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G.R. No.

173807 April 16, 2009

JAIME U. GOSIACO, Petitioner,


vs.
LETICIA CHING and EDWIN CASTA, Respondents.

DECISION

TINGA, J.:

The right to recover due and demandable pecuniary obligations incurred by juridical persons
such as corporations cannot be impaired by procedural rules. Our rules of procedure
governing the litigation of criminal actions for violation of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22 (B.P. 22)
have given the appearance of impairing such substantive rights, and we take the opportunity
herein to assert the necessary clarifications.

Before us is a Rule 45 petition1 which seeks the reversal of the Decision2 of the Court of
Appeals in CA-GR No. 29488. The Court of Appeals' decision affirmed the decision 3 of the
Regional Trial Court of Pasig, Branch 68 in Criminal Case No. 120482. The RTC's decision
reversed the decision4 of the Metropolitan Trial Court of San Juan, Branch 58 in Criminal
Case No. 70445 which involved a charge of violation of B.P. Blg. 22 against respondents
Leticia Ching (Ching) and Edwin Casta (Casta).

On 16 February 2000, petitioner Jaime Gosiaco (petitioner) invested ₱8,000,000.00 with ASB
Holdings, Inc. (ASB) by way of loan. The money was loaned to ASB for a period of 48 days
with interest at 10.5% which is equivalent to ₱112,000.00. In exchange, ASB through its
Business Development Operation Group manager Ching, issued DBS checks no.
0009980577 and 0009980578 for ₱8,000,000.00 and ₱112,000.00 respectively. The checks,
both signed by Ching, were drawn against DBS Bank Makati Head Office branch. ASB,
through a letter dated 31 March 2000, acknowledged that it owed petitioner the
abovementioned amounts.5

Upon maturity of the ASB checks, petitioner went to the DBS Bank San Juan Branch to
deposit the two (2) checks. However, upon presentment, the checks were dishonored and
payments were refused because of a stop payment order and for insufficiency of funds.
Petitioner informed respondents, through letters dated 6 and 10 April 2000, 6 about the
dishonor of the checks and demanded replacement checks or the return of the money
placement but to no avail. Thus, petitioner filed a criminal complaint for violation of B.P. Blg.
22 before the Metropolitan Trial Court of San Juan against the private respondents.

Ching was arraigned and tried while Casta remained at large. Ching denied liability and
claimed that she was a mere employee of ASB. She asserted that she did not have
knowledge as to how much money ASB had in the banks. Such responsibility, she claimed
belonged to another department.

On 15 December 2000, petitioner moved7 that ASB and its president, Luke Roxas, be
impleaded as party defendants. Petitioner, then, paid the corresponding docket fees.
However, the MTC denied the motion as the case had already been submitted for final
decision.8
On 8 February 2001, the MTC acquitted Ching of criminal liability but it did not absolve her
from civil liability. The MTC ruled that Ching, as a corporate officer of ASB, was civilly liable
since she was a signatory to the checks.9

Both petitioner and Ching appealed the ruling to the RTC. Petitioner appealed to the RTC on
the ground that the MTC failed to hold ASB and Roxas either jointly or severally liable with
Ching. On the other hand, Ching moved for a reconsideration which was subsequently
denied. Thereafter, she filed her notice of appeal on the ground that she should not be held
civilly liable for the bouncing checks because they were contractual obligations of ASB.

On 12 July 2005, the RTC rendered its decision sustaining Ching's appeal. The RTC affirmed
the MTC’s ruling which denied the motion to implead ASB and Roxas for lack of jurisdiction
over their persons. The RTC also exonerated Ching from civil liability and ruled that the
subject obligation fell squarely on ASB. Thus, Ching should not be held civilly liable. 10

Petitioner filed a petition for review with the Court of Appeals on the grounds that the RTC
erred in absolving Ching from civil liability; in upholding the refusal of the MTC to implead
ASB and Roxas; and in refusing to pierce the corporate veil of ASB and hold Roxas liable.

On 19 July 2006, the Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the RTC and stated that the
amount petitioner sought to recover was a loan made to ASB and not to Ching. Roxas’
testimony further bolstered the fact that the checks issued by Ching were for and in behalf of
ASB. The Court of Appeals ruled that ASB cannot be impleaded in a B.P. Blg. 22 case since
it is not a natural person and in the case of Roxas, he was not the subject of a preliminary
investigation. Lastly, the Court of Appeals ruled that there was no need to pierce the
corporate veil of ASB since none of the requisites were present.11

Hence this petition.

Petitioner raised the following issues: (1) is a corporate officer who signed a bouncing check
civilly liable under B.P. Blg. 22; (2) can a corporation be impleaded in a B.P. Blg. 22 case;
and (3) is there a basis to pierce the corporate veil of ASB?

B.P. Blg. 22 is popularly known as the Bouncing Checks Law. Section 1 of B.P. Blg. 22
provides:

xxx xxx xxx

Where the check is drawn by a corporation, company or entity, the person or persons, who
actually signed the check in behalf of such drawer shall be liable under this Act.

B.P. Blg. 22 was enacted to address the rampant issuance of bouncing checks as payment
for pre-existing obligations. The circulation of bouncing checks adversely affected confidence
in trade and commerce. The State criminalized such practice because it was deemed
injurious to public interests12 and was found to be pernicious and inimical to public
welfare.13 B.P. Blg. 22 punishes the act of making and issuing bouncing checks. It is the act
itself of issuing the checks which is considered malum prohibitum. The law is an offense
against public order and not an offense against property.14 It penalizes the issuance of a
check without regard to its purpose. It covers all types of checks.15 Even checks that were
issued as a form of deposit or guarantee were held to be within the ambit of B.P. Blg.
22.161avvphi1.zw+
When a corporate officer issues a worthless check in the corporate name he may be held
personally liable for violating a penal statute.17 The statute imposes criminal penalties on
anyone who with intent to defraud another of money or property, draws or issues a check on
any bank with knowledge that he has no sufficient funds in such bank to meet the check on
presentment.18 Moreover, the personal liability of the corporate officer is predicated on the
principle that he cannot shield himself from liability from his own acts on the ground that it
was a corporate act and not his personal act.19 As we held in Llamado v. Court of Appeals:20

Petitioner's argument that he should not be held personally liable for the amount of the check
because it was a check of the Pan Asia Finance Corporation and he signed the same in his
capacity as Treasurer of the corporation, is also untenable. The third paragraph of Section 1
of BP Blg. 22 states: "Where the check is drawn by a corporation, company or entity, the
person or persons who actually signed the check in behalf of such drawer shall be liable
under this Act."

The general rule is that a corporate officer who issues a bouncing corporate check can only
be held civilly liable when he is convicted. In the recent case of Bautista v. Auto Plus Traders
Inc.,21 the Court ruled decisively that the civil liability of a corporate officer in a B.P. Blg. 22
case is extinguished with the criminal liability. We are not inclined through this case to revisit
so recent a precedent, and the rule of stare decisis precludes us to discharge Ching of any
civil liability arising from the B.P. Blg. 22 case against her, on account of her acquittal in the
criminal charge.

We recognize though the bind entwining the petitioner. The records clearly show that it is
ASB is civilly obligated to petitioner. In the various stages of this case, petitioner has been
proceeding from the

premise that he is unable to pursue a separate civil action against ASB itself for the recovery
of the amounts due from the subject checks. From this premise, petitioner sought to implead
ASB as a defendant to the B.P. Blg. 22 case, even if such case is criminal in nature.22

What supplied the notion to the petitioner that he was unable to pursue a separate civil action
against ASB? He cites the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure, particularly the provisions
involving B.P. Blg. 22 cases, which state that:

Rule 111, Section 1—Institution of criminal and civil action.

xxx

(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 complainant or information also seeks to recover
liquidated, moral, nominal, temperate or exemplary damages, the offended party shall pay
the 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. 23

We are unable to agree with petitioner that he is entitled to implead ASB in the B.P. Blg. 22
case, or any other corporation for that matter, even if the Rules require the joint trial of both
the criminal and civil liability. A basic maxim in statutory construction is that the interpretation
of penal laws is strictly construed against the State and liberally construed against the
accused. Nowhere in B.P. Blg. 22 is it provided that a juridical person may be impleaded as
an accused or defendant in the prosecution for violations of that law, even in the litigation of
the civil aspect thereof.

Nonetheless, the substantive right of a creditor to recover due and demandable obligations
against a debtor-corporation cannot be denied or diminished by a rule of procedure.
Technically, nothing in Section 1(b) of Rule 11 prohibits the reservation of a separate civil
action against the juridical person on whose behalf the check was issued. What the rules
prohibit is the reservation of a separate civil

action against the natural person charged with violating B.P. Blg. 22, including such
corporate officer who had signed the bounced check.

In theory the B.P. Blg. 22 criminal liability of the person who issued the bouncing check in
behalf of a corporation stands independent of the civil liability of the corporation itself, such
civil liability arising from the Civil Code. B.P. Blg. 22 itself fused this criminal liability of the
signer of the check in behalf of the corporation with the corresponding civil liability of the
corporation itself by allowing the complainant to recover such civil liability not from the
corporation, but from the person who signed the check in its behalf. Prior to the amendments
to our rules on criminal procedure, it though clearly was permissible to pursue the criminal
liability against the signatory, while going after the corporation itself for the civil liability.

However, with the insistence under the amended rules that the civil and criminal liability
attaching to the bounced check be pursued jointly, the previous option to directly pursue the
civil liability against the person who incurred the civil obligation–the corporation itself–is no
longer that clear. In theory, the implied institution of the civil case into the criminal case for
B.P. Blg. 22 should not affect the civil liability of the corporation for the same check, since
such implied institution concerns the civil liability of the signatory, and not of the corporation.

Let us pursue this point further. B.P. Blg. 22 imposes a distinct civil liability on the signatory
of the check which is distinct from the civil liability of the corporation for the amount
represented from the check. The civil liability attaching to the signatory arises from the
wrongful act of signing the check despite the insufficiency of funds in the account, while the
civil liability attaching to the corporation is itself the very obligation covered by the check or
the consideration for its execution. Yet these civil liabilities are mistaken to be indistinct. The
confusion is traceable to the singularity of the amount of each.

If we conclude, as we should, that under the current Rules of Criminal Procedure, the civil
action that is impliedly instituted in the B.P. Blg. 22 action is only the civil liability of the
signatory, and not that of the corporation itself, the distinctness of the cause of action against
the signatory and that against the corporation is rendered beyond dispute. It follows that the
actions involving these liabilities should be adjudged according to their respective standards
and merits. In the B.P. Blg. 22 case, what the trial court should determine whether or not the
signatory had signed the check with knowledge of the insufficiency of funds or credit in the
bank account, while in the civil case the trial court should ascertain whether or not the
obligation itself

is valid and demandable. The litigation of both questions could, in theory, proceed
independently and simultaneously without being ultimately conclusive on one or the other.

It might be argued that under the current rules, if the signatory were made liable for the
amount of the check by reason of the B.P. Blg. 22 case, such signatory would have the
option of recovering the same amount from the corporation. Yet that prospect does not
ultimately satisfy the ends of justice. If the signatory does not have sufficient assets to
answer for the amount of the check–a distinct possibility considering the occasional large-
scale transactions engaged in by corporations – the corporation would not be subsidiarily
liable to the complainant, even if it in truth the controversy, of which the criminal case is just a
part, is traceable to the original obligation of the corporation. While the Revised Penal Code
imposes subsidiary civil liability to corporations for criminal acts engaged in by their
employees in the discharge of their duties, said subsidiary liability applies only to
felonies,24 and not to crimes penalized by special laws such as B.P. Blg. 22. And nothing in
B.P. Blg. 22 imposes such subsidiary liability to the corporation in whose name the check is
actually issued. Clearly then, should the check signatory be unable to pay the obligation
incurred by the corporation, the complainant would be bereft of remedy unless the right of
action to collect on the liability of the corporation is recognized and given flesh.

There are two prevailing concerns should civil recovery against the corporation be pursued
even as the B.P. Blg. 22 case against the signatory remains extant. First, the possibility that
the plaintiff might be awarded the amount of the check in both the B.P. Blg. 22 case and in
the civil action against the corporation. For obvious reasons, that should not be permitted.
Considering that petitioner herein has no chance to recover the amount of the check through
the B.P. Blg. 22 case, we need not contend with that possibility through this case.
Nonetheless, as a matter of prudence, it is best we refer the matter to the Committee on
Rules for the formulation of proper guidelines to prevent that possibility.

The other concern is over the payment of filing fees in both the B.P. Blg. 22 case and the civil
action against the corporation. Generally, we see no evil or cause for distress if the plaintiff
were made to pay filing fees based on the amount of the check in both the B.P. Blg. 22 case
and the civil action. After all, the plaintiff therein made the deliberate option to file two
separate cases, even if the recovery of the amounts of the check against the corporation
could evidently be pursued through the civil action alone.

Nonetheless, in petitioner’s particular case, considering the previous legal confusion on


whether he is authorized to file the civil case against ASB, he should, as a matter of equity,
be exempted from paying the filing fees based on the amount of the checks should he pursue
the civil action against ASB. In a similar vein and for a similar reason, we likewise find that
petitioner should not be barred by prescription should he file the civil action as the period
should not run from the date the checks were issued but from the date this decision attains
finality. The courts should not be bound strictly by the statute of limitations or the doctrine of
laches when to do so, manifest wrong or injustice would result.25

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED, without prejudice to the right of petitioner Jaime U.
Gosiaco to pursue an independent civil action against ASB Holdings Inc. for the amount of
the subject checks, in accordance with the terms of this decision. No pronouncements as to
costs.
Let a copy of this Decision be REFERRED to the Committee on Revision of the Rules for the
formulation of the formal rules of procedure to govern the civil action for the recovery of the
amount covered by the check against the juridical person which issued it.

SO ORDERED.

DANTE O. TINGA
Associate Justice

<p

WE CONCUR:

LEONARDO A. QUISUMBING
Associate Justice
Chairperson

CONCHITA CARPIO MORALES PRESBITERO J. VELASCO, JR.


Associate Justice Associate Justice

ARTURO D. BRION
Associate Justice

ATTESTATION

I attest that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before
the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court’s Division.

LEONARDO A. QUISUMBING
Associate Justice
Chairperson, Second Division

CERTIFICATION

Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution, and the Division Chairperson’s
Attestation, it is hereby certified that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached
in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court’s
Division.

REYNATO S. PUNO
Chief Justice

Footnotes
1 Rollo. pp. 3-44.
2Dated 19 July 2006 and penned by Associate Justice Santiago Javier Ranada and
concurred in by Associate Justices Portia Alino-Hormachuelos, Chairperson Fourth
Division, and Amelita G. Tolentino. id. at 88-95.
3 Dated 12 July 2005 and penned by Judge Santiago G. Estrella; id. at 83-87.
4 Dated 08 February 2001 and pendered by Judge Maxwel S. Rosete; id. at 73-82.
5 The letter was signed by Luke Roxas; id. at 60
6 Id. at 62.
7 Id. at 67-71
8 Records, p. 764.
9 See note 4.
10 See note 3.
11 See note 2.
12Lozano v. Martinez, Nos. L-63419, L-66839-42, L-71654, 74524-25, L-75122-49, L-
75812-13, 75765-67, L-75789, 18 December 1986, 146 SCRA 323.
13 People v. Laggui, G.R. Nos. 76262-63, 18 March 1989, 171 SCRA 305, 311.

14 See Note 12.


15 Id.
16 Que v. People, Nos. L-75217-18, 21 September 1987, 154 SCRA 160.

17§ 1643 18B Am. Jur. 2d Corporations citing Semones v. Southern Bell Tel. &
Tel.Co., 106 N.C. App. 334, 416 S.E.2d 909 (1992).
18 Id. citing Walker v. State, 467 N.E.2d 1248 (Ind. Ct. App. 3d Dist.1984).
19 68 A.L.R. 2D 1269.
20 Llamado v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 99032, 26 March 1997, 270 SCRA 423.
21 G.R. No. 166405, 6 August 2008.
22 A traditional theory in criminal law is that a corporation cannot be prosecuted . B.P.
22 clearly adheres to the traditional theory, as nothing therein holds a juridical person
liable for the violation of the said law. Nonetheless, a more modern rule pronounces
that a corporation may be criminally liable for actions or omissions made by its officers
or agents in its behalf. And that while a corporation cannot be imprisoned, it may be
fined, its charter may be revoked by the state, or other sanctions may be imposed by
law. See Cox, James. Corporations. 2nd ed. Aspen Publishers. New York. © 2003 p.
130.
23Section 1, Rule 111(b), 2000 Rules of Civil Procedure. Justice Florenz D. Regalado
explained the rationale for the implementation of the abovementioned rule. The reason
was to declog the courts of B.P. 22 cases because ordinarily payment of docket fees
is not required in a criminal case for actual damages because prior to its amendment,
it became the practice of creditors to use the courts as their personal collection
agencies by the mere expediency of filing a B.P. Blg. 22 case. See Florenz D.
Regalado, Remedial Law Compendium, Vol. II. 9th revised ed. pp. 293-294.
24See Revised Penal Code, Art. 103. "Art. 103. Subsidiary civil liability of other
persons. — The subsidiary liability established in the next preceding article shall also
apply to employers, teachers, persons, and corporations engaged in any kind of
industry for felonies committed by their servants, pupils, workmen, apprentices, or
employees in the discharge of their duties. "
25 Santiago v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No.103959, 21 August 1997, 278 SCRA98,113,
citing Rañeses v. Intermediate Appellate Court, G.R. No. 76518, 13 July 1990, 187
SCRA 404, and as cited in Cometa v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 141855, 6 February
2001, 351 SCRA294, 310.

</p
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila

SECOND DIVISION

G.R. No. L-24803 May 26, 1977

PEDRO ELCANO and PATRICIA ELCANO, in their capacity as Ascendants of Agapito


Elcano, deceased, plaintiffs-appellants,
vs.
REGINALD HILL, minor, and MARVIN HILL, as father and Natural Guardian of said
minor, defendants-appellees.

Cruz & Avecilla for appellants.

Marvin R. Hill & Associates for appellees.

BARREDO, J.:

Appeal from the order of the Court of First Instance of Quezon City dated January 29, 1965
in Civil Case No. Q-8102, Pedro Elcano et al. vs. Reginald Hill et al. dismissing, upon motion
to dismiss of defendants, the complaint of plaintiffs for recovery of damages from defendant
Reginald Hill, a minor, married at the time of the occurrence, and his father, the defendant
Marvin Hill, with whom he was living and getting subsistence, for the killing by Reginald of the
son of the plaintiffs, named Agapito Elcano, of which, when criminally prosecuted, the said
accused was acquitted on the ground that his act was not criminal, because of "lack of intent
to kill, coupled with mistake."

Actually, the motion to dismiss based on the following grounds:

1. The present action is not only against but a violation of section 1, Rule 107,
which is now Rule III, of the Revised Rules of Court;

2. The action is barred by a prior judgment which is now final and or in res-
adjudicata;

3. The complaint had no cause of action against defendant Marvin Hill, because
he was relieved as guardian of the other defendant through emancipation by
marriage.

(P. 23, Record [p. 4, Record on Appeal.])

was first denied by the trial court. It was only upon motion for reconsideration of the
defendants of such denial, reiterating the above grounds that the following order was issued:

Considering the motion for reconsideration filed by the defendants on January


14, 1965 and after thoroughly examining the arguments therein contained, the
Court finds the same to be meritorious and well-founded.
WHEREFORE, the Order of this Court on December 8, 1964 is hereby
reconsidered by ordering the dismissal of the above entitled case.

SO ORDERED.

Quezon City, Philippines, January 29, 1965. (p. 40, Record [p. 21, Record on
Appeal.)

Hence, this appeal where plaintiffs-appellants, the spouses Elcano, are presenting for Our
resolution the following assignment of errors:

THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN DISMISSING THE CASE BY UPHOLDING


THE CLAIM OF DEFENDANTS THAT -

THE PRESENT ACTION IS NOT ONLY AGAINST BUT ALSO A VIOLATION


OF SECTION 1, RULE 107, NOW RULE 111, OF THE REVISED RULES OF
COURT, AND THAT SECTION 3(c) OF RULE 111, RULES OF COURT IS
APPLICABLE;

II

THE ACTION IS BARRED BY A PRIOR JUDGMENT WHICH IS NOW FINAL


OR RES-ADJUDICTA;

III

THE PRINCIPLES OF QUASI-DELICTS, ARTICLES 2176 TO 2194 OF THE


CIVIL CODE, ARE INAPPLICABLE IN THE INSTANT CASE; and

IV

THAT THE COMPLAINT STATES NO CAUSE OF ACTION AGAINST


DEFENDANT MARVIN HILL BECAUSE HE WAS RELIEVED AS GUARDIAN
OF THE OTHER DEFENDANT THROUGH EMANCIPATION BY MARRIAGE.
(page 4, Record.)

It appears that for the killing of the son, Agapito, of plaintiffs-appellants, defendant- appellee
Reginald Hill was prosecuted criminally in Criminal Case No. 5102 of the Court of First
Instance of Quezon City. After due trial, he was acquitted on the ground that his act was not
criminal because of "lack of intent to kill, coupled with mistake." Parenthetically, none of the
parties has favored Us with a copy of the decision of acquittal, presumably because
appellants do not dispute that such indeed was the basis stated in the court's decision. And
so, when appellants filed their complaint against appellees Reginald and his father, Atty.
Marvin Hill, on account of the death of their son, the appellees filed the motion to dismiss
above-referred to.

As We view the foregoing background of this case, the two decisive issues presented for Our
resolution are:
1. Is the present civil action for damages barred by the acquittal of Reginald in the criminal
case wherein the action for civil liability, was not reversed?

2. May Article 2180 (2nd and last paragraphs) of the Civil Code he applied against Atty. Hill,
notwithstanding the undisputed fact that at the time of the occurrence complained of.
Reginald, though a minor, living with and getting subsistenee from his father, was already
legally married?

The first issue presents no more problem than the need for a reiteration and further
clarification of the dual character, criminal and civil, of fault or negligence as a source of
obligation which was firmly established in this jurisdiction in Barredo vs. Garcia, 73 Phil. 607.
In that case, this Court postulated, on the basis of a scholarly dissertation by Justice Bocobo
on the nature of culpa aquiliana in relation to culpa criminal or delito and mere culpa or fault,
with pertinent citation of decisions of the Supreme Court of Spain, the works of recognized
civilians, and earlier jurisprudence of our own, that the same given act can result in civil
liability not only under the Penal Code but also under the Civil Code. Thus, the opinion holds:

The, above case is pertinent because it shows that the same act machinist.
come under both the Penal Code and the Civil Code. In that case, the action of
the agent killeth unjustified and fraudulent and therefore could have been the
subject of a criminal action. And yet, it was held to be also a proper subject of a
civil action under article 1902 of the Civil Code. It is also to be noted that it was
the employer and not the employee who was being sued. (pp. 615-616, 73
Phil.). 1

It will be noticed that the defendant in the above case could have been
prosecuted in a criminal case because his negligence causing the death of the
child was punishable by the Penal Code. Here is therefore a clear instance of
the same act of negligence being a proper subject matter either of a criminal
action with its consequent civil liability arising from a crime or of an entirely
separate and independent civil action for fault or negligence under article 1902
of the Civil Code. Thus, in this jurisdiction, the separate individuality of a cuasi-
delito or culpa aquiliana, under the Civil Code has been fully and clearly
recognized, even with regard to a negligent act for which the wrongdoer could
have been prosecuted and convicted in a criminal case and for which, after
such a conviction, he could have been sued for this civil liability arising from his
crime. (p. 617, 73 Phil.) 2

It is most significant that in the case just cited, this Court specifically applied
article 1902 of the Civil Code. It is thus that although J. V. House could have
been criminally prosecuted for reckless or simple negligence and not only
punished but also made civilly liable because of his criminal negligence,
nevertheless this Court awarded damages in an independent civil action for
fault or negligence under article 1902 of the Civil Code. (p. 618, 73 Phil.) 3

The legal provisions, authors, and cases already invoked should ordinarily be
sufficient to dispose of this case. But inasmuch as we are announcing doctrines
that have been little understood, in the past, it might not he inappropriate to
indicate their foundations.

Firstly, the Revised Penal Code in articles 365 punishes not only reckless but
also simple negligence. If we were to hold that articles 1902 to 1910 of the Civil
Code refer only to fault or negligence not punished by law, accordingly to the
literal import of article 1093 of the Civil Code, the legal institution of culpa
aquiliana would have very little scope and application in actual life. Death or
injury to persons and damage to property- through any degree of negligence -
even the slightest - would have to be Idemnified only through the principle of
civil liability arising from a crime. In such a state of affairs, what sphere would
remain for cuasi-delito or culpa aquiliana? We are loath to impute to the
lawmaker any intention to bring about a situation so absurd and anomalous.
Nor are we, in the interpretation of the laws, disposed to uphold the letter that
killeth rather than the spirit that giveth life. We will not use the literal meaning of
the law to smother and render almost lifeless a principle of such ancient origin
and such full-grown development as culpa aquiliana or cuasi-delito, which is
conserved and made enduring in articles 1902 to 1910 of the Spanish Civil
Code.

Secondary, to find the accused guilty in a criminal case, proof of guilt beyond
reasonable doubt is required, while in a civil case, preponderance of evidence
is sufficient to make the defendant pay in damages. There are numerous cases
of criminal negligence which can not be shown beyond reasonable doubt, but
can be proved by a preponderance of evidence. In such cases, the defendant
can and should be made responsible in a civil action under articles 1902 to
1910 of the Civil Code. Otherwise. there would be many instances of
unvindicated civil wrongs. "Ubi jus Idemnified remedium." (p. 620,73 Phil.)

