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G.R. No.

L-34666 October 30, 1981

THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, MERCEDES L. JAVELLANA, petitioner,


vs.
ITONG AMISTAD respondent.

DE CASTRO, J.:

The legal question raised in this petition for certiorari is whether from a decision of acquittal, the
complainant in a criminal action for estafa, may appeal with respect to the civil aspect of the case.

The criminal action in this case was commenced in the Court of First Instance of Baguio and
Benguet, under an information which reads:

INFORMATION

The undersigned Acting 1st Assistant City Fiscal accuses ITONG AMISTAD of the
crime of Estafa penalized under Article 316 Paragraph 2, of the Revised Penal Code,
committed as follows:

That on or about January 30, 1965, October 11, 1965, and December
23, 1965, in the City of Baguio, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction
of this Honorable Court, the abovenamed accused, did then and
there, willfully, unlawfully, and feloniously —

(1) (January 30, 1965) sell, convey, transfer and deliver by way of a deed of sale in
favor of Ben Palispis an unsegregated portion of 42,326 square meters of that parcel
of land described in

ORIGINAL CERTIFICATE OF TITLE No. 0-105

A parcel of land (Lot 1, plan Psu-203086-Amd., Civil Reservation


Case No. 1, L.R.C. Civil Reservation Record No. 211), situated in the
Res. Sec. "J", City of Baguio. Bounded on the NE., by property of
Honor Kingdoms; on the SW., by Lot 2; on the W and NW., by Public
land. ... containing an area of EIGHTY FOUR THOUSAND SIX
HUNDRED AND FIFTY THREE (84,653) Square meters, more or
less, ... in the names of spouses I tong Amistad and Luisa Tengdan.

(2) (October 11, 1965) sell, convey, transfer and deliver by way of a deed of sale in
favor of Teodoro Mat-an the remaining 42,326 square meters of the above-described
parcel of land; and

(3) (December 23, 1965) execute a supplemental deed of sale over the entire area
covered by Original Certificate of Title No. 0-105 in favor of vendees Ben Palispis
and Teodoro Mat-an which effected the issuance of two separate titles in favor of
said vendees —
knowing fully well and purposely withholding the information that on or about
February 10, 1962, he had previously entered into an agreement with one
MERCEDES L. JAVELLANA to convey to her an area of 10,000 square meters from
the above-described parcel of land for the sum of TEN THOUSAND (P10,000.00)
PESOS and had already received from her the sum of FIVE THOUSAND (
P5,000.00) PESOS, thereby causing damage and prejudice to said Mercedes L.
Javellana in the amount of FIVE THOUSAND (P5,000.00) PESOS, Philippine
Currency.

All contrary to law.

After trial, decision was rendered dated February 8, 1971, and promulgated on March 18, 1971
acquitting the accused, respondent herein, the Court holding that "the case of the prosecution is civil
in nature" and that "the guilt of the accused has not been proven beyond reasonable doubt."

From the judgment of acquittal, the complainant, the petitioner herein, appealed to the Court of
Appeals insofar as the civil liability of the accused is concerned. Without awaiting the completion of
the transcript of the stenographic notes in the case, the Court of Appeals dismissed the appeal
merely on the legal proposition that an appeal by the complainant from a judgment of acquittal
should be disallowed.

The Resolution of the Court of Appeals dated December 1, 1971, is set forth in full as follows:

This refers to an appeal against the judgment of the Court of First Instance of
Baguio, in Criminal Case No. 4205, wherein the accused Itong Amistad who was
prosecuted for the crime of estafa paragraph 2, Article 316 R.P.C.), was acquitted.
The decision was promulgated on March 18, 1971 and on that same day, the
complainant, through counsel, filed a Notice of Appeal from said judgment, "insofar
as the civil liability of the accused is concerned." Apparently the appeal was
approved by the trial court, the records of the case were elevated to this Court, and
this Court required the completion of the same.

Now, while the right of the offended party to intervene in the criminal action (Section
15, Rule 110, Rules) as well as to appeal from a final judgment or ruling or from an
order made after judgment affecting the substantial rights of the appellant (Section 2,
Rule 122, Rules) is recognized, the offended party however, cannot appeal if the
accused is acquitted as matters are (People vs. Herrera 74 Phil. 21). indeed, the trial
court in acquitting the herein defendant stated:

In the mind of the court, the case of the prosecution is civil in nature.
In fact, the supervening acts of the parties after the execution of
Exhibit A until the execution of Exhibit D are clear and unequivocal
which ineluctably lead this court to believe that the guilt of the
accused has not been proven beyond reasonable doubt.

An appeal from the judgment of the Court of First Instance would perforce require a
new determination of defendant's criminal liability. This cannot be done. Besides, the
offended party has the remedy of bringing a civil action independently of the criminal
action.

Indeed, this question is not new. It has already been so ruled by the Supreme Court
in several cases (People vs. Flores, G.R. No. L-7523, December 18, 1957, citing
People vs. Velez, 77 Phil. 1026; People vs. Benjamin Liggayu et al., No. 8224,
October 31, 1955; People vs. Joaquin Lipana 72 Phil. 166; People vs. Florendo, 73
Phil. 679 [decided under the new Rules of Court]; Ricafort vs. Fernan, 101 Phil. 575,
572).

Considering that the complainant is appealing from a judgment acquitting the


accused in a criminal case, her appeal should be disallowed.

WHEREFORE, the appeal is hereby ordered dismissed. The stenographers who


were required to submit their respective transcripts of stenographic notes in this case
are hereby excused therefrom. (pp. 6-7, Brief for the Respondent, p. 78, Rollo).

A motion for reconsideration of the Resolution of the Court of Appeals was filed but was denied on
January 4, 1972. From both aforesaid Resolutions dismissing the appeal and the order denying the
Motion for Reconsideration, the petitioner came to this Court on a petition for certiorari with prayer
that the Resolution of the Court of Appeals be reversed, and that judgment be rendered in favor of
petitioner and against respondent insofar as the latter's hability is concerned —

(a) Ordering respondent to pay to petitioner such sum as this Court shall adjudge to
rightfully represent the value of the one hectare portion of the land involved agreed to
be conveyed to petitioner by respondent in accordance with the Agreement to
Convey Real Property (Exhibit "A");

(b) Ordering respondent to pay to petitioner the expenses of litigation actually


incurred by the latter; and

(c) Ordering respondent to pay the costs of suit. (p.28, Brief for the Petitioner, p. 60,
Rollo).

The sole legal question for determination as stated at the outset, is whether an appeal by the
complainant for estafa, may be allowed from a decision acquitting the accused of the crime charged,
only insofar as the latter's civil liability is concerned.

In support of her affirmative position on the issue above stated, petitioner cites Section 2, Rules 122
of the Rules of Court which provides:

SEC. 2. Who may appeal.—The People of the Philippines can not appeal if the
defendant would be placed thereby in double jeopardy. In all other cases either party
may appeal from a final judgment or ruling or from an order made after judgment
affecting the substantial rights of the appellant. (p. 12, Brief for the Petitioner, p. 60,
Rollo).

Additionally, she cites Section 3 of Rule 111, from which she quotes the following:

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 might arise did not exist. In other cases, the person entitled to the civil action
may institute it in the jurisdiction and in the manner provided by law against the
person who may be liable for restitution of the thing and reparation or indemnity for
the damage suffered. (Rule 111, Rules of Court in the Philippines.) (pp. 13-14, Id)

Finally, she cites Article 29 of the Civil Code of the Philippines which reads:

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. Upon motion of the defendant, the court may require the
plaintiff to file a bond to answer for damages in case the complaint should be found
to be malicious.

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. (p. 14, id).

From the aforequoted provisions, petitioners contend that the remedy of appeal is expressly granted
to her inasmuch as the civil action for the recovery of civil liability is impliedly instituted with the
criminal action, Criminal Case No. 4205 of the Court of First Instance of Baguio and Benguet, there
having been no reservation to file a separate civil action or a waiver of the right to file one. She had
in fact hired a private prosecutor to handle, primarily the civil aspect of the case, the prosecution of
the crime remaining under the direction and control of the prosecuting Fiscal. The private prosecutor
presented evidence bearing on the civil liability of the accused. In a memorandum he filed, he also
discussed extensively the civil liability of the accused, despite which, the trial court failed to rule on
the latter's civil liability to the complainant.

It is this omission, as alleged by petitioner herein, that con constitutes the thrust of her first
assignment of error, the only one We feel called upon to rule on, among her three assigned errors,
the other two having relation to how the trial court evaluated the evidence, and the extent of
damages petitioner alleges to be entitled to under such evidence, which evidently may not be
passed upon in the instant proceedings, the evidence presented during the trial not having been
elevated to this Court, nor even to the Court of Appeals, at least not fully or completely.

Confining ourselves, therefore, to the first assigned error, We find no ground to reverse the
Resolution of the Court of Appeals on the purely legal question of whether the petitioner, as
complainant in Criminal Case No. 4025 of the Court of First Instance of Baguio and Benguet, for
estafa, can appeal from the judgment acquitting the accused, because the trial court failed to declare
the latter's civil liability to the complainant, which was allegedly proven by the evidence.

The provision of Article 29 of the Civil Code relied upon by the petitioner clearly requires the
institution of a separate action by the filing of the proper complaint. To such complaint, the accused
as the defendant therein, may file the appropriate responsive pleading, which may be an answer or a
motion to dismiss. In a criminal action, notwithstanding that the action for the recovery of civil liability
is impliedly instituted therewith, if not reserved or waived, the accused is not afforded the same
remedy. Neither is the mandatory pre-trial held as is required of all civil actions. The obvious reason
is that the civil liability recoverable in the criminal action is one solely dependent upon conviction,
because said liability arises from the offense, with respect to which pre-trial is never held to obtain
admission as to the commission thereof, except on the occasion of arraignment. This is the kind of
civil liability involved in the civil action deemed filed simultaneously with the filing of criminal action,
unless it is reserved or waived, as so expressly provided in Section 1, Rule 111 of the Rules of Court
and as held in People vs. Herrera, 74 Phil. 21.

If the civil liability arises from other sources than the commission of the offense, such as from law or
contract or quasi-delict, its enforcement has to be by an ordinary civil action, which, as expressly
provided in Article 29 of the Civil Code may be disposed of as a mere preponderance of evidence
would warrant. Then, all the defenses available, such as prescription, lack of jurisdiction, set-off, and
the other grounds for a motion to dismiss may be availed of, as may be proper under the peculiar
facts and circumstances of the case, complete with pre-trial after issues have been joined. Upon
these considerations, it becomes clear that the argument of petitioner invoking the rule against
multiplicity of action may not forcefully or convincingly be put forth.

In the Resolution of the Court of Appeals several cases have been cited which held that an appeal
from the dismissal of the criminal case on motion by the fiscal may not be taken by the offended
party (People vs. Lipana 72 Phil. 168; People vs. Florendo, 73 Phil. 679). In the case of People vs.
Herrera, et al., 74 Phil. 21, the accused was acquitted without the court making any pronouncement
as to his civil liability, in exactly the same manner that the Court of First Instance of Baguio and
Benguet in Criminal Case No. 4025, was charged with a similar omission in the case at bar. The
Supreme Court did not permit an appeal by the offended party, the Court saying:

The decision of the justice of the peace court which acquitted the defendant of the
charge and did not make any pronouncement holding the defendant civilly liable put
an end to the case, not only by freeing the defendant from criminal responsibility but
also by rejecting all liability for damages arising from the alleged crime of malicious
mischief. The offended parties not having reserved their right to bring a separate civil
action, the aforesaid decision of acquittal covered both the criminal and the civil
aspects of the case under Rule 107, section l (a) of the new Rules of Court. An
appeal from that decision to the Court of First Instance, as intended by the offended
parties, would reopen the question of defendant's civil liability arising from the alleged
crime. And considering that such civil liability must be based on the criminal
responsibility of the defendant (art. 100, Revised Penal Code), any review or re-
examination of the question of civil liability would perforce require a new
determination of defendant's criminal liability. But another trial upon defendant's
criminal responsibility cannot be held, in view of his previous acquittal in the justice of
the peace court. So the appeal from the decision of the justice of the peace court is
not authorized by law.

