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Republic of the Philippines

SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC

G.R. No. L-20865,

December 29, 1967

ASELA P. TACTAQUIN, plaintiff-appellant,


vs.
JOSE B. PALILEO, defendant-appellee.
F. D. Regalado and Associates for plaintiff-appellant.
Celso A. Fernandez for defendant-appellee.
RESOLUTION
DIZON, J.:
Before Us is a motion filed by plaintiff-appellant praying that We reconsider our decision promulgated on
September 29, 1967, upon the ground that the reservation to file a separate civil action made at the trial
of Criminal Case No. 4736 was timely made and that, therefore, the doctrine of res judicata does not bar
the action (Civil Case No. Q-6601) filed by her in the Court of First Instance of Rizal.
As stated in our original decision, appellant filed the action aforesaid to recover from appellee the total
sum of P37,636.35 as damages for the death of her daughter, Norma Tactaquin, and serious physical
injuries inflicted upon her on June 16, 1961 when a car recklessly driven by appellee hit them at Marulas,
Valenzuela, Bulacan. In connection with this accident, appellee was charged criminally (Criminal Case
No. 4736; Court of First Instance of Bulacan) and was found guilty of homicide, with serious physical
injuries, through reckless imprudence, and was sentenced not only to suffer imprisonment but also to pay
the sum of P4,000 to appellant as damages. Because of this, appellee moved to dismiss the civil case for
damages, upon the ground that the action was already barred by the final judgment rendered in the
criminal case just mentioned. Sustaining this motion the lower court dismissed the case, and appellant
appealed to Us. Our original decision affirmed the order of dismissal with costs.
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Upon consideration of the motion for reconsideration now before Us, we find that, according to the record,
appellee, when arraigned in connection with Criminal Case No. 4736 mentioned heretofore, pleaded not
guilt. However, when the case was called for trial on August 14, 1962, he was allowed to withdraw said
plea and he immediately entered a plea of guilty, the provincial fiscal forthwith recommending the
imposition of the corresponding penalty and civil liability. Thereupon, the private prosecutor, Atty.
Sundiam, made this statement for the record:
lawphil.net

May this representation be heard because we reserve the right to civil liability.
to which the Court replied

That manifestation of the private prosecutor be recorded. (T.s.n., pp. 1-3, session of August
14, 1962)
The record further discloses that notwithstanding the above reservation and the Court's corresponding
statement, the latter subsequently proceeded to render judgment as stated heretofore.

Upon the foregoing facts it is clear, firstly, that the private prosecutor timely made a reservation on behalf
of the offended party in connection with the filling of separate civil action; secondly, that such reservation
was duly recorded by order of the Court; thirdly, that, as a result thereof, the question of civil liability was
automatically taken out of the case and was not before the court any longer. Upon these premises, the
conclusion becomes inescapable that the portion of the decision of the Court in Criminal Case No. 4736
concerning civil indemnity was a nullity, and being so, it can not be accorded the authority of res judicata.
itc-alf

The rule in this connection is that when a criminal action is instituted, the civil action for recovery of civil
liability arising from the offense charged is impliedly instituted with it "unless the offended party expressly
waives the civil action or reserves his right to institute it separately." While the rule does not say when or
at what stage of the criminal proceeding the reservation should be made, it seems logical to presume that
for the reservation to be timely and legally effective, it must be made as in present case before the
rendition of judgment.
Upon the other hand, it has been held that once the offended party has reserved his right to institute a
separate civil action to recover indemnity, he thereby loses his right to intervene in the prosecution of the
criminal case (Gorospe vs. Honorable Gatmaitan, 52 O.G. p. 2526). For this reason, herein appellant no
longer had any right nor should she had been expected to move for the consideration of, much less
to appeal from the decision the criminal case in so far as it decided the question civil indemnity. She no
longer had any standing in the case.
lawphil.net

WHEREFORE, ruling upon appellant's motion for consideration, the Court hereby sets aside its original
decision and directs that the present case be remanded low for further proceedings.
Concepcion, C.J., Reyes, J.B.L., Makalintal, Bengzon, J.P., Zaldivar, Sanchez, Castro and Angeles,
JJ., concur.
Fernando, J., took no part.

epublic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC

G.R. No. L-40486 August 29, 1975


PAULINO PADUA and LUCENA BEBIN PADUA, plaintiffs-appellants,
vs.
GREGORIO N. ROBLES and BAY TAXI CAB, defendants-appellees.
Alberto R. de Joya for plaintiffs-appellants.

Cardenas & Peralta Law Office for defendants-appellees.

CASTRO, J.:

Resolving this appeal by the spouses Paulino and Lucena Bebin Padua, we set aside the order
dated October 25, 1972 of the Court of First Instance of Zambales dismissing their complaint, in civil
case 1079-O, and remand this case for further proceedings.
In the early morning of New Year's Day of 1969 a taxicab (bearing 1968 plate no. TX-9395 and
driven by Romeo N. Punzalan but operated by the Bay Taxi Cab owned by Gregorio N. Robles)
struck ten-year old Normandy Padua on the national road in barrio Barretto, Olongapo City. The
impact hurled Normandy about forty meters away from the point where the taxicab struck him, as a
result of which he died.
Subsequently, Normandy's parents (Paulino and Lucena Bebin Padua), by complaint filed with the
Court of First Instance of Zambales (civil case 427-O), sought damages from Punzalan and the Bay
Taxi Cab; likewise, the city Fiscal of Olongapo, by information filed with the same court (criminal
case 1158-O), charged Punzalan with homicide through reckless imprudence.
On October 27, 1969 the court a quo, in civil case 427-O, adjudged for the Paduas as follows:
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered ordering the defendant Romeo
Punzalan to pay the plaintiffs the sums of P12,000.00 as actual damages, P5,000.00
as moral and exemplary damages, and P10,000.00 as attorney's fees;
and dismissing the complaint insofar as the Bay Taxicab Company is concerned.
With costs against the defendant Romeo Punzalan. (Emphasis supplied)
Almost a year later, on October 5, 1970, the court a quo, in criminal case 1158-O, convicted
Punzalan, as follows:
WHEREFORE, the Court finds the accused Romeo Punzalan y Narciso guilty
beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of homicide through reckless imprudence, as
defined and penalized under Article 365 of the Revised Penal Code, attended by the
mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender, and hereby sentences him to suffer
the indeterminate penalty of TWO (2) YEARS, FOUR (4) MONTHS and ONE (1)
DAY of prision correccional, as minimum, to SIX (6) YEARS and ONE (1) DAY
of prision mayor, as maximum, and to pay the cost. The civil liability of the accused
has already been determined and assessed in Civil Case No. 427-O, entitled Paulino
Padua, et al. vs. Romeo Punzalan, et al.' (Emphasis supplied)
After the judgment in civil case 427-O became final, the Paduas sought execution thereof. This
proved futile; the corresponding court officer returned the writ of execution unsatisfied.

Unable to collect the amount of P27,000 awarded in their favor, the Paduas instituted action in the
same court against Gregorio N. Robles to enforce the latter's subsidiary responsibility under the
provisions of article 103 of the Revised Penal Code. Robles filed a motion to dismiss based on (1)
bar of the cause of action by a prior judgment and (2) failure of the complaint to state a cause of
action.
Thereafter, the court a quo, in an order dated October 25, 1972, granted Robles' motion to dismiss
on the ground that the Paduas' complaint states no cause of action. This order the Paduas
questioned in the Court of Appeals which, by resolution dated March 5, 1975, certified the case to
this Court for the reason that the appeal involves only questions of law.
The Paduas predicate their appeal on eighteen errors allegedly committed by the court a quo. These
assigned errors, however, raise only one substantial issue: whether the judgment dated October 5,
1970 in criminal case 1158-O includes a determination and adjudication of Punzalan's civil liability
arising from his criminal act upon which Robles' subsidiary civil responsibility may be based.
The sufficiency and efficacy of a judgment must be tested by its substance rather than its form. In
construing a judgment, its legal effects including such effects that necessarily follow because of legal
implications, rather than the language used govern. Also, its meaning, operation, and consequences
must be ascertained like any other written instrument. Thus, a judgment rests on the intention of the
court as gathered from every part thereof, including the situation to which it applies and the
attendant circumstances.
It would appear that a plain reading, on its face, of the judgment in criminal case 1158-O, particularly
its decretal portion, easily results in the same conclusion reached by the court a quo: that the said
judgment no civil liability arising from the offense charged against Punzalan. However, a careful
study of the judgment in question, the situation to which it applies, and the attendant circumstances,
would yield the conclusion that the court a quo, on the contrary, recognized the enforceable right of
the Paduas to the civil liability arising from the offense committed by Punzalan and awarded the
corresponding indemnity therefor.
Civil liability coexists with criminal responsibility. In negligence cases the offended party (or his heirs)
has the option between an action for enforcement of civil liability based on culpa criminal under
article 100 of the Revised Penal Code and an action for recovery of damages based on culpa
aquiliana under article 2177 of the Civil Code. The action for enforcement of civil liability based
on culpa criminal section 1 of Rule 111 of the Rules of Court deems simultaneously instituted with
the criminal action, unless expressly waived or reserved for a separate application by the offended
party. Article 2177 of the Civil Code, however, precludes recovery of damages twice for the same
negligent act or omission.
In the case at bar, the Court finds it immaterial that the Paduas chose, in the first instance, an action for
recovery of damages based on culpa aquiliana under articles 2176, 2177, and 2180 of the Civil Code,
which action proved ineffectual. The Court also takes note of the absence of any inconsistency between
the aforementioned action priorly availed of by the Paduas and their subsequent application for
enforcement of civil liability arising from the offense committed by Punzalan and consequently, for
exaction of Robles' subsidiary responsibility. Allowance of the latter application involves no violation of the
proscription against double recovery of damages for the same negligent act or omission. For, as

hereinbefore stated, the corresponding officer of the court a quo returned unsatisfied the writ of execution
issued against Punzalan to satisfy the amount of indemnity awarded to the Paduas in civil case 427-O.
Article 2177 of the Civil Code forbids actual double recovery of damages for the same negligent act or
omission. Finally, the Court notes that the same judge * tried, heard, and determined both civil case 427-O
and criminal case 115-O. Knowledge of an familiarity with all the facts and circumstances relevant and
relative to the civil liability of Punzalan may thus be readily attributed to the judge when he rendered
judgment in the criminal action.

In view of the above considerations, it cannot reasonably be contended that the court a
quo intended, in its judgment in criminal case 1158-O, to omit recognition of the right of the Paduas
to the civil liability arising from the offense of which Punzalan was adjudged guilty and the corollary
award of the corresponding indemnity therefor. Surely, it cannot be said that the court intended the
statement in the decretal portion of the judgment in criminal case 1158-O referring to the
determination and assessment of Punzalan's civil liability in civil case 427-O to be pure jargon or
"gobbledygook" and to be absolutely of no meaning and effect whatever. The substance of such
statement, taken in the light of the situation to which it applies and the attendant circumstances,
makes unmistakably clear the intention of the court to accord affirmation to the Paduas' right to the
civil liability arising from the judgment against Punzalan in criminal case 1158-O. Indeed, by
including such statement in the decretal portion of the said judgment, the court intended to adopt the
same adjudication and award it made in civil case 427-O as Punzalan's civil liability in criminal case
1158-O.
There is indeed much to be desired in the formulation by Judge Amores of that part of the decretal
portion of the judgment in criminal case 1158-O referring to the civil liability of Punzalan resulting
from his criminal conviction. The judge could have been forthright and direct instead of circuitous
and ambiguous. But, as we have explained, the statement on the civil liability of Punzalan must
surely have a meaning and even if the statement were reasonably susceptible of two or more
interpretations, that which achieves moral justice should be adopted, eschewing the other
interpretations which in effect would negate moral justice.
It is not amiss at this juncture to emphasize to all magistrates in all levels of the judicial hierarchy
that extreme degree of care should be exercise in the formulation of the dispositive portion of a
decision, because it is this portion that is to be executed once the decision becomes final. The
adjudication of the rights and obligations of the parties, and the dispositions made as well as the
directions and instructions given by the court in the premises in conformity with the body of the
decision, must all be spelled out clearly, distinctly and unequivocally, leaving absolutely no room for
dispute, debate or interpretation.
We therefore hold that the Paduas' complaint in civil case 1079-O states a cause of action against
Robles whose concommitant subsidiary responsibility, per the judgment in criminal case 1158-O,
subsists.
ACCORDINGLY, the order a quo dated October 25, 1972 dismissing the complaint in civil case
1079-O is set aside, and this case is hereby remanded to the court a quo for further proceedings
conformably with this decision and with law. No pronouncement as to costs.
Makalintal, C.J., Teehankee, Makasiar, Esguerra, Aquino, Concepcion Jr. and Martin, JJ., concur.

Fernando, J., concurs and submits a brief opinion.


Barredo, J., concurs with a separate opinion.
Muoz Palma, J., took no part.
Antonio, J., is on leave.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-24837

June 27, 1968

JULIAN C. SINGSON and RAMONA DEL CASTILLO, plaintiffs,


vs.
BANK OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS and SANTIAGO FREIXAS, in his capacity as President of the
said Bank,defendants.
Gil B. Galang for plaintiffs.
Aviado and Aranda for defendants.
CONCEPCION, C.J.:
Appeal by plaintiffs, Julian Singson and his wife, Ramona del Castillo, from a decision of the Court of First
Instance of Manila dismissing their complaint against defendants herein, the Bank of the Philippine
Islands and Santiago Freixas.
It appears that Singson, was one of the defendants in civil case No. 23906 of the Court of First Instance,
Manila, in which judgment had been rendered sentencing him and his co-defendants therein, namely,
Celso Lobregat and Villa-Abrille & Co., to pay the sum of P105,539.56 to the plaintiff therein, Philippine
Milling Co. Singson and Lobregat had seasonably appealed from said judgment, but not Villa-Abrille &
Co., as against which said judgment, accordingly, became final and executory. In due course, a writ of
garnishment was subsequently served upon the Bank of the Philippine Islands in which the Singsons
had a current account insofar as Villa-Abrille's credits against the Bank were concerned. What
happened thereafter is set forth in the decision appealed from, from which we quote:

Upon receipt of the said Writ of Garnishment, a clerk of the bank in charge of all matters of
execution and garnishment, upon reading the name of the plaintiff herein in the title of the
Writ of Garnishment as a party defendants, without further reading the body of the said
garnishment and informing himself that said garnishment was merely intended for the
deposits of defendant Villa-Abrille & Co., Valentin Teus, Fernando F. de Villa-Abrille and
Joaquin Bona, prepared a letter for the signature of the President of the Bank informing the

plaintiff Julian C. Singson of the garnishment of his deposits by the plaintiff in that case.
Another letter was also prepared and signed by the said President of the Bank for the
Special Sheriff dated April 17, 1963.
Subsequently, two checks issued by the plaintiff Julian C. Singson, one for the amount of
P383 in favor of B. M. Glass Service dated April 16, 1963 and bearing No. C-424852, and
check No. C-394996 for the amount of P100 in favor of the Lega Corporation, and drawn
against the said Bank, were deposited by the said drawers with the said bank. Believing that
the plaintiff Singson, the drawer of the check, had no more control over the balance of his
deposits in the said bank, the checks were dishonored and were refused payment by the
said bank. After the first check was returned by the bank to the B. M. Glass Service, the latter
wrote plaintiff Julian C. Singson a letter, dated April 19, 1963, advising him that his check for
P383.00 bearing No. C-424852 was not honored by the bank for the reason that his account
therein had already been garnished. The said B. M. Glass Service further stated in the said
letter that they were constrained to close his credit account with them. In view thereof,
plaintiff Julian C. Singson wrote the defendant bank a letter on April 19, 1963, claiming that
his name was not included in the Writ of Execution and Notice of Garnishment, which was
served upon the bank. The defendant President Santiago Freixas of the said bank took steps
to verify this information and after having confirmed the same, apologized to the plaintiff
Julian C. Singson and wrote him a letter dated April 22, 1963, requesting him to disregard
their letter of April 17, 1963, and that the action of garnishment from his account had already
been removed. A similar letter was written by the said official of the bank on April 22, 1963 to
the Special Sheriff informing him that his letter dated April 17, 1963 to the said Special
Sheriff was considered cancelled and that they had already removed the Notice of
Garnishment from plaintiff Singson's account. Thus, the defendants lost no time to rectify the
mistake that had been inadvertently committed, resulting in the temporary freezing of the
account of the plaintiff with the said bank for a short time.
xxx

xxx

xxx

On May 8, 1963, the Singsong commenced the present action against the Bank and its president,
Santiago Freixas, for damages1 in consequence of said illegal freezing of plaintiffs' account.
1wph1.t

After appropriate proceedings, the Court of First Instance of Manila rendered judgment dismissing the
complaint upon the ground that plaintiffs cannot recover from the defendants upon the basis of a quasidelict, because the relation between the parties is contractual in nature; because this case does not fall
under Article 2219 of our Civil Code, upon which plaintiffs rely; and because plaintiffs have not
established the amount of damages allegedly sustained by them.
The lower court held that plaintiffs' claim for damages cannot be based upon a tort or quasi-delict, their
relation with the defendants being contractual in nature. We have repeatedly held, however, that the
existence of a contract between the parties does not bar the commission of a tort by the one against the
order and the consequent recovery of damages therefor.2 Indeed, this view has been, in effect, reiterated
in a comparatively recent case. Thus, in Air France vs. Carrascoso,3 involving an airplane passenger who,
despite his first-class ticket, had been illegally ousted from his first-class accommodation and compelled
to take a seat in the tourist compartment, was held entitled to recover damages from the air-carrier, upon
the ground of tort on the latter's part, for, although the relation between a passenger and a carrier is
"contractual both in origin and nature ... the act that breaks the contract may also be a tort".
In view, however, of the facts obtaining in the case at bar, and considering, particularly, the circumstance,
that the wrong done to the plaintiff was remedied as soon as the President of the bank realized the
mistake he and his subordinate employee had committed, the Court finds that an award of nominal

damages the amount of which need not be proven 4 in the sum of P1,000, in addition to attorney's
fees in the sum of P500, would suffice to vindicate plaintiff's rights. 5
WHEREFORE, the judgment appealed from is hereby reversed, and another one shall be entered
sentencing the defendant Bank of the Philippine Islands to pay to the plaintiffs said sums of P1,000, as
nominal damages, and P500, as attorney's fees, apart from the costs. It is so ordered.
Reyes, J.B.L., Dizon, Makalintal, Zaldivar, Sanchez, Castro and Angeles, JJ., concur.
Fernando, J., took no part.
Footnotes

P100,000 as moral damages, P20,000 as exemplary damages, P20,000 as nominal


damages, and P10,000 for attorney's fees and expenses of litigation, plus the costs.
1

Cangco v. Manila Railroad, 38 Phil. 768; Yamada v. Manila Railroad, 33 Phil. 8; Vazquez v.
Borja, 74 Phil. 560.
2

L-21438, Sept. 28, 1966.

Ventanilla v. Centeno, L-14333, January 28, 1961.

Articles 2208 and 2221 of the Civil Code of the Philippines.

The Lawphil Project - Arellano Law Foundation

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
SECOND DIVISION

G.R. No. L-27730 January 21, 1974


PRIMA MALIPOL, in her own behalf and as guardian ad litem of her minor children, LYDIA
MALIJAN, JOSEFINA MALIJAN, TEODORA MALIJAN, and SEBASTIAN MALIJAN, plaintiffsappellees,
vs.
LILY LIM TAN and ERNESTO LABSAN, defendants-appellants.
Edgardo Moncada for plaintiffs-appellees.

Achacoso, Ocampo and Simbulan for defendants-appellants.

ZALDIVAR, J.:

1wph1.t

Appeal on questions of law from the decision dated July 1, 1966, a judgment by default, and
from the order dated October 10, 1966, of the Court of First Instance of Batangas in its Civil
Case No. 1732 which denied defendants-appellants' motion to lift the order of default and for
a new trial and which considered the judgment by default as standing with full force and
effect.
In the evening of February 6, 1965, at about 8:35 o'clock, Pantaleon Malijan, who was walking
with his companion Leonardo Amante on the shoulder of the road in Barrio San Felix, Sto.
Tomas, Batangas, was hit by a gasoline tanker and was thrown to the ground. While he was
sprawling on the ground Malijan was run over by the tanker's right wheel that got detached
from its axle. Malijan's companion, with the aid of the barrio captain, brought Malijan to the
San Pablo City Hospital where he died that same night, the cause of death being "possible
traumatic cerebral hemorrhage due to vehicular accident."
The gasoline tanker with Plate No. T-52573, series of 1964, driven at the time of the accident
by herein appellant Ernesto Labsan, was being used in connection with the gasoline
business of the owner, the herein appellant Lily Lim Tan.
Representations and demands for payment of damage having been ignored by appellants,
appellees filed on May 18, 1966 a complaint in the Court of First Instance of Batangas praying
that appellants be condemned to pay, jointly and severally, the damages as specified in said
complaint. The appellees are the mother and the minor brothers and sisters of the deceased
Pantaleon Malijan.
Appellants were duly served with summons on May 19, 1966, but they failed to file their
answer within the reglementary period. Upon appellees' motion of June 8, 1966 the trial court,
in an order dated June 10, 1966, declare the appellants in default, and appellees were
permitted to present their evidence in the absence of the appellants. The trial court rendered
a decision, dated July 1, 1966, the dispositive portion of which reads as follows:
WHEREFORE, finding the averments in the complaint as supported by the
evidence to be reasonable and justified, judgment is hereby rendered in favor
of the plaintiffs and against the defendants. The defendant driver, Ernesto
Labsan, is ordered (1) to pay the sum of P2,100.00 to the plaintiffs for expenses
for hospitalization, medical treatment, vigil and burial of Pantaleon Malijan; (2)
to pay to the plaintiffs the sum of P6,000.00 for the death of said victim; (3) to
pay to the plaintiffs the sum of P20,000.00 for the loss of earnings of said
deceased for a period of five years; (4) to pay to the plaintiffs the sum of
P5,000.00 for moral damages; (5) to pay to the plaintiffs the sum of P2,000.00
for attorney's fees and P500.00 for incidental and litigation expenses; and (6) to

pay the costs of the suit. Should Ernesto Labsan not be able to pay the
foregoing damages, they shall be paid for by defendant Lily Lim Tan, who by
law, being the owner and operator of the gasoline tanker that featured in the
accident, is subsidiarily liable.
Copy of the decision was received by the appellees August on 23, 1966.
A motion for execution was filed on August 26, 1966 by appellees but the trial court held its
resolution in abeyance until September 22, 1966 when the judgment would become final.
On September 21, 1966 appellants filed a verified motion to lift the order of default and for a
new trial, alleging that they were deprived of their day in court when the order of default was
issued and a decision rendered after; that they had good and valid defenses, namely: (a) that
the accident which gave rise to the case was due to force majeure; (b) that appellant Ernesto
Labsan was without fault in the accident that gave rise to the case; and (c) that appellant Lily
Lim Tan had exercised the due diligence required of a good father of a family to prevent
damage. Finding said motion to be without merit, the trial court denied the same on October
10, 1966. Hence, this appeal wherein appellants made assignment of errors, as follows:
(a) The trial court erred in finding that appellants took the complaint for
granted by reason of the fact that appellants referred to their lawyer the
complaint for answer only after the lapse of eleven (11) days from receipt
thereof ;
(b) The trial court erred in not holding that the mistake committed by the late
Atty. Daniel Chavez in giving the wrong date of receipt by appellants of the
summons and the complaint to Atty. Romulo R. de Castro on June 10, 1966 due
to the abnormal mental condition of the late Atty. Daniel Chavez on June 10,
1966 which thereafter resulted in the commission of suicide by the latter on
June 17, 1966, constitutes the mistake and accident in law which warrant the
relief from default and the granting of the new trial;
(c) The trial court erred in not holding that the fact that appellants, through
Atty. Romulo R. de Castro, filed on June 10, 1966 a motion for extension of
time to file answer, and thereafter actually did file their answer to the complaint
on June 20, 1966 wherein they alleged good, valid and meritorious defenses
against the claim of plaintiffs in the complaint, should warrant favorable
consideration of appellants' motion to lift order of default and for new trial; and
(d) The trial court erred in not holding that the fact that appellants' motion to
lift order of default and for new trial.
1. In support of their first assignment of error, counsel for appellants contends that the
finding of the trial court, that the appellants took the complaint for granted when they referred
the complaint to their lawyer only on the eleventh day after receipt thereof, was unwarranted,
because appellants had 15 days from receipt of the summons and complaint to answer and

their lawyer, the late Atty. Daniel Chavez, after the complaint was referred to him on the
eleventh day, had still four days to file the answer, which he could very well do inasmuch as
he was well acquainted with the facts because he was the lawyer of appellant Ernesto Labsan
in Criminal Case No. 2200 of Court of First Instance of Batangas for homicide thru reckless
imprudence which case arose from the very accident subject of appellees' complaint; that
appellant Lily Lim Tan, furthermore, had instructed her employee, Eleuterio Dizon, to
handcarry the summons and to deliver it to nobody except to Atty. Chavez; that Atty. Chavez,
in a distance telephone conversation with appellant Lily Lim Tan, assured the latter that he
would attend to the complaint.
We do not find merit in the contention of counsel for appellants. It is within the sound
discretion of the court to set aside an order of default and to permit a defendant to file his
answer and to be heard on the merits even after the reglementary period for the filing of the
answer has expired, but it is not error, or an abuse of discretion, on the part of the court to
refuse to set aside its order of default and to refuse to accept the answer where it finds no
justifiable reason for the delay in the filing of the answer. In the motions for reconsideration
of an order of default, the moving party has the burden of showing such diligence as would
justify his being excused from not filing the answer with the reglementary period as provided
by the Rules of Court, otherwise these guidelines for an orderly and expeditious procedure
would be rendered meaningless. 1 Unless it is shown clearly that a party has justifiable reason
for the delay the court will not ordinarily exercise its discretion in his favor. 2
In the instant case, We agree with the trial court that appellants have not shown that they
exercised such diligence as an ordinary prudent person would exercise, to have the answer
filed within the reglementary period. Appellant Lily Lim Tan admitted in her affidavit 3 that she
received the summons and copy of the complaint on May 19, 1966, and that having read the
complaint she found out that she was being sued, together with her driver, for damages in
connection with the accident of February 6, 1965 at Sto. Tomas, Batangas. The damages
asked in the complaint amounts to P36,600.00. The summons required them to answer the
complaint within 15 days from receipt thereof, and warned them that should they fail to
answer within said period the plaintiffs would take judgment against them for the relief
demanded in the complaint. The damages demanded was not a negligible sum, and appellant
Lily Lim Tan, who is a business woman, should have considered the matter a serious one.
Ordinary prudence would dictate that she should concern herself about the matter, that she
should refer said complaint with the least possible delay to her lawyer. But, for reasons she
did not explain, she referred the complaint to her lawyer only after the lapse of ten (10) days
from receipt thereof, i.e., on May 30, 1966. She should have considered that four days might
not be sufficient time for her lawyer to prepare and file the answer.
Appellants, however, contend that their lawyer, Atty. Chavez, could very well prepare the
answer within the remaining four days of the reglementary period, for he was conversant with
the facts of the case. Be that as it may, the fact was that Atty. Chavez failed to file the answer.
Because Atty. Chavez assured her, in their long distance telephone conversation that he
would take care the complaint, appellant Lily Lim Tan took for granted that the answer would
be filed on time. Said appellant should have checked before the expiration of the period for
filing the answer whether the complaint was really taken care of, or not. But this, appellant