Fourthly, because of the broad sweep of the provisions of both the Penal Code
and the Civil Code on this subject, which has given rise to the overlapping or
concurrence of spheres already discussed, and for lack of understanding of the
character and efficacy of the action for culpa aquiliana, there has grown up a
common practice to seek damages only by virtue of the civil responsibility
arising from a crime, forgetting that there is another remedy, which is by
invoking articles 1902-1910 of the Civil Code. Although this habitual method is
allowed by, our laws, it has nevertheless rendered practically useless and
nugatory the more expeditious and effective remedy based on culpa aquiliana
or culpa extra-contractual. In the present case, we are asked to help perpetuate
this usual course. But we believe it is high time we pointed out to the harms
done by such practice and to restore the principle of responsibility for fault or
negligence under articles 1902 et seq. of the Civil Code to its full rigor. It is high
time we caused the stream of quasi-delict or culpa aquiliana to flow on its own
natural channel, so that its waters may no longer be diverted into that of a crime
under the Penal Code. This will, it is believed, make for the better safeguarding
or private rights because it realtor, an ancient and additional remedy, and for
the further reason that an independent civil action, not depending on the issues,
limitations and results of a criminal prosecution, and entirely directed by the
party wronged or his counsel, is more likely to secure adequate and efficacious
redress. (p. 621, 73 Phil.)

Contrary to an immediate impression one might get upon a reading of the foregoing excerpts
from the opinion in Garcia that the concurrence of the Penal Code and the Civil Code therein
referred to contemplate only acts of negligence and not intentional voluntary acts - deeper
reflection would reveal that the thrust of the pronouncements therein is not so limited, but that
in fact it actually extends to fault or culpa. This can be seen in the reference made therein to
the Sentence of the Supreme Court of Spain of February 14, 1919, supra, which involved a
case of fraud or estafa, not a negligent act. Indeed, Article 1093 of the Civil Code of Spain, in
force here at the time of Garcia, provided textually that obligations "which are derived from
acts or omissions in which fault or negligence, not punishable by law, intervene shall be the
subject of Chapter II, Title XV of this book (which refers to quasi-delicts.)" And it is precisely
the underline qualification, "not punishable by law", that Justice Bocobo emphasized could
lead to an ultimo construction or interpretation of the letter of the law that "killeth, rather than
the spirit that giveth lift- hence, the ruling that "(W)e will not use the literal meaning of the law
to smother and render almost lifeless a principle of such ancient origin and such full-grown
development as culpa aquiliana or quasi-delito, which is conserved and made enduring in
articles 1902 to 1910 of the Spanish Civil Code." And so, because Justice Bacobo was
Chairman of the Code Commission that drafted the original text of the new Civil Code, it is to
be noted that the said Code, which was enacted after the Garcia doctrine, no longer uses the
term, 11 not punishable by law," thereby making it clear that the concept of culpa
aquiliana includes acts which are criminal in character or in violation of the penal law,
whether voluntary or matter. Thus, the corresponding provisions to said Article 1093 in the
new code, which is Article 1162, simply says, "Obligations derived from quasi-delicto shall be
governed by the provisions of Chapter 2, Title XVII of this Book, (on quasi-delicts) and by
special laws." More precisely, a new provision, Article 2177 of the new code provides:

ART. 2177. Responsibility for fault or negligence under the preceding article is
entirely separate and distinct from the civil liability arising from negligence
under the Penal Code. But the plaintiff cannot recover damages twice for the
same act or omission of the defendant.

According to the Code Commission: "The foregoing provision (Article 2177) through at first
sight startling, is not so novel or extraordinary when we consider the exact nature of criminal
and civil negligence. The former is a violation of the criminal law, while the latter is a "culpa
aquiliana" or quasi-delict, of ancient origin, having always had its own foundation and
individuality, separate from criminal negligence. Such distinction between criminal negligence
and "culpa extracontractual" or "cuasi-delito" has been sustained by decision of the Supreme
Court of Spain and maintained as clear, sound and perfectly tenable by Maura, an
outstanding Spanish jurist. Therefore, under the proposed Article 2177, acquittal from an
accusation of criminal negligence, whether on reasonable doubt or not, shall not be a bar to a
subsequent civil action, not for civil liability arising from criminal negligence, but for damages
due to a quasi-delict or 'culpa aquiliana'. But said article forestalls a double recovery.",
(Report of the Code) Commission, p. 162.)

Although, again, this Article 2177 does seem to literally refer to only acts of negligence, the
same argument of Justice Bacobo about construction that upholds "the spirit that giveth lift-
rather than that which is literal that killeth the intent of the lawmaker should be observed in
applying the same. And considering that the preliminary chapter on human relations of the
new Civil Code definitely establishes the separability and independence of liability in a civil
action for acts criminal in character (under Articles 29 to 32) from the civil responsibility
arising from crime fixed by Article 100 of the Revised Penal Code, and, in a sense, the Rules
of Court, under Sections 2 and 3 (c), Rule 111, contemplate also the same separability, it is
"more congruent with the spirit of law, equity and justice, and more in harmony with modern
progress"- to borrow the felicitous relevant language in Rakes vs. Atlantic. Gulf and Pacific
Co., 7 Phil. 359, to hold, as We do hold, that Article 2176, where it refers to "fault or
negligencia covers not only acts "not punishable by law" but also acts criminal in character,
whether intentional and voluntary or negligent. Consequently, a separate civil action lies
against the offender in a criminal act, whether or not he is criminally prosecuted and found
guilty or acquitted, provided that the offended party is not allowed, if he is actually charged
also criminally, to recover damages on both scores, and would be entitled in such eventuality
only to the bigger award of the two, assuming the awards made in the two cases vary. In
other words, the extinction of civil liability referred to in Par. (e) of Section 3, Rule 111, refers
exclusively to civil liability founded on Article 100 of the Revised Penal Code, whereas the
civil liability for the same act considered as a quasi-delict only and not as a crime is not
estinguished even by a declaration in the criminal case that the criminal act charged has not
happened or has not been committed by the accused. Briefly stated, We here hold, in
reiteration of Garcia, that culpa aquiliana includes voluntary and negligent acts which may be
punishable by law.4

It results, therefore, that the acquittal of Reginal Hill in the criminal case has not extinguished
his liability for quasi-delict, hence that acquittal is not a bar to the instant action against him.

Coming now to the second issue about the effect of Reginald's emancipation by marriage on
the possible civil liability of Atty. Hill, his father, it is also Our considered opinion that the
conclusion of appellees that Atty. Hill is already free from responsibility cannot be upheld.

While it is true that parental authority is terminated upon emancipation of the child (Article
327, Civil Code), and under Article 397, emancipation takes place "by the marriage of the
minor (child)", it is, however, also clear that pursuant to Article 399, emancipation by
marriage of the minor is not really full or absolute. Thus "(E)mancipation by marriage or by
voluntary concession shall terminate parental authority over the child's person. It shall enable
the minor to administer his property as though he were of age, but he cannot borrow money
or alienate or encumber real property without the consent of his father or mother, or
guardian. He can sue and be sued in court only with the assistance of his father, mother or
guardian."

Now under Article 2180, "(T)he obligation imposed by article 2176 is demandable not only for
one's own acts or omissions, but also for those of persons for whom one is responsible. The
father and, in case of his death or incapacity, the mother, are responsible. The father and, in
case of his death or incapacity, the mother, are responsible for the damages caused by the
minor children who live in their company." In the instant case, it is not controverted that
Reginald, although married, was living with his father and getting subsistence from him at the
time of the occurrence in question. Factually, therefore, Reginald was still subservient to and
dependent on his father, a situation which is not unusual.

It must be borne in mind that, according to Manresa, the reason behind the joint and solidary
liability of presuncion with their offending child under Article 2180 is that is the obligation of
the parent to supervise their minor children in order to prevent them from causing damage to
third persons. 5 On the other hand, the clear implication of Article 399, in providing that a
minor emancipated by marriage may not, nevertheless, sue or be sued without the
assistance of the parents, is that such emancipation does not carry with it freedom to enter
into transactions or do any act that can give rise to judicial litigation. (See Manresa, Id., Vol.
II, pp. 766-767, 776.) And surely, killing someone else invites judicial action. Otherwise
stated, the marriage of a minor child does not relieve the parents of the duty to see to it that
the child, while still a minor, does not give answerable for the borrowings of money and
alienation or encumbering of real property which cannot be done by their minor married child
without their consent. (Art. 399; Manresa, supra.)

Accordingly, in Our considered view, Article 2180 applies to Atty. Hill notwithstanding the
emancipation by marriage of Reginald. However, inasmuch as it is evident that Reginald is
now of age, as a matter of equity, the liability of Atty. Hill has become milling, subsidiary to
that of his son.

WHEREFORE, the order appealed from is reversed and the trial court is ordered to proceed
in accordance with the foregoing opinion. Costs against appellees.

Fernando (Chairman), Antonio, and Martin, JJ., concur.

Concepcion Jr., J, is on leave.

Martin, J, was designated to sit in the Second Division.

Separate Opinions

AQUINO, J, concurring:

Article 2176 of the Civil Code comprehends any culpable act, which is blameworthy, when
judged by accepted legal standards. "The Idea thus expressed is undoubtedly board enough
to include any rational conception of liability for the tortious acts likely to be developed in any
society." (Street, J. in Daywalt vs. Corporacion de PP. Agustinos Recoletos, 39 Phil. 587,
600). See article 38, Civil Code and the ruling that "the infant tortfeasor is liable in a civil
action to the injured person in the same manner and to the same extent as an adult" (27 Am.
Jur. 812 cited by Bocobo, J., in Magtibay vs. Tiangco, 74 Phil. 576, 579).

Separate Opinions

AQUINO, J, concurring:

Article 2176 of the Civil Code comprehends any culpable act, which is blameworthy, when
judged by accepted legal standards. "The Idea thus expressed is undoubtedly board enough
to include any rational conception of liability for the tortious acts likely to be developed in any
society." (Street, J. in Daywalt vs. Corporacion de PP. Agustinos Recoletos, 39 Phil. 587,
600). See article 38, Civil Code and the ruling that "the infant tortfeasor is liable in a civil
action to the injured person in the same manner and to the same extent as an adult" (27 Am.
Jur. 812 cited by Bocobo, J., in Magtibay vs. Tiangco, 74 Phil. 576, 579).

Footnotes

1 Referring to Sentence of the Supreme Court of Spain of February 14, 1919.

2 Referring to Manzanares vs. Moreta, 38 Phil. 821.


3 Referring to Bernal et al, vs. House et al., 54 Phil. 327.

4 Parenthetically, Manresa seemingly holds. the contrary view thus:

"Sin embargo, para no ineurrir en error hay que tener en cuenta que los
lineage. del precepts contenido en el presente articulo son bastante mas
reducidos, pues no se hallan comprendidos en el todos los datios que pues
tener por causa la culpa o la negligencia.

"En efecto, examinando detenidamente la terminos general de la culpa y de la


negligencia. se observe que, tanto en una como en otra de dichas causas, hay
tres generoso o tres especies distintas, a saber:

1. La que represents una accion u omision voluntaria por la que results


incumplida una obligacion anteriormente constituida.

2. La que sin existencia de una obligacion anterior produce un dano o perjuicio


que, teniendo su origen en un hecho ilicito, no reviste los caracteres de delito o
falta; y

3. La que teniendo por origen un hecho que constituya delito o falta produce
una responsabilidad civil como accesoria de la responsabilidad criminal.

"La primera de estas tres especies de culpa o negligencia es siempre


accesoria de una obligacion principal, cuyo incumplimiento da origen a la
terminos especial de la culpa en materia de contratos, y el eatudio de esta
debe harms al examinar cada contrato, en especial, como lo hicimos asi,
analizando entoces los peculiares efectos de dicha culpa en cada uno de ellos.

"La tercera de las especies citadas es accesoria tambien, pues no puede


concebirse su existencia sin la de un delicto o falts que la produzca. Es decir,
que solo al lado de la responsabilidad criminal puede supuesto esa
responsabilidad civil y la obligacion proveniente de la culpa, ineurrir como una
consecuencia de la responsabilidad criminal, y, por consiguente, su examen y
regulacion perusal. al Derecho penal.

"Como consecuencia de ello, results que la unica especie de culpa y omisiones


o negligencia que puede ser y es meanwhile.' del presente capitulo, es la
separability, o sea la que sin la existencia de una obligacion anterior, y sin
ningun antecedents contractual, produce un dano o perjuico que tiene su
origen en una accion u omision culpable solo civilmente; as decir, que siendo
ilicita, no reviste sin embargo, los caracteres de un delito o falta por no estar
penada por la ley. Y aun dentro de estos lineage hay que restringir aun mas los
terminos o la materia propria de este articulo, el cual se refiere unicamente a la
culpa o negligencia personates del obligado, pero no a las que prudencia de
actos o de omisiones de persons., distintas de este." (pp. 642-643, Vol. XII,
Manresa, Codigo Civil Espanol.)

5 "Nuestro Codigo no ha seguido la escuela italiana, sino que mas bien se ha


instantaneous, en el criterio de la doctrina full-grown puesto que impone la
obligacion de reparar, el dano causado en virtud de una presuncion juris tecum
de culpa por parte del que tiene bajo su autoridad o dependecia al causante
del daho, derivada del hicimos de no haber puesto el cuidado y la vinculos
debida en los actos de sus subordinados para evitar dicho resultado. Asi es
que, segun el parrafo ultimo del art. 1,903, cesa dicha responsabilidad cuando
se prueba que los obligados por los actos ajenos emplearon toda la diligencia
de un buen padre de familia. Luego no es la causa de la obligacion impuesta la
representacion, ni el interes, ni la necesidad de que haya quienes responda del
dano causado por el que no tiene personalidad in garantias de specialist. para
responsabilidad por siendo sino el incumplimiento implicito o supuesto de los
deberes de precaucion y de prudencia que impuesta los vinculos civiles que
unicamente al obligado con las persons., por quienes debe representacion, el
mal causado, Por ese motivo coloca dicha obligacion entre las que prudencia
de la culpa of negligentj (pp. 670671, Manresa, Codigo Civil Espanol, Vol. XII.)
G.R. No. 102007 September 2, 1994

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
ROGELIO BAYOTAS y CORDOVA, accused-appellant.

The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.

Public Attorney's Office for accused-appellant.

ROMERO, J.:

In Criminal Case No. C-3217 filed before Branch 16, RTC Roxas City, Rogelio Bayotas y
Cordova was charged with Rape and eventually convicted thereof on June 19, 1991 in a
decision penned by Judge Manuel E. Autajay. Pending appeal of his conviction, Bayotas died
on February 4, 1992 at
the National Bilibid Hospital due to cardio respiratory arrest secondary to hepatic
encephalopathy secondary to hipato carcinoma gastric malingering. Consequently, the
Supreme Court in its Resolution of May 20, 1992 dismissed the criminal aspect of the appeal.
However, it required the Solicitor General to file its comment with regard to Bayotas' civil
liability arising from his commission of the offense charged.

In his comment, the Solicitor General expressed his view that the death of accused-appellant
did not extinguish his civil liability as a result of his commission of the offense charged. The
Solicitor General, relying on the case of People v. Sendaydiego 1 insists that the appeal
should still be resolved for the purpose of reviewing his conviction by the lower court on
which the civil liability is based.

Counsel for the accused-appellant, on the other hand, opposed the view of the Solicitor
General arguing that the death of the accused while judgment of conviction is pending appeal
extinguishes both his criminal and civil penalties. In support of his position, said counsel
invoked the ruling of the Court of Appeals in People v. Castillo and Ocfemia 2 which held that
the civil obligation in a criminal case takes root in the criminal liability and, therefore, civil
liability is extinguished if accused should die before final judgment is rendered.

We are thus confronted with a single issue: Does death of the accused pending appeal of his
conviction extinguish his civil liability?

In the aforementioned case of People v. Castillo, this issue was settled in the affirmative.
This same issue posed therein was phrased thus: Does the death of Alfredo Castillo affect
both his criminal responsibility and his civil liability as a consequence of the alleged crime?

It resolved this issue thru the following disquisition:

Article 89 of the Revised Penal Code is the controlling statute. It reads, in part:

Art. 89. How criminal liability is totally extinguished. — Criminal


liability is totally extinguished:
1. By the death of the convict, as to the personal penalties; and as
to the pecuniary penalties liability therefor is extinguished only
when the death of the offender occurs before final judgment;

With reference to Castillo's criminal liability, there is no question. The law is


plain. Statutory construction is unnecessary. Said liability is extinguished.

The civil liability, however, poses a problem. Such liability is extinguished only
when the death of the offender occurs before final judgment. Saddled upon us
is the task of ascertaining the legal import of the term "final judgment." Is it final
judgment as contradistinguished from an interlocutory order? Or, is it a
judgment which is final and executory?

We go to the genesis of the law. The legal precept contained in Article 89 of the
Revised Penal Code heretofore transcribed is lifted from Article 132 of the
Spanish El Codigo Penal de 1870 which, in part, recites:

La responsabilidad penal se extingue.

1. Por la muerte del reo en cuanto a las penas personales


siempre, y respecto a las pecuniarias, solo cuando a su
fallecimiento no hubiere recaido sentencia firme.

xxx xxx xxx

The code of 1870 . . . it will be observed employs the term "sentencia firme."
What is "sentencia firme" under the old statute?

XXVIII Enciclopedia Juridica Española, p. 473, furnishes the ready answer: It


says:

SENTENCIA FIRME. La sentencia que adquiere la fuerza de las


definitivas por no haberse utilizado por las partes litigantes
recurso alguno contra ella dentro de los terminos y plazos legales
concedidos al efecto.

"Sentencia firme" really should be understood as one which is definite.


Because, it is only when judgment is such that, as Medina y Maranon puts it,
the crime is confirmed — "en condena determinada;" or, in the words of
Groizard, the guilt of the accused becomes — "una verdad legal." Prior thereto,
should the accused die, according to Viada, "no hay legalmente, en tal caso, ni
reo, ni delito, ni responsabilidad criminal de ninguna clase." And, as Judge
Kapunan well explained, when a defendant dies before judgment becomes
executory, "there cannot be any determination by final judgment whether or not
the felony upon which the civil action might arise exists," for the simple reason
that "there is no party defendant." (I Kapunan, Revised Penal Code, Annotated,
p. 421. Senator Francisco holds the same view. Francisco, Revised Penal
Code, Book One, 2nd ed., pp. 859-860)

The legal import of the term "final judgment" is similarly reflected in the Revised
Penal Code. Articles 72 and 78 of that legal body mention the term "final
judgment" in the sense that it is already enforceable. This also brings to mind
Section 7, Rule 116 of the Rules of Court which states that a judgment in a
criminal case becomes final "after the lapse of the period for perfecting an
appeal or when the sentence has been partially or totally satisfied or served, or
the defendant has expressly waived in writing his right to appeal."

By fair intendment, the legal precepts and opinions here collected funnel down
to one positive conclusion: The term final judgment employed in the Revised
Penal Code means judgment beyond recall. Really, as long as a judgment has
not become executory, it cannot be truthfully said that defendant is definitely
guilty of the felony charged against him.

Not that the meaning thus given to final judgment is without reason. For where,
as in this case, the right to institute a separate civil action is not reserved, the
decision to be rendered must, of necessity, cover "both the criminal and the
civil aspects of the case." People vs. Yusico (November 9, 1942), 2 O.G., No.
100, p. 964. See also: People vs. Moll, 68 Phil., 626, 634; Francisco, Criminal
Procedure, 1958 ed., Vol. I, pp. 234, 236. Correctly, Judge Kapunan observed
that as "the civil action is based solely on the felony committed and of which the
offender might be found guilty, the death of the offender extinguishes the civil
liability." I Kapunan, Revised Penal Code, Annotated, supra.

Here is the situation obtaining in the present case: Castillo's criminal liability is
out. His civil liability is sought to be enforced by reason of that criminal liability.
But then, if we dismiss, as we must, the criminal action and let the civil aspect
remain, we will be faced with the anomalous situation whereby we will be called
upon to clamp civil liability in a case where the source thereof — criminal
liability — does not exist. And, as was well stated in Bautista, et al. vs. Estrella,
et al., CA-G.R.
No. 19226-R, September 1, 1958, "no party can be found and held criminally
liable in a civil suit," which solely would remain if we are to divorce it from the
criminal proceeding."

This ruling of the Court of Appeals in the Castillo case 3 was adopted by the Supreme Court
in the cases of People of the Philippines v. Bonifacio Alison, et al., 4 People of the Philippines
v. Jaime Jose, et al. 5 and People of the Philippines v. Satorre 6 by dismissing the appeal in
view of the death of the accused pending appeal of said cases.

As held by then Supreme Court Justice Fernando in the Alison case:

The death of accused-appellant Bonifacio Alison having been established, and


considering that there is as yet no final judgment in view of the pendency of the
appeal, the criminal and civil liability of the said accused-appellant Alison was
extinguished by his death (Art. 89, Revised Penal Code; Reyes' Criminal Law,
1971 Rev. Ed., p. 717, citing People v. Castillo and Ofemia C.A., 56 O.G.
4045); consequently, the case against him should be dismissed.

On the other hand, this Court in the subsequent cases of Buenaventura Belamala
v. Marcelino Polinar 7 and Lamberto Torrijos v. The Honorable Court of Appeals 8 ruled
differently. In the former, the issue decided by this court was: Whether the civil liability of one
accused of physical injuries who died before final judgment is extinguished by his demise to
the extent of barring any claim therefore against his estate. It was the contention of the
administrator-appellant therein that the death of the accused prior to final judgment
extinguished all criminal and civil liabilities resulting from the offense, in view of Article 89,
paragraph 1 of the Revised Penal Code. However, this court ruled therein:

We see no merit in the plea that the civil liability has been extinguished, in view
of the provisions of the Civil Code of the Philippines of 1950 (Rep. Act No. 386)
that became operative eighteen years after the revised Penal Code. As pointed
out by the Court below, Article 33 of the Civil Code establishes a civil action for
damages on account of physical injuries, entirely separate and distinct from the
criminal action.

Art. 33. In cases of defamation, fraud, and physical injuries, a civil


action for damages, entirely separate and distinct from the
criminal action, may be brought by the injured party. Such civil
action shall proceed independently of the criminal prosecution,
and shall require only a preponderance of evidence.

Assuming that for lack of express reservation, Belamala's civil action for
damages was to be considered instituted together with the criminal action still,
since both proceedings were terminated without final adjudication, the civil
action of the offended party under Article 33 may yet be enforced separately.

In Torrijos, the Supreme Court held that:

xxx xxx xxx

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

xxx xxx xxx

In the above case, the court was convinced that the civil liability of the accused who
was charged with estafa could likewise trace its genesis to Articles 19, 20 and 21 of
the Civil Code since said accused had swindled the first and second vendees of the
property subject matter of the contract of sale. It therefore concluded: "Consequently,
while the death of the accused herein extinguished his criminal liability including fine,
his civil liability based on the laws of human relations remains."

Thus it allowed the appeal to proceed with respect to the civil liability of the accused,
notwithstanding the extinction of his criminal liability due to his death pending appeal of his
conviction.

To further justify its decision to allow the civil liability to survive, the court relied on the
following ratiocination: Since Section 21, Rule 3 of the Rules of Court 9 requires the dismissal
of all money claims against the defendant whose death occurred prior to the final judgment of
the Court of First Instance (CFI), then it can be inferred that actions for recovery of money
may continue to be heard on appeal, when the death of the defendant supervenes after the
CFI had rendered its judgment. In such case, explained this tribunal, "the name of the
offended party shall be included in the title of the case as plaintiff-appellee and the legal
representative or the heirs of the deceased-accused should be substituted as defendants-
appellants."

It is, thus, evident that as jurisprudence evolved from Castillo to Torrijos, the rule established
was that the survival of the civil liability depends on whether the same can be predicated on
sources of obligations other than delict. Stated differently, the claim for civil liability is also
extinguished together with the criminal action if it were solely based thereon, i.e., civil
liability ex delicto.

However, the Supreme Court in People v. Sendaydiego, et al. 10 departed from this long-
established principle of law. In this case, accused Sendaydiego was charged with and
convicted by the lower court of malversation thru falsification of public documents.
Sendaydiego's death supervened during the pendency of the appeal of his conviction.

This court in an unprecedented move resolved to dismiss Sendaydiego's appeal but only to
the extent of his criminal liability. His civil liability was allowed to survive although it was clear
that such claim thereon was exclusively dependent on the criminal action already
extinguished. The legal import of such decision was for the court to continue exercising
appellate jurisdiction over the entire appeal, passing upon the correctness of Sendaydiego's
conviction despite dismissal of the criminal action, for the purpose of determining if he is
civilly liable. In doing so, this Court issued a Resolution of July 8, 1977 stating thus:

The claim of complainant Province of Pangasinan for the civil liability survived
Sendaydiego because his death occurred after final judgment was rendered by
the Court of First Instance of Pangasinan, which convicted him of three
complex crimes of malversation through falsification and ordered him to
indemnify the Province in the total sum of P61,048.23 (should be P57,048.23).

The civil action for the civil liability is deemed impliedly instituted with the
criminal action in the absence of express waiver or its reservation in a separate
action (Sec. 1, Rule 111 of the Rules of Court). The civil action for the civil
liability is separate and distinct from the criminal action (People and Manuel vs.
Coloma, 105 Phil. 1287; Roa vs. De la Cruz, 107 Phil. 8).

When the action is for the recovery of money and the defendant dies before
final judgment in the Court of First Instance, it shall be dismissed to be
prosecuted in the manner especially provided in Rule 87 of the Rules of Court
(Sec. 21, Rule 3 of the Rules of Court).

The implication is that, if the defendant dies after a money judgment had been
rendered against him by the Court of First Instance, the action survives him. It
may be continued on appeal (Torrijos vs. Court of Appeals, L-40336, October
24, 1975; 67 SCRA 394).

The accountable public officer may still be civilly liable for the funds improperly
disbursed although he has no criminal liability (U.S. vs. Elvina, 24 Phil. 230;
Philippine National Bank vs. Tugab, 66 Phil. 583).

