Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 52

LA LLANA, Petitioners, v.

REBECCA BIONG, DOING BUSINESS


UNDER THE NAME AND STYLE OF PONGKAY TRADING,
Respondent.
SECOND DIVISION
G.R. No. 182356, December 04, 2013
DRA. LEILA A. DELA LLANA, Petitioners, v. REBECCA
BIONG, DOING BUSINESS UNDER THE NAME AND
STYLE OF PONGKAY TRADING, Respondent.
DECISION
BRION, J.
Every case essentially turns on two basic questions:
questions of fact and questions of law. Questions of fact are
for the parties and their counsels to respond to, based on
what supporting facts the legal questions require; the court
can only draw conclusion from the facts or evidence
adduced. When the facts are lacking because of the
deficiency of presented evidence, then the court can only
draw one conclusion: that the case must fail for lack of
evidentiary support.
The present case is one such case as Dra. Leila A. dela
Llanas (petitioner) petition for review
on certiorari1 challenging the February 11, 2008
decision2 and the March 31, 2008 resolution3 of the Court of
Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No. 89163.
The Factual Antecedents
On March 30, 2000, at around 11:00 p.m., Juan dela Llana
was driving a 1997 Toyota Corolla car along North Avenue,
Quezon City.4 His sister, Dra. dela Llana, was seated at the
front passenger seat while a certain Calimlim was at the
backseat.5 Juan stopped the car across the Veterans

Memorial Hospital when the signal light turned red. A few


seconds after the car halted, a dump truck containing gravel
and sand suddenly rammed the cars rear end, violently
pushing the car forward. Due to the impact, the cars rear
end collapsed and its rear windshield was shattered. Glass
splinters flew, puncturing Dra. dela Llana. Apart from these
minor wounds, Dra. dela Llana did not appear to have
suffered from any other visible physical injuries.6
The traffic investigation report dated March 30, 2000
identified the truck driver as Joel Primero. It stated that Joel
was recklessly imprudent in driving the truck.7 Joel later
revealed that his employer was respondent Rebecca Biong,
doing business under the name and style of Pongkay
Trading and was engaged in a gravel and sand business.8
In the first week of May 2000, Dra. dela Llana began to feel
mild to moderate pain on the left side of her neck and
shoulder. The pain became more intense as days passed by.
Her injury became more severe. Her health deteriorated to
the extent that she could no longer move her left arm. On
June 9, 2000, she consulted with Dr. Rosalinda Milla, a
rehabilitation medicine specialist, to examine her condition.
Dr. Milla told her that she suffered from a whiplash injury, an
injury caused by the compression of the nerve running to her
left arm and hand. Dr. Milla required her to undergo physical
therapy to alleviate her condition.
Dra. dela Llanas condition did not improve despite three
months of extensive physical therapy.9 She then consulted
other doctors, namely, Drs. Willie Lopez, Leonor Cabral-Lim
and Eric Flores, in search for a cure. Dr. Flores, a neurosurgeon, finally suggested that she undergo a cervical spine
surgery to release the compression of her nerve. On October
19, 2000, Dr. Flores operated on her spine and neck,
between the C5 and the C6 vertebrae.10 The operation
released the impingement of the nerve, but incapacitated
Dra. dela Llana from the practice of her profession since June
2000 despite the surgery.11

Dra. dela Llana, on October 16, 2000, demanded from


Rebecca compensation for her injuries, but Rebecca refused
to pay.12 Thus, on May 8, 2001, Dra. dela Llana sued
Rebecca for damages before the Regional Trial Court of
Quezon City (RTC). She alleged that she lost the mobility of
her arm as a result of the vehicular accident and claimed
P150,000.00 for her medical expenses (as of the filing of the
complaint) and an average monthly income of P30,000.00
since June 2000. She further prayed for actual, moral, and
exemplary damages as well as attorneys fees.13
In defense, Rebecca maintained that Dra. dela Llana had no
cause of action against her as no reasonable relation existed
between the vehicular accident and Dra. dela Llanas injury.
She pointed out that Dra. dela Llanas illness became
manifest one month and one week from the date of the
vehicular accident. As a counterclaim, she demanded the
payment of attorneys fees and costs of the suit.14
At the trial, Dra. dela Llana presented herself as an ordinary
witness15 and Joel as a hostile witness.16 Dra. dela Llana
reiterated that she lost the mobility of her arm because of
the vehicular accident. To prove her claim, she identified and
authenticated a medical certificate dated November 20,
2000 issued by Dr. Milla. The medical certificate stated that
Dra. dela Llana suffered from a whiplash injury. It also
chronicled her clinical history and physical
examinations.17Meanwhile, Joel testified that his truck hit
the car because the trucks brakes got stuck.18
In defense, Rebecca testified that Dra. dela Llana was
physically fit and strong when they met several days after
the vehicular accident. She also asserted that she observed
the diligence of a good father of a family in the selection and
supervision of Joel. She pointed out that she required Joel to
submit a certification of good moral character as well as
barangay, police, and NBI clearances prior to his
employment. She also stressed that she only hired Primero

after he successfully passed the driving skills test conducted


by Alberto Marcelo, a licensed driver-mechanic.19
Alberto also took the witness stand. He testified that he
checked the truck in the morning of March 30, 2000. He
affirmed that the truck was in good condition prior to the
vehicular accident. He opined that the cause of the vehicular
accident was a damaged compressor. According to him, the
absence of air inside the tank damaged the
compressor.20chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
RTC Ruling
The RTC ruled in favor of Dra. dela Llana and held that the
proximate cause of Dra. dela Llanas whiplash injury to be
Joels reckless driving.21 It found that a whiplash injury is an
injury caused by the sudden jerking of the spine in the neck
area. It pointed out that the massive damage the car
suffered only meant that the truck was over-speeding. It
maintained that Joel should have driven at a slower pace
because road visibility diminishes at night. He should have
blown his horn and warned the car that his brake was stuck
and could have prevented the collision by swerving the truck
off the road. It also concluded that Joel was probably
sleeping when the collision occurred as Joel had been driving
for fifteen hours on that fateful day.
The RTC further declared that Joels negligence gave rise to
the presumption that Rebecca did not exercise the diligence
of a good father of a family in Joels selection and
supervision of Joel. Rebecca was vicariously liable because
she was the employer and she personally chose him to drive
the truck. On the day of the collision, she ordered him to
deliver gravel and sand to Muoz Market, Quezon City. The
Court concluded that the three elements necessary to
establish Rebeccas liability were present: (1) that the
employee was chosen by the employer, personally or
through another; (2) that the services were to be rendered in
accordance with orders which the employer had the

authority to give at all times; and (3) that the illicit act of the
employee was on the occasion or by reason of the functions
entrusted to him.
The RTC thus awarded Dra. dela Llana the amounts of
P570,000.00 as actual damages, P250,000.00 as moral
damages, and the cost of the
suit.22chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
CA Ruling
In a decision dated February 11, 2008, the CA reversed the
RTC ruling. It held that Dra. dela Llana failed to establish a
reasonable connection between the vehicular accident and
her whiplash injury by preponderance of evidence.
CitingNutrimix Feeds Corp. v. Court of Appeals,23 it declared
that courts will not hesitate to rule in favor of the other party
if there is no evidence or the evidence is too slight to
warrant an inference establishing the fact in issue. It noted
that the interval between the date of the collision and the
date when Dra. dela Llana began to suffer the symptoms of
her illness was lengthy. It concluded that this interval raised
doubts on whether Joels reckless driving and the resulting
collision in fact caused Dra. dela Llanas injury.
It also declared that courts cannot take judicial notice that
vehicular accidents cause whiplash injuries. It observed that
Dra. dela Llana did not immediately visit a hospital to check
if she sustained internal injuries after the accident.
Moreover, her failure to present expert witnesses was fatal
to her claim. It also gave no weight to the medical
certificate. The medical certificate did not explain how and
why the vehicular accident caused the
injury.24chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
The Petition
Dra. dela Llana points out in her petition before this Court
that Nutrimix is inapplicable in the present case. She

stresses that Nutrimix involved the application of Article


1561 and 1566 of the Civil Code, provisions governing
hidden defects. Furthermore, there was absolutely no
evidence in Nutrimix that showed that poisonous animal
feeds were sold to the respondents in that case.
As opposed to the respondents in Nutrimix, Dra. dela Llana
asserts that she has established by preponderance of
evidence that Joels negligent act was the proximate cause
of her whiplash injury. First, pictures of her damaged car
show that the collision was strong. She posits that it can be
reasonably inferred from these pictures that the massive
impact resulted in her whiplash injury. Second, Dr. Milla
categorically stated in the medical certificate that Dra. dela
Llana suffered from whiplash injury. Third, her testimony that
the vehicular accident caused the injury is credible because
she was a surgeon.
Dra. dela Llana further asserts that the medical certificate
has probative value. Citing several cases, she posits that an
uncorroborated medical certificate is credible if
uncontroverted.25 She points out that expert opinion is
unnecessary if the opinion merely relates to matters of
common knowledge. She maintains that a judge is qualified
as an expert to determine the causation between Joels
reckless driving and her whiplash injury. Trial judges are
aware of the fact that whiplash injuries are common in
vehicular collisions.
The Respondents Position
In her Comment,26 Rebecca points out that Dra. dela Llana
raises a factual issue which is beyond the scope of a petition
for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court.
She maintains that the CAs findings of fact are final and
conclusive. Moreover, she stresses that Dra. dela Llanas
arguments are not substantial to merit this Courts
consideration.