Lily Lim Tan failed to do, and this is another instance showing her lack of concern over the
complaint. There was, therefore, no showing of due diligence on the part of appellants which
would excuse their failure to file their answer on time. There is no showing either that the
other appellant, Ernesto Labsan, had taken any step to have an answer filed in his behalf
evidently he was relying on his employer.
2. In support of the second assignment of error, appellants contend that the facts show that
on June 10, 1966, Atty. Chavez, who was then acting strangely, endorsed the summons and
complaint to Atty. Romulo R. de Castro; that upon inquiry by Atty. de Castro from Atty.
Chavez the latter informed him that the summons was served on appellants on May 30, 1966;
that appellant Lily Lim Tan, who was assured by Atty. Chavez in their long distance telephone
conversation that the complaint would be attended to, could not, by the exercise of ordinary
diligence, have foreseen, and avoided, the circumstance that at the time she referred the
summons to Atty. Chavez, the latter was already in an abnormal condition which later
resulted in his committing suicide on June 17, 1966; that it was Atty. Chavez's abnormal
condition and his having given to Atty. de Castro the wrong date of the receipt of the
summons by the appellees that caused the delay in the filing of the answer; that said
circumstances constituted mistake and accident which entitled appellants to relief from
default and a grant of new trial.
Appellants' contention that the delay in filing the answer was due to mistake and accident is
untenable.
The mistake, according to appellants, consisted in Atty. Chavez's having told Atty. de Castro
on June 10, 1966 that appellants received the summons and complaint on May 30, 1966. Even
if Atty. Chavez had told Atty. de Castro the correct date, that is, that appellants received the
summons on May 19, 1966, the answer could not have been filed on time by Atty. de Castro,
because the reglementary period for filing the answer expired on June 3, 1966, and it was
already June 10, 1966, when the complaint was endorsed by Atty. Chavez to Atty. de Castro.
The accident, according to appellants' counsel, consisted in Atty. Chavez's being in an
abnormal condition at the time the complaint was given to him on May 30, 1966. This claim of
appellants is not supported by the record.
The record does not show that Atty. Chavez was suffering from an abnormal mind on May 30,
1966. His actuations on May 30 were those that could be expected of a normal person. Atty.
Chavez asked the employee of appellant Lily Lim Tan about the date when his employer
received the summons and complaint, and because the employee could not give him the
desired information Atty. Chavez placed a long distance telephone call to appellant Lily Lim
Tan to ask about said date. This action of Atty. Chavez showed that he was very much aware
that the reglementary period within which the answer should be filed was to be computed
from the date of the receipt of the summons and the complaint. It also showed that Atty.
Chavez knew the easiest and the most practical means to get the information that he needed
that was by a long distance telephone call to his client, Lily Lim Tan. These actuations of
Atty. Chavez showed that he knew the importance of the matter at hand, and he was

exercising the ordinary and reasonable care over the interests of his client. These specific
actions of Atty. Chavez indicated that as of May 30, 1966 he had a sound mind.
It is claimed by appellants that on June 10, 1966 Atty. Chavez endorsed the complaint to Atty.
de Castro, and told the latter that the summons and complaint were received by the
appellants on May 30, 1966. It is further claimed by appellants that this information given by
Atty. Chavez that the summons and complaint were received by the appellants on May 30,
1966 was the mistake that caused the delay of the filing of the answer. But it should be
noted that on June 10, 1966 when Atty. Chavez endorsed the complaint to Atty. de Castro and
informed the latter that the summons and complaint were received by the appellants on May
30, 1966, the period within which the answer should be filed had already expired the expiry
date being June 3, 1966. There is no showing that between May 30, when Atty. Chavez
received the summons and complaint from the employee of Lily Lim Tan, and June 3, 1973
Atty. Chavez was incapacitated to file the answer. And so it is clear that before the case was
endorsed to Atty. de Castro, the appellants were already in default. The failure to file the
answer on time may well be attributed to the mistake or "negligence of Atty. Chavez. The
appellants are bound by the mistakes, and may suffer by the negligence, of their lawyer. In
fact, on June 8, 1966, or two days before Atty. Chavez endorsed the case to Atty. de Castro,
the appellees had filed a motion in court to declare the defendants (now the appellants) in
default. The moves taken by Atty. de Castro in filing a motion for extension of time to file
an answer on June 10, 1966, and in finally filing an answer on June 20, 1966 were already
late.
<re||an1w>

The fact that Atty. Chavez committed suicide on June 17, 1966 does not necessarily prove
that he was abnormal, incompetent or insane on May 30, 1966. Although there is a judicial
declaration that a sane man would not commit suicide, cognizance is nevertheless taken of
the fact that circumstances at some given time may impel a person to commit suicide. 4 The
probative value of suicide in determining the sanity of a person is dependent on the factual
situation in each case. Such matters as the reasons for the act of self-destruction, the
circumstances indicating the person's state of mind at the time, and other pertinent facts
must be considered. The appellants had not indicated to the trial court any circumstance
from which the trial court could form an opinion of the mental condition of Atty. Chavez
before he committed suicide. The trial court, therefore, did not err when it did not favorably
consider the claim of the appellant that their failure to file their answer to the complaint was
due to accident or mistake, as contemplated in Section 3 of Rule 18 of the Rules of Court.
3. In support of the third assignment of error, appellants argue that acting on the wrong
information given by Atty. Chavez, Atty. Romulo de Castro filed on June 10, 1966 a motion for
an extension of 20 days within which to file an answer and that he did file the answer with
good, valid and meritorious defenses on June 20, 1966; that on June 27, 1966 when appellees
were allowed to present their evidence ex-parte, the motion for extension of time and the
answer already formed part of the records of the case; that inasmuch as the late filing of the
answer was due to accident and mistake, and appellants had good, valid, and meritorious
defenses, the motion to lift the order of default and for new trial should have been favorably
considered by the court. 5

Let it be noted that the lower court rendered its decision on July 1, 1966, and the appellees
received notice of said decision on August 23, 1966. The decision would have become final
on September 22, 1966. On September 21, 1966 the appellants filed their motion to lift the
order of default and for new trial. The motion of the appellants therefore, was in the nature of
a motion for a new trial based on fraud, accident, mistake or excusable negligence under
paragraph (a) of Section 1 of Rule 37 of the Rules of Court. Under Section 2 of said Rule 37
the moving party must show that he has a meritorious defense. The facts constituting the
movant's good and substantial defense, which he may prove if the petition were granted,
must be shown in the affidavit which should accompany the motion for a new trial. 6 In the
instant case, the motion to lift the order of default and for new trial as well as the affidavit of
merits accompanying the motion did not contain clear statements of the facts constituting a
good and valid defense which the appellants might prove if they were given a chance to
introduce evidence. The allegations in the motion that defendants have good and valid
defenses, namely: that the accident which gave rise to the case was force majeure; that
defendant Ernesto Labsan is absolutely without fault in the accident that gave rise to the
case; and that defendant Lily Lim Tan has exercised due diligence required of a good father
of a family to prevent damage 7, are mere conclusions which did not provide the court with
any basis for determining the nature and merit of the probable defense. An affidavit of merit
should state facts, and not mere opinion or conclusions of law.
<re||an1w>

Hence the trial court correctly denied the motion to set aside order of default and for new
trial.
We must, however, point out a flaw in the decision of the lower court. It is stated in the
decision appealed from that the driver, Ernesto Labsan, was primarily liable for the payment
of damages adjudged therein, and the appellant Lily Lim Tan, being the owner and operator of
the gasoline tanker that figured in the accident, is subsidiarily liable, that is, liable only in
case Ernesto Labsan was not able to pay. This is not correct. The action in the instant case
was brought not to demand civil liability arising from a crime. The complaint makes no
mention of a crime having been committed, much less of the driver Ernesto Labsan having
been convicted of a crime. But there is an allegation in the complaint that Ernesto Labsan
was the authorized driver of the truck that figured in the accident, which truck was operated
by appellant Lily Lim Tan in connection with her gasoline business. The prayer in the
complaint, furthermore, sought to hold appellants jointly and solidarily liable for damages.
The instant action, therefore, was based, as the complaint shows, on quasi delict. 8 Under
Article 218 of the Civil Code, which treats of quasi delicts, the liability of the owners and
managers of an establishment or enterprise for damages caused by their employees is
primary and direct, not subsidiary. 9 The employer, however, can demand from his employee
reimbursement of the amount which he paid under his liability. 10 The employer, appellant Lily
Lim Tan, must be held primarily and directly, not subsidiarily, liable for damages awarded in
the decision of the lower court. This is, of course, without prejudice to the right of appellant
Lily Lim Tan to demand from her co-appellant Ernesto Labsan reimbursement of the damages
that she would have to pay to appellees.
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of First Instance of Batangas, dated July 1, 1966, as
modified in accordance with the observations We made in the preceding paragraph, and the

order, dated October 10, 1966, denying appellants' motion for the lifting of the order of default
and for new trial, in Civil Case No. 1732, are affirmed. Costs against defendants-appellees.
It is so ordered.
Fernando, Barredo, Antonio and Aquino, JJ., concur.

1wph1.t

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
FIRST DIVISION

G.R. No. L-34529 January 27, 1983


MAXIMO MARCIA, AMALIA MOJICA, TIRSO YAP, DAMIANA MARCIA, EDGAR MARCIA, and
RENATO YAP,petitioners,
vs.
COURT OF APPEALS, FELARDO PAJE, and VICTORY LINER, INC., respondents.
Ricardo J. Francisco, for petitioners.
Flors, Macapagal, Ocampo & Dizon for private respondents.

RELOVA, J.:

Appeal by certiorari from the decision of the Court of Appeals affirming the judgment of the Court of
First Instance of Rizal, which dismissed the complaint filed by tile petitioners against private
respondents in the concept of an independent civil action for damages for physical injuries resulting
from reckless imprudence.
On December 23, 1956, in the municipality of Lubao, Pampanga, a passenger bus operated by
private respondent Victory Liner, Inc. and driven by its employee. private respondent Felardo Paje,
collided with a jeep driven by Clemente Marcia, resulting in the latter's death and in physical injuries
to herein petitioners, Edgar Marcia and Renato Yap. Thereupon, an information for homicide and
serious physical injuries thru reckless imprudence was filed against Felardo Paje in the Court of First
Instance of Pampanga (Criminal Case No. 2745).
On January 23, 1957, an action for damages (Civil Case No. 4425) was filed in the Court of First
Instance of Rizal by Edgar Marcia and Renato Yap, together with their respective parents. against
the Victory Liner, Inc. and Felardo Paje, alleging that, the mishap was due to the reckless
imprudence and negligence of the latter in driving the passenger bus.
While said Civil Case No. 4425 was in progress in the Court of First Instance of Rizal, the criminal
action proceeded in the Court of First Instance of Pampanga (Criminal Case No. 2745). The accused

Felardo Paje was convicted of the offense charged. However, on appeal to the Court of Appeals, he
was acquitted in a decision promulgated on November 3, 1982, based on the findings, to wit:
1 That the Victory Liner bus left its post, kilometer post no. 156, in San Marcelino,
Zambales, at about 2:00 AM
2 That on the highway at Lubao, Pampanga, between Posts Nos. 83 and 84, the
appellant driver thereof, saw a cargo truck parked in the middle of the right lane of
the road to Manila, without
3 That appellant slackened the speed of his truck from 60 km. p.h. to 35 or 40 km. p.
h. in order to pass said truck;
4 That the appellant did not see the oncoming jeep until it swerved to the left.
5 That the jeep was still far so appellant attempted to pass the truck but before he
could do so, the jeep came very fast at the center of the road and out of its lane.
6 That the passengers of the bus shouted at the appellant to bring the bus to the side
so as to avoid a frontal collision with he jeep, and appellant brought his bus to the
right shoulder of the road going to Bataan;
7 That the jeep driven by the deceased Clemente Marcia was running at a fast pace
for which reason the driver lost control and veered sharply to the right shoulder of the
road and crashed into the bus, parked thereat a few seconds before.
8 That appellant was not speeding, was diligent, and hence, not liable for the
collision which at the least, was a fortuitous event for which no one was responsible.
and the conclusion that "CRIMINAL NEGLIGENCE is WANTING in this case, and that appellant was
NOT even guilty of CIVIL NEGLIGENCE, Insofar as appellant was concerned, it was a case of
PURE ACCIDENT."
As a consequence, herein private respondents, defendants in Civil Case No. 4425 of the Court of
First Instance of Rizal, moved for the dismissal of the complaint invoking the decision of the Court of
Appeals acquitting Felardo Paje and citing Section I (d), Rule 107 of the Rules of Court now Section
3 (c), Rule I I I of the New Rules of Court), which reads:
SECTION 1. Rules governing civil actions arising from offenses. Except as
otherwise provided by law, the following rules shall be observed:
xxx xxx xxx
(d) Extinction of the penal action does not carry with it extinction of the civil, unless
the extinction proceeds from a declaration in a final judgment that the fact from which
the civil might arise did not exist. In the other cases, the persons entitled to the civil
action may institute it in the jurisdiction and in the manner provided by law against
the person who may be liable for restitution of the thing and reparation or indemnity
for the damages suffered.

The trial court denied the motion to dismiss and, thereafter, continued to hear defendants' (herein
private respondents) evidence. The following were presented as defendants' evidence in chief:
(a) the whole record of Criminal Case No. 2745 of the Court of First Instance of
Pampanga in which defendant Felardo Paje was by reason of the occurrence
prosecuted criminally and convicted of homicide with serious physical injuries thru
reckless imprudence;
(b) the decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. No. 01691 Cr, acquitting the
accused; and
(c) copy of the brief of the said defendant as accused-appellant in the said Court of
Appeals case.
On August 10, 1966, the Court of First Instance of Rizal rendered a decision dismissing plaintiffs'
complaint against the defendants Victory Liner, Inc. and Felardo Paje, without pronouncement as to
costs.
Petitioners appealed the case to the (Court of Appeals CA-G.R. No. 38964-R) alleging that the
acquittal of Paje in the criminal action for homicide and serious physical injuries thru reckless
imprudence "is not a ground for dismissing the complaint in the instant civil action; that the instant
civil action is entirely separate and distinct from the criminal action and shall proceed independently
of the criminal prosecution, so that whatever may have been the result of the criminal action is
irrelevant to this civil action; that Section 2 of Rule 111 of the Rules of Court and not Section 3,
paragraph (c) of the said rule applies; that the statement in the decision of the Court of Appeals in
the criminal action that defendant Paje as accused therein was not guilty of civil negligence is
without the jurisdiction of the said Court to make and is to be completely disregarded as an
extraneous, officious and void statement which cannot affect in any way the instant civil action; that
the records of the criminal action against defendant Paje are inadmissible evidence; that it has been
established in the case at bar, not only by preponderance of evidence but by uncontradicted,
conclusive evidence that petitioners suffered damages as a proximate result of the negligence of
respondent Paje and that it has been established, not only by preponderance of evidence but by
uncontradicted, conclusive evidence, that the damages suffered by petitioners as a result of the
negligence of private respondents is in the amount of P250,817.96, and that the latter should be
sentenced, jointly and severally, to pay the same to petitioner.
In the meantime, the heirs of Clemente Marcia who, as aforesaid, died as a result of the collision,
instituted a separate civil action in the Court of First Instance of Rizal (Civil Case No. 6880) for
damages based on the alleged reckless imprudence of bus driver Felardo Paje, praying that the
driver and the Victory Liner, Inc. be ordered to pay jointly and severally the amount of damages
claimed. The complaint of the heirs of Clemente Marcia was dismissed by the trial court. Appeal on
questions of law was taken to this Court (Laura Corpus et al vs. Felardo Paje at al, 28 SCRA 1062)
which, however, affirmed the order for the reason, among others, that "(1) The acquittal of the
defendant Felardo Paje by the Court of Appeals in the criminal action on the ground that the reckless
imprudence or criminal negligence charged against him did not exist and that the collision was a
case of pure accident, was a bar to the civil action for damages for the death of Clemente Marcia,
which action was based upon the same criminal negligence of which the defendant Felardo Paje
was acquitted in the criminal action."
Following the ruling of this Court in the Corpus vs. Paje decision, respondent Court of Appeals held
that the private respondents Cannot be held civilly liable after it had ruled in the criminal action that
negligence was wanting and that the collision was a case of pure accident.

Dissatisfied with the decision, petitioners have come to US alleging that the Court of Appeals erred:
I.
IN NOT HOLDING THAT PETITIONERS INSTANT CIVIL ACTION FOR DAMAGES
AGAINST PRIVATE RESPONDENTS FOR PHYSICAL INJURIES RESULTING
FROM NEGLIGENCE IS AN INDEPENDENT ONE, ENTIRELY SEPARATE AND
DISTINCT FROM THE CRIMINAL ACTION, UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF
ARTICLES 33, 2176 AND 2177 OF THE NEW (CIVIL CODE AND SECTION 2 OF
RULE 111 OF THE RULES OF COURT. AND IN INSTEAD HOLDING THAT THE
INSTANT ACTION IS NOT AMONG THE INDEPENDENT CIVIL ACTIONS
AUTHORIZED BY THE SAID PROVISIONS.
II.
IN NOT HOLDING THAT THE ACQUITTAL OF RESPONDENT FELARDO PAJE,
DRIVER OF RESPONDENT VICTORY LINER, INC., IN THE CRIMINAL ACTION
BASED ON THE SAID PHYSICAL INJURIES AND NEGLIGENCE IS ENTIRELY
IRRELEVANT TO THE INSTANT CIVIL ACTION FOR DAMAGES BY VIRTUE OF
THE AFORECITED PROVISIONS OF THE NEW CIVIL CODE AND THE RULES OF
COURT, AND IN INSTEAD HOLDING THAT THE SAID ACQUITTAL IS A BAR TO
THE INSTANT CIVIL ACTION UNDER SECTION 3 (c) OF RULE I I I AND SECTION
49 (c) OF RULE 39 OF THE RULES OF COURT.
III.
IN NOT HOLDING THAT THE EVIDENCE ADDUCED BY PRIVATE RESPONDENTS
IN THE INSTANT CIVIL ACTION FOR DAMAGES, CONSISTING OF THE
RECORDS OF THE CRIMINAL ACTION IN THE TRIAL COURT, THE DECISION OF
THE COURT OF APPEALS ACQUITTING RESPONDENT PAJE AND THE COPY
OF THE BRIEF OF THE SAID RESPONDENT AS ACCUSED-APPELLANT, ARE
INADMISSIBLE IN THE INSTANT CIVIL ACTION FOR DAMAGES.
IV.
IN NOT HOLDING THAT IT HAS BEEN ESTABLISHED IN THE CASE AT BAR, NOT
ONLY BY PREPONDERANCE OF EVIDENCE BUT BY UNCONTRADICTED,
CONCLUSIVE EVIDENCE, THAT PETITIONERS SUFFERED DAMAGES AS A
PROXIMATE RESULT OF THE NEGLIGENCE OF RESPONDENT PAJE.
V.
IN NOT HOLDING THAT IT HAS BEEN ESTABLISHED, NOT ONLY BY
PREPONDERANCE OF EVIDENCE BUT BY UNCONTRADICTED, CONCLUSIVE
EVIDENCE, THAT THE DAMAGES SUFFERED BY PETITIONERS AS A RESULT
OF THE NEGLIGENCE OF DEFENDANTS IS IN THE AMOUNT OF P250,817.96,
AND IN NOT SENTENCING PRIVATE RESPONDENTS JOINTLY AND SEVERALLY
TO PAY THE SAME TO PETITIONERS.
It is the stand of herein petitioners that Section 2, Rule 111 of the Rules of Court, not Section 3 (c)
thereof, should apply in the case at bar.

Sec. 2. Independent civil action. In the cases provided for in Articles 31, 32, 33, 34
and 2177 of the Civil Code of the Philippines, an independent civil action entirely
separate and distinct from the criminal action, may be brought by the injured party
during the pendency of the criminal case, provided the right is reserved as required
in the preceding section. Such civil action shall proceed independently of the criminal
prosecution, and shall require only a preponderance of evidence.
We do not agree, Section 2 of Rule 111 merely refers to the institution of an independent civil action
without waiting for the filing or termination of the criminal action and requires only preponderance of
evidence to prosper and not proof beyond reasonable doubt as required for conviction in criminal
cases. However, an acquittal based on the finding that the facts upon which civil liability did not exist,
bars the filing of an independent civil action if it is based on the crime. As early as 1952, We have
held in the case of Tan vs. Standard Vacuum Oil Company 91 Phil. 672, that "the acquittal of the
accused from the criminal charge will not necessarily extinguish the civil liability unless the court
declares in the judgment that the fact from which the civil liability might arise did not exist. Where the
court states 'that the evidence throws no light on the cause of fire and that it was an unfortunate
accident for which the accused cannot be held responsible,' this declaration fits well into the
exception of the rule which exempts the accused, from civil liability. " Likewise, in Albornoz vs.
Albornoz, 98 Phil. 785, it was the ruling that "where the judgment in a criminal action contains an
express declaration that the basis of claimant's action did not exist, the latter's action for civil liability
is barred under section 1 (d) Rule 107 of the Rules of Court." And, in De Mesa vs. Priela 24 SCRA
582, this Court, speaking through then Chief Justice Roberto Concepcion, ruled that extinction of the
penal action does not carry with it extinction of the civil, unless the extinction proceeds from a
declaration in a final judgment that the fact from which the civil might arise did not exist. In other
cases, the person entitled to the civil action may institute it in the jurisdiction and in the manner
provided by law against the person who may be liable for restitution of the thing and reparation or
indemnity for the damage suffered (Sec. 3 [c], Rule 111, Rules of Court.)"
As held in Corpus vs. Paje, supra, reckless imprudence or criminal negligence is not one of the three
crimes mentioned in Article 33 of the Civil Code, which provides:
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.
The above article speaks only of defamation, fraud and physical injuries. The injuries suffered by
herein petitioners were alleged to be the result of criminal negligence; they were not inflicted with
malice. Hence, no independent civil action for damages may be instituted in connection therewith.
Further, Section 3 (c), Rule 111 of the Rules of Court states that "(c) Extinction of the penal action
does not carry with it extinction of the civil, unless the extinction proceeds from a declaration in a
final judgment that the fact from which the civil might arise did not exist." Otherwise stated, unless
the act from which the civil liability arises is declared to be nonexistent in the final judgment, the
extinction of the criminal liability will not carry with it the extinction of the civil liability. Thus, if a
person is charged with homicide and successfully pleaded self-defense, his acquittal by reason
thereof will extinguish his civil liability. He has not incurred any criminal liability. On the other hand, if
his acquittal is, for instance, due to the fact that he was not sufficiently Identified to be the assailant,
a civil action for damages may be maintained. His acquittal is not due to non-existence of the crime
from which civil liability might arise, but because he was not, in the eyes of the court, sufficiently
Identified as the perpetrator of the crime.