In view of the foregoing, notwithstanding the dismissal of the appeal of the


deceased Sendaydiego insofar as his criminal liability is concerned, the Court
Resolved to continue exercising appellate jurisdiction over his possible civil
liability for the money claims of the Province of Pangasinan arising from the
alleged criminal acts complained of, as if no criminal case had been instituted
against him, thus making applicable, in determining his civil liability, Article 30
of the Civil Code . . . and, for that purpose, his counsel is directed to inform this
Court within ten (10) days of the names and addresses of the decedent's heirs
or whether or not his estate is under administration and has a duly appointed
judicial administrator. Said heirs or administrator will be substituted for the
deceased insofar as the civil action for the civil liability is concerned (Secs. 16
and 17, Rule 3, Rules of Court).

Succeeding cases 11 raising the identical issue have maintained adherence to our ruling
in Sendaydiego; in other words, they were a reaffirmance of our abandonment of the settled
rule that a civil liability solely anchored on the criminal (civil liability ex delicto) is extinguished
upon dismissal of the entire appeal due to the demise of the accused.

But was it judicious to have abandoned this old ruling? A re-examination of our decision
in Sendaydiego impels us to revert to the old ruling.

To restate our resolution of July 8, 1977 in Sendaydiego: The resolution of the civil action
impliedly instituted in the criminal action can proceed irrespective of the latter's extinction due
to death of the accused pending appeal of his conviction, pursuant to Article 30 of the Civil
Code and Section 21, Rule 3 of the Revised Rules of Court.

Article 30 of the Civil Code provides:

When a separate civil action is brought to demand civil liability arising from a
criminal offense, and no criminal proceedings are instituted during the
pendency of the civil case, a preponderance of evidence shall likewise be
sufficient to prove the act complained of.

Clearly, the text of Article 30 could not possibly lend support to the ruling in Sendaydiego.
Nowhere in its text is there a grant of authority to continue exercising appellate jurisdiction
over the accused's civil liability ex delicto when his death supervenes during appeal. What
Article 30 recognizes is an alternative and separate civil action which may be brought to
demand civil liability arising from a criminal offense independently of any criminal action. In
the event that no criminal proceedings are instituted during the pendency of said civil case,
the quantum of evidence needed to prove the criminal act will have to be that which is
compatible with civil liability and that is, preponderance of evidence and not proof of guilt
beyond reasonable doubt. Citing or invoking Article 30 to justify the survival of the civil action
despite extinction of the criminal would in effect merely beg the question of whether civil
liability ex delicto survives upon extinction of the criminal action due to death of the accused
during appeal of his conviction. This is because whether asserted in
the criminal action or in a separate civil action, civil liability ex delicto is extinguished by the
death of the accused while his conviction is on appeal. Article 89 of the Revised Penal Code
is clear on this matter:

Art. 89. How criminal liability is totally extinguished. — Criminal liability is totally
extinguished:
1. By the death of the convict, as to the personal penalties; and as to pecuniary
penalties, liability therefor is extinguished only when the death of the offender
occurs before final judgment;

xxx xxx xxx

However, the ruling in Sendaydiego deviated from the expressed intent of Article 89. It
allowed claims for civil liability ex delicto to survive by ipso facto treating the civil action
impliedly instituted with the criminal, as one filed under Article 30, as though no criminal
proceedings had been filed but merely a separate civil action. This had the effect of
converting such claims from one which is dependent on the outcome of the criminal action to
an entirely new and separate one, the prosecution of which does not even necessitate the
filing of criminal proceedings. 12 One would be hard put to pinpoint the statutory authority for
such a transformation. It is to be borne in mind that in recovering civil liability ex delicto, the
same has perforce to be determined in the criminal action, rooted as it is in the court's
pronouncement of the guilt or innocence of the accused. This is but to render fealty to the
intendment of Article 100 of the Revised Penal Code which provides that "every person
criminally liable for a felony is also civilly liable." In such cases, extinction of the criminal
action due to death of the accused pending appeal inevitably signifies the concomitant
extinction of the civil liability. Mors Omnia Solvi. Death dissolves all things.

In sum, in pursuing recovery of civil liability arising from crime, the final determination of the
criminal liability is a condition precedent to the prosecution of the civil action, such that when
the criminal action is extinguished by the demise of accused-appellant pending appeal
thereof, said civil action cannot survive. The claim for civil liability springs out of and is
dependent upon facts which, if true, would constitute a crime. Such civil liability is an
inevitable consequence of the criminal liability and is to be declared and enforced in the
criminal proceeding. This is to be distinguished from that which is contemplated under Article
30 of the Civil Code which refers to the institution of a separate civil action that does not draw
its life from a criminal proceeding. The Sendaydiego resolution of July 8, 1977, however,
failed to take note of this fundamental distinction when it allowed the survival of the civil
action for the recovery of civil liability ex delicto by treating the same as a separate civil
action referred to under Article 30. Surely, it will take more than just a summary judicial
pronouncement to authorize the conversion of said civil action to an independent one such
as that contemplated under Article 30.

Ironically however, the main decision in Sendaydiego did not apply Article 30, the resolution
of July 8, 1977 notwithstanding. Thus, it was held in the main decision:

Sendaydiego's appeal will be resolved only for the purpose of showing his
criminal liability which is the basis of the civil liability for which his estate would
be liable. 13

In other words, the Court, in resolving the issue of his civil liability, concomitantly made a
determination on whether Sendaydiego, on the basis of evidenced adduced, was indeed
guilty beyond reasonable doubt of committing the offense charged. Thus, it upheld
Sendaydiego's conviction and pronounced the same as the source of his civil liability.
Consequently, although Article 30 was not applied in the final determination of
Sendaydiego's civil liability, there was a reopening of the criminal action already extinguished
which served as basis for Sendaydiego's civil liability. We reiterate: Upon death of the
accused pending appeal of his conviction, the criminal action is extinguished inasmuch as
there is no longer a defendant to stand as the accused; the civil action instituted therein for
recovery of civil liability ex delicto is ipso facto extinguished, grounded as it is on the criminal.

Section 21, Rule 3 of the Rules of Court was also invoked to serve as another basis for
the Sendaydiego resolution of July 8, 1977. In citing Sec. 21, Rule 3 of the Rules of Court,
the Court made the inference that civil actions of the type involved in Sendaydiego consist of
money claims, the recovery of which may be continued on appeal if defendant dies pending
appeal of his conviction by holding his estate liable therefor. Hence, the Court's conclusion:

"When the action is for the recovery of money" "and the defendant dies before
final judgment in the court of First Instance, it shall be dismissed to be
prosecuted in the manner especially provided" in Rule 87 of the Rules of Court
(Sec. 21, Rule 3 of the Rules of Court).

The implication is that, if the defendant dies after a money judgment had been
rendered against him by the Court of First Instance, the action survives him. It
may be continued on appeal.

Sadly, reliance on this provision of law is misplaced. From the standpoint of procedural law,
this course taken in Sendaydiego cannot be sanctioned. As correctly observed by Justice
Regalado:

xxx xxx xxx

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


both Torrijos and Sendaydiego which, relying on the provisions of Section 21,
Rule 3 of the Rules of Court, drew the strained implication therefrom that where
the civil liability instituted together with the criminal liabilities had already
passed beyond the judgment of the then Court of First Instance (now the
Regional Trial Court), the Court of Appeals can continue to exercise appellate
jurisdiction thereover despite the extinguishment of the component criminal
liability of the deceased. This pronouncement, which has been followed in the
Court's judgments subsequent and consonant to Torrijos and Sendaydiego,
should be set aside and abandoned as being clearly erroneous and
unjustifiable.

Said Section 21 of Rule 3 is a rule of civil procedure in ordinary civil actions.


There is neither authority nor justification for its application in criminal
procedure to civil actions instituted together with and as part of criminal actions.
Nor is there any authority in law for the summary conversion from the latter
category of an ordinary civil action upon the death of the offender. . . .

Moreover, the civil action impliedly instituted in a criminal proceeding for recovery of civil
liability ex delicto can hardly be categorized as an ordinary money claim such as that referred
to in Sec. 21, Rule 3 enforceable before the estate of the deceased accused.

Ordinary money claims referred to in Section 21, Rule 3 must be viewed in light of the
provisions of Section 5, Rule 86 involving claims against the estate, which
in Sendaydiego was held liable for Sendaydiego's civil liability. "What are contemplated in
Section 21 of Rule 3, in relation to Section 5 of Rule 86, 14 are contractual money claims
while the claims involved in civil liability ex delicto may include even the restitution of
personal or real property." 15 Section 5, Rule 86 provides an exclusive enumeration of what
claims may be filed against the estate. These are: funeral expenses, expenses for the last
illness, judgments for money and claim arising from contracts, expressed or implied. It is
clear that money claims arising from delict do not form part of this exclusive enumeration.
Hence, there could be no legal basis in (1) treating a civil action ex delicto as an ordinary
contractual money claim referred to in Section 21, Rule 3 of the Rules of Court and (2)
allowing it to survive by filing a claim therefor before the estate of the deceased accused.
Rather, it should be extinguished upon extinction of the criminal action engendered by the
death of the accused pending finality of his conviction.

Accordingly, we rule: if the private offended party, upon extinction of the civil liability ex
delicto desires to recover damages from the same act or omission complained of, he must
subject to Section 1, Rule 111 16 (1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure as amended) file a
separate civil action, this time predicated not on the felony previously charged but on other
sources of obligation. The source of obligation upon which the separate civil action is
premised determines against whom the same shall be enforced.

If the same act or omission complained of also arises from quasi-delict or may, by provision
of law, result in an injury to person or property (real or personal), the separate civil action
must be filed against the executor or administrator 17 of the estate of the accused pursuant to
Sec. 1, Rule 87 of the Rules of Court:

Sec. 1. Actions which may and which may not be brought against executor or
administrator. — No action upon a claim for the recovery of money or debt or
interest thereon shall be commenced against the executor or administrator; but
actions to recover real or personal property, or an interest therein, from the
estate, or to enforce a lien thereon, and actions to recover damages for an
injury to person or property, real or personal, may be commenced against him.

This is in consonance with our ruling in Belamala 18 where we held that, in recovering
damages for injury to persons thru an independent civil action based on Article 33 of the Civil
Code, the same must be filed against the executor or administrator of the estate of deceased
accused and not against the estate under Sec. 5, Rule 86 because this rule explicitly limits
the claim to those for funeral expenses, expenses for the last sickness of the decedent,
judgment for money and claims arising from contract, express or implied. Contractual money
claims, we stressed, refers only to purely personal obligations other than those which have
their source in delict or tort.

Conversely, if the same act or omission complained of also arises from contract, the separate
civil action must be filed against the estate of the accused, pursuant to Sec. 5, Rule 86 of the
Rules of Court.

From this lengthy disquisition, we summarize our ruling herein:

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

2. Corollarily, the claim for civil liability survives notwithstanding the death of accused, if the
same may also be predicated on a source of obligation other than delict. 19 Article 1157 of
the Civil Code enumerates these other sources of obligation from which the civil liability may
arise as a result of the same act or omission:

a) Law 20

b) Contracts

c) Quasi-contracts

d) . . .

e) Quasi-delicts

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

4. Finally, the private offended party need not fear a forfeiture of his right to file this separate
civil action by prescription, in cases where during the prosecution of the criminal action and
prior to its extinction, the private-offended party instituted together therewith the civil action.
In such case, the statute of limitations on the civil liability is deemed interrupted during the
pendency of the criminal case, conformably with provisions of Article 1155 21 of the Civil
Code, that should thereby avoid any apprehension on a possible privation of right by
prescription. 22

Applying this set of rules to the case at bench, we hold that the death of appellant Bayotas
extinguished his criminal liability and the civil liability based solely on the act complained
of, i.e., rape. Consequently, the appeal is hereby dismissed without qualification.

WHEREFORE, the appeal of the late Rogelio Bayotas is DISMISSED with costs de oficio.

SO ORDERED.

Narvasa, C.J., Feliciano, Padilla, Bidin, Regalado, Davide, Jr., Bellosillo, Melo,
Quiason, Puno, Vitug, Kapunan and Mendoza, JJ., concur.

Cruz, J., is on leave.

#Footnotes

1 Nos. L-33252, L-33253 and L-33254, 81 SCRA 120.

2 No. 22211-R, November 4, 1959, 56 O.G. No. 23, p. 4045.

3 supra.
4 L-30612, April 27, 1972, 44 SCRA 523.

5 No. L-28397, June 17, 1976, 71 SCRA 273.

6 No. L-26282, August 27, 1976, 72 SCRA 439.

7 No. L-24098, November 18, 1967, 21 SCRA 970.

8 No. L-40336, October 24, 1975, 67 SCRA 394.

9 Sec. 21. Where claim does not survive. — When the action is for recovery of
money, debt or interest thereon, and the defendant dies before final judgment
in the Court of First Instance, it shall be dismissed to be prosecuted in the
manner especially provided in these rules.

10 Supra.

11 People v. Badeo, G.R. No. 72990, November 21, 1991, 204 SCRA 122;
Petralba v. Sandiganbayan, G.R. No. 81337, August 16, 1991, 200 SCRA 644;
Dumlao v. Court of Appeals, No. L-51625, October 5, 1988, 166 SCRA 269;
Rufo Mauricio Construction v. Intermediate Appellate Court, No. L-75357,
November 27, 1987, 155 SCRA 712; People v. Salcedo, No. L-48642, June 22,
1987, 151 SCRA 220; People v. Pancho, No. L-32507, November 4, 1986, 145
SCRA 323; People v. Navoa, No. L-67966, September 28, 1984, 132 SCRA
410; People v. Asibar,
No. L-37255, October 23, 1982, 117 SCRA 856; People v. Tirol, No. L-30538,
January 31, 1981, 102 SCRA 558; and People v. Llamoso, No. L-24866, July
13, 1979, 91 SCRA 364.

12 Justice Barredo in his concurring opinion observed that:

. . . this provision contemplates prosecution of the civil liability arising from a


criminal offense without the need of any criminal proceeding to prove the
commission of the crime as such, that is without having to prove the criminal
liability of the defendant so long as his act causing damage or prejudice to the
offended party is proven by preponderance of evidence.

13 Supra, p. 134.

14 Sec. 5. Claims which must be filed under the notice. If not filed,
barred; exceptions. — All claims for money against the decedent, arising from
contract, express or implied, whether the same be due, not due, or contingent,
all claims for funeral expenses and expenses for the last sickness of the
decedent, and judgment for money against the decedent, must be filed within
the time limited in the notice; otherwise they are barred forever, except that
they may be set forth as counterclaims in any action that the executor or
administrator may bring against the claimants. Where an executor or
administrator commences an action, or prosecutes an action already
commenced by the deceased in his lifetime, the debtor may set forth by answer
the claims he has against the decedent, instead of presenting them
independently to the court as herein provided, and mutual claims may be set off
against each other in such action; and if final judgment is rendered in favor of
the defendant, the amount so determined shall be considered the true balance
against the estate, as though the claim had been presented directly before the
court in the administration proceedings. Claims not yet due, or contingent, may
be approved at their present value.

15 As explained by J. Regalado in the deliberation of this case.

16 Sec. 1. Institute 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 Article 32, 33, 34 and 2176 of the Civil Code of the
Philippines arising from the same act or omission of the accused.

A waiver of any of the civil actions extinguishes the others. The institution of, or
the reservation of the right to file, any of said civil actions separately waives the
others.

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

In no case may the offended party recover damages twice for the same act or
omission of the accused.

When the offended party seeks to enforce civil liability against the accused by
way of moral, nominal, temperate or exemplary damages, the filing fees for
such civil action as provided in these Rules shall constitute a first lien on the
judgment except in an award for actual damages.

In cases wherein the amount of damages, other than actual, is alleged in the
complaint or information, the corresponding filing fees shall be paid by the
offended party upon the filing thereof in court for trial.

17 Justice Regalado cited the Court's ruling in Belamala that since the
damages sought, as a result of the felony committed amounts to injury to
person or property, real or personal, the civil liability to be recovered must be
claimed against the executor/administrator and not against the estate.

18 Ibid.

19 Justice Vitug who holds a similar view stated: "The civil liability may still be
pursued in a separate civil action but it must be predicated on a source of
obligation other than delict, except when by statutory provision an independent
civil action is authorized such as, to exemplify, in the instance enumerated in
Article 33 of the Civil Code." Justice Regalado stressed that:

Conversely, such civil liability is not extinguished and survives the deceased
offender where it also arises simultaneously from or exists as a consequence or
by reason of a contract, as in Torrijos; or from law, as stated in Torrijos and in
the concurring opinion in Sendaydiego, such as in reference to the Civil Code;
or from a quasi-contract; or is authorized by law to be pursued in an
independent civil action, as in Belamala. Indeed, without these exceptions, it
would be unfair and inequitable to deprive the victim of his property or recovery
of damages therefor, as would have been the fate of the second vendee
in Torrijos or the provincial government in Sendaydiego."

20 See Articles 19, 20, 21, 31, 32, 33, 34, 2176 of the Civil Code; see related
provisions of the Rules on Criminal Procedure, as amended, particularly Sec. 1,
Rule 111.

21 Art. 1155. The prescription of actions is interrupted when they are filed
before the court, when there is a written extrajudicial demand by the creditors,
and when there is any written acknowledgment of the debt by the debtor.

22 As explained by J. Vitug in the deliberation of this case.


G.R. No. 160355 May 16, 2005

PHILIPPINE RABBIT BUS LINES, INC., petitioner,


vs.
HEIRS OF EDUARDO MANGAWANG and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents.

DECISION

CALLEJO, SR., J.:

This is a petition for review of the Decision1 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No.
78149 affirming the Decision2 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Criminal Case No. 743-
C(’93) convicting the accused Ernesto Ancheta of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide.

The Antecedents

Ernesto Ancheta was employed by the Philippine Rabbit Bus Lines, Inc. (PRBLI) as driver of
one of its passenger buses. On July 23, 1993, an Information was filed with the RTC of
Capas, Tarlac, Branch 66, charging Ancheta with reckless imprudence resulting in homicide.
The inculpatory portion of the Information reads:

That on November 23, 1992 at around 11:50 o’clock (sic) in the morning, at Brgy.
Dolores, Municipality of Capas, Province of Tarlac, Philippines, and within the
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused, being then the driver and
person-in-charge of a Philippine Rabbit Bus bearing Plate No. CVE-707 with MVRR
No. 63044987, registered in the name of the Philippine Rabbit Bus Lines, Inc. of
Tarlac, Tarlac, did then and there, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously and with
reckless imprudence and managed the said Philippine Rabbit Bus at Brgy. Dolores,
Capas, Tarlac, in a careless, negligent and imprudent manner, without due regard to
laws, regulations, ordinances and traffic code and without taking the necessary
precaution to prevent accident to persons and damage to property and in violation of
the Land Transportation Laws, said bus driven by the accused while cruising the
MacArthur Highway towards the south direction, bumped the left rear side of a Toyota
jeep with Plate No. TAB 929 with MVRR No. 64284647 owned by Zenaida B. Dizon of
193 M. Santos St., Pasay City, Metro Manila, and driven by Eduardo Mangawang
towards the north direction, and as a result thereof said Eduardo Mangawang
ultimately died and the jeep he was then driving sustained damages of an
undetermined amount, to the damage and prejudice of the deceased and the owner
thereof.

Contrary to law.3

The accused was assisted by Atty. Crispiniano Lamorena, Jr., whom the PRBLI assigned as
counsel de parte. Atty. Andres Pangilinan entered his appearance as private prosecutor.

The trial court rendered judgment on November 12, 1999, convicting the accused of the
crime charged. The fallo of the decision reads:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered finding the


accused, ERNESTO ANCHETA, guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of
Reckless Imprudence Resulting to Homicide.
Accordingly, the said accused is hereby sentenced to suffer the indeterminate penalty
of imprisonment of two (2) years and four (4) months of prision correccional in its
minimum period as minimum to six (6) years of prision correccional in its maximum
period as maximum.

For the civil liability of the accused, Ernesto Ancheta is hereby ordered to indemnify
the heirs of Eduardo Mangawang the amounts of P28,600.00 as actual or
compensatory damages and P1,436,466.30 representing loss of earning capacity. The
accused is similarly ordered to pay the amounts of P50,000.00 by way of
indemnification for the death of Eduardo Mangawang and another P50,000.00 as
moral damages.

SO ORDERED.4

The accused appealed the decision to the CA. On November 10, 2000, the appellate court
issued a Resolution dismissing the appeal due to Ancheta’s failure to file his brief as
accused-appellant.5 The resolution of the CA dismissing the appeal became final and
executory, thus, entry of judgment was made of record on December 7, 2000. After the
transmission of the records to the RTC, it issued an Order on June 5, 2001 for the arrest of
the accused.6

On June 29, 2001, the PRBLI, as Ancheta’s employer, filed a Notice of Appeal of the
decision of the RTC. On July 18, 2001, the RTC issued an Order denying due course to the
notice of appeal, on its finding that the notice was filed long after the judgment of the RTC
had become final and executory.7 The PRBLI filed a motion for the reconsideration of the
order, claiming that it was not served with a copy of the decision of the RTC convicting the
accused of the crime charged; hence, could not have appealed the same. On August 1,
2001, the trial court issued an Order denying the said motion. The PRBLI filed an urgent
motion, this time for clarification of the said order, which the trial court denied in an Order
dated August 31, 2001. Undaunted, the PRBLI filed a manifestation with motion, citing the
ruling of this Court in Ozoa v. Vda. de Madula.8 On October 17, 2001, the trial court issued
an Order, this time, granting the motion and giving due course to the appeal of the PRBLI.
The trial court, likewise, ordered the records to be transmitted to the CA for the consideration
of the appeal, where the latter made the following assignment of errors:

THE TRIAL COURT SERIOUSLY ERRED IN THE APPRECIATION OF THE FACTS


AND THE EVIDENCE.

II

THE TRIAL COURT SERIOUSLY ERRED IN ATTRIBUTING SUPPOSED


NEGLIGENCE AND LACK OF FORESIGHT ON THE PART OF THE ACCUSED
ANCHETA.

III

THE TRIAL COURT SERIOUSLY ERRED IN SO GENEROUSLY AWARDING


UNCONSCIONABLE AMOUNTS IN SUPPOSED DAMAGES TO THE HEIRS OF
EDUARDO MANGAWANG.9
On October 10, 2003, the CA rendered judgment affirming with modification the decision of
the RTC. The fallo of the decision reads:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Decision dated November 12, 1999 of the
Regional Trial Court of Capas, Tarlac, Branch 66, in Criminal Case No. 743-C(’93) is
hereby AFFIRMED with the correction that the actual damages to be awarded should
only be P5,000.00. All other respects remain. Costs against appellant.

SO ORDERED.10

The appellate court dismissed the appeal on the ground that the decision of the RTC had
long become final and executory when the PRBLI appealed the decision. It ruled that the
PRBLI was bound by the said decision against the accused therein.11 Nevertheless, the
appellate court resolved the appeal on its merits and affirmed the decision of the RTC, but
with modification.12

The PRBLI forthwith filed the present petition for review on certiorari, assailing the decision of
the CA on the following grounds:

A.

THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE CONVICTION OF THE


ACCUSED HAS ATTAINED FINALITY AS AGAINST PETITIONER.

B.

PETITIONER MUST BE AFFORDED THE STANDING AND THE OPPORTUNITY TO


QUESTION THE ACCUSED’S CONVICTION.13

The petitioner submits the ruling of this Court in Pajarito v. Seneris14 and Miranda v. Malate
Garage & Taxicab, Inc.,15 that "the decision of the trial court convicting the employee is
binding and conclusive upon the employer not only with regard to the civil liability but also,
with regard to its amount," should not apply to it. It avers that unlike in Pajarito and Miranda,
the counsel of the accused therein was given ample opportunity to defend the accused
during the trial and on appeal in the CA. The petitioner laments that in this case, the counsel
it provided to defend the accused was remiss in the performance of his duties and failed to
notify it of the RTC decision, the November 10, 2000 Resolution of the CA, as well as the
June 5, 2001 Order of the RTC; consequently, it was not apprised of its civil liability to the
heirs of the deceased, thus depriving the petitioner of its right to due process. It avers that it
was only on account of its own diligence that it discovered the decision of the RTC, the
November 10, 2000 Resolution of the CA and the June 5, 2001 Order of the RTC.

The petitioner further avers that it was not furnished with a copy of the said CA Resolution,
and of the Arrest Order of the RTC dated June 5, 2001. The petitioner posits that until it is
furnished with such copies, the period within which to assail the decision of the RTC on its
civil liability to the heirs of the deceased had not commenced to run.

The petitioner submits that it is unjust and unreasonable for the CA to deprive it of its right to
question its civil liability to the heirs of the deceased, considering the gross negligence of the
counsel that it had provided the accused.
By way of comment on the petition, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) contends that
the decision of the RTC convicting Ancheta of the crime charged had become final and
executory, following the dismissal of his appeal before the CA. The decision of the RTC was
conclusive on the petitioner, not only with regard to its civil liability but also as to the amount
thereof, absent any collusion between the accused-employee and the private complainant.
The petitioner was not a direct party in the criminal case; hence, was not entitled to a copy of
the decision of the RTC or to appeal therefrom; it was, likewise, not entitled to be furnished a
copy of the CA Resolution dated November 10, 2000 and the Order of the RTC dated June
5, 2001. Hence, according to the OSG, it cannot complain of denial of its right to due
process. The OSG further asserts that the petition at bar is premature, considering that no
writ of execution has yet been issued by the RTC, and cites the ruling of this Court
in Philippine Rabbit Bus Lines, Inc. v. People16 to buttress its stance.

The petition is denied for lack of merit.

The ruling of the CA dismissing the petitioner’s appeal of the RTC decision convicting
Ancheta of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide is correct. However, the Court of
Appeals erred in modifying the decision of the RTC.

The petitioner, as the employer of the said accused, had no right to appeal from the said
decision because, in the first place, it was not a party in the said case. While the subsidiary
liability provided for by Articles 102 and 103 of the Revised Penal Code may render the
petitioner a party in substance and, in effect, it is not, for this reason, entitled to be furnished
a copy of the decision of the RTC, as well as the resolution and decision of the CA.