The Issue
The sole issue for our consideration in this case is whether
Joels reckless driving is the proximate cause of Dra. dela
Llanas whiplash injury.
Our Ruling
We find the petition unmeritorious.
The Supreme Court may review questions of fact in a petition
for review on certiorari when the findings of fact by the lower
courts are conflicting
The issue before us involves a question of fact and this Court
is not a trier of facts. As a general rule, the CAs findings of
fact are final and conclusive and this Court will not review
them on appeal. It is not the function of this Court to
examine, review or evaluate the evidence in a petition for
review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. We
can only review the presented evidence, by way of
exception, when the conflict exists in findings of the RTC and
the CA.27 We see this exceptional situation here and thus
accordingly examine the relevant evidence presented before
the trial court.
Dra. dela Llana failed to establish her case by preponderance
of evidence
Article 2176 of the Civil Code provides that [w]hoever by
act or omission causes damage to another, there being fault
or negligence, is obliged to pay for the damage done. Such
fault or negligence, if there is no pre-existing contractual
relation between the parties, is a quasi-delict. Under this
provision, the elements necessary to establish a quasi-delict
case are: (1) damages to the plaintiff; (2) negligence, by act
or omission, of the defendant or by some person for whose
acts the defendant must respond, was guilty; and (3) the
connection of cause and effect between such negligence and

the damages.28 These elements show that the source of


obligation in a quasi-delict case is the breach or omission of
mutual duties that civilized society imposes upon its
members, or which arise from non-contractual relations of
certain members of society to
others.29ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
Based on these requisites, Dra. dela Llana must first
establish by preponderance of evidence the three elements
of quasi-delict before we determine Rebeccas liability as
Joels employer. She should show the chain of causation
between Joels reckless driving and her whiplash injury. Only
after she has laid this foundation can the presumption - that
Rebecca did not exercise the diligence of a good father of a
family in the selection and supervision of Joel - arise.30 Once
negligence, the damages and the proximate causation are
established, this Court can then proceed with the application
and the interpretation of the fifth paragraph of Article 2180
of the Civil Code.31 Under Article 2176 of the Civil Code, in
relation with the fifth paragraph of Article 2180, an action
predicated on an employees act or omission may be
instituted against the employer who is held liable for the
negligent act or omission committed by his
employee.32 The rationale for these graduated levels of
analyses is that it is essentially the wrongful or negligent act
or omission itself which creates the vinculum juris in extracontractual obligations.33
In civil cases, a party who alleges a fact has the burden of
proving it. He who alleges has the burden of proving his
allegation by preponderance of evidence or greater weight of
credible evidence.34The reason for this rule is that bare
allegations, unsubstantiated by evidence, are not equivalent
to proof. In short, mere allegations are not evidence.35
In the present case, the burden of proving the proximate
causation between Joels negligence and Dra. dela Llanas
whiplash injury rests on Dra. dela Llana. She must establish
by preponderance of evidence that Joels negligence, in its

natural and continuous sequence, unbroken by any efficient


intervening cause, produced her whiplash injury, and without
which her whiplash injury would not have occurred. 36
Notably, Dra. dela Llana anchors her claim mainly on three
pieces of evidence: (1) the pictures of her damaged car, (2)
the medical certificate dated November 20, 2000, and (3)
her testimonial evidence. However, none of these pieces of
evidence show the causal relation between the vehicular
accident and the whiplash injury. In other words, Dra. dela
Llana, during trial, did not adduce the factum probans or the
evidentiary facts by which the factum probandum or the
ultimate fact can be established, as fully discussed
below.37ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
A. The pictures of the damaged car only demonstrate the
impact of the collision
Dra. dela Llana contends that the pictures of the damaged
car show that the massive impact of the collision caused her
whiplash injury. We are not persuaded by this bare claim. Her
insistence that these pictures show the causation grossly
belies common logic. These pictures indeed demonstrate the
impact of the collision. However, it is a far-fetched
assumption that the whiplash injury can also be inferred
from these pictures.
B. The medical certificate cannot be considered because it
was not admitted in evidence
Furthermore, the medical certificate, marked as Exhibit H
during trial, should not be considered in resolving this case
for the reason that it was not admitted in evidence by the
RTC in an order dated September 23, 2004.38 Thus, the CA
erred in even considering this documentary evidence in its
resolution of the case. It is a basic rule that evidence which
has not been admitted cannot be validly considered by the
courts in arriving at their judgments.

However, even if we consider the medical certificate in the


disposition of this case, the medical certificate has no
probative value for being hearsay. It is a basic rule that
evidence, whether oral or documentary, is hearsay if its
probative value is not based on the personal knowledge of
the witness but on the knowledge of another person who is
not on the witness stand.39 Hearsay evidence, whether
objected to or not, cannot be given credence40 except in
very unusual circumstance that is not found in the present
case. Furthermore, admissibility of evidence should not be
equated with weight of evidence. The admissibility of
evidence depends on its relevance and competence, while
the weight of evidence pertains to evidence already
admitted and its tendency to convince and persuade. Thus, a
particular item of evidence may be admissible, but its
evidentiary weight depends on judicial evaluation within the
guidelines provided by the Rules of Court.41
During trial, Dra. dela Llana testified:
Q:
Did your physician tell you, more or less, what was the
reason why you were feeling that pain in your left arm?
A:
Well, I got a certificate from her and in that certificate, she
stated that my condition was due to a compression of the
nerve, which supplied my left arm and my left hand.
Court:
By the way, what is the name of this physician, Dra.?
Witness:
Her name is Dra. Rosalinda Milla. She is a Rehabilitation
Medicine Specialist.

Atty. Yusingco:
You mentioned that this Dra. Rosalinda Milla made or issued
a medical certificate. What relation does this medical
certificate, marked as Exhibit H have to do with that
certificate, you said was made by Dra. Milla?
Witness:
This is the medical certificate that Dra. Milla made out for
me.
Atty. Yusingco:
Your Honor, this has been marked as Exhibit H.
Atty. Yusingco:
What other medical services were done on you, Dra. dela
Llana, as a result of that feeling, that pain that you felt in
your left arm?
Witness:
Well, aside from the medications and physical therapy, a reevaluation of my condition after three months indicated that
I needed surgery.
Atty. Yusingco:
Did you undergo this surgery?
Witness:
So, on October 19, I underwent surgery on my neck, on my
spine.
Atty. Yusingco:

And, what was the result of that surgical operation?


Witness:
Well, the operation was to relieve the compression on my
nerve, which did not resolve by the extensive and prolonged
physical therapy that I underwent for more than three
months.42(emphasis ours)
Evidently, it was Dr. Milla who had personal knowledge of the
contents of the medical certificate. However, she was not
presented to testify in court and was not even able to
identify and affirm the contents of the medical certificate.
Furthermore, Rebecca was deprived of the opportunity to
cross-examine Dr. Milla on the accuracy and veracity of her
findings.
We also point out in this respect that the medical certificate
nonetheless did not explain the chain of causation in fact
between Joels reckless driving and Dra. dela Llanas
whiplash injury. It did not categorically state that the
whiplash injury was a result of the vehicular accident. A
perusal of the medical certificate shows that it only attested
to her medical condition, i.e., that she was suffering from
whiplash injury. However, the medical certificate failed to
substantially relate the vehicular accident to Dra. dela
Llanas whiplash injury. Rather, the medical certificate
onlychronicled her medical history and physical
examinations.
C. Dra. dela Llanas opinion that Joels negligence caused her
whiplash injury has no probative value
Interestingly, the present case is peculiar in the sense that
Dra. dela Llana, as the plaintiff in this quasi-delict case, was
the lone physician-witness during trial. Significantly, she
merely testified as an ordinary witness before the trial court.