Brought out in bold relief in the aforequoted ruling is that what is impliedly brought simultaneously
with the criminal action is the civil action to recover civil liability arising from the offense. Hence, the
two actions may rise or fall together. However, if the civil action is reserved, or if the ground of
acquittal is reasonable doubt as to the guilt of the accused, a separate civil action may be filed, the
complainant alleging a cause of action independent of, and not based on, the commission of an
offense. Only preponderance of evidence would then be required.

The futility of petitioner's instant recourse becomes all too evident upon consideration of the
principles enunciated, particularly in the Herrera case, since if the civil liability recoverable in a
criminal action is one arising from the crime charged, no longer may the respondent be found
criminally liable upon a review of the evidence, after the verdict of acquittal has been handed down
by the trial court. Again, petitioner tries to show that the cases cited by the Court of Appeals are not
in point. But she has not cited one single case faintly supporting her position as she has tried to
maintain in the instant case.
Nevertheless, petitioner may not complaint, as she does of being denied due process for disallowing
her appeal. She can institute a separate civil action if her cause of action could come under the
category of quasi-delict or one arising from law, contract or any other known source of civil liability,
but certainly not anymore from the offense of which petitioner had already been acquitted. It is but
fair to require petitioner to take this course of action, not only because she would have to pay for the
lawful expenses for instituting the action to obtain the relief she seeks from respondent, from which
she is spared in the prosecution of a criminal case, but also for the respondent or defendant to avail
of all defenses and remedies as are open to him in a separate civil action not otherwise available in
a criminal action that carries with it the civil action when deemed simultaneously filed with it, to
recover civil liability arising from the crime charged.

For all the foregoing, the Resolution appealed from is affirmed, and the instant petition is,
accordingly, dismissed, without pronouncement as to costs.

SO ORDERED.

[G.R. No. 80194. March 21, 1989.]

EDGAR JARANTILLA, Petitioner, v. COURT OF APPEALS and JOSE KUAN SING, Respondents.

Corazon Miraflores and Vicente P. Billena for Petitioner.

Manuel S. Gemarino for Private Respondent.

SYLLABUS

1. CIVIL PROCEDURE; "LAW OF THE CASE" ; CONCEPT. —" ‘Law of the case’ has been defined as the opinion
delivered on a former appeal. More specifically, it means that whatever is once irrevocably established, as
the controlling legal rule of decision between the same parties in the same case continues to be the law of
the case, whether correct on general principles or not, so long as the facts on which such decision was
predicated continue to be the facts of the case before the court (21 C.J.S. 330)." (Emphasis supplied). "It
need not be stated that the Supreme Court being the court of last resort, is the final arbiter of all legal
questions properly brought before it and that its decision in any given case constitutes the law of that
particular case. . ." (Emphasis supplied).

2. TORTS AND DAMAGES; CREATION OF DUAL LIABILITY FROM THE SAME ACT OR OMISSION OF THE
OFFENDER. — The settled rule that the same act or omission (in this case, the negligent sideswiping of
private respondent) can create two kinds of liability on the part of the offender, that is, civil liability ex
delicto and civil liability ex quasi delicto. Since the same negligence can give rise either to a delict or crime
or to a quasi-delict or tort, either of these two types of civil liability may be enforced against the culprit,
subject to the caveat under Article 2177 of the Civil Code that the offended party cannot recover damages
under both types of liability.

3. CRIMINAL PROCEDURE; COURT OBLIGATED IN CASE OF ACQUITTAL OF THE ACCUSED ON REASONABLE


DOUBT TO MAKE PRONOUNCEMENT ON THE CIVIL LIABILITY OF THE ACCUSED. — Under the present
jurisprudential milieu, where the trial court acquits the accused on reasonable doubt, it could very well make
a pronouncement on the civil liability of the accused and the complainant could file a petition for mandamus
to compel the trial court to include such civil liability in the judgment of acquittal.

4. ID.; ACQUITTAL OF ACCUSED ION REASONABLE DOUBT; INSTITUTION OF SEPARATE CIVIL ACTION FOR
THE SAME ACT OR OMISSION PROPER. — We have ruled in the relatively recent case of Lontoc v. MD
Transit & Taxi Co., Inc., Et. Al. "In view of the fact that the defendant-appellee de la Cruz was acquitted on
the ground that ‘his guilt was not proven beyond reasonable doubt’ the plaintiff-appellant has the right to
institute a separate civil action to recover damages from the defendants-appellants (See Mendoza v. Arrieta,
91 SCRA 113). The well-settled doctrine is that a person, while not criminally liable may still be civilly
liable.’The judgment of acquittal extinguishes the civil liability of the accused only when it includes a
declaration that the facts from which the civil liability might arise did not exist’. (Padilla v. Court of Appeals,
129 SCRA 558 cited in People v. Rogelio Ligon y Tria, Et Al., G.R. No. 74041, July 29, 1987; Filomeno
Urbano v. Intermediate Appellate Court, G.R. No. 72964, January 7, 1988).

5. ID.; ID.; FAILURE OF THE COURT TO MAKE ANY PRONOUNCEMENT AS TO CIVIL LIABILITY OF THE
ACCUSED; RESERVATION OF RIGHT TO INSTITUTE SEPARATE CIVIL ACTION ACCORDED COMPLAINANT. —
Another consideration in favor of private respondent is the doctrine that the failure of the court to make any
pronouncement, favorable or unfavorable, as to the civil liability of the accused amounts to a reservation of
the right to have the civil liability litigated and determined in a separate action. The rules nowhere provide
that if the court fails to determine the civil liability it becomes no longer enforceable.

6. ID.; ID.; FAILURE OF THE COMPLAINT TO RESERVE HIS RIGHT TO FILE SEPARATE CIVIL ACTION, NOT A
FORECLOSURE OF RIGHT TO FILE SEPARATE ACTION FOR DAMAGES. — Since this action is based on a
quasi-delict, the failure of the respondent to reserve his right to file a separate civil case and his intervention
in the criminal case did not bar him from filing such separate civil action for damages. The Court has also
heretofore ruled in Elcano v. Hill that the extinction of civil liability referred to in Par. (c) of Sec. 3 Rule 111,
refers exclusively to civil liability founded on Article 100 of the Revised Penal Code; whereas the civil liability
for the same act considered as a quasi-delict only and not as a crime is not extinguished even by a
declaration in the criminal case that the criminal act charged has not happened or has not been committed
by the accused. . . ."

DECISION

REGALADO, J.:

The records show that private respondent Jose Kuan Sing was "sideswiped by a vehicle in the evening of
July 7, 1971 in Iznart Street, Iloilo City." 1 The respondent Court of Appeals concurred in the findings of the
court a quo that the said vehicle which figured in the mishap, a Volkswagen (Beetle type) car, was then
driven by petitioner Edgar Jarantilla along said street toward the direction of the provincial capitol, and that
private respondent sustained physical injuries as a consequence. 2

Petitioner was accordingly charged before the then City Court of Iloilo for serious physical injuries thru
reckless imprudence in Criminal Case No. 47207 thereof. 3 Private respondent, as the complaining witness
therein, did not reserve his right to institute a separate civil action and he intervened in the prosecution of
said criminal case through a private prosecutor. 4 Petitioner was acquitted in said criminal case "on
reasonable doubt." 5

On October 30, 1974, private respondent filed a complaint against the petitioner in the former Court of First
Instance of Iloilo, Branch IV, 6 docketed therein as Civil Case No. 9976, and which civil action involved the
same subject matter and act complained of in Criminal Case No. 47027. 7 In his answer filed therein, the
petitioner alleged as special and affirmative defenses that the private respondent had no cause of action
and, additionally, that the latter’s cause of action, if any, is barred by the prior judgment in Criminal Case
No. 47207 inasmuch as when said criminal case was instituted the civil liability was also deemed instituted
since therein plaintiff failed to reserve the civil aspect and actively participated in the criminal case. 8

Thereafter, acting on a motion to dismiss of therein defendant, the trial court issued on April 3, 1975 an
order of denial, with the suggestion that" (t)o enrich our jurisprudence, it is suggested that the defendant
brings (sic) this ruling to the Supreme Court by certiorari or other appropriate remedy, to review the ruling
of the court." 9

On June 17, 1975, petitioner filed in this Court a petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus, which
was docketed as G.R. No. L-40992, 10 assailing the aforesaid order of the trial court. Said petition was
dismissed for lack of merit in the Court’s resolution of July 23, 1975, and a motion for reconsideration
thereof was denied for the same reason in a resolution of October 28, 1975. 11

After trial, the court below rendered judgment on May 23, 1977 in favor of the herein private respondent
and ordering herein petitioner to pay the former the sum of P6,920.00 for hospitalization, medicines and so
forth, P2,000.00 for other actual expenses, P25,000.00 for moral damages, P5,000.00 for attorney’s fees,
and costs. 12

On July 29, 1987, the respondent Court of Appeals 13 affirmed the decision of the lower court except as to
the award for moral damages which it reduced from P25,000.00 to P18,000.00. A motion for reconsideration
was denied by respondent court on September 18, 1987. 14

The main issue for resolution by Us in the present recourse is whether the private respondent, who was the
complainant in the criminal action for physical injuries thru reckless imprudence and who participated in the
prosecution thereof without reserving the civil action arising from the act or omission complained of, can file
a separate action for civil liability arising from the same act or omission where the herein petitioner was
acquitted in the criminal action on reasonable doubt and no civil liability was adjudicated or awarded in the
judgment of acquittal.

Prefatorily, We note that petitioner raises a collateral issue by faulting the respondent court for refusing to
resolve an assignment of error in his appeal therein, said respondent court holding that the main issue had
been passed upon by this Court in G.R. No. L-40992 hereinbefore mentioned. It is petitioner’s position that
the aforesaid two resolutions of the Court in said case, the first dismissing the petition and the second
denying the motion for reconsideration, do not constitute the "law of the cases which would control the
subsequent proceedings in this controversy. chanro bles vi rtua l lawli bra ry

1. We incline favorably to petitioner’s submission on this score.

The "doctrine of the law of the case" has no application at the aforesaid posture of the proceedings when the
two resolutions were handed down. While it may be true that G.R. No. L-40992 may have involved some of
the issues which were thereafter submitted for resolution on the merits by the two lower courts, the
proceedings involved there was one for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus assailing an interlocutory order
of the court a quo, specifically, its order denying therein defendant’s motion to dismiss. This Court, without
rendering a specific opinion or explanation as to the legal and factual bases on which its two resolutions
were predicated, simply dismissed the special civil action on that incident for lack of merit. It may very well
be that such resolution was premised on the fact that the Court, at that stage and on the basis of the facts
then presented, did not consider that the denial order of the court a quo was tainted with grave abuse of
discretion. 15 To repeat, no rationale for such resolutions having been expounded on the merits of that
action, no law of the case may be said to have been laid down in G.R. No. L-40992 to justify the respondent
court’s refusal to consider petitioner’s claim that his former acquittal barred the separate action.