Indeed, the petitioner was entitled to protect its interest by taking actual participation in the
defense of its employee, Ancheta, by providing him with counsel. It cannot leave its
employee to his own fate because his failure is its failure.17 The petitioner, as the employer of
the accused, would thereby be apprised of the progress of the case and the outcome thereof
from time to time through the said counsel. The failure of such counsel to apprise the
petitioner of the progress of the case is thus not equivalent to lack of due process. The
pronouncement of the Court in Miranda v. Malate Garage & Taxicab, Inc. 18 is instructive on
this score:

It is true that an employer, strictly speaking, is not a party to the criminal case
instituted against his employee but in substance and, in effect, he is considering the
subsidiary liability imposed upon him by law. It is his concern, as well as of his
employee, to see to it that his interest be protected in the criminal case by taking
virtual participation in the defense of his employee. He cannot leave him to his own
fate because his failure is also his. And if because of his indifference or inaction the
employee is convicted and damages are awarded against him, he cannot later be
heard to complain, if brought to court for the enforcement of his subsidiary liability, that
he was not given his day in court. It was not without purpose that this Court sounded
the following stern warning:

"It is high time that the employer exercised the greatest care in selecting his
employees, taking real and deep interest in their welfare; intervening in any
criminal action brought against them by reason of or as a result of the
performance of their duties, if only in the way of giving them the benefit of
counsel; and, consequently, doing away with the practices of leaving them to
their fates. If these be done, the American rule requiring notice on the part of
the employer shall have been satisfied." (Martinez v. Barredo, supra.)19
In Ozoa v. Vda. de Madula,20 the Court explained the effect of a judgment of conviction
against the employee on the subsidiary liability of the employer, as follows:

To be sure, the correctness of the legal principles cited by the Court a quo cannot be
gainsaid. A person criminally liable is also civilly liable; and upon the institution of the
criminal action, the civil action for the recovery of the civil liability arising from the
crime is also impliedly instituted unless waived, or the filing of a separate action
therefor is reserved. The employer is subsidiarily answerable for the adjudicated civil
liability ex delicto of his employee in the event of the latter’s insolvency; and the
judgment in the criminal action pronouncing the employee to be also civilly liable is
conclusive on the employer not only as to the actuality of that liability but also as to its
amount.21

Since the petitioner was not a party in the RTC and in the CA on the appeal of its employee
(Ancheta), the petitioner cannot justifiably claim that it was deprived of its right to due
process. As explained by this Court in Martinez v. Barredo:22

The employer cannot be said to have been deprived of his day in court, because the
situation before us is not one wherein the employer is sued for a primary liability under
Article 1903 of the Civil Code, but one in which enforcement is sought of a subsidiary
civil liability incident to and dependent upon his driver’s criminal negligence which is a
proper issue to be tried and decided only in a criminal action. In other words, the
employer becomes ipso facto subsidiarily liable upon his driver’s conviction and upon
proof of the latter’s insolvency, in the same way that acquittal wipes out not only the
employee’s primary civil liability but also his employer’s subsidiary liability for such
criminal negligence. (Almeida, et al. v. Abaroa, 8 Phil. 178, affirmed in 218 U.S. 476;
54 Law ed., 1116; Wise & Co. v. Larion, 45 Phil. 314, 320; Francisco v. Onrubia, 46
Phil. 327; Province of Ilocos Sur v. Tolentino, G.R. No. 34186, 56 Phil. 829; Moran,
Comments on the Rules of Court, Vol. II, p. 403.)23

Besides, as gleaned from the brief of the petitioner, as appellant in the CA, in CA-G.R. CV
No. 78149, it sought the reversal of the decision of the RTC and the acquittal of its employee.
In Philippine Rabbit Bus Lines, Inc. v. People,24 this Court held that such an appeal would be
impermissible for the following reasons:

An appeal from the sentence of the trial court implies a waiver of the constitutional
safeguard against double jeopardy and throws the whole case open to a review by the
appellate court. The latter is then called upon to render judgment as law and justice
dictate, whether favorable or unfavorable to the appellant. This is the risk involved
when the accused decides to appeal a sentence of conviction. Indeed, appellate
courts have the power to reverse, affirm or modify the judgment of the lower court and
to increase or reduce the penalty it imposed.

If the present appeal is given [due] course, the whole case against the accused-
employee becomes open to review. It thus follows that a penalty higher than that
which has already been imposed by the trial court may be meted out to him.
Petitioner’s appeal would thus violate his right against double jeopardy, since the
judgment against him could become subject to modification without his consent.25

Indeed, to allow an employer to dispute its civil liability in the criminal case via an appeal from
the decision of the RTC would be to annul, nullify or defeat a final judgment rendered by a
competent court.26
The Court cannot second guess whether Ancheta’s failure to file his brief as appellant in the
CA was through the negligence of his counsel or because of the belief that, indeed, he was
guilty of the crime charged and it was purposeless and futile for him to still file such brief.

We agree with the contention of the OSG that the right of the petitioner as the employer of
the accused to due process occurs during the hearing of the motion for the issuance of
an alias writ of execution, on the basis of the sheriff’s return that the writ of execution issued
by the court for the enforcement of its decision on the civil liability of the accused was not
satisfied because of the latter’s insolvency, the sheriff being unable to locate any property in
the name of the accused. Such return is prima facie evidence of the insolvency of the
accused.27

During the hearing of the motion for the issuance of an alias writ of execution, the
prosecution must prove that (a) the petitioner PRBLI was the employer of the accused; (b) it
was engaged in some kind of industry; (c) the crime was committed by the employee in the
discharge of his duties; and (d) execution against the employee is unsatisfied. 28 The
prosecution may offer in evidence the sheriff’s return as prima facie evidence of the
insolvency of the accused.

The petitioner, as the employer of the accused, may adduce evidence on questions which
may be involved in the execution since the trial court which rendered the decision has a
general supervisory control over the process of execution.29

From a ruling adverse to the employer, it may appeal by writ of error on questions of facts, or
mixed questions of facts and of law, or by certiorari on questions of jurisdiction or grave
abuse of discretion of the trial court, thus:

It goes without saying that the determination thus made as regards the employer’s
subsidiary civil liability is not conclusive in the sense of being non-reviewable by
higher judicial authority. It may be appealed to a higher court at the instance of the
aggrieved party – either the offended party or the employer – by writ of error seeking
review of questions of fact or mixed questions of fact and law, or through a petition for
review on certiorari, limited to a consideration only of questions of law. Or review may
be sought by the institution of a special civil action of certiorari, upon the theory that
the determination was made by the trial court without or in excess of its jurisdiction, or
with grave abuse of discretion.30

Hence, the Court of Appeals erred in modifying the decision of the RTC which had long
become final and executory. A final and executory decision, even if erroneous, can no longer
be modified.

IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the petition is DENIED for lack of merit. The
Resolution of the Court of Appeals dismissing the appeal of the petitioner is AFFIRMED.
However, that portion of the Decision of the Court of Appeals modifying the decision of the
Regional Trial Court, dated November 12, 1999, is SET ASIDE.

SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 166836 September 4, 2013

SAN MIGUEL PROPERTIES, INC., PETITIONER,


vs.
SEC. HERNANDO B. PEREZ, ALBERT C. AGUIRRE, TEODORO B. ARCENAS, JR.,
MAXY S. ABAD, JAMES G. BARBERS, STEPHEN N. SARINO, ENRIQUE N. ZALAMEA,
JR., MARIANO M. MARTIN, ORLANDO O. SAMSON, CATHERINE R. AGUIRRE, AND
ANTONIO V. AGCAOILI, RESPONDENTS.

DECISION

BERSAMIN, J.:

The pendency of an administrative case for specific performance brought by the buyer of
residential subdivision lots in the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) to
compel the seller to deliver the transfer certificates of title (TCTs) of the fully paid lots is
properly considered a ground to suspend a criminal prosecution for violation of Section 25 of
Presidential Decree No. 9571 on the ground of a prejudicial question. The administrative
determination is a logical antecedent of the resolution of the criminal charges based on non-
delivery of the TCTs.

Antecedents

Petitioner San Miguel Properties Inc. (San Miguel Properties), a domestic corporation
engaged in the real estate business, purchased in 1992, 1993 and April 1993 from B.F.
Homes, Inc. (BF Homes), then represented by Atty. Florencio B. Orendain (Orendain) as its
duly authorized rehabilitation receiver appointed by the Securities and Exchange
Commission (SEC),2 130 residential lots situated in its subdivision BF Homes Parañaque,
containing a total area of 44,345 square meters for the aggregate price of ₱106,248,000.00.
The transactions were embodied in three separate deeds of sale.3 The TCTs covering the
lots bought under the first and second deeds were fully delivered to San Miguel Properties,
but 20 TCTs covering 20 of the 41 parcels of land with a total area of 15,565 square meters
purchased under the third deed of sale, executed in April 1993 and for which San Miguel
Properties paid the full price of ₱39,122,627.00, were not delivered to San Miguel Properties.

On its part, BF Homes claimed that it withheld the delivery of the 20 TCTs for parcels of land
purchased under the third deed of sale because Atty. Orendain had ceased to be its
rehabilitation receiver at the time of the transactions after being meanwhile replaced as
receiver by FBO Network Management, Inc. on May 17, 1989 pursuant to an order from the
SEC.4

BF Homes refused to deliver the 20 TCTs despite demands. Thus, on August 15, 2000, San
Miguel Properties filed a complaint-affidavit in the Office of the City Prosecutor of Las Piñas
City (OCP Las Piñas) charging respondent directors and officers of BF Homes with non-
delivery of titles in violation of Section 25, in relation to Section 39, both of Presidential
Decree No. 957 (I.S. No. 00-2256).5

At the same time, San Miguel Properties sued BF Homes for specific performance in the
HLURB (HLURB Case No. REM-082400-11183),6 praying to compel BF Homes to release
the 20 TCTs in its favor.
In their joint counter-affidavit submitted in I.S. No. 00-2256,7 respondent directors and
officers of BF Homes refuted San Miguel Properties’ assertions by contending that: (a) San
Miguel Properties’ claim was not legally demandable because Atty. Orendain did not have
the authority to sell the 130 lots in 1992 and 1993 due to his having been replaced as BF
Homes’ rehabilitation receiver by the SEC on May 17, 1989; (b) the deeds of sale conveying
the lots were irregular for being undated and unnotarized; (c) the claim should have been
brought to the SEC because BF Homes was under receivership; (d) in receivership cases, it
was essential to suspend all claims against a distressed corporation in order to enable the
receiver to effectively exercise its powers free from judicial and extra-judicial interference that
could unduly hinder the rescue of the distressed company; and (e) the lots involved were
under custodia legis in view of the pending receivership proceedings, necessarily stripping
the OCP Las Piñas of the jurisdiction to proceed in the action.

On October 10, 2000, San Miguel Properties filed a motion to suspend proceedings in the
OCP Las Piñas,8 citing the pendency of BF Homes’ receivership case in the SEC. In its
comment/opposition, BF Homes opposed the motion to suspend. In the meantime, however,
the SEC terminated BF Homes’ receivership on September 12, 2000, prompting San Miguel
Properties to file on October 27, 2000 a reply to BF Homes’ comment/opposition coupled
with a motion to withdraw the sought suspension of proceedings due to the intervening
termination of the receivership.9

On October 23, 2000, the OCP Las Piñas rendered its resolution, 10 dismissing San Miguel
Properties’ criminal complaint for violation of Presidential Decree No. 957 on the ground that
no action could be filed by or against a receiver without leave from the SEC that had
appointed him; that the implementation of the provisions of Presidential Decree No. 957
exclusively pertained under the jurisdiction of the HLURB; that there existed a prejudicial
question necessitating the suspension of the criminal action until after the issue on the
liability of the distressed BF Homes was first determined by the SEC en banc or by the
HLURB; and that no prior resort to administrative jurisdiction had been made; that there
appeared to be no probable cause to indict respondents for not being the actual signatories
in the three deeds of sale.

On February 20, 2001, the OCP Las Piñas denied San Miguel Properties’ motion for
reconsideration filed on November 28, 2000, holding that BF Homes’ directors and officers
could not be held liable for the non-delivery of the TCTs under Presidential Decree No. 957
without a definite ruling on the legality of Atty. Orendain’s actions; and that the criminal
liability would attach only after BF Homes did not comply with a directive of the HLURB
directing it to deliver the titles.11

San Miguel Properties appealed the resolutions of the OCP Las Piñas to the Department of
Justice (DOJ), but the DOJ Secretary denied the appeal on October 15, 2001, holding:

After a careful review of the evidence on record, we find no cogent reason to disturb the
ruling of the City Prosecutor of Las Piñas City. Established jurisprudence supports the
position taken by the City Prosecutor concerned.

There is no dispute that aside from the instant complaint for violation of PD 957, there is still
pending with the Housing and Land Use Resulatory Board (HLURB, for short) a complaint for
specific performance where the HLURB is called upon to inquire into, and rule on, the validity
of the sales transactions involving the lots in question and entered into by Atty. Orendain for
and in behalf of BF Homes.
As early as in the case of Solid Homes, Inc. vs. Payawal, 177 SCRA 72, the Supreme Court
had ruled that the HLURB has exclusive jurisdiction over cases involving real estate business
and practices under PD 957. This is reiterated in the subsequent cases of Union Bank of the
Philippines versus HLURB, G.R. [No.] 953364, June 29, 1992 and C.T. Torres Enterprises
vs. Hilionada, 191 SCRA 286.

The said ruling simply means that unless and until the HLURB rules on the validity of the
transactions involving the lands in question with specific reference to the capacity of Atty.
Orendain to bind BF Homes in the said transactions, there is as yet no basis to charge
criminally respondents for non-delivery of the subject land titles. In other words, complainant
cannot invoke the penal provision of PD 957 until such time that the HLURB shall have ruled
and decided on the validity of the transactions involving the lots in question.

WHEREFORE, the appeal is hereby DENIED.

SO ORDERED.12 (Emphasis supplied)

The DOJ eventually denied San Miguel Properties’ motion for reconsideration. 13

Ruling of the CA

Undaunted, San Miguel Properties elevated the DOJ’s resolutions to the CA on certiorari and
mandamus (C.A.-G.R. SP No. 73008), contending that respondent DOJ Secretary had acted
with grave abuse in denying their appeal and in refusing to charge the directors and officers
of BF Homes with the violation of Presidential Decree No. 957. San Miguel Properties
submitted the issue of whether or not HLURB Case No. REM-082400-11183 presented a
prejudicial question that called for the suspension of the criminal action for violation of
Presidential Decree No. 957.

In its assailed decision promulgated on February 24, 2004 in C.A.-G.R. SP No. 73008,14 the
CA dismissed San Miguel Properties’ petition, holding and ruling as follows:

From the foregoing, the conclusion that may be drawn is that the rule on prejudicial question
generally applies to civil and criminal actions only.

However, an exception to this rule is provided in Quiambao vs. Osorio cited by the
respondents. In this case, an issue in an administrative case was considered a prejudicial
question to the resolution of a civil case which, consequently, warranted the suspension of
the latter until after termination of the administrative proceedings.

Quiambao vs. Osorio is not the only instance when the Supreme Court relaxed the
application of the rule on prejudicial question.

In Tamin vs. CA involving two (2) civil actions, the Highest Court similarly applied the rule on
prejudicial question when it directed petitioner therein to put up a bond for just compensation
should the demolition of private respondents’ building proved to be illegal as a result of a
pending cadastral suit in another tribunal.

City of Pasig vs. COMELEC is yet another exception where a civil action involving a
boundary dispute was considered a prejudicial question which must be resolved prior to an
administrative proceeding for the holding of a plebiscite on the affected areas.
In fact, in Vidad vs. RTC of Negros Oriental, Br. 42, it was ruled that in the interest of good
order, courts can suspend action in one case pending determination of another case closely
interrelated or interlinked with it.

It thus appears that public respondent did not act with grave abuse of discretion x x x when
he applied the rule on prejudicial question to the instant proceedings considering that the
issue on the validity of the sale transactions x x x by x x x Orendain in behalf of BF Homes,
Inc., is closely intertwined with the purported criminal culpability of private respondents, as
officers/directors of BF Homes, Inc., arising from their failure to deliver the titles of the parcels
of land included in the questioned conveyance.

All told, to sustain the petitioner’s theory that the result of the HLURB proceedings is not
determinative of the criminal liability of private respondents under PD 957 would be to
espouse an absurdity. If we were to assume that the HLURB finds BFHI under no obligation
to delve the subject titles, it would be highly irregular and contrary to the ends of justice to
pursue a criminal case against private respondents for the non-delivery of certificates of title
which they are not under any legal obligation to turn over in the first place. (Bold emphasis
supplied)

On a final note, absent grave abuse of discretion on the part of the prosecutorial arm of the
government as represented by herein public respondent, courts will not interfere with the
discretion of a public prosecutor in prosecuting or dismissing a complaint filed before him. A
public prosecutor, by the nature of his office, is under no compulsion to file a criminal
information where no clear legal justification has been shown, and no sufficient evidence of
guilt nor prima facie case has been established by the complaining party.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant Petition for Certiorari and Mandamus is
hereby DENIED. The Resolutions dated 15 October 2001 and 12 July 2002 of the
Department of Justice are AFFIRMED.

SO ORDERED. 15

The CA denied San Miguel Properties’ motion for reconsideration on January 18, 2005. 16

Issues

Aggrieved, San Miguel Properties is now on appeal, raising the following for consideration
and resolution, to wit:

THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED GRAVE, SERIOUS AND REVERSIBLE ERRORS


WHEN IT DISMISSED PETITIONER’S CERTIORARI AND MANDAMUS PETITION TO
ORDER AND DIRECT RESPONDENT SECRETARY TO INDICT RESPONDENTS FOR
VIOLATION OF SECTION 25, PD. 957 IN THAT:

THE OBLIGATION OF PRIVATE RESPONDENTS TO DELIVER TO PETITIONER THE


TITLES TO 20 FULLY-PAID LOTS IS MANDATED BY SECTION 25, PD 957. IN FACT, THE
OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT HAD DULY CONFIRMED THE SAME PER ITS DECISION
DATED 27 JANUARY 2005 IN O.P. CASE NO. 03-E-203, ENTITLED "SMPI V. BF HOMES,
INC.".

A FORTIORI, PRIVATE RESPONDENTS’ FAILURE AND/OR REFUSAL TO DELIVER TO


PETITIONER THE SUBJECT TITLES CONSTITUTES CRIMINAL OFFENSE PER
SECTIONS 25 AND 39, PD 957 FOR WHICH IT IS THE MINISTERIAL DUTY OF
RESPONDENT SECRETARY TO INDICT PRIVATE RESPONDENTS THEREFOR.

IN ANY EVENT, THE HLURB CASE DOES NOT PRESENT A "PREJUDICIAL QUESTION"
TO THE SUBJECT CRIMINAL CASE SINCE THE FORMER INVOLVES AN ISSUE
SEPARATE AND DISTINCT FROM THE ISSUE INVOLVED IN THE LATTER.
CONSEQUENTLY, THE HLURB CASE HAS NO CORRELATION, TIE NOR LINKAGE TO
THE PRESENT CRIMINAL CASE WHICH CAN PROCEED INDEPENDENTLY THEREOF.

IN FACT, THE CRIMINAL CULPABILITY OF PRIVATE RESPONDENTS EMANATE FROM


THEIR MALA PROHIBITA NON-DELIVERY OF THE TITLES TO TWENTY (20) FULLY-
PAID PARCELS OF LAND TO PETITIONER, AND NOT FROM THEIR NON-COMPLIANCE
WITH THE HLURB’S RULING IN THE ADMINISTRATIVE CASE.

NONETHELESS, BY DECREEING THAT PETITIONER’S CRIMINAL COMPLAINT IS


PREMATURE, BOTH THE COURT OF APPEALS AND RESPONDENT SECRETARY HAD
IMPLIEDLY ADMITTED THE EXISTENCE OF SUFFICIENT PROBABLE CAUSE AGAINST
PRIVATE RESPONDENTS FOR THE CRIME CHARGED.17

It is relevant at this juncture to mention the outcome of the action for specific performance
and damages that San Miguel Properties instituted in the HLURB simultaneously with its
filing of the complaint for violation of Presidential Decree No. 957. On January 25, 2002, the
HLURB Arbiter ruled that the HLURB was inclined to suspend the proceedings until the SEC
resolved the issue of Atty. Orendain’s authority to enter into the transactions in BF Homes’
behalf, because the final resolution by the SEC was a logical antecedent to the determination
of the issue involved in the complaint before the HLURB. Upon appeal, the HLURB Board of
Commissioners (HLURB Board), citing the doctrine of primary jurisdiction, affirmed the
HLURB Arbiter’s decision, holding that although no prejudicial question could arise, strictly
speaking, if one case was civil and the other administrative, it nonetheless opted to suspend
its action on the cases pending the final outcome of the administrative proceeding in the
interest of good order.18

Not content with the outcome, San Miguel Properties appealed to the Office of the President
(OP), arguing that the HLURB erred in suspending the proceedings. On January 27, 2004,
the OP reversed the HLURB Board’s ruling, holding thusly:

The basic complaint in this case is one for specific performance under Section 25 of the
Presidential Decree (PD) 957 – "The Subdivision and Condominium Buyers’ Protective."

As early as August 1987, the Supreme Court already recognized the authority of the HLURB,
as successor agency of the National Housing Authority (NHA), to regulate, pursuant to PD
957, in relation to PD 1344, the real estate trade, with exclusive original jurisdiction to hear
and decide cases "involving specific performance of contractual and statutory obligation filed
by buyers of subdivision lots … against the owner, developer, dealer, broker or salesman,"
the HLURB, in the exercise of its adjudicatory powers and functions, "must interpret and
apply contracts, determine the rights of the parties under these contracts and award[s]
damages whenever appropriate."

Given its clear statutory mandate, the HLURB’s decision to await for some forum to decide –
if ever one is forthcoming – the issue on the authority of Orendain to dispose of subject lots
before it peremptorily resolves the basic complaint is unwarranted, the issues thereon having
been joined and the respective position papers and the evidence of the parties having been
submitted. To us, it behooved the HLURB to adjudicate, with the usual dispatch, the right and
obligation of the parties in line with its own appreciation of the obtaining facts and applicable
law. To borrow from Mabubha Textile Mills Corporation vs. Ongpin, it does not have to rely
on the finding of others to discharge this adjudicatory functions. 19

After its motion for reconsideration was denied, BF Homes appealed to the CA (C.A.-G.R. SP
No. 83631), raising as issues: (a) whether or not the HLURB had the jurisdiction to decide
with finality the question of Atty. Orendain’s authority to enter into the transaction with San
Miguel Properties in BF Homes’ behalf, and rule on the rights and obligations of the parties to
the contract; and (b) whether or not the HLURB properly suspended the proceedings until the
SEC resolved with finality the matter regarding such authority of Atty. Orendain.

The CA promulgated its decision in C.A.-G.R. SP No. 83631,20 decreeing that the HLURB,
not the SEC, had jurisdiction over San Miguel Properties’ complaint. It affirmed the OP’s
decision and ordered the remand of the case to the HLURB for further proceedings on the
ground that the case involved matters within the HLURB’s competence and expertise
pursuant to the doctrine of primary jurisdiction, viz:

[T]he High Court has consistently ruled that the NHA or the HLURB has jurisdiction over
complaints arising from contracts between the subdivision developer and the lot buyer or
those aimed at compelling the subdivision developer to comply with its contractual and
statutory obligations.

Hence, the HLURB should take jurisdiction over respondent’s complaint because it pertains
to matters within the HLURB’s competence and expertise. The proceedings before the
HLURB should not be suspended.

While We sustain the Office of the President, the case must be remanded to the HLURB.
This is in recognition of the doctrine of primary jurisdiction. The fairest and most equitable
course to take under the circumstances is to remand the case to the HLURB for the proper
presentation of evidence.21

Did the Secretary of Justice commit grave abuse of discretion in upholding the dismissal of
San Miguel Properties’ criminal complaint for violation of Presidential Decree No. 957 for lack
of probable cause and for reason of a prejudicial question?

The question boils down to whether the HLURB administrative case brought to compel the
delivery of the TCTs could be a reason to suspend the proceedings on the criminal complaint
for the violation of Section 25 of Presidential Decree No. 957 on the ground of a prejudicial
question.

Ruling of the Court

The petition has no merit.

1.

Action for specific performance, even if pending in the HLURB, an administrative agency,
raises a prejudicial question BF Homes’ posture that the administrative case for specific
performance in the HLURB posed a prejudicial question that must first be determined before
the criminal case for violation of Section 25 of Presidential Decree No. 957 could be resolved
is correct.
A prejudicial question is understood in law to be that which arises in a case the resolution of
which is a logical antecedent of the issue involved in the criminal case, and the cognizance of
which pertains to another tribunal. It is determinative of the criminal case, but the jurisdiction
to try and resolve it is lodged in another court or tribunal. It is based on a fact distinct and
separate from the crime but is so intimately connected with the crime that it determines the
guilt or innocence of the accused.22 The rationale behind the principle of prejudicial question
is to avoid conflicting decisions.23 The essential elements of a prejudicial question are
provided in Section 7, Rule 111 of the Rules of Court, to wit: (a) the previously instituted civil
action involves an issue similar or intimately related to the issue raised in the subsequent
criminal action, and (b) the resolution of such issue determines whether or not the criminal
action may proceed.

The concept of a prejudicial question involves a civil action and a criminal case. Yet, contrary
to San Miguel Properties’ submission that there could be no prejudicial question to speak of
because no civil action where the prejudicial question arose was pending, the action for
specific performance in the HLURB raises a prejudicial question that sufficed to suspend the
proceedings determining the charge for the criminal violation of Section 25 24 of Presidential
Decree No. 957. This is true simply because the action for specific performance was an
action civil in nature but could not be instituted elsewhere except in the HLURB, whose
jurisdiction over the action was exclusive and original.25

The determination of whether the proceedings ought to be suspended because of a


prejudicial question rested on whether the facts and issues raised in the pleadings in the
specific performance case were so related with the issues raised in the criminal complaint for
the violation of Presidential Decree No. 957, such that the resolution of the issues in the
former would be determinative of the question of guilt in the criminal case. An examination of
the nature of the two cases involved is thus necessary.