Dra. dela Llana essentially claimed in her testimony that


Joels reckless driving caused her whiplash injury.
Despite the fact that Dra. dela Llana is a physician and even
assuming that she is an expert in neurology, we cannot give
weight to her opinion that Joels reckless driving caused her
whiplash injury without violating the rules on evidence.
Under the Rules of Court, there is a substantial difference
between an ordinary witness and an expert witness. The
opinion of an ordinary witness may be received in evidence
regarding: (a) the identity of a person about whom he has
adequate knowledge; (b) a handwriting with which he has
sufficient familiarity; and (c) the mental sanity of a person
with whom he is sufficiently acquainted. Furthermore, the
witness may also testify on his impressions of the emotion,
behavior, condition or appearance of a person.43 On the
other hand, the opinion of an expert witness may be
received in evidence on a matter requiring special
knowledge, skill, experience or training which he shown to
possess.44
However, courts do not immediately accord probative value
to an admitted expert testimony, much less to an unobjected
ordinary testimony respecting special knowledge. The reason
is that the probative value of an expert testimony does not
lie in a simple exposition of the experts opinion. Rather, its
weight lies in the assistance that the expert witness may
afford the courts by demonstrating the facts which serve as
a basis for his opinion and the reasons on which the logic of
his conclusions is founded.45
In the present case, Dra. dela Llanas medical opinion cannot
be given probative value for the reason that she was not
presented as an expert witness. As an ordinary witness, she
was not competent to testify on the nature, and the cause
and effects of whiplash injury. Furthermore, we

emphasize that Dra. dela Llana, during trial, nonetheless did


not provide a medical explanation on the nature as well as
the cause and effects of whiplash injury in her testimony.
The Supreme Court cannot take judicial notice that vehicular
accidents cause whiplash injuries
Indeed, a perusal of the pieces of evidence presented by the
parties before the trial court shows that Dra. dela Llana did
not present any testimonial or documentary evidence that
directly shows the causal relation between the vehicular
accident and Dra. dela Llanas injury. Her claim that Joels
negligence caused her whiplash injury was not established
because of the deficiency of the presented evidence during
trial. We point out in this respect that courts cannot take
judicial notice that vehicular accidents cause whiplash
injuries. This proposition is not public knowledge, or is
capable of unquestionable demonstration, or ought to be
known to judges because of their judicial functions.46 We
have no expertise in the field of medicine. Justices and
judges are only tasked to apply and interpret the law on the
basis of the parties pieces of evidence and their
corresponding legal arguments.
In sum, Dra. dela Llana miserably failed to establish her case
by preponderance of evidence. While we commiserate with
her, our solemn duty to independently and impartially assess
the merits of the case binds us to rule against Dra. dela
Llanas favor. Her claim, unsupported by preponderance of
evidence, is merely a bare assertion and has no leg to stand
on.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the assailed Decision
dated February 11, 2008 and Resolution dated March 31,
2008 of the Court of Appeals are hereby AFFIRMED and the
petition is hereby DENIED for lack of
merit.chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
SO ORDERED.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC

G.R. No. 102007

September 2, 1994

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
ROGELIO BAYOTAS y CORDOVA, accused-appellant.
The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.
Public Attorney's Office for accused-appellant.

ROMERO, J.:
In Criminal Case No. C-3217 filed before Branch 16, RTC
Roxas City, Rogelio Bayotas y Cordova was charged with
Rape and eventually convicted thereof on June 19, 1991 in a
decision penned by Judge Manuel E. Autajay. Pending appeal
of his conviction, Bayotas died on February 4, 1992 at
the National Bilibid Hospital due to cardio respiratory arrest
secondary to hepatic encephalopathy secondary to hipato
carcinoma gastric malingering. Consequently, the Supreme
Court in its Resolution of May 20, 1992 dismissed the
criminal aspect of the appeal. However, it required the
Solicitor General to file its comment with regard to Bayotas'
civil liability arising from his commission of the offense
charged.
In his comment, the Solicitor General expressed his view that
the death of accused-appellant did not extinguish his civil

liability as a result of his commission of the offense charged.


The Solicitor General, relying on the case ofPeople
v Sendaydiego 1 insists that the appeal should still be
resolved for the purpose of reviewing his conviction by the
lower court on which the civil liability is based.
Counsel for the accused-appellant, on the other hand,
opposed the view of the Solicitor General arguing that the
death of the accused while judgment of conviction is pending
appeal extinguishes both his criminal and civil penalties. In
support of his position, said counsel invoked the ruling of the
Court of Appeals in People v Castillo and Ocfemia 2 which
held that the civil obligation in a criminal case takes root in
the criminal liability and, therefore, civil liability is
extinguished if accused should die before final judgment is
rendered.
We are thus confronted with a single issue: Does death of
the accused pending appeal of his conviction extinguish his
civil liability?
In the aforementioned case of People v Castillo, this issue
was settled in the affirmative. This same issue posed therein
was phrased thus: Does the death of Alfredo Castillo affect
both his criminal responsibility and his civil liability as a
consequence of the alleged crime?
It resolved this issue thru the following disquisition:
Article 89 of the Revised Penal Code is the controlling
statute. It reads, in part:
Art. 89.
How criminal liability is totally extinguished.
Criminal liability is totally extinguished:
1.
By the death of the convict, as to the personal
penalties; and as to the pecuniary penalties liability therefor
is extinguished only when the death of the offender occurs
before final judgment;

With reference to Castillo's criminal liability, there is no


question. The law is plain. Statutory construction is
unnecessary. Said liability is extinguished.
The civil liability, however, poses a problem. Such liability is
extinguished only when the death of the offender occurs
before final judgment. Saddled upon us is the task of
ascertaining the legal import of the term "final judgment." Is
it final judgment as contradistinguished from an
interlocutory order? Or, is it a judgment which is final and
executory?
We go to the genesis of the law. The legal precept contained
in Article 89 of the Revised Penal Code heretofore
transcribed is lifted from Article 132 of the Spanish El Codigo
Penal de 1870 which, in part, recites:
La responsabilidad penal se extingue.
1.
Por la muerte del reo en cuanto a las penas
personales siempre, y respecto a las pecuniarias, solo
cuando a su fallecimiento no hubiere recaido sentencia
firme.
xxx

xxx

xxx

The code of 1870 . . . it will be observed employs the term


"sentencia firme." What is "sentencia firme" under the old
statute?
XXVIII Enciclopedia Juridica Espaola, p. 473, furnishes the
ready answer: It says:
SENTENCIA FIRME. La sentencia que adquiere la fuerza de
las definitivas por no haberse utilizado por las partes
litigantes recurso alguno contra ella dentro de los terminos y
plazos legales concedidos al efecto.

"Sentencia firme" really should be understood as one which


is definite. Because, it is only when judgment is such that, as
Medina y Maranon puts it, the crime is confirmed "en
condena determinada;" or, in the words of Groizard, the guilt
of the accused becomes "una verdad legal." Prior thereto,
should the accused die, according to Viada, "no hay
legalmente, en tal caso, ni reo, ni delito, ni responsabilidad
criminal de ninguna clase." And, as Judge Kapunan well
explained, when a defendant dies before judgment becomes
executory, "there cannot be any determination by final
judgment whether or not the felony upon which the civil
action might arise exists," for the simple reason that "there
is no party defendant." (I Kapunan, Revised Penal Code,
Annotated, p. 421. Senator Francisco holds the same view.
Francisco, Revised Penal Code, Book One, 2nd ed., pp. 859860)
The legal import of the term "final judgment" is similarly
reflected in the Revised Penal Code. Articles 72 and 78 of
that legal body mention the term "final judgment" in the
sense that it is already enforceable. This also brings to mind
Section 7, Rule 116 of the Rules of Court which states that a
judgment in a criminal case becomes final "after the lapse of
the period for perfecting an appeal or when the sentence has
been partially or totally satisfied or served, or the defendant
has expressly waived in writing his right to appeal."
By fair intendment, the legal precepts and opinions here
collected funnel down to one positive conclusion: The term
final judgment employed in the Revised Penal Code means
judgment beyond recall. Really, as long as a judgment has
not become executory, it cannot be truthfully said that
defendant is definitely guilty of the felony charged against
him.
Not that the meaning thus given to final judgment is without
reason. For where, as in this case, the right to institute a
separate civil action is not reserved, the decision to be
rendered must, of necessity, cover "both the criminal and

the civil aspects of the case." People vs Yusico (November 9,


1942), 2 O.G., No. 100, p. 964. See also: People vs Moll, 68
Phil., 626, 634; Francisco, Criminal Procedure, 1958 ed., Vol.
I, pp. 234, 236. Correctly, Judge Kapunan observed that as
"the civil action is based solely on the felony committed and
of which the offender might be found guilty, the death of the
offender extinguishes the civil liability." I Kapunan, Revised
Penal Code, Annotated, supra.
Here is the situation obtaining in the present case: Castillo's
criminal liability is out. His civil liability is sought to be
enforced by reason of that criminal liability. But then, if we
dismiss, as we must, the criminal action and let the civil
aspect remain, we will be faced with the anomalous situation
whereby we will be called upon to clamp civil liability in a
case where the source thereof criminal liability does not
exist. And, as was well stated in Bautista, et al vs Estrella, et
al., CA-G.R.
No. 19226-R, September 1, 1958, "no party can be found
and held criminally liable in a civil suit," which solely would
remain if we are to divorce it from the criminal proceeding."
This ruling of the Court of Appeals in the Castillo case 3 was
adopted by the Supreme Court in the cases of People of the
Philippines v. Bonifacio Alison, et al., 4 People of the
Philippines v. Jaime Jose, et al. 5 and People of the
Philippines vSatorre 6 by dismissing the appeal in view of the
death of the accused pending appeal of said cases.
As held by then Supreme Court Justice Fernando in
the Alison case:
The death of accused-appellant Bonifacio Alison having been
established, and considering that there is as yet no final
judgment in view of the pendency of the appeal, the criminal
and civil liability of the said accused-appellant Alison was
extinguished by his death (Art. 89, Revised Penal Code;
Reyes' Criminal Law, 1971 Rev. Ed., p. 717, citing People v.

Castillo and Ofemia C.A., 56 O.G. 4045); consequently, the


case against him should be dismissed.
On the other hand, this Court in the subsequent cases
of Buenaventura Belamala v. Marcelino
Polinar 7 andLamberto Torrijos v. The Honorable Court of
Appeals 8 ruled differently. In the former, the issue decided
by this court was: Whether the civil liability of one accused
of physical injuries who died before final judgment is
extinguished by his demise to the extent of barring any
claim therefore against his estate. It was the contention of
the administrator-appellant therein that the death of the
accused prior to final judgment extinguished all criminal and
civil liabilities resulting from the offense, in view of Article
89, paragraph 1 of the Revised Penal Code. However, this
court ruled therein:
We see no merit in the plea that the civil liability has been
extinguished, in view of the provisions of the Civil Code of
the Philippines of 1950 (Rep. Act No. 386) that became
operative eighteen years after the revised Penal Code. As
pointed out by the Court below, Article 33 of the Civil Code
establishes a civil action for damages on account of physical
injuries, entirely separate and distinct from the criminal
action.
Art. 33.
In cases of defamation, fraud, and physical
injuries, a civil action for damages, entirely separate and
distinct from the criminal action, may be brought by the
injured party. Such civil action shall proceed independently
of the criminal prosecution, and shall require only a
preponderance of evidence.
Assuming that for lack of express reservation, Belamala's
civil action for damages was to be considered instituted
together with the criminal action still, since both proceedings
were terminated without final adjudication, the civil action of
the offended party under Article 33 may yet be enforced
separately.

In Torrijos, the Supreme Court held that:


xxx

xxx

xxx

It should be stressed that the extinction of civil liability


follows the extinction of the criminal liability under Article
89, only when the civil liability arises from the criminal act as
its only basis. Stated differently, where the civil liability does
not exist independently of the criminal responsibility, the
extinction of the latter by death, ipso facto extinguishes the
former, provided, of course, that death supervenes before
final judgment. The said principle does not apply in instant
case wherein the civil liability springs neither solely nor
originally from the crime itself but from a civil contract of
purchase and sale. (Emphasis ours)
xxx

xxx

xxx

In the above case, the court was convinced that the civil
liability of the accused who was charged with estafa could
likewise trace its genesis to Articles 19, 20 and 21 of the Civil
Code since said accused had swindled the first and second
vendees of the property subject matter of the contract of
sale. It therefore concluded: "Consequently, while the death
of the accused herein extinguished his criminal liability
including fine, his civil liability based on the laws of human
relations remains."
Thus it allowed the appeal to proceed with respect to the
civil liability of the accused, notwithstanding the extinction of
his criminal liability due to his death pending appeal of his
conviction.
To further justify its decision to allow the civil liability to
survive, the court relied on the following ratiocination: Since
Section 21, Rule 3 of the Rules of Court 9 requires the
dismissal of all money claims against the defendant whose
death occurred prior to the final judgment of the Court of

First Instance (CFI), then it can be inferred that actions for


recovery of money may continue to be heard on appeal,
when the death of the defendant supervenes after the CFI
had rendered its judgment. In such case, explained this
tribunal, "the name of the offended party shall be included in
the title of the case as plaintiff-appellee and the legal
representative or the heirs of the deceased-accused should
be substituted as defendants-appellants."
It is, thus, evident that as jurisprudence evolved from
Castillo to Torrijos, the rule established was that the survival
of the civil liability depends on whether the same can be
predicated on sources of obligations other than delict. Stated
differently, the claim for civil liability is also extinguished
together with the criminal action if it were solely based
thereon, i., civil liability ex delicto.
However, the Supreme Court in People v. Sendaydiego, et
al. 10 departed from this long-established principle of law. In
this case, accused Sendaydiego was charged with and
convicted by the lower court of malversation thru
falsification of public documents. Sendaydiego's death
supervened during the pendency of the appeal of his
conviction.
This court in an unprecedented move resolved to dismiss
Sendaydiego's appeal but only to the extent of his criminal
liability. His civil liability was allowed to survive although it
was clear that such claim thereon was exclusively dependent
on the criminal action already extinguished. The legal import
of such decision was for the court to continue exercising
appellate jurisdiction over the entire appeal, passing upon
the correctness of Sendaydiego's conviction despite
dismissal of the criminal action, for the purpose of
determining if he is civilly liable. In doing so, this Court
issued a Resolution of July 8, 1977 stating thus:
The claim of complainant Province of Pangasinan for the civil
liability survived Sendaydiego because his death occurred

after final judgment was rendered by the Court of First


Instance of Pangasinan, which convicted him of three
complex crimes of malversation through falsification and
ordered him to indemnify the Province in the total sum of
P61,048.23 (should be P57,048.23).
The civil action for the civil liability is deemed impliedly
instituted with the criminal action in the absence of express
waiver or its reservation in a separate action (Sec. 1, Rule
111 of the Rules of Court). The civil action for the civil
liability is separate and distinct from the criminal action
(People and Manuel vs. Coloma, 105 Phil. 1287; Roa vs. De la
Cruz, 107 Phil. 8).
When the action is for the recovery of money and the
defendant dies before final judgment in the Court of First
Instance, it shall be dismissed to be prosecuted in the
manner especially provided in Rule 87 of the Rules of Court
(Sec. 21, Rule 3 of the Rules of Court).
The implication is that, if the defendant dies after a money
judgment had been rendered against him by the Court of
First Instance, the action survives him. It may be continued
on appeal (Torrijos vs. Court of Appeals, L-40336, October
24, 1975; 67 SCRA 394).
The accountable public officer may still be civilly liable for
the funds improperly disbursed although he has no criminal
liability (U.S. vs. Elvina, 24 Phil. 230; Philippine National Bank
vs. Tugab, 66 Phil. 583).
In view of the foregoing, notwithstanding the dismissal of the
appeal of the deceased Sendaydiego insofar as his criminal
liability is concerned, the Court Resolved to continue
exercising appellate jurisdiction over his possible civil liability
for the money claims of the Province of Pangasinan arising
from the alleged criminal acts complained of, as if no
criminal case had been instituted against him, thus making
applicable, in determining his civil liability, Article 30 of the

Civil Code . . . and, for that purpose, his counsel is directed


to inform this Court within ten (10) days of the names and
addresses of the decedent's heirs or whether or not his
estate is under administration and has a duly appointed
judicial administrator. Said heirs or administrator will be
substituted for the deceased insofar as the civil action for
the civil liability is concerned (Secs. 16 and 17, Rule 3, Rules
of Court).
Succeeding cases 11 raising the identical issue have
maintained adherence to our ruling in Sendaydiego; in other
words, they were a reaffirmance of our abandonment of the
settled rule that a civil liability solely anchored on the
criminal (civil liability ex delicto) is extinguished upon
dismissal of the entire appeal due to the demise of the
accused.
But was it judicious to have abandoned this old ruling? A reexamination of our decision in Sendaydiego impels us to
revert to the old ruling.
To restate our resolution of July 8, 1977 in Sendaydiego: The
resolution of the civil action impliedly instituted in the
criminal action can proceed irrespective of the latter's
extinction due to death of the accused pending appeal of his
conviction, pursuant to Article 30 of the Civil Code and
Section 21, Rule 3 of the Revised Rules of Court.
Article 30 of the Civil Code provides:
When a separate civil action is brought to demand civil
liability arising from a criminal offense, and no criminal
proceedings are instituted during the pendency of the civil
case, a preponderance of evidence shall likewise be
sufficient to prove the act complained of.
Clearly, the text of Article 30 could not possibly lend support
to the ruling in Sendaydiego. Nowhere in its text is there a
grant of authority to continue exercising appellate

jurisdiction over the accused's civil liability ex delictowhen


his death supervenes during appeal. What Article 30
recognizes is an alternative and separate civil action which
may be brought to demand civil liability arising from a
criminal offense independently of any criminal action. In the
event that no criminal proceedings are instituted during the
pendency of said civil case, the quantum of evidence needed
to prove the criminal act will have to be that which is
compatible with civil liability and that is, preponderance of
evidence and not proof of guilt beyond reasonable doubt.
Citing or invoking Article 30 to justify the survival of the civil
action despite extinction of the criminal would in effect
merely beg the question of whether civil liability ex
delicto survives upon extinction of the criminal action due to
death of the accused during appeal of his conviction. This is
because whether asserted in
the criminal action or in a separate civil action, civil
liability ex delicto is extinguished by the death of the
accused while his conviction is on appeal. Article 89 of the
Revised Penal Code is clear on this matter:
Art. 89.
How criminal liability is totally extinguished.
Criminal liability is totally extinguished:
1.
By the death of the convict, as to the personal
penalties; and as to pecuniary penalties, liability therefor is
extinguished only when the death of the offender occurs
before final judgment;
xxx