In People vs. Buan, 22 SCRA 1383, this Court, speaking through Mr. Justice J.B.L. Reyes, said that
"the essence of the quasi offense of criminal negligence under Article 365 of the Revised Penal
Code lies in the execution of an imprudent or negligent act that, if intentionally done, would be
punishable as a felony. The law penalizes the negligent or careless act, not the result thereof. The
gravity of the consequence is only taken into account to determine the penalty; it does not qualify the
substance of the offense.
The charge against Felardo Paje was not for homicide and physical injuries but for reckless
imprudence or criminal negligence resulting in homicide (death of Clemente Marcia) and physical
injuries suffered by Edgar Marcia and Renato Yap. They are not one of the three (3) crimes
mentioned in Article 33 of the Civil Code and, therefore, no civil action shall proceed independently
of the criminal prosecution.
The case of Laura Corpus vs. Felardo Paje (supra) is the same as the case at bar, the only
difference being the party-plaintiffs or petitioners. Clemente Marcia died, while Edgar Marcia and
Renato Yap suffered physical injuries in the same accident. The heirs of Clemente Marcia filed Civil
Case No. 6880 in the Court of First Instance of Rizal against herein respondents. The case was
dismissed and appealed directly to this Court. The order appealed from was affirmed, as recorded in
Laura Corpus vs. Felardo Paje, 28 SCRA 1062.
1wph1.t

The case at bar (Civil Case No. 4425) was filed by Edgar Marcia and Renato Yap against the same
defendants in the Court of First Instance of Rizal. After trial, the case was dismissed and affirmed by
the Court of Appeals. It is now before Us on appeal by certiorari from the said decision.
Relative to the admissibility of the documents, to wit; (a) the records of the criminal case against
Paje, (b) the decision of the Court of Appeals acquitting the latter; and (c) copy of the brief of the
respondent Paje as accused-appellant, suffice it to say that since petitioners' cause of action is
based on the alleged recklessness and imprudence of respondent Paje it necessarily follows that his
acquittal by the Court of Appeals and its declaration that the mishap was "pure accident" are relevant
and material evidence. In fact, the lower court may even take judicial notice of the decision of the
Court of Appeals in said criminal case.
Finally, with respect to the findings of fact of the Court of Appeals, well settled is the rule that the
same are final and cannot be disturbed by Us, particularly where they are based, as they are in the
case at bar, upon substantial evidence.
WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is hereby AFFIRMED in toto. With costs against the
petitioners.
SO ORDERED.
Teehankee (Chairman), Melencio-Herrera, Plana, Vasquez and Gutierrez, Jr., JJ., concur.
The Lawphil Project - Arellano Law Foundation

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
SECOND DIVISION

G.R. No. 104408 June 21, 1993


METRO MANILA TRANSIT CORPORATION, petitioner,
vs.
THE COURT OF APPEALS AND NENITA CUSTODIA, respondents.
Office of the Government Corporate Counsel for petitioner.
Renato P. Decena and Restituto Abjero for private respondent.

REGALADO, J.:

This appeal calls for a review of the legal validity and sufficiency of petitioner's invocation of due
diligence in the selection and supervision of employees as its defense against liability resulting from
a vehicular collision. With the facility by which such a defense can be contrived and our country
having reputedly the highest traffic accident rate in its geographical region, it is indeed high time for
us to once again address this matter which poses not only a litigation issue for the courts but affects
the very safety of our streets.
The facts of the case at bar are recounted for us by respondent court, thus
At about six o'clock in the morning of August 28, 1979, plaintiff-appellant Nenita Custodio
boarded as a paying passenger a public utility jeepney with plate No. D7 305 PUJ
Pilipinas 1979, then driven by defendant Agudo Calebag and owned by his co-defendant
Victorino Lamayo, bound for her work at Dynetics Incorporated located in Bicutan,
Taguig, Metro Manila, where she then worked as a machine operator earning P16.25 a
day. While the passenger jeepney was travelling at (a) fast clip along DBP Avenue,
Bicutan, Taguig, Metro Manila another fast moving vehicle, a Metro Manila Transit Corp.
(MMTC, for short) bus bearing plate no. 3Z 307 PUB (Philippines) "79 driven by
defendant Godofredo C. Leonardo was negotiating Honeydew Road, Bicutan, Taguig,
Metro Manila bound for its terminal at Bicutan. As both vehicles approached the
intersection of DBP Avenue and Honeydew Road they failed to slow down and slacken
their speed; neither did they blow their horns to warn approaching vehicles. As a
consequence, a collision between them occurred, the passenger jeepney ramming the
left side portion of the MMTC bus. The collision impact caused plaintiff-appellant Nenita
Custodio to hit the front windshield of the passenger jeepney and (she) was thrown out
therefrom, falling onto the pavement unconscious with serious physical injuries. She was

brought to the Medical City Hospital where she regained consciousness only after one (1)
week. Thereat, she was confined for twenty-four (24) days, and as a consequence, she
was unable to work for three and one half months (31/2). 1
A complaint for damages 2 was filed by herein private respondent, who being then a minor was assisted
by her parents, against all of therein named defendants following their refusal to pay the expenses
incurred by the former as a result of the collision.
Said defendants denied all the material allegations in the complaint and pointed an accusing finger at
each other as being the party at fault. Further, herein petitioner Metro Manila Transit Corporation (MMTC),
a government-owned corporation and one of the defendants in the court a quo, along with its driver,
Godofredo Leonardo, contrarily averred in its answer with cross-claim and counterclaim 3 that the MMTC
bus was driven in a prudent and careful manner by driver Leonardo and that it was the passenger
jeepney which was driven recklessly considering that it hit the left middle portion of the MMTC bus, and
that it was defendant Lamayo, the owner of the jeepney and employer of driver Calebag, who failed to
exercise due diligence in the selection and supervision of employees and should thus be held solidarily
liable for damages caused to the MMTC bus through the fault and negligence of its employees.
Defendant Victorino Lamayo, for his part, alleged in his answer with cross-claim and counterclaim 4 that
the damages suffered by therein plaintiff should be borne by defendants MMTC and its driver, Godofredo
Leonardo, because the latter's negligence was the sole and proximate cause of the accident and that
MMTC failed to exercise due diligence in the selection and supervision of its employees.
By order of the trial court, defendant Calebag was declared in default for failure to file an
answer. 5 Thereafter, as no amicable settlement was reached during the pre-trial conference, 6 trial on the
merits ensued with the opposing parties presenting their respective witnesses and documentary
evidence.
Herein private respondent Nenita Custodia, along with her parents, were presented as witnesses for the
prosecution. In addition, Dr. Edgardo del Mundo, the attending physician, testified on the cause, nature
and extent of the injuries she sustained as a result of the vehicular mishap. 7 On the other hand,
defendant MMTC presented as witnesses Godofredo Leonardo, Christian Bautista and Milagros Garbo.
Defendant Lamayo, however, failed to present any witness.

Milagros Garbo testified that, as a training officer of MMTC, she was in charge of the selection of the
company's bus drivers, conducting for this purpose a series of training programs and examinations.
According to her, new applicants for job openings at MMTC are preliminarily required to submit
certain documents such as National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) clearance, birth or residence
certificate, ID pictures, certificate or diploma of highest educational attainment, professional driver's
license, and work experience certification. Re-entry applicants, aside from the foregoing
requirements, are additionally supposed to submit company clearance for shortages and damages
and revenue performance for the preceding year. Upon satisfactory compliance with said requisites,
applicants are recommended for and subjected to a Preliminary interview, followed by a record
check to find out whether they are included in the list of undesirable employees given by other
companies.
Thereafter, she continued, if an applicant is found to be acceptable, a final interview by the Chief
Supervisor is scheduled and followed by a training program which consists of seminars and actual driving

and Psycho-physical tests and X-ray examinations. The seminars, which last for a total of eighteen (18)
days, include familiarization with assigned routes, existing traffic rules and regulations, Constabulary
Highway Patrol Group (CHPG) seminar on defensive driving, preventive maintenance, proper vehicle
handling, interpersonal relationship ,and administrative rules on discipline and on-the-job training. Upon
completion of all the seminars and tests, a final clearance is issued, an employment contract is executed
and the driver is ready to report for duty. 8
MMTC's Transport Supervisor, Christian Bautista, testified that it was his duty to monitor the daily
operation of buses in the field, to countercheck the dispatcher on duty prior to the operation of the buses
in the morning and to see to it that the bus crew follow written guidelines of the company, which include
seeing to it that its employees are in proper uniform, briefed in traffic rules and regulations before the start
of duty, fit to drive and, in general, follow other rules and regulations of the Bureau of Land Transportation
as well as of the company. 9
The reorganized trial court, in its decision of August 1, 1989, 10 found both drivers of the colliding vehicles
concurrently negligent for non-observance of appropriate traffic rules and regulations and for failure to
take the usual precautions when approaching an intersection. As joint tortfeasors, both drivers, as well as
defendant Lamayo, were held solidarily liable for damages sustained by plaintiff Custodio. Defendant
MMTC, on the bases of the evidence presented was, however, absolved from liability for the accident on
the ground that it was not only careful and diligent in choosing and screening applicants for job openings
but was also strict and diligent in supervising its employees by seeing to it that its employees were in
proper uniforms, briefed in traffic rules and regulations before the start of duty, and that it checked its
employees to determine whether or not they were positive for alcohol and followed other rules and
regulations and guidelines of the Bureau of Land Transportation and of the company.

The trial court accordingly ruled:


WHEREFORE, PREMISES CONSIDERED, judgment is hereby rendered dismissing
the complaint against the Metro Manila Transit Corporation and ordering defendants
Agudo P. Calebag, Victorino Lamayo and Godofredo C. Leonardo to pay plaintiffs,
jointly and severally, the following:
a) the sum of P10,000.00 by way of medical expenses;
b) the sum of P5,000.00 by way of expenses of litigation;
c) the sum of P15,000.00 by way of moral damages;
d) the sum of P2,672.00 by way of loss of earnings;
e) the sum of P5,000.00 by way of exemplary damages;
f) the sum of P6,000.00 by way of attorney's fees; and
g) costs of suit.
SO ORDERED. 11

Plaintiff's motion to have that portion of the trial court's decision absolving MMTC from liability
reconsidered 12 having been denied for lack of merit, 13 an appeal was filed by her with respondent
appellate court. After consideration of the appropriate pleadings on appeal and finding the appeal
meritorious, the Court of Appeals modified the trial court's decision by holding MMTC solidarily liable with
the other defendants for the damages awarded by the trial court because of their concurrent negligence,
concluding that while there is no hard and fast rule as to what constitutes sufficient evidence to prove that
an employer has exercised the due diligence required of it in the selection and supervision of its
employees, based on the quantum of evidence adduced the said appellate court was not disposed to say
that MMTC had exercised the diligence required of a good father of a family in the selection and
supervision of its driver, Godofredo Leonardo. 14
The Court of Appeals was resolute in its conclusion and denied the motions for reconsideration of
appellee Custodio and appellant MMTC in a resolution dated February 17, 1982, 15 thus prompting MMTC
to file the instant petition invoking the review powers of this Court over the decision of the Court of
Appeals, raising as issues for resolution whether or not (1) the documentary evidence to support the
positive testimonies of witnesses Garbo and Bautista are still necessary; (2) the testimonies of witnesses
Garbo and Bautista may still be disturbed on appeal; and (3) the evidence presented during the trial with
respect to the proof of due diligence of petitioner MMTC in the selection and supervision of its employees,
particularly driver Leonardo, is sufficient.

Prefatorily, private respondent questions the timeliness of the filing of the petition at bar in view of
the procedural stricture that the timely perfection of an appeal is both a mandatory and jurisdictional
requirement. This is a legitimate concern on the part of private respondent and presents an
opportune occasion to once again clarify this point as there appears to be some confusion in the
application of the rules and interpretative rulings regarding the computation of reglementary periods
at this stage of the proceedings.
The records of this case reveal that the decision of respondent Court of Appeals, dated October 31, 1991,
was received by MMTC on November 18, 1991 16 and it seasonably filed a motion for the reconsideration
thereof on November 28, 1991. 17Said motion for reconsideration was denied by respondent court in its
resolution dated February 17, 1992, which in turn was received by MMTC on March 9, 1992. 18 Therefore,
it had, pursuant to Section 1, Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, fifteen (15) days therefrom or up to March 24,
1992 within which to file its petition, for review on certiorari. Anticipating, however, that it may not be able
to file said petition before the lapse of the reglementary period therefor, MMTC filed a motion on March
19, 1992 for an extension of thirty (30) days to file the present petition, with proof of service of copies
thereof to respondent court and the adverse parties. The Court granted said motion, with the extended
period to be counted from the expiration of the reglementary period. 19 Consequently, private respondent
had thirty (30) days from March 24, 1992 within which to file its petition, or up to April 23, 1992, and the
eventual filing of said petition on April 14, 1992 was well within the period granted by the Court.
We digress to reiterate, in view of erroneous submissions that we continue to receive, that in the case of a
petition for review on certiorari from a decision rendered by the Court of Appeals, Section 1, Rule 45 of
the Rules of Court, which has long since been clarified in Lacsamana vs. The Hon. Second Special
Cases Division of the Intermediate Appellate Court, et al., 20 allows the same to be filed "within fifteen (15)
days from notice of judgment or of the denial of the motion for reconsideration filed in due time, and
paying at the same time to the corresponding docket fee." In other words, in the event a motion for
reconsideration is filed and denied, the period of fifteen (15) days begins to run all over again from notice
of the denial resolution. Otherwise put, if a motion for reconsideration is filed, the reglementary period

within which to appeal the decision of the Court of Appeals to the Supreme Court is reckoned from the
date the party who intends to appeal received the order denying the motion for
reconsideration. 21 Furthermore, a motion for extension of time to file a petition for review may be filed with
this Court within said reglementary period, paying at the same time the corresponding docket fee.

1. The first two issues raised by petitioner shall be correlatively discussed in view of their
interrelation.
In its present petition, MMTC insists that the oral testimonies of its employees were presented as
witnesses in its behalf sufficiently prove, even without the presentation documentary evidence, that driver
Leonardo had complied with all the hiring and clearance requirements and had undergone all trainings,
tests and examinations preparatory to actual employment, and that said positive testimonies spell out the
rigid procedure for screening of job applicants and the supervision of its employees in the field. It
underscored the fact that it had indeed complied with the measure of diligence in the selection and
supervision of its employees as enunciated in Campo, et al. vs. Camarote, et al. 22 requiring an employer,
in the exercise of the diligence of a good father of a family, to carefully examine the applicant for
employment as to his qualifications, experience and record service, and not merely be satisfied with the
possession of a professional driver's license.
It goes on to say since the testimonies of these witnesses were allegedly neither discredited nor
impeached by the adverse party, they should be believed and not arbitrarily disregarded or rejected nor
disturbed on appeal. It assiduously argues that inasmuch as there is no law requiring that facts alleged by
petitioner be established by documentary evidence, the probative force and weight of their testimonies
should not be discredited, with the further note that the lower court having passed upon the relevancy of
the oral testimonies and considered the same as unrebutted, its consideration should no longer be
disturbed on appeal. 23
Private respondent, on the other hand, retorts that the factual findings of respondent court are conclusive
upon the High Court which cannot be burdened with the task of analyzing and weighing the evidence all
over again. 24
At this juncture, it suffices to note that factual findings of the trial court may be reversed by the Court of
Appeals, which is vested by law with the power to review both legal and factual issues, if on the evidence
of record, it appears that the trial court may have been mistaken 25 particularly in the appreciation of
evidence, which is within the domain of the Court of Appeals. 26 The general rule laid down in a plethora of
cases is that such findings of fact by the Court of Appeals are conclusive upon and beyond the power of
review of the Supreme Court. 27 However, it is now well-settled that while the findings of fact of the Court
of Appeals are entitled to great respect, and even finality at times, that rule is not inflexible and is subject
to well established exceptions, to wit: (1) when the conclusion is a finding grounded entirely on
speculation, surmises and conjectures; (2) when the inference made is manifestly mistaken, absurd or
impossible; (3) where there is grave abuse of discretion; (4) when the judgment is based on a
misapprehension of facts; (5) when the findings of fact are conflicting; (6) when the Court of Appeals, in
making its findings, went beyond the issues of the case and the same are contrary to the admissions of
both appellant and appellee; (7) when the findings of the Court of Appeals are contrary to those of the trial
court; (8) when the findings of fact are conclusions without citation of specific evidence on which they are
based; (9) when the facts set forth in the petition, as well as in the petitioner's main and reply briefs are
not disputed by the respondents and (10) when the findings of fact of the Court of Appeals are premised
on the supposed absence of evidence and are contradicted by the evidence on record. 28

When as in this case, the findings of the Court of Appeals and the trial court are contrary to each other,
this court may scrutinize the evidence on record, 29 in order to arrive at a correct finding based thereon.

30

A perusal of the same shows that since there is no dispute as to the finding of concurrent negligence on
the part of the defendant Calebag, the driver of the passenger jeepney, and co-defendant Leonardo, the
bus driver of petitioner MMTC, both of whom were solidarily held liable with defendant Lamayo, the owner
of the jeepney, we are spared the necessity of determining the sufficiency of evidence establishing the
fact of negligence. 31 The contrariety is in the findings of the two lower courts, and which is the subject of
this present controversy, with regard to the liability of MMTC as employer of one the erring drivers.

The trial court, in absolving MMTC from liability ruled that


On the question as to whether defendant MMTC was successful in proving its
defense that indeed it had exercised the due diligence of a good father of a family in
the selection and supervision of defendant Leonardo, this Court finds that based on
the evidence presented during the trial, defendant MMTC was able to prove that it
was not only careful and diligent in choosing and screening applicants for job
openings but also strict (and) diligent in supervising its employees by seeing to it that
its employees were in proper uniforms, briefed in traffic rules and regulations before
the start of duty, checked employees to determine whether they were positive for
alcohol and followed other rules and regulations and guidelines of the Bureau of
Land Transportation as well as its company. Having successfully proven such
defense, defendant MMTC therefore, cannot be held liable for the accident.
Having reached this conclusion, the Court now, holds that defendant MMTC be totally
absolved from liability and that the complaint against it be dismissed. . . . 32

whereas respondent court was of the opinion that


It is surprising though that witness Milagros Garbo did not testify nor present any
evidence that defendant-appellee's driver, defendant Godofredo Leonardo has
complied with or has undergone all clearances and trainings she referred to. The
clearances, result of seminars and tests which Godofredo Leonardo submitted and
complied with, if any, were not presented in court despite the fact that they are
obviously in the possession and control of defendant-appellee. Instead, it resorted to
generalities. The Court has ruled that due diligence in (the) selection and supervision
of employee(s) are not proved by mere testimonies to the effect that its applicant has
complied with all the company requirements before one is admitted as an employee
but without proof thereof. . . .
On the part of Christian Bautista, the transport supervisor of defendant-appellee, he
testified that it is his duty to monitor the operation of buses in the field; to countercheck
the dispatchers' duty prior to the operation of the buses in the morning; to see to it that
bus crew follows written guidelines of the company (t.s.n., April 29, 1988, pp. 4-5), but
when asked to present in court the alleged written guidelines of the company he merely
stated that he brought with him a "wrong document" and defendant-appellee's counsel

asked for reservation to present such written guidelines in the next hearing but the same
was (sic) never presented in court. 33

A thorough and scrupulous review of the records of this case reveals that the conclusion of
respondent Court of Appeals is more firmly grounded on jurisprudence and amply supported by the
evidence of record than that of the court below.
It is procedurally required for each party in a case to prove his own affirmative assertion by the degree of
evidence required by law. 34 In civil cases, the degree of evidence required of a party in order to support
his claim is preponderance of evidence, or that evidence adduced by one party which is more conclusive
and credible than that of the other party. It is, therefore, incumbent on the plaintiff who is claiming a right
to prove his case. Corollarily, defendant must likewise prove own allegation to buttress its claim that it is
not liable. 35
In fine, the party, whether plaintiff or defendant, who asserts the affirmative of the issue has the burden of
presenting at the trial such amount of evidence required by law to obtain a favorable judgment. 36 It is
entirely within each of the parties discretion, consonant with the theory of the case it or he seeks to
advance and subject to such procedural strategy followed thereby, to present all available evidence at its
or his disposal in the manner which may be deemed necessary and beneficial to prove its or his position,
provided only that the same shall measure up to the quantum of evidence required by law. In making
proof in its or his case, it is paramount that the best and most complete evidence be formally entered. 37
Coming now to the case at bar, while there is no rule which requires that testimonial evidence, to hold
sway, must be corroborated by documentary evidence, or even subject evidence for that matter,
inasmuch as the witnesses' testimonies dwelt on mere generalities, we cannot consider the same as
sufficiently persuasive proof that there was observance of due diligence in the selection and supervision
of employees. 38 Petitioner's attempt to prove its diligentissimi patris familiasin the selection and
supervision of employees through oral evidence must fail as it was unable to buttress the same with any
other evidence, object or documentary, which might obviate the apparent biased nature of the
testimony. 39
Our view that the evidence for petitioner MMTC falls short of the required evidentiary quantum as would
convincingly and undoubtedly prove its observance of the diligence of a good father of a family has its
precursor in the underlying rationale pronounced in the earlier case of Central Taxicab Corp. vs. ExMeralco Employees Transportation Co., et al., 40 set amidst an almost identical factual setting, where we
held that:

. . . . This witness spoke of an "affidavit of experience" which a driver-applicant must


accomplish before he is employed by the company, a written "time schedule" for
each bus, and a record of the inspections and thorough checks pertaining to each
bus before it leaves the car barn; yet no attempt was ever made to present in
evidence any of these documents, despite the fact that they were obviously in the
possession and control of the defendant company.
xxx xxx xxx
Albert also testified that he kept records of the preliminary and final tests given him
as well as a record of the qualifications and experience of each of the drivers of the

company. It is rather strange, therefore, that he failed to produce in court the all
important record of Roberto, the driver involved in this case.
The failure of the defendant company to produce in court any "record" or other
documentary proof tending to establish that it had exercised all the diligence of a
good father of a family in the selection and supervision of its drivers and buses,
notwithstanding the calls therefor by both the trial court and the opposing counsel,
argues strongly against its pretensions.
We are fully aware that there is no hard-and-fast rule on the quantum of evidence
needed to prove due observance of all the diligence of a good father of a family as
would constitute a valid defense to the legal presumption of negligence on the part of
an employer or master whose employee has by his negligence, caused damage to
another. . . . (R)educing the testimony of Albert to its proper proportions, we do not
have enough trustworthy evidence left to go by. We are of the considered opinion,
therefore, that the believable evidence on the degree of care and diligence that has
been exercised in the selection and supervision of Roberto Leon y Salazar, is not
legally sufficient to overcome the presumption of negligence against the defendant
company.
Whether or not the diligence of a good father of a family has been observed by petitioner is a matter
of proof which under the circumstances in the case at bar has not been clearly established. It is not
felt by the Court that there is enough evidence on record as would overturn the presumption of
negligence, and for failure to submit all evidence within its control, assuming the putative existence
thereof, petitioner MMTC must suffer the consequences of its own inaction and indifference.
2. In any event, we do not find the evidence presented by petitioner sufficiently convincing to prove
the diligence of a good father of a family, which for an employer doctrinally translates into its
observance of due diligence in the selection and supervision of its employees but which mandate, to
use an oft-quoted phrase, is more often honored in the breach than in the observance.
Petitioner attempted to essay in detail the company's procedure for screening job applicants and
supervising its employees in the field, through the testimonies of Milagros Garbo, as its training officer,
and Christian Bautista, as its transport supervisor, both of whom naturally and expectedly testified for
MMTC. It then concluded with its sweeping pontifications that "thus, there is no doubt that considering the
nature of the business of petitioner, it would not let any applicant-drivers to be (sic) admitted without
undergoing the rigid selection and training process with the end (in) view of protecting the public in
general and its passengers in particular; . . . thus, there is no doubt that applicant had fully complied with
the said requirements otherwise Garbo should not have allowed him to undertake the next set of
requirements . . . and the training conducted consisting of seminars and actual driving tests were
satisfactory otherwise he should have not been allowed to drive the subject vehicle. 41
These statements strike us as both presumptuous and in the nature of petitio principii, couched in
generalities and shorn of any supporting evidence to boost their verity. As earlier observed, respondent
court could not but express surprise, and thereby its incredulity, that witness Garbo neither testified nor
presented any evidence that driver Leonardo had complied with or had undergone all the clearances and
trainings she took pains to recite and enumerate. The supposed clearances, results of seminars and tests

which Leonardo allegedly submitted and complied with were never presented in court despite the fact
that, if true, then they were obviously in the possession and control of petitioner. 42
The case at bar is clearly within the coverage of Article 2176 and 2177, in relation to Article 2180, of the
Civil Code provisions on quasi-delicts as all the elements thereof are present, to wit: (1) damages
suffered by the plaintiff, (2) fault or negligence of the defendant or some other person for whose act he
must respond, and (3) the connection of cause and effect between fault or negligence of the defendant
and the damages incurred by plaintiff. 43 It is to be noted that petitioner was originally sued as employer of
driver Leonardo under Article 2180, the pertinent parts of which provides that:

The obligation imposed by article 2176 is demandable not only for one's own acts or
omissions, but also for those of persons for whom one is responsible.
xxx xxx xxx
Employers shall be liable for damages caused by their employees and household
helpers acting within the scope of their assigned tasks, even though the former are
not engaged in any business or industry.
xxx xxx xxx
The responsibility treated of in this article shall cease when the persons herein
mentioned prove that they observed all the diligence of a good father of a family to
prevent damage.
The basis of the employer's vicarious liability has been explained under this ratiocination:
The responsibility imposed by this article arises by virtue of a presumption juris tantum of
negligence on the part of the persons made responsible under the article, derived from
their failure to exercise due care and vigilance over the acts of subordinates to prevent
them from causing damage. Negligence is imputed to them by law, unless they prove the
contrary. Thus, the last paragraph of the article says that such responsibility ceases if is
proved that the persons who might be held responsible under it exercised the diligence of
a good father of a family (diligentissimi patris familias) to prevent damage. It is clear,
therefore, that it is not representation, nor interest, nor even the necessity of having
somebody else answer for the damages caused by the persons devoid of personality, but
it is the non-performance of certain duties of precaution and prudence imposed upon the
persons who become responsible by civil bond uniting the actor to them, which forms the
foundation of such responsibility. 44
The above rule is, of course, applicable only where there is an employer-employee relationship, although
it is not necessary that the employer be engaged in business or industry. Whether or not engaged in any
business or industry, the employer under Article 2180 is liable for torts committed by his employees within
the scope of their assigned tasks. But, it is necessary first to establish the employment relationship. Once
this is done, the plaintiff must show, to hold the employer liable, that the employee was acting within the
scope of his assigned task when the tort complained of was committed. It is only then that the defendant,
as employer, may find it necessary to interpose the defense of due diligence in the selection and
supervision of employees. 45 The diligence of a good father of a family required to be observed by

employers to prevent damages under Article 2180 refers to due diligence in the selection and supervision
of employees in order to protect the public. 46
With the allegation and subsequent proof of negligence against the defendant driver and of an employeremployee relation between him and his co-defendant MMTC in this instance, the case in undoubtedly
based on a quasi-delict under Article 2180 47 When the employee causes damage due to his own
negligence while performing his own duties, there arises thejuris tantum presumption that the employer is
negligent, 48 rebuttable only by proof of observance of the diligence of a good father of a family. For failure
to rebut such legal presumption of negligence in the selection and supervision of employees, the
employer is likewise responsible for damages, 49 the basis of the liability being the relationship of pater
familias or on the employer's own negligence. 50
As early as the case of Gutierrez vs. Gutierrez, 51 and thereafter, we have consistently held that where the
injury is due to the concurrent negligence of the drivers of the colliding vehicles, the drivers and owners of
the said vehicles shall be primarily, directly and solidarily liable for damages and it is immaterial that one
action is based on quasi-delict and the other on culpa contractual, as the solidarily of the obligation is
justified by the very nature thereof. 52

It should be borne in mind that the legal obligation of employers to observe due diligence in the
selection and supervision of employees is not to be considered as an empty play of words or a mere
formalism, as appears to be the fashion of the times, since the non-observance thereof actually
becomes the basis of their vicarious liability under Article 2180.
On the matter of selection of employees, Campo vs. Camarote, supra, lays down this admonition:
. . . . In order tat the owner of a vehicle may be considered as having exercised all
diligence of a good father of a family, he should not have been satisfied with the
mere possession of a professional driver's license; he should have carefully
examined the applicant for employment as to his qualifications, his experience and
record of service. These steps appellant failed to observe; he has therefore, failed to
exercise all due diligence required of a good father of a family in the choice or
selection of driver.
Due diligence in the supervision of employees, on the other hand, includes the formulation of suitable
rules and regulations for the guidance of employees and the issuance of proper instructions intended for
the protection of the public and persons with whom the employer has relations through his or its
employees and the imposition of necessary disciplinary measures upon employees in case of breach or
as may be warranted to ensure the performance of acts indispensable to the business of and beneficial to
their employer. 53 To this, we add that actual implementation and monitoring of consistent compliance with
said rules should be the constant concern of the employer, acting through dependable supervisors who
should regularly report on their supervisory functions.

In order that the defense of due diligence in the selection and supervision of employees may be
deemed sufficient and plausible, it is not enough to emptily invoke the existence of said company
guidelines and policies on hiring and supervision. As the negligence of the employee gives rise to
the presumption of negligence on the part of the employer, the latter has the burden of proving that it
has been diligent not only in the selection of employees but also in the actual supervision of their

work. The mere allegation of the existence of hiring procedures and supervisory policies, without
anything more, is decidedly not sufficient to overcome presumption.
We emphatically reiterate our holding, as a warning to all employers, that "(t)he mere formulation of
various company policies on safety without showing that they were being complied with is not sufficient to
exempt petitioner from liability arising from negligence of its employees. It is incumbent upon petitioner to
show that in recruiting and employing the erring driver the recruitment procedures and company policies
on efficiency and safety were followed." 54 Paying lip-service to these injunctions or merely going through
the motions of compliance therewith will warrant stern sanctions from the Court.
These obligations, imposed by the law and public policy in the interests and for the safety of the
commuting public, herein petitioner failed to perform. Respondent court was definitely correct in ruling that
". . . due diligence in the selection and supervision of employee (is) not proved by mere testimonies to the
effect that its applicant has complied with all the company requirements before one is admitted as an
employee but without proof thereof." 55 It is further a distressing commentary on petitioner that it is a
government-owned public utility, maintained by public funds, and organized for the public welfare.

The Court it is necessary to once again stress the following rationale behind these all-important
statutory and jurisprudential mandates, for it has been observed that despite its pronouncement
in Kapalaran Bus Line vs. Coronado, et al., supra, there has been little improvement in the transport
situation in the country:
In requiring the highest possible degree of diligence from common carriers and
creating a presumption of negligence against them, the law compels them to curb the
recklessness of their drivers. While the immediate beneficiaries of the standard of
extraordinary diligence are, of course, the passengers and owners of the cargo
carried by a common carrier, they are not the only persons that the law seeks to
benefit. For if common carriers carefully observe the statutory standard of
extraordinary diligence in respect of their own passengers, they cannot help but
simultaneously benefit pedestrians and the owners and passengers of other vehicles
who are equally entitled to the safe and convenient use of our roads and highways.
The law seeks to stop and prevent the slaughter and maiming of people (whether
passengers or not) and the destruction of property (whether freight or not) on our
highways by buses, the very size and power of which seem often to inflame the
minds of their drivers. . . .
Finally, we believe that respondent court acted in the exercise of sound discretion when it affirmed
the trial court's award, without requiring the payment of interest thereon as an item of damages just
because of delay in the determination thereof, especially since private respondent did not specifically
pray therefor in her complaint. Article 2211 of the Civil Code provides that in quasi-delicts, interest as
a part of the damages may be awarded in the discretion of the court, and not as a matter of right. We
do not perceive that there have been international dilatory maneuvers or any special circumstances
which would justify that additional award and, consequently, we find no reason to disturb said ruling.
WHEREFORE, the impugned decision of respondent Court of Appeals is hereby AFFIRMED.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
THIRD DIVISION
G.R. No. 173146

November 25, 2009

AGUSAN DEL NORTE ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE, INC. (ANECO), represented by its Manager
ROMEO O. DAGANI, Petitioner,
vs.
ANGELITA BALEN and SPOUSES HERCULES and RHEA LARIOSA, Respondents.
DECISION
NACHURA, J.:
On appeal is the February 21, 2006 Decision1 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No. 66153,
affirming the December 2, 1999 Decision2 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Butuan City, Branch 2, as
well as its subsequent Resolution,3 denying petitioners motion for reconsideration.
Petitioner Agusan del Norte Electric Cooperative, Inc. (ANECO) is a duly organized and registered
consumers cooperative, engaged in supplying electricity in the province of Agusan del Norte and in
Butuan City. In 1981, ANECO installed an electric post in Purok 4, Ata-atahon, Nasipit, Agusan del Norte,
with its main distribution line of 13,000 kilovolts traversing Angelita Balens (Balens) residence. Balens
father, Miguel, protested the installation with the District Engineers Office and with ANECO, but his
protest just fell on deaf ears.
On July 25, 1992, Balen, Hercules Lariosa (Lariosa) and Celestino Exclamado (Exclamado) were
electrocuted while removing the television antenna (TV antenna) from Balens residence. The antenna
pole touched ANECOs main distribution line which resulted in their electrocution. Exclamado died
instantly, while Balen and Lariosa suffered extensive third degree burns.
Balen and Lariosa (respondents) then lodged a complaint 4 for damages against ANECO with the RTC of
Butuan City.
ANECO filed its answer5 denying the material averments in the complaint, and raising lack of cause of
action as a defense. It posited that the complaint did not allege any wrongful act on the part of ANECO,
and that respondents acted with gross negligence and evident bad faith. ANECO, thus, prayed for the
dismissal of the complaint.
After trial, the RTC rendered a Decision,6 disposing that:
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of [respondents] and against [ANECO], directing,
ordaining and ordering

a) That [ANECO] pay [respondent] Angelita E. Balen the sum of One Hundred Thousand
Pesos (PHP100,000.00) and [respondent] Hercules A. Lariosa the sum of Seventy Thousand

Pesos (PHP70,000.00) as reimbursement of their expenses for hospitalization, medicines,


doctors professional fees, transportation and miscellaneous expenses;
b) That [ANECO] pay [respondent] Angelita E. Balen the sum of Seventy Two Thousand
Pesos (PHP72,000.00) for loss of income for three (3) years;
c) That [ANECO] pay [respondent] Angelita E. Balen the sum of Fifteen Thousand Pesos
(PHP15,000.00) and another Fifteen Thousand Pesos (PHP15,000.00) to [respondent]
Hercules A. Lariosa as moral damages, or a total of Thirty Thousand Pesos (PHP30,000.00);
d) That [ANECO] pay [respondents] Angelita E. Balen and Hercules A. Lariosa Two
Thousand Pesos (PHP2,000.00) each or a total of Four Thousand Pesos (PHP4,000.00) as
exemplary damages;
e) That [ANECO] pay [respondents] Angelita E. Balen and Hercules A. Lariosa Eight
Thousand Pesos (PHP8,000.00) each or a total of Sixteen Thousand Pesos [(PHP
16,000.00)] as attorneys fees and the sum of Two Thousand Pesos (PHP2,000.00) each or
a total of Four Thousand Pesos (PHP4,000.00) for expense of litigation;
f) That [ANECO] pay the costs of this suit;
g) The dismissal of [ANECOs] counterclaim; [and]
h) That the amount of Thirteen Thousand Pesos (PHP13,000.00) given by ANECO to
[respondent] Angelita E. Balen and acknowledged by the latter to have been received (pretrial order, record[s,] pp. 36-37) must be deducted from the herein judgment debt.
SO ORDERED.7
On appeal, the CA affirmed in toto the RTC ruling. It declared that the proximate cause of the accident
could not have been the act or omission of respondents, who were not negligent in taking down the
antenna. The proximate cause of the injury sustained by respondents was ANECOs negligence in
installing its main distribution line over Balens residence. ANECO should have exercised caution, care
and prudence in installing a high-voltage line over a populated area, or it should have sought an
unpopulated area for the said line to traverse. The CA further noted that ANECO failed to put a
precautionary sign for installation of wires over 600 volts, which is required by the Philippine Electrical
Code.8
The CA disposed, thus:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the assailed Decision is hereby AFFIRMED in toto.
SO ORDERED.9
ANECO filed a motion for reconsideration, but the CA denied it on May 26, 2006. 10
Hence, this appeal.

Indisputably, Exclamado died and respondents sustained injuries from being electrocuted by ANECOs
high-tension wire. These facts are borne out by the records and conceded by the parties.
ANECO, however, denied liability, arguing that the mere presence of the high-tension wires over Balens
residence did not cause respondents injuries. The proximate cause of the accident, it claims, was
respondents negligence in removing the TV antenna and in allowing the pole to touch the high-tension
wires. The findings of the RTC, it argues, patently run counter to the facts clearly established by the
records. ANECO, thus, contends that the CA committed reversible error in sustaining the findings of the
RTC.
The argument lacks merit.
Negligence is defined as the failure to observe for the protection of the interests of another person that
degree of care, precaution, and vigilance which the circumstances justly demand, by reason of which
such other person suffers injury. The test to determine the existence of negligence in a particular case
may be stated as follows: Did the defendant in the performance of the alleged negligent act use
reasonable care and caution which an ordinary person would have used in the same situation? If not,
then he is guilty of negligence. The existence of negligence in a given case is not determined by
reference to the personal judgment of the actor in the situation before him. The law considers what would
be reckless, blameworthy, or negligent in the man of ordinary intelligence and prudence and determines
liability by that norm.11
The issue of who, between the parties, was negligent is a factual issue that this Court cannot pass upon,
absent any whimsical or capricious exercise of judgment by the lower courts or an ample showing that
they lacked any basis for their conclusions.12 The unanimity of the CA and the trial court in their factual
ascertainment that ANECOs negligence was the proximate cause of the injuries sustained by
respondents bars us from supplanting their findings and substituting them with our own. The function of
this Court is limited to the review of the appellate courts alleged errors of law. We are not required to
weigh all over again the factual evidence already considered in the proceedings below. 13 ANECO has not
shown that it is entitled to be excepted from this rule. It has not sufficiently demonstrated any special
circumstances to justify a factual review.
That ANECOs negligence was the proximate cause of the injuries sustained by respondents was aptly
discussed by the CA, which we quote:
The evidence extant in the record shows that the house of MIGUEL BALEN already existed before the
high voltage wires were installed by ANECO above it. ANECO had to follow the minimum clearance
requirement of 3,050 under Part II of the Philippine Electrical Code for the installation of its main
distribution lines above the roofs of buildings or houses. Although ANECO followed said clearance
requirement, the installed lines were high voltage, consisting of open wires, i.e., not covered with
insulators, like rubber, and charged with 13, 200 volts. Knowing that it was installing a main distribution
line of high voltage over a populated area, ANECO should have practiced caution, care and prudence by
installing insulated wires, or else found an unpopulated area for the said line to traverse. The court a quo
correctly observed that ANECO failed to show any compelling reason for the installation of the questioned
wires over MIGUEL BALENs house. That the clearance requirements for the installation of said line were
met by ANECO does not suffice to exonerate it from liability. Besides, there is scarcity of evidence in the
records showing that ANECO put up the precautionary sign: "WARNING-HIGH VOLTAGE-KEEP OUT" at

or near the house of MIGUEL BALEN as required by the Philippine Electrical Code for installation of wires
over 600 volts.
1avvphi1

Contrary to its stance, it is in fact ANECO which provided the proximate cause of the injuries of
[respondents].
One of the tests for determining the existence of proximate cause is the foreseeability test, viz.:
x x x Where the particular harm was reasonably foreseeable at the time of the defendants misconduct,
his act or omission is the legal cause thereof. Foreseeability is the fundamental test of the law of
negligence. To be negligent, the defendant must have acted or failed to act in such a way that an ordinary
reasonable man would have realized that certain interests of certain persons were unreasonably
subjected to a general but definite class of risk which made the actors conduct negligent, it is obviously
the consequence for the actor must be held legally responsible. Otherwise, the legal duty is entirely
defeated. Accordingly, the generalization may be formulated that all particular consequences, that is,
consequences which occur in a manner which was reasonably foreseeable by the defendant at the time
of his misconduct are legally caused by his breach of duty x x x.
Thus applying aforecited test, ANECO should have reasonably foreseen that, even if it complied with the
clearance requirements under the Philippine Electrical Code in installing the subject high tension wires
above MIGUEL BALENs house, still a potential risk existed that people would get electrocuted,
considering that the wires were not insulated.
Above conclusion is further strengthened by the verity that MIGUEL BALEN had complained about the
installation of said line, but ANECO did not do anything about it. Moreover, there is scant evidence
showing that [respondents] knew beforehand that the lines installed by ANECO were live wires.
Otherwise stated, the proximate cause of the electrocution of [respondents] was ANECOs installation of
its main distribution line of high voltage over the house of MIGUEL BALEN, without which the accident
would not have occurred.
xxxx
x x x the taking down by [respondents] of the antenna in MIGUEL BALENs house would not have caused
their electrocution were it not for the negligence of ANECO in installing live wires over the roof of the said
house.14
Clearly, ANECOs act of leaving unprotected and uninsulated the main distribution line over Balens
residence was the proximate cause of the incident which claimed Exclamados life and injured
respondents Balen and Lariosa. Proximate cause is defined as any cause that produces injury in a natural
and continuous sequence, unbroken by any efficient intervening cause, such that the result would not
have occurred otherwise.15
ANECOs contention that the accident happened only eleven (11) years after the installation of the highvoltage wire cannot serve to absolve or mitigate ANECOs liability. As we held in Benguet Electric
Cooperative, Inc. v. Court of Appeals:16

[A]s an electric cooperative holding the exclusive franchise in supplying electric power to the towns of
Benguet province, its primordial concern is not only to distribute electricity to its subscribers but also to
ensure the safety of the public by the proper maintenance and upkeep of its facilities. It is clear to us then
that BENECO was grossly negligent in leaving unprotected and uninsulated the splicing point between
the service drop line and the service entrance conductor, which connection was only eight (8) feet from
the ground level, in violation of the Philippine Electrical Code. BENECO's contention that the accident
happened only on January 14, 1985, around seven (7) years after the open wire was found existing in
1978, far from mitigating its culpability, betrays its gross neglect in performing its duty to the public. By
leaving an open live wire unattended for years, BENECO demonstrated its utter disregard for the safety of
the public. Indeed, Jose Bernardo's death was an accident that was bound to happen in view of the gross
negligence of BENECO.
Indeed, both the trial and the appellate courts findings, which are amply substantiated by the evidence on
record, clearly point to ANECOs negligence as the proximate cause of the damages suffered by
respondents Balen and Lariosa. No adequate reason has been given to overturn this factual conclusion.
In fine, the CA committed no reversible error in sustaining the RTC.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The assailed Decision and Resolution of the Court of Appeals in
CA-G.R. CV No. 66153 are AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner.
SO ORDERED.
ANTONIO EDUARDO B. NACHURA
Associate Justice
WE CONCUR:

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
SECOND DIVISION

G.R. No. L-33254 & G.R. No. L-33253 January 20, 1978
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
LICERIO P. SENDAYDIEGO, JUAN SAMSON and ANASTACIO QUIRIMIT, defendants. JUAN
SAMSON anddefendant-appellant.
PROVINCE OF PANGASINAN, offended party-appellee,
vs.
HEIRS OF LICERIO P. SENDAYDIEGO, defendants-appellants. *
Norberto J. Quisumbing for appellant Sendaydiego.

Donato & Rillera for appellant Samson.


Office of the Solicitor General for appellee.

AQUINO, J.:
In these three cases of malversation through falsification, the prosecution's theory is that in 1969
Licerio P. Sendaydiego, the provincial treasurer of Pangasinan, in conspiracy with Juan Samson y
Galvan, an employee of a lumber and hardware store in Dagupan City, and with Anastacio Quirimit,
the provincial auditor, as an accomplice, used six (6) forged provincial vouchers in order to embezzle
from the road and bridge fund the total sum of P57,048.23.
The provincial voucher in these cases has several parts. In the upper part with the legend "ARTICLE
OR SERVICE" the nature of the obligation incurred is indicated. That part is supposed to be signed
by two officials of the provincial engineer's office and by the governor's representative.
The middle part of the voucher contains five numbered printed paragraphs. Paragraph 1 is a
certificate to be signed by the creditor. It is stated therein that the creditor vouches that the expenses
"were actually and necessarily incurred". In the instant cases paragraph 1 was not signed
presumably because it is not relevant to the purchase of materials for public works projects.
Paragraph 2 is a certification that the expenses are correct and have been lawfully incurred. It is
signed by the provincial engineer.
Paragraph 3 contains these words: "Approved for pre-audit and payment, appropriations and funds
being available therefore." This is signed by the provincial treasurer.
Paragraph 4 is a certification which, as filed up in Exhibit K, Voucher No. 10724 dated February 28,
1969, reads:
I certify that this voucher has been pre-audited and same may be paid in the amount
of sixteen thought seven hundred twenty-seven and 52/100 (P16,727.52) in cash or
in check, provided there is sufficient fund cover the payment.
This is signed by the auditor.
Paragraph 5 is a certification signed by the provincial treasurer that the account mentioned in the
provincial engineer's certification "was paid in the amount and on the date shown below and is
chargeable as shown in the summary hereof. ... ." It may be noted that the provincial treasurer signs
two part of the voucher.
Following paragraph 5, and as referred to therein, is the receipt of the signed by the creditor. As
accomplished in Exhibit K, the receipt reads (it was signed according to the prosecution by Juan
Samson, a point which is disputed by him):

Received this 31st day of March, 1969, from L P. Sendaydiego, Province of


Pangasinan the sum of seven hundred twenty-seven pesos & 52/100 (16,727.52) in
full payment of the above stated account, which I hereby certify to be correct. Paid by
Check No. .................................
CARRIED CONSTR. SUPPLY CO. By: (Sgd.) JUAN SAMSON
According to the prosecution, Samson also signed on the left margin of the six vouchers below the
stamped words: "Presented to Prov. Treasurer. By Juan Samson."
Voucher No. 10724 (Exh. K). This Provincial voucher, dated February 28, 1969, evidences the
payment of PI 6,727.52 to the Carried Construction Supply Co. of Dagupan City for lumber and
hardware materials supposedly used in the repair of the bridge in Barrio Libertad at the UminganTayug road in Pangasinan along the Nueva Ecija boundary (Exh. K). The voucher makes reference
to invoice No. 3327 and other supporting papers.
The falsity of that provincial voucher is proven by the following intances:
(a) That there was no project for the repair of the bridge at Barrio Libertad (P. 1; Exh. Z).
(b) That the amount of P16,727.52 was never received by the Carried Construction Supply Co The
alleged official receipt No. 3025 of the company dated March, 1969 (Exh. K-6) is forged.
(c) That the lumber and materials mentioned in Exhibit K were never delivered by the company to
the provincial government
(d) That in the provincial voucher, Exhibit K, and in the supporting requisition and issue voucher
(RIV) No. 2206 dated January 29, 1969 (Exh. A), covering the same lumber and hardware ma the
signatures of the following office were forged: Salvador F. Oropilla senior civil engineer; Rodolfo P.
Mencias, supervising civil engineer Victoriano M. Sevilleja, acting provincial engineer, and Ricardo B.
Probincias, chief of equipment of the governor's office. These four office denied that their signatures
in the two vouchers, Exhibits A and B, are their genuine signatures.
(e) That the imprint of the rubber stamp on Exhibits A and B, containing the words "Approved: For
and By Authority of the Governor (signed) Ricardo B. Primicias, Chief of Equipment", is not the
imprint of the genuine rubber stamp used in Primicias office.
(f) That charge invoice No. 3327 of the Carried Construction Supply Co. dated February 18, 1969,
containing a description and the prices of the lumber and hardware material (Exh. B), is fake
because, according to Ambrosio Jabanes, the company's assistant manager, the company's invoice
No. 3327 was issued to the Mountain Agricultural College (Exh. II-1). Oropilla denied that his alleged
signature on Exhibit B is his signature.
(g) That three other documents, supporting the provincial voucher (Exh. K), were also forged. Those
documents are the taxpayer's cate dated February 10, 1969 (Exh. C) stating that no tax is due on
the goods sold in the fake invoice No. 3327 and the two certificates as to the samples of lumber

allegedly purchased from the Carried Construction Supply Co., (Exh. D and E). Narciso P. Martinez,
a district forester, denied that his signatures in Exhibits D and E are his signatures.
(h) That Angelo C. Manuel the checker of the provincial auditor's office, denied that his signature on
the left margin is his signature (Exh. A-10).
The forged character of provincial voucher No. 10724 (Exh. K) is incontrovertible.
Other five forged voucher. Five other provincial vouchers evidencing supposed payments of
certain amounts to the Carried Construction Supply Co. for lumber and hardware materials
supposingly used in the repair of other bridges were also falsified. These five vouchers are the
following:
(1) Voucher No. 11995 dated April 29, 1969 evidencing the payment of P14,571.81
for number and hardware materials allegedly used in the repair of Bayaoas bridge at
the Urbiztondo-Pasibi Road (Exh. O).
(2) Voucher No. 11869 dated April 15, 1969 evidencing the payment of P5,187.28 'or
lumber and hardware materials allegedly used in the repair of the Panganiban bridge
at the UminganTayug Road (Exh. P)
(3) Voucher No. 11870 dated April 28, 1969 evidencing the payment of P6,290.60 for
lumber and hardware materials allegedly used in the repair of the Cabatuan bridge at
the Umingan-Guimba Road (Exh. Q).
(4) Voucher No. 11871 dated April 15, 1969 evidencing the payment of P9,769.64 for
lumber and hardware materials allegedly used in the repair of the Casabar bridge at
the Binalonan-San Manuel Road (Exh. R).
(5) Voucher No. 11872 dated April 15, 1969 evidencing the Payment of P4,501.38 for
lumber and hardware materials allegedly used in the repair of the Baracbac bridge at
the Umingan-Guimba Road (Exh. S).
As in the case of voucher No. 10724 (Exh. K), Oropilla, Mencias, and Primicias declared that their
signatures in the said five vouchers are not their genuine signatures. Samson, who hand-carried the
said vouchers for processing, did not turn over to the provincial auditor's office the papers supporting
the said vouchers after the vouchers had been pre-audited. Hence, those supporting papers could
not be presented in evidence.
Jabanes, the aforementioned assistant manager of the Carried Construction Supply Co., testified
that the lumber and hardware materials mentioned in the five vouchers were never delivered by his
company to the provincial government. The charge invoices mentioned in the said vouchers were
cancelled invoices issued to the Mountain Agricultural College. The projected repairs of the bridges
were fictitious.

The company's cashier testified that the company never received the payments for the lumber and
hardware materials. The receipts evidencing payments (Exh. K-6, KK to KK-4 are fake official
receipts. The cashier produced in court the genuine official receipts (Exh. LL to LL-7) bearing the
serial numbers of the fake receipts. The genuine receipts do not refer to transactions with the
provincial government.
Samson played a stellar role in the processing of the six vouchers. He used to be an employee of
the pro treasurer's office. He resigned and worked with several firms doing business with the
provincial government. In 1969 he was the collector of the Carried Construction Supply Co. He
represented that firm in its dealings with the offices of the governor, provincial auditor, provincial
engineer and provincial treasurer. He was personally known to those provincial officials and the
employees of their offices (21-22 Sendaydiego's brief).
The six (6) forged provincial vouchers, with their respective supporting papers, were hand-carried by
Samson. He delivered the papers to Carmencita Castillo, the ledger clerk in the provincial engineer's
office, for recording and for her signature (Ekh. DD).
Thereafter, Samson brought the papers to the provincial treasurer's office. Marcelo Crusade, a
laborer in that office who performed the chore of recording the vouchers and payrolls, recorded
Vouchers Nos. 11869, 11871 and 11872 (Exh. P, R and S). Crusadas initials appear on the upper
lefthand corner of the said vouchers with the date 4/17/69.
Samson signed on the left margin of the vouchers to indicate that he presented them to the
provincial t r's office. Crusade said that after Samson had presented the said papers to him, Samson
brought them to Ricardo Baraan, the book-keeper of the provincial treasurer's office for processing
and for the latter's signature (Exh. WW).
From Baraan's office, Samson hand-carried the vouchers to the provincial auditor's office. He asked
Virginia Cruz, a clerk to record the same (Exh. CC).
Afterwards, Samson asked Donato Rosete the assistant provincial treasurer, to initialled the voucher
After Rosete had initialled the vouchers, Samson went to the provincial treasurer's office where the
amounts covered by the voucher were paid by Sendaydiego to him in cash (instead of by check) as
representative of the Carried Construction Supply Co. (Exh. EE). He received the payments on
March 31 and April 29 and 28 (four payments on that date) as shown on the face of the vouchers.
The signature of Sendaydiego and Quirimit, the auditor, on the said six vouchers are admittedly
authentic. Sendaydiego signed the vouchers ahead of Rosete, his assistant. Sendaydiego's defense
is that he signed the vouchers in the honest belief that the signatures therein of the provincial office
concerned were genuine because the voucher had been pre-audited and approved by the auditor.
Samson denied the authenticity of his two signatures on each of the six vouchers showing that he
received from Sendaydiego the amounts covered thereby as representative of the lumber and
hardware firm (Exh. OO to TT) and that he presented the vouchers to the provincial s treasurer 's
office (Exh. 6-12 Samson). Sendaydiego testified that Samson's signatures are genuine.

In connection with the six vouchers, Sendaydiego, Samson and Quirimit were charged with
malversation through falsification in three docketed as follows:
1. Criminal Case No. 23349 involving provincial voucher No. 10724 dated February
28, 1969 in the sum of P16,7Z7.52 (Exh. X), L-33252.
2. Criminal Case No. 23350 involving provincial vouchers Nos. 11869, 11870, 11871
dated April 15 (two dates) 28 and 15, 1969 for the respective amounts of P5,187.28,
P6,290.60, P9,769-64 and P4,501.38 (four vouchers, Exh. P, Q, R and S), now L33253.
3. Criminal Case No. 23351 involving provincial voucher No. 11955 dated April 29,
1969 in the sum of P14,571.81 (Exh. O), now L-33254.
After trial the lower court acquitted the auditor, Quirimit and found Sendaydiego and Samnson guilty
of malversation through falsification of public or official documents imposing each of the following
penalties:
(1) In Criminal Case No. 23349, an indeterminate sentence of twelve years, ten
months and twenty-one-days, as minimum, to eighteen years, two months and
twenty-one days of reclusion temporal, as maximum, and a fine of P16,727.52 and to
indemnify solidarity the provincial government of Pangasinan in the same amount;
(2) In Criminal Case No. 23350, the penalty of reclusion perpetua and a fine of
P29,748.90 and to indemnify solidarily the provincial government of Pangasinan in
the same amount; and
(3) In Criminal Case No. 23351, an indeterminate sentence of twelve years, ten
months and twenty-one days, as minimum, to eighteen year two months and twentyone days of reclusion temporal as maximum , and a fine of P14,571.81 and to
indemnify solidarity the provincial government of Pangasinan in the same amount.
Sendaydiego and Samson appealed to this Court.
Sendaydiego died on October 5, 1976. His appeal as to his criminal liability was dismissed. Death
extinguished his criminal liability remained. The resolution of July 8, 1977 dismissing Sendaydiego's
appeal read s follows:
The death of appellant Sendaydiego during the pendency of his appeal or before the
judgment of conviction rendered against him by the lower court became final and
executory extinguished his criminal liabilitymeaning his obligation to serve the
personal or imprisonment penalties and his liability to pay the fines or pecuniary
penalties (Art. 89[1], Revised Penal Code; 1 Viada, Codigo Penal, 4th Ed., 565).
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 (Note: The
lower court had issued an order of attachment against him on January 13, 1970 for
the sum of P36,487 and in the brief for said appellant, there is no specific assignment
of error affecting the civil liability fixed by the trial court.) 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). According to Sendaydiego's
brief, he had a wife and ten children named Arturo, Licerio, Jr., Prospero, Regulo,
Eduardo, Cesar, Nola, Aida, Wilfredo and Manolo (deceased).
The title of this case should be amended to show its civil aspect by adding thereto
the following. Province of Pangasinan vs. Heirs of Licerio P. Sendaydiego.
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 for which his estate would be liable.

Sendaydiedo's appeal; civil liability of his estate. In view of Sendaydiego's death, it is not
necessary to resolve his first two assignments of error, wherein he assails the imposition of reclusion
perpetua as a cruel and unusual penalty and wherein it is argued that there is no complex crime of
malversation through falsification committed by negligence.
In the third assignment of error, it is contended that the trial court erred in allowing private
prosecutors Millora and Urbiztondo to prosecute the case thereby allegledly subjecting the accused
to proceedings marked by undue publicity, pre-judgment, bias and political self-interest.
Atty. Vicente D. Millora, a senior member of the provincial board actually handled the prosecution of
the case from the preliminary investigation, which started on June 5, 1969, up to the termination of
the trial on July 29, 1970.
At the commencement of the preliminary investigation, the counsel for the accused auditor inquired
whether Atty. Millora was authorized by the provincial board to act as private prosecutor in
representation of the province of Pangasinan, the offended party. Atty. Millora replied that there was
a board resolution designating him as a private prosecutor.
The acting provincial commander, who filed the complaints manifested to the trial court that he had
authorized Atty. Millora to act as private prosecutor (4-8 tsn June 5, 1969).
Another defense counsel filed a written motion to inhibit Millora and the others as private
prosecutors. The lower court denied the motion in its order of June 18, 1969 (p. 40, Record of
Criminal Case No. 23350).
After the termination of the p investigation conducted by the lower court, the provincial fiscal of
Pangasinan and the city final of Dagupan City filed three informations against the accused all dated
November 4, 1969.
At the commencement of the trial on February 23, 1970 the city fiscal, an assistant provincial fiscal
and Atty. Millora, the private prosecutor, appeared for the prosecution. The city fiscal moved "that the
private prosecutor (Millora) be authorized to conduct the examination subject to our (the fiscal's)
control and supervision". The trial court granted the motion (7 tsn).
At the hearing on April 23, 1970 the same city fiscal moved that Atty. Urbiztondo be authorized to
examine the prosecution witnesses under his supervision and control The trial court granted the
motion (155 tsn).
The record shows that at every hearing the provincial fiscal, the city fiscal or an assistant fiscal were
present together with the private prosecutor.
Under the foregoing circumstances, we believe that there was substantial compliance with the rule
that the criminal action should be "prosecuted under the direction and control of the fiscal" and that
"the provincial fiscal shall represent the province" in any court (Sec.4, Rule 110, Rules of Court; sec.
1683, Revised Administrative Code).

The observation of Sendaydiego's counsel, that the imposition of reclusion perpetua "could have
been the result of the undue publicity, prejudgment, bias and political interest which attended the
proceedings ", is not well-founded. The trial court's decision dispels any doubt as to its impartiality.
The evidence in the three cases is mainly documentary. The unassailable probative value of the
documents involved rather than bias and prejudice, was the decisive factor on which the trial court
anchored the judgment of conviction.
Moreover, as already adverted to, Sendaydiego's death had rendered moot the issue as to the
propriety of the imposition ofreclusion perpetua. And, as will be shown later, reclusion
perpetua cannot be imposed in these cases because the crimes committed were not complex.
The other seven assigmments of error made by Sendaydiego's counsel refer to the trial court's
conclusion that Sendaydiego and Samson are guilty beyond reasonable doubt of malversation
through falsification or, specifically, that the provincial treasurer, in signing the six vouchers, evinced
"malice or fraud and that there must have been connivance between" the two.
Several lances indicate that Sendaydiego conspired with Samson. Donato N. Rosete, the assistant
provincial treasurer, testified that, contrary to the usual procedure, he affixed his initial to paragraph
3 of the vouchers after Sendaydiego had signed it. Rosete adhered to that unusual procedure
because the interested party, Samson who hand-carried the vouchers, approached Rosete after he
(Samson) had conferred with the provincial treasurer and Samson told Rosete to initial the voucher
because it was areglado na (already settled) since the treasurer had already signed the voucher (54
tsn July 3, 1969).
Rosete's testimony and affidavit confute appellant Sendaydiego's contention that the trial court erred
in finding that he signed the questioned vouchers before Rosete had placed his initial in them. After
the treasurer had signed the voucher, Rosete's duty to initial it was only ministerial (75 tsn July 3,
1969).
The bookkeeper in the treasurer's office testified that he indicated in the vouchers that the amounts
covered thereby should be paid in cash. That indication was made by means of the symbol "A-1-1"
placed at the bottom of the vouchers under the column "Account Number". The bookkeeper was in.
instructed by Samson to place that symbol Samson told him that he (Samson) had an understanding
with Treausrer Sendaydiego that the payment should be made in cas. There were instances when
the treasurer insisted on payment by check to creditors other than Juan Samson.
The cash payments were made to Samson in the inner office of the provincial treasurer where the
cashier was summoned to make the cash payments (11-12 ton July 9, 1969; p. 11, Exh. EE). As
noted by the trial court, it was unusual that the payments should be made in the treasurer's office
when that was a ministerial chore of the cashier.
The cash payments were made to Samson even if Samson had no power of attorney from the
Carried Construction Supply Co. authorizing him to receive the payments. The space in the
vouchers for the signature of the witness, who should be present when the payments were received,
was blank. The treasurer did not bother to have a witness to attest to the payments or to require the
exhibition of Samson's residence certificate.

Another apt observation of the trial court is that the forged character of the six vouchers would have
been unmasked by the supposed creditor, Carried Construction Supply Co., if the payments had
been made by means of checks. The company on receiving the checks would have returned them to
the treasurer because it knew that there was no reason to make any payments at all. The trial court
said that the cash payments prove Sendaydiego's collusion with Samson.
Sendaydiego's counsel assails the lower court's finding that there was a conspiracy between the
provincial and Samson as shown by the fact that the amounts covered by the vouchers were paid to
Samson by the cashier in the treasurer's inner office. That point was testified to by Rosete, the
assistant provincial treasurer.
The cashier, Napoleon Ulanday, would have been the beet witness on how and where the payments
were made. However, Ulanday died before the preliminary investigation was started. On May 27,
1969, after the anomalies were unearthed, he wrote a letter to the provincial , stating that he paid to
Samson the amounts covered by five vouchers in the of Salazar K. Misal and Josefina E. Pulido
(Exh. 13).
Rosete was in a position to state that the cash payments were made to Samson in the treasurers
inner office because his table was near the main door of the treasurers office or was about fifteen
meters away (18 tsn). Rosete always knew when the cashier went to the treasurers office because
the cashier was oned by means of a buzzer (long buzz), and when the cashier came out of the
treasurer's office, he would be holding the voucher (12-13 tsn).
Sendaydiego's counsel that no gross negligence can be imputed to the treasurer (malversation is a
crime which can be committed by means of dolo or culpa and the penalty in either case is the same).
This argument does not deserve serious consideration because the facts proven by the prosecution
show that he had a tieup with Samson and that he acted maliciously in signing the six questioned
vouchers.
The last contention put forward for Sendaydiego is that, because the trial court acquitted the auditor,
then the treasurer's exoneration follows as a matter of course. We see no merit in that contention
because the evidence for the prosecution against Sendaydiego is not the same as its evidence
against the auditor. For that reason the auditor was charged only as an accomplice, whereas, the
treasurer was charged as a principal. The auditor based his defense on the undeniable fact that the
treasurer had approved the six vouchers "for pre-audit and payment" before they were passed upon
by the auditor. In short, the auditor was misled by the treasurer's certification which the auditor
apparently assumed to have been made in good faith when in truth it was made in bad faith.
We are convinced after a minutiose examination of the documentary and oral evidence and an
unprejudiced consideration of the arguments of Sendaydiego's counsel that his criminal liability was
established beyond reasonable doubt and, therefore, the civil liability fo his estate for the amounts
malversed was duly substantial.
Samson's appeal. Samson's brief has no statement of facts. He contends that the trial court erred
in disregarding the expert testimony that his signatures on the vouchers are not his signature; in

finding that he forged the vouchers and received the proceeds thereof, and in relying on
circumstantial evidence as proof of conspiracy.
As a preliminary issue, Samson argues that Judge Eloy B. Bello should have inhibited himself "in
fairness to the accused, in the interest of justice, and as a gesture of delivadeza" because he had
conducted the preliminary investigation.
Our searching study of the recrod fails to sustain Samson's insinuation that he was prejudiced by the
fact that Judge, who conducted the preliminary investigation, was the one who tried the case and
convicted him. Judge Bello tried the case fairly. His conduct of the trial does not show that he had
already prejudged their guilt.
Section 13, Rule 112 of the Rules of court, in allowing a Court of First Instance to conduct a
preliminary investigation, does not disqualify it from trying the case after it had found probable cause
and after the fiscal, as directed by the Court, had filed the corresponding information. The rule
assumes that the Judge, who conducted the preliminary investigation, could impartially try the case
on the merits.
We cannot assume that judges as a rule are opinionated and narrow-minded insomuch that they
would invariably be iron-bound by their findings at the preliminary investigation.
The case of a Judge of the Court of First Instance, who conducts a preliminary investigation and
then tries the case on the merits, is similar to a situation where an inferior court conducts a
preliminary investigation of a grave or less grave offense falling within the concurrent jurisdiction of
the Court of First Instance and tghe inferior court. In such a case, the inferior court after terminating
the preliminary investigation is not obligated (por delivadeza) to remand the case to the Court of First
Instance for trial. The inferior court has the option to try the case on the merits (People vs. Palmon,
86 Phil. 350; Natividad vs. Robles, 87 Phil. 834; People vsw. Colicio, 88 Phil. 196). The assumption
is that the inferior court can try the case without any ingrained bias or undue prejudice.
Samson sought to prove, through Lieutenant Colonel Jose G. Fernandez, retired chief of the
Constabulary crime laboratory, a handwriting expert, that his signatures on the vouchers are not his
signatures.
Fernandez found that the questioned signatures and the alleged genuine signatures (exemplars) of
Samson have fundamental differences. The expert concluded that the questioned signatures and the
exemplar signatures of Samson were not written by one and the same person (Exh. 20).
After examining the questioned and genuine signatures and analysing the evidence and contentions
of the parties, we find that the expert is correct in declaring that (as admitted by the trial court) there
are radical differences between the questioned and authentic signatures.
But the expert is in error in concluding that Samson did not forge the questioned signatures or in
implying that Samson had no hand in the writing thereof.

The truth is that Samson used two forms of signature. His supposed genuine signatures found in his
residence certificates, income tax returns and the genuine office receipt of the Carried Construction
Supply Co. are "in an arcade form or rounded form of writing". The surname Samson is encircled.
On the other hand, the questioned signatures used in Samson's transactions with the provincial
government are in angular form; his surname is not encircled, and the questioned signatures
terminate in angular and horizontal strokes.
Samson was consistent in his fakeries. Knowing that the six vouchers evidenced fictitious
transactions, he used therein his fake signature, or the signature which is different from his signature
in genuine documents. He used his forged signatures in the six fake official receipts of the Carried
Construction Supply Co., stating that the amounts covered by the six vouchers were received by him
(Exh. K-6, KK to KK-4). the expert admitted that a person may have two forms of signature (186 tsn
July 16, 1970).
Signatures may be deliberately disguised with the dishonest intention of denying the same as and
when necessary (Mehta, Identification of Handwriting and Cross Examination of Experts, pp. 4th Ed.,
1970, p. 224; Harrison, Suspect Documents 418-419).
Sendaydiego himself testified that the questioned signatures of Samson in the six vouchers were
Samson's signatures (94-99 tsn July 31, 1969).
Fernandez, the handwriting expert, declared that the questioned signatures of Samson in the
vouchers were written by only one person (264-265 tsn July 16, 1970).
The evidence conclusively proves that Samson, as the representative or collector of the supposed
creditor, Carried Construction Supply Co., hand-carried the vouchers in question to the offices of the
provincial engineer, treasurer and auditor and then back to the treasurer's office for payment. He
actually received the cash payments. Under those circumstances, Samson is presumed to be the
forger of the vouchers.
The rule is that if a person had in his possession a falsified document and be made use of it (uttered
it), taking advantage of it and profiting thereby, the presumption is that he is the material author of
the falsification. This is especially true if the use or uttering of the forged documents was so closely
connected in time with the forgery that the user or possessor may be proven to have the capacity of
committing the forgery, or to have close connection with the forgers, and therefore, had complicity in
the forgery. (U.S. vs. Castillo, 6 Phil., 453; People vs. De Lara, 45 Phil. 754; People vs. Domingo, 49
Phil. 28; People vs. Astudillo, 60 Phil. 338 People vs. Manansala, 105 Phil. 1253).
In the absence of a satisfactory explanation, one who is found in possession of a forged document
and who used or uttered it is presumed to be the forger (Alarcon vs. Court of Appeals, L-21846,
March 31, 1967, 19 SCRA 688; People vs.Caragao, L-28258, December 27, 1969, 30 SCRA 993).
Samson's use of one form of signature for his crooked transactions with the provincial government
and another form of signatures of his valid transactions or papers shows the deviousness of the

falsifications perpetrated in these cases. (Note that Sendaydiego signed the certification in the first
voucher, Exhibit K, stating that proceeds thereof were paid to
Samson but Sendaydiego did not sign the same certification in the other five forged vouchers,
Exhibits O, P, Q, R and S).
As to the question of conspiracy, the statement of Samson's on page 19 of his brief, that "the trial
court made absolutely no finding of any supposed conspiracy' between Samson and Sendaydiego,
is not correct.
We have already noted that the trial court explicitly stated that the circumstance that Sendaydiego
signed the six vouchers ahead of his assistant shows that there was "malice or fraud" on the part of
Sendaydiego and that there was conivance between Samson and Sendaydiego when the proceeds
of the vouchers were paid to Samson in Sendaydiego's inner office, instead of in the cashier's office
(p. 23, 26, Decision, Appendix to Samson's brief). The trial court said that the fact that Sendaydiego
allowed payment in cash shows "his collission with Samson (Ibid, p. 26).
Samson's contention that the trial court merely conjectured that he had received the proceeds of the
vouchers is not well taken. The trial court's finding on that point is based on very strong
circumstantial evidence (assuming that it was not proven that Samson signed the vouchers).
Samson vehemently argues that there is no evidence that the total sum of P57,048. 23 paid under
the six vouchers "was really misappropriated". He asserts that the six vouchers are genuine
(although he contends that his signatures thereon are forgeries) and that there is no proof that the
amounts covered thereby were not paid for the construction materials shown in the six vouchers
were never delivered by the company (Exh. HH).
These contentions appear to be untenable in thelight of the declaration of Jabanes, the assistant
manager of Carried Construction Supply Co., the alleged supplier, that the materials shown in the six
vouchers were never delivered by the company (Exh. HH).
And Leticia Sevilleja (wife of the provincial engineer), who was employed as cashier of the carried
Construction Supply Co., denied that Samson turned over to the company the proceeds of the six
vouchers which he was supposed to have collected for the company from Sendaydiego. The six
vouchers appear to be fake principally because they evidence fictitious sales of construction
materials.
Under the said circumstances, it cannot be contended that there was no malversation after
Sendaydiego admtte that Samson acknowledged in the six vouchers that he received from Treasurer
Sendaydiego the total sum of P57,048.23.
The assertion of Samson's counsel on pgae 29 of his brief, that the finding as to his guilt is based on
a shaky foundation or is predicated on circumstances which wre not proven, is not correct.
Recapitulations. In resume, it appears that the provincial treasurer wants to base his exculpation
on his belief that in the six vouchers the signatures of Samson and the officials in the provincial

engineer's office appeared to be genuine and on the fact that the auditor had approved the
vouchers. The tresurer claimed that he acted in good faith in approving the payments of the
proceeds of the vouchers to Samson as the representative of the supplier, Carried Construction Co.
On the other hand, Samson, by impugning his signatures in the vouchers, denied that he received
the said amounts from the cashier of the treasurer's office.
These conflicting versions of the treasurer and Samson have to be resolved in the light of the
inexpugnable fact that Samson had hand-carried the voucehrs and followed up their processing in
the offices of the provicial government the construction materials described in the six vouchers and
denied having received from Samson the prices of the alleged sales.
The result is the Samson's denial of his signatures in the six vouchers and in the six receipts (Exh.
K-6 and KK to KK-4) and the provicial treasurer's pretension of having acted in good faith or having
committed an honest mistake have to be disbelieved.
The unavoidable conclusion is that Sendaydiego and Samson were in cahoots to defraud the
provincial government and to camouflage the defraudation by means of the six vouchers which have
some genuine features and which appear to be extrinsically authentic but which were intrinsically
fake.
Penalties. The trial court and the assumed that three complex crimes of malversation through
falsification of public documents were committed in this case. That assumption is wrong.
The crimes committed in these three cases are not complex. Separate crimes of falsification and
malversation were committed. These are not cases where the execution of a single act constitutes
two grave or less grave felonies or where the falsification was used as a means to commit
malversation.
In the six vouchers the falsification was used to conceal the malversation. It is settled that if the
falsification was resorted to for the purpose of hiding the malversation, the falsification and
malversation are separate offenses (People vs. Cid, 66 Phil 354; People vs. Villanueva, 58 Phil. 671;
People vs. Geralde 52 Phil. 1000; People vs. Regis, 67 Phil. 43).
In the Regis case, supra where the modus operandi is similar to the instant cases, the municipal
treasurer made it appear in two official payrolls dated April .30 and May 2, 1931 that some persons
worked as laborers in a certain street project at Pinamungahan, Cebu. In that way, the two amounts
covered by the payrolls, P473.70 and P271.60, were appropriated and taken from the municipal
funds. As a matter of fact, no such work was done in the said street project and the persons
mentioned in both payrolls had not performed any labor.
It was held in the Regis case, that the falsification and malversation did not constitute a complex
crime because the falsifications were not necessary means for the co on of the malversations. Each
falsification and each malversation constituted independent offenses which must be punished
separately.