An action for specific performance is the remedy to demand the exact performance of a
contract in the specific form in which it was made, or according to the precise terms agreed
upon by a party bound to fulfill it.26 Evidently, before the remedy of specific performance is
availed of, there must first be a breach of the contract.27 The remedy has its roots in Article
1191 of the Civil Code, which reads:

Article 1191. The power to rescind obligations is implied in reciprocal ones, in case one of the
obligors should not comply with what is incumbent upon him.

The injured party may choose between the fulfillment and the rescission of the obligation,
with the payment of damages in either case. He may also seek rescission, even after he has
chosen fulfillment, if the latter should become impossible. x x x (Emphasis supplied)

Accordingly, the injured party may choose between specific performance or rescission with
damages. As presently worded, Article 1191 speaks of the remedy of rescission in reciprocal
obligations within the context of Article 1124 of the former Civil Code which used the term
resolution. The remedy of resolution applied only to reciprocal obligations, such that a party’s
breach of the contract equated to a tacit resolutory condition that entitled the injured party to
rescission. The present article, as in the former one, contemplates alternative remedies for
the injured party who is granted the option to pursue, as principal actions, either the
rescission or the specific performance of the obligation, with payment of damages in either
case.28
On the other hand, Presidential Decree No. 957 is a law that regulates the sale of subdivision
lots and condominiums in view of the increasing number of incidents wherein "real estate
subdivision owners, developers, operators, and/or sellers have reneged on their
representations and obligations to provide and maintain properly" the basic requirements and
amenities, as well as of reports of alarming magnitude of swindling and fraudulent
manipulations perpetrated by unscrupulous subdivision and condominium sellers and
operators,29 such as failure to deliver titles to the buyers or titles free from liens and
encumbrances. Presidential Decree No. 957 authorizes the suspension and revocation of the
registration and license of the real estate subdivision owners, developers, operators, and/or
sellers in certain instances, as well as provides the procedure to be observed in such
instances; it prescribes administrative fines and other penalties in case of violation of, or non-
compliance with its provisions.

Conformably with the foregoing, the action for specific performance in the HLURB would
determine whether or not San Miguel Properties was legally entitled to demand the delivery
of the remaining 20 TCTs, while the criminal action would decide whether or not BF Homes’
directors and officers were criminally liable for withholding the 20 TCTs. The resolution of the
former must obviously precede that of the latter, for should the HLURB hold San Miguel
Properties to be not entitled to the delivery of the 20 TCTs because Atty. Orendain did not
have the authority to represent BF Homes in the sale due to his receivership having been
terminated by the SEC, the basis for the criminal liability for the violation of Section 25 of
Presidential Decree No. 957 would evaporate, thereby negating the need to proceed with the
criminal case.

Worthy to note at this juncture is that a prejudicial question need not conclusively resolve the
guilt or innocence of the accused. It is enough for the prejudicial question to simply test the
sufficiency of the allegations in the information in order to sustain the further prosecution of
the criminal case. A party who raises a prejudicial question is deemed to have hypothetically
admitted that all the essential elements of the crime have been adequately alleged in the
information, considering that the Prosecution has not yet presented a single piece of
evidence on the indictment or may not have rested its case. A challenge to the allegations in
the information on the ground of prejudicial question is in effect a question on the merits of
the criminal charge through a non-criminal suit.30

2.

Doctrine of primary jurisdiction is applicable

That the action for specific performance was an administrative case pending in the HLURB,
instead of in a court of law, was of no consequence at all. As earlier mentioned, the action for
specific performance, although civil in nature, could be brought only in the HLURB. This
situation conforms to the doctrine of primary jurisdiction. There has been of late a
proliferation of administrative agencies, mostly regulatory in function. It is in favor of these
agencies that the doctrine of primary jurisdiction is frequently invoked, not to defeat the resort
to the judicial adjudication of controversies but to rely on the expertise, specialized skills, and
knowledge of such agencies in their resolution. The Court has observed that one thrust of the
proliferation is that the interpretation of contracts and the determination of private rights
under contracts are no longer a uniquely judicial function exercisable only by the regular
courts.31

The doctrine of primary jurisdiction has been increasingly called into play on matters
demanding the special competence of administrative agencies even if such matters are at
the same time within the jurisdiction of the courts. A case that requires for its determination
the expertise, specialized skills, and knowledge of some administrative board or commission
because it involves technical matters or intricate questions of fact, relief must first be
obtained in an appropriate administrative proceeding before a remedy will be supplied by the
courts although the matter comes within the jurisdiction of the courts. The application of the
doctrine does not call for the dismissal of the case in the court but only for its suspension
until after the matters within the competence of the administrative body are threshed out and
determined.32

To accord with the doctrine of primary jurisdiction, the courts cannot and will not determine a
controversy involving a question within the competence of an administrative tribunal, the
controversy having been so placed within the special competence of the administrative
tribunal under a regulatory scheme. In that instance, the judicial process is suspended
pending referral to the administrative body for its view on the matter in dispute.
Consequently, if the courts cannot resolve a question that is within the legal competence of
an administrative body prior to the resolution of that question by the latter, especially where
the question demands the exercise of sound administrative discretion requiring the special
knowledge, experience, and services of the administrative agency to ascertain technical and
intricate matters of fact, and a uniformity of ruling is essential to comply with the purposes of
the regulatory statute administered, suspension or dismissal of the action is proper. 33

3.

Other submissions of petitioner are unwarranted

It is not tenable for San Miguel Properties to argue that the character of a violation of Section
25 of Presidential Decree No. 957 as malum prohibitum, by which criminal liability attached to
BF Homes’ directors and officers by the mere failure to deliver the TCTs, already rendered
the suspension unsustainable.34 The mere fact that an act or omission was malum
prohibitum did not do away with the initiative inherent in every court to avoid an absurd result
by means of rendering a reasonable interpretation and application of the procedural law.
Indeed, the procedural law must always be given a reasonable construction to preclude
absurdity in its application.35 Hence, a literal application of the principle governing prejudicial
questions is to be eschewed if such application would produce unjust and absurd results or
unreasonable consequences.

San Miguel Properties further submits that respondents could not validly raise the prejudicial
question as a reason to suspend the criminal proceedings because respondents had not
themselves initiated either the action for specific performance or the criminal
action.1âwphi1 It contends that the defense of a prejudicial question arising from the filing of
a related case could only be raised by the party who filed or initiated said related case.

The submission is unfounded. The rule on prejudicial question makes no distinction as to


who is allowed to raise the defense. Ubi lex non distinguit nec nos distinguere debemos.
When the law makes no distinction, we ought not to distinguish. 36

WHEREFORE, the Court AFFIRMS the decision promulgated on February 24, 2004 by the
Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP NO. 73008; and ORDERS petitioner to pay the costs of suit.

SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 80194 March 21, 1989

EDGAR JARANTILLA, petitioner,


vs.
COURT OF APPEALS and JOSE KUAN SING, respondents.

Corazon Miraflores and Vicente P. Billena for petitioner.

Manuel S. Gemarino for private respondent.

REGALADO, J.:

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

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

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

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

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

After trial, the court below rendered judgment on May 23, 1977 in favor of the herein private
respondent and ordering herein petitioner to pay the former the sum of P 6,920.00 for
hospitalization, medicines and so forth, P2,000.00 for other actual expenses, P25,000.00 for
moral damages, P5,000.00 for attorney's fees, and costs. 12
On July 29, 1987, the respondent Court of Appeals 13 affirmed the decision of the lower
court except as to the award for moral damages which it reduced from P25,000.00 to
P18,000.00. A motion for reconsideration was denied by respondent court on September 18,
1987. 14

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

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

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

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

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

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

It is a rule of general application that the decision of an appellate court in a


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

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

Apropos to such resolution is the settled rule that the same act or omission (in this case, the
negligent sideswiping of private respondent) can create two kinds of liability on the part of the
offender, that is, civil liability ex 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 vs. De la Cruz, et al., 20 it was held that
where the offended party elected to claim damages arising from the offense charged in the
criminal case through her intervention as a private prosecutor, the final judgment rendered
therein constituted a bar to the subsequent civil action based upon the same cause. It is
meet, however, not to lose sight of the fact that the criminal action involved therein was for
serious oral defamation which, while within the contemplation of an independent civil action
under Article 33 of the Civil Code, constitutes only a penal omen and cannot otherwise be
considered as a quasi-delict or culpa aquiliana under Articles 2176 and 2177 of the Civil
Code. And while petitioner draws attention to the supposed reiteration of the Roa doctrine in
the later case of Azucena vs. Potenciano, et al., 21 this time involving damage to property
through negligence as to make out a case of quasi-delict under Articles 2176 and 2180 of the
Civil Code, such secondary reliance is misplaced since the therein plaintiff Azucena did not
intervene in the criminal action against defendant Potenciano. The citation of Roa in the later
case 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.

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

Private respondent, as already stated, filed a separate civil aciton after such acquittal. This is
allowed under Article 29 of the Civil Code. We have ruled in the relatively recent case
of Lontoc vs. MD Transit & Taxi Co., Inc., et al. 25 that:

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

When the accused in a criminal prosecution is acquitted on the


ground that his guilt has not been proved beyond reasonable
doubt, a civil action for damages for the same act or omission
may be instituted. Such action requires only a preponderance of
evidence ... 26

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

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:

3. That in the evening of July 7, 197l at about 7:00 o'clock, the


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

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

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

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

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

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

SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. L-44627 December 14, 1978

LUCIA S. PAJARITO, petitioner,


vs.
HON. ALBERTO V. SEÑERIS, Presiding Judge of Branch II, Court of First Instance of
Zamboanga; JOSELITO AIZON, and FELIPE AIZON, respondents.

Geronimo Pajarito for petitioner.

Dominador L. Natividad for private respondents,

ANTONIO, J.:

Original special civil action for certiorari.

Private respondent Joselito Aizon was charged before the Court of First Instance of
Zamboanga City, Branch 11 (respondent Judge Alberto V. Seneris, presiding), with Double
Homicide Through Reckless Imprudence or a violation of Section 48 of Republic Act No.
4136. The pertinent portion of the Information reads as follows:

That on or about May 9, 1975, in the City of Zamboanga, Philippines, and


within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, being
then the driver of an Isuzu Passenger Bus bearing Plate No. SB-511 owned
and operated by FELIPE AIZON, operating on the public road, and without
taking the necessary precautions, considering the width, traffic, visibility,
grades, crossing, curvatures, and other conditions of the road, so as to avoid
accident to persons or damage to properties, did then and there, through
reckless and fast driving, caused the said Isuzu Passenger Bus to turn turtle, as
a result of which, the persons of MYRNA PAJARITO DE SAN LUIS and MUSA
BARING, both passengers on board the said Isuzu passenger bus sustained
injuries on their persons which caused their death. (Emphasis supplied.)

Upon arraignment, said respondent entered a plea of guilty. In view of said plea, the court
rendered judgment convicting him of the offense charged and sentencing him "to indemnify
the heirs of the late Myrna Pajarito de San Luis the amount of P12,000.00 ... ."

After the judgment had become final and executory, a Writ of Execution was issued against
Joselito Aizon for the indemnity of P12,000.00, but the same was returned unsatisfied
because of his insolvency. Whereupon, petitioner Lucia S. Pajarito, mother of the late Myrna
Pajarito de San Luis, filed with the court a quo a motion for the issuance of Subsidiary Writ of
Execution and served a copy thereof to private respondent Felipe Aizon, employer of Joselito
Aizon as alleged in the Information. Felipe Aizon opposed the motion on the grounds, to wit:
(1) that he is not the employer of Joselito Aizon, the vehicle in question having been sold
already to Isaac Aizon, father of Joselito, but that the deed of transfer has not been executed
because the full price has not yet been paid; and (2) that in case of insolvency, Joselito has
to suffer subsidiary imprisonment to satisfy the judgment insofar as the indemnity is
concerned.
The court denied petitioner's motion for Subsidiary Writ of Execution on the ground that
Felipe Aizon, alleged employer of Joselito, was not a party in the aforesaid criminal case.
Said the court:

It is therefore, the well considered opinion of this Court that a separate civil
action must be filed by movant Lucia S. Pajarito against Felipe Aizon in order to
enforce the subsidiary liability of the latter under Article 103 of the Revised
Penal Code, as amended.

Petitioner moved for reconsideration of the foregoing ruling, but the same was denied.
Hence, this petition.

Petitioner contends that the enforcement of tile subsidiary liability under Article 103 of the
Revised Penal Code may be filled under the same criminal case, under which the subsidiary
liability was granted; that respondent Felipe Aizon, alleged employer of Joselito Aizon, was
given his day in court, as he was furnished a copy of the motion for issuance of the
Subsidiary Writ of Execution, to which he filed his opposition; and that, although not made a
party in the criminal case, the employer, Felipe Aizon, should have taken active participation
in the defense of his employee, Joselito Aizon.

On the other hand, respondents, in their Comment to the petition which We consider their
Answer, maintain that to enforce the subsidiary liability under Article 103 of the Revised
Penal Code, as amended, a separate civil action must be filed against the employer because
under our present judicial system, before one could be held subsidiary liable, he should be
made a party defendant to the action, which in this case is not legally feasible because
respondent Felipe Aizon was not accused together with Joselito Aizon in Criminal Case No.
512 (1313) for Double Homicide Through Reckless Imprudence.

Obviously, the question to be considered here is whether the subsidiary civil liability
established in Articles 102 and 103 of the Revised Penal Code may be enforced in the same
criminal case where the award was made, or in a separate civil action. Under Article 100 of
the Revised Penal Code, a person criminally liable for a felony is also civilly liable. As a
consequence, the institution of the criminal action carries with it the institution of the civil
action arising therefrom, except when there is a separate civil action or reservation of the
latter on the part of the complainant. As explained in Ramcar, Incorporated v. De
Leon: 1 "When no civil action is expressly instituted, according to subsection (a) of section 1
of Rule 107, it shall be impliedly jointly instituted with the criminal action.' That means as if
two actions are joined in one as twins, each one complete with the same completeness as
any of the two normal persons composing a twin. It means that the civil action may be tried
and prosecuted, with all the ancillary processes provided by law."

Pursuant to Article 103, in relation to Article 102, of the Revised Penal Code, an employer
may be subsidiary liable for the employee's civil liability in a criminal action when: (1) the
employer is engaged in any kind of industry; (2) the employee committed the offense in the
discharge of his duties; and (3) he is insolvent and has not satisfied his civil liability. 2 The
subsidiary civil liability of the employer, however, arises only after conviction of the employee
in the criminal case. In Martinez v. Barredo, 3 this Court ruled that a judgment of conviction
sentencing a defendant employee to pay an indemnity in the absence of any collusion
between the defendant and the offended party, is conclusive upon the employer in an action
for the enforcement of the latter's subsidiary liability.
... The stigma of a criminal conviction surpasses in effect and implications mere
civil liability. Common sense dictates that a finding of guilt in a criminal case in
which proof beyond reasonable doubt is necessary, should not be nullified in a
subsequent civil action requiring only preponderance of evidence to support a
judgment, unless those who support the contrary rule should also hold that an
absolution in a civil case will operate to automatically set aside the verdict
against the defendant in the criminal case. It is anomalous, to say the least, to
suppose that the driver, excelling 'Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde', could be guilty of
reckless negligence in so far as his obligation to pay indemnity is concerned,
and at the same time could be free from any blame when said indemnity is
sought to be collected mom his employer, although the right to the indemnity
arose from and was based on one and the same act of the driver.

The employer cannot be said to have been deprived of his day in court,
because the situation before us is not one wherein the employer is sued for a
primary liability under article 1903 of the Civil Code, but one in which
enforcement is sought of a subsidiary civil liability incident to and dependent
upon his driver's criminal negligence which is a proper issue to be tried and
decided only in a criminal action. In other words, the employer becomes ipso
facto subsidiarily liable upon his driver's conviction and upon proof of the latter's
insolvency, in the same way that acquittal wipes out not only the employee's
primary civil liability but also his employer's subsidiary liability for such criminal
negligence. (Almelda et al. vs. Abaroa, 8 Phil., 178, affirmed in 218 U.S., 476,
54 Law ed., 1116; Wise & Co. vs. Larion, 45 Phil. 314, 320; Francisco us.
Onrubia, 46 Phil., 327; Province of Ilocos Sur us. Tolentino, G.R. No. 34186, 56
Phil. 829; Moran, Comments on the Rules of Court, Vol. II, p. 403)

It is high time that the employer exercised the greatest care in selecting his
employees, taking real and deep interest in their welfare; intervening in any
criminal action brought against them by reason of or as a result of the
performance of their duties, if only in the way of giving them the benefit of
counsel; and consequently doing away with the practice of leaving them to their
fates. If these be done, the American rule requiring notice on the part of the
employer shall have been satisfied. (At pp. 3-4)

In Miranda v. Malate Garage & Taxicab, Inc., 4 this Court further amplified the rule that the
decision convicting the employee is binding and conclusive upon the employer, "not only with
regard to (the latter's) civil liability but also with regard to its amount because the liability of
an employer cannot be separated but follows that of his employee. That is why the law says
that his liability is subsidiary (Article 103, Revised Penal Code). To allow an employer to
dispute the civil liability fixed in the criminal case would be to amend, nullify, or defeat a final
judgment rendered by a competent court." And this Court, in Miranda, further explained that
the employer is in substance and in effect a party to the criminal case, considering the
subsidiary liability imposed upon him by law.

It is true that an employer, strictly speaking, is not a party to the criminal case
instituted against his employee, but in substance and in effect he is considering
the subsidiary liability imposed upon him by law. It is his concern, as well as of
his employee, to see to it that his interest be protected in the criminal case by
taking virtual participation in the defense of his employee. He cannot leave him
to his own fate because his failure is also his. And if because of his indifference
or inaction the employee is convicted and damages are awarded against him,
he cannot later be heard to complain, if brought to court, for the enforcement of
his subsidiary liability, that he was not given his day in court . (At p. 675.
Emphasis supplied.)

The conclusiveness upon the employer of the judgment of conviction sentencing the
employee to pay civil indemnity, for the enforcement of the employer's subsidiary civil liability
under Article 103 was again reiterated in Manalo and Salvador v. Robles Transportation
Company, Inc., 5 where the Court ruled that the sheriff's return submitted in evidence in the
action against the employer, Robles Transportation Company, Inc., showing that the two
writs of execution were not satisfied because of the insolvency of the driver, is a prima
facie evidence of the employee's insolvency. Similarly, this Court ruled that the defendant's
insolvency may be proven by the certificate of the Director of Prisons that the employee is
serving subsidiary imprisonment; 6 or by the certificate of the sheriff that the employee has
not satisfied his pecuniary liability and that no properties have been found registered in his
name. 7

Considering that the judgment of conviction, sentencing a defendant employee to pay an


indemnity under Articles 102 and 103 of the Revised Penal Code, is conclusive upon the
employer not only with regard to the latter's civil liability but also with regard to its amount,
this Court stated in Rotea, 8 that in the action to enforce the employer's subsidiary
liability, the court has no other function than to render decision based upon the indemnity
awarded in the criminal case and has no power to amend or modify it even if in its opinion an
error has been committed in the decision.

In view of the foregoing principles, and considering that Felipe Aizon does not deny that he
was the registered operator of the bus but only claims now that he sold the bus to the father
of the accused, it would serve no important purpose to require petitioner to file a separate
and independent action against the employer for the enforcement of the latter's subsidiary
civil liability. Under the circumstances, it would not only prolong the litigation but would
require the heirs of the deceased victim to incur unnecessary expenses. At any rate, the
proceeding for the enforcement of the subsidiary civil liability may be considered as part of
the proceeding for the execution of the judgment. A case in which an execution has been
issued is regarded as still pending so that all proceedings on the execution are proceedings
in the suit. 9 There is no question that the court which rendered the judgment has a general
supervisory control over its process of execution, and this power carries with it the right to
determine every question of fact and law which may be involved in the execution.

The validity of the claim of Felipe Aizon that he is no longer the owner and operator of the in
fated bus as he sold it already to Isaac Aizon, father of the accused Joselito Aizon, is a
matter that could be litigated and resolved in the same criminal case. In support of his
opposition to the motion of the complainant, served upon him, for the purpose of the
enforcement of his subsidiary liability Felipe Aizon may adduce all the evidence necessary
for that purpose. Indeed, the enforcement of the employer's subsidiary civil liability may be
conveniently litigated within the same proceeding because the execution of the judgment is a
logical and integral part of the case itself. This would certainly facilitate the application of
justice to the rival claims of the contending parties. "The purpose of procedure", observed
this Court in Manila Railroad Co. v. Attorney General, 10 "is not to thwart justice. Its proper
aim is to facilitate the application of justice to the rival claims of the contending parties. It was
created not to hinder and delay but to facilitate and promote the administration of justice." In
proceedings to apply justice, it is the duty of the courts "to assist the parties in obtaining just,
speedy, and inexpensive determination" of their rival claims. Thus, the Rules require that
they should be liberally construed "to promote their object and to assist the parties in
obtaining just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every action and proceeding." 11

WHEREFORE, the Orders of respondent Court in Criminal Case No. 512 (1313) dated July
27, 1976 and August 14, 1976 are hereby set aside. The Court a quo is directed to hear and
decide in the same proceeding the subsidiary liability of the alleged owner and operator of
the passenger bus. Costs against private respondents.

Fernando (Chairman), Aquino, Concepcion, Jr. and Santos, JJ., concur.

Separate Opinions

BARREDO, J., concurring:

I concur, but to make matters clearer, I must add that the only issues open at the hearing to
be held by the court a quo are: (1) whether or not Felipe Aizon was the owner of the vehicle
driven by the convicted accused, Joselito Aizon, or, whether or not he was the employer of
said accused at the time of the commission of the offense on May 9, 1975, and (2) whether
or not said Joselito Aizon is insolvent. As stated in the main opinion, the judgment in the
criminal case is conclusive upon the employer not only with regard to his civil liability but also
with regard to its amount which is that found in the judgment of conviction. In other words,
what is to be decided by the trial court is not strictly speaking the subsidiary liability of the
employer, Felipe Aizon, for the judgment in the criminal case is deemed to include that
liability, but only the two issues related to it that I have mentioned.

Separate Opinions

BARREDO, J., concurring:

I concur, but to make matters clearer, I must add that the only issues open at the hearing to
be held by the court a quo are: (1) whether or not Felipe Aizon was the owner of the vehicle
driven by the convicted accused, Joselito Aizon, or, whether or not he was the employer of
said accused at the time of the commission of the offense on May 9, 1975, and (2) whether
or not said Joselito Aizon is insolvent. As stated in the main opinion, the judgment in the
criminal case is conclusive upon the employer not only with regard to his civil liability but also
with regard to its amount which is that found in the judgment of conviction. In other words,
what is to be decided by the trial court is not strictly speaking the subsidiary liability of the
employer, Felipe Aizon, for the judgment in the criminal case is deemed to include that
liability, but only the two issues related to it that I have mentioned.
G.R. No. 202124

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee,


vs.
IRENEO JUGUETA, Accused-Appellant.

DECISION

PERALTA, J.:

This resolves the appeal from the Decision 1 of the Court of Appeals (CA) dated January 30,
2012 in CA-G.R. CR HC No. 03252. The CA affirmed the judgments of the Regional Trial
Court (RTC), Branch 61, Gumaca, Quezon, finding accused-appellant Ireneo
Jugueta y Flores guilty beyond reasonable doubt of Double Murder in Criminal Case No.
7698-G and Multiple Attempted Murder in Criminal Case No. 7702-G.

In Criminal Case No. 7698-G, appellant was charged with Double Murder, defined and
penalized under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code, allegedly committed as follows:

That on or about the 6th day of June 2002, at about 9:00 o'clock in the evening, at Barangay
Caridad Ilaya, Municipality of Atimonan, Province of Quezon, Philippines, and within the
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, armed with a caliber.22
firearm, with intent to kill, qualified by treachery and evident premeditation, did then and there
willfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault and shoot with said firearm Mary Grace
Divina, a minor, 13 years old, who suffered the following:

"Gunshot wound -

Point of Entry – lower abdomen, right, 2 cm. from the midline and 6 cm. from the level of the
umbilicus, directed upward toward the left upper abdomen."

and Claudine Divina, a minor, 3 ½ years of age, who suffered the following:

"Gunshot wound -

Point of Entry - 9th ICS along the mid-axillary line, right, 1 cm. diameter

Point of Exit - 7th ICS mid-axillary line, left;"

which directly caused their instant death.

That the crime committed in the dwelling of the offended party who had not given provocation
for the attack and the accused took advantage of nighttime to facilitate the commission of the
offense.

Contrary to law.2

In Criminal Case No. 7702-G, appellant, together with Gilbert Estores and Roger San Miguel,
was charged with Multiple Attempted Murder, allegedly committed as follows:

That on or about 9:00 o’clock in the evening of 6th day of June, 2002, at Barangay Caridad
Ilaya, Municipality of Atimonan, Province of Quezon, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of
this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, conspiring and confederating together and
mutually helping one another, armed with short firearms of undetermined calibres, with intent
to kill, qualified by treachery, with evident premeditation and abuse of superior strength, did
then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault, and shoot with the said
firearms the house occupied by the family of Norberto Divina, thereby commencing the
commission of the crime of Murder, directly by overt acts, but did not perform all the acts of
execution which would have produced it by reason of some cause or accident other than the
spontaneous desistance of the accused, that is, the occupants Norberto Divina, his wife
Maricel Divina and children Elizabeth Divina and Judy Ann Divina, both elementary pupils
and who are minors, were not hit.

CONTRARY TO LAW.3

Roger San Miguel, however, moved for reinvestigation of the case against them. At said
proceedings, one Danilo Fajarillo submitted his sworn statement stating that on June 6, 2002,
he saw appellant with a certain "Hapon" and Gilbert Estores at the crime scene, but it was
only appellant who was carrying a firearm while the other two had no participation in the
shooting incident. Fajarillo further stated that Roger San Miguel was not present at the crime
scene. Based on the sworn statement of Fajarillo, the Provincial Prosecutor found no prima
facie case against Gilbert Estores and Roger San Miguel.4 Thus, upon motion of the
prosecution, the case for Attempted Murder against Gilbert Estores and Roger San Miguel
was dismissed, and trial proceeded only as to appellant.5

At the trial, the prosecution presented the testimonies of Norberto Divina, the victim, and Dr.
Lourdes Taguinod who executed the Medico-Legal Certificate and confirmed that the children
of Norberto, namely, Mary Grace and Claudine, died from gunshot wounds. Dr. Taguinod
noted that the trajectory of the bullet wounds showed that the victims were at a higher
location than the shooter, but she could not tell what kind of ammunitions were used. 6

Norberto testified that the appellant is his brother-in-law. He recounted that in the evening of
June 6, 2002, as his entire family lay down on the floor of their one-room nipa hut to sleep,
the "sack" walling of their hut was suddenly stripped off, and only the supporting bamboo
(fences) remained. With the covering of the wall gone, the three (3) men responsible for the
deed came into view. Norberto clearly saw their faces which were illuminated by the light of a
gas lamp hanging in their small hut. Norberto identified the 3 men as appellant, Gilbert
Estores and Roger San Miguel.

The 3 men ordered Norberto to come down from his house, but he refused to do so. The
men then uttered, "Magdasal ka na at katapusan mo na ngayon." Norberto pleaded with
them, saying, "Maawa kayo sa amin, matanda na ako at marami akong anak. Anong
kasalanan ko sa inyo?" Despite such plea for mercy, a gunshot was fired, and Norberto
immediately threw his body over his children and wife in an attempt to protect them from
being hit. Thereafter, he heard successive gunshots being fired in the direction where his
family huddled together in their hut.7

When the volley of shots ceased and the three (3) men left, Norberto saw that his two (2)
young daughters were wounded. His wife went out of their house to ask for help from
neighbors, while he and his older daughter carried the two (2) wounded children out to the
street. His daughter Mary Grace died on the way to the hospital, while Claudine expired at
the hospital despite the doctors' attempts to revive her.8
In answer to questions of what could have prompted such an attack from appellant, Norberto
replied that he had a previous altercation with appellant who was angered by the fact that he
(Norberto) filed a case against appellant's two other brothers for molesting his daughter. 9

On the other hand, appellant was only able to proffer denial and alibi as his defense.
Appellant's testimony, along with those of Gilbert Estores, Roger San Miguel, Isidro San
Miguel and Ruben Alegre, was that he (appellant) was just watching TV at the house of Isidro
San Miguel, where he had been living for several years, at the time the shooting incident
occurred. However, he and the other witnesses admitted that said house was a mere five-
minute walk away from the crime scene.10

Finding appellant’s defense to be weak, and ascribing more credence to the testimony of
Norberto, the trial court ruled that the evidence clearly established that appellant, together
with two other assailants, conspired to shoot and kill the family of Norberto. Appellant was
then convicted of Double Murder in Criminal Case No. 7698-G and Multiple Attempted
Murder in Criminal Case No. 7702-G.

The dispositive portion of the trial court’s judgment in Criminal Case No. 7698-G reads:

WHEREFORE and in view of all the foregoing, the Court finds accused Ireneo Jugueta guilty
beyond reasonable doubt for Double Murder defined and punished under Article 248 of the
Revised Penal Code and is hereby sentenced to suffer Reclusion Perpetua for the death of
Mary Grace Divina and to indemnify her heirs in the amount of Php50,000.00 and another to
suffer Reclusion Perpetua for the death of Claudine Divina and accused is further ordered to
indemnify the heirs of Claudine Divina in the sum of Php50,000.00. In addition, he is hereby
ordered to pay the heirs of the victims actual damages in the amount of Php16,150.00 and to
pay for the costs.

SO ORDERED.11

On the other hand, the dispositive portion of the trial court’s judgment in Criminal Case No.
7702-G, reads:

WHEREFORE and in view of all the foregoing, the Court finds accused Ireneo Jugueta guilty
beyond reasonable doubt for Multiple Attempted Murder defined and penalized under Article
248 in relation to Article 51 of the Revised Penal Code and is hereby sentenced to suffer the
penalty of FOUR (4) YEARS and TWO (2) MONTHS of Prision Correccional as minimum to
EIGHT (8) YEARS and ONE (1) DAY of Prision Mayor as maximum for each of the offended
parties; Norberto Divina, Maricel Divina, Elizabeth Divina and Judy Ann Divina. Further,
accused is ordered to pay for the costs of the suit.

SO ORDERED.12

Aggrieved by the trial court's judgments, appellant appealed to the CA. On January 30, 2012,
the CA rendered a Decision affirming appellant's conviction for the crimes charged. 13

Dissatisfied with the CA Decision, appellant elevated the case to this Court. On July 30,
2012, the Court issued a Resolution14 notifying the parties that they may submit their
respective Supplemental Briefs. Both parties manifested that they will no longer submit
supplemental briefs since they had exhaustively discussed their positions before the CA.15
The main issue advanced in the Appellant's Brief deals with the inconsistencies in Norberto's
testimony, such as his failure to state from the beginning that all three assailants had guns,
and to categorically identify appellant as the one holding the gun used to kill Norberto’s
children.

The appeal is unmeritorious.

At the outset, it must be stressed that factual findings of the trial court, its assessment of the
credibility of witnesses and the probative weight of their testimonies, and the conclusions
based on these factual findings are to be given the highest respect. Thus, generally, the
Court will not recalibrate and re-examine evidence that had been analyzed and ruled upon by
the trial court and affirmed by the CA.16

The evidence on record fully supports the trial court's factual finding, as affirmed by the CA,
that appellant acted in concert with two other individuals, all three of them carrying firearms
and simultaneously firing at Norberto and his family, killing his two young daughters.
Norberto clearly saw all of the three assailants with their firearms as there is illumination
coming from a lamp inside their house that had been laid bare after its walling was stripped
off, to wit:

Q: When the wall of your house was stripped off by these three persons at the same time, do
you have light in your house?

A: Yes, sir.

Q: What kind of light was there?

A: A gas lamp.

Q: Where was the gas lamp placed at that time?

A: In the middle of our house.

xxxx

Q: when did they fire a shot?

A: On the same night, when they had stripped off the wallings.

Q: How many gunshots did you hear?

A: Only one.

Q: Do you know the sound of a gunshot? A firearm?

A: Yes, sir, it is loud? (sic)

xxxx

Q: After the first shot, was there any second shot?


A: After that, successive fire shot (sic) followed and my youngest and eldest daughters were
hit.

xxxx

Q: How many of the three were holding guns at that time?

A: All of them.

Q: You mean to tell the honorable court that these three persons were

having one firearm each?

A: Yes, sir.

Q: And they fired shots at the same time?

A: Yes, sir.

Q: To what direction these three persons fired (sic) their firearms during that night?

A: To the place where we were.

Q: When those three persons were firing their respective firearms, what was your position
then?

A: I ordered my children to lie down.

Q: How about you, what was your position when you were ordering your children to lie down?

A: (witness demonstrated his position as if covering his children with his body and ordering
them to line (sic) down face down)

Q: Mr. Witness, for how long did these three persons fire shots at your house?

A: Less than five minutes, sir.

Q: After they fired their shots, they left your house?

A: Yes, sir.

Q: And when these persons left your house, you inspected your children to see what
happened to them?

A: Yes, sir, they were hit.

x x x17

Appellant and the two other malefactors are equally responsible for the death of Norberto's
daughters because, as ruled by the trial court, they clearly conspired to kill Norberto's family.
Conspiracy exists when two or more persons come to an agreement regarding the
commission of a crime and decide to commit it. Proof of a prior meeting between the
perpetrators to discuss the commission of the crime is not necessary as long as their
concerted acts reveal a common design and unity of purpose. In such case, the act of one is
the act of all.18 Here, the three men undoubtedly acted in concert as they went to the house
of Norberto together, each with his own firearm. It is, therefore, no longer necessary to
identify and prove that it is the bullet particularly fired from appellant's firearm that killed the
children.

Murder is defined under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code as the unlawful killing of a
person, which is not parricide or infanticide, attended by circumstances such as treachery or
evident premeditation.19 The presence of any one of the circumstances enumerated in Article
248 of the Code is sufficient to qualify a killing as murder.20 The trial court correctly ruled that
appellant is liable for murder because treachery attended the killing of Norberto’s two
children, thus:

x x x Evidence adduced show that the family of Norberto Divina, were all lying down side by
side about to sleep on June 6, 2002 at around 9:00 o’clock in the evening, when suddenly
their wall made of sack was stripped off by [appellant] Ireneo Jugueta, Roger San Miguel and
Gilberto Alegre (sic) [Gilbert Estores]. They ordered him to go out of their house and when he
refused despite his plea for mercy, they fired at them having hit and killed his two (2)
daughters. The family of Norberto Divina were unarmed and his children were at very tender
ages. Mary Grace Divina and Claudine who were shot and killed were 13 years old and 3 ½
years old respectively. In this case, the victims were defenseless and manifestly
overpowered by armed assailants when they were gunned down. There was clear showing
that the attack was made suddenly and unexpectedly as to render the victims helpless and
unable to defend themselves. Norberto and his wife and his children could have already been
asleep at that time of the night. x x x 21

Verily, the presence of treachery qualified the killing of the hapless children to murder. As
held in People v. Fallorina,22 the essence of treachery is the sudden and unexpected attack
on an unsuspecting victim without the slightest provocation on his part. Minor children, who
by reason of their tender years, cannot be expected to put up a defense. When an adult
person illegally attacks a child, treachery exists.

As to the charge of multiple attempted murder, the last paragraph of Article 6 of the Revised
Penal Code states that a felony is attempted when the offender commences the commission
of a felony directly by overt acts, and does not perform all the acts of execution which should
produce the felony by reason of some cause or accident other than his own spontaneous
desistance. In Esqueda v. People,23 the Court held:

If one inflicts physical injuries on another but the latter survives, the crime committed is either
consummated physical injuries, if the offender had no intention to kill the victim, or frustrated
or attempted homicide or frustrated murder or attempted murder if the offender intends to kill
the victim. Intent to kill may be proved by evidence of: (a) motive; (b) the nature or number of
weapons used in the commission of the crime; (c) the nature and number of wounds inflicted
on the victim; (d) the manner the crime was committed; and (e) the words uttered by the
offender at the time the injuries are inflicted by him on the victim.

In this case, the prosecution has clearly established the intent to kill on the part of appellant
as shown by the use of firearms, the words uttered24during, as well as the manner of, the
commission of the crime. The Court thus quotes with approval the trial court’s finding that
appellant is liable for attempted murder, viz.:
In the case at bar, the perpetrators who acted in concert commenced the felony of murder
first by suddenly stripping off the wall of their house, followed by successive firing at the
intended victims when Norberto Divina refused to go out of the house as ordered by them. If
only there were good in aiming their target, not only Mary Grace and Claudine had been
killed but surely all the rest of the family would surely have died. Hence, perpetrators were
liable for Murder of Mary Grace Divina and Claudine Divina but for Multiple Attempted Murder
for Norberto Divina, Maricel Divina, Elizabeth Divina and Judy Ann Divina. But as [appellant]
Ireneo Jugueta was the only one charged in this case, he alone is liable for the crime
committed.25

Meanwhile, the supposed inconsistencies in Norberto's testimony, i.e., that he failed to state
from the very beginning that all three assailants were carrying firearms, and that it was the
shots from appellant’s firearm that killed the children, are too trivial and inconsequential to
put a dent on said witness's credibility. An examination of Norberto's testimony would show
that there are no real inconsistencies to speak of. As ruled in People v. Cabtalan,26 "[m]inor
inconsistencies and discrepancies pertaining to trivial matters do not affect the credibility of
witnesses, as well as their positive identification of the accused as the perpetrators of the
crime."27 Both the trial court and the CA found Norberto's candid and straightforward
testimony to be worthy of belief and this Court sees no reason why it should not conform to
the principle reiterated in Medina, Jr. v. People28 that:

Time and again, this Court has deferred to the trial court's factual findings and
evaluation of the credibility of witnesses, especially when affirmed by the CA, in the
absence of any clear showing that the trial court overlooked or misconstrued cogent
facts and circumstances that would justify altering or revising such findings and
evaluation. This is because the trial court's determination proceeds from its first-hand
opportunity to observe the demeanor of the witnesses, their conduct and attitude
under grilling examination, thereby placing the trial court in unique position to assess
the witnesses' credibility and to appreciate their truthfulness, honesty and candor x x
x.29

The records of this case, particularly the testimonies of the witnesses, reveal no outstanding
or exceptional circumstance to justify a deviation from such long-standing principle. There is
no cogent reason to overturn the trial court's ruling that the prosecution evidence, particularly
the testimony of Norberto Divina identifying appellant as one of the assailants, is worthy of
belief. Thus, the prosecution evidence established beyond any reasonable doubt that
appellant is one of the perpetrators of the crime.

However, the Court must make a clarification as to the nomenclature used by the trial court
to identify the crimes for which appellant was penalized. There is some confusion caused by
the trial court's use of the terms "Double Murder" and "Multiple Attempted Murder" in
convicting appellant, and yet imposing penalties which nevertheless show that the trial court
meant to penalize appellant for two (2) separate counts of Murder and four (4) counts of
Attempted Murder.

The facts, as alleged in the Information in Criminal Case No. 7698-G, and as proven during
trial, show that appellant is guilty of 2 counts of the crime of Murder and not Double Murder,
as the killing of the victims was not the result of a single act but of several acts of appellant
and his cohorts. In the same vein, appellant is also guilty of 4 counts of the crime of
Attempted Murder and not Multiple Attempted Murder in Criminal Case No. 7702-G. It bears
stressing that the Informations in this case failed to comply with the requirement in Section
13, Rule 110 of the Revised Rules of Court that an information must charge only one offense.
As a general rule, a complaint or information must charge only one offense, otherwise, the
same is defective. The reason for the rule is stated in People of the Philippines and AAA v.
Court of Appeals, 21st Division, Mindanao Station, et al.,30 thus:

The rationale behind this rule prohibiting duplicitous complaints or informations is to give the
accused the necessary knowledge of the charge against him and enable him to sufficiently
prepare for his defense. The State should not heap upon the accused two or more charges
which might confuse him in his defense. Non-compliance with this rule is a ground for
quashing the duplicitous complaint or information under Rule 117 of the Rules on Criminal
Procedure and the accused may raise the same in a motion to quash before he enters his
plea, otherwise, the defect is deemed waived.

However, since appellant entered a plea of not guilty during arraignment and failed to move
for the quashal of the Informations, he is deemed to have waived his right to question the
same. Section 9 of Rule 117 provides that "[t]he failure of the accused to assert any ground
of a motion to quash before he pleads to the complaint or information, either because he did
not file a motion to quash or failed to allege the same in said motion, shall be deemed a
waiver of any objections except those based on the grounds provided for in paragraphs (a),
(b), (g), and (i) of Section 3 of this Rule."

It is also well-settled that when two or more offenses are charged in a single complaint or
information but the accused fails to object to it before trial, the court may convict him of as
many offenses as are charged and proved, and impose upon him the proper penalty for each
offense.31

Appellant can therefore be held liable for all the crimes alleged in the Informations in Criminal
Case Nos. 7698-G and 7702-G, i.e., 2 counts of murder and 4 counts of attempted murder,
respectively, and proven during trial.

Meanwhile, in People v. Nelmida,32 the Court explained the concept of a complex crime as
defined in Article 4833 of the Revised Penal Code, thus:

In a complex crime, two or more crimes are actually committed, however, in the eyes of the
law and in the conscience of the offender they constitute only one crime, thus, only one
penalty is imposed. There are two kinds of complex crime. The first is known as a compound
crime, or when a single act constitutes two or more grave or less grave felonies while the
other is known as a complex crime proper, or when an offense is a necessary means for
committing the other. The classic example of the first kind is when a single bullet results in
the death of two or more persons. A different rule governs where separate and distinct acts
result in a number killed. Deeply rooted is the doctrine that when various victims expire from
separate shot, such acts constitute separate and distinct crimes.34

Here, the facts surrounding the shooting incident clearly show that appellant and the two
others, in firing successive and indiscriminate shots at the family of Norberto from their
respective firearms, intended to kill not only Norberto, but his entire family. When several
gunmen, as in this case, indiscriminately fire a series of shots at a group of people, it shows
their intention to kill several individuals. Hence, they are committing not only one crime. What
appellant and his cohorts committed cannot be classified as a complex crime because as
held in People v. Nelmida,35 "each act by each gunman pulling the trigger of their respective
firearms, aiming each particular moment at different persons constitute distinct and individual
acts which cannot give rise to a complex crime."36
Furthermore, the Court notes that both the trial court and the CA failed to take into account
dwelling as an ordinary, aggravating circumstance, despite the fact that the Informations in
Criminal Case Nos. 7698-G and 7702-G contain sufficient allegations to that effect, to wit:

Criminal Case No. 7698-G for Double Murder:

That the crime was committed in the dwelling of the offended party who had not given
provocation for the attack and the accused took advantage of nighttime to facilitate the
commission of the offense.37

Criminal Case No. 7702-G for Multiple Attempted Murder:

x x x the above-named accused, conspiring and confederating together and mutually helping
one another, armed with short firearms of undetermined calibres, with intent to kill, qualified
by treachery, with evident premeditation and abuse of superior strength, did then and there
wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault, and shoot with the said firearms the house
occupied by the family of Norberto Divina, thereby commencing the commission of the crime
of Murder, directly by overt acts, but did not perform all the acts of execution which would
have produced it by reason of some cause or accident other than the spontaneous
desistance of the accused x x x38

In People v. Agcanas,39 the Court stressed that "[i]t has been held in a long line of cases that
dwelling is aggravating because of the sanctity of privacy which the law accords to human
abode. He who goes to another's house to hurt him or do him wrong is more guilty than he
who offends him elsewhere." Dwelling aggravates a felony where the crime is committed in
the dwelling of the offended party provided that the latter has not given provocation
therefor.40 The testimony of Norberto established the fact that the group of appellant violated
the victims' home by destroying the same and attacking his entire family therein, without
provocation on the part of the latter. Hence, the trial court should have appreciated dwelling
as an ordinary aggravating circumstance.

In view of the attendant ordinary aggravating circumstance, the Court must modify the
penalties imposed on appellant. Murder is punishable by reclusion perpetua to death, thus,
with an ordinary aggravating circumstance of dwelling, the imposable penalty is death for
each of two (2) counts of murder.41 However, pursuant to Republic Act (RA) No. 9346,
proscribing the imposition of the death penalty, the penalty to be imposed on appellant
should be reclusion perpetua for each of the two (2) counts of murder without eligibility for
parole. With regard to the four (4) counts of attempted murder, the penalty prescribed for
each count is prision mayor. With one ordinary aggravating circumstance, the penalty should
be imposed in its maximum period. Applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, the maximum
penalty should be from ten (10) years and one (1) day to twelve (12) years of prision mayor,
while the minimum shall be taken from the penalty next lower in degree, i.e., prision
correccional, in any of its periods, or anywhere from six (6) months and one (1) day to six (6)
years. This Court finds it apt to impose on appellant the indeterminate penalty of four (4)
years, two (2) months and one (1) day of prision correccional, as minimum, to ten (10) years
and one (1) day of prision mayor, as minimum, for each of the four (4) counts of attempted
murder.

Anent the award of damages, the Court deems it proper to address the matter in detail as
regards criminal cases where the imposable penalty is reclusion perpetua to death.
Generally, in these types of criminal cases, there are three kinds of damages awarded by the
Court; namely: civil indemnity, moral, and exemplary damages. Likewise, actual damages
may be awarded or temperate damages in some instances.

First, civil indemnity ex delicto is the indemnity authorized in our criminal law for the offended
party, in the amount authorized by the prevailing judicial policy and apart from other proven
actual damages, which itself is equivalent to actual or compensatory damages in civil
law.42 This award stems from Article 100 of the RPC which states, "Every person criminally
liable for a felony is also civilly liable."

It is to be noted that civil indemnity is, technically, not a penalty or a fine; hence, it can be
increased by the Court when appropriate.43 Article 2206 of the Civil Code provides:

Art. 2206. The amount of damages for death caused by a crime or quasi-delict shall be at
least three thousand pesos, even though there may have been mitigating circumstances. In
addition:

(1) The defendant shall be liable for the loss of the earning capacity of the
deceased, and the indemnity shall be paid to the heirs of the latter; such
indemnity shall in every case be assessed and awarded by the court, unless
the deceased on account of permanent physical disability not caused by the
defendant, had no earning capacity at the time of his death;

(2) If the deceased was obliged to give support according to the provisions of
Article 291, the recipient who is not an heir called to the decedent's inheritance
by the law of testate or intestate succession, may demand support from the
person causing the death, for a period not exceeding five years, the exact
duration to be fixed by the court;

(3) The spouse, legitimate and illegitimate descendants and ascendants of the
deceased may demand moral damages for mental anguish by reason of the
death of the deceased.

In our jurisdiction, civil indemnity is awarded to the offended party as a kind of monetary
restitution or compensation to the victim for the damage or infraction that was done to the
latter by the accused, which in a sense only covers the civil aspect. Precisely, it is civil
indemnity. Thus, in a crime where a person dies, in addition to the penalty of imprisonment
imposed to the offender, the accused is also ordered to pay the victim a sum of money as
restitution. Also, it is apparent from Article 2206 that the law only imposes a minimum amount
for awards of civil indemnity, which is ₱3,000.00. The law did not provide for a ceiling. Thus,
although the minimum amount for the award cannot be changed, increasing the amount
awarded as civil indemnity can be validly modified and increased when the present
circumstance warrants it.44

The second type of damages the Court awards are moral damages, which are also
compensatory in nature. Del Mundo v. Court of Appeals45 expounded on the nature and
purpose of moral damages, viz.:

Moral damages, upon the other hand, may be awarded to compensate one for manifold
injuries such as physical suffering, mental anguish, serious anxiety, besmirched reputation,
wounded feelings and social humiliation. These damages must be understood to be in the
concept of grants, not punitive or corrective in nature, calculated to compensate the claimant
for the injury suffered. Although incapable of exactness and no proof of pecuniary loss is
necessary in order that moral damages may be awarded, the amount of indemnity being left
to the discretion of the court, it is imperative, nevertheless, that (1) injury must have been
suffered by the claimant, and (2) such injury must have sprung from any of the cases
expressed in Article 221946 and Article 222047 of the Civil Code. x x x.

Similarly, in American jurisprudence, moral damages are treated as "compensatory damages


awarded for mental pain and suffering or mental anguish resulting from a wrong."48 They may
also be considered and allowed "for resulting pain and suffering, and for humiliation,
indignity, and vexation suffered by the plaintiff as result of his or her assailant's conduct, as
well as the factors of provocation, the reasonableness of the force used, the attendant
humiliating circumstances, the sex of the victim, [and] mental distress." 49

The rationale for awarding moral damages has been explained in Lambert v. Heirs of Rey
Castillon: "[T]he award of moral damages is aimed at a restoration, within the limits possible,
of the spiritual status quo ante; and therefore, it must be proportionate to the suffering
inflicted."50

Corollarily, moral damages under Article 222051 of the Civil Code also does not fix the
amount of damages that can be awarded. It is discretionary upon the court, depending on the
mental anguish or the suffering of the private offended party. The amount of moral damages
can, in relation to civil indemnity, be adjusted so long as it does not exceed the award of civil
indemnity.52

Finally, the Civil Code of the Philippines provides, in respect to exemplary damages, thus:

ART. 2229. Exemplary or corrective damages are imposed, by way of example or correction
for the public good, in addition to the moral, temperate, liquidated or compensatory damages.

ART. 2230. In criminal offenses, exemplary damages as a part of the civil liability may be
imposed when the crime was committed with one or more aggravating circumstances. Such
damages are separate and distinct from fines and shall be paid to the offended party.

Also known as "punitive" or "vindictive" damages, exemplary or corrective damages are


intended to serve as a deterrent to serious wrong doings, and as a vindication of undue
sufferings and wanton invasion of the rights of an injured or a punishment for those guilty of
outrageous conduct. These terms are generally, but not always, used interchangeably. In
common law, there is preference in the use of exemplary damages when the award is to
account for injury to feelings and for the sense of indignity and humiliation suffered by a
person as a result of an injury that has been maliciously and wantonly inflicted, 53 the theory
being that there should be compensation for the hurt caused by the highly reprehensible
conduct of the defendant – associated with such circumstances as willfulness, wantonness,
malice, gross negligence or recklessness, oppression, insult or fraud or gross fraud 54 – that
intensifies the injury. The terms punitive or vindictive damages are often used to refer to
those species of damages that may be awarded against a person to punish him for his
outrageous conduct. In either case, these damages are intended in good measure to deter
the wrongdoer and others like him from similar conduct in the future.55

The term aggravating circumstances used by the Civil Code, the law not having specified
otherwise, is to be understood in its broad or generic sense. The commission of an offense
has a two-pronged effect, one on the public as it breaches the social order and the other
upon the private victim as it causes personal sufferings, each of which is addressed by,
respectively, the prescription of heavier punishment for the accused and by an award of
additional damages to the victim. The increase of the penalty or a shift to a graver felony
underscores the exacerbation of the offense by the attendance of aggravating
circumstances, whether ordinary or qualifying, in its commission. Unlike the criminal liability
which is basically a State concern, the award of damages, however, is likewise, if not
primarily, intended for the offended party who suffers thereby. It would make little sense for
an award of exemplary damages to be due the private offended party when the aggravating
circumstance is ordinary but to be withheld when it is qualifying. Withal, the ordinary or
qualifying nature of an aggravating circumstance is a distinction that should only be of
consequence to the criminal, rather than to the civil, liability of the offender. In fine, relative to
the civil aspect of the case, an aggravating circumstance, whether ordinary or qualifying,
should entitle the offended party to an award of exemplary damages within the unbridled
meaning of Article 2230 of the Civil Code. 56

The reason is fairly obvious as to why the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure 57 requires
aggravating circumstances, whether ordinary or qualifying, to be stated in the complaint or
information. It is in order not to trample on the constitutional right of an accused to be
informed of the nature of the alleged offense that he or she has committed. A criminal
complaint or information should basically contain the elements of the crime, as well as its
qualifying and ordinary aggravating circumstances, for the court to effectively determine the
proper penalty it should impose. This, however, is not similar in the recovery of civil liability.
In the civil aspect, the presence of an aggravating circumstance, even if not alleged in the
information but proven during trial would entitle the victim to an award of exemplary
damages.

Being corrective in nature, exemplary damages, therefore, can be awarded, not only due to
the presence of an aggravating circumstance, but also where the circumstances of the case
show the highly reprehensible or outrageous conduct of the offender. In much the same way
as Article 2230 prescribes an instance when exemplary damages may be awarded, Article
2229, the main provision, lays down the very basis of the award. Thus, in People v.
Matrimonio,58 the Court imposed exemplary damages to deter other fathers with perverse
tendencies or aberrant sexual behavior from sexually abusing their own daughters. Also,
in People v. Cristobal,59 the Court awarded exemplary damages on account of the moral
corruption, perversity and wickedness of the accused in sexually assaulting a pregnant
married woman. In People v. Cañada,60 People v. Neverio61 and People v. Layco, Sr.,62 the
Court awarded exemplary damages to set a public example, to serve as deterrent to elders
who abuse and corrupt the youth, and to protect the latter from sexual abuse.

Existing jurisprudence pegs the award of exemplary damages at ₱30,000.00, 63 despite the
lack of any aggravating circumstance. The Court finds it proper to increase the amount to
₱50,000.00 in order to deter similar conduct.

If, however, the penalty for the crime committed is death, which cannot be imposed because
of the provisions of R.A. No. 9346, prevailing jurisprudence64 sets the amount of
₱100,000.00 as exemplary damages.

Before awarding any of the above mentioned damages, the Court, however, must first
consider the penalty imposed by law. Under RA 7659 or An Act to Impose the Death Penalty
on Certain Heinous Crimes, Amending for that Purpose the Revised Penal Laws, and for
Other Purposes, certain crimes under the RPC and special penal laws were amended to
impose the death penalty under certain circumstances.65 Under the same law, the following
crimes are punishable by reclusion perpetua: piracy in general,66 mutiny on the high
seas,67 and simple rape.68 For the following crimes, RA 7659 has imposed the penalty
of reclusion perpetua to death: qualified piracy;69 qualified bribery under certain
circumstances;70 parricide;71 murder;72 infanticide, except when committed by the mother of
the child for the purpose of concealing her dishonor or either of the maternal grandparents for
the same purpose;73 kidnapping and serious illegal detention under certain
circumstances;74 robbery with violence against or intimidation of persons under certain
circumstances;75 destructive arson, except when death results as a consequence of the
commission of any of the acts penalized under the article;76 attempted or frustrated rape,
when a homicide is committed by reason or on occasion thereof; plunder; 77 and carnapping,
when the driver or occupant of the carnapped motor vehicle is killed or raped in the course of
the commission of the carnapping or on the occasion thereof.78 Finally, RA 7659 imposes the
death penalty on the following crimes:

(a) In qualified bribery, when it is the public officer who asks or demands the gift or
present.

(b) In kidnapping and serious illegal detention: (i) when the kidnapping or detention
was committed for the purpose of extorting ransom from the victim or any other
person; (ii) when the victim is killed or dies as a consequence of the detention; (iii)
when the victim is raped, subjected to torture or dehumanizing acts.

(c) In destructive arson, when as a consequence of the commission of any of the acts
penalized under Article 320, death results.

(d) In rape: (i) when by reason or on occasion of the rape, the victim becomes insane
or homicide is committed; (ii) when committed with any of the following attendant
circumstances: (1) when the victim is under eighteen (18) years of age and the
offender is a parent, ascendant, step-parent, guardian, relative by consanguinity or
affinity within the third civil degree, or the common-law-spouse of the parent of the
victim; (2) when the victim is under the custody of the police or military authorities; (3)
when the rape is committed in full view of the husband, parent, any of the children or
other relatives within the third degree of consanguinity; (4) when the victim is a
religious or a child below seven years old; (5) when the offender knows that he is
afflicted with Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) disease; (6) when
committed by any member of the Armed Forces of the Philippines or the Philippine
National Police or any law enforcement agency; and (7) when by reason or on the
occasion of the rape, the victim has suffered permanent physical mutilation.

From these heinous crimes, where the imposable penalties consist of two (2) indivisible
penalties or single indivisible penalty, all of them must be taken in relation to Article 63 of the
RPC, which provides:

Article 63. Rules for the application of indivisible penalties. - In all cases in which the law
prescribes a single indivisible penalty, it shall be applied by the courts regardless of any
mitigating or aggravating circumstances that may have attended the commission of the deed.

In all cases in which the law prescribes a penalty composed of two indivisible penalties, the
following rules shall be observed in the application thereof:

1. when in the commission of the deed there is present only one aggravating
circumstance, the greater penalty shall be applied.
2. when there are neither mitigating nor aggravating circumstances in the commission
of the deed, the lesser penalty shall be applied.

3. when the commission of the act is attended by some mitigating circumstance and
there is no aggravating circumstance, the lesser penalty shall be applied.

4. when both mitigating and aggravating circumstances attended the commission of


the act, the courts shall reasonably allow them to offset one another in consideration
of their number and importance, for the purpose of applying the penalty in accordance
with the preceding rules, according to the result of such compensation. (Revised
Penal Code, Art. 63)

Thus, in order to impose the proper penalty, especially in cases of indivisible penalties, the
court has the duty to ascertain the presence of any mitigating or aggravating circumstances.
Accordingly, in crimes where the imposable penalty is reclusion perpetua to death, the court
can impose either reclusion perpetua or death, depending on the mitigating or aggravating
circumstances present.

But with the enactment of RA 9346 or An Act Prohibiting the Imposition of Death Penalty in
the Philippines, the imposition of death penalty is now prohibited. It provides that in lieu of the
death penalty, the penalty of reclusion perpetua shall be imposed when the law violated
makes use of the nomenclature of the penalties of the RPC.79

As a result, the death penalty can no longer be imposed. Instead, they have to
impose reclusion perpetua. Despite this, the principal consideration for the award of
damages, following the ruling in People v. Salome80 and People v. Quiachon,81 is "the
penalty provided by law or imposable for the offense because of its heinousness, not the
public penalty actually imposed on the offender."82

When the circumstances surrounding the crime would justify the imposition of the death
penalty were it not for RA 9346, the Court has ruled, as early as July 9, 1998 in People v.
Victor,83 that the award of civil indemnity for the crime of rape when punishable by death
should be ₱75,000.00 We reasoned that "[t]his is not only a reaction to the apathetic societal
perception of the penal law and the financial fluctuations over time, but also an expression of
the displeasure of the Court over the incidence of heinous crimes against chastity." 84 Such
reasoning also applies to all heinous crimes found in RA 7659. The amount was later
increased to ₱100,000.00.85

In addition to this, the Court likewise awards moral damages. In People v.


Arizapa,86 ₱50,000.00 was awarded as moral damages without need of pleading or proving
them, for in rape cases, it is recognized that the victim's injury is concomitant with and
necessarily results from the odious crime of rape to warrant per se the award of moral
damages.87 Subsequently, the amount was increased to ₱75,000.00 in People v.
Soriano88 and P100,000.00 in People v. Gambao.89

Essentially, despite the fact that the death penalty cannot be imposed because of RA 9346,
the imposable penalty as provided by the law for the crime, such as those found in RA 7569,
must be used as the basis for awarding damages and not the actual penalty
imposed.1avvphi1

Again, for crimes where the imposable penalty is death in view of the attendance of an
ordinary aggravating circumstance but due to the prohibition to impose the death penalty, the
actual penalty imposed is reclusion perpetua, the latest jurisprudence90 pegs the amount of
₱100,000.00 as civil indemnity and ₱100,0000.00 as moral damages. For the qualifying
aggravating circumstance and/or the ordinary aggravating circumstances present, the
amount of ₱100,000.00 is awarded as exemplary damages aside from civil indemnity and
moral damages. Regardless of the attendance of qualifying aggravating circumstance, the
exemplary damages shall be fixed at ₱100,000.00. "[T]his is not only a reaction to the
apathetic societal perception of the penal law and the financial fluctuation over time, but also
an expression of the displeasure of the Court over the incidence of heinous crimes x x x." 91

When the circumstances surrounding the crime call for the imposition of reclusion
perpetua only, there being no ordinary aggravating circumstance, the Court rules that the
proper amounts should be ₱75,000.00 as civil indemnity, ₱75,000.00 as moral damages and
₱75,000.00 exemplary damages, regardless of the number of qualifying aggravating
circumstances present.

When it comes to compound and complex crimes, although the single act done by the
offender caused several crimes, the fact that those were the result of a single design, the
amount of civil indemnity and moral damages will depend on the penalty and the number of
victims. For each of the victims, the heirs should be properly compensated. If it is multiple
murder without any ordinary aggravating circumstance but merely a qualifying aggravating
circumstance, but the penalty imposed is death because of Art. 48 of the RPC wherein the
maximum penalty shall be imposed,92 then, for every victim who dies, the heirs shall be
indemnified with ₱100,000.00 as civil indemnity, ₱100,000.00 as moral damages and
₱100,000.00 as exemplary damages.

In case of a special complex crime, which is different from a complex crime under Article 48
of the RPC, the following doctrines are noteworthy:

In People of the Philippines v. Conrado Laog,93 this Court ruled that special complex crime,
or more properly, a composite crime, has its own definition and special penalty in the
Revised Penal Code, as amended. Justice Regalado, in his Separate Opinion in the case
of People v. Barros,94 explained that composite crimes are "neither of the same legal basis
as nor subject to the rules on complex crimes in Article 48 [of the Revised Penal Code], since
they do not consist of a single act giving rise to two or more grave or less grave felonies
[compound crimes] nor do they involve an offense being a necessary means to commit
another [complex crime proper]. However, just like the regular complex crimes and the
present case of aggravated illegal possession of firearms, only a single penalty is imposed
for each of such composite crimes although composed of two or more offenses." 95

In People v. De Leon,96 we expounded on the special complex crime of robbery with


homicide, as follows:

In robbery with homicide, the original criminal design of the malefactor is to commit robbery,
with homicide perpetrated on the occasion or by reason of the robbery. The intent to commit
robbery must precede the taking of human life. The homicide may take place before, during
or after the robbery. It is only the result obtained, without reference or distinction as to the
circumstances, causes or modes or persons intervening in the commission of the crime that
has to be taken into consideration. There is no such felony of robbery with homicide through
reckless imprudence or simple negligence. The constitutive elements of the crime, namely,
robbery with homicide, must be consummated.
It is immaterial that the death would supervene by mere accident; or that the victim of
homicide is other than the victim of robbery, or that two or more persons are killed, or that
aside from the homicide, rape, intentional mutilation, or usurpation of authority, is committed
by reason or on the occasion of the crime. Likewise immaterial is the fact that the victim of
homicide is one of the robbers; the felony would still be robbery with homicide. Once a
homicide is committed by or on the occasion of the robbery, the felony committed is robbery
with homicide. All the felonies committed by reason of or on the occasion of the robbery are
integrated into one and indivisible felony of robbery with homicide. The word "homicide" is
used in its generic sense. Homicide, thus, includes murder, parricide, and infanticide. 97

In the special complex crime of rape with homicide, the term "homicide" is to be understood
in its generic sense, and includes murder and slight physical injuries committed by reason or
on occasion of the rape.98 Hence, even if any or all of the circumstances (treachery, abuse of
superior strength and evident premeditation) alleged in the information have been duly
established by the prosecution, the same would not qualify the killing to murder and the crime
committed by appellant is still rape with homicide. As in the case of robbery with homicide,
the aggravating circumstance of treachery is to be considered as a generic aggravating
circumstance only. Thus we ruled in People v. Macabales:99

Finally, appellants contend that the trial court erred in concluding that the aggravating
circumstance of treachery is present. They aver that treachery applies to crimes against
persons and not to crimes against property. However, we find that the trial court in this case
correctly characterized treachery as a generic aggravating, rather than qualifying,
circumstance. Miguel was rendered helpless by appellants in defending himself when his
arms were held by two of the attackers before he was stabbed with a knife by appellant
Macabales, as their other companions surrounded them. In People v. Salvatierra, we ruled
that when alevosia (treachery) obtains in the special complex crime of robbery with homicide,
such treachery is to be regarded as a generic aggravating circumstance.

Robbery with homicide is a composite crime with its own definition and special penalty in the
Revised Penal Code. There is no special complex crime of robbery with murder under the
Revised Penal Code. Here, treachery forms part of the circumstances proven concerning the
actual commission of the complex crime. Logically it could not qualify the homicide to murder
but, as generic aggravating circumstance, it helps determine the penalty to be imposed. 100

Applying the above discussion on special complex crimes, if the penalty is death but it cannot
be imposed due to RA 9346 and what is actually imposed is the penalty of reclusion
perpetua, the civil indemnity and moral damages will be ₱100,000.00 each, and another
₱100,000.00 as exemplary damages in view of the heinousness of the crime and to set an
example. If there is another composite crime included in a special complex crime and the
penalty imposed is death, an additional ₱100,000.00 as civil indemnity, ₱100,000.00 moral
damages and ₱100,000.00 exemplary damages shall be awarded for each composite crime
committed.

For example, in case of Robbery with Homicide101 wherein three (3) people died as a
consequence of the crime, the heirs of the victims shall be entitled to the award of damages
as discussed earlier. This is true, however, only if those who were killed were the victims of
the robbery or mere bystanders and not when those who died were the perpetrators or
robbers themselves because the crime of robbery with homicide may still be committed even
if one of the robbers dies.102 This is also applicable in robbery with rape where there is more
than one victim of rape.
In awarding civil indemnity and moral damages, it is also important to determine the stage in
which the crime was committed and proven during the trial. Article 6 of the RPC provides:

Art. 6. Consummated, frustrated, and attempted felonies. - Consummated felonies, as well as


those which are frustrated and attempted, are punishable.

A felony is consummated when all the elements necessary for its execution and
accomplishment are present; and it is frustrated when an offender performs all the acts of
execution which would produce the felony as a consequence but which, nevertheless, do not
produce it by reason of causes independent of the will of the perpetrator.

There is an attempt when the offender commences the commission of a felony directly by
overt acts, and does not perform all the acts of execution which should produce the felony by
reason of some cause or accident other than his own spontaneous desistance.

As discussed earlier, when the crime proven is consummated and the penalty imposed is
death but reduced to reclusion perpetua because of R.A. 9346, the civil indemnity and moral
damages that should be awarded will each be ₱100,000.00 and another ₱100,000.00 for
exemplary damages or when the circumstances of the crime call for the imposition
of reclusion perpetua only, the civil indemnity and moral damages should be ₱75,000.00
each, as well as exemplary damages in the amount of ₱75,000.00. If, however, the crime
proven is in its frustrated stage, the civil indemnity and moral damages that should be
awarded will each be ₱50,000.00, and an award of ₱25,000.00 civil indemnity and
₱25,000.00 moral damages when the crime proven is in its attempted stage. The difference
in the amounts awarded for the stages is mainly due to the disparity in the outcome of the
crime committed, in the same way that the imposable penalty varies for each stage of the
crime. The said amounts of civil indemnity and moral damages awarded in cases of felonies
in their frustrated or attempted stages shall be the bases when the crimes committed
constitute complex crime under Article 48 of the RPC. For example, in a crime of murder with
attempted murder, the amount of civil indemnity, moral damages and exemplary damages is
₱100,000.00 each, while in the attempted murder, the civil indemnity, moral damages and
exemplary damages is ₱25,000.00 each.

In a special complex crime, like robbery with homicide, if, aside from homicide, several
victims (except the robbers) sustained injuries, they shall likewise be indemnified. It must be
remembered that in a special complex crime, unlike in a complex crime, the component
crimes have no attempted or frustrated stages because the intention of the offender/s is to
commit the principal crime which is to rob but in the process of committing the said crime,
another crime is committed. For example, if on the occasion of a robbery with homicide, other
victims sustained injuries, regardless of the severity, the crime committed is still robbery with
homicide as the injuries become part of the crime, "Homicide", in the special complex crime
of robbery with homicide, is understood in its generic sense and now forms part of the
essential element of robbery,103 which is the use of violence or the use of force upon
anything. Hence, the nature and severity of the injuries sustained by the victims must still be
determined for the purpose of awarding civil indemnity and damages. If a victim suffered
mortal wounds and could have died if not for a timely medical intervention, the victim should
be awarded civil indemnity, moral damages, and exemplary damages equivalent to the
damages awarded in a frustrated stage, and if a victim suffered injuries that are not fatal, an
award of civil indemnity, moral damages and exemplary damages should likewise be
awarded equivalent to the damages awarded in an attempted stage.
In other crimes that resulted in the death of a victim and the penalty consists of divisible
penalties, like homicide, death under tumultuous affray, reckless imprudence resulting to
homicide, the civil indemnity awarded to the heirs of the victim shall be ₱50,000.00 and
₱50,000.00 moral damages without exemplary damages being awarded. However, an award
of ₱50,000.00 exemplary damages in a crime of homicide shall be added if there is an
aggravating circumstance present that has been proven but not alleged in the information.

Aside from those discussed earlier, the Court also awards temperate damages in certain
cases. The award of ₱25,000.00 as temperate damages in homicide or murder cases is
proper when no evidence of burial and funeral expenses is presented in the trial
court.104 Under Article 2224 of the Civil Code, temperate damages may be recovered, as it
cannot be denied that the heirs of the victims suffered pecuniary loss although the exact
amount was not proved.105 In this case, the Court now increases the amount to be awarded
as temperate damages to ₱50,000.00.

In the case at bar, the crimes were aggravated by dwelling, and the murders committed were
further made atrocious by the fact that the victims are innocent, defenseless minors – one is
a mere 3½-year-old toddler, and the other a 13-year-old girl. The increase in the amount of
awards for damages is befitting to show not only the Court's, but all of society's outrage over
such crimes and wastage of lives.

In summary:

I. For those crimes106 like, Murder,107 Parricide,108 Serious Intentional


Mutilation,109 Infanticide,110 and other crimes involving death of a victim where the
penalty consists of indivisible penalties:

1.1 Where the penalty imposed is death but reduced to reclusion


perpetua because of RA 9346:

a. Civil indemnity – ₱100,000.00

b. Moral damages – ₱100,000.00

c. Exemplary damages – ₱100,000.00

1.2 Where the crime committed was not consummated:

a. Frustrated:

i. Civil indemnity – ₱75,000.00

ii. Moral damages – ₱75,000.00

iii. Exemplary damages – ₱75,000.00

b. Attempted:

i. Civil indemnity – ₱50,000.00

ii. Exemplary damages – ₱50,000.00


iii. Exemplary damages – ₱50,000.00

2.1 Where the penalty imposed is reclusion perpetua, other than the
above-mentioned:

a. Civil indemnity – ₱75,000.00

b. Moral damages – ₱75,000.00

c. Exemplary damages – ₱75,000.00

2.2 Where the crime committed was not consummated:

a. Frustrated:

i. Civil indemnity – ₱50,000.00

ii. Moral damages – ₱50,000.00

iii. Exemplary damages – ₱50,000.00

b. Attempted:

i. Civil indemnity – ₱25,000.00

ii. Moral damages – ₱25,000.00

iii. Exemplary damages – ₱25,000.00

II. For Simple Rape/Qualified Rape:

1.1 Where the penalty imposed is Death but reduced to reclusion


perpetua because of RA 9346:

a. Civil indemnity – ₱100,000.00

b. Moral damages – ₱100,000.00

c. Exemplary damages111 – ₱100,000.00

1.2 Where the crime committed was not consummated but merely attempted: 112

a. Civil indemnity – ₱50,000.00

b. Moral damages – ₱50,000.00

c. Exemplary damages – ₱50,000.00

2.1 Where the penalty imposed is reclusion perpetua, other than the above-
mentioned:
a. Civil indemnity – ₱75,000.00

b. Moral damages – ₱75,000.00

c. Exemplary damages – ₱75,000.00

2.2 Where the crime committed was not consummated, but merely attempted:

a. Civil indemnity – ₱25,000.00

b. Moral damages – ₱25,000.00

c. Exemplary damages – ₱25,000.00

III. For Complex crimes under Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code where death,
injuries, or sexual abuse results, the civil indemnity, moral damages and exemplary
damages will depend on the penalty, extent of violence and sexual abuse; and the
number of victims where the penalty consists of indivisible penalties:

1.1 Where the penalty imposed is Death but reduced to reclusion


perpetua because of RA 9346:

a. Civil indemnity – ₱100,000.00

b. Moral damages – ₱100,000.00

c. Exemplary damages – ₱100,000.00

1.2 Where the penalty imposed is reclusion perpetua, other than the above-
mentioned:

a. Civil indemnity – ₱75,000.00

b. Moral damages – ₱75,000.00

c. Exemplary damages – ₱75,000.00

The above Rules apply to every victim who dies as a result of the crime
committed. In other complex crimes where death does not result, like in
Forcible Abduction with Rape, the civil indemnity, moral and exemplary
damages depend on the prescribed penalty and the penalty imposed, as the
case may be.

IV. For Special Complex Crimes like Robbery with Homicide,113 Robbery with
Rape,114 Robbery with Intentional Mutilation,115 Robbery with

Arson,116 Rape with Homicide,117 Kidnapping with Murder,118 Carnapping with


Homicide119 or Carnapping with Rape,120 Highway Robbery with
Homicide,121 Qualified Piracy,122 Arson with Homicide,123 Hazing with Death, Rape,
Sodomy or Mutilation124 and other crimes with death, injuries, and sexual abuse as the
composite crimes, where the penalty consists of indivisible penalties:
1.1 Where the penalty imposed is Death but reduced to reclusion
perpetua because of RA 9346:

a. Civil indemnity – ₱100,000.00

b. Moral damages – ₱100,000.00

c. Exemplary damages – ₱100,000.00

In Robbery with Intentional Mutilation, the amount of damages is the same as


the above if the penalty imposed is Death but reduced to reclusion
perpetua although death did not occur.

1.2 For the victims who suffered mortal/fatal wounds125 and could have died if
not for a timely medical intervention, the following shall be awarded:

a. Civil indemnity – ₱75,000.00

b. Moral damages – ₱75,000.00

c. Exemplary damages – ₱75,000.00

1.3 For the victims who suffered non-mortal/non-fatal injuries:

a. Civil indemnity – ₱50,000.00

b. Moral damages – ₱50,000.00

c. Exemplary damages – ₱50,000.00

2.1 Where the penalty imposed is reclusion perpetua, other than the above-
mentioned:

a. Civil indemnity – ₱75,000.00

b. Moral damages – ₱75,000.00

c. Exemplary damages – ₱75,000.00

In Robbery with Intentional Mutilation, the amount of damages is the same as


the above if the penalty imposed is reclusion perpetua.

2.2 For the victims who suffered mortal/fatal wounds and could have died if not
for a timely medical intervention, the following shall be awarded:

a. Civil indemnity – ₱50,000.00

b. Moral damages – ₱50,000.00

c. Exemplary damages – ₱50,000.00


2.3 For the victims who suffered non-mortal/non-fatal injuries:

a. Civil indemnity – ₱25,000.00

b. Moral damages – ₱25,000.00

c. Exemplary damages – ₱25,000.00

In Robbery with Physical Injuries,126 the amount of damages shall likewise be


dependent on the nature/severity of the wounds sustained, whether fatal or
non-fatal.

The above Rules do not apply if in the crime of Robbery with Homicide, the
robber/s or perpetrator/s are themselves killed or injured in the
incident.1âwphi1

Where the component crime is rape, the above Rules shall likewise apply, and
that for every additional rape committed, whether against the same victim or
other victims, the victims shall be entitled to the same damages unless the
other crimes of rape are treated as separate crimes, in which case, the
damages awarded to simple rape/qualified rape shall apply.

V. In other crimes that result in the death of a victim and the penalty consists of
divisible penalties, i.e., Homicide, Death under Tumultuous Affray, Infanticide to
conceal the dishonour of the offender,127 Reckless Imprudence Resulting to Homicide,
Duel, Intentional Abortion and Unintentional Abortion, etc.:

1.1 Where the crime was consummated:

a. Civil indemnity – ₱50,000.00

b. Moral damages – ₱50,000.00

1.2 Where the crime committed was not consummated, except those crimes
where there are no stages, i.e., Reckless Imprudence and Death under
tumultuous affray:

a. Frustrated:

i. Civil indemnity – ₱30,000.00

ii. Moral damages – ₱30,000.00

b. Attempted:

i. Civil indemnity – ₱20,000.00

ii. Moral damages – ₱20,000.00

If an aggravating circumstance was proven during the trial, even if not


alleged in the Information,128 in addition to the above mentioned
amounts as civil indemnity and moral damages, the amount of
₱50,000.00 exemplary damages for consummated; ₱30,000.00 for
frustrated; and ₱20,000.00 for attempted, shall be awarded.

VI. A. In the crime of Rebellion where the imposable penalty is reclusion perpetua and
death occurs in the course of the rebellion, the heirs of those who died are entitled to
the following:129

a. Civil indemnity – ₱100,000.00

b. Moral damages – ₱100,000.00

c. Exemplary damages – ₱100,000.00130

B. For the victims who suffered mortal/fatal wounds in the course of the
rebellion and could have died if not for a timely medical intervention, the
following shall be awarded:

a. Civil indemnity – ₱75,000.00

b. Moral damages – ₱75,000.00

c. Exemplary damages – ₱75,000.00

C. For the victims who suffered non-mortal/non-fatal injuries:

a. Civil indemnity – ₱50,000.00

b. Moral damages – ₱50,000.00

c. Exemplary damages – ₱50,000.00

VII. In all of the above instances, when no documentary evidence of burial or funeral
expenses is presented in court, the amount of ₱50,000.00 as temperate damages
shall be awarded.

To reiterate, Article 2206 of the Civil Code provides that the minimum amount for awards of
civil indemnity is P3,000.00, but does not provide for a ceiling. Thus, although the minimum
amount cannot be changed, increasing the amount awarded as civil indemnity can be validly
modified and increased when the present circumstance warrants it.131

Prescinding from the foregoing, for the two (2) counts of murder, attended by the ordinary
aggravating circumstance of dwelling, appellant should be ordered to pay the heirs of the
victims the following damages: (1) ₱100,000.00 as civil indemnity for each of the two children
who died; (2) ₱100,000.00 as moral damages for each of the two victims; (3) another
₱100,000.00 as exemplary damages for each of the two victims; and (4) temperate damages
in the amount of ₱50,000.00 for each of the two deceased. For the four (4) counts of
Attempted Murder, appellant should pay ₱50,000.00 as civil indemnity, ₱50,000.00 as moral
damages and ₱50,000.00 as exemplary damages for each of the four victims. In addition, the
civil indemnity, moral damages, exemplary damages and temperate damages payable by the
appellant are subject to interest at the rate of six percent (6%) per annum from the finality of
this decision until fully paid.132
Lastly, this Court echoes the concern of the trial court regarding the dismissal of the charges
against Gilberto Estores and Roger San Miguel who had been identified by Norberto Divina
as the companions of appellant on the night the shooting occurred. Norberto had been very
straightforward and unwavering in his identification of Estores and San Miguel as the two
other people who fired the gunshots at his family. More significantly, as noted by the
prosecutor, the testimonies of Estores and San Miguel, who insisted they were not at the
crime scene, tended to conflict with the sworn statement of Danilo Fajarillo, which was the
basis for the Provincial Prosecutor's ruling that he finds no probable cause against the two.
Danilo Fajarillo's sworn statement said that on June 6, 2002, he saw appellant with a certain
"Hapon" and Gilbert Estores at the crime scene, but it was only appellant who was carrying a
firearm and the two other people with him had no participation in the shooting incident. Said
circumstances bolster the credibility of Norberto Divina's testimony that Estores and San
Miguel may have been involved in the killing of his two young daughters.

After all, such reinvestigation would not subject Estores and San Miguel to double jeopardy
because the same only attaches if the following requisites are present: (1) a first jeopardy
has attached before the second; (2) the first jeopardy has been validly terminated; and (3) a
second jeopardy is for the same offense as in the first. In turn, a first jeopardy attaches only
(a) after a valid indictment; (b) before a competent court; (c) after arraignment; (d) when a
valid plea has been entered; and (e) when the accused has been acquitted or convicted, or
the case dismissed or otherwise terminated without his express consent. 133 In this case, the
case against Estores and San Miguel was dismissed before they were arraigned. Thus, there
can be no double jeopardy to speak of. Let true justice be served by reinvestigating the real
participation, if any, of Estores and San Miguel in the killing of Mary Grace and Claudine
Divina.

WHEREFORE, the instant appeal is DISMISSED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals
dated January 30, 2012 in CA-G.R. CR HC No. 03252 is AFFIRMED with the
following MODIFICATIONS:

(1) In Criminal Case No. 7698-G, the Court finds accused-appellant Ireneo
Jugueta GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of two (2) counts of the crime of murder
defined under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code, attended by the aggravating
circumstance of dwelling, and hereby sentences him to suffer two (2) terms
of reclusion perpetua without eligibility for parole under R.A. 9346. He
is ORDERED to PAY the heirs of Mary Grace Divina and Claudine Divina the
following amounts for each of the two victims: (a) ₱100,000.00 as civil indemnity; (b)
₱100,000.00 as moral damages; (c) ₱100,000.00 as exemplary damages; and (d)
₱50,000.00 as temperate damages.

(2) In Criminal Case No. 7702-G, the Court finds accused-appellant Ireneo
Jugueta GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of four (4) counts of the crime of attempted
murder defined and penalized under Article 248 in relation to Article 51 of the Revised
Penal Code, attended by the aggravating circumstance of dwelling, and sentences
him to suffer the indeterminate penalty of four (4) years, two (2) months and one (1)
day of prision correccional, as minimum, to ten (10) years and one (1) day of prision
mayor, as maximum, for each of the four (4) counts of attempted murder. He
is ORDERED to PAY moral damages in the amount of P50,000.00, civil indemnity of
P50,000.00 and exemplary damages of PS0,000.00 to each of the four victims,
namely, Norberto Divina, Maricel Divina, Elizabeth Divina and Judy Ann Divina.
(3) Accused-appellant Ireneo Jugueta is also ORDERED to PAY interest at the rate of
six percent (6%) per annum from the time of finality of this decision until fully paid, to
be imposed on the civil indemnity, moral damages, exemplary damages and
temperate damages.

(4) Let the Office of the Prosecutor General, through the Department of Justice,
be FURNISHED a copy of this Decision. The Prosecutor General is DIRECTED to
immediately conduct a REINVESTIGATION on the possible criminal liability of Gilbert
Estores and Roger San Miguel regarding this case. Likewise, let a copy of this
Decision be furnished the Secretary of Justice for his information and guidance.

SO ORDERED.

DIOSDADO M. PERALTA
Associate Justice

WE CONCUR:

MARIA LOURDES P.A. SERENO


Chief Justice

ANTONIO T. CARPIO PRESBITERO J. VELASCO, JR.


Associate Justice Associate Justice

TERESITA J. LEONARDO-DE
ARTURO D. BRION
CASTRO
Associate Justice
Associate Justice

LUCAS P. BERSAMIN MARIANO C. DEL CASTILLO


Associate Justice Associate Justice

JOSE PORTUGAL PEREZ JOSE CATRAL MENDOZA


Associate Justice Associate Justice

On leave
BIENVENIDO L. REYES
ESTELA M. PERLAS-BERNABE*
Associate Justice
Associate Justice

No part
MARVIC M.V.F. LEONEN
FRANCIS H. JARDELEZA**
Associate Justice
Associate Justice

ALFREDO BENJAMIN S. CAGUIOA


Associate Justice

CERTIFICATION

Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution, I certify that the conclusions in the
above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer
of the opinion of the Court.
MARIA LOURDES P.A. SERENO
Chief Justice

Footnotes
* On leave .
** No part.
1Penned by Associate Justice Jane Aurora T. Lantion, with Associate Justices Isaias
P. Dicdican and Rodil V. Zalameda, concurring; rollo. pp. 2-21.
2 Record, Vol. 1, pp. 2-3.
3 Record, Vol. II., p. 2.
4 Order of the Provincial Prosecutor, Record, Vol. I, pp. 12-14.
5 RTC Order, Record, Vol. II, pp. 66-67.
6 TSN, February 5, 2004, Folder of TSN's.
7 TSN, March 3, 2004, Folder of TSN's.
8 Id.

9 TSN, June 28, 2004, Folder of TSN's.


10TSN's, February 10, 2005, April 7, 2005, February 15, 2006, August 3, 2006,
September 6, 2006 and June 7, 2006.
11 Record, Vol, I, pp. 293-294.
12 Record, Vol. II, p. 131.
13 Supra note 1.
14 Rollo, p. 27.
15 Rollo, pp. 33-34.
16 People of the Philippines v. Renandang Mamaruncas, 680 Phil. 192, 211 (2012).
17 TSN, July 14, 2004, pp. 6-8.
18 People v. Nazareno, 698 Phil. 187, 193 (2012).
19 People v. Adviento, et al., 684 Phil. 507, 519 (2012)
20 Art. 248. Murder. — Any person who, not falling within the provisions of Article 246
shall kill another, shall be guilty of murder and shall be punished by reclusion temporal
in its maximum period to death, if committed with any of the following attendant
circumstances:

1. With treachery, taking advantage of superior strength, with the aid of armed
men, or employing means to weaken the defense or of means or persons to
insure or afford impunity.

2. In consideration of a price, reward, or promise.

3. By means of inundation, fire, poison, explosion, shipwreck, stranding of a


vessel, derailment or assault upon a street car or locomotive, fall of an airship,
by means of motor vehicles, or with the use of any other means involving great
waste and ruin.

4. On occasion of any of the calamities enumerated in the preceding


paragraph, or of an earthquake, eruption of a volcano, destructive cyclone,
epidemic or other public calamity.

5. With evident premeditation.

6. With cruelty, by deliberately and inhumanly augmenting the suffering of the


victim, or outraging or scoffing at his person or corpse.
21 Supra note 11, at 287.
22468 Phil. 816, 840 (2004), citing People v. Bustamante; 445 Phil. 345, 363-364
(2003); People v. Magno, 379 Phil. 531, 554 (2000).
23 607 Phil. 480, 505 (2009).
24 "Magdasal ka na at katapusan mo na ngayon."
25 Supra note 12, at 128-129.
26 682 Phil. 164 (2012).
27 People v. Cabtalan, supra, at 168.
28 G.R. No. 161308, January 15, 2014, 713 SCRA 311.
29 Medina, Jr. v. People, supra, at 320.

30 G.R. No. 183652, February 25, 2015.


31People of the Philippines and AAA v. Court of Appeals, 21st Division, Mindanao
Station, et al., supra.

32 694 Phil. 529, 581 (2012).


33Art. 48. Penalty for Complex Crimes – When a single act constitutes two or more
grave or less grave felonies, or when an offense is a necessary means for committing
the other, the penalty for the most serious crime shall be imposed, the same to be
applied in its maximum period.
34 People v. Nelmida, supra note 32, at 569-570. (Emphasis omitted)
35 Supra note 32.
36 People v. Nelmida, supra, at 570.
37 Supra note 2.
38 Supra note 3.
39 674 Phil. 626, 635 (2011).1
40 People v. Evangelio, 672 Phil. 229, 248-249 (2011).

41 Revised Penal Code, Art. 63, par. (1), provides, in part, that when the penalty
consists of two (2) indivisible penalties and is attended by one or more aggravating
circumstances, the greater penalty shall be applied, and in this case, the death penalty
shall be imposed.
42People v. Combate, 653 Phil. 487, 504 (2010), citing People v. Victor, 354 Phil. 195,
209 (1998).
43Corpuz v. People of the Philippines, G.R. No. 180016, April 29, 2014, 724 SCRA 1,
57.
44 Id. at 58-59.
45 G.R. No. 104576, January 20, 1995, 240 SCRA 348, 356-357.
46 Art. 2219. Moral damages may be recovered in the following and analogous cases:

(1)A criminal offense resulting in physical injuries;

(2) Quasi-delicts causing physical injuries;

(3) Seduction, abduction, rape or other lascivious acts;

(4) Adultery or concubinage;

(5) Illegal or arbitrary detention or arrest;

(6) Illegal search;

(7) Libel, slander or any other form of defamation;

(8) Malicious prosecution;


(9) Acts mentioned in Article 309;

(10) Acts and actions referred to in Articles 21, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 32, 34, and
35.

The parents of the female seduced, abducted, raped or abused, referred to in


No. 3 of this article, may also recover moral damages.

The spouse, descendants, ascendants, and brother and sisters may bring the
action mentioned in No. 9 of this article, in the order named.
47 Art. 2220. Willful injury to property may be a legal ground for awarding moral
damages if the court should find that, under the circumstances, such damages are
justly due. The same rule applies to breaches of contract where the defendant acted
fraudulently or in bad faith.
48Bagumbayan Corp. v. Intermediate Appellate Court, No. L-66274, September 30,
1984, 132 SCRA 441, 446.
49 6A C.J.S. Assault § 68.
50 G.R. No. 160709, February 23, 2005, 452 SCRA 285, 296.
51 Art. 2220. Willful injury to property may be a legal ground for awarding moral
damages if the court should find that, under the circumstances, such damages are
justly due. The same rule applies to breaches of contract where the defendant acted
fraudulently or in bad faith.
52 Lito Corpuz v. People of the Philippines, supra note 43, at 59.
53People v. Dalisay, 620 Phil. 831, 844 (2009), citing People v. Catubig, 416 Phil.
102, 119 (2001), citing American Cent. Corp. v. Stevens Van Lines, Inc., 103 Mich
App 507, 303 NW2d 234; Morris v. Duncan, 126 Ga 467, 54 SE 1045; Faircloth v.
Greiner, 174 Ga app 845, 332 SE 2d 905; §731, 22 Am Jur 2d, p. 784; American
Surety Co. v. Gold, 375 F 2d 523, 20 ALR 3d 335; Erwin v. Michigan, 188 Ark 658, 67
SW 2d 592.
54 §762, 22 Am Jur 2d pp. 817-818.
55§733, 22 Am Jur 2d, p. 785; Symposium: Punitive Damages, 56 So Cal LR 1,
November 1982.
56 People v. Catubig, supra note 53, at 119-120.
57 Rule 110 of the Rules of Court provides:

Sec. 8. Designation of the offense. - The complaint or information shall state


the designation of the offense given by the statute, aver the acts or omissions
constituting the offense, and specify its qualifying and aggravating
circumstances. If there is no designation of the offense, reference shall be
made to the section or subsection of the statute punishing it. (Emphasis
supplied)
Sec. 9. Cause of the accusations. - The acts or omissions complained of as
constituting the offense and the qualifying and aggravating circumstances
must be stated in ordinary and concise language and not necessarily in the
language used in the statute but in terms sufficient to enable a person of
common understanding to know what offense is being charged as well as
its qualifying and aggravating circumstances and for the court to
pronounce judgment. (Emphasis supplied)
58 G.R. Nos. 82223-24, November 13, 1992, 215 SCRA 613, 634.
59 322 Phil. 551 (1996).
60 617 Phil. 587 (2009).
61 613 Phil. 507 (2009).
62 605 Phil. 877 (2009).
63 People v. Abellera, 553 Phil. 307 (2007).
64 People v. Gambao, G.R. No. 172707, October 1, 2013, 706 SCRA 508, 533-534.
65 People v. Combate, supra note 41, at 509.
66 Art. 122. Piracy in general and mutiny on the high seas or in Philippine waters. -
The penalty of reclusion perpetua shall be inflicted upon any person who, on the high
seas, or in Philippine waters, shall attack or seize a vessel or, not being a member of
its complement nor a passenger, shall seize the whole or part of the cargo of said
vessel, its equipment or passengers. The same penalty shall be inflicted in case of
mutiny on the high seas or in Philippine waters.
67 Id.
68Art. 335. When and how rape is committed. - Rape is committed by having carnal
knowledge of a woman under any of the following circumstances:

1. By using force or intimidation;

2. When the woman is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious; and

3. When the woman is under twelve years of age or is demented.

The crime of rape shall be punished by reclusion temporal. x x x


69Art. 123. Qualified piracy. - The penalty of reclusion perpetua to death shall be
imposed upon those who commit any of the crimes referred to in the preceding article,
under any of the following circumstances:

1. Whenever they have seized a vessel by boarding or firing upon the same;
2. Whenever the pirates have abandoned their victims without means of saving
themselves or;

3. Whenever the crime is accompanied by murder, homicide, physical injuries


or rape.
70 Art. 211-A. Qualified Bribery. - If any public officer is entrusted with law enforcement
and he refrains from arresting or prosecuting an offender who has committed a crime
punishable by reclusion perpetua and/or death in consideration of any offer, promise,
gift or present, he shall suffer the penalty for the offense which was not prosecuted. x
xx
71Art. 246. Parricide. - Any person who shall kill his father, mother, or child, whether
legitimate or illegitimate, or any of his ascendants, or descendants, or his spouse,
shall be guilty of parricide and shall be punished by the penalty of reclusion
perpetua to death.
72Art. 248. Murder. - Any person who, not falling within the provisions of Article 246
shall kill another, shall be guilty of murder and shall be punished by reclusion
perpetua, to death if committed with any of the following attendant circumstances:

1. With treachery, taking advantage of superior strength, with the aid of armed
men, or employing means to weaken the defense or of means or persons to
insure or afford impunity.

2. In consideration of a price, reward or promise.

3. By means of inundation, fire, poison, explosion, shipwreck, stranding of a


vessel, derailment or assault upon a railroad, fall of an airship, or by means of
motor vehicles, or with the use of any other means involving great waste and
ruin.

4. On occasion of any of the calamities enumerated in the preceding


paragraph, or of an earthquake, eruption of a volcano, destructive cyclone,
epidemic or other public calamity.

5. With evident premeditation.

6. With cruelty, by deliberately and inhumanly augmenting the suffering of the


victim, or outraging or scoffing at his person or corpse.
73Art. 255. Infanticide. - The penalty provided for parricide in Article 246 and for
murder in Article 248 shall be imposed upon any person who shall kill any child less
than three days of age.
74 Art. 267. Kidnapping and serious illegal detention. - Any private individual who shall
kidnap or detain another, or in any other manner deprive him of his liberty, shall suffer
the penalty of reclusion perpetua to death:

1. If the kidnapping or detention shall have lasted more than three days.

2. If it shall have been committed simulating public authority.


3. If any serious physical injuries shall have been inflicted upon the person
kidnapped or detained; or if threats to kill him shall have been made.

4. If the person kidnapped or detained shall be a minor, except when the


accused is any of the parents, female or a public officer.

xxxx
75Art. 294. Robbery with violence against or intimidation of persons - Penalties. - Any
person guilty of robbery with the use of violence against or intimidation of any person
shall suffer:

1. The penalty of reclusion perpetua to death, when by reason or on occasion


of the robbery, the crime of homicide shall have been committed, or when the
robbery shall have been accompanied by rape or intentional mutilation or
arson.

x x x x.
76Art. 320. Destructive Arson. - The penalty of reclusion perpetua to death shall be
imposed upon any person who shall burn:

1. One (1) or more buildings or edifices, consequent to one single act of


burning, or as a result of simultaneous burnings, committed on several or
different occasions.

2. Any building of public or private ownership, devoted to the public in general


or where people usually gather or congregate for a definite purpose such as,
but not limited to, official governmental function or business, private transaction,
commerce, trade, workshop, meetings and conferences, or merely incidental to
a definite purpose such as but not limited to hotels, motels, transient dwellings,
public conveyances or stops or terminals, regardless of whether the offender
had knowledge that there are persons in said building or edifice at the time it is
set on fire and regardless also of whether the building is actually inhabited or
not.

3. Any train or locomotive, ship or vessel, airship or airplane, devoted to


transportation or conveyance, or for public use, entertainment or leisure.

4. Any building, factory, warehouse installation and any appurtenances thereto,


which are devoted to the service of public utilities.

5. Any building the burning of which is for the purpose of concealing or


destroying evidence of another violation of law, or for the purpose of concealing
bankruptcy or defrauding creditors or to collect from insurance.

Irrespective of the application of the above enumerated qualifying


circumstances, the penalty of reclusion perpetua to death shall likewise be
imposed when the arson is perpetrated or committed by two (2) or more
persons or by a group of persons, regardless of whether their purpose is merely
to burn or destroy the building or the burning merely constitutes an overt act in
the commission or another violation of law.
The penalty of reclusion perpetua to death shall also be imposed upon any
person who shall burn:

1. Any arsenal, shipyard, storehouse or military powder or fireworks


factory, ordnance, storehouse, archives or general museum of the
Government.

2. In an inhabited place, any storehouse or factory of inflammable or


explosive materials.

xxxx
77 Republic Act No. 7080 (1991), Sec. 2. Definition of the Crime of Plunder; Penalties.
- Any public officer who, by himself or in connivance with members of his family,
relatives by affinity or consanguinity, business associates, subordinates or other
persons, amasses, accumulates or acquires ill-gotten wealth through a combination or
series of overt criminal acts as described in Section 1 (d) hereof in the aggregate
amount or total value of at least Fifty million pesos (P50,000,000.00) shall be guilty of
the crime of plunder and shall be punished by reclusion perpetua to death. Any person
who participated with the said public officer in the commission of an offense
contributing to the crime of plunder shall likewise be punished for such offense. In the
imposition of penalties, the degree of participation and the attendance of mitigating
and extenuating circumstances, as provided by the Revised Penal Code, shall be
considered by the court. The court shall declare any and all ill-gotten wealth and their
interests and other incomes and assets including the properties and shares of stocks
derived from the deposit or investment thereof forfeited in favor of the State.
78 Republic Act No. 6539 (1972), Sec. 14. Penalty for Carnapping. - Any person who is
found guilty of carnapping, as this term is defined in Section Two of this Act, shall,
irrespective of the value of motor vehicle taken, be punished by x x x the penalty
of reclusion perpetua to death shall be imposed when the owner, driver or occupant of
the carnapped motor vehicle is killed or raped in the course of the commission of the
carnapping or on the occasion thereof.
79 RA 9346, Sec. 2.
80 532 Phil. 368, 385 (2006).
81 532 Phil. 414, 428 (2006).
82 See People v. Sarcia, 615 Phil. 97 (2009).
83 Supra note 41.
84 People v. Victor, supra, at 210.
85 People v. Gambao, supra note 64, at 533.
86 384 Phil. 766 (2000).
87 People v. Arizapa, supra.
88 436 Phil. 719 (2002).
89 Supra note 64.
90 People v. Gambao, supra note 64.
91 People v. Victor, supra note 42, at 210.
92ARTICLE 48. Penalty for complex crimes. — When a single act constitutes two or
more grave or less grave felonies, or when an offense is a necessary means for
committing the other, the penalty for the most serious crime shall be imposed, the
same to be applied in its maximum period.
93 674 Phil. 444 (2011).
94 315 Phil. 314 (1995).
95 Id. at 338.

96 608 Phil. 701 (2009).


97People v. De Leon, supra, at 716-717, citing People v. Salazar, 342 Phil. 745, 765
(1997); People v. Abuyen, G.R. No. 77285, September 4, 1992, 213 SCRA 569,
582; People v. Ponciano, G.R. No. 86453, December 5, 1991, 204 SCRA 627, 639
and People v. Mangulabnan, et al., 99 Phil. 992, 999 (1956).
98People v. Nanas, 415 Phil. 683 (2001), citing People v. Penillos, G.R. No. 65673,
January 30, 1992, 205 SCRA 546, 564 and People v. Sequiño, 332 Phil. 90 (1996).

99 400 Phil. 1221 (2000).


100
People v. Macabales, supra, at 1236-1237, citing People v. Vivas, G.R. No.
100914, May 6, 1994, 232 SCRA 238, 242.
101Art. 294. Robbery with violence against or intimidation of persons; Penalties. —
Any person guilty of robbery with the use of violence against or intimidation of any
person shall suffer:

1. The penalty of reclusion perpetua to death, when by reason or on occasion


of the robbery, the crime of homicide shall have been committed.

2. The penalty of reclusion temporal in its medium period to reclusion


perpetua when the robbery shall have been accompanied by rape or intentional
mutilation, or if by reason or on occasion of such robbery, any of the physical
injuries penalized in subdivision 1 of Article 263 shall have been inflicted;
Provided, however, that when the robbery accompanied with rape is committed
with a use of a deadly weapon or by two or more persons, the penalty shall
be reclusion perpetua to death (As amended by PD No. 767).

3. The penalty of reclusion temporal, when by reason or on occasion of the


robbery, any of the physical injuries penalized in subdivision 2 of the article
mentioned in the next preceding paragraph, shall have been inflicted.
4. The penalty of prision mayor in its maximum period to reclusion temporal in
its medium period, if the violence or intimidation employed in the commission of
the robbery shall have been carried to a degree clearly unnecessary for the
commission of the crime, or when the course of its execution, the offender shall
have inflicted upon any person not responsible for its commission any of the
physical injuries covered by sub-divisions 3 and 4 of said Article 263. (As
amended by R.A. 18)

5. The penalty of prision correccional in its maximum period to prision mayor in


its medium period in other cases. (As amended by R. A. 18).
102 People v. De Leon, supra note 96; People v. Ebet, 649 Phil. 181 (2010).
103 Revised Penal Code, Art. 293. Who are guilty of robbery. - Any person who, with
intent to gain, shall take any personal property belonging to another, by means of
violence against or intimidation of any person, or using force upon anything, shall be
guilty of robbery.
104
People v. Tagudar, 600 Phil. 565, 590 (2009), citing People v. Dacillo, 471 Phil.
497, 510 (2004).
105 Id., citing People v. Surongon, 554 Phil. 448, 458 (2007).
106 Article 255, RTC.
107 Article 248, RTC.
108 Article 246, RTC.
109 Article 262, RTC.
110Note that if the crime penalized in Article 255 [Infanticide] was committed by the
mother of the child for the purpose of concealing her dishonor, she shall suffer the
penalty of prision mayor in its medium and maximum periods, and if said crime was
committed for the same purpose by the maternal grandparents or either of them, the
penalty shall be reclusion temporal. (As amended by R.A. 7659). Hence, the damages
to be awarded should be the same as in Roman Numeral Number Five (V) of the
summary, i.e., In other crimes that result in the death of the victim and the penalty
consists of divisible, because the prescribed penalties are divisible.
111
Exemplary damages in rape cases are awarded for the inherent bestiality of the act
committed even if no aggravating circumstance attended the commission of the crime.
112 There is no frustrated stage in the crime of rape.
113 Art. 294 (1), RPC.
114 Id.
115 Id.
116 Id.
117 Art. 266-A, RPC as amended by RA 8353.
118 Art. 267, RPC.
119 RA No. 6539.
120 Id.

121 P.D. 532.


122 Art. 123, RPC.
123 Art. 320, RPC.
124 RA No. 8049.
125This is so because there are no stages of the component crime in special complex
crimes but the victims must be compensated as if the component crimes were
separately committed.
126 Art. 294 (3), RPC.
127If the crime of infanticide in Art. 255 of the RPC was committed by the mother of
the child or by the maternal grandparent/s in order to conceal her dishonor, the
penalties against them are divisible, i.e., prision mayor in its medium and maximum
periods, and reclusion temporal, respectively.
128 See People v. Catubig, supra note 53.
129Although the penalty prescribed by law is reclusion perpetua, the damages
awarded should be the same as those where the penalty is death due to the gravity of
the offense and the manner of committing the same.
130In order to deter the commission of the crime of rebellion and serve as an example,
exemplary damages should be awarded.
131 Supra note 38.
132
See Dario Nacar v. Gallery Frames and/or Felipe Bordey, Jr., G.R. No. 189871,
August 13, 2013, 703 SCRA 439, 459.
133
Quiambao v. People, G.R. No. 185267, September 17, 2014, 735 SCRA 345, 356-
357.