"‘Law of the case’ has been defined as the opinion delivered on a former appeal. More specifically, it means
that whatever is once irrevocably established, as the controlling legal rule of decision between the same
parties in the same case continues to be the law of the case, whether correct on general principles or not, so
long as the facts on which such decision was predicated continue to be the facts of the case before the court
(21 C.J.S. 330)." (Emphasis supplied). 16

"It need not be stated that the Supreme Court being the court of last resort, is the final arbiter of all legal
questions properly brought before it and that its decision in any given case constitutes the law of that
particular case. . ." (Emphasis supplied). 17

"It is a rule of general application that the decision of an appellate court in a case is the law of the case on
the points presented throughout all the subsequent proceedings in the case in both the trial and the
appellate courts, and no question necessarily involved and decided on that appeal will be considered on a
second appeal or writ of error in the same case, provided the facts and issues are substantially the same as
those on which the first question rested and, according to some authorities, provided the decision is on the
merits.’ . . ." 18

2. With the foregoing ancillary issue out of the way, We now consider the principal plaint of petitioner.

Apropos to such resolution is the settled rule that the same act or omission (in this case, the negligent
sideswiping of private respondent) can create two kinds of liability on the part of the offender, that is, civil
liability ex delicto and civil liability ex quasi delicto. Since the same negligence can give rise either to a delict
or crime or to a quasi-delict or tort, either of these two types of civil liability may be enforced against the
culprit, subject to the caveat under Article 2177 of the Civil Code that the offended party cannot recover
damages under both types of liability." 19

We also note the reminder of petitioner that in Roa v. De la Cruz, Et Al., 20 it was held that where the
offended party elected to claim damages arising from the offense charged in the criminal case through her
intervention as a private prosecutor, the final judgment rendered therein constituted a bar to the
subsequent civil action based upon the same cause. It is meet, however, not to lose sight of the fact that
the criminal action involved therein was for serious oral defamation which, while within the contemplation of
an independent civil action under Article 33 of the Civil Code, constitutes only a penal offense and cannot
otherwise be considered as a quasi-delict or culpa aquiliana under Articles 2176 and 2177 of the Civil Code.
And while petitioner draws attention to the supposed reiteration of the Roa doctrine in the later case of
Azucena v. Potenciano, Et Al., 21 this time involving damage to property through negligence as to make out
a case of quasi-delict under Articles 2176 and 2180 of the Civil Code, such secondary reliance is misplaced
since the therein plaintiff Azucena did not intervene in the criminal action against defendant Potenciano. The
citation of Roa in the later case of Azucena was, therefore, clearly obiter and affords no comfort to
petitioner.

These are aside from the fact that there have been doctrinal, and even statutory, 22 changes on the matter
of civil actions arising from criminal offenses and quasi-delicts. We will reserve our discussion on the
statutory aspects for another case and time and, for the nonce, We will consider the doctrinal developments
on this issue. chanrob les vi rtua l lawlib ra ry

In the case under consideration, private respondent participated and intervened in the prosecution of the
criminal suit against petitioner. Under the present jurisprudential milieu, where the trial court acquits the
accused on reasonable doubt, it could very well make a pronouncement on the civil liability of the accused
23 and the complainant could file a petition for mandamus to compel the trial court to include such civil
liability in the judgment of acquittal. 24

Private respondent, as already stated, filed a separate civil action after such acquittal. This is allowed under
Article 29 of the Civil Code. We have ruled in the relatively recent case of Lontoc v. MD Transit & Taxi Co.,
Inc., Et. Al. 25 that: jgc:chanroble s.com.p h

"In view of the fact that the defendant-appellee de la Cruz was acquitted on the ground that ‘his guilt was
not proven beyond reasonable doubt’ the plaintiff-appellant has the right to institute a separate civil action
to recover damages from the defendants-appellants (See Mendoza v. Arrieta, 91 SCRA 113). The well-
settled doctrine is that a person, while not criminally liable may still be civilly liable.’The judgment of
acquittal extinguishes the civil liability of the accused only when it includes a declaration that the facts from
which the civil liability might arise did not exist’. (Padilla v. Court of Appeals, 129 SCRA 558 cited in People
v. Rogelio Ligon y Tria, Et Al., G.R. No. 74041, July 29, 1987; Filomeno Urbano v. Intermediate Appellate
Court, G.R. No. 72964, January 7, 1988). The ruling is based on Article 29 of the Civil Code which
provides:c han rob1es v irt ual 1aw l ibra ry

‘When the accused in a criminal prosecution is acquitted on the ground that his guilt has not been proved
beyond reasonable doubt, a civil action for damages for the same act or omission may be instituted. Such
action requires only a preponderance of evidence.’ . . ." 26

Another consideration in favor of private respondent is the doctrine that the failure of the court to make any
pronouncement, favorable or unfavorable, as to the civil liability of the accused amounts to a reservation of
the right to have the civil liability litigated and determined in a separate action. The rules nowhere provide
that if the court fails to determine the civil liability it becomes no longer enforceable. 27

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

The allegations of the complaint filed by the private respondent supports and is constitutive of a case for a
quasi-delict committed by the petitioner, thus: cha nrob les law l ibra ry : red

"3. That in the evening of July 7, 1971 at about 7:00 o’clock, the plaintiff crossed Iznart Street from his
restaurant situated at 220 Iznart St., Iloilo City, Philippines, on his way to a meeting of the Cantonese Club
at Aldeguer Street, Iloilo City and while he was standing on the middle of the street as there were vehicles
coming from the Provincial Building towards Plazoleta Gay, Iloilo City, he was bumped and sideswiped by
Volkswagen car with plate No. B-2508 W which was on its way from Plazoleta Gay towards the Provincial
Capitol, Iloilo City, which car was being driven by the defendant in a reckless and negligent manner, at an
excessive rate of speed and in violation of the provisions of the Revised Motor Vehicle (sic) as amended, in
relation to the Land Transportation and Traffic Code as well as in violation of existing city ordinances, and by
reason of his inexcusable lack of precaution and failure to act with due negligence and by failing to take into
consideration (sic) his degree of intelligence, the atmospheric conditions of the place as well as the width,
traffic, visibility and other conditions of Iznart Street;" 29

Since this action is based on a quasi-delict, the failure of the respondent to reserve his right to file a
separate civil case and his intervention in the criminal case did not bar him from filing such separate civil
action for damages. 30 The Court has also heretofore ruled in Elcano v. Hill 31 that —

". . . a separate civil action lies against the offender in a criminal act whether or not he is criminally
prosecuted and found guilty or acquitted, provided that the offended party is not allowed, if he is also
actually charged criminally, to recover damages on both scores; and would be entitled in such eventuality
only to the bigger award of the two, assuming the awards made in the two cases vary. In other words, the
extinction of civil liability referred to in Par. (c) of Sec. 3 Rule 111, refers exclusively to civil liability founded
on Article 100 of the Revised Penal Code; whereas the civil liability for the same act considered as a quasi-
delict only and not as a crime is not extinguished even by a declaration in the criminal case that the criminal
act charged has not happened or has not been committed by the accused. . . ." cralaw virtua1aw l ibra ry

The aforecited case of Lontoc v. MD Transit & Taxi Co., Inc., Et. Al. involved virtually the same factual
situation. The Court, in arriving at the conclusion hereinbefore quoted, expressly declared that the failure of
the therein plaintiff to reserve his right to file a separate civil case is not fatal; that his intervention in the
criminal case did not bar him from filing a separate civil action for damages, especially considering that the
accused therein was acquitted because his guilt was not proved beyond reasonable doubt; that the two
cases were anchored on two different causes of action, the criminal case being on a violation of Article 365
of the Revised Penal Code while the subsequent complaint for damages was based on a quasi-delict; and
that in the judgment in the criminal case the aspect of civil liability was not passed upon and resolved.
Consequently, said civil case may proceed as authorized by Article 29 of the Civil Code.

Our initial adverse observation on a portion of the decision of respondent court aside, We hold that on the
issues decisive of this case it did not err in sustaining the decision a quo. cralawna d

WHEREFORE, the writ prayed for is hereby DENIED and the decision of the respondent Court of Appeals is
AFFIRMED, without costs.

SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 165496 February 12, 2007

HUN HYUNG PARK, Petitioner,


vs.
EUNG WON CHOI, Respondent.

DECISION

CARPIO MORALES, J.:

Petitioner, Hun Hyung Park, assails the Court of Appeals (CA) Resolutions dated May 20, 20041 and
September 28, 20042 in CA G.R. CR No. 28344 dismissing his petition and denying reconsideration
thereof, respectively.

In an Information3 dated August 31, 2000, respondent, Eung Won Choi, was charged for violation
of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22, otherwise known as the Bouncing Checks Law, for issuing on June 28,
1999 Philippine National Bank Check No. 0077133 postdated August 28, 1999 in the amount of
₱1,875,000 which was dishonored for having been drawn against insufficient funds.

Upon arraignment, respondent, with the assistance of counsel, pleaded "not guilty" to the offense
charged. Following the pre-trial conference, the prosecution presented its evidence-in-chief.

After the prosecution rested its case, respondent filed a Motion for Leave of Court to File Demurrer
to Evidence to which he attached his Demurrer, asserting that the prosecution failed to prove that he
received the notice of dishonor, hence, the presumption of the element of knowledge of insufficiency
of funds did not arise.4

By Order5 of February 27, 2003, the Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC) of Makati, Branch 65 granted
the Demurrer and dismissed the case. The prosecution’s Motion for Reconsideration was denied.6

Petitioner appealed the civil aspect7 of the case to the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Makati,
contending that the dismissal of the criminal case should not include its civil aspect.

By Decision of September 11, 2003, Branch 60 of the RTC held that while the evidence presented
was insufficient to prove respondent’s criminal liability, it did not altogether extinguish his civil
liability. It accordingly granted the appeal of petitioner and ordered respondent to pay him the
amount of ₱1,875,000 with legal interest.8

Upon respondent’s motion for reconsideration, however, the RTC set aside its decision and ordered
the remand of the case to the MeTC "for further proceedings, so that the defendant [-respondent
herein] may adduce evidence on the civil aspect of the case."9 Petitioner’s motion for reconsideration
of the remand of the case having been denied, he elevated the case to the CA which, by the
assailed resolutions, dismissed his petition for the following reasons:

1. The verification and certification of non-forum shopping attached to the petition does not
fully comply with Section 4, as amended by A.M. No. 00-2-10-SC, Rule 7, 1997 Rules of
Court, because it does not give the assurance that the allegations of the petition are true and
correct based on authentic records.

2. The petition is not accompanied by copies of certain pleadings and other material portions
of the record, (i.e., motion for leave to file demurrer to evidence, demurrer to evidence and
the opposition thereto, and the Municipal [sic] Trial Court’s Order dismissing Criminal Case
No. 294690) as would support the allegations of the petition (Sec. 2, Rule 42, ibid.).

3. The Decision dated September 11, 2003 of the Regional Trial Court attached to the
petition is an uncertified and illegible mere machine copy of the original (Sec. 2, Rule
42, ibid.).

4. Petitioners failed to implead the People of the Philippines as party-respondent in the


petition.10

In his present petition, petitioner assails the above-stated reasons of the appellate court in
dismissing his petition.

The manner of verification for pleadings which are required to be verified, such as a petition for
review before the CA of an appellate judgment of the RTC,11 is prescribed by Section 4 of Rule 7 of
the Rules of Court:
Sec. 4. Verification. Except when otherwise specifically required by law or rule, pleadings need not
be under oath, verified or accompanied by affidavit.

A pleading is verified by an affidavit that the affiant has read the pleading and that the allegations
therein are true and correct of his personal knowledge or based on authentic records.

A pleading required to be verified which contains a verification based on "information and belief," or
upon "knowledge, information and belief," or lacks a proper verification shall be treated as an
unsigned pleading.12(Emphasis and underscoring supplied)

Petitioner argues that the word "or" is a disjunctive term signifying disassociation and independence,
hence, he chose to affirm in his petition he filed before the court a quo that its contents are "true and
correct of my own personal knowledge,"13 and not on the basis of authentic documents.

On the other hand, respondent counters that the word "or" may be interpreted in a conjunctive sense
and construed to mean as "and," or vice versa, when the context of the law so warrants.

A reading of the above-quoted Section 4 of Rule 7 indicates that a pleading may be verified under
either of the two given modes or under both. The veracity of the allegations in a pleading may be
affirmed based on either one’s own personal knowledge or on authentic records, or both, as
warranted. The use of the preposition "or" connotes that either source qualifies as a sufficient basis
for verification and, needless to state, the concurrence of both sources is more than
sufficient.14 Bearing both a disjunctive and conjunctive sense, this parallel legal signification avoids a
construction that will exclude the combination of the alternatives or bar the efficacy of any one of the
alternatives standing alone.15

Contrary to petitioner’s position, the range of permutation is not left to the pleader’s liking, but is
dependent on the surrounding nature of the allegations which may warrant that a verification be
based either purely on personal knowledge, or entirely on authentic records, or on both sources.

As pointed out by respondent, "authentic records" as a basis for verification bear significance in
petitions wherein the greater portions of the allegations are based on the records of the proceedings
in the court of origin and/or the court a quo, and not solely on the personal knowledge of the
petitioner. To illustrate, petitioner himself could not have affirmed, based on his personal knowledge,
the truthfulness of the statement in his petition16 before the CA that at the pre-trial conference
respondent admitted having received the letter of demand, because he (petitioner) was not present
during the conference.17 Hence, petitioner needed to rely on the records to confirm its veracity.

Verification is not an empty ritual or a meaningless formality. Its import must never be sacrificed in
the name of mere expedience or sheer caprice. For what is at stake is the matter of verity attested
by the sanctity of an oath18 to secure an assurance that the allegations in the pleading have been
made in good faith, or are true and correct and not merely speculative.19

This Court has strictly been enforcing the requirement of verification and certification and
enunciating that obedience to the requirements of procedural rules is needed if fair results are to be
expected therefrom. Utter disregard of the rules cannot just be rationalized by harking on the policy
of liberal construction.20 While the requirement is not jurisdictional in nature, it does not make it less
a rule. A relaxed application of the rule can only be justified by the attending circumstances of the
case.21
To sustain petitioner’s explanation that the basis of verification is a matter of simple preference
would trivialize the rationale and diminish the resoluteness of the rule. It would play on predilection
and pay no heed in providing enough assurance of the correctness of the allegations.

On the second reason of the CA in dismissing the petition – that the petition was not accompanied
by copies of certain pleadings and other material portions of the record as would support the
allegations of the petition (i.e., Motion for Leave to File Demurrer to Evidence, Demurrer to Evidence
and the Opposition thereto, and the MeTC February 27, 2003 Order dismissing the case) – petitioner
contends that these documents are immaterial to his appeal.

Contrary to petitioner’s contention, however, the materiality of those documents is very apparent
since the civil aspect of the case, from which he is appealing, was likewise dismissed by the trial
court on account of the same Demurrer.

Petitioner, nonetheless, posits that he subsequently submitted to the CA copies of the enumerated
documents, save for the MeTC February 27, 2003 Order, as attachments to his Motion for
Reconsideration.

The Rules, however, require that the petition must "be accompanied by clearly legible duplicate
original or true copies of the judgments or final orders of both lower courts, certified correct by the
clerk of court."22

A perusal of the petition filed before the CA shows that the only duplicate original or certified true
copies attached as annexes thereto are the January 14, 2004 RTC Order granting respondent’s
Motion for Reconsideration and the March 29, 2004 RTC Order denying petitioner’s Motion for
Reconsideration. The copy of the September 11, 2003 RTC Decision, which petitioner prayed to be
reinstated, is not a certified true copy and is not even legible. Petitioner later recompensed though
by appending to his Motion for Reconsideration a duplicate original copy.

While petitioner averred before the CA in his Motion for Reconsideration that the February 27, 2003
MeTC Order was already attached to his petition as Annex "G," Annex "G" bares a replicate copy of
a different order, however. It was to this Court that petitioner belatedly submitted an uncertified true
copy of the said MeTC Order as an annex to his Reply to respondent’s Comment.

This Court in fact observes that the copy of the other MeTC Order, that dated May 5, 2003, which
petitioner attached to his petition before the CA is similarly uncertified as true.

Since both Orders of the MeTC were adverse to him even with respect to the civil aspect of the
case, petitioner was mandated to submit them in the required form.23

In fine, petitioner fell short in his compliance with Section 2 (d) of Rule 42, the mandatory tenor of
which is discernible thereunder and is well settled.24 He has not, however, advanced any strong
compelling reasons to warrant a relaxation of the Rules, hence, his petition before the CA was
correctly dismissed.

Procedural rules are tools designed to facilitate the adjudication of cases. Courts and litigants alike
are thus enjoined to abide strictly by the rules. And while the Court, in some instances, allows a
relaxation in the application of the rules, this we stress, was never intended to forge a bastion for
erring litigants to violate the rules with impunity. The liberality in the interpretation and application of
the rules applies only in proper cases and under justifiable causes and circumstances. While it is
true that litigation is not a game of technicalities, it is equally true that every case must be
prosecuted in accordance with the prescribed procedure to insure an orderly and speedy
administration of justice.25 (Emphasis supplied)

As to the third reason for the appellate court’s dismissal of his petition – failure to implead the People
of the Philippines as a party in the petition – indeed, as petitioner contends, the same is of no
moment, he having appealed only the civil aspect of the case. Passing on the dual purpose of a
criminal action, this Court ruled:

Unless the offended party waives the civil action or reserves the right to institute it separately or
institutes the civil action prior to the criminal action, there are two actions involved in a criminal case.
The first is the criminal action for the punishment of the offender. The parties are the People of the
Philippines as the plaintiff and the accused. In a criminal action, the private complainant is merely a
witness for the State on the criminal aspect of the action. The second is the civil action arising from
the delict. The private complainant is the plaintiff and the accused is the defendant. There is a
merger of the trial of the two cases to avoid multiplicity of suits.26 (Underscoring supplied)

It bears recalling that the MeTC acquitted respondent.27 As a rule, a judgment of acquittal is
immediately final and executory and the prosecution cannot appeal the acquittal because of the
constitutional prohibition against double jeopardy.

Either the offended party or the accused may, however, appeal the civil aspect of the judgment
despite the acquittal of the accused. The public prosecutor has generally no interest in appealing the
civil aspect of a decision acquitting the accused. The acquittal ends his work. The case is terminated
as far as he is concerned. The real parties in interest in the civil aspect of a decision are the
offended party and the accused.28

Technicality aside, the petition is devoid of merit.

When a demurrer to evidence is filed without leave of court, the whole case is submitted for
judgment on the basis of the evidence for the prosecution as the accused is deemed to have waived
the right to present evidence.29 At that juncture, the court is called upon to decide the case including
its civil aspect, unless the enforcement of the civil liability by a separate civil action has been waived
or reserved.30

If the filing of a separate civil action has not been reserved or priorly instituted or the enforcement of
civil liability is not waived, the trial court should, in case of conviction, state the civil liability or
damages caused by the wrongful act or omission to be recovered from the accused by the offended
party, if there is any.31

For, in case of acquittal, the accused may still be adjudged civilly liable. The extinction of the penal
action does not carry with it the extinction of the civil action where (a) the acquittal is based on
reasonable doubt as only preponderance of evidence is required; (b) the court declares that the
liability of the accused is only civil; and (c) the civil liability of the accused does not arise from or is
not based upon the crime of which the accused was acquitted.32

The civil action based on delict may, however, be deemed extinguished if there is a finding on the
final judgment in the criminal action that the act or omission from which the civil liability may arise did
not exist.33

In case of a demurrer to evidence filed with leave of court, the accused may adduce countervailing
evidence if the court denies the demurrer.34 Such denial bears no distinction as to the two aspects of
the case because there is a disparity of evidentiary value between the quanta of evidence in such
aspects of the case. In other words, a court may not deny the demurrer as to the criminal aspect and
at the same time grant the demurrer as to the civil aspect, for if the evidence so far presented is not
insufficient to prove the crime beyond reasonable doubt, then the same evidence is likewise not
insufficient to establish civil liability by mere preponderance of evidence.

On the other hand, if the evidence so far presented is insufficient as proof beyond reasonable doubt,
it does not follow that the same evidence is insufficient to establish a preponderance of evidence.
For if the court grants the demurrer, proceedings on the civil aspect of the case generally proceeds.
The only recognized instance when an acquittal on demurrer carries with it the dismissal of the civil
aspect is when there is a finding that the act or omission from which the civil liability may arise did
not exist. Absent such determination, trial as to the civil aspect of the case must perforce continue.
Thus this Court, in Salazar v. People,35 held:

If demurrer is granted and the accused is acquitted by the court, the accused has the right to adduce
evidence on the civil aspect of the case unless the court also declares that the act or omission from
which the civil liability may arise did not exist.36

In the instant case, the MeTC granted the demurrer and dismissed the case without any finding that
the act or omission from which the civil liability may arise did not exist.

Respondent did not assail the RTC order of remand. He thereby recognized that there is basis for a
remand.

Indicatively, respondent stands by his defense that he merely borrowed ₱1,500,000 with the
remainder representing the interest, and that he already made a partial payment of ₱1,590,000.
Petitioner counters, however, that the payments made by respondent pertained to other
transactions.37 Given these conflicting claims which are factual, a remand of the case would afford
the fullest opportunity for the parties to ventilate, and for the trial court to resolve the same.

Petitioner finally posits that respondent waived his right to present evidence on the civil aspect of the
case (1) when the grant of the demurrer was reversed on appeal, citing Section 1 of Rule 33,38 and
(2) when respondent orally opposed petitioner’s motion for reconsideration pleading that
proceedings with respect to the civil aspect of the case continue.

Petitioner’s position is tenuous.

Petitioner’s citation of Section 1 of Rule 33 is incorrect. Where a court has jurisdiction over the
1awphi1.net

subject matter and over the person of the accused, and the crime was committed within its territorial
jurisdiction, the court necessarily exercises jurisdiction over all issues that the law requires it to
resolve.

One of the issues in a criminal case being the civil liability of the accused arising from the crime, the
governing law is the Rules of Criminal Procedure, not the Rules of Civil Procedure which pertains to
a civil action arising from the initiatory pleading that gives rise to the suit.39

As for petitioner’s attribution of waiver to respondent, it cannot be determined with certainty from the
records the nature of the alleged oral objections of respondent to petitioner’s motion for
reconsideration of the grant of the demurrer to evidence. Any waiver of the right to present evidence
must be positively demonstrated. Any ambiguity in the voluntariness of the waiver is frowned
upon,40 hence, courts must indulge every reasonable presumption against it.41
This Court therefore upholds respondent’s right to present evidence as reserved by his filing of leave
of court to file the demurrer.

WHEREFORE, the petition is, in light of the foregoing discussions, DENIED.

The case is REMANDED to the court of origin, Metropolitan Trial Court of Makati City, Branch 65
which is DIRECTED to forthwith set Criminal Case No. 294690 for further proceedings only for the
purpose of receiving evidence on the civil aspect of the case.

Costs against petitioner.

SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 165496 June 29, 2007

HUN HYUNG PARK, petitioner,


vs.
EUNG WON CHOI, respondent.

RESOLUTION

CARPIO MORALES, J.:

This resolves petitioner’s Motion for Reconsideration dated March 21, 2007.

For the first time, petitioner raises the matter of inadvertence with respect to the improper verification
of his petition. This Court notes that petitioner has softened his previously adamant stance1 as he
now claims to have simply overlooked the failure to include the words "or based on authentic
records" in verifying the petition.

This Court takes cognizance of petitioner’s humble submission and finds his invocation of honest
mistake to be well-taken in explaining the lapse in the verification.

The relaxation of the rule on verification notwithstanding, petitioner’s motion must nonetheless fail.

In asserting that he was not required to attach the MeTC Orders, petitioner tries to impress upon this
Court that he was not questioning the Orders of the MeTC. Such attempt does not persuade.

Rule 42 explicitly mandates that a clearly legible duplicate original or certified true copy
of both lower courts’ judgments or final orders must be attached to the petition, except where, as in
the case of Ramos v. Court of Appeals,2 the MeTC Order was rendered in favor of the petitioner in
which case only a true or plain copy thereof is required to be attached.

In this case, the February 27, 2003 MeTC Order was not submitted to the appellate court when, in
fact, such Order dismissing the entire case was undoubtedly adverse to petitioner. If petitioner
deemed the MeTC Order favorable as he now claims, he should not have appealed to the RTC in
the first place. Clearly, petitioner’s failure to attach the MeTC Order runs counter to the rules.
In insisting on the application of Rule 33 to buttress his claim that respondent waived his right to
present evidence, petitioner underscores the silence of Section 23 of Rule 119 in cases where the
demurrer to evidence

was granted by the MeTC but reversed on appeal by the RTC. Suffice it to state that the granting of
a demurrer in criminal cases is tantamount to an acquittal and may not be reversed on appeal
without violating the proscription against double jeopardy. Succinctly stated, there is no waiver to
speak of in such case since an accused’s acquittal on demurrer may not be reversed on appeal.

It must be noted that the RTC decided the appeal only insofar as the MeTC dismissed sub
silentio the civil aspectof the case without finding that the act or omission from which the civil
liability may arise did not exist. Since the parties do not even dispute the existence of the act or
omission from which the civil liability may arise, there was absolutely no reason for the dismissal of
the civil aspect of the case.

A finding of sufficiency of evidence as to the civil aspect, where a demurrer to evidence is filed with
leave of court, does not authorize the trial court to terminate the proceedings and immediately render
a decision. As this Court ruled, if the evidence so far presented is insufficient as proof beyond
reasonable doubt, it does not follow that the same evidence is insufficient to establish a
preponderance of evidence.

It was thus incorrect for the MeTC to dismiss the civil aspect of the case without any basis. And it
was thus premature for the RTC, in its initial decision, to adjudicate the merits of the civil aspect of
the case.

WHEREFORE, the Motion for Reconsideration is DENIED.

SO ORDERED.

[G.R. No. 151931. September 23, 2003.]

ANAMER SALAZAR, Petitioner, v. THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES and J.Y. BROTHERS
MARKETING CORPORATION, Respondents.

DECISION

CALLEJO, SR., J.:

This is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the 1997 Rules of Criminal Procedure of the Order
1 of the Regional Trial Court, 5th Judicial Region, Legazpi City, Branch 5, 2 dated November 19, 2001, and
its Order 3 dated January 14, 2002 denying the motion for reconsideration of the decision of the said court
on the civil aspect thereof and to allow her to present evidence thereon. chan rob1e s vi rtua1 1aw 1ib rary

On June 11, 1997, an Information for estafa was filed against herein petitioner Anamer D. Salazar and co-
accused Nena Jaucian Timario with the Regional Trial Court of Legazpi City, docketed as Criminal Case No.
7474 which reads as follows: chan rob1es v irt ual 1aw l ibra ry

That sometime in the month of October, 1996, in the City of Legazpi, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction
of this Honorable Court, the above named-accused, conspiring and confederating with each other, with
intent to defraud by means of false pretenses or fraudulent acts executed simultaneously with the
commission of the fraud, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously, on the part of accused NENA
JAUCIAN TIMARIO, drew and issue[d] PRUDENTIAL BANK, LEGASPI CITY BRANCH CHECK NO. 067481,
dated October 15, 1996, in the amount of P214,000.00 in favor of J.Y. BROTHERS MARKETING
CORPORATION, represented by its Branch Manager, JERSON O. YAO, and accused ANAMER D. SALAZAR
endorsed and negotiated said check as payment of 300 cavans of rice obtained from J.Y. BROTHERS
MARKETING CORPORATION, knowing fully well that at that time said check was issued and endorsed, Nena
Jaucian Timario did not have sufficient funds in or credit with the drawee bank to cover the amount called
for therein and without informing the payee of such circumstance; that when said check was presented to
the drawee bank for payment, the same was consequently dishonored and refused payment for the reason
of "ACCOUNT CLOSED" ; that despite demands, Accused failed and refused and still fail and refuse to pay
and/or make arrangement for the payment of the said check, to the damage and prejudice of said J.Y.
BROTHERS MARKETING CORPORATION.

CONTRARY TO LAW. 4

Upon arraignment, the petitioner, assisted by counsel, entered a plea of not guilty. Trial thereafter ensued.

The Evidence of the Prosecution

On October 15, 1996, petitioner Anamer Salazar purchased 300 cavans of rice from J.Y. Brothers Marketing
Corporation, through Mr. Jerson Yao. As payment for these cavans of rice, the petitioner gave the private
complainant Check No. 067481 drawn against the Prudential Bank, Legazpi City Branch, dated October 15,
1996, by one Nena Jaucian Timario in the amount of P214,000. Jerson Yao accepted the check upon the
petitioner’s assurance that it was a good check. The cavans of rice were picked up the next day by the
petitioner. Upon presentment, the check was dishonored because it was drawn under a closed account
("Account Closed"). The petitioner was informed of such dishonor. She replaced the Prudential Bank check
with Check No. 365704 drawn against the Solid Bank, Legazpi Branch, which, however, was returned with
the word "DAUD" (Drawn Against Uncollected Deposit).

After the prosecution rested its case, the petitioner filed a Demurrer to Evidence with Leave of Court 5
alleging that she could not be guilty of the crime as charged for the following reasons: (a) she was merely
an indorser of the check issued by Nena Timario, and Article 315, paragraph 2(d) on estafa penalizes only
the issuer of the check and not the indorser thereof; (b) there is no sufficient evidence to prove that the
petitioner conspired with the issuer of the check, Nena Jaucian Timario, in order to defraud the private
complainant; (c) after the first check was dishonored, the petitioner replaced it with a second one. The first
transaction had therefore been effectively novated by the issuance of the second check. Unfortunately, her
personal check was dishonored not for insufficiency of funds, but for "DAUD," which in banking parlance
means "drawn against uncollected deposit." According to the petitioner, this means that the account had
sufficient funds but was still restricted because the deposit, usually a check, had not yet been cleared.

The prosecution filed its comment/opposition to the petitioner’s demurrer to evidence.

On November 19, 2001, the trial court rendered judgment acquitting the petitioner of the crime charged but
ordering her to remit to the private complainant the amount of the check as payment for her purchase. The
trial court ruled that the evidence for the prosecution did not establish the existence of conspiracy beyond
reasonable doubt between the petitioner and the issuer of the check, her co-accused Nena Jaucian Timario,
for the purpose of defrauding the private complainant. In fact, the private complainant, Jerson Yao,
admitted that he had never met Nena Jaucian Timario who remained at large. As a mere indorser of the
check, the petitioner’s breach of the warranty that the check was a good one is not synonymous with the
fraudulent act of falsely pretending to possess credit under Article 315(2)(d). The decretal portion of the
trial court’s judgment reads as follows:chan rob1es v irt ual 1aw l ibra ry

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the accused Anamer D. Salazar is hereby ACQUITTED of the crime
charged but is hereby held liable for the value of the 300 bags of rice. Accused Anamer D. Salazar is
therefore ordered to pay J.Y. Brothers Marketing Corporation the sum of P214,000.00. Costs against the
accused. 6

Within the reglementary period therefor, the petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration on the civil aspect
of the decision with a plea that he be allowed to present evidence pursuant to Rule 33 of the Rules of Court.
On January 14, 2002, the court issued an order denying the motion.

In her petition at bar, the petitioner assails the orders of the trial court claiming that after her demurrer to
evidence was granted by the trial court, she was denied due process as she was not given the opportunity to
adduce evidence to prove that she was not civilly liable to the private Respondent. The petitioner invokes
the applicability of Rule 33 of the Rules of Civil Procedure in this case, contending that before being
adjudged liable to the private offended party, she should have been first accorded the procedural relief
granted in Rule 33.

The Petition Is Meritorious

According to Section 1, Rule 111 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure —

SECTION 1. Institution of criminal and civil actions. — (a) When a criminal action is instituted, the civil
action for the recovery of civil liability arising from the offense charged shall be deemed instituted with the
criminal action unless the offended party waives the civil action, reserves the right to institute it separately
or institutes the civil action prior to the criminal action.

The reservation of the right to institute separately the civil action shall be made before the prosecution
starts presenting its evidence and under circumstances affording the offended party a reasonable
opportunity to make such reservation.

When the offended party seeks to enforce civil liability against the accused by way of moral, nominal,
temperate, or exemplary damages without specifying the amount thereof in the complaint or information,
the filing fees therefor shall constitute a first lien on the judgment awarding such damages.

Where the amount of damages, other than actual, is specified in the complaint or information, the
corresponding filing fees shall be paid by the offended party upon the filing thereof in court. chanrob 1es vi rtua1 1aw 1ib rary

Except as otherwise provided in these Rules, no filing fees shall be required for actual damages.

No counterclaim, cross-claim or third-party complaint may be filed by the accused in the criminal case, but
any cause of action which could have been the subject thereof may be litigated in a separate civil action.

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

Upon filing of the aforesaid joint criminal and civil actions, the offended party shall pay in full the filing fees
based on the amount of the check involved, which shall be considered as the actual damages claimed.
Where the complaint or information also seeks to recover liquidated, moral, nominal, temperate or
exemplary damages, the offended party shall pay additional filing fees based on the amounts alleged
therein. If the amounts are not so alleged but any of these damages are subsequently awarded by the court,
the filing fees based on the amount awarded shall constitute a first lien on the judgment.

Where the civil action has been filed separately and trial thereof has not yet commenced, it may be
consolidated with the criminal action upon application with the court trying the latter case. If the application
is granted, the trial of both actions shall proceed in accordance with section 2 of this Rule governing
consolidation of the civil and criminal actions.

The last paragraph of Section 2 of the said rule provides that the extinction of the penal action does not
carry with it the extinction of the civil action. Moreover, the civil action based on delict shall be deemed
extinguished if there is a finding in a final judgment in the criminal action that the act or omission from
which the civil liability may arise did not exist. 7

The criminal action has a dual purpose, namely, the punishment of the offender and indemnity to the
offended party. The dominant and primordial objective of the criminal action is the punishment of the
offender. The civil action is merely incidental to and consequent to the conviction of the accused. The reason
for this is that criminal actions are primarily intended to vindicate an outrage against the sovereignty of the
state and to impose the appropriate penalty for the vindication of the disturbance to the social order caused
by the offender. On the other hand, the action between the private complainant and the accused is intended
solely to indemnify the former. 8

Unless the offended party waives the civil action or reserves the right to institute it separately or institutes
the civil action prior to the criminal action, there are two actions involved in a criminal case. The first is the
criminal action for the punishment of the offender. The parties are the People of the Philippines as the
plaintiff and the accused. In a criminal action, the private complainant is merely a witness for the State on
the criminal aspect of the action. The second is the civil action arising from the delict. The private
complainant is the plaintiff and the accused is the defendant. There is a merger of the trial of the two cases
to avoid multiplicity of suits.

The quantum of evidence on the criminal aspect of the case is proof beyond reasonable doubt, while in the
civil aspect of the action, the quantum of evidence is preponderance of evidence. 9 Under Section 3, Rule 1
of the 1997 Rules of Criminal Procedure, the said rules shall govern the procedure to be observed in action,
civil or criminal.

The prosecution presents its evidence not only to prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt
but also to prove the civil liability of the accused to the offended party. After the prosecution has rested its
case, the accused shall adduce its evidence not only on the criminal but also on the civil aspect of the case.
At the conclusion of the trial, the court should render judgment not only on the criminal aspect of the case
but also on the civil aspect thereof:chan rob 1es vi rtual 1aw lib rary

SEC. 2. Contents of the judgment. — If the judgment is of conviction, it shall state (1) the legal qualification
of the offense constituted by the acts committed by the accused and the aggravating or mitigating
circumstances which attended its commission; (2) the participation of the accused in the offense, whether
as principal, accomplice, or accessory after the fact; (3) the penalty imposed upon the accused; and (4) the
civil liability or damages caused by his wrongful act or omission to be recovered from the accused by the
offended party, if there is any, unless the enforcement of the civil liability by a separate civil action has been
reserved or waived.

In case the judgment is of acquittal, it shall state whether the evidence of the prosecution absolutely failed
to prove the guilt of the accused or merely failed to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt. In either case,
the judgment shall determine if the act or omission from which the civil liability might arise did not exist. 10

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

If the accused is acquitted on reasonable doubt but the court renders judgment on the civil aspect of the
criminal case, the prosecution cannot appeal from the judgment of acquittal as it would place the accused in
double jeopardy. However, the aggrieved party, the offended party or the accused or both may appeal from
the judgment on the civil aspect of the case within the period therefor.

After the prosecution has rested its case, the accused has the option either to (a) file a demurrer to
evidence with or without leave of court under Section 23, Rule 119 of the Revised Rules of Criminal
Procedure, or to (b) adduce his evidence unless he waives the same. The aforecited rule reads: cha nrob 1es vi rtua l 1aw lib ra ry

Sec. 23. Demurrer to evidence. — After the prosecution rests its case, the court may dismiss the action on
the ground of insufficiency of evidence (1) on its own initiative after giving the prosecution the opportunity
to be heard or (2) upon demurrer to evidence filed by the accused with or without leave of court.

If the court denies the demurrer to evidence filed with leave of court, the accused may adduce evidence in
his defense. When the demurrer to evidence is filed without leave of court, the accused waives his right to
present evidence and submits the case for judgment on the basis of the evidence for the prosecution.

The motion for leave of court to file demurrer to evidence shall specifically state its grounds and shall be
filed within a non-extendible period of five (5) days after the prosecution rests its case. The prosecution may
oppose the motion within a non-extendible period of five (5) days from its receipt.

If leave of court is granted, the accused shall file the demurrer to evidence within a non-extendible period of
ten (10) days from notice. The prosecution may oppose the demurrer to evidence within a similar period
from its receipt.

The order denying the motion for leave of court to file demurrer to evidence or the demurrer itself shall not
be reviewable by appeal or, by certiorari before the judgment.

In criminal cases, the demurrer to evidence partakes of the nature of a motion to dismiss the case for failure
of the prosecution to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt. In a case where the accused files a demurrer
to evidence without leave of court, he thereby waives his right to present evidence and submits the case for
decision on the basis of the evidence of the prosecution. On the other hand, if the accused is granted leave
to file a demurrer to evidence, he has the right to adduce evidence not only on the criminal aspect but also
on the civil aspect of the case if his demurrer is denied by the court. chanrob1e s virtua1 1aw 1 ib rary

If demurrer is granted and the accused is acquitted by the court, the accused has the right to adduce
evidence on the civil aspect of the case , unless the court also declares that the act or omission from which
the civil liability may arise did not exist. If the trial court issues an order or renders judgment not only
granting the demurrer to evidence of the accused and acquitting him but also on the civil liability of the
accused to the private offended party, said judgment on the civil aspect of the case would be a nullity for
the reason that the constitutional right of the accused to due process is thereby violated. As we held in
Alonte v. Savellano, Jr.: 11

Section 14, paragraphs (1) and (2), of Article III, of the Constitution provides the fundamentals.

"(1) No person shall be held to answer for a criminal offense without due process of law.

"(2) In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall be presumed innocent until the contrary is proved, and
shall enjoy the right to be heard by himself and counsel, to be informed of the nature and cause of the
accusation against him, to have a speedy, impartial, and public trial, to meet the witnesses face to face, and
to have compulsory process to secure the attendance of witnesses and the production of evidence in his
behalf. However, after arraignment, trial may proceed notwithstanding the absence of the accused provided
that he has been duly notified and his failure to appear is unjustifiable." cra law virt ua1aw lib ra ry

Jurisprudence acknowledges that due process in criminal proceedings, in particular, require (a) that the
court or tribunal trying the case is properly clothed with judicial power to hear and determine the matter
before it; (b) that jurisdiction is lawfully acquired by it over the person of the accused; (c) that the accused
is given an opportunity to be heard; and (d) that judgment is rendered only upon lawful hearing.

The above constitutional and jurisprudentially postulates, by now elementary and deeply imbedded in our
own criminal justice system, are mandatory and indispensable. The principles find universal acceptance and
are tersely expressed in the oft-quoted statement that procedural due process cannot possibly be met
without a "law which hears before it condemns, which proceeds upon inquiry and renders judgment only
after trial." 12

This is so because when the accused files a demurrer to evidence, the accused has not yet adduced
evidence both on the criminal and civil aspects of the case. The only evidence on record is the evidence for
the prosecution. What the trial court should do is to issue an order or partial judgment granting the
demurrer to evidence and acquitting the accused; and set the case for continuation of trial for the petitioner
to adduce evidence on the civil aspect of the case, and for the private complainant to adduce evidence by
way of rebuttal after which the parties may adduce their sur-rebuttal evidence as provided for in Section 11,
Rule 119 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure: cha nrob 1es vi rtual 1aw lib rary

Sec. 11. Order of trial. — The trial shall proceed in the following order: c han rob1es v irt ual 1aw l ibra ry

(a) The prosecution shall present evidence to prove the charge and, in the proper case, the civil liability.

(b) The accused may present evidence to prove his defense and damages, if any, arising from the issuance
of a provisional remedy in the case.

(c) The prosecution and the defense may, in that order, present rebuttal and sur-rebuttal evidence unless
the court, in furtherance of justice, permits them to present additional evidence bearing upon the main
issue.

(d) Upon admission of the evidence of the parties, the case shall be deemed submitted for decision unless
the court directs them to argue orally or to submit written memoranda.

(e) When the accused admits the act or omission charged in the complaint or information but interposes a
lawful defense, the order of trial may be modified.

Thereafter, the court shall render judgment on the civil aspect of the case on the basis of the evidence of
the prosecution and the accused.

In this case, the petitioner was charged with estafa under Article 315, paragraph 2(d) off the Revised Penal
Code. The civil action arising from the delict was impliedly instituted since there was no waiver by the
private offended party of the civil liability nor a reservation of the civil action. Neither did he file a civil action
before the institution of the criminal action.

The petitioner was granted leave of court to file a demurrer to evidence. The court issued an order granting
the demurrer on its finding that the liability of the petitioner was not criminal but only civil. However, the
court rendered judgment on the civil aspect of the case and ordered the petitioner to pay for her purchases
from the private complainant even before the petitioner could adduce evidence thereon. Patently, therefore,
the petitioner was denied her right to due process.

IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the Petition is GRANTED. The Orders dated November 19, 2001 and
January 14, 2002 are SET ASIDE AND NULLIFIED. The Regional Trial Court of Legazpi City, Branch 5, is
hereby DIRECTED to set Criminal Case No. 7474 for the continuation of trial for the reception of the
evidence-in-chief of the petitioner on the civil aspect of the case and for the rebuttal evidence of the private
complainant and the sur-rebuttal evidence of the parties if they opt to adduce any. chanrob1e s virtua 1 1aw 1ib rary

SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 165732 December 14, 2006

SAFEGUARD SECURITY AGENCY, INC., and ADMER PAJARILLO, petitioners,


vs.
LAURO TANGCO, VAL TANGCO, VERN LARRY TANGCO, VAN LAURO TANGCO, VON
LARRIE TANGCO, VIEN LARI TANGCO and VIVIEN LAURIZ TANGCO, respondent.

DECISION

AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.:

Before us is a petition for review on certiorari filed by Safeguard Security Agency, Inc. (Safeguard)
and Admer Pajarillo (Pajarillo) assailing the Decision1 dated July 16, 2004 and the Resolution2 dated
October 20, 2004 issued by the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No. 77462.

On November 3, 1997, at about 2:50 p.m., Evangeline Tangco (Evangeline) went to Ecology Bank,
Katipunan Branch, Quezon City, to renew her time deposit per advise of the bank's cashier as she
would sign a specimen card. Evangeline, a duly licensed firearm holder with corresponding permit to
carry the same outside her residence, approached security guard Pajarillo, who was stationed
outside the bank, and pulled out her firearm from her bag to deposit the same for safekeeping.
Suddenly, Pajarillo shot Evangeline with his service shotgun hitting her in the abdomen instantly
causing her death.

Lauro Tangco, Evangeline's husband, together with his six minor children (respondents) filed with
the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Quezon City, a criminal case of Homicide against Pajarillo,
docketed as Criminal Case No. 0-97-73806 and assigned to Branch 78. Respondents reserved their
right to file a separate civil action in the said criminal case. The RTC of Quezon City subsequently
convicted Pajarillo of Homicide in its Decision dated January 19, 2000.3 On appeal to the CA, the
RTC decision was affirmed with modification as to the penalty in a Decision4 dated July 31, 2000.
Entry of Judgment was made on August 25, 2001.

Meanwhile, on January 14, 1998, respondents filed with RTC, Branch 273, Marikina City, a
complaint5 for damages against Pajarillo for negligently shooting Evangeline and against Safeguard
for failing to observe the diligence of a good father of a family to prevent the damage committed by
its security guard. Respondents prayed for actual, moral and exemplary damages and attorney's
fees.

In their Answer,6 petitioners denied the material allegations in the complaint and alleged that
Safeguard exercised the diligence of a good father of a family in the selection and supervision of
Pajarillo; that Evangeline's death was not due to Pajarillo's negligence as the latter acted only in self-
defense. Petitioners set up a compulsory counterclaim for moral damages and attorney's fees.

Trial thereafter ensued. On January 10, 2003, the RTC rendered its Decision,7 the dispositive portion
of which reads:

WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiffs, the heirs of Evangeline
Tangco, and against defendants Admer Pajarillo and Safeguard Security Agency, Inc.
ordering said defendants to pay the plaintiffs, jointly and severally, the following:

1. ONE HUNDRED FIFTY SEVEN THOUSAND FOUR HUNDRED THIRTY PESOS


(P157,430.00), as actual damages

2. FIFTY THOUSAND PESOS (P50,000.00) as death indemnity;

3. ONE MILLION PESOS (P1,000,000.00), as moral damages;

4. THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS (P300,000.00), as exemplary damages;

5. THIRTY THOUSAND PESOS (P30,000.00), as attorney's fees; and

6. costs of suit.

For lack of merit, defendants' counterclaim is hereby DISMISSED.

SO ORDERED. 8

The RTC found respondents to be entitled to damages. It rejected Pajarillo's claim that he merely
acted in self-defense. It gave no credence to Pajarillo's bare claim that Evangeline was seen
roaming around the area prior to the shooting incident since Pajarillo had not made such report to
the head office and the police authorities. The RTC further ruled that being the guard on duty, the
situation demanded that he should have exercised proper prudence and necessary care by asking
Evangeline for him to ascertain the matter instead of shooting her instantly; that Pajarillo had already
been convicted of Homicide in Criminal Case No. 0-97-73806; and that he also failed to proffer proof
negating liability in the instant case.

The RTC also found Safeguard as employer of Pajarillo to be jointly and severally liable with
Pajarillo. It ruled that while it may be conceded that Safeguard had perhaps exercised care in the
selection of its employees, particularly of Pajarillo, there was no sufficient evidence to show that
Safeguard exercised the diligence of a good father of a family in the supervision of its employee; that
Safeguard's evidence simply showed that it required its guards to attend trainings and seminars
which is not the supervision contemplated under the law; that supervision includes not only the
issuance of regulations and instructions designed for the protection of persons and property, for the
guidance of their servants and employees, but also the duty to see to it that such regulations and
instructions are faithfully complied with.

Petitioners appealed the RTC decision to the CA. On July 16, 2004, the CA issued its assailed
Decision, the dispositive portion of which reads:

IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the appealed decision is hereby AFFIRMED, with the
modification that Safeguard Security Agency, Inc.'s civil liability in this case is only subsidiary
under Art. 103 of the Revised Penal Code. No pronouncement as to costs.9

In finding that Safeguard is only subsidiarily liable, the CA held that the applicable provisions are not
Article 2180 in relation to Article 2176 of the Civil Code, on quasi-delicts, but the provisions on civil
liability arising from felonies under the Revised Penal Code; that since Pajarillo had been found
guilty of Homicide in a final and executory judgment and is said to be serving sentence in
Muntinlupa, he must be adjudged civilly liable under the provisions of Article 100 of the Revised
Penal Code since the civil liability recoverable in the criminal action is one solely dependent upon
conviction, because said liability arises from the offense charged and no other; that this is also the
civil liability that is deemed extinguished with the extinction of the penal liability with a
pronouncement that the fact from which the civil action might proceed does not exist; that unlike in
civil liability arising from quasi-delict, the defense of diligence of a good father of a family in the
employment and supervision of employees is inapplicable and irrelevant in civil liabilities based on
crimes or ex-delicto; that Article 103 of the Revised Penal Code provides that the liability of an
employer for the civil liability of their employees is only subsidiary, not joint or solidary.

Petitioners filed their Motion for Reconsideration which the CA denied in a Resolution dated October
20, 2004.

Hence, the instant Petition for Review on Certiorari with the following assignment of errors, to wit:

The Honorable Court of Appeals gravely erred in finding petitioner Pajarillo liable to
respondents for the payment of damages and other money claims.

The Honorable Court of Appeals gravely erred when it applied Article 103 of the Revised
Penal Code in holding petitioner Safeguard solidarily [sic] liable with petitioner Pajarillo for
the payment of damages and other money claims.

The Honorable Court of Appeals gravely erred in failing to find that petitioner Safeguard
Security Agency, Inc. exercised due diligence in the selection and supervision of its
employees, hence, should be excused from any liability.10

The issues for resolution are whether (1) Pajarillo is guilty of negligence in shooting Evangeline; and
(2) Safeguard should be held solidarily liable for the damages awarded to respondents.

Safeguard insists that the claim for damages by respondents is based on culpa aquiliana under
Article 217611 of the Civil Code, in which case, its liability is jointly and severally with Pajarillo.
However, since it has established that it had exercised due diligence in the selection and supervision
of Pajarillo, it should be exonerated from civil liability.
We will first resolve whether the CA correctly held that respondents, in filing a separate civil action
against petitioners are limited to the recovery of damages arising from a crime or delict, in which
case the liability of Safeguard as employer under Articles 102 and 103 of the Revised Penal
Code12 is subsidiary and the defense of due diligence in the selection and supervision of employee is
not available to it.

The CA erred in ruling that the liability of Safeguard is only subsidiary.

The law at the time the complaint for damages was filed is Rule 111 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal
Procedure, as amended, to wit:

SECTION 1. Institution of criminal and civil actions. - When a criminal action is instituted, the
civil action for the recovery of civil liability is impliedly instituted with the criminal action,
unless the offended party waives the civil action, reserves his right to institute it separately,
or institutes the civil action prior to the criminal action.

Such civil action includes recovery of indemnity under the Revised Penal Code, and
damages under Articles 32, 33, 34, and 2176 of the Civil Code of the Philippines arising from
the same act or omission of the accused.

Respondents reserved the right to file a separate civil action and in fact filed the same on January
14, 1998.

The CA found that the source of damages in the instant case must be the crime of homicide, for
which he had already been found guilty of and serving sentence thereof, thus must be governed by
the Revised Penal Code.

We do not agree.

An act or omission causing damage to another may give rise to two separate civil liabilities on the
part of the offender, i.e., (1) civil liability ex delicto, under Article 100 of the Revised Penal Code; and
(2) independent civil liabilities, such as those (a) not arising from an act or omission complained of
as a felony, e.g., culpa contractual or obligations arising from law under Article 31 of the Civil Code,
intentional torts under Articles 32 and 34, and culpa aquiliana under Article 2176 of the Civil
Code; or (b) where the injured party is granted a right to file an action independent and distinct from
the criminal action under Article 33 of the Civil Code. Either of these liabilities may be enforced
against the offender subject to the caveat under Article 2177 of the Civil Code that the offended
party cannot recover damages twice for the same act or omission or under both causes.13

It is important to determine the nature of respondents' cause of action. The nature of a cause of
action is determined by the facts alleged in the complaint as constituting the cause of action.14 The
purpose of an action or suit and the law to govern it is to be determined not by the claim of the party
filing the action, made in his argument or brief, but rather by the complaint itself, its allegations and
prayer for relief.15

The pertinent portions of the complaint read:

7. That Defendant Admer A. Pajarillo was the guard assigned and posted in the Ecology
Bank – Katipunan Branch, Quezon City, who was employed and under employment of
Safeguard Security Agency, Inc. hence there is employer-employee relationship between co-
defendants.
The Safeguard Security Agency, Inc. failed to observe the diligence of a good father of a
family to prevent damage to herein plaintiffs.

8. That defendant Admer Pajarillo upon seeing Evangeline Tangco, who brought her firearm
out of her bag, suddenly without exercising necessary caution/care, and in idiotic manner,
with the use of his shotgun, fired and burst bullets upon Evangeline M. Tangco, killing her
instantly. x x x

xxxx

16. That defendants, being employer and the employee are jointly and severally liable for the
death of Evangeline M. Tangco.16

Thus, a reading of respondents' complaint shows that the latter are invoking their right to recover
damages against Safeguard for their vicarious responsibility for the injury caused by Pajarillo's act of
shooting and killing Evangeline under Article 2176, Civil Code which provides:

ARTICLE 2176. Whoever by act or omission causes damage to another, there being fault or
negligence, is obliged to pay for the damage done. Such fault or negligence, if there is no
pre-existing contractual relation between the parties is called a quasi-delict and is governed
by the provisions of this Chapter.

The scope of Article 2176 is not limited to acts or omissions resulting from negligence. In Dulay v.
Court of Appeals,17 we held:

x x x Well-entrenched is the doctrine that Article 2176 covers not only acts committed with
negligence, but also acts which are voluntary and intentional. As far back as the definitive
case of Elcano v. Hill (77 SCRA 98 [1977]), this Court already held that:

"x x x Article 2176, where it refers to "fault or negligence," 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 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."
(Emphasis supplied)

The civil action filed by respondents was not derived from the criminal liability of Pajarillo in the
criminal case but one based on culpa aquiliana or quasi-delict which is separate and distinct from
the civil liability arising from crime.18 The source of the obligation sought to be enforced in the civil
case is a quasi-delict not an act or omission punishable by law.

In Bermudez v. Melencio-Herrera,19 where the issue involved was whether the civil action filed by
plaintiff-appellants is founded on crime or on quasi-delict, we held:
x x x The trial court treated the case as an action based on a crime in view of the reservation
made by the offended party in the criminal case (Criminal Case No. 92944), also pending
before the court, to file a separate civil action. Said the trial court:

It would appear that plaintiffs instituted this action on the assumption that defendant
Pontino's negligence in the accident of May 10, 1969 constituted a quasi-delict. The Court
cannot accept the validity of that assumption. In Criminal Case No. 92944 of this Court,
plaintiffs had already appeared as complainants. While that case was pending, the offended
parties reserved the right to institute a separate civil action. If, in a criminal case, the right to
file a separate civil action for damages is reserved, such civil action is to be based on crime
and not on tort. That was the ruling in Joaquin vs. Aniceto, L-18719, Oct. 31, 1964.

We do not agree. The doctrine in the case cited by the trial court is inapplicable to the instant
case x x x.

xxxx

In cases of negligence, the injured party or his heirs has the choice between an action to
enforce the civil liability arising from crime under Article 100 of the Revised Penal Code and
an action for quasi-delict under Article 2176-2194 of the Civil Code. If a party chooses the
latter, he may hold the employer solidarily liable for the negligent act of his employee, subject
to the employer's defense of exercise of the diligence of a good father of the family.

In the case at bar, the action filed by appellant was an action for damages based on quasi-
delict. The fact that appellants reserved their right in the criminal case to file an
independent civil action did not preclude them from choosing to file a civil action
for quasi-delict.20 (Emphasis supplied)

Although the judgment in the criminal case finding Pajarillo guilty of Homicide is already final and
executory, such judgment has no relevance or importance to this case.21 It would have been entirely
different if respondents' cause of action was for damages arising from a delict, in which case the CA
is correct in finding Safeguard to be only subsidiary liable pursuant to Article 103 of the Revised
Penal Code.22

As clearly shown by the allegations in the complaint, respondents' cause of action is based on quasi-
delict. Under Article 2180 of the Civil Code, when the injury is caused by the negligence of the
employee, there instantly arises a presumption of law that there was negligence on the part of the
master or the employer either in the selection of the servant or employee, or in the supervision over
him after selection or both. The liability of the employer under Article 2180 is direct and immediate.
Therefore, it is incumbent upon petitioners to prove that they exercised the diligence of a good father
of a family in the selection and supervision of their employee.

We must first resolve the issue of whether Pajarillo was negligent in shooting Evangeline.

The issue of negligence is factual in nature. Whether a person is negligent or not is a question of
fact, which, as a general rule, we cannot pass upon in a petition for review on certiorari, as our
jurisdiction is limited to reviewing errors of law.23 Generally, factual findings of the trial court, affirmed
by the CA, are final and conclusive and may not be reviewed on appeal. The established exceptions
are: (1) when the inference made is manifestly mistaken, absurd or impossible; (2) when there is
grave abuse of discretion; (3) when the findings are grounded entirely on speculations, surmises or
conjectures; (4) when the judgment of the CA is based on misapprehension of facts; (5) when the
findings of fact are conflicting; (6) when the CA, in making its findings, went beyond the issues of the
case and the same is contrary to the admissions of both appellant and appellee; (7) when the
findings of fact are conclusions without citation of specific evidence on which they are based; (8)
when the CA manifestly overlooked certain relevant facts not disputed by the parties and which, if
properly considered, would justify a different conclusion; and (9) when the findings of fact of the CA
are premised on the absence of evidence and are contradicted by the evidence on record. [24]

A thorough review of the records of the case fails to show any cogent reason for us to deviate from
the factual finding of the trial court and affirmed by the CA that petitioner Pajarillo was guilty of
negligence in shooting Evangeline.

Respondents' evidence established that Evangeline's purpose in going to the bank was to renew her
time deposit.25On the other hand, Pajarillo claims that Evangeline drew a gun from her bag and
aimed the same at him, thus, acting instinctively, he shot her in self-defense.

Pajarillo testified that when Evangeline aimed the gun at him at a distance of about one meter or one
arm's length26he stepped backward, loaded the chamber of his gun and shot her.27 It is however
unimaginable that petitioner Pajarillo could still make such movements if indeed the gun was already
pointed at him. Any movement could have prompted Evangeline to pull the trigger to shoot him.

Petitioner Pajarillo would like to justify his action in shooting Evangeline on his mere apprehension
that Evangeline will stage a bank robbery. However, such claim is befuddled by his own testimony.
Pajarillo testified that prior to the incident, he saw Evangeline roaming under the fly over which was
about 10 meters away from the bank28 and saw her talking to a man thereat;29 that she left the man
under the fly-over, crossed the street and approached the bank. However, except for the bare
testimony of Pajarillo, the records do not show that indeed Evangeline was seen roaming near the
vicinity of the bank and acting suspiciously prior to the shooting incident. In fact, there is no evidence
that Pajarillo called the attention of his head guard or the bank's branch manager regarding his
concerns or that he reported the same to the police authorities whose outpost is just about 15
meters from the bank.

Moreover, if Evangeline was already roaming the vicinity of the bank, she could have already
apprised herself that Pajarillo, who was posted outside the bank, was armed with a shotgun; that
there were two guards inside the bank30manning the entrance door. Thus, it is quite incredible that if
she really had a companion, she would leave him under the fly-over which is 10 meters far from the
bank and stage a bank robbery all by herself without a back-up. In fact, she would have known, after
surveying the area, that aiming her gun at Pajarillo would not ensure entrance to the bank as there
were guards manning the entrance door.

Evidence, to be believed, 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. We have no test of the truth of human testimony, except its
conformity to our knowledge, observation and experience. Whatever is repugnant to these belongs
to the miraculous and is outside judicial cognizance.31

That Evangeline just wanted to deposit her gun before entering the bank and was actually in the act
of pulling her gun from her bag when petitioner Pajarillo recklessly shot her, finds support from the
contentions raised in petitioners' petition for review where they argued that when Evangeline
approached the bank, she was seen pulling a gun from inside her bag and petitioner Pajarillo who
was suddenly beset by fear and perceived the act as a dangerous threat, shot and killed the
deceased out of pure instinct;32 that the act of drawing a gun is a threatening act, regardless of
whether or not the gun was intended to be used against petitioner Pajarillo;33 that the fear that was
created in the mind of petitioner Pajarillo as he saw Evangeline Tangco drawing a gun from her
purse was suddenly very real and the former merely reacted out of pure self-preservation.34

Considering that unlawful aggression on the part of Evangeline is absent, Pajarillo's claim of self-
defense cannot be accepted specially when such claim was uncorroborated by any separate
competent evidence other than his testimony which was even doubtful. Pajarillo's apprehension that
Evangeline will shoot him to stage a bank robbery has no basis at all. It is therefore clear that the
alleged threat of bank robbery was just a figment of Pajarillo's imagination which caused such
unfounded unlawful aggression on his part.

Petitioners argue that Evangeline was guilty of contributory negligence. Although she was a licensed
firearm holder, she had no business bringing the gun in such establishment where people would
react instinctively upon seeing the gun; that had Evangeline been prudent, she could have warned
Pajarillo before drawing the gun and did not conduct herself with suspicion by roaming outside the
vicinity of the bank; that she should not have held the gun with the nozzle pointed at Pajarillo who
mistook the act as hold up or robbery.

We are not persuaded.

As we have earlier held, Pajarillo failed to substantiate his claim that Evangeline was seen roaming
outside the vicinity of the bank and acting suspiciously prior to the shooting incident. Evangeline's
death was merely due to Pajarillo's negligence in shooting her on his imagined threat that
Evangeline will rob the bank.

Safeguard contends that it cannot be jointly held liable since it had adequately shown that it had
exercised the diligence required in the selection and supervision of its employees. It claims that it
had required the guards to undergo the necessary training and to submit the requisite qualifications
and credentials which even the RTC found to have been complied with; that the RTC erroneously
found that it did not exercise the diligence required in the supervision of its employee. Safeguard
further claims that it conducts monitoring of the activities of its personnel, wherein supervisors are
assigned to routinely check the activities of the security guards which include among others, whether
or not they are in their proper post and with proper equipment, as well as regular evaluations of the
employees' performances; that the fact that Pajarillo loaded his firearm contrary to Safeguard's
operating procedure is not sufficient basis to say that Safeguard had failed its duty of proper
supervision; that it was likewise error to say that Safeguard was negligent in seeing to it that the
procedures and policies were not properly implemented by reason of one unfortunate event.

We are not convinced.

Article 2180 of the Civil Code provides:

Art. 2180. The obligation imposed by Article 2176 is demandable not only for one's own acts
or omissions, but also for those of persons for whom one is responsible.

xxxx

Employers shall be liable for the damages caused by their employees and household helpers
acting within the scope of their assigned tasks, even though the former are not engaged in
any business or industry.

xxxx
The responsibility treated of in this article shall cease when the persons herein mentioned
prove that they observed all the diligence of a good father of a family to prevent damage.

As the employer of Pajarillo, Safeguard is primarily and solidarily liable for the quasi-delict committed
by the former. Safeguard is presumed to be negligent in the selection and supervision of his
employee by operation of law. This presumption may be overcome only by satisfactorily showing
that the employer exercised the care and the diligence of a good father of a family in the selection
and the supervision of its employee.

In the selection of prospective employees, employers are required to examine them as to their
qualifications, experience, and service records.35 On the other hand, due diligence in the supervision
of employees includes the formulation of suitable rules and regulations for the guidance of
employees and the issuance of proper instructions intended for the protection of the public and
persons with whom the employer has relations through his or its employees and the imposition of
necessary disciplinary measures upon employees in case of breach or as may be warranted to
ensure the performance of acts indispensable to the business of and beneficial to their employer. To
this, we add that actual implementation and monitoring of consistent compliance with said rules
should be the constant concern of the employer, acting through dependable supervisors who should
regularly report on their supervisory functions.36 To establish these factors in a trial involving the
issue of vicarious liability, employers must submit concrete proof, including documentary evidence.

We agree with the RTC's finding that Safeguard had exercised the diligence in the selection of
Pajarillo since the record shows that Pajarillo underwent a psychological and neuro-psychiatric
evaluation conducted by the St. Martin de Porres Center where no psychoses ideations were noted,
submitted a certification on the Pre-licensing training course for security guards, as well as police
and NBI clearances.

The RTC did not err in ruling that Safeguard fell short of the diligence required in the supervision of
its employee, particularly Pajarillo. In this case, while Safeguard presented Capt. James Camero, its
Director for Operations, who testified on the issuance of company rules and regulations, such as the
Guidelines of Guards Who Will Be Assigned To Banks,37 Weapons Training,38 Safeguard Training
Center Marksmanship Training Lesson Plan,39Disciplinary/Corrective Sanctions,40 it had also been
established during Camero's cross-examination that Pajarillo was not aware of such rules and
regulations.41 Notwithstanding Camero's clarification on his re-direct examination that these company
rules and regulations are lesson plans as a basis of guidelines of the instructors during classroom
instructions and not necessary to give students copy of the same,42 the records do not show that
Pajarillo had attended such classroom instructions.

The records also failed to show that there was adequate training and continuous evaluation of the
security guard's performance. Pajarillo had only attended an in-service training on March 1, 1997
conducted by Toyota Sta. Rosa, his first assignment as security guard of Safeguard, which was in
collaboration with Safeguard. It was established that the concept of such training was purely on
security of equipments to be guarded and protection of the life of the employees.43

It had not been established that after Pajarillo's training in Toyota, Safeguard had ever conducted
further training of Pajarillo when he was later assigned to guard a bank which has a different nature
of business with that of Toyota. In fact, Pajarillo testified that being on duty in a bank is different from
being on duty in a factory since a bank is a very sensitive area.44

Moreover, considering his reactions to Evangeline's act of just depositing her firearm for
safekeeping, i.e., of immediately shooting her, confirms that there was no training or seminar given
on how to handle bank clients and on human psychology.
Furthermore, while Safeguard would like to show that there were inspectors who go around the bank
two times a day to see the daily performance of the security guards assigned therein, there was no
record ever presented of such daily inspections. In fact, if there was really such inspection made, the
alleged suspicious act of Evangeline could have been taken noticed and reported.

Turning now to the award of damages, we find that the award of actual damages in the
amount P157,430.00 which were the expenses incurred by respondents in connection with the burial
of Evangeline were supported by receipts. The award of P50,000.00 as civil indemnity for the death
of Evangeline is likewise in order.

As to the award of moral damages, Article 2206 of the Civil Code provides that the spouse,
legitimate children and illegitimate descendants and ascendants of the deceased may demand moral
damages for mental anguish by reason of the death of the deceased. Moral damages are awarded
to enable the injured party to obtain means, diversions or amusements that will serve to alleviate the
moral suffering he/she has undergone, by reason of the defendant's culpable action. Its award is
aimed at restoration, as much as possible, of the spiritual status quo ante; thus it must be
proportionate to the suffering inflicted.45 The intensity of the pain experienced by the relatives of the
victim is proportionate to the intensity of affection for him and bears no relation whatsoever with the
wealth or means of the offender.46

In this case, respondents testified as to their moral suffering caused by Evangeline's death was so
sudden causing respondent Lauro to lose a wife and a mother to six children who were all minors at
the time of her death. In People v. Teehankee, Jr.,47 we awarded one million pesos as moral
damages to the heirs of a seventeen-year-old girl who was murdered. In Metro Manila Transit
Corporation v. Court of Appeals,48 we likewise awarded the amount of one million pesos as moral
damages to the parents of a third year high school student and who was also their youngest child
who died in a vehicular accident since the girl's death left a void in their lives. Hence, we hold that
the respondents are also entitled to the amount of one million pesos as Evangeline's death left a
void in the lives of her husband and minor children as they were deprived of her love and care by her
untimely demise.

We likewise uphold the award of exemplary damages in the amount of P300,000.00. Under Article
2229 of the Civil Code, exemplary damages are imposed by way of example or correction for the
public good, in addition to moral, temperate, liquidated or compensatory damages.49 It is awarded as
a deterrent to socially deleterious actions. In quasi-delict, exemplary damages may be granted if the
defendant acted with gross negligence.50

Pursuant to Article 2208 of the Civil Code, attorney's fees may be recovered when, as in the instant
case, exemplary damages are awarded. Hence, we affirm the award of attorney's fees in the amount
of P30,000.00.

WHEREFORE, the petition for review is DENIED. The Decision dated July 16, 2004 of the Court of
Appeals is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION that the civil liability of petitioner Safeguard Security
Agency, Inc. is SOLIDARYand PRIMARY under Article 2180 of the Civil Code.

SO ORDERED