xxx

xxx

However, the ruling in Sendaydiego deviated from the


expressed intent of Article 89. It allowed claims for civil
liability ex delicto to survive by ipso facto treating the civil
action impliedly instituted with the criminal, as one filed
under Article 30, as though no criminal proceedings had
been filed but merely a separate civil action. This had the
effect of converting such claims from one which is
dependent on the outcome of the criminal action to an

entirely new and separate one, the prosecution of which


does not even necessitate the filing of criminal
proceedings. 12One would be hard put to pinpoint the
statutory authority for such a transformation. It is to be
borne in mind that in recovering civil liability ex delicto, the
same has perforce to be determined in the criminal action,
rooted as it is in the court's pronouncement of the guilt or
innocence of the accused. This is but to render fealty to the
intendment of Article 100 of the Revised Penal Code which
provides that "every person criminally liable for a felony is
also civilly liable." In such cases, extinction of the criminal
action due to death of the accused pending appeal inevitably
signifies the concomitant extinction of the civil liability. Mors
Omnia Solvi. Death dissolves all things.
In sum, in pursuing recovery of civil liability arising from
crime, the final determination of the criminal liability is a
condition precedent to the prosecution of the civil action,
such that when the criminal action is extinguished by the
demise of accused-appellant pending appeal thereof, said
civil action cannot survive. The claim for civil liability springs
out of and is dependent upon facts which, if true, would
constitute a crime. Such civil liability is an inevitable
consequence of the criminal liability and is to be declared
and enforced in the criminal proceeding. This is to be
distinguished from that which is contemplated under Article
30 of the Civil Code which refers to the institution of a
separate civil action that does not draw its life from a
criminal proceeding. The Sendaydiego resolution of July 8,
1977, however, failed to take note of this fundamental
distinction when it allowed the survival of the civil action for
the recovery of civil liability ex delicto by treating the same
as a separate civil action referred to under Article 30. Surely,
it will take more than just a summary judicial pronouncement
to authorize the conversion of said civil action to an
independent one such as that contemplated under Article
30.

Ironically however, the main decision in Sendaydiego did not


apply Article 30, the resolution of July 8, 1977
notwithstanding. Thus, it was held in the main decision:
Sendaydiego's appeal will be resolved only for the purpose
of showing his criminal liability which is the basis of the civil
liability for which his estate would be liable. 13
In other words, the Court, in resolving the issue of his civil
liability, concomitantly made a determination on whether
Sendaydiego, on the basis of evidenced adduced, was
indeed guilty beyond reasonable doubt of committing the
offense charged. Thus, it upheld Sendaydiego's conviction
and pronounced the same as the source of his civil liability.
Consequently, although Article 30 was not applied in the
final determination of Sendaydiego's civil liability, there was
a reopening of the criminal action already extinguished
which served as basis for Sendaydiego's civil liability. We
reiterate: Upon death of the accused pending appeal of his
conviction, the criminal action is extinguished inasmuch as
there is no longer a defendant to stand as the accused; the
civil action instituted therein for recovery of civil liability ex
delicto is ipso facto extinguished, grounded as it is on the
criminal.
Section 21, Rule 3 of the Rules of Court was also invoked to
serve as another basis for the Sendaydiego resolution of July
8, 1977. In citing Sec. 21, Rule 3 of the Rules of Court, the
Court made the inference that civil actions of the type
involved in Sendaydiego consist of money claims, the
recovery of which may be continued on appeal if defendant
dies pending appeal of his conviction by holding his estate
liable therefor. Hence, the Court's conclusion:
"When the action is for the recovery of money" "and the
defendant dies before final judgment in the court of First
Instance, it shall be dismissed to be prosecuted in the
manner especially provided" in Rule 87 of the Rules of Court
(Sec. 21, Rule 3 of the Rules of Court).

The implication is that, if the defendant dies after a money


judgment had been rendered against him by the Court of
First Instance, the action survives him. It may be continued
on appeal.
Sadly, reliance on this provision of law is misplaced. From the
standpoint of procedural law, this course taken
inSendaydiego cannot be sanctioned. As correctly observed
by Justice Regalado:
xxx

xxx

xxx

I do not, however, agree with the justification advanced in


both Torrijos and Sendaydiego which, relying on the
provisions of Section 21, Rule 3 of the Rules of Court, drew
the strained implication therefrom that where the civil
liability instituted together with the criminal liabilities had
already passed beyond the judgment of the then Court of
First Instance (now the Regional Trial Court), the Court of
Appeals can continue to exercise appellate jurisdiction
thereover despite the extinguishment of the component
criminal liability of the deceased. This pronouncement, which
has been followed in the Court's judgments subsequent and
consonant to Torrijos and Sendaydiego, should be set aside
and abandoned as being clearly erroneous and unjustifiable.
Said Section 21 of Rule 3 is a rule of civil procedure in
ordinary civil actions. There is neither authority nor
justification for its application in criminal procedure to civil
actions instituted together with and as part of criminal
actions. Nor is there any authority in law for the summary
conversion from the latter category of an ordinary civil action
upon the death of the offender. . . .
Moreover, the civil action impliedly instituted in a criminal
proceeding for recovery of civil liability ex delicto can hardly
be categorized as an ordinary money claim such as that

referred to in Sec. 21, Rule 3 enforceable before the estate of


the deceased accused.
Ordinary money claims referred to in Section 21, Rule 3 must
be viewed in light of the provisions of Section 5, Rule 86
involving claims against the estate, which
in Sendaydiego was held liable for Sendaydiego's civil
liability. "What are contemplated in Section 21 of Rule 3, in
relation to Section 5 of Rule 86, 14 are contractual money
claims while the claims involved in civil liability ex
delicto may include even the restitution of personal or real
property." 15 Section 5, Rule 86 provides an exclusive
enumeration of what claims may be filed against the estate.
These are: funeral expenses, expenses for the last illness,
judgments for money and claim arising from contracts,
expressed or implied. It is clear that money claims arising
from delict do not form part of this exclusive enumeration.
Hence, there could be no legal basis in (1) treating a civil
action ex delicto as an ordinary contractual money claim
referred to in Section 21, Rule 3 of the Rules of Court and (2)
allowing it to survive by filing a claim therefor before the
estate of the deceased accused. Rather, it should be
extinguished upon extinction of the criminal action
engendered by the death of the accused pending finality of
his conviction.
Accordingly, we rule: if the private offended party, upon
extinction of the civil liability ex delicto desires to recover
damages from the same act or omission complained of, he
must subject to Section 1, Rule 111 16 (1985 Rules on
Criminal Procedure as amended) file a separate civil action,
this time predicated not on the felony previously charged but
on other sources of obligation. The source of obligation upon
which the separate civil action is premised determines
against whom the same shall be enforced.
If the same act or omission complained of also arises
from quasi-delict or may, by provision of law, result in an
injury to person or property (real or personal), the separate

civil action must be filed against the executor or


administrator 17 of the estate of the accused pursuant to
Sec. 1, Rule 87 of the Rules of Court:
Sec. 1.
Actions which may and which may not be
brought against executor or administrator. No action upon
a claim for the recovery of money or debt or interest thereon
shall be commenced against the executor or administrator;
but actions to recover real or personal property, or an
interest therein, from the estate, or to enforce a lien thereon,
and actions to recover damages for an injury to person or
property, real or personal, may be commenced against him.
This is in consonance with our ruling in Belamala 18 where
we held that, in recovering damages for injury to persons
thru an independent civil action based on Article 33 of the
Civil Code, the same must be filed against the executor or
administrator of the estate of deceased accused and not
against the estate under Sec. 5, Rule 86 because this rule
explicitly limits the claim to those for funeral expenses,
expenses for the last sickness of the decedent, judgment for
money and claims arising from contract, express or implied.
Contractual money claims, we stressed, refers only to purely
personal obligations other than those which have their
source in delict or tort.
Conversely, if the same act or omission complained of also
arises from contract, the separate civil action must be filed
against the estate of the accused, pursuant to Sec. 5, Rule
86 of the Rules of Court.
From this lengthy disquisition, we summarize our ruling
herein:
1.
Death of the 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., 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. 19 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 20

b)

Contracts

c)

Quasi-contracts

d)

...

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 as amended. This 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 privateoffended 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 21 of the
Civil Code, that should thereby avoid any apprehension on a
possible privation of right by prescription. 22

Applying this set of rules to the case at bench, we hold that


the death of appellant Bayotas extinguished his criminal
liability and the civil liability based solely on the act
complained of, i., rape. Consequently, the appeal is hereby
dismissed without qualification.
WHEREFORE, the appeal of the late Rogelio Bayotas is
DISMISSED with costs de oficio.
SO ORDERED.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Baguio City
SECOND DIVISION

G.R. No. 82562

April 11, 1997

LYDIA VILLEGAS, MA TERESITA VILLEGAS, ANTONIO


VILLEGAS, JR., and ANTONIETTE
VILLEGAS, petitioners,
vs.
THE COURT OF APPEALS, PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES
and ANTONIO V. RAQUIZA, respondents.
G.R. No. 82592

April 11, 1997

ANTONIO V. RAQUIZA, petitioner,


vs.
COURT OF APPEALS, LYDIA A. VILLEGAS, ANTONIO
VILLEGAS, JR., MA. ANTONETTE VILLEGAS, MA. LYDIA
VILLEGAS and ESTATE OF ANTONIO J.
VILLEGAS, respondents.

ROMERO, J.:
This case originated from a libel suit filed by then
Assemblyman Antonio V. Raquiza against then Manila Mayor
Antonio J. Villegas, who allegedly publicly imputed to him
acts constituting violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt
Practices Act. He did this on several occasions in August
1968 through (a) a speech before the Lion's Club of
Malasiqui, Pangasinan on August 10; (b) public statements in
Manila on August 13 and in Davao on August 17, which was
coupled with a radio-TV interview; and (c) a public statement
shortly prior to his appearance before the Senate Committee
on Public Works (the Committee) on August 20 to formally
submit a letter-complaint implicating Raquiza, among other
government officials.
The Committee, however, observed that all the allegations in
the complaint were based mainly on the uncorroborated
testimony of a certain Pedro U. Fernandez, whose credibility
turned out to be highly questionable. Villegas also failed to
submit the original copies of his documentary evidence.

Thus, after thorough investigation, Raquiza was cleared of all


charges by the Committee. 1 All these acts of political
grandstanding received extensive media coverage.
On July 25, 1969, an information for libel was filed by the
Office of the City Fiscal of Manila with the then Court of First
Instance of Manila against Villegas who denied the charge.
After losing in the 1971 elections, Villegas left for the United
States where he stayed until his death on November 16,
1984. Nevertheless, trial proceeded on absentiaby the time
of his death the in 1984, the prosecution had already rested
its case Two months after notice of his death, the court
issued an order dismissing the crimal aspect of the case but
reserving the right to resolve its civil aspect. No
memorandum was ever filed in his behalf.
Judge Marcelo R. Obien 2 rendered judgment on March 7,
1985, the dispositive portion of which was amended on
March 26 to read as follows:
WHEREFORE, and in view of the foregoing considerations,
judgment is hereby rendered as follows:
1.
The dismissal of the criminal case against Antonio J.
Vlllegas, on account of his death on November 16, 1984. is
hereby reiterated.
2.
Ordenng the estate of Antonio J. Villegas, represented
herein by his legal heirs, namely: Lydia A Villegas, Ma.
Teresita Villegas, Antonio Villegas, Jr., Ma. Anton(i)ette
Villegas, and Ma. Lydia Villegas (sic), to pay plaintiff Antonio
V. Raquiza Two Hundred Million Pesos
(P200,000,000.00), itemized as follows:
a)
One Hundred Fifty Million Pesos (P15000) as moral
damages:
b)
Two Hundred Thousand Pesos (P20000) as actual
damages:

c)
Forty-nine Million Eight Hundred Thousand Pesos
(P49,800,00000) as exemplary damages and
d)

The cost of suit.

SO ORDERED. 3 (Amendments underscored)


The heirs of Villegas (the Heirs), through their father's
counsel, Atty. Norberto, Quisumbing appealed the decision
on these three main grounds:
1.
Whether the trial court, three months after notice of
the death of the accused and before his counsel could file a
memorandum in his behalf, could velidly render judgment in
the case?
2.
Whether in the absence of formal substitution of
parties, the trial court could validly render judgment against
the heirs and estate of a deceased accused?
3
Whether, under the facts of the instant case, deceased
Villegas was liable for libel, and assuming he was, whether
the damages awarded by the trial court were just and
reasonable?
On March 15, 1988, the Court of Appeals rendered a decision
affirming the trial court's judgment modified only with
respect to the award of damages which was reduced to P2
million representing P1.5 million, P300,000.00, and
P200,000.00 in moral exemplary and actual damages,
respectively. Both parties elevated said decision to this Court
for review
In their petition (G.R. No. 82562), the Heirs once again raise
the very same issues brought before the Court of Appeals,
albeit reworded. On the other hand, petitioner Requiza (G.R.
No. 82592) questions the extensions of time to file

appellant's brief granted by the appellate court to the Heirs,


as well as the drastic reduction in the award of damages.
It is immediately apparent that the focal issue in these
petitions is the effect of the death of Villegas before the case
was decided by the trial court. Stated otherwise, did the
death of the accused before final judgment extinguish his
civil liability?
Fortunately, this Court has already settled this issue with the
promulgation of the case of People v. Bayotas (G.R. No.
102007) on September 2, 1994, 4 viz
It is thus evident that as jurisprudence evolved from
Castillo 5 to Torrijos, 6 the rule established was thatthe
survival of the civil liability depends on whether the same
can be predicated on sources of obligations other than delict.
Stated differently, the claim for civil liability is also
extinguished together with the criminal action if it were
solely based thereon, i., civil liability ex delicto
xxx

xxx

xxx

(I)n recovering damages for injury to persons thru an


independent civil action based on Article 33 of the Civil
Code, the same must be filed against the executor or
administrator of the estate of deceased accused (undet Sec.
1, Rule 87, infra.) and not against the estate under Sec. 5,
Rule 86 because this rule explicitly limits the claim to those
for funeral expenses, expenses for the last sickness of the
decedent, judgment for money and claims arising from
contract, express or implied. 7
xxx

xxx

xxx

From this lengthy dlsquisition, we summarize our ruling


herein:

1
Death of the 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 directlyarising from and based solely on the offense
committed, i., civil liability ex delicto in senso strictiore."
2
Corollarily the claim for civil liability survives
notwithstanding the death of (the) 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

xxx

xxx

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 as amended 8 This separate civil action may be
enforced either against the executor/administrator o(f) 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 (the) provisions of Article 1155 of the
Civil Code, that should thereby avoid any apprehension on a
possible privation of right by prescription. (Emphasis
supplied).
The source of Villegas' civil liability in the present case is the
felonious act of libel he allegedly committed. Yet, this act
could also be deemed a quasi-delict within the purview of
Article 33 9 in relation to Article 1157 of the Civil Code. If the
Court ruled in Bayotas that the death of an accused during
the pendency of his appeal extinguishes not only his criminal
but also his civil liability unless the latter can be predicated
on a source of obligation other than the act or omission
complained of, with more reason should it apply to the case
at bar where the accused died shortly after the prosecution
had rested its case and before he was able to submit his
memorandum and all this before any decision could even be
reached by the trial court.
The Bayotas ruling, however, makes the enforcement of a
deceased accused's civil liability dependent on two factors,
namely, that it be pursued by filing a separate civil action
and that it be made subject to Section 1, Rule 111 of the
1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure, as amended. Obviously,
in the case at bar, the civil action was deemed instituted
with the criminal. There was no waiver of the civil action and
no reservation of the right to institute the same, nor was it
instituted prior to the criminal action. What then is the
recourse of the private offended party in a criminal case
such as this which must be dismissed in accordance with
the Bayotas doctrine, where the civil action was impliedly
instituted with it?
The answer is likewise provided in Bayatas, thus:
Assuming that for lack of express reservation, Belamala's
civil civil for damages was to be considered instituted

together with the crinimal action still, since both proceedings


were terminated without finals adjudication the civil action of
the offended party under Article 33 may yet be enforced
separately 10(Emphasis supplied)
Hence, logically, the court a quo should have dismissed both
actions against Vilegas which dismissal will not, however, bar
Raquiza as the private offended party from pursuing his
claim for damages against the executor or administrator of
the former's estate, notwitnstanding the fact that he did not
reserve the right to institute a civil separate civil action
based on Article 33 of the Civil Code.
It cannot be argued either that to follow Bayotas would result
in further delay in this protracted litigation. This is because
the resolution of the civil aspect of the case after the
dismissal of the main criminal action by the trial court was
technically defective There was no proper substitution of
parties, as correctly pointed out by the Heirs and repeatedly
put in issue by Atty. Quisumbing. What should have been
followed by the court a quo was the procedure laid down in
the Rules of Court, specifically, Section 17, Rule 3, in
connection with Section 1, Rule 87. The pertinent provisions
state as follws:
Rule 3
Sec.17.
Death of party. After a party dies and the
claim is not there extinguished, the court shall order upon
proper notice the legal representative of the deceased to
appear and to be substituted for the deceased, within a
period of thirty (30) days, or within such time as may
begranted. . . . The heirs of the deceased may be allowed to
be for the deceased, without requiring the appointment of an
executor or administrator and the court may appoint
guardian ad litem for the minor heirs.
Rule 87

Sec. 1.
Actions which may and which may not be
brought against or executor or administrator. No action
upon a claim for the recovery of money or debt or interest
thereon shall be commenced against the executor or
administrator; but actions to recover real or personal
property, or an interest therein, from the estate, or to
enforce a lien thereon, and actions to recover damages for
an injury to person or property, real or personal may be
commenced against him.
Accordingly, the Court sees no more necessity in resolving
the other issues used by both parties in these petitions.
WHEREFORE, the petition in G.R. No. 82562 is GRANTED and
the petition in G.R. No. 82592 is DENIED. The decisions of
the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR No. 82186 dated March
15, 1988, and of the Manila Regional Trial Court, Branch 44,
dated March 7, 1985, as amended, are hereby REVERSED
and SET ASIDE, without prejudice to the right of the private
offended party Antonio V Raquiza, to file the appropriate civil
action for damages against the executor or administrator of
the estate or the heirs of the late Antonto J Villegas in
accordance with the foregoing procedure.
SO ORDERED.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
SECOND DIVISION
G.R. No. 183204

January 13, 2014

THE METROPOLITAN BANK AND TRUST


COMPANY, Petitioner,
vs.
ANA GRACE ROSALES AND YO YUK TO, Respondents.
DECISION
DEL CASTILLO, J.:
Bank deposits, which are in the nature of a simple loan or
mutuum,1 must be paid upon demand by the depositor.2
This Petition for Review on Certiorari3 under Rule 45 of the
Rules of Court assails the April 2, 2008 Decision4 and the
May 30, 2008 Resolution5 of he Court of Appeals CA) in CAG.R. CV No. 89086.
Factual Antecedents
Petitioner Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company is a
domestic banking corporation duly organized and existing
under the laws of the Philippines.6 Respondent Ana Grace
Rosales (Rosales) is the owner of China Golden Bridge Travel

Services,7 a travel agency.8 Respondent Yo Yuk To is the


mother of respondent Rosales.9
In 2000, respondents opened a Joint Peso Account10 with
petitioners Pritil-Tondo Branch.11 As of August 4, 2004,
respondents Joint Peso Account showed a balance of P
In May 2002, respondent Rosales accompanied her client Liu
Chiu Fang, a Taiwanese National applying for a retirees visa
from the Philippine Leisure and Retirement Authority (PLRA),
to petitioners branch in Escolta to open a savings account,
as required by the PLRA.13 Since Liu Chiu Fang could speak
only in Mandarin, respondent Rosales acted as an interpreter
for her.14
On March 3, 2003, respondents opened with petitioners
Pritil-Tondo Branch a Joint Dollar Account15 with an initial
deposit of US$14,000.00.16
On July 31, 2003, petitioner issued a "Hold Out" order
against respondents accounts.17
On September 3, 2003, petitioner, through its Special Audit
Department Head Antonio Ivan Aguirre, filed before the
Office of the Prosecutor of Manila a criminal case for Estafa
through False Pretences, Misrepresentation, Deceit, and Use
of Falsified Documents, docketed as I.S. No. 03I25014,18 against respondent Rosales.19 Petitioner accused
respondent Rosales and an unidentified woman as the ones
responsible for the unauthorized and fraudulent withdrawal
of US$75,000.00 from Liu Chiu Fangs dollar account with
petitioners Escolta Branch.20Petitioner alleged that on
February 5, 2003, its branch in Escolta received from the
PLRA a Withdrawal Clearance for the dollar account of Liu
Chiu Fang;21 that in the afternoon of the same day,
respondent Rosales went to petitioners Escolta Branch to
inform its Branch Head, Celia A. Gutierrez (Gutierrez), that
Liu Chiu Fang was going to withdraw her dollar deposits in
cash;22 that Gutierrez told respondent Rosales to come back

the following day because the bank did not have enough
dollars;23 that on February 6, 2003, respondent Rosales
accompanied an unidentified impostor of Liu Chiu Fang to
the bank;24 that the impostor was able to withdraw Liu Chiu
Fangs dollar deposit in the amount of US$75,000.00;25 that
on March 3, 2003, respondents opened a dollar account with
petitioner; and that the bank later discovered that the serial
numbers of the dollar notes deposited by respondents in the
amount of US$11,800.00 were the same as those withdrawn
by the impostor.26
Respondent Rosales, however, denied taking part in the
fraudulent and unauthorized withdrawal from the dollar
account of Liu Chiu Fang.27 Respondent Rosales claimed
that she did not go to the bank on February 5,
2003.28Neither did she inform Gutierrez that Liu Chiu Fang
was going to close her account.29 Respondent Rosales
further claimed that after Liu Chiu Fang opened an account
with petitioner, she lost track of her.30 Respondent Rosales
version of the events that transpired thereafter is as follows:
On February 6, 2003, she received a call from Gutierrez
informing her that Liu Chiu Fang was at the bank to close her
account.31 At noon of the same day, respondent Rosales
went to the bank to make a transaction.32 While she was
transacting with the teller, she caught a glimpse of a woman
seated at the desk of the Branch Operating Officer, Melinda
Perez (Perez).33 After completing her transaction,
respondent Rosales approached Perez who informed her that
Liu Chiu Fang had closed her account and had already
left.34 Perez then gave a copy of the Withdrawal Clearance
issued by the PLRA to respondent Rosales.35 On June 16,
2003, respondent Rosales received a call from Liu Chiu Fang
inquiring about the extension of her PLRA Visa and her dollar
account.36 It was only then that Liu Chiu Fang found out that
her account had been closed without her
knowledge.37 Respondent Rosales then went to the bank to
inform Gutierrez and Perez of the unauthorized
withdrawal.38 On June 23, 2003, respondent Rosales and Liu

Chiu Fang went to the PLRA Office, where they were


informed that the Withdrawal Clearance was issued on the
basis of a Special Power of Attorney (SPA) executed by Liu
Chiu Fang in favor of a certain Richard So.39 Liu Chiu Fang,
however, denied executing the SPA.40 The following day,
respondent Rosales, Liu Chiu Fang, Gutierrez, and Perez met
at the PLRA Office to discuss the unauthorized
withdrawal.41 During the conference, the bank officers
assured Liu Chiu Fang that the money would be returned to
her.42
On December 15, 2003, the Office of the City Prosecutor of
Manila issued a Resolution dismissing the criminal case for
lack of probable cause.43 Unfazed, petitioner moved for
reconsideration.
On September 10, 2004, respondents filed before the
Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila a Complaint44 for Breach
of Obligation and Contract with Damages, docketed as Civil
Case No. 04110895 and raffled to Branch 21, against
petitioner. Respondents alleged that they attempted several
times to withdraw their deposits but were unable to because
petitioner had placed their accounts under "Hold Out"
status.45 No explanation, however, was given by petitioner
as to why it issued the "Hold Out" order.46 Thus, they prayed
that the "Hold Out" order be lifted and that they be allowed
to withdraw their deposits.47 They likewise prayed for
actual, moral, and exemplary damages, as well as attorneys
fees.48
Petitioner alleged that respondents have no cause of action
because it has a valid reason for issuing the "Hold Out"
order.49 It averred that due to the fraudulent scheme of
respondent Rosales, it was compelled to reimburse Liu Chiu
Fang the amount of US$75,000.0050 and to file a criminal
complaint for Estafa against respondent Rosales.51
While the case for breach of contract was being tried, the
City Prosecutor of Manila issued a Resolution dated February

18, 2005, reversing the dismissal of the criminal


complaint.52 An Information, docketed as Criminal Case No.
05-236103,53 was then filed charging respondent Rosales
with Estafa before Branch 14 of the RTC of Manila.54
Ruling of the Regional Trial Court
On January 15, 2007, the RTC rendered a Decision55 finding
petitioner liable for damages for breach of contract.56The
RTC ruled that it is the duty of petitioner to release the
deposit to respondents as the act of withdrawal of a bank
deposit is an act of demand by the creditor.57 The RTC also
said that the recourse of petitioner is against its negligent
employees and not against respondents.58 The dispositive
portion of the Decision reads:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby
rendered ordering [petitioner] METROPOLITAN BANK &
TRUST COMPANY to allow [respondents] ANA GRACE
ROSALES and YO YUK TO to withdraw their Savings and Time
Deposits with the agreed interest, actual damages
of P50,000.00, moral damages of P50,000.00, exemplary
damages of P30,000.00 and 10% of the amount due
[respondents] as and for attorneys fees plus the cost of suit.
The counterclaim of [petitioner] is hereby DISMISSED for lack
of merit.
SO ORDERED.59
Ruling of the Court of Appeals
Aggrieved, petitioner appealed to the CA.
On April 2, 2008, the CA affirmed the ruling of the RTC but
deleted the award of actual damages because "the basis for
[respondents] claim for such damages is the professional
fee that they paid to their legal counsel for [respondent]
Rosales defense against the criminal complaint of

[petitioner] for estafa before the Office of the City Prosecutor


of Manila and not this case."60 Thus, the CA disposed of the
case in this wise:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Decision dated
January 15, 2007 of the RTC, Branch 21, Manila in Civil Case
No. 04-110895 is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION that the
award of actual damages to [respondents] Rosales and Yo
Yuk To is hereby DELETED.
SO ORDERED.61
Petitioner sought reconsideration but the same was denied
by the CA in its May 30, 2008 Resolution.62
Issues
Hence, this recourse by petitioner raising the following
issues:
A. THE [CA] ERRED IN RULING THAT THE "HOLD-OUT"
PROVISION IN THE APPLICATION AND AGREEMENT FOR
DEPOSIT ACCOUNT DOES NOT APPLY IN THIS CASE.
B. THE [CA] ERRED WHEN IT RULED THAT PETITIONERS
EMPLOYEES WERE NEGLIGENT IN RELEASING LIU CHIU
FANGS FUNDS.
C. THE [CA] ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE AWARD OF MORAL
DAMAGES, EXEMPLARY DAMAGES, AND ATTORNEYS FEES.63
Petitioners Arguments
Petitioner contends that the CA erred in not applying the
"Hold Out" clause stipulated in the Application and
Agreement for Deposit Account.64 It posits that the said
clause applies to any and all kinds of obligation as it does
not distinguish between obligations arising ex contractu or
ex delictu.65 Petitioner also contends that the fraud

committed by respondent Rosales was clearly established by


evidence;66 thus, it was justified in issuing the "Hold-Out"
order.67 Petitioner likewise denies that its employees were
negligent in releasing the dollars.68 It claims that it was the
deception employed by respondent Rosales that caused
petitioners employees to release Liu Chiu Fangs funds to
the impostor.69
Lastly, petitioner puts in issue the award of moral and
exemplary damages and attorneys fees. It insists that
respondents failed to prove that it acted in bad faith or in a
wanton, fraudulent, oppressive or malevolent manner.70
Respondents Arguments
Respondents, on the other hand, argue that there is no legal
basis for petitioner to withhold their deposits because they
have no monetary obligation to petitioner.71 They insist that
petitioner miserably failed to prove its accusations against
respondent Rosales.72 In fact, no documentary evidence was
presented to show that respondent Rosales participated in
the unauthorized withdrawal.73 They also question the fact
that the list of the serial numbers of the dollar notes
fraudulently withdrawn on February 6, 2003, was not signed
or acknowledged by the alleged impostor.74 Respondents
likewise maintain that what was established during the trial
was the negligence of petitioners employees as they
allowed the withdrawal of the funds without properly
verifying the identity of the depositor.75 Furthermore,
respondents contend that their deposits are in the nature of
a loan; thus, petitioner had the obligation to return the
deposits to them upon demand.76 Failing to do so makes
petitioner liable to pay respondents moral and exemplary
damages, as well as attorneys fees.77
Our Ruling
The Petition is bereft of merit.

At the outset, the relevant issues in this case are (1) whether
petitioner breached its contract with respondents, and (2) if
so, whether it is liable for damages. The issue of whether
petitioners employees were negligent in allowing the
withdrawal of Liu Chiu Fangs dollar deposits has no bearing
in the resolution of this case. Thus, we find no need to
discuss the same.
The "Hold Out" clause does not apply
to the instant case.
Petitioner claims that it did not breach its contract with
respondents because it has a valid reason for issuing the
"Hold Out" order. Petitioner anchors its right to withhold
respondents deposits on the Application and Agreement for
Deposit Account, which reads:
Authority to Withhold, Sell and/or Set Off:
The Bank is hereby authorized to withhold as security for any
and all obligations with the Bank, all monies, properties or
securities of the Depositor now in or which may hereafter
come into the possession or under the control of the Bank,
whether left with the Bank for safekeeping or otherwise, or
coming into the hands of the Bank in any way, for so much
thereof as will be sufficient to pay any or all obligations
incurred by Depositor under the Account or by reason of any
other transactions between the same parties now existing or
hereafter contracted, to sell in any public or private sale any
of such properties or securities of Depositor, and to apply the
proceeds to the payment of any Depositors obligations
heretofore mentioned.
xxxx
JOINT ACCOUNT
xxxx

The Bank may, at any time in its discretion and with or


without notice to all of the Depositors, assert a lien on any
balance of the Account and apply all or any part thereof
against any indebtedness, matured or unmatured, that may
then be owing to the Bank by any or all of the Depositors. It
is understood that if said indebtedness is only owing from
any of the Depositors, then this provision constitutes the
consent by all of the depositors to have the Account answer
for the said indebtedness to the extent of the equal share of
the debtor in the amount credited to the Account.78
Petitioners reliance on the "Hold Out" clause in the
Application and Agreement for Deposit Account is misplaced.
The "Hold Out" clause applies only if there is a valid and
existing obligation arising from any of the sources of
obligation enumerated in Article 115779 of the Civil Code, to
wit: law, contracts, quasi-contracts, delict, and quasi-delict.
In this case, petitioner failed to show that respondents have
an obligation to it under any law, contract, quasi-contract,
delict, or quasi-delict. And although a criminal case was filed
by petitioner against respondent Rosales, this is not enough
reason for petitioner to issue a "Hold Out" order as the case
is still pending and no final judgment of conviction has been
rendered against respondent Rosales. In fact, it is significant
to note that at the time petitioner issued the "Hold Out"
order, the criminal complaint had not yet been filed. Thus,
considering that respondent Rosales is not liable under any
of the five sources of obligation, there was no legal basis for
petitioner to issue the "Hold Out" order. Accordingly, we
agree with the findings of the RTC and the CA that the "Hold
Out" clause does not apply in the instant case.
In view of the foregoing, we find that petitioner is guilty of
breach of contract when it unjustifiably refused to release
respondents deposit despite demand. Having breached its
contract with respondents, petitioner is liable for damages.

Respondents are entitled to moral and


exemplary damages and attorneys fees.1wphi1
In cases of breach of contract, moral damages may be
recovered only if the defendant acted fraudulently or in bad
faith,80 or is "guilty of gross negligence amounting to bad
faith, or in wanton disregard of his contractual
obligations."81
In this case, a review of the circumstances surrounding the
issuance of the "Hold Out" order reveals that petitioner
issued the "Hold Out" order in bad faith. First of all, the order
was issued without any legal basis. Second, petitioner did
not inform respondents of the reason for the "Hold
Out."82 Third, the order was issued prior to the filing of the
criminal complaint. Records show that the "Hold Out" order
was issued on July 31, 2003,83 while the criminal complaint
was filed only on September 3, 2003.84 All these taken
together lead us to conclude that petitioner acted in bad
faith when it breached its contract with respondents. As we
see it then, respondents are entitled to moral damages.
As to the award of exemplary damages, Article 222985 of
the Civil Code provides that exemplary damages may be
imposed "by way of example or correction for the public
good, in addition to the moral, temperate, liquidated or
compensatory damages." They are awarded only if the guilty
party acted in a wanton, fraudulent, reckless, oppressive or
malevolent manner.86
In this case, we find that petitioner indeed acted in a wanton,
fraudulent, reckless, oppressive or malevolent manner when
it refused to release the deposits of respondents without any
legal basis. We need not belabor the fact that the banking
industry is impressed with public interest.87 As such, "the
highest degree of diligence is expected, and high standards
of integrity and performance are even required of it."88 It
must therefore "treat the accounts of its depositors with
meticulous care and always to have in mind the fiduciary

nature of its relationship with them."89 For failing to do this,


an award of exemplary damages is justified to set an
example.
The award of attorney's fees is likewise proper pursuant to
paragraph 1, Article 220890 of the Civil Code.
In closing, it must be stressed that while we recognize that
petitioner has the right to protect itself from fraud or
suspicions of fraud, the exercise of his right should be done
within the bounds of the law and in accordance with due
process, and not in bad faith or in a wanton disregard of its
contractual obligation to respondents.
WHEREFORE, the Petition is hereby DENIED. The assailed
April 2, 2008 Decision and the May 30, 2008 Resolution of
the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 89086 are hereby
AFFIRMED. SO ORDERED.
MARIANO C. DEL CASTILLO
Associate Justice
WE CONCUR:
ANTONIO T. CARPIO
Associate Justice
Chairperson
ARTURO D. BRION
Associate JusticeJOSE PORTUGAL PEREZ
Associate Justice
ESTELA M. PERLAS-BERNABE
Associate Justice
ATTESTATION

I attest that the conclusions in the above Decision had been


reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the
writer of the opinion of the Courts Division.
ANTONIO T CARPIO
Associate Justice
Chairperson
CERTIFICATION
Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution and
the Division Chairperson s Attestation, I certify that the
conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in
consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of
the opinion of the Courts Division.
MARIA LOURDES P. A. SERENO
Chief Justice