The municipal treasurer was convicted of two falsifications and two malversations. Four distinct
penalties were imposed.
In the instant cases, the provincial , as the custodian than of the money forming part of the road and
bridge could have malversed or misappropriated it without falsifiying any voucher. The falsification
was used as a device to prevent detection of the malversation.
The falsifications cannot be regarded as constituting one continuing offense impelled by a single
criminal impulse.
Each falsification of a voucher constitutes one crime. The falsification of six vouchers constitutes six
separate or distinct offenses (People vs. Madrigal-Gonzales, 117 Phil. 956).
And each misappropriation as evidenced by a provincial voucher constitutes a separate crimes of
malversation were committed. Appellant Samson is a co-principal in each of the said twelve
offenses.
As already stated, he is presumed to be the author of the falsification because he was in possession
of the forged vouchers and he used them in order to receive public monies from the provincial
treasurer.
He is a co-principal in the six crimes of malversation because he conspired with the provincial
treasurer in committing those offenses. The trial court correctly ruled that a private person conspiring
with an accountable public officer in committing malversation is also guilty of malversation (People
vs. Rodis, 105 Phil. 1294; U.S. vs. Ponte, 20 Phil. 379; U.S. vs. Dato and Lustre, 37 Phil. 359; U.S.
vs. Dowdell, 11 Phil. 4; People vs. Caluag, 94 Phil. 457).
Note that a different rule prevails with respect to a stranger taking part in the commission of parricide
or qualified theft. In such cases, the stranger is not guilty of parricide or qualfied theft but only of
murder or homicide, as the case may be, and simple theft, by reason of paragraph 3, article 62 of
the Revised Penal Code (People vs. Patricio, 46 Phil. 245).
Falsification of a public document committed by a private person is punished in article 172(1) of the
Revised Penal Code by prision correccional in its medium and maximum periods and a fine of not
more than P5,000.
For the malversation of the sum of P5,187.28 and P4,501.38, respectively covered by vouchers Nos.
11869 and 11872 (Exh. P and S), the penalty provided in paragraph 2 of article of the Revised Penal
Code is prision mayor minimum and medium.
For the malversation of the sums of P6,290.60 andP9,769.64, respectively covered by vouchers
Nos. 1187 and11871 (Exh. Q and R) the penalty provided in paragraph 3 of article 217 is prision
mayor maximum to reclusion temporalminimum.
For the malversation of the sums of P16,727.52 and 10995 (Exh. K and O), the penalty provided in
paragraph 4 of article 217 is reclusion temporal medium and maximum.

In each of the malversation cases, a fine equal to the amount malversed should be added to the
imprisonment penalty.
In the twelve cases the penalty should be imposed in the medium peiod since there are no modifying
circumstances (Arts. 64[1] and 685, Revised Penal Code). Samson is entitled to an indeterminate
sentence.
WHEREFORE, Samson is convicted of six crimes of falsification of a public document and six
crimes of malversation.
In lieu of the penalties imposed by the trial court, he is sentenced to the following penalties:
For each of the six falsification of the vouchers (Exh. K, O, P, Q, R and S), Samson is sentenced to
an indeterminate penalty of two (2) years of prison correccional minimum, as minimum, to four (4)
years of prision correccional medium, as maximum, and to pay a fine of three thousand pesos.
For the malversation of the sum of P16,727.52 covered by voucher No. 10724 (Exh. K), Samson is
sentenced to an indeterminate penalty of twelve (12) years of prision mayor maximum, as minimum,
to seventeen (17) years of reclusion temporal medium, as maximum; to pay a fine in the amount of
P16,727.52, and to indemnify the province of Pangasinan in the same amount (Criminal Case NO.
23349, L-33252).
For the malversation of the sum of P14,571.81 covered by voucher No. 11995 (Exh. O), Samson is
sentenced to an indeterminate penalty of twelve (12) years of prision mayor maximum, as minimum,
to seventeen (17) years of reclusion temporal medium, as maximum; to pay a fine in the sum of
P14,571.81, and to indemnify the province of Pangasinan in the same amount (Criminal Case No.
23351, L-33254).
For the malversation of the sum of P6,290.60 covered by voucher No. 11870 (Exh. Q), Samson is
sentenced to an indertiminate penalty of nine (9) years of prision mayor medium, as minimum, to
thirteen (13) years of reclusion temporalminimum, as maximum; to pay a fine of P6,290.60, and to
indemnify the province of Pangasinan in the same amount (Criminal Case No. 23350, L-33253).
For the malversation of the sum of P9,769.64 covered by voucher No. 11871 (Exh. R), Samson is
sentenced to an indeterminate penalty of nine (9) years of prision mayor medium, as minimum, to
thirteen (13) years of reclusion temporalminimum, as maximum; to pay a fine of P9,769.64, and to
indemnify the province of Pangasinan in the same amount (Criminal Case No. 23350, L-33253).
For the malversation of the sum of P5,187.28, covered by voucher No. 11869 (Exh. P), Samson is
sentenced to an indeterminate penalty of five (5) years of prision correccional maximum, as
minimum, to eight (8) of prision mayorminimum, as maximum; to pay a fine of P5,187.28, and to
indemnify the province of Pangasinan in the same amount (Criminal Case No. 23350, L-33253).
For the malversation of the sum of P4,501.38 covered by voucher no. 11872 (Exh. S), Samson is
sentenced to an indeterminate penalty of five (5) years of prision correccional maximum, as

minimum, to eight (8) years of prision mayor minimum, as maximum; to pay a fine of P4,501.38, and
to indemnify the province of Pangasinan in the same amount (Criminal Case No. 23350, L-33253).
In the service of the twelve penalties meted to Samson, the threefold limit provided for in article 70 of
the Revised Penal Code should be observed (People vs. Escares, 102 Phil. 677), meaning that the
maximum penalty that he should serve is three times the indeterminate sentence of twelve (12)
years to seventeen (17) years, the severest penalty imposed on him, or thirty-six (36) years to fiftyone (51) years (see People vs. Peas, 68 Phil. 533).
The maximum duration of his sentences should not exceed forty (40) years (Penultimate par. of art.
70; People vs. Alisub, 69 Phil. 362; People vs. Concepcion, 59 Phil. 518, 68 Phil. 530 and 69 Phil.
58).
The estate of the late Licerio P. Sendaydiego is ordered to indemnify the province of Pangasinan in
the sum of P57,048.23.
Samson and the said estate are sojidarily liable for the said indemnity (Art. 110, Revised Penal
Code). Samson should pay one-half of the costs.
SO ORDERED.
Antonio, Concepcion, Jr., and Santos, JJ., concur.
Fernando, J., took no part.

Separate Opinions

BARREDO, J., concurring:

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
FIRST DIVISION

G.R. No. 92087 May 8, 1992

SOFIA FERNANDO, in her behalf and as the legal guardian of her minor children, namely:
ALBERTO & ROBERTO, all surnamed FERNANDO, ANITA GARCIA, NICOLAS LIAGOSO,
ROSALIA BERTULANO, in her behalf and as the legal guardian of her minor children, namely:
EDUARDO, ROLANDO, DANIEL, AND JOCELYN, all surnamed BERTULANO, PRIMITIVA
FAJARDO in her behalf and as legal guardian of her minor children, namely: GILBERT, GLEN,
JOCELYN AND JOSELITO, all surnamed FAJARDO, and EMETERIA LIAGOSO, in her behalf
and as guardian ad litem, of her minor grandchildren, namely: NOEL, WILLIAM, GENEVIEVE
and GERRY, all surnamed LIAGOSO, petitioners,
vs.
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS AND CITY OF DAVAO, respondents.

MEDIALDEA, J.:

This is a petition for review on certiorari praying that the amended decision of the Court of Appeals
dated January 11, 1990 in CA-G.R. No. C.V. 04846, entitled "Sofia Fernando, etc., et al. v. The City
of Davao," be reversed and that its original decision dated January 31, 1986 be reinstated subject to
the modification sought by the petitioners in their motion for partial reconsideration dated March 6,
1986.
The antecedent facts are briefly narrated by the trial court, as follows:
From the evidence presented we see the following facts: On November 7, 1975,
Bibiano Morta, market master of the Agdao Public Market filed a requisition request
with the Chief of Property of the City Treasurer's Office for the re-emptying of the
septic tank in Agdao. An invitation to bid was issued to Aurelio Bertulano, Lito
Catarsa, Feliciano Bascon, Federico Bolo and Antonio Suer, Jr. Bascon won the
bid. On November 26, 1975 Bascon was notified and he signed the purchase order.
However, before such date, specifically onNovember 22, 1975, bidder Bertulano with
four other companions namely Joselito Garcia, William Liagoso, Alberto Fernando
and Jose Fajardo, Jr. were found dead inside the septic tank. The bodies were
removed by a fireman. One body, that of Joselito Garcia, was taken out by his uncle,
Danilo Garcia and taken to the Regional Hospital but he expired there. The City
Engineer's office investigated the case and learned that the five victims entered the
septic tank without clearance from it nor with the knowledge and consent of the
market master. In fact, the septic tank was found to be almost empty and the victims
were presumed to be the ones who did the re-emptying. Dr. Juan Abear of the City
Health Office autopsied the bodies and in his reports, put the cause of death of all
five victims as "asphyxia" caused by the diminution of oxygen supply in the body
working below normal conditions. The lungs of the five victims burst, swelled in
hemmorrhagic areas and this was due to their intake of toxic gas, which, in this case,
was sulfide gas produced from the waste matter inside the septic tank. (p. 177,
Records)
On August 28, 1984, the trial court rendered a decision, the dispositive portion of which reads:
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, this case is hereby DISMISSED without
pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED. (Records, p. 181)

From the said decision, the petitioners appealed to the then Intermediate Appellate Court (now Court
of Appeals). On January 3, 1986, the appellate court issued a decision, the dispositive portion of
which reads:
WHEREFORE, in view of the facts fully established and in the liberal interpretation of
what the Constitution and the law intended to protect the plight of the poor and the
needy, the ignorant and the
indigent more entitled to social justice for having, in the unforgettable words of
Magsaysay, "less in life," We hereby reverse and set aside the appealed judgment
and render another one:
1. Ordering the defendant to pay to the plaintiffs Dionisio Fernando, Sofia Fernando
and her minor children the following sums of money:
a) Compensatory damages for his death P30,000.00
b) Moral damages P20,000.00
2. Ordering the defendant to pay to the plaintiffs David Garcia and Anita Garcia the
following sums of money:
a) Compensatory damages for his death P30,000.00
b) Moral damages P20,000.00
3. Ordering the defendant to pay to the plaintiff Rosalia Bertulano (sic) and her minor
children the following sums of money
a) Compensatory damages for his death P30,000.00
b) Moral damages P20,000.00
4. Ordering the defendant to pay to the plaintiff Primitiva Fajardo and her minor
children the following sums of money:
a) Compensatory damages for his death P30,000.00
b) Moral damages P20,000.00
5. Ordering the defendant to pay to the plaintiffs Norma Liagoso, Nicolas Liagoso
and Emeteria Liagoso and her minor grandchildren the following sums of money:
a) Compensatory damages for his death P30,000.00
b) Moral damages P20,000.00
The death compensation is fixed at P30,000.00 in accordance with the rulings of the
Supreme Court starting with People vs. De la Fuente, Nos. L-63251-52, December
29, 1983, 126 SCRA 518 reiterated in the recent case of People vs. Nepomuceno,

No. L-41412, May 27, 1985. Attorney's fees in the amount of P10,000.00 for the
handling of the case for the 5 victims is also awarded.
No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED. (Rollo, pp. 33-34)
Both parties filed their separate motions for reconsideration. On January 11, 1990, the Court of
Appeals rendered an Amended Decision, the dispositive portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, finding merit in the motion for reconsideration of the defendantappellee Davao City, the same is hereby GRANTED. The decision of this Court dated
January 31, 1986 is reversed and set aside and another one is hereby rendered
dismissing the case. No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED. (Rollo, p. 25)
Hence, this petition raising the following issues for resolution:
1. Is the respondent Davao City guilty of negligence in the case at bar?
2. If so, is such negligence the immediate and proximate cause of deaths of the
victims hereof? (p. 72, Rollo)
Negligence has been defined as the failure to observe for the protection of the interests of another
person that degree of care, precaution, and vigilance which the circumstances justly demand,
whereby such other person suffers injury (Corliss v. Manila Railroad Company, L-21291, March 28,
1969, 27 SCRA 674, 680). Under the law, a person who by his omission causes damage to another,
there being negligence, is obliged to pay for the damage done (Article 2176, New Civil Code). As to
what would constitute a negligent act in a given situation, the case of Picart v. Smith (37 Phil. 809,
813) provides Us the answer, to wit:
The test by which to determine the existence of negligence in a particular case may
be stated as follows: Did the defendant in doing the alleged negligent act use that
reasonable care and caution which an ordinarily prudent person would have used in
the same situation? If not, then he is guilty of negligence. The law here in effect
adopts the standard supposed to be supplied by the imaginary conduct of the
discreet pater familias of the Roman law. The existence of negligence in a given case
is not determined by reference to the personal judgment of the actor in the situation
before him. The law considers what would be reckless, blameworthy, or negligent in
the man of ordinary intelligence and prudence and determines liability by that.
The question as to what would constitute the conduct of a prudent man in a given
situation must of course be always determined in the light of human experience and
in view of the facts involved in the particular case. Abstract speculation cannot here
be of much value but this much can be profitably said: Reasonable men govern their
conduct by the circumstances which are before them or known to them. They are
not, and are not supposed to be, omniscient of the future. Hence they can be
expected to take care only when there is something before them to suggest or warn
of danger. Could a prudent man, in the case under consideration, foresee harm as a
result of the course actually pursued? If so, it was the duty of the actor to take

precautions to guard against that harm. Reasonable foresight of harm, followed by


the ignoring of the suggestion born of this provision, is always necessary before
negligence can be held to exist. Stated in these terms, the proper criterion for
determining the existence of negligence in a given case is this: Conduct is said to be
negligent when a prudent man in the position of the tortfeasor would have foreseen
that an effect harmful to another was sufficiently probable warrant his foregoing the
conduct or guarding against its consequences. (emphasis supplied)
To be entitled to damages for an injury resulting from the negligence of another, a claimant must
establish the relation between the omission and the damage. He must prove under Article 2179 of
the New Civil Code that the defendant's negligence was the immediate and proximate cause of his
injury. Proximate cause has been defined as that cause, which, in natural and continuous sequence
unbroken by any efficient intervening cause, produces the injury, and without which the result would
not have occurred (Vda. de Bataclan, et al. v. Medina, 102 Phil. 181, 186). Proof of such relation of
cause and effect is not an arduous one if the claimant did not in any way contribute to the negligence
of the defendant. However, where the resulting injury was the product of the negligence of both
parties, there exists a difficulty to discern which acts shall be considered the proximate cause of the
accident. In Taylor v. Manila Electric Railroad and Light Co. (16 Phil. 8, 29-30), this Court set a
guideline for a judicious assessment of the situation:
Difficulty seems to be apprehended in deciding which acts of the injured party shall
be considered immediate causes of the accident. The test is simple. Distinction must
be made between the accident and the injury, between the event itself, without which
there could have been no accident, and those acts of the victim not entering into it,
independent of it, but contributing to his own proper hurt. For instance, the cause of
the accident under review was the displacement of the crosspiece or the failure to
replace it. This produced the event giving occasion for damages that is, the
sinking of the track and the sliding of the iron rails. To this event, the act of the
plaintiff in walking by the side of the car did not contribute, although it was an
element of the damage which came to himself. Had the crosspiece been out of place
wholly or partly through his act or omission of duty, that would have been one of the
determining causes of the event or accident, for which he would have been
responsible. Where he contributes to the principal occurrence, as one of its
determining factors, he can not recover. Where, in conjunction with the occurrence,
he contributes only to his own injury, he may recover the amount that the defendant
responsible for the event should pay for such injury, less a sum deemed a suitable
equivalent for his own imprudence. (emphasis Ours)
Applying all these established doctrines in the case at bar and after a careful scrutiny of the records,
We find no compelling reason to grant the petition. We affirm.
Petitioners fault the city government of Davao for failing to clean a septic tank for the period of 19
years resulting in an accumulation of hydrogen sulfide gas which killed the laborers. They contend
that such failure was compounded by the fact that there was no warning sign of the existing danger
and no efforts exerted by the public respondent to neutralize or render harmless the effects of the
toxic gas. They submit that the public respondent's gross negligence was the proximate cause of the
fatal incident.
We do not subscribe to this view. While it may be true that the public respondent has been remiss in
its duty to re-empty the septic tank annually, such negligence was not a continuing one. Upon
learning from the report of the market master about the need to clean the septic tank of the public
toilet in Agdao Public Market, the public respondent immediately responded by issuing invitations to

bid for such service. Thereafter, it awarded the bid to the lowest bidder, Mr. Feliciano Bascon (TSN,
May 24, 1983, pp. 22-25). The public respondent, therefore, lost no time in taking up remedial
measures to meet the situation. It is likewise an undisputed fact that despite the public respondent's
failure to re-empty the septic tank since 1956, people in the market have been using the public toilet
for their personal necessities but have remained unscathed. The testimonies of Messrs. Danilo
Garcia and David Secoja (plaintiffs'-petitioners' witnesses) on this point are relevant, to wit:
Atty. Mojica, counsel for defendant Davao City:
xxx xxx xxx
The place where you live is right along the Agdao creek, is that
correct?
DANILO GARCIA:
A Yes, sir.
Q And to be able to go to the market place, where you claim you
have a stall,, you have to pass on the septic tank?
A Yes, sir.
Q Day in and day out, you pass on top of the septic tank?
A Yes, sir.
Q Is it not a fact that everybody living along the creek passes on top
of this septic tank as they go out from the place and return to their
place of residence, is that correct?
And this septic tank, rather the whole of the septic tank, is covered by
lead . . .?
A Yes, sir. there is cover.
Q And there were three (3) of these lead covering the septic tank?
A Yes, sir.
Q And this has always been closed?
A Yes, sir. (TSN, November 26, 1979, pp. 21-23, emphasis supplied)
ATTY. JOVER, counsel for the plaintiffs:
Q You said you are residing at Davao City, is it not?
DAVID SEJOYA:

A Yes, sir.
Q How long have you been a resident of Agdao?
A Since 1953.
Q Where specifically in Agdao are you residing?
A At the Public Market.
Q Which part of the Agdao Public Market is your house located?
A Inside the market in front of the fish section.
Q Do you know where the Agdao septic tank is located?
A Yes, sir.
Q How far is that septic tank located from your house?
A Around thirty (30) meters.
Q Have you ever had a chance to use that septic tank (public toilet)?
A Yes, sir.
Q How many times, if you could remember?
A Many times, maybe more than 1,000 times.
Q Prior to November 22, 1975, have you ever used that septic tank
(public toilet)?
A Yes, sir.
Q How many times have you gone to that septic tank (public toilet)
prior to that date, November 22, 1975?
A Almost 1,000 times. (TSN, February 9, 1983, pp. 1-2)
The absence of any accident was due to the public respondent's compliance with the
sanitary and plumbing specifications in constructing the toilet and the septic tank (TSN,
November 4, 1983, p. 51). Hence, the toxic gas from the waste matter could not have leaked
out because the septic tank was air-tight (TSN, ibid, p. 49). The only indication that the septic
tank in the case at bar was full and needed emptying was when water came out from it (TSN,
September 13, 1983, p. 41). Yet, even when the septic tank was full, there was no report of
any casualty of gas poisoning despite the presence of people living near it or passing on top
of it or using the public toilet for their personal necessities.

Petitioners made a lot of fuss over the lack of any ventilation pipe in the toilet to emphasize the
negligence of the city government and presented witnesses to attest on this lack. However, this
strategy backfired on their faces. Their witnesses were not expert witnesses. On the other hand,
Engineer Demetrio Alindada of the city government testified and demonstrated by drawings how the
safety requirements like emission of gases in the construction of both toilet and septic tank have
been complied with. He stated that the ventilation pipe need not be constructed outside the building
as it could also be embodied in the hollow blocks as is usually done in residential buildings (TSN,
November 4, 1983, pp. 50-51). The petitioners submitted no competent evidence to corroborate their
oral testimonies or rebut the testimony given by Engr. Alindada.
We also do not agree with the petitioner's submission that warning signs of noxious gas should have
been put up in the toilet in addition to the signs of "MEN" and "WOMEN" already in place in that
area. Toilets and septic tanks are not nuisances per se as defined in Article 694 of the New Civil
Code which would necessitate warning signs for the protection of the public. While the construction
of these public facilities demands utmost compliance with safety and sanitary requirements, the
putting up of warning signs is not one of those requirements. The testimony of Engr. Alindada on this
matter is elucidative:
ATTY. ALBAY:
Q Mr. Witness, you mentioned the several aspects of the approval of
the building permit which include the plans of an architect, senitary
engineer and electrical plans. All of these still pass your approval as
building official, is that correct?
DEMETRIO ALINDADA:
A Yes.
Q So there is the sanitary plan submitted to and will not be approved
by you unless the same is in conformance with the provisions of the
building code or sanitary requirements?
A Yes, for private building constructions.
Q How about public buildings?
A For public buildings, they are exempted for payment of building
permits but still they have to have a building permit.
Q But just the same, including the sanitary plans, it require your
approval?
A Yes, it requires also.
Q Therefore, under the National Building Code, you are empowered
not to approve sanitary plans if they are not in conformity with the
sanitary requirements?
A Yes.

Q Now, in private or public buildings, do you see any warning signs in


the vicinity of septic tanks?
A There is no warning sign.
Q In residential buildings do you see any warning sign?
A There is none.
ATTY. AMPIG:
We submit that the matter is irrelevant and immaterial, Your Honor.
ATTY. ALBAY:
But that is in consonance with their cross-examination, your Honor.
COURT:
Anyway it is already answered.
ATTY. ALBAY:
Q These warning signs, are these required under the preparation of
the plans?
A It is not required.
Q I will just reiterate, Mr. Witness. In residences, for example like the
residence of Atty. Ampig or the residence of the honorable Judge,
would you say that the same principle of the septic tank, from the
water closet to the vault, is being followed?
A Yes.
ATTY. ALBAY:
That will be all, Your Honor. (TSN, December 6, 1983, pp. 62-63)
In view of this factual milieu, it would appear that an accident such as toxic gas leakage from the
septic tank is unlikely to happen unless one removes its covers. The accident in the case at bar
occurred because the victims on their own and without authority from the public respondent opened
the septic tank. Considering the nature of the task of emptying a septic tank especially one which
has not been cleaned for years, an ordinarily prudent person should undoubtedly be aware of the
attendant risks. The victims are no exception; more so with Mr. Bertulano, an old hand in this kind of
service, who is presumed to know the hazards of the job. His failure, therefore, and that of his men
to take precautionary measures for their safety was the proximate cause of the accident. In Culion
Ice, Fish and Elect. Co., v. Phil. Motors Corporation (55 Phil. 129, 133), We held that when a person
holds himself out as being competent to do things requiring professional skill,he will be held liable for
negligence if he fails to exhibit the care and skill of one ordinarily skilled in the particular work which

he attempts to do (emphasis Ours). The fatal accident in this case would not have happened but for
the victims' negligence. Thus, the appellate court was correct to observe that:
. . . Could the victims have died if they did not open the septic tank which they were
not in the first place authorized to open? Who between the passive object (septic
tank) and the active subject (the victims herein) who, having no authority therefore,
arrogated unto themselves, the task of opening the septic tank which caused their
own deaths should be responsible for such deaths. How could the septic tank which
has been in existence since the 1950's be the proximate cause of an accident that
occurred only on November 22, 1975? The stubborn fact remains that since 1956 up
to occurrence of the accident in 1975 no injury nor death was caused by the septic
tank. The only reasonable conclusion that could be drawn from the above is that the
victims' death was caused by their own negligence in opening the septic tank. . . .
(Rollo, p. 23)
Petitioners further contend that the failure of the market master to supervise the area where the
septic tank is located is a reflection of the negligence of the public respondent.
We do not think so. The market master knew that work on the septic tank was still forthcoming. It
must be remembered that the bidding had just been conducted. Although the winning bidder was
already known, the award to him was still to be made by the Committee on Awards. Upon the other
hand, the accident which befell the victims who are not in any way connected with the winning bidder
happened before the award could be given. Considering that the case was yet no award to
commence work on the septic tank, the duty of the market master or his security guards to supervise
the work could not have started (TSN, September 13, 1983, p. 40). Also, the victims could not have
been seen working in the area because the septic tank was hidden by a garbage storage which is
more or less ten (10) meters away from the comfort room itself (TSN, ibid, pp. 38-39). The
surreptitious way in which the victims did their job without clearance from the market master or any
of the security guards goes against their good faith. Even their relatives or family members did not
know of their plan to clean the septic tank.
Finally, petitioners' insistence on the applicability of Article 24 of the New Civil Code cannot be
sustained. Said law states:
Art. 24. In all contractual, property or other relations, when one of the parties is at a
disadvantage on account of his moral dependence, ignorance, indigence, mental
weakness, tender age or other handicap, the courts must be vigilant for his
protection.
We approve of the appellate court's ruling that "(w)hile one of the victims was invited to bid
for said project, he did not win the bid, therefore, there is a total absence of contractual
relations between the victims and the City Government of Davao City that could give rise to
any contractual obligation, much less, any liability on the part of Davao City." (Rollo, p. 24)
The accident was indeed tragic and We empathize with the petitioners. However, the herein
circumstances lead Us to no other conclusion than that the proximate and immediate cause
of the death of the victims was due to their own negligence. Consequently, the petitioners
cannot demand damages from the public respondent.
ACCORDINGLY, the amended decision of the Court of Appeals dated January 11, 1990 is
AFFIRMED. No costs.
SO ORDERED.

Narvasa, C.J., Cruz, Grio-Aquino and Bellosillo, JJ., concur.

The Lawphil Project - Arellano Law Foundation

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
SECOND DIVISION

G.R. No. 104408 June 21, 1993


METRO MANILA TRANSIT CORPORATION, petitioner,
vs.
THE COURT OF APPEALS AND NENITA CUSTODIA, respondents.
Office of the Government Corporate Counsel for petitioner.
Renato P. Decena and Restituto Abjero for private respondent.

REGALADO, J.:

This appeal calls for a review of the legal validity and sufficiency of petitioner's invocation of due
diligence in the selection and supervision of employees as its defense against liability resulting from
a vehicular collision. With the facility by which such a defense can be contrived and our country
having reputedly the highest traffic accident rate in its geographical region, it is indeed high time for
us to once again address this matter which poses not only a litigation issue for the courts but affects
the very safety of our streets.
The facts of the case at bar are recounted for us by respondent court, thus
At about six o'clock in the morning of August 28, 1979, plaintiff-appellant Nenita Custodio
boarded as a paying passenger a public utility jeepney with plate No. D7 305 PUJ
Pilipinas 1979, then driven by defendant Agudo Calebag and owned by his co-defendant
Victorino Lamayo, bound for her work at Dynetics Incorporated located in Bicutan,
Taguig, Metro Manila, where she then worked as a machine operator earning P16.25 a
day. While the passenger jeepney was travelling at (a) fast clip along DBP Avenue,
Bicutan, Taguig, Metro Manila another fast moving vehicle, a Metro Manila Transit Corp.

(MMTC, for short) bus bearing plate no. 3Z 307 PUB (Philippines) "79 driven by
defendant Godofredo C. Leonardo was negotiating Honeydew Road, Bicutan, Taguig,
Metro Manila bound for its terminal at Bicutan. As both vehicles approached the
intersection of DBP Avenue and Honeydew Road they failed to slow down and slacken
their speed; neither did they blow their horns to warn approaching vehicles. As a
consequence, a collision between them occurred, the passenger jeepney ramming the
left side portion of the MMTC bus. The collision impact caused plaintiff-appellant Nenita
Custodio to hit the front windshield of the passenger jeepney and (she) was thrown out
therefrom, falling onto the pavement unconscious with serious physical injuries. She was
brought to the Medical City Hospital where she regained consciousness only after one (1)
week. Thereat, she was confined for twenty-four (24) days, and as a consequence, she
was unable to work for three and one half months (31/2). 1
A complaint for damages 2 was filed by herein private respondent, who being then a minor was assisted
by her parents, against all of therein named defendants following their refusal to pay the expenses
incurred by the former as a result of the collision.
Said defendants denied all the material allegations in the complaint and pointed an accusing finger at
each other as being the party at fault. Further, herein petitioner Metro Manila Transit Corporation (MMTC),
a government-owned corporation and one of the defendants in the court a quo, along with its driver,
Godofredo Leonardo, contrarily averred in its answer with cross-claim and counterclaim 3 that the MMTC
bus was driven in a prudent and careful manner by driver Leonardo and that it was the passenger
jeepney which was driven recklessly considering that it hit the left middle portion of the MMTC bus, and
that it was defendant Lamayo, the owner of the jeepney and employer of driver Calebag, who failed to
exercise due diligence in the selection and supervision of employees and should thus be held solidarily
liable for damages caused to the MMTC bus through the fault and negligence of its employees.
Defendant Victorino Lamayo, for his part, alleged in his answer with cross-claim and counterclaim 4 that
the damages suffered by therein plaintiff should be borne by defendants MMTC and its driver, Godofredo
Leonardo, because the latter's negligence was the sole and proximate cause of the accident and that
MMTC failed to exercise due diligence in the selection and supervision of its employees.
By order of the trial court, defendant Calebag was declared in default for failure to file an
answer. 5 Thereafter, as no amicable settlement was reached during the pre-trial conference, 6 trial on the
merits ensued with the opposing parties presenting their respective witnesses and documentary
evidence.
Herein private respondent Nenita Custodia, along with her parents, were presented as witnesses for the
prosecution. In addition, Dr. Edgardo del Mundo, the attending physician, testified on the cause, nature
and extent of the injuries she sustained as a result of the vehicular mishap. 7 On the other hand,
defendant MMTC presented as witnesses Godofredo Leonardo, Christian Bautista and Milagros Garbo.
Defendant Lamayo, however, failed to present any witness.

Milagros Garbo testified that, as a training officer of MMTC, she was in charge of the selection of the
company's bus drivers, conducting for this purpose a series of training programs and examinations.
According to her, new applicants for job openings at MMTC are preliminarily required to submit
certain documents such as National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) clearance, birth or residence
certificate, ID pictures, certificate or diploma of highest educational attainment, professional driver's

license, and work experience certification. Re-entry applicants, aside from the foregoing
requirements, are additionally supposed to submit company clearance for shortages and damages
and revenue performance for the preceding year. Upon satisfactory compliance with said requisites,
applicants are recommended for and subjected to a Preliminary interview, followed by a record
check to find out whether they are included in the list of undesirable employees given by other
companies.
Thereafter, she continued, if an applicant is found to be acceptable, a final interview by the Chief
Supervisor is scheduled and followed by a training program which consists of seminars and actual driving
and Psycho-physical tests and X-ray examinations. The seminars, which last for a total of eighteen (18)
days, include familiarization with assigned routes, existing traffic rules and regulations, Constabulary
Highway Patrol Group (CHPG) seminar on defensive driving, preventive maintenance, proper vehicle
handling, interpersonal relationship ,and administrative rules on discipline and on-the-job training. Upon
completion of all the seminars and tests, a final clearance is issued, an employment contract is executed
and the driver is ready to report for duty. 8
MMTC's Transport Supervisor, Christian Bautista, testified that it was his duty to monitor the daily
operation of buses in the field, to countercheck the dispatcher on duty prior to the operation of the buses
in the morning and to see to it that the bus crew follow written guidelines of the company, which include
seeing to it that its employees are in proper uniform, briefed in traffic rules and regulations before the start
of duty, fit to drive and, in general, follow other rules and regulations of the Bureau of Land Transportation
as well as of the company. 9
The reorganized trial court, in its decision of August 1, 1989, 10 found both drivers of the colliding vehicles
concurrently negligent for non-observance of appropriate traffic rules and regulations and for failure to
take the usual precautions when approaching an intersection. As joint tortfeasors, both drivers, as well as
defendant Lamayo, were held solidarily liable for damages sustained by plaintiff Custodio. Defendant
MMTC, on the bases of the evidence presented was, however, absolved from liability for the accident on
the ground that it was not only careful and diligent in choosing and screening applicants for job openings
but was also strict and diligent in supervising its employees by seeing to it that its employees were in
proper uniforms, briefed in traffic rules and regulations before the start of duty, and that it checked its
employees to determine whether or not they were positive for alcohol and followed other rules and
regulations and guidelines of the Bureau of Land Transportation and of the company.

The trial court accordingly ruled:


WHEREFORE, PREMISES CONSIDERED, judgment is hereby rendered dismissing
the complaint against the Metro Manila Transit Corporation and ordering defendants
Agudo P. Calebag, Victorino Lamayo and Godofredo C. Leonardo to pay plaintiffs,
jointly and severally, the following:
a) the sum of P10,000.00 by way of medical expenses;
b) the sum of P5,000.00 by way of expenses of litigation;
c) the sum of P15,000.00 by way of moral damages;

d) the sum of P2,672.00 by way of loss of earnings;


e) the sum of P5,000.00 by way of exemplary damages;
f) the sum of P6,000.00 by way of attorney's fees; and
g) costs of suit.
SO ORDERED. 11
Plaintiff's motion to have that portion of the trial court's decision absolving MMTC from liability
reconsidered 12 having been denied for lack of merit, 13 an appeal was filed by her with respondent
appellate court. After consideration of the appropriate pleadings on appeal and finding the appeal
meritorious, the Court of Appeals modified the trial court's decision by holding MMTC solidarily liable with
the other defendants for the damages awarded by the trial court because of their concurrent negligence,
concluding that while there is no hard and fast rule as to what constitutes sufficient evidence to prove that
an employer has exercised the due diligence required of it in the selection and supervision of its
employees, based on the quantum of evidence adduced the said appellate court was not disposed to say
that MMTC had exercised the diligence required of a good father of a family in the selection and
supervision of its driver, Godofredo Leonardo. 14
The Court of Appeals was resolute in its conclusion and denied the motions for reconsideration of
appellee Custodio and appellant MMTC in a resolution dated February 17, 1982, 15 thus prompting MMTC
to file the instant petition invoking the review powers of this Court over the decision of the Court of
Appeals, raising as issues for resolution whether or not (1) the documentary evidence to support the
positive testimonies of witnesses Garbo and Bautista are still necessary; (2) the testimonies of witnesses
Garbo and Bautista may still be disturbed on appeal; and (3) the evidence presented during the trial with
respect to the proof of due diligence of petitioner MMTC in the selection and supervision of its employees,
particularly driver Leonardo, is sufficient.

Prefatorily, private respondent questions the timeliness of the filing of the petition at bar in view of
the procedural stricture that the timely perfection of an appeal is both a mandatory and jurisdictional
requirement. This is a legitimate concern on the part of private respondent and presents an
opportune occasion to once again clarify this point as there appears to be some confusion in the
application of the rules and interpretative rulings regarding the computation of reglementary periods
at this stage of the proceedings.
The records of this case reveal that the decision of respondent Court of Appeals, dated October 31, 1991,
was received by MMTC on November 18, 1991 16 and it seasonably filed a motion for the reconsideration
thereof on November 28, 1991. 17Said motion for reconsideration was denied by respondent court in its
resolution dated February 17, 1992, which in turn was received by MMTC on March 9, 1992. 18 Therefore,
it had, pursuant to Section 1, Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, fifteen (15) days therefrom or up to March 24,
1992 within which to file its petition, for review on certiorari. Anticipating, however, that it may not be able
to file said petition before the lapse of the reglementary period therefor, MMTC filed a motion on March
19, 1992 for an extension of thirty (30) days to file the present petition, with proof of service of copies
thereof to respondent court and the adverse parties. The Court granted said motion, with the extended
period to be counted from the expiration of the reglementary period. 19 Consequently, private respondent

had thirty (30) days from March 24, 1992 within which to file its petition, or up to April 23, 1992, and the
eventual filing of said petition on April 14, 1992 was well within the period granted by the Court.
We digress to reiterate, in view of erroneous submissions that we continue to receive, that in the case of a
petition for review on certiorari from a decision rendered by the Court of Appeals, Section 1, Rule 45 of
the Rules of Court, which has long since been clarified in Lacsamana vs. The Hon. Second Special
Cases Division of the Intermediate Appellate Court, et al., 20 allows the same to be filed "within fifteen (15)
days from notice of judgment or of the denial of the motion for reconsideration filed in due time, and
paying at the same time to the corresponding docket fee." In other words, in the event a motion for
reconsideration is filed and denied, the period of fifteen (15) days begins to run all over again from notice
of the denial resolution. Otherwise put, if a motion for reconsideration is filed, the reglementary period
within which to appeal the decision of the Court of Appeals to the Supreme Court is reckoned from the
date the party who intends to appeal received the order denying the motion for
reconsideration. 21 Furthermore, a motion for extension of time to file a petition for review may be filed with
this Court within said reglementary period, paying at the same time the corresponding docket fee.

1. The first two issues raised by petitioner shall be correlatively discussed in view of their
interrelation.
In its present petition, MMTC insists that the oral testimonies of its employees were presented as
witnesses in its behalf sufficiently prove, even without the presentation documentary evidence, that driver
Leonardo had complied with all the hiring and clearance requirements and had undergone all trainings,
tests and examinations preparatory to actual employment, and that said positive testimonies spell out the
rigid procedure for screening of job applicants and the supervision of its employees in the field. It
underscored the fact that it had indeed complied with the measure of diligence in the selection and
supervision of its employees as enunciated in Campo, et al. vs. Camarote, et al. 22 requiring an employer,
in the exercise of the diligence of a good father of a family, to carefully examine the applicant for
employment as to his qualifications, experience and record service, and not merely be satisfied with the
possession of a professional driver's license.
It goes on to say since the testimonies of these witnesses were allegedly neither discredited nor
impeached by the adverse party, they should be believed and not arbitrarily disregarded or rejected nor
disturbed on appeal. It assiduously argues that inasmuch as there is no law requiring that facts alleged by
petitioner be established by documentary evidence, the probative force and weight of their testimonies
should not be discredited, with the further note that the lower court having passed upon the relevancy of
the oral testimonies and considered the same as unrebutted, its consideration should no longer be
disturbed on appeal. 23
Private respondent, on the other hand, retorts that the factual findings of respondent court are conclusive
upon the High Court which cannot be burdened with the task of analyzing and weighing the evidence all
over again. 24
At this juncture, it suffices to note that factual findings of the trial court may be reversed by the Court of
Appeals, which is vested by law with the power to review both legal and factual issues, if on the evidence
of record, it appears that the trial court may have been mistaken 25 particularly in the appreciation of
evidence, which is within the domain of the Court of Appeals. 26 The general rule laid down in a plethora of
cases is that such findings of fact by the Court of Appeals are conclusive upon and beyond the power of
review of the Supreme Court. 27 However, it is now well-settled that while the findings of fact of the Court

of Appeals are entitled to great respect, and even finality at times, that rule is not inflexible and is subject
to well established exceptions, to wit: (1) when the conclusion is a finding grounded entirely on
speculation, surmises and conjectures; (2) when the inference made is manifestly mistaken, absurd or
impossible; (3) where there is grave abuse of discretion; (4) when the judgment is based on a
misapprehension of facts; (5) when the findings of fact are conflicting; (6) when the Court of Appeals, in
making its findings, went beyond the issues of the case and the same are contrary to the admissions of
both appellant and appellee; (7) when the findings of the Court of Appeals are contrary to those of the trial
court; (8) when the findings of fact are conclusions without citation of specific evidence on which they are
based; (9) when the facts set forth in the petition, as well as in the petitioner's main and reply briefs are
not disputed by the respondents and (10) when the findings of fact of the Court of Appeals are premised
on the supposed absence of evidence and are contradicted by the evidence on record. 28
When as in this case, the findings of the Court of Appeals and the trial court are contrary to each other,
this court may scrutinize the evidence on record, 29 in order to arrive at a correct finding based thereon.

30

A perusal of the same shows that since there is no dispute as to the finding of concurrent negligence on
the part of the defendant Calebag, the driver of the passenger jeepney, and co-defendant Leonardo, the
bus driver of petitioner MMTC, both of whom were solidarily held liable with defendant Lamayo, the owner
of the jeepney, we are spared the necessity of determining the sufficiency of evidence establishing the
fact of negligence. 31 The contrariety is in the findings of the two lower courts, and which is the subject of
this present controversy, with regard to the liability of MMTC as employer of one the erring drivers.

The trial court, in absolving MMTC from liability ruled that


On the question as to whether defendant MMTC was successful in proving its
defense that indeed it had exercised the due diligence of a good father of a family in
the selection and supervision of defendant Leonardo, this Court finds that based on
the evidence presented during the trial, defendant MMTC was able to prove that it
was not only careful and diligent in choosing and screening applicants for job
openings but also strict (and) diligent in supervising its employees by seeing to it that
its employees were in proper uniforms, briefed in traffic rules and regulations before
the start of duty, checked employees to determine whether they were positive for
alcohol and followed other rules and regulations and guidelines of the Bureau of
Land Transportation as well as its company. Having successfully proven such
defense, defendant MMTC therefore, cannot be held liable for the accident.
Having reached this conclusion, the Court now, holds that defendant MMTC be totally
absolved from liability and that the complaint against it be dismissed. . . . 32

whereas respondent court was of the opinion that


It is surprising though that witness Milagros Garbo did not testify nor present any
evidence that defendant-appellee's driver, defendant Godofredo Leonardo has
complied with or has undergone all clearances and trainings she referred to. The
clearances, result of seminars and tests which Godofredo Leonardo submitted and
complied with, if any, were not presented in court despite the fact that they are
obviously in the possession and control of defendant-appellee. Instead, it resorted to

generalities. The Court has ruled that due diligence in (the) selection and supervision
of employee(s) are not proved by mere testimonies to the effect that its applicant has
complied with all the company requirements before one is admitted as an employee
but without proof thereof. . . .
On the part of Christian Bautista, the transport supervisor of defendant-appellee, he
testified that it is his duty to monitor the operation of buses in the field; to countercheck
the dispatchers' duty prior to the operation of the buses in the morning; to see to it that
bus crew follows written guidelines of the company (t.s.n., April 29, 1988, pp. 4-5), but
when asked to present in court the alleged written guidelines of the company he merely
stated that he brought with him a "wrong document" and defendant-appellee's counsel
asked for reservation to present such written guidelines in the next hearing but the same
was (sic) never presented in court. 33

A thorough and scrupulous review of the records of this case reveals that the conclusion of
respondent Court of Appeals is more firmly grounded on jurisprudence and amply supported by the
evidence of record than that of the court below.
It is procedurally required for each party in a case to prove his own affirmative assertion by the degree of
evidence required by law. 34 In civil cases, the degree of evidence required of a party in order to support
his claim is preponderance of evidence, or that evidence adduced by one party which is more conclusive
and credible than that of the other party. It is, therefore, incumbent on the plaintiff who is claiming a right
to prove his case. Corollarily, defendant must likewise prove own allegation to buttress its claim that it is
not liable. 35
In fine, the party, whether plaintiff or defendant, who asserts the affirmative of the issue has the burden of
presenting at the trial such amount of evidence required by law to obtain a favorable judgment. 36 It is
entirely within each of the parties discretion, consonant with the theory of the case it or he seeks to
advance and subject to such procedural strategy followed thereby, to present all available evidence at its
or his disposal in the manner which may be deemed necessary and beneficial to prove its or his position,
provided only that the same shall measure up to the quantum of evidence required by law. In making
proof in its or his case, it is paramount that the best and most complete evidence be formally entered. 37
Coming now to the case at bar, while there is no rule which requires that testimonial evidence, to hold
sway, must be corroborated by documentary evidence, or even subject evidence for that matter,
inasmuch as the witnesses' testimonies dwelt on mere generalities, we cannot consider the same as
sufficiently persuasive proof that there was observance of due diligence in the selection and supervision
of employees. 38 Petitioner's attempt to prove its diligentissimi patris familiasin the selection and
supervision of employees through oral evidence must fail as it was unable to buttress the same with any
other evidence, object or documentary, which might obviate the apparent biased nature of the
testimony. 39
Our view that the evidence for petitioner MMTC falls short of the required evidentiary quantum as would
convincingly and undoubtedly prove its observance of the diligence of a good father of a family has its
precursor in the underlying rationale pronounced in the earlier case of Central Taxicab Corp. vs. ExMeralco Employees Transportation Co., et al., 40 set amidst an almost identical factual setting, where we
held that:

. . . . This witness spoke of an "affidavit of experience" which a driver-applicant must


accomplish before he is employed by the company, a written "time schedule" for
each bus, and a record of the inspections and thorough checks pertaining to each
bus before it leaves the car barn; yet no attempt was ever made to present in
evidence any of these documents, despite the fact that they were obviously in the
possession and control of the defendant company.
xxx xxx xxx
Albert also testified that he kept records of the preliminary and final tests given him
as well as a record of the qualifications and experience of each of the drivers of the
company. It is rather strange, therefore, that he failed to produce in court the all
important record of Roberto, the driver involved in this case.
The failure of the defendant company to produce in court any "record" or other
documentary proof tending to establish that it had exercised all the diligence of a
good father of a family in the selection and supervision of its drivers and buses,
notwithstanding the calls therefor by both the trial court and the opposing counsel,
argues strongly against its pretensions.
We are fully aware that there is no hard-and-fast rule on the quantum of evidence
needed to prove due observance of all the diligence of a good father of a family as
would constitute a valid defense to the legal presumption of negligence on the part of
an employer or master whose employee has by his negligence, caused damage to
another. . . . (R)educing the testimony of Albert to its proper proportions, we do not
have enough trustworthy evidence left to go by. We are of the considered opinion,
therefore, that the believable evidence on the degree of care and diligence that has
been exercised in the selection and supervision of Roberto Leon y Salazar, is not
legally sufficient to overcome the presumption of negligence against the defendant
company.
Whether or not the diligence of a good father of a family has been observed by petitioner is a matter
of proof which under the circumstances in the case at bar has not been clearly established. It is not
felt by the Court that there is enough evidence on record as would overturn the presumption of
negligence, and for failure to submit all evidence within its control, assuming the putative existence
thereof, petitioner MMTC must suffer the consequences of its own inaction and indifference.
2. In any event, we do not find the evidence presented by petitioner sufficiently convincing to prove
the diligence of a good father of a family, which for an employer doctrinally translates into its
observance of due diligence in the selection and supervision of its employees but which mandate, to
use an oft-quoted phrase, is more often honored in the breach than in the observance.
Petitioner attempted to essay in detail the company's procedure for screening job applicants and
supervising its employees in the field, through the testimonies of Milagros Garbo, as its training officer,
and Christian Bautista, as its transport supervisor, both of whom naturally and expectedly testified for
MMTC. It then concluded with its sweeping pontifications that "thus, there is no doubt that considering the

nature of the business of petitioner, it would not let any applicant-drivers to be (sic) admitted without
undergoing the rigid selection and training process with the end (in) view of protecting the public in
general and its passengers in particular; . . . thus, there is no doubt that applicant had fully complied with
the said requirements otherwise Garbo should not have allowed him to undertake the next set of
requirements . . . and the training conducted consisting of seminars and actual driving tests were
satisfactory otherwise he should have not been allowed to drive the subject vehicle. 41
These statements strike us as both presumptuous and in the nature of petitio principii, couched in
generalities and shorn of any supporting evidence to boost their verity. As earlier observed, respondent
court could not but express surprise, and thereby its incredulity, that witness Garbo neither testified nor
presented any evidence that driver Leonardo had complied with or had undergone all the clearances and
trainings she took pains to recite and enumerate. The supposed clearances, results of seminars and tests
which Leonardo allegedly submitted and complied with were never presented in court despite the fact
that, if true, then they were obviously in the possession and control of petitioner. 42
The case at bar is clearly within the coverage of Article 2176 and 2177, in relation to Article 2180, of the
Civil Code provisions on quasi-delicts as all the elements thereof are present, to wit: (1) damages
suffered by the plaintiff, (2) fault or negligence of the defendant or some other person for whose act he
must respond, and (3) the connection of cause and effect between fault or negligence of the defendant
and the damages incurred by plaintiff. 43 It is to be noted that petitioner was originally sued as employer of
driver Leonardo under Article 2180, the pertinent parts of which provides that:

The obligation imposed by article 2176 is demandable not only for one's own acts or
omissions, but also for those of persons for whom one is responsible.
xxx xxx xxx
Employers shall be liable for damages caused by their employees and household
helpers acting within the scope of their assigned tasks, even though the former are
not engaged in any business or industry.
xxx xxx xxx
The responsibility treated of in this article shall cease when the persons herein
mentioned prove that they observed all the diligence of a good father of a family to
prevent damage.
The basis of the employer's vicarious liability has been explained under this ratiocination:
The responsibility imposed by this article arises by virtue of a presumption juris tantum of
negligence on the part of the persons made responsible under the article, derived from
their failure to exercise due care and vigilance over the acts of subordinates to prevent
them from causing damage. Negligence is imputed to them by law, unless they prove the
contrary. Thus, the last paragraph of the article says that such responsibility ceases if is
proved that the persons who might be held responsible under it exercised the diligence of
a good father of a family (diligentissimi patris familias) to prevent damage. It is clear,
therefore, that it is not representation, nor interest, nor even the necessity of having
somebody else answer for the damages caused by the persons devoid of personality, but

it is the non-performance of certain duties of precaution and prudence imposed upon the
persons who become responsible by civil bond uniting the actor to them, which forms the
foundation of such responsibility. 44
The above rule is, of course, applicable only where there is an employer-employee relationship, although
it is not necessary that the employer be engaged in business or industry. Whether or not engaged in any
business or industry, the employer under Article 2180 is liable for torts committed by his employees within
the scope of their assigned tasks. But, it is necessary first to establish the employment relationship. Once
this is done, the plaintiff must show, to hold the employer liable, that the employee was acting within the
scope of his assigned task when the tort complained of was committed. It is only then that the defendant,
as employer, may find it necessary to interpose the defense of due diligence in the selection and
supervision of employees. 45 The diligence of a good father of a family required to be observed by
employers to prevent damages under Article 2180 refers to due diligence in the selection and supervision
of employees in order to protect the public. 46
With the allegation and subsequent proof of negligence against the defendant driver and of an employeremployee relation between him and his co-defendant MMTC in this instance, the case in undoubtedly
based on a quasi-delict under Article 2180 47 When the employee causes damage due to his own
negligence while performing his own duties, there arises thejuris tantum presumption that the employer is
negligent, 48 rebuttable only by proof of observance of the diligence of a good father of a family. For failure
to rebut such legal presumption of negligence in the selection and supervision of employees, the
employer is likewise responsible for damages, 49 the basis of the liability being the relationship of pater
familias or on the employer's own negligence. 50
As early as the case of Gutierrez vs. Gutierrez, 51 and thereafter, we have consistently held that where the
injury is due to the concurrent negligence of the drivers of the colliding vehicles, the drivers and owners of
the said vehicles shall be primarily, directly and solidarily liable for damages and it is immaterial that one
action is based on quasi-delict and the other on culpa contractual, as the solidarily of the obligation is
justified by the very nature thereof. 52

It should be borne in mind that the legal obligation of employers to observe due diligence in the
selection and supervision of employees is not to be considered as an empty play of words or a mere
formalism, as appears to be the fashion of the times, since the non-observance thereof actually
becomes the basis of their vicarious liability under Article 2180.
On the matter of selection of employees, Campo vs. Camarote, supra, lays down this admonition:
. . . . In order tat the owner of a vehicle may be considered as having exercised all
diligence of a good father of a family, he should not have been satisfied with the
mere possession of a professional driver's license; he should have carefully
examined the applicant for employment as to his qualifications, his experience and
record of service. These steps appellant failed to observe; he has therefore, failed to
exercise all due diligence required of a good father of a family in the choice or
selection of driver.
Due diligence in the supervision of employees, on the other hand, includes the formulation of suitable
rules and regulations for the guidance of employees and the issuance of proper instructions intended for
the protection of the public and persons with whom the employer has relations through his or its

employees and the imposition of necessary disciplinary measures upon employees in case of breach or
as may be warranted to ensure the performance of acts indispensable to the business of and beneficial to
their employer. 53 To this, we add that actual implementation and monitoring of consistent compliance with
said rules should be the constant concern of the employer, acting through dependable supervisors who
should regularly report on their supervisory functions.

In order that the defense of due diligence in the selection and supervision of employees may be
deemed sufficient and plausible, it is not enough to emptily invoke the existence of said company
guidelines and policies on hiring and supervision. As the negligence of the employee gives rise to
the presumption of negligence on the part of the employer, the latter has the burden of proving that it
has been diligent not only in the selection of employees but also in the actual supervision of their
work. The mere allegation of the existence of hiring procedures and supervisory policies, without
anything more, is decidedly not sufficient to overcome presumption.
We emphatically reiterate our holding, as a warning to all employers, that "(t)he mere formulation of
various company policies on safety without showing that they were being complied with is not sufficient to
exempt petitioner from liability arising from negligence of its employees. It is incumbent upon petitioner to
show that in recruiting and employing the erring driver the recruitment procedures and company policies
on efficiency and safety were followed." 54 Paying lip-service to these injunctions or merely going through
the motions of compliance therewith will warrant stern sanctions from the Court.
These obligations, imposed by the law and public policy in the interests and for the safety of the
commuting public, herein petitioner failed to perform. Respondent court was definitely correct in ruling that
". . . due diligence in the selection and supervision of employee (is) not proved by mere testimonies to the
effect that its applicant has complied with all the company requirements before one is admitted as an
employee but without proof thereof." 55 It is further a distressing commentary on petitioner that it is a
government-owned public utility, maintained by public funds, and organized for the public welfare.

The Court it is necessary to once again stress the following rationale behind these all-important
statutory and jurisprudential mandates, for it has been observed that despite its pronouncement
in Kapalaran Bus Line vs. Coronado, et al., supra, there has been little improvement in the transport
situation in the country:
In requiring the highest possible degree of diligence from common carriers and
creating a presumption of negligence against them, the law compels them to curb the
recklessness of their drivers. While the immediate beneficiaries of the standard of
extraordinary diligence are, of course, the passengers and owners of the cargo
carried by a common carrier, they are not the only persons that the law seeks to
benefit. For if common carriers carefully observe the statutory standard of
extraordinary diligence in respect of their own passengers, they cannot help but
simultaneously benefit pedestrians and the owners and passengers of other vehicles
who are equally entitled to the safe and convenient use of our roads and highways.
The law seeks to stop and prevent the slaughter and maiming of people (whether
passengers or not) and the destruction of property (whether freight or not) on our
highways by buses, the very size and power of which seem often to inflame the
minds of their drivers. . . .

Finally, we believe that respondent court acted in the exercise of sound discretion when it affirmed
the trial court's award, without requiring the payment of interest thereon as an item of damages just
because of delay in the determination thereof, especially since private respondent did not specifically
pray therefor in her complaint. Article 2211 of the Civil Code provides that in quasi-delicts, interest as
a part of the damages may be awarded in the discretion of the court, and not as a matter of right. We
do not perceive that there have been international dilatory maneuvers or any special circumstances
which would justify that additional award and, consequently, we find no reason to disturb said ruling.
WHEREFORE, the impugned decision of respondent Court of Appeals is hereby AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.
Narvasa, C.J. and Nocon, JJ., concur.
Padilla, J., is on leave.

Footnotes
1 Rollo, 24-25.
2 Civil Case No. C-8176, entitled "Nenita R. Custodio, assisted by her parents,
Rodolfo A. Custodio and Gloria R. Custodio vs. Agudo R. Calebag, Victorino
Lamayo, Godofredo C. Leonardo, and Metro Manila Transit Corporation," Court of
First Instance of Rizal, Branch 35, Caloocan City; Original Record, 1-4.
3 Ibid., 17-22.
4 Ibid., 36-41.
5 Ibid., 54.
6 Ibid., 57.
7 TSN, September 2, 1982, 4-16.
8 Ibid., June 10, 1988, 3-12.
9I
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
SECOND DIVISION

G.R. No. L-37632 July 30, 1982


GREGORIA VDA. DE PAMAN, ROMEO PAMAN, ELISBERTO PAMAN, and CESARIA
PAMAN, petitioners,
vs.
HON. ALBERTO V. SEERIS, as Judge of CFI, Branch II, Zamboanga City, WESTERN
MINDANAO LUMBER COMPANY and TEODORO DE LOS SANTOS, respondents.
Segundo Jose Martinez for petitioners.
Pelaez, Jalandoni, Jamir & Adriano Law Offices for respondents.

GUERRERO, J.:

This is a petition for mandamus to order the District Judge of the Court of First Instance of
Zamboanga City, 16th Judicial District, Branch II, to perform his allegedly ministerial duty to execute
the judgment in Criminal Case No. 2953 entitled "People of the Philippines,
plaintiffs, versus, Teodoro de los Santos, accused," for Homicide Thru Reckless Imprudence In
Violation of Section 52 of Act 3992, As Amended, in order to enforce the subsidiary liability of
employer respondent Western Mindanao Lumber Company pursuant to Article 103 of the Revised
Penal Code. The facts of the case are simple and uncontradicted.
On May 24, 1961, accused-respondent Teodoro de los Santos was charged by the City Attorney of
Zamboanga City in the following information:
The undersigned City Attorney accuses TEODORO DE LOS SANTOS, with
HOMICIDE THRU RECKLESS IMPRUDENCE IN VIOLATION OF SEC. 52 of ACT
3992 AS AMENDED, committed as follows:
That on or about December 21, 1956, in the City of Zamboanga, Philippines, and
within the jurisdiction of this Court, the above-mentioned accused, driver of a cargo
truck with plate No. T-15341, owned and operated by the Western Mindanao Lumber
Co., and without due precaution, considering the width, grades, curvature, visibility
and other conditions of the road, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and
feloniously, thru his recklessness and lack of foresight while driving said cargo truck
cause one Victoriano Paman to fall therefrom who was riding the said truck and as a
consequence, the latter sustained injuries on his person which caused his death.
CONTRARY TO LAW.
Upon arraignment on June 26, 1972, accused-respondent Teodoro de los Santos entered a plea of
guilty. In view of said plea, the respondent Judge, Alberto Seeris, rendered a Decision sentencing
said respondent to suffer an imprisonment of two (2) months and one (1) day of arresto mayor and
to indemnify the heirs of the late Victoriano Paman, namely, the petitioner Gregoria Vda. de Paman

and her three children, in the amount of P12,000.00, the dispositive portion of the Decision reading
as follows:
WHEREFORE, the Court finds the accused, Teodoro de los Santos, by his own
admission, GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Simple Imprudence
resulting in Homicide as defined and penalized under the provisions of the Revised
Penal Code, and appreciating in his favor the two mitigating circumstances abovementioned not offset by any aggravating circumstance, hereby SENTENCES him to
an imprisonment of TWO (2) MONTHS and ONE (1) DAY of arresto mayor, to
indemnify the heirs of the late Victoriano Paman, namely: Gregoria Guevara Vda. de
Paman and her three children, in the amount of Twelve Thousand Pesos
(P12,000.00), with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency but which however,
shall not be more than one (1/3) third of the principal penalty, and to pay the costs of
the proceedings.
SO ORDERED. 1

On the same day, accused-respondent Teodoro de los Santos commenced his service of sentence.
On August 4, 1972, petitioner Gregoria Vda. de Paman, widow of the victim, filed the first motion for
execution of the judgment to enforce the civil liability of the P12,000.00 of the accused-respondent.
This was followed on August 28, 1972 by the filing of petitioner of an ex parte motion for execution of
judgment against the accused. In both instances, Western Mindanao Lumber Company was duly
notified.
On August 31, 1972, respondent Judge issued an order granting the said motion for execution.
However, on September 4, 1972, the Sheriff's Return of Service showed that the accusedrespondent Teodoro de los Santos had no property registered in his name.
Upon discovery that accused-respondent is insolvent, petitioner filed on September 19, 1972, a
"Motion for Execution on Subsidiary Liability of Employer Western Mindanao Lumber Company
under Article 103 of the Revised Penal Code." Petitioner contended therein that the subsidiary
liability of the employer Western Mindanao Lumber Company in the event the accused is insolvent,
is executory in nature and there is no need for a separate action or a further civil case to be filed in
the enforcement of the decision aforementioned. On October 11, 1972, petitioner filed a
"Supplemental Motion for Execution for Subsidiary Liability of Employer under Art. 103 of the Penal
Code." Petitioner, thru counsel, cited therein the case of Fernando vs. Franco, 37 SCRA 311, where
this Court held that:
It may be stated further that since it was not only in the latter part of October, 1962
that the decision against the driver attained finality and became executory, had
plaintiffs relied on suing out a writ of execution against the employer, it could have
had until October 1967 at the latest to take such step.
Petitioner concluded that the tenor of the aforesaid decision implies that the subsidiary liability of the
employer may be enforced in the same proceeding.

On September 8, 1973, respondent Judge issued an order denying the motion for issuance of writ of
execution against the employer of Teodoro de los Santos. He opined that the alleged employer not
having been notified that its driver was facing a criminal charge, a separate civil action must be filed.
Hence, this petition for mandamus.
This case finds parallelism in a case involving the same respondent Judge, i.e. Lucia S. Pajarito vs.
Hon. Alberto V. Seeris et al., 87 SCRA 275, where the only issue involved is whether or not the
subsidiary liability established in Article 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.
As in the aforementioned case, the apparent drawback in the enforcement of the subsidiary liability in the
same criminal proceeding is the lack of due process to the alleged employer. Not being a party to the
case, he is not heard as to whether he is indeed the employer. Besides, even if the employer-employee
relationship is not disputed, still, in order that an employer may be subsidiarily liable for the employee's
civil liability in the criminal action, it should be shown (1) that the employer, etc. is engaged in any kind of
industry, (2) that the employee committed the offense in the discharge of his duties, and (2) that he is
insolvent. 2
Against the foregoing considerations, Section 1, Rule 111 of the Rules of Court provides, however, that
"when a criminal action is instituted, the civil action for recovery of civil liability arising from the offense
charged is impliedly instituted with the criminal action, unless the offended party expressly waives the civil
action or reserves his right to institute it separately." 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 the
twins. It means that the civil action may be tried and prosecuted, with all the ancillary processes provided
by law. 3 Said provision will be rendered meaningless if the subsidiary civil liability is not allowed to be
enforced in the same proceeding.

To remedy the situation and thereby afford due process to the alleged employer, this Court directed
the court a quo inPajarito vs. Seeris (supra) to hear and decide in the same proceeding the
subsidiary hability of the alleged owner and operator of the passenger bus. It was explained therein
that the proceeding for the enforcement of the subsidiary 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. 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 very question of fact and
law which may be involved in the execution.
Moreover, it has been invariably held that a judgment of conviction sentencing a defendant employer 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 not only
with regard to the civil liability, but also with regard to its amount. 4 This being the case, this Court stated
in Rotea vs. Halili, 109 Phil. 495 that 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. A separate and independent action is, therefore,
unnecessary and would only unduly prolong the agony of the heirs of the victim.

WHEREFORE, the order dated September 8, 1973 of respondent Judge is hereby SET ASIDE. The
Court a quo is hereby directed to conduct further proceedings in the same case on whether the
requisite facts to impose subsidiary civil liability on the alleged employer of Teodoro de los Santos
are present. Costs against private respondents.
SO ORDERED.
Aquino, Concepcion, Jr., Abad Santos, De Castro and Escolin, JJ., concur.

Separate Opinions

BARREDO, J., concurring:


I concur. Even the information does not allege sufficient facts to make Western Mindanao Lumber
Co. subsidiary liable.

Separate Opinions

BARREDO, J., concurring:


I concur. Even the information does not allege sufficient facts to make Western Mindanao Lumber
Co. subsidiary liable.
Footnotes
1 Rollo pp. 22-23.
2 Joaquin vs. Aniceto, L-18719, October 31, 1964.
3 Ramcar, Inc. vs. De Leon, 78 Phil. 449.
4 Martinez vs. Barredo, 81 Phil. 1; Miranda vs. Mal

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC

G.R. No. 81337 August 16, 1991


RICHARD V. PETRALBA, petitioner,
vs.
THE SANDIGANBAYAN and THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents.

PARAS, J.:p
This Petition for Review on Certiorari seeks the reversal of the Decision * of the Sandiganbayan
promulgated on October 5, 1987 in Criminal Case No. 9390 entitled "The People of the Philippines vs.
Richard V. Petralba" convicting herein petitioner of the crime of Malversation of Public Funds penalized
under Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code and the Resolution of the Sandiganbayan dated December
15, 1987 denying the petitioner's motion for reconsideration.

Abstract from the records are the following facts:


Herein petitioner Richard V. Petralba was designated Officer-in-Charge of the Municipal Treasury of
Alcoy Cebu on October 23, 1 979. Fourteen (14) months after designation, petitioner's cashbook
balance was audited by Auditors Constantino Alagar and Rene Flores. He was found short of
P28,107.00, Petitioner, theretofore, was charged with, and convicted of, 31 counts of "Malversation
of Public Funds," "Illegal Use of Public Funds" and "Falsification of Public Documents." Petitioner
was granted probation and continued his function as Municipal Treasurer of Alcoy Cebu, from
December 23, 1980 until he was succeeded by Mrs. Lilia Suico on March 15, 1981.
Petitioner's cash and accounts from the period of December 23, 1980 to March 15, 1981 were
audited by Leticia Trazo and Flora Pacana. Petitioner was found short in the amount of P50,447.06
which was arrived at as follows:

GENERAL INFRASTRUCTURE TRUST

FUND

Balance

FUND

FUND

SEF

TOTAL

last exam-

ination

12/23/80

P 10,336.91

P 302.07

P35,513.48

P145.86

P46,298.32

P 1,264.22

P--

P--

P--

1,264.22

ADD: Re-

receipts,

collec

tions with

drawals

Dec. 24-

31, 1980

January,

12,515.04

12,515.04

23,479.07

23,479.04

1981

February,

1981

March, 1981

4,418.65

_________

________

________

4,418.65

41,676.98

--

--

--

41,676.98

P52,013.89

P 302.07

P35,513.48

P 145.86

P87,975.30

2,962.93

P --

764.40

P --

3,727.23

January, 1981

4,041.94

1,769.84

3,383.98

--

9,195.76

February, 1981

5,019.00

1,768.84

16,402.71

--

23,191.55

March, 1981

293.60

1,000.00

120.00

--

1,413.60

12,317.47

4,539.68

20,671.09

--

37,528.24

Total

LESS:Disbursements:

Dec. 24-31,

1980

Balance as

of March 15,

1981 (Date of

turnover)

P39,696.42

P(4,237.61)

P14,842.39

P145.86

P50,447.06

(pp- 106-107, Rollo)


On December 4,1981, the Trazo Team sent a letter (Exhibit "H") to the petitioner demanding the
turnover of the latter's cash accountability.
Vouchers amounting to P43,468.84, which were previously allowed by Auditors Constantino Alagar
and Rene Flores, were presented by petitioner to Auditors Trazo and Pacana. Only the amount of
P21,348.87 was allowed reducing the petitioner's accountability to only P29,098.19 while the
remaining vouchers amounting to P22,119.97 were disallowed for want of administrative approval.
On July 30, 1984 herein petitioner, Richard V. Petralba, was charged with Malversation of Public
Funds, in violation of Article 217, Revised Penal Code, allegedly committed as follows:
That on the 5th day of November, 1981 and for some time prior thereto, in the
Municipality of Alcoy Province of Cebu, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this
Honorable Court, the above- named accused, a Deputy Provincial and Municipal
Treasurer then designated as the Officer -in- Charge of the Municipal Treasury of
Alcoy Cebu, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously take and
misappropriate the amount of P29,098.19 representing various receipts and
collection and, therefore, public funds, which he had custody or control by reason of
the duties of his office and for which he was accountable, and despite repeated
demands for him to produce or restitute the amount, failed and still fails to do so, to
the damage and prejudice of the government in the amount aforestated.
In violation of Article 217 of the Revised (Penal) Code.
(Rollo, "Information," pp. 21-22)
During the pre-trial inquest, the parties stipulated and agreed on the following facts:
(A) The accused admits that he had been appointed Deputy Provincial and Municipal
Treasurer of Alcantara, Cebu as shown by Exh. A;
(2) That on October 23, 1979, he was designated Officer-in-Charge of the Municipal
Treasury of Alcoy Cebu and acted as such until March 15,1981 as shown by Exh. B
(3) Accused also admits that on March 15, 1981 the office of the accused as Officerin-Charge of the Municipal Treasurer of Alcoy Cebu was turned over to Mrs. Lilia
Suico;
(4) That accused admits that after the turn-over of the office to Suico the statement of
his cash accountability was prepared and signed by him as shown in Exh. C and C-1;

(5) Accused admits that on November 5,1981 COA Examiners Leticia Trazo and
Flora Pacana conducted an examination on the cash and accounts of his (sic) as
shown by the Reports of Examination for General Funds marked Exh. D, Trust Funds
marked Exh. E, Infrastructure Funds as Exh. F and Special Educational Funds
marked as Exh. G and that certified the findings of the COA examiners as reflected in
said report and his signatures already marked as Exhs. D-1, F-1 and G-1;
(6) Likewise, accused admitted that on December 7, 1981, a letter of demand was
served on and received by him as reflected in Exh. H, as shown by his signature
acknowledging receipt thereof;
(7) Accused admits that COA Examiners Leticia Trazo and Flora Pacana were duly
authorized to conduct an examination of the cash and accounts of the accused as
shown by Exh, 1;
(8) That accused admits that he was originally found short in the amount of
P50,447.00 as shown by Exh. J, however, after he submitted vouchers which were
allowed, his shortage was reduced to P29,098.19 as shown by Exhs. J-1 and K ;
(9) That accused denies that up to the present he has not yet paid the amount of
P29,098.19, and which he will explain on the witness stand.
(Rollo, Annex "B", pp. 24-24)
In view of the admission of the petitioner that he was short of P29,098.19, the prosecution waived
the presentation of testimonial evidence. Instead, it offered its documentary evidence, marked as
Exhibits "A" to "K", and rested its case. The petitioner presented testimonial and documentary
evidence.
The respondent Court found that the vouchers disallowed by the Trazo team in the amount of
P22,119.19 were either supported by invoices or receipts or duly signed by respective payees. Thus,
the amount of P6,978.22 out of the P29,098.19 remained unaccounted for. The respondent
Sandiganbayan rendered a decision, the dispositive portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, the Court finds the accused Richard V. Petralba guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of the crime of Malversation of Public Funds described in and
penalized under Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code, Appreciating in favor of the
accused the mitigating circumstance of Voluntary Surrender, there being no
aggravating circumstance adduced and proven by the prosecution, the accused
should be, as he is, hereby sentenced to the indeterminate penalty of, from Six (6)
Years and One (1) Day of prision mayor, as minimum, to Ten (10) Years and One (1)
Day of prision mayor, as maximum, with the accessory penalties of the law to pay a
fine in the sum of P6,978.22, without subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency;
to suffer the penalty of perpetual special disqualification; to indemnify the
government in the aforesaid sum of P6,978.22; and to pay the costs.
SO ORDERED.
(pp. 68-69, Rollo)

Sandiganbayan denied the motion for reconsideration filed by petitioner dated December 15, 1987.
Hence, this petition.
Petitioner raises the following issues:
I
WHETHER OR NOT THE PETITIONER WAS PROPERLY AUDITED AND
WHETHER EXHIBITS "10" TO "11-M" WERE INCLUDED IN THE SETTLEMENT OF
THE ACCOUNT OF THE PETITIONER.
II
WHETHER OR NOT THE PETITIONER HAS ADDUCED EVIDENCE TO PROVE
THAT THE MISSING FUNDS WERE NOT PUT TO HIS PERