did commit the offense has not been satisfied.
By way of emphasis, we reiterate some of the factors arousing reasonable doubt:
1. The evidence on Rosario Baluyot's baptism creates reasonable doubt about her being less than 12 years
old when the carnal knowledge took place. If the evidence for the prosecution is to be believed, she was not
yet born on the date she was baptized.
2. Since the proof of Rosario's being under 12 years of age is not satisfactory, the prosecution has to prove
force, intimidation, or deprivation of reason in order to convict for rape. There is no such proof. In fact, the
evidence shows a willingness to submit to the sexual act for monetary considerations.
3. The only witness to the fact of Ritter's placing a vibrator inside the vagina of Rosario was Jessie Ramirez.
This witness did not see Ritter insert the vibrator. The morning after the insertion, he was only told by
Rosario about it. Two days later, he allegedly met Rosario who informed him that she was able to remove
the object. And yet, Ramirez testified that on the night of that second encounter, he saw Rosario groaning
because of pain in her stomach. She was even hurling invectives. Ramirez' testimony is not only hearsay, it
is also contradictory.
4. It was improbable, according to expert medical testimony, for a foreign object with active properties to
cause pain, discomfort, and serious infection only after seven months inside a young girl's vaginal canal.
Infection would have set in much earlier. Jessie Ramirez recalled that the incident happened in December of
1986. (TSN., January 6, 1988, pp. 15-17) The evidence, however shows that the appellant was not here in the
Philippines that December. As per the Commission on Immigration Arrival and Departure Report, Heinrich
Ritter arrived in the Philippines on October 7, 1986 and left on October 12, 1986. He never returned until
September 23, 1987 (Exhibits "DD" and "EE") The incident could have happened only in October, but then it
would have been highly improbable for the sexual vibrator to stay inside the vagina for seven (7) months
with the kind of serious complications it creates.

5. The gynecologist who attended to Rosario during her hospital confinement testified that she told him
"Ginamit ako ng Negro at siya ang naglagay nito." The accused is not a black.
Noteworthy is the fact that nothing was mentioned about Rosario's activities after the hotel incident.
Considering Dr. Barcinal's testimony indicating that she was "used" by a "Negro" three (3) months prior to
admission in the hospital and Rosario's unfortunate profession, there is always the possibility that she
could have allowed herself to be violated by this perverse kind of sexual behavior where a vibrator or
vibrators were inserted into her vagina between October, 1986 and May, 1987.
Moreover, the long delay of seven (7) months after the incident in reporting the alleged crime renders the
evidence for the prosecution insufficient to establish appellant's guilty connection with the requisite moral
certainty. (See People v. Mula Cruz, 129 SCRA 156 [1984]).
The established facts do not entirely rule out the possibility that the appellant could have inserted a foreign
object inside Rosario's vagina. This object may have caused her death. It is possible that the appellant
could be the guilty person. However, the Court cannot base an affirmance of conviction upon mere
possibilities. Suspicions and possibilities are not evidence and therefore should not be taken against the
accused. (People v. Tolentino, supra)
Well-established is the rule that every circumstance favorable to the accused should be duly taken into
account. This rule applies even to hardened criminals or those whose bizarre behaviour violates the mores
of civilized society. The evidence against the accused must survive the test of reason. The strongest
suspicion must not be allowed to sway judgment. (See Sacay v. Sandiganbayan, 142 SCRA 593 [1986]). As
stated in the case of People v. Ng (142 SCRA 615 [1986]):
. . . [F]rom the earliest years of this Court, it has emphasized the rule that reasonable doubt in
criminal cases must be resolved in favor of the accused. The requirement of proof beyond
reasonable doubt calls for moral certainty of guilt. It has been defined as meaning such proof
"to the satisfaction of the court, keeping in mind the presumption of innocence, as precludes
every reasonable hypothesis except that which it is given to support. It is not sufficient for
the proof to establish a probability, even though strong, that the fact charged is more likely to
be true than the contrary. It must establish the truth of the fact to a reasonable and moral
certaintya certainty that convinces and satisfies the reason and the conscience of those
who are to act upon it. (Moreno, Philippine Law Dictionary, 1972 Edition, p. 379, citing U.S. v.
Reyes, 3 Phil. 3). . . .
In the instant case, since there are circumstances which prevent our being morally certain of the guilt of the
appellant, he is, therefore, entitled to an acquittal.
This notwithstanding, the Court can not ignore the acts of the appellant on the children, Jessie Ramirez and
Rosario Baluyot in October, 1986 at the MGM Hotel. Inspite of his flat denials, we are convinced that he
comes to this country not to look at historical sights, enrich his intellect or indulge in legitimate pleasures
but in order to satisfy the urgings of a sick mind.
With the positive Identification and testimony by Jessie Ramirez that it was the appellant who picked him
and Rosario from among the children and invited them to the hotel; and that in the hotel he was shown
pictures of young boys like him and the two masturbated each other, such actuations clearly show that the
appellant is a pedophile. When apprehended in Ermita, he was sizing up young children. Dr. Solis defined
pedophilia in his book entitled Legal Medicine, 1987 edition, as follows:

PedophiliaA form of sexual perversion wherein a person has the compulsive desire to have
sexual intercourse with a child of either sex. Children of various ages participate in sexual
activities, like fellatio, cunnilingus, fondling with sex organs, or anal sexual intercourse.
Usually committed by a homosexual between a man and a boy the latter being a passive
partner.
Ritter was prosecuted for rape with homicide and not pedophilia, assuming this is a crime by itself.
Pedophilia is clearly a behavior offensive to public morals and violative of the declared policy of the state to
promote and protect the physical, moral, spiritual and social well-being of our youth. (Article II, Section 13,
1987 Constitution) (Harvey v. Defensor Santiago, 162 SCRA 840, 848 [1989]). Pedophiles, especially thrill
seeking aliens have no place in our country.
In this case, there is reasonable ground to believe that the appellant committed acts injurious not only to
Rosario Baluyot but also to the public good and domestic tranquility of the people. The state has expressly
committed itself to defend the right of children to assistance and special protection from all forms of
neglect, abuse, cruelty, exploitation and other conditions prejudicial to their development. (Art. XV, Section
3 [2] . . . (Harvey v. Santiago, supra). The appellant has abused Filipino children, enticing them with money.
The appellant should be expelled from the country.
Furthermore, it does not necessarily follow that the appellant is also free from civil liability which is
impliedly instituted with the criminal action. (Rule III, Section 1) The well-settled doctrine is that a person
while not criminally liable, may still be civilly liable. We reiterate what has been stated in Urbano v. IAC,
supra.
. . . While the guilt of the accused in a criminal prosecution must be established beyond
reasonable doubt, only a preponderance of evidence is required in a civil action for damages.
(Article 29, Civil Code). 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 v. Court of Appeals, 129 SCRA 559).
The reason for the provisions of Article 29 of the Civil Code, which provides that the acquittal
of the accused on the ground that his guilt has not been proved beyond reasonable doubt
does not necessarily exempt him from civil liability for the same act or omission, has been
explained by the Code Commission as follows:
The old rule that the acquittal of the accused in a criminal case also releases
him from civil liability is one of the most serious flaws in the Philippine legal
system. It has given rise to numberless instances of miscarriage of justice,
where the acquittal was due to a reasonable doubt in the mind of the court as
to the guilt of the accused. The reasoning followed is that inasmuch as the civil
responsibility is derived from the criminal offense, when the latter is not
proved, civil liability cannot be demanded.
This is one of those causes where confused thinking leads to unfortunate and
deplorable consequences. Such reasoning fails to draw a clear line of
demarcation between criminal liability and civil responsibility, and to determine
the logical result of the distinction. The two liabilities are separate and distinct
from each other. One affects the social order and the other, private rights. One
is for the punishment or correction of the offender while the other is for the
reparation of damages suffered by the aggrieved party. The two
responsibilities are so different from each other that article 1813 of the present

(Spanish) Civil Code reads thus: "There may be a compromise upon the civil
action arising from a crime; but the public action for the imposition of the legal
penalty shall not thereby be extinguished." It is just and proper that, for the
purposes of the imprisonment of or fine upon the accused, the offense should
be proved beyond reasonable doubt. But for the purpose of indemnifying the
complaining party, why should the offense also be proved beyond reasonable
doubt? Is not the invasion or violation of every private right to be proved only
by a preponderance of evidence? Is the right of the aggrieved person any less
private because the wrongful act is also punishable by the criminal law?
For these reasons, the Commission recommends the adoption of the reform
under discussion. It will correct a serious defect in our law. It will close up an
inexhaustible source of injusticea cause for disillusionment on the part of
the innumerable persons injured or wronged.
Rosario Baluyot is a street child who ran away from her grandmother's house. Circumstances forced her to
succumb and enter this unfortunate profession. Nonetheless, she has left behind heirs who have certainly
suffered mental anguish, anxiety and moral shock by her sudden and incredulous death as reflected in the
records of the case. Though we are acquitting the appellant for the crime of rape with homicide, we
emphasize that we are not ruling that he is innocent or blameless. It is only the constitutional presumption
of innocence and the failure of the prosecution to build an airtight case for conviction which saved him, not
that the facts of unlawful conduct do not exist. As earlier stated, there is the likelihood that he did insert the
vibrator whose end was left inside Rosario's vaginal canal and that the vibrator may have caused her death.
True, we cannot convict on probabilities or possibilities but civil liability does not require proof beyond
reasonable doubt. The Court can order the payment of indemnity on the facts found in the records of this
case.
The appellant certainly committed acts contrary to morals, good customs, public order or public policy
(see Article 21 Civil Code). As earlier mentioned, the appellant has abused Filipino children, enticing them
with money. We can not overstress the responsibility for proper behavior of all adults in the Philippines,
including the appellant towards young children. The sexual exploitation committed by the appellant should
not and can not be condoned. Thus, considering the circumstances of the case, we are awarding damages
to the heirs of Rosario Baluyot in the amount of P30,000.00.
And finally, the Court deplores the lack of criminal laws which will adequately protect street children from
exploitation by pedophiles, pimps, and, perhaps, their own parents or guardians who profit from the sale of
young bodies. The provisions on statutory rape and other related offenses were never intended for the
relatively recent influx of pedophiles taking advantage of rampant poverty among the forgotten segments of
our society. Newspaper and magazine articles, media exposes, college dissertations, and other studies deal
at length with this serious social problem but pedophiles like the appellant will continue to enter the
Philippines and foreign publications catering to them will continue to advertise the availability of Filipino
street children unless the Government acts and acts soon. We have to acquit the appellant because the Bill
of Rights commands us to do so. We, however, express the Court's concern about the problem of street
children and the evils committed against them. Something must be done about it.
WHEREFORE, the appealed judgment is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Appellant HEINRICH STEFAN RITTER
is ACQUITTED on grounds of reasonable doubt. The appellant is ordered to pay the amount of P30,000.00
by way of moral and exemplary damages to the heirs of Rosario Baluyot. The Commissioner of Immigration
and Deportation is hereby directed to institute proper deportation proceedings against the appellant and to
immediately expel him thereafter with prejudice to re-entry into the country.

SO ORDERED.
Fernan, C.J., Feliciano, Bidin and Davide, Jr., JJ, concur.

G.R. No. L-24033, Phoenix


Assurance v. United States Lines,
22 SCRA 674
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
February 22, 1968
G.R. No. L-24033
PHOENIX ASSURANCE CO., LTD., plaintiff-appellant,
vs.
UNITED STATES LINES, defendant-appellee.
Quasha, Asperilla, Blanco & Associates for plaintiff-appellant.
Enriquez D. Perez for defendant-appellee.
BENGZON, J.P., J.:
The facts antecedent to this appeal from a decision dated October 31, 1964 of
the Court of First Instance of Manila, are as follows:
On June 29, 1962, General Motors shipped and consigned on a CIF basis to
Davao Parts and Service, Inc. at Davao City from New York aboard the United

States Lines' vessel SS "Pioneer Moor" a cargo of truck spare parts in 25 cases
and 4 crates (2 pieces unboxed), for which United States Lines issues a short
form bill of lading No. T-1 (Annex "A" and Exh. "1"), and which shipment was
insured against loss and damage with Phoenix Assurance Co., Ltd. The short
form bill of lading No. T-1 indicated Manila as the port of discharge and Davao
City as the place where the goods were to be transshipped, and expressly
incorporated by reference the provisions contained in the carrier's regular long
form bill of lading (Annex "B" and Exh. "2").
The SS "Pioneer Moor" on July 28, 1962 discharged at Manila to the custody of
the Manila Port Service which was then the operator of the arrastre service at
the Port of Manila, the above described cargo, complete but with the exception
of two crates, namely, Crates Nos. 3139 and 3148 valued at P1,498.25.
On July 30, 1962, the Luzon Brokerage Corporation, Customs broker hired by
the United States Lines, filed in behalf of the latter a provisional claim against
the Manila Port Service for short landed, short-delivered and/or landed in bad
order cargo ex-United States Lines' vessel.
On August 30, 1962, the afore-described cargo, with the exception of Crates
Nos. 3139 and 3148 which were not discharged at the Manila Port, and Crates
Nos. 3648 and 3649 which were discharged at the Manila Port but were lost in
the custody of the Manila Port Service, was transshipped by United States
Lines to Davao through a vessel of its Davao agent, Columbian Rope Company,
and duly received in good order by the Davao Parts and Service, Inc.
Davao Parts and Service, Inc. filed on December 26, 1962 a formal claim with
the United States Lines through the latter's agent, Columbian Rope Company,
for the value of Crates Nos. 3139, 3148, 3648 and 3649 in the total sum of
P2,010.37.
The United States Lines, after proper verification, paid Davao Parts and
Service, Inc. the sum of P1,458.25, representing the value of Crates Nos. 3139
and 3148, when it was discovered that these two crates had been overlanded
in Honolulu, but refused to pay for the value of Crates Nos. 3648 and 3649 for
the reason that these crates had been lost while in the custody of the Manila
Port Service.

The two crates (Nos. 3139 and 3148) which were overlanded in Honolulu and
for which United States Lines paid Davao Parts and Service, Inc. the sum of
P1,458.25, were later recovered and returned to Davao Parts and Service, Inc.
and the latter refunded United States Lines for the sum it paid.
In view of United States Lines' refusal to pay for the two crates (Nos. 3648 and
3649) which were lost while in the custody of the Manila Port Service, Ker &
Company, Ltd., agent of Phoenix Assurance Co., Ltd., in the Philippines, and
insurer of Davao Parts and Service, Inc., paid to the latter the value of said
crates in the sum of P552.12.
On March 25, 1963, the United States Lines, through the Columbian Rope
Company, by letter informed the Davao Parts and Service, Inc. that it was filing
a claim for the undelivered crates with the Manila Port Service. And true to its
word, it filed on March 30, 1963 a formal claim with the Manila Port Service for
the value of Crates Nos. 3648 and 3649, but the latter declined to honor the
same.
On June 26, 1963, United States Lines, through Columbian Rope Company, its
Davao agent, informed the Davao Parts and Service, Inc., inter alia, that the
Manila Port Service had not yet settled its claim, and that the one-year period
provided by law within which to bring action against the Manila Port Service for
the two crates (Nos. 3648 and 3649) would expire on July 28, 1963.
Phoenix Assurance Co., Ltd., through Ker & Company Ltd., its agent in the
Philippines, wrote on July 24, 1963 the United States Lines expressing its
appreciation to the latter for taking action against the Manila Port Service. In
the same letter it requested for an extension of time to file suit against the
United States Lines (the prescriptive period for doing so being set to expire on
July 28, 1963), explaining that it could not file suit against any entity (including
the Manila Port Service) except the United States Lines with whom its subrogee
the Davao Parts and Service, Inc., was in contract.
No reply having been received by it from the United States Lines, the Phoenix
Assurance Co., Ltd. on July 29, 1963 filed a suit praying that judgment be
rendered against the former for the sum of P552.12, with interest at the legal
rate, plus attorney's fees and expenses of litigation. 1
[[

]]

On August 16, 1963, the United States Lines filed its answer with
counterclaim, 2 while Phoenix Assurance Co., Ltd. filed its answer to said
counterclaim on August 26, 1963.
[[

]]

On March 9, 1964, the parties submitted a Partial Stipulation of Facts.

[[

3]]

After trial, the lower court on October 31, 1964 rendered a decision dismissing
plaintiff's complaint. 4
[[

]]

Thus this appeal, raising the sole issue of whether or not the lower court erred
in dismissing the complaint and in exonerating defendant-appellee from
liability for the value of the two undelivered crates Nos. 3648 and 3649.
It must be stated at the outset that a bill of lading operates both as a receipt
and as a contract. It is a receipt for the goods shipped and a contract to
transport and deliver the same as therein stipulated. As a receipt, it recites the
date and place of shipment, describes the goods as to quantity, weight,
dimensions, identification marks and condition, quality, and value. As a
contract, it names the contracting parties, which include the consignee, fixes
the route, destination, and freight rate or charges, and stipulates the rights and
obligations assumed by the parties. 5
[[

]]

In this jurisdiction, it is a statutory and decisional rule of law that a contract is


the law between the contracting parties, 6 and where there is nothing in it
which is contrary to law, morals, good customs, public policy, or public order,
the validity of the contract must be sustained. 7
[[

]]

[[

]]

The Bill of Lading (short form) No. T-1 dated June 29, 1962 (Annex "A" and Exh.
1) provides under Section 1 thereof (Exh. that, "It is agreed that the receipt,
custody carriage, delivery and transshipping of the goods are subject to the
norms appearing on the face and back hereof and also to the terms contained
in the carrier's regular long form, bill of lading, used in this service, including
any clauses presently being stamped or endorsed thereon which shall be
deemed to be incorporated in this bill of lading, which shall govern the
relations whatsoever they may be between shipper, consignee, carrier and ship
in every contingency, wheresoever and whensoever occurring and whether the
carrier be acting as such or as bailee, . . . . (Emphasis supplied.)

On the other hand, the regular long form Bill of Lading (Annex "B" and Exh.
"2") provides, inter alia, that:
The carrier shall not be liable in any capacity whatsoever for any loss or
damage to the goods while the goods are not in its actual custody. (Par. 2, last
subpar. Emphasis supplied.)
The carrier or master, in the exercise of its or his discretion and altho'
transshipment or forwarding of the goods may have been contemplated or
provided for herein, may at port of discharge or any other place whatsoever
transship or forward the goods or any part thereof by any means at the risk
and expense of the goods and at any time, whether before or after loading on
the ship named and by any route, whether within or outside the scope of the
voyage or beyond the port of discharge or destination of the goods and without
notice to the shipper or consignee. The carrier or master may delay such
transshipping or forwarding for any reason, including but not limited to
awaiting a vessel or other means of transportation whether by the carrier or
others.
The carrier or master in making arrangements with any person for or in
connection with all transshipping or forwarding of the goods or the use of any
means of transportation not used or operated by the carrier shall be
considered solely the agent of the shipper and consignee and without any
other responsibility whatsoever or for the cost thereof . The receipt, custody,
carriage and delivery of the goods by any such person or on carrier and all
transshipping and forwarding shall be subject to all the provisions whatsoever
of such person's or on carrier's form of bill of lading or agreement then in use,
whether or not issued and even though such provisions may be less favorable
to the shipper or consignee in any respect than the provisions of this bill of
lading. The shipper and consignee authorize the carrier or master to arrange
with any such person or on-carrier that the lowest valuation or limitation of
liability contained in the bill of lading or other agreement of such person or oncarrier shall apply.
All responsibility of the carrier in any capacity shall altogether cease and the
goods shall be deemed delivered by it and this contract of carriage shall be
deemed fully performed on actual or constructive delivery of the goods to itself

as such agent of the shipper and consignee or to any such person or on carrier
at port of discharge from ship or elsewhere in case of an earlier transshipment.
The shipper and consignee shall be liable to this carrier for and shall indemnify
it against all expense of forwarding and transshipping, including any increase
in or additional freight or other charges whatsoever.
Pending or during forwarding or transshipping this carrier or the master may
store the goods ashore or afloat solely as agent of the shipper and at the risk
and expense of the goods and this carrier shall not be responsible for the acts,
neglect, delay or failure to act of anyone to whom the goods are entrusted or
delivered for storage, handling, or any service incidental thereto.
In case the carrier issues a bill of lading covering transportation by a local or
other carrier prior to the goods being delivered to and put into the physical
custody of the carrier, it shall not be under any responsibility or liability
whatsoever for any loss or damage to the goods occurring prior to or until the
actual receipt or custody of the goods by it at the port or place of
transportation to such port or place where the goods are put in its physical
custody, it acts solely as the agent of the shipper. (Par. 16, emphasis supplied.)
It is admitted by both parties that the crates subject matter of this action were
lost while in the possession and custody of the Manila Port Service. Since the
long form of Bill of Lading (Annex "B" and Exh. "2") provides that "The carrier
shall not be liable in any capacity whatsoever for any loss or damage to the
goods while the goods are not in its actual custody," appellee cannot be held
responsible for the loss of said crates. For as correctly observed by the lower
court, it is hardly fair to make appellee accountable for a loss not due to its
acts or omissions or over which it had no control. 8
[[

]]

Contrary to appellant's stand, the appellee did not undertake to carry and
deliver safely the cargo to the consignee in Davao City. The short form Bill of
Lading (Annex "A" and Exh. "1") states in no uncertain terms that the port of
discharge of the cargo is Manila, but that the same was to be transshipped
beyond the port of discharge to Davao City. Pursuant to the terms of the long
form Bill of Lading (Annex "B" and Exh. "2"), appellee's responsibility as a
common carrier ceased the moment the goods were unloaded in Manila; and in
the matter of transshipment, appellee acted merely as an agent of the shipper

and consignee. Contrary likewise to appellant's contention, the cargo was not
transshipped with the use of transportation used or operated by appellee. It is
true that the vessel used for transshipment is owned and operated by
appellee's Davao agent, the Columbian Rope Company, but there is no proof
that said vessel is owned or operated by appellee. The vessels of appellee's
agent are being erroneously presumed by appellant to be owned and operated
by appellee.
Appellant argues that the provisions of the Bill of Lading exculpating the
appellee from liability for cargo losses, do not apply where full cargo freight is
paid up to and beyond the point of stipulated discharge, and here defendantappellee agreed to absorb all costs of forwarding and transshipment freight
having been prepaid up to Davao City. But the receipt of full cargo freight up to
Davao City cannot render inoperative the provisions of the Bill of Lading relied
upon by appellee inasmuch as such a situation is not provided therein as an
exception. In fact, one searches the Bills of Lading (short and long forms) in
vain for such an exception. Besides, it is for the convenience of both parties
that full freight up to Davao City had been prepaid, otherwise there would have
been need to make further arrangements regarding the transshipment of the
cargo to Davao City. After all, the long form Bill of Lading provides that, "The
shipper and consignee shall be liable to this carrier for and shall indemnify it
against all expense of forwarding and transshipping, including any increase in
or additional freight or other charge whatsoever." (Annex "B" and Exh. "2", par.
6, subpar. 4)
The filing of a claim by defendant-appellee with the Manila Port Service for the
value of the losses cannot be considered as an indication that it is answerable
for cargo losses up to Davao City. On the contrary, it is a convincing proof that
said party was not remiss in its duties as agent of the consignee. That appellee
captioned its claim against the Manila Port Service as "SS 'Pioneer Moor' Voy.
25, Reb. 1067 New York/Davao via Manila B/L T-1 31 Packages Truck Spare
Parts Cons: Davao Parts and Service," likewise, is no proof that appellee
knowingly assumed liability for cargo losses up to Davao City. It merely showed
that the goods would have to be, as indeed they were, first unloaded in Manila
and thereafter transshipped to Davao City.

Through the short form Bill of Lading (Annex "A" and Exh. "1"), incorporating
by reference the terms of the regular long form bill of lading (Annex "B" and
Exh. "2"), the United States Lines acknowledged the receipt of the cargo of
truck spare parts that it carried, and stated the conditions under which it was
to carry the cargo, the place where it was to be transshipped, the entity to
which delivery is to be made, and the rate of compensation for the carriage.
This it delivered to the Davao Parts and Service, Inc. as evidence of a contract
between them. By receiving the bill of lading, Davao Parts and Service, Inc.
assented to the terms of the consignment contained therein, and became
bound thereby, so far as the conditions named are reasonable in the eyes of
the law. Since either appellant nor appellee alleges that any provision therein
is contrary to law, morals, good customs, public policy, or public order, and
indeed We found none the validity of the Bill of Lading must be sustained
and the provisions therein properly applied to resolve the conflict between the
parties.
WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is hereby affirmed, with costs against
the appellant. So ordered.
Concepcion, C.J., Reyes, J.B.L., Dizon, Zaldivar, Sanchez, Castro, Angeles and
Fernando, JJ., concur.
Makalintal, J., took no part.

G.R. No. , 111 SCRA 341


Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
DECISION
December 31, 1981

G.R. No. , ,
vs.
,.
, J.:
This is a petition to review on certiorari the decision of the Court of First
Instance of Basilan City dated January 5, 1973 in Civil Case No. 820 entitled
"Prudencio Alonzo, plaintiff, vs. Luis Pichel, defendant."
This case originated in the lower Court as an action for the annulment of a
"Deed of Sale" dated August 14, 1968 and executed by Prudencio Alonzo, as
vendor, in favor of Luis Pichel, as vendee, involving property awarded to the
former by the Philippine Government under Republic Act No. 477. Pertinent
portions of the document sued upon read as follows:
That the VENDOR for and in consideration of the sum of FOUR THOUSAND TWO
HUNDRED PESOS (P4,200.00), Philippine Currency, in hand paid by the VENDEE
to the entire satisfaction of the VENDOR, the VENDOR hereby sells transfers,
and conveys, by way of absolute sale, all the coconut fruits of his coconut land,
designated as Lot No. 21 - Subdivision Plan No. Psd- 32465, situated at
Balactasan Plantation, Lamitan, Basilan City, Philippines;
That for the herein sale of the coconut fruits are for all the fruits on the
aforementioned parcel of land presently found therein as well as for future
fruits to be produced on the said parcel of land during the years period; which
shag commence to run as of SEPTEMBER 15,1968; up to JANUARY 1, 1976 (sic);
That the delivery of the subject matter of the Deed of Sale shall be from time
to time and at the expense of the VENDEE who shall do the harvesting and
gathering of the fruits;
That the Vendor's right, title, interest and participation herein conveyed is of
his own exclusive and absolute property, free from any liens and
encumbrances and he warrants to the Vendee good title thereto and to defend
the same against any and all claims of all persons whomsoever. 1
After the pre-trial conference, the Court a quo issued an Order dated November
9, 1972 which in part read thus:

The following facts are admitted by the parties:


Plaintiff Prudencio Alonzo was awarded by the Government that parcel of land
designated as Lot No. 21 of Subdivision Plan Psd 32465 of Balactasan, Lamitan,
Basilan City in accordance with Republic Act No. 477. The award was cancelled
by the Board of Liquidators on January 27, 1965 on the ground that, previous
thereto, plaintiff was proved to have alienated the land to another, in violation
of law. In 197 2, plaintiff's rights to the land were reinstated.
On August 14, 1968, plaintiff and his wife sold to defendant an the fruits of the
coconut trees which may be harvested in the land in question for the period,
September 15, 1968 to January 1, 1976, in consideration of P4,200.00. Even as
of the date of sale, however, the land was still under lease to one, Ramon Sua,
and it was the agreement that part of the consideration of the sale, in the sum
of P3,650.00, was to be paid by defendant directly to Ramon Sua so as to
release the land from the clutches of the latter. Pending said payment plaintiff
refused to snow the defendant to make any harvest.
In July 1972, defendant for the first time since the execution of the deed of sale
in his favor, caused the harvest of the fruit of the coconut trees in the land.
xxx xxx xxx
Considering the foregoing, two issues appear posed by the complaint and the
answer which must needs be tested in the crucible of a trial on the merits, and
they are:
First.? Whether or nor defendant actually paid to plaintiff the full sum of
P4,200.00 upon execution of the deed of sale.
Second.? Is the deed of sale, Exhibit 'A', the prohibited encumbrance
contemplated in Section 8 of Republic Act No. 477? 2
Anent the first issue, counsel for plaintiff Alonzo subsequently 'stipulated and
agreed that his client ... admits fun payment thereof by defendant. 3 The
remaining issue being one of law, the Court below considered the case
submitted for summary judgment on the basis of the pleadings of the parties,
and the admission of facts and documentary evidence presented at the pretrial conference.

The lower court rendered its decision now under review, holding that although
the agreement in question is denominated by the parties as a deed of sale of
fruits of the coconut trees found in the vendor's land, it actually is, for all legal
intents and purposes, a contract of lease of the land itself. According to the
Court:
... the sale aforestated has given defendant complete control and enjoyment of
the improvements of the land. That the contract is consensual; that its purpose
is to allow the enjoyment or use of a thing; that it is onerous because rent or
price certain is stipulated; and that the enjoyment or use of the thing certain is
stipulated to be for a certain and definite period of time, are characteristics
which admit of no other conclusion. ... The provisions of the contract itself and
its characteristics govern its nature. 4
The Court, therefore, concluded that the deed of sale in question is an
encumbrance prohibited by Republic Act No. 477 which provides thus:
Sec. 8. Except in favor of the Government or any of its branches, units, or
institutions, land acquired under the provisions of this Act or any permanent
improvements thereon shall not be thereon and for a term of ten years from
and after the date of issuance of the certificate of title, nor shall they become
liable to the satisfaction of any debt contracted prior to the expiration of such
period.
Any occupant or applicant of lands under this Act who transfers whatever
rights he has acquired on said lands and/or on the improvements thereon
before the date of the award or signature of the contract of sale, shall not be
entitled to apply for another piece of agricultural land or urban, homesite or
residential lot, as the case may be, from the National Abaca and Other Fibers
Corporation; and such transfer shall be considered null and void. 5
The dispositive portion of the lower Court's decision states:
WHEREFORE, it is the judgment of this Court that the deed of sale, Exhibit 'A',
should be, as it is, hereby declared nun and void; that plaintiff be, as he is,
ordered to pay back to defendant the consideration of the sale in the sum of
P4,200.00 the same to bear legal interest from the date of the filing of the

complaint until paid; that defendant shall pay to the plaintiff the sum of
P500.00 as attorney's fees.
Costs against the defendant. 6
Before going into the issues raised by the instant Petition, the matter of
whether, under the admitted facts of this case, the respondent had the right or
authority to execute the "Deed of Sale" in 1968, his award over Lot No. 21
having been cancelled previously by the Board of Liquidators on January 27,
1965, must be clarified. The case in point is Ras vs. Sua 7 wherein it was
categorically stated by this Court that a cancellation of an award granted
pursuant to the provisions of Republic Act No. 477does not automatically divest
the awardee of his rights to the land. Such cancellation does not result in the
immediate reversion of the property subject of the award, to the State.
Speaking through Mr. Justice J.B.L. Reyes, this Court ruled that "until and unless
an appropriate proceeding for reversion is instituted by the State, and its
reacquisition of the ownership and possession of the land decreed by a
competent court, the grantee cannot be said to have been divested of
whatever right that he may have over the same property." 8
There is nothing in the record to show that at any time after the supposed
cancellation of herein respondent's award on January 27, 1965, reversion
proceedings against Lot No. 21 were instituted by the State. Instead, the
admitted fact is that the award was reinstated in 1972. Applying the doctrine
announced in the above-cited Ras case, therefore, herein respondent is not
deemed to have lost any of his rights as grantee of Lot No. 21 under Republic
Act No. 477 during the period material to the case at bar, i.e., from the
cancellation of the award in 1965 to its reinstatement in 1972. Within said
period, respondent could exercise all the rights pertaining to a grantee with
respect to Lot No. 21.
This brings Us to the issues raised by the instant Petition. In his Brief, petitioner
contends that the lower Court erred:
1. In resorting to construction and interpretation of the deed of sale in question
where the terms thereof are clear and unambiguous and leave no doubt as to
the intention of the parties;

2. In declaring ? granting without admitting that an interpretation is


necessary ? the deed of sale in question to be a contract of lease over the land
itself where the respondent himself waived and abandoned his claim that said
deed did not express the true agreement of the parties, and on the contrary,
respondent admitted at the pre-trial that his agreement with petitioner was
one of sale of the fruits of the coconut trees on the land;
3. In deciding a question which was not in issue when it declared the deed of
sale in question to be a contract of lease over Lot 21;
4. In declaring furthermore the deed of sale in question to be a contract of
lease over the land itself on the basis of facts which were not proved in
evidence;
5. In not holding that the deed of sale, Exhibit "A" and "2", expresses a valid
contract of sale;
6. In not deciding squarely and to the point the issue as to whether or not the
deed of sale in question is an encumbrance on the land and its improvements
prohibited by Section 8 of Republic Act 477; and
7. In awarding respondent attorney's fees even granting, without admitting,
that the deed of sale in question is violative of Section 8 of Republic Act 477.
The first five assigned errors are interrelated, hence, We shall consider them
together. To begin with, We agree with petitioner that construction or
interpretation of the document in question is not called for. A perusal of the
deed fails to disclose any ambiguity or obscurity in its provisions, nor is there
doubt as to the real intention of the contracting parties. The terms of the
agreement are clear and unequivocal, hence the literal and plain meaning
thereof should be observed. Such is the mandate of the Civil Code of the
Philippines which provides that:
Art. 1370. If the terms of a contract are clear and leave no doubt upon the
intention of the contracting parties, the literal meaning of its stipulation shall
control ... .
Pursuant to the afore-quoted legal provision, the first and fundamental duty of
the courts is the application of the contract according to its express terms,

interpretation being resorted to only when such literal application is


impossible. 9
Simply and directly stated, the "Deed of Sale dated August 14, 1968 is
precisely what it purports to be. It is a document evidencing the agreement of
herein parties for the sale of coconut fruits of Lot No. 21, and not for the lease
of the land itself as found by the lower Court. In clear and express terms, the
document defines the object of the contract thus: "the herein sale of the
coconut fruits are for an the fruits on the aforementioned parcel of land during
the years ...(from) SEPTEMBER 15, 1968; up to JANUARY 1, 1976." Moreover, as
petitioner correctly asserts, the document in question expresses a valid
contract of sale. It has the essential elements of a contract of sale as defined
under Article 1485 of the New Civil Code which provides thus:
Art. 1458. By the contract of sale one of the contracting parties obligates
himself to transfer the ownership of and to deliver a determinate thing, and the
other to pay therefor a price certain in money or its equivalent.
A contract of sale may be absolute or conditional.
The subject matter of the contract of sale in question are the fruits of the
coconut trees on the land during the years from September 15, 1968 up to
January 1, 1976, which subject matter is a determinate thing. Under Article
1461 of the New Civil Code, things having a potential existence may be the
object of the contract of sale. And in Sibal vs. Valdez, 50 Phil. 512, pending
crops which have potential existence may be the subject matter of the sale.
Here, the Supreme Court, citing Mechem on Sales and American cases said
which have potential existence may be the subject matter of sale. Here, the
Supreme Court, citing Mechem on Sales and American cases said:
Mr. Mechem says that a valid sale may be made of a thing, which though not
yet actually in existence, is reasonably certain to come into existence as the
natural increment or usual incident of something already in existence, and
then belonging to the vendor, and the title will vest in the buyer the moment
the thing comes into existence. (Emerson vs. European Railway Co., 67 Me.,
387; Cutting vs. Packers Exchange, 21 Am. St. Rep. 63) Things of this nature
are said to have a potential existence. A man may sell property of which he is
potentially and not actually possess. He may make a valid sale of the wine that

a vineyard is expected to produce; or the grain a field may grow in a given


time; or the milk a cow may yield during the coming year; or the wool that
shall thereafter grow upon sheep; or what may be taken at the next case of a
fisherman's net; or fruits to grow; or young animals not yet in existence; or the
goodwill of a trade and the like. The thing sold, however, must be specific and
Identified. They must be also owned at the time by the vendor. (Hull vs. Hull 48
Conn. 250 (40 Am. Rep., 165) (pp. 522-523).
We do not agree with the trial court that the contract executed by and between
the parties is "actually a contract of lease of the land and the coconut trees
there." (CFI Decision, p. 62, Records). The Court's holding that the contract in
question fits the definition of a lease of things wherein one of the parties binds
himself to give to another the enjoyment or use of a thing for a price certain
and for a period which may be definite or indefinite (Art. 1643, Civil Code of
the Philippines) is erroneous. The essential difference between a contract of
sale and a lease of things is that the delivery of the thing sold transfers
ownership, while in lease no such transfer of ownership results as the rights of
the lessee are limited to the use and enjoyment of the thing leased.
In Rodriguez vs. Borromeo, 43 Phil. 479, 490, the Supreme Court held:
Since according to article 1543 of the same Code the contract of lease is
defined as the giving or the concession of the enjoyment or use of a thing for a
specified time and fixed price, and since such contract is a form of enjoyment
of the property, it is evident that it must be regarded as one of the means of
enjoyment referred to in said article 398, inasmuch as the terms enjoyment,
use, and benefit involve the same and analogous meaning relative to the
general utility of which a given thing is capable. (104 Jurisprudencia Civil, 443)
In concluding that the possession and enjoyment of the coconut trees can
therefore be said to be the possession and enjoyment of the land itself
because the defendant-lessee in order to enjoy his right under the contract, he
actually takes possession of the land, at least during harvest time, gather all of
the fruits of the coconut trees in the land, and gain exclusive use thereof
without the interference or intervention of the plaintiff-lessor such that said
plaintiff-lessor is excluded in fact from the land during the period aforesaid, the
trial court erred. The contract was clearly a "sale of the coconut fruits." The
vendor sold, transferred and conveyed "by way of absolute sale, all the

coconut fruits of his land," thereby divesting himself of all ownership or


dominion over the fruits during the seven-year period. The possession and
enjoyment of the coconut trees cannot be said to be the possession and
enjoyment of the land itself because these rights are distinct and separate
from each other, the first pertaining to the accessory or improvements
(coconut trees) while the second, to the principal (the land). A transfer of the
accessory or improvement is not a transfer of the principal. It is the other way
around, the accessory follows the principal. Hence, the sale of the nuts cannot
be interpreted nor construed to be a lease of the trees, much less extended
further to include the lease of the land itself.
The real and pivotal issue of this case which is taken up in petitioner's sixth
assignment of error and as already stated above, refers to the validity of the
"Deed of Sale", as such contract of sale, vis-a-vis the provisions of Sec. 8, R.A.
No. 477. The lower Court did not rule on this question, having reached the
conclusion that the contract at bar was one of lease. It was from the context of
a lease contract that the Court below determined the applicability of Sec.
8, R.A. No. 477, to the instant case.
Resolving now this principal issue, We find after a close and careful
examination of the terms of the first paragraph of Section 8 hereinabove
quoted, that the grantee of a parcel of land under R.A. No. 477 is not prohibited
from alienating or disposing of the natural and/or industrial fruits of the land
awarded to him. What the law expressly disallows is the encumbrance or
alienation of the land itself or any of the permanent improvements thereon.
Permanent improvements on a parcel of land are things incorporated or
attached to the property in a fixed manner, naturally or artificially. They include
whatever is built, planted or sown on the land which is characterized by fixity,
immutability or immovability. Houses, buildings, machinery, animal houses,
trees and plants would fall under the category of permanent improvements,
the alienation or encumbrance of which is prohibited by R.A. No. 477. While
coconut trees are permanent improvements of a land, their nuts are natural or
industrial fruits which are meant to be gathered or severed from the trees, to
be used, enjoyed, sold or otherwise disposed of by the owner of the land.
Herein respondents, as the grantee of Lot No. 21 from the Government, had
the right and prerogative to sell the coconut fruits of the trees growing on the
property.

By virtue of R.A. No. 477, bona fide occupants, veterans, members of guerilla
organizations and other qualified persons were given the opportunity to
acquire government lands by purchase, taking into account their limited
means. It was intended for these persons to make good and productive use of
the lands awarded to them, not only to enable them to improve their standard
of living, but likewise to help provide for the annual payments to the
Government of the purchase price of the lots awarded to them. Section 8 was
included, as stated by the Court a quo, to protect the grantees from
themselves and the incursions of opportunists who prey on their misery and
poverty." It is there to insure that the grantees themselves benefit from their
respective lots, to the exclusion of other persons.
The purpose of the law is not violated when a grantee sells the produce or
fruits of his land. On the contrary, the aim of the law is thereby achieved, for
the grantee is encouraged and induced to be more industrious and productive,
thus making it possible for him and his family to be economically self-sufficient
and to lead a respectable life. At the same time, the Government is assured of
payment on the annual installments on the land. We agree with herein
petitioner that it could not have been the intention of the legislature to prohibit
the grantee from selling the natural and industrial fruits of his land, for
otherwise, it would lead to an absurd situation wherein the grantee would not
be able to receive and enjoy the fruits of the property in the real and complete
sense.
Respondent through counsel, in his Answer to the Petition contends that even
granting arguendo that he executed a deed of sale of the coconut fruits, he has
the "privilege to change his mind and claim it as (an) implied lease," and he
has the "legitimate right" to file an action for annulment "which no law can
stop." He claims it is his "sole construction of the meaning of the transaction
that should prevail and not petitioner. (sic). 10 Respondent's counsel either
misapplies the law or is trying too hard and going too far to defend his client's
hopeless cause. Suffice it to say that respondent-grantee, after having
received the consideration for the sale of his coconut fruits, cannot be allowed
to impugn the validity of the contracts he entered into, to the prejudice of
petitioner who contracted in good faith and for a consideration.

The issue raised by the seventh assignment of error as to the propriety of the
award of attorney's fees made by the lower Court need not be passed upon,
such award having been apparently based on the erroneous finding and
conclusion that the contract at bar is one of lease. We shall limit Ourselves to
the question of whether or not in accordance with Our ruling in this case,
respondent is entitled to an award of attorney's fees. The Civil Code provides
that:
Art. 2208. In the absence of stipulation, attorney's fees and expenses of
litigation, other than judicial costs, cannot be recovered, except:
(1) When exemplary damages are awarded;
(2) When the defendant's act or omission has compelled the plaintiff to litigate
with third persons or to incur expenses to protect his interest;
(3) In criminal cases of malicious prosecution against the plaintiff;
(4) In case of a clearly unfounded civil action or proceeding against the
plaintiff;
(5) Where the defendant acted in gross and evident bad faith in refusing to
satisfy the plaintiff's plainly valid, just and demandable claim;
(6) In actions for legal support;
(7) In actions for the recovery of wages of household helpers, laborers and
skilled workers;
(8) In actions for indemnity under workmen's compensation and employer's
liability laws;
(9) In a separate civil action to recover civil liability arising from a crime;
(10) When at least double judicial costs are awarded;
(11) In any other case where the court deems it just and equitable that
attorney's fees and expenses of litigation should be recovered.
In all cases, the attorney's fees and expenses of litigation must be reasonable.

We find that none of the legal grounds enumerated above exists to justify or
warrant the grant of attorney's fees to herein respondent.
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the judgment of the lower Court is hereby set
aside and another one is entered dismissing the Complaint. Without costs.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. L-17133, U.S.T.


Cooperative Store v. Manila City
and Sarmiento, 15 SCRA 656
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
December 31, 1965
G.R. No. L-17133
U.S.T. COOPERATIVE STORE, petitioner-appellee,
vs.
THE CITY OF MANILA and MARCELINO SARMIENTO, as Treasurer of the
City of Manila, respondents-appellants.
Herras Law Office for petitioner-appellee.
City Fiscal H. Concepcion, Jr. and Assistant City Fiscal Manuel T. Reyes for
respondents-appellants.
MAKALINTAL, J.:

This is an appeal by respondents from the decision of the Court of First


Instance of Manila ordering them to refund to appellee the sums it had paid to
the City of Manila as municipal taxes and license fees for the period beginning
July 1957 up to December 1958. The total amount involved is P12,345.10.
The material facts were stipulated by the parties. Appellee is a duly organized
cooperative association registered with the Securities and Exchange
Commission on March 18, 1947 in accordance with Commonwealth Act No.
5165 as amended. Its net assets never exceeded P500,000 during, the years
1957, 1958 and 1959. From the time of its registration it was under the
jurisdiction of the Cooperative Administration Office.
On June 22, 1957 Republic Act No. 2023, otherwise known as the Philippine
Non-Agricultural Cooperative Act, was approved by Congress, amending and
consolidating existing laws on non-agricultural cooperatives in the Philippines.
The two provisions of said Act which bear on the present case are sections 4
(1) and 66 (1), which read as follows:
SEC. 4 (1) Every cooperative under the jurisdiction of the Cooperatives
Administration Office existing at the time of the approval of this Act which has
been registered under existing cooperative laws (Commonwealth Act five
hundred sixty-five, Act Twenty five hundred eight and Act Thirty-four hundred
twenty-five, all as amended) shall be deemed to be registered under this Act,
and its by-laws shall so far as they are not inconsistent with the provisions of
this Act, continue in force , and be deemed to be registered under this Act.
SEC. 66 (1) Cooperatives with net assets of not more than five hundred
thousand pesos shall be exempt from all taxes and government fees of
whatever name, and nature except those provided for under this Act: ..
Unaware of the exemption provided for in section 66 (1) appellee paid to
respondent City of Manila municipal taxes and license fees in the total amount
and for the period already stated. In May 1959 appellee requested a refund of
said amount from the City Treasurer, but the request was denied. Hence the
present suit.
Appellants contend that the exemption under section 66 (1) does not apply to
appellee because the latter was trying business not only with its members but

also with the general public. It may be noted that this fact is not ground for
non-exemption from taxes and license fees. What the law imposes and that
under another section (Sec. 58) is a restriction to the effect that a
cooperative shall not transact business with non-members to exceed that done
with members. There is no proof that this restriction has been violated; and in
any case, the law does not provide that the penalty for such violation is the
non-exemption of the cooperative concerned. All that is required for purposes
of exemption is that the cooperative be registered underRepublic Act 2023 and
that its net assets be not more than P500,000. On the question of registration,
section 4 is clear that every cooperative under the jurisdiction of the
Cooperatives Administration Office existing at the time of the approval of this
Act which has been registered under existing cooperative laws (as is the case
of appellee here) shall be deemed to be registered under this Act.
Appellant next argues that since the taxes and license fees in question were
voluntarily paid they can no longer be recovered, as appellee was presumed to
know the law concerning its exemption and hence must be considered as
having waived the benefit thereof. That the payment was erroneously made
there can be no doubt. The error consisted in appellee's not knowing of the
enactment of Republic Act No. 2023, which although passed in Julie 1957 was
published only in the issue of the Official Gazette for December of the same
year. The following authorities cited by appellee appear to us to be of
persuasive force:
A payment of taxes under a mistake of fact has been held not to be voluntary,
and is therefore recoverable. (51 Am. Jur. 1023)
On principle, a recovery should be allowed where money is paid under a
mistake of fact although such mistake of fact may be induced by a mistake of
laws, or where there is both a mistake of fact and a mistake of law. (40 Am. Jur.
846)
When money is paid to another under the influence of a mistake of fact that
on the mistaken supposition of the existence of a specific fact which would
entitle the other to the money and it would not have been known that the
fact making the payment was otherwise, it may be recovered. The ground
upon which the right of recovery rests is that money paid through

misapprehension of facts belongs, in equity , and in good conscience, to the


person who paid it. (4 Am. Jur. 514)
We find no reason to attribute negligence to appellee in making the payments
in question, especially considering that the new law involved a change in its
status from a taxable to a tax-exempt institution; and if it continued to pay for
a time after the exemption became effective it did so in a desire to abide by
what it believed to be the law. No undue disadvantage should be visited upon
it as a consequence thereof.
The decision appealed from is affirmed, without pronouncement as to costs.

G.R. No. 72964 January 7, 1988


FILOMENO URBANO, petitioner,
vs.
HON. INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT AND PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents.

GUTIERREZ, JR., J.:


This is a petition to review the decision of the then Intermediate Appellate Court which affirmed the decision of the
then Circuit Criminal Court of Dagupan City finding petitioner Filomeno Urban guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the
crime of homicide.
The records disclose the following facts of the case.
At about 8:00 o'clock in the morning of October 23, 1980, petitioner Filomeno Urbano went to his ricefield at
Barangay Anonang, San Fabian, Pangasinan located at about 100 meters from the tobacco seedbed of Marcelo
Javier. He found the place where he stored his palay flooded with water coming from the irrigation canal nearby
which had overflowed. Urbano went to the elevated portion of the canal to see what happened and there he saw
Marcelo Javier and Emilio Erfe cutting grass. He asked them who was responsible for the opening of the irrigation
canal and Javier admitted that he was the one. Urbano then got angry and demanded that Javier pay for his soaked
palay. A quarrel between them ensued. Urbano unsheathed his bolo (about 2 feet long, including the handle, by 2
inches wide) and hacked Javier hitting him on the right palm of his hand, which was used in parrying the bolo hack.
Javier who was then unarmed ran away from Urbano but was overtaken by Urbano who hacked him again hitting
Javier on the left leg with the back portion of said bolo, causing a swelling on said leg. When Urbano tried to hack
and inflict further injury, his daughter embraced and prevented him from hacking Javier.
Immediately thereafter, Antonio Erfe, Emilio Erfe, and Felipe Erfe brought Javier to his house about 50 meters away
from where the incident happened. Emilio then went to the house of Barangay Captain Menardo Soliven but not
finding him there, Emilio looked for barrio councilman Felipe Solis instead. Upon the advice of Solis, the Erfes

together with Javier went to the police station of San Fabian to report the incident. As suggested by Corporal Torio,
Javier was brought to a physician. The group went to Dr. Guillermo Padilla, rural health physician of San Fabian,
who did not attend to Javier but instead suggested that they go to Dr. Mario Meneses because Padilla had no
available medicine.
After Javier was treated by Dr. Meneses, he and his companions returned to Dr. Guillermo Padilla who conducted a
medico-legal examination. Dr. Padilla issued a medico-legal certificate (Exhibit "C" dated September 28, 1981)
which reads:
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:
This is to certify that I have examined the wound of Marcelo Javier, 20 years of age, married,
residing at Barangay Anonang, San Fabian, Pangasinan on October 23, 1980 and found the
following:
1 -Incised wound 2 inches in length at the upper portion of the lesser palmar prominence, right.
As to my observation the incapacitation is from (7-9) days period. This wound was presented to me
only for medico-legal examination, as it was already treated by the other doctor. (p. 88, Original
Records)
Upon the intercession of Councilman Solis, Urbano and Javier agreed to settle their differences. Urbano promised to
pay P700.00 for the medical expenses of Javier. Hence, on October 27, 1980, the two accompanied by Solis
appeared before the San Fabian Police to formalize their amicable settlement. Patrolman Torio recorded the event
in the police blotter (Exhibit A), to wit:
xxx xxx xxx
Entry Nr 599/27 Oct '80/103OH/ Re entry Nr 592 on page 257 both parties appeared before this
Station accompanied by brgy. councilman Felipe Solis and settled their case amicably, for they are
neighbors and close relatives to each other. Marcelo Javier accepted and granted forgiveness to
Filomeno Urbano who shoulder (sic) all the expenses in his medical treatment, and promising to him
and to this Office that this will never be repeated anymore and not to harbour any grudge against
each other. (p. 87, Original Records.)
Urbano advanced P400.00 to Javier at the police station. On November 3, 1980, the additional P300.00 was given
to Javier at Urbano's house in the presence of barangay captain Soliven.
At about 1:30 a.m. on November 14, 1980, Javier was rushed to the Nazareth General Hospital in a very serious
condition. When admitted to the hospital, Javier had lockjaw and was having convulsions. Dr. Edmundo Exconde
who personally attended to Javier found that the latter's serious condition was caused by tetanus toxin. He noticed
the presence of a healing wound in Javier's palm which could have been infected by tetanus.
On November 15, 1980 at exactly 4:18 p.m., Javier died in the hospital. The medical findings of Dr. Exconde are as
follows:
Date Diagnosis
11-14-80 ADMITTED due to trismus
adm. at DX TETANUS

1:30 AM Still having frequent muscle spasm. With diffi#35, 421 culty opening his mouth. Restless at times. Febrile
11-15-80 Referred. Novaldin 1 amp. inj. IM. Sudden cessation of respiration and HR after muscular spasm.
02 inhalation administered. Ambo bag resuscitation and cardiac massage done but to no avail.
Pronounced dead by Dra. Cabugao at 4:18 P.M.
PMC done and cadaver brought home by relatives. (p. 100, Original Records)
In an information dated April 10, 1981, Filomeno Urbano was charged with the crime of homicide before the then
Circuit Criminal Court of Dagupan City, Third Judicial District.
Upon arraignment, Urbano pleaded "not guilty." After trial, the trial court found Urbano guilty as charged. He was
sentenced to suffer an indeterminate prison term of from TWELVE (12) YEARS of prision mayor, as minimum to
SEVENTEEN (17) years, FOUR (4) MONTHS and ONE (1) DAY of reclusion temporal, as maximum, together with
the accessories of the law, to indemnify the heirs of the victim, Marcelo Javier, in the amount of P12,000.00 without
subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, and to pay the costs. He was ordered confined at the New Bilibid
Prison, in Muntinlupa, Rizal upon finality of the decision, in view of the nature of his penalty.
The then Intermediate Appellate Court affirmed the conviction of Urbano on appeal but raised the award of
indemnity to the heirs of the deceased to P30,000.00 with costs against the appellant.
The appellant filed a motion for reconsideration and/or new trial. The motion for new trial was based on an affidavit
of Barangay Captain Menardo Soliven (Annex "A") which states:
That in 1980, I was the barrio captain of Barrio Anonang, San Fabian, Pangasinan, and up to the
present having been re-elected to such position in the last barangay elections on May 17, 1982;
That sometime in the first week of November, 1980, there was a typhoon that swept Pangasinan and
other places of Central Luzon including San Fabian, a town of said province;
That during the typhoon, the sluice or control gates of the Bued irrigation dam which irrigates the
ricefields of San Fabian were closed and/or controlled so much so that water and its flow to the
canals and ditches were regulated and reduced;
That due to the locking of the sluice or control gates of the dam leading to the canals and ditches
which will bring water to the ricefields, the water in said canals and ditches became shallow which
was suitable for catching mudfishes;
That after the storm, I conducted a personal survey in the area affected, with my secretary Perfecto
Jaravata;

That on November 5, 1980, while I was conducting survey, I saw the late Marcelo Javier catching
fish in the shallow irrigation canals with some companions;
That few days there after,or on November l5, l980, I came to know that said Marcelo Javier died of
tetanus. (p. 33, Rollo)
The motion was denied. Hence, this petition.
In a resolution dated July 16, 1986, we gave due course to the petition.
The case involves the application of Article 4 of the Revised Penal Code which provides that "Criminal liability shall
be incurred: (1) By any person committing a felony (delito) although the wrongful act done be different from that
which he intended ..." Pursuant to this provision "an accused is criminally responsible for acts committed by him in
violation of law and for all the natural and logical consequences resulting therefrom." (People v. Cardenas, 56 SCRA
631).
The record is clear that Marcelo Javier was hacked by the petitioner who used a bolo as a result of which Javier
suffered a 2-inch incised wound on his right palm; that on November 14, 1981 which was the 22nd day after the
incident, Javier was rushed to the hospital in a very serious condition and that on the following day, November 15,
1981, he died from tetanus.
Under these circumstances, the lower courts ruled that Javier's death was the natural and logical consequence of
Urbano's unlawful act. Hence, he was declared responsible for Javier's death. Thus, the appellate court said:
The claim of appellant that there was an efficient cause which supervened from the time the
deceased was wounded to the time of his death, which covers a period of 23 days does not deserve
serious consideration. True, that the deceased did not die right away from his wound, but the cause
of his death was due to said wound which was inflicted by the appellant. Said wound which was in
the process of healing got infected with tetanus which ultimately caused his death.
Dr. Edmundo Exconde of the Nazareth General Hospital testified that the victim suffered lockjaw
because of the infection of the wound with tetanus. And there is no other way by which he could be
infected with tetanus except through the wound in his palm (tsn., p. 78, Oct. 5, 1981). Consequently,
the proximate cause of the victim's death was the wound which got infected with tetanus. And the
settled rule in this jurisdiction is that an accused is liable for all the consequences of his unlawful act.
(Article 4, par. 1, R.P.C. People v. Red, CA 43 O.G. 5072; People v. Cornel 78 Phil. 418).
Appellant's allegation that the proximate cause of the victim's death was due to his own negligence
in going back to work without his wound being properly healed, and lately, that he went to catch fish
in dirty irrigation canals in the first week of November, 1980, is an afterthought, and a desperate
attempt by appellant to wiggle out of the predicament he found himself in. If the wound had not yet
healed, it is impossible to conceive that the deceased would be reckless enough to work with a
disabled hand. (pp. 20-21, Rollo)
The petitioner reiterates his position that the proximate cause of the death of Marcelo Javier was due to his own
negligence, that Dr. Mario Meneses found no tetanus in the injury, and that Javier got infected with tetanus when
after two weeks he returned to his farm and tended his tobacco plants with his bare hands exposing the wound to
harmful elements like tetanus germs.
The evidence on record does not clearly show that the wound inflicted by Urbano was infected with tetanus at the
time of the infliction of the wound. The evidence merely confirms that the wound, which was already healing at the

time Javier suffered the symptoms of the fatal ailment, somehow got infected with tetanus However, as to when the
wound was infected is not clear from the record.
In Vda. de Bataclan, et al. v. Medina (102 Phil. 1181), we adopted the following definition of proximate cause:
xxx xxx xxx
... A satisfactory definition of proximate cause is found in Volume 38, pages 695-696 of American
Jurisprudence, cited by plaintiffs-appellants in their brief. It is as follows:
... "that cause, which, in natural and continuous sequence, unbroken by any efficient intervening
cause, produces the injury, and without which the result would not have occurred."And more
comprehensively, "the proximate legal cause is that acting first and producing the injury, either
immediately or by setting other events in motion, all constituting a natural and continuous chain of
events, each having a close causal connection with its immediate predecessor, the final event in the
chain immediately effecting the injury as a natural and probable result of the cause which first acted,
under such circumstances that the person responsible for the first event should, as an ordinarily
prudent and intelligent person, have reasonable ground to expect at the moment of his act or default
that an injury to some person might probably result therefrom." (at pp. 185-186)
The issue, therefore, hinges on whether or not there was an efficient intervening cause from the time Javier was
wounded until his death which would exculpate Urbano from any liability for Javier's death.
We look into the nature of tetanusThe incubation period of tetanus, i.e., the time between injury and the appearance of unmistakable
symptoms, ranges from 2 to 56 days. However, over 80 percent of patients become symptomatic
within 14 days. A short incubation period indicates severe disease, and when symptoms occur within
2 or 3 days of injury the mortality rate approaches 100 percent.
Non-specific premonitory symptoms such as restlessness, irritability, and headache are encountered
occasionally, but the commonest presenting complaints are pain and stiffness in the jaw, abdomen,
or back and difficulty swallowing. As the progresses, stiffness gives way to rigidity, and patients often
complain of difficulty opening their mouths. In fact, trismus in the commonest manifestation of
tetanus and is responsible for the familiar descriptive name of lockjaw. As more muscles are
involved, rigidity becomes generalized, and sustained contractions called risus sardonicus. The
intensity and sequence of muscle involvement is quite variable. In a small proportion of patients, only
local signs and symptoms develop in the region of the injury. In the vast majority, however, most
muscles are involved to some degree, and the signs and symptoms encountered depend upon the
major muscle groups affected.
Reflex spasm usually occur within 24 to 72 hours of the first symptom, an interval referred to as the
onset time. As in the case of the incubation period, a short onset time is associated with a poor
prognosis. Spasms are caused by sudden intensification of afferent stimuli arising in the periphery,
which increases rigidity and causes simultaneous and excessive contraction of muscles and their
antagonists. Spasms may be both painful and dangerous. As the disease progresses, minimal or
inapparent stimuli produce more intense and longer lasting spasms with increasing frequency.
Respiration may be impaired by laryngospasm or tonic contraction of respiratory muscles which
prevent adequate ventilation. Hypoxia may then lead to irreversible central nervous system damage
and death.

Mild tetanus is characterized by an incubation period of at least 14 days and an onset time of more
than 6 days. Trismus is usually present, but dysphagia is absent and generalized spasms are brief
and mild. Moderately severe tetanus has a somewhat shorter incubation period and onset time;
trismus is marked, dysphagia and generalized rigidity are present, but ventilation remains adequate
even during spasms. The criteria for severe tetanus include a short incubation time, and an onset
time of 72 hrs., or less, severe trismus, dysphagia and rigidity and frequent prolonged, generalized
convulsive spasms. (Harrison's Principle of Internal Medicine, 1983 Edition, pp. 1004-1005;
Emphasis supplied)
Therefore, medically speaking, the reaction to tetanus found inside a man's body depends on the incubation period
of the disease.
In the case at bar, Javier suffered a 2-inch incised wound on his right palm when he parried the bolo which Urbano
used in hacking him. This incident took place on October 23, 1980. After 22 days, or on November 14, 1980, he
suffered the symptoms of tetanus, like lockjaw and muscle spasms. The following day, November 15, 1980, he died.
If, therefore, the wound of Javier inflicted by the appellant was already infected by tetanus germs at the time, it is
more medically probable that Javier should have been infected with only a mild cause of tetanus because the
symptoms of tetanus appeared on the 22nd day after the hacking incident or more than 14 days after the infliction of
the wound. Therefore, the onset time should have been more than six days. Javier, however, died on the second
day from the onset time. The more credible conclusion is that at the time Javier's wound was inflicted by the
appellant, the severe form of tetanus that killed him was not yet present. Consequently, Javier's wound could have
been infected with tetanus after the hacking incident. Considering the circumstance surrounding Javier's death, his
wound could have been infected by tetanus 2 or 3 or a few but not 20 to 22 days before he died.
The rule is that the death of the victim must be the direct, natural, and logical consequence of the wounds inflicted
upon him by the accused. (People v. Cardenas, supra) And since we are dealing with a criminal conviction, the proof
that the accused caused the victim's death must convince a rational mind beyond reasonable doubt. The medical
findings, however, lead us to a distinct possibility that the infection of the wound by tetanus was an efficient
intervening cause later or between the time Javier was wounded to the time of his death. The infection was,
therefore, distinct and foreign to the crime. (People v. Rellin, 77 Phil. 1038).
Doubts are present. There is a likelihood that the wound was but the remote cause and its subsequent infection, for
failure to take necessary precautions, with tetanus may have been the proximate cause of Javier's death with which
the petitioner had nothing to do. As we ruled in Manila Electric Co. v. Remoquillo, et al. (99 Phil. 118).
"A prior and remote cause cannot be made the be of an action if such remote cause did nothing
more than furnish the condition or give rise to the occasion by which the injury was made possible, if
there intervened between such prior or remote cause and the injury a distinct, successive, unrelated,
and efficient cause of the injury, even though such injury would not have happened but for such
condition or occasion. If no danger existed in the condition except because of the independent
cause, such condition was not the proximate cause. And if an independent negligent act or defective
condition sets into operation the instances which result in injury because of the prior defective
condition, such subsequent act or condition is the proximate cause." (45 C.J. pp. 931-932). (at p.
125)
It strains the judicial mind to allow a clear aggressor to go scot free of criminal liability. At the very least, the records
show he is guilty of inflicting slight physical injuries. However, the petitioner's criminal liability in this respect was
wiped out by the victim's own act. After the hacking incident, Urbano and Javier used the facilities of barangay
mediators to effect a compromise agreement where Javier forgave Urbano while Urbano defrayed the medical

expenses of Javier. This settlement of minor offenses is allowed under the express provisions of Presidential Decree
G.R. No. 1508, Section 2(3). (See also People v. Caruncho, 127 SCRA 16).
We must stress, however, that our discussion of proximate cause and remote cause is limited to the criminal
aspects of this rather unusual case. It does not necessarily follow that the petitioner is also free of civil liability. The
well-settled doctrine is that a person, while not criminally liable, may still be civilly liable. Thus, in the recent case
of People v. Rogelio Ligon y Tria, et al. (G.R. No. 74041, July 29, 1987), we said:
xxx xxx xxx
... While the guilt of the accused in a criminal prosecution must be established beyond reasonable
doubt, only a preponderance of evidence is required in a civil action for damages. (Article 29, Civil
Code). 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 v. Court of
Appeals, 129 SCRA 559).
The reason for the provisions of article 29 of the Civil Code, which provides that the acquittal of the
accused on the ground that his guilt has not been proved beyond reasonable doubt does not
necessarily exempt him from civil liability for the same act or omission, has been explained by the
Code Commission as follows:
The old rule that the acquittal of the accused in a criminal case also releases him
from civil liability is one of the most serious flaws in the Philippine legal system. It has
given use to numberless instances of miscarriage of justice, where the acquittal was
due to a reasonable doubt in the mind of the court as to the guilt of the accused. The
reasoning followed is that inasmuch as the civil responsibility is derived from the
criminal offense, when the latter is not proved, civil liability cannot be demanded.
This is one of those causes where confused thinking leads to unfortunate and
deplorable consequences. Such reasoning fails to draw a clear line of demarcation
between criminal liability and civil responsibility, and to determine the logical result of
the distinction. The two liabilities are separate and distinct from each other. One
affects the social order and the other, private rights. One is for the punishment or
correction of the offender while the other is for reparation of damages suffered by the
aggrieved party. The two responsibilities are so different from each other that article
1813 of the present (Spanish) Civil Code reads thus: "There may be a compromise
upon the civil action arising from a crime; but the public action for the imposition of
the legal penalty shall not thereby be extinguished." It is just and proper that, for the
purposes of the imprisonment of or fine upon the accused, the offense should be
proved beyond reasonable doubt. But for the purpose of indemnity the complaining
party, why should the offense also be proved beyond reasonable doubt? Is not the
invasion or violation of every private right to be proved only by a preponderance of
evidence? Is the right of the aggrieved person any less private because the wrongful
act is also punishable by the criminal law?
"For these reasons, the Commission recommends the adoption of the reform under
discussion. It will correct a serious defect in our law. It will close up an inexhaustible
source of injustice-a cause for disillusionment on the part of the innumerable persons
injured or wronged."

The respondent court increased the P12,000.00 indemnification imposed by the trial court to P30,000.00. However,
since the indemnification was based solely on the finding of guilt beyond reasonable doubt in the homicide case, the
civil liability of the petitioner was not thoroughly examined. This aspect of the case calls for fuller development if the
heirs of the victim are so minded.
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is hereby GRANTED. The questioned decision of the then Intermediate Appellate
Court, now Court of Appeals, is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The petitioner is ACQUITTED of the crime of
homicide. Costs de oficio.
SO ORDERED.

77 SCRA 100 May 26, 1977


Torts and Damages Civil Liability from Quasi Delicts vs Civil Liability from Crimes
Reginald Hill, a minor, caused the death of Agapito (son of Elcano). Elcano filed acriminal case against
Reginald but Reginald was acquitted for lack of intent coupled with mistake. Elcano then filed a civil
action against Reginald and his dad (Marvin Hill) for damages based on Article 2180 of the Civil Code. Hill
argued that the civil action is barred by his sons acquittal in the criminal case; and that if ever, his civil
liability as a parent has been extinguished by the fact that his son is already an emancipated minor by
reason of his marriage.
ISSUE: Whether or not Marvin Hill may be held civilly liable under Article 2180.
HELD: Yes. The acquittal of Reginald in the criminal case does not bar the filing of a separate civil action.
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 accused 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 extinguished even by a declaration in the criminal
case that the criminal act charged has not happened or has not been committed by the accused. Briefly
stated, culpa aquiliana includes voluntary and negligent acts which may be punishable by law.
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 Emancipation by marriage or by voluntary concession shall terminate parental authority over the
childs 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.

Therefore, Article 2180 is applicable to Marvin Hill the SC however ruled since at the time of the
decision, Reginald is already of age, Marvins liability should be subsidiary only as a matter of equity.

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, defendants-appellees.
Cruz & Avecilla for appellants.
Marvin R. Hill & Associates for appellees.

DECISION
BARREDO, J.:
Appeal from the order of the Court of First Instance of Quezon City dated January 29, 1965 in Civil Case
No. Q-8102, 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
courts 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 abovereferred 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 cuasi-delito 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 Indemnified 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 cannot 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 lifthence, 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 orquasidelito, 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 from quasi-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 extinguished even by a declaration in the
criminal case that the criminal act charged has not happened or has not been committed by the accused.
Briefly stated, We here hold, in reiteration of Garcia, that culpa 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 quasi-delict, hence that acquittal is not a bar to the instant action against him.
Coming now to the second issue about the effect of Reginalds 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 childs 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 ones 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.
Fernando (Chairman), Antonio, and Martin, JJ., concur.
Concepcion Jr., J, is on leave.
Martin, J, was designated to sit in the Second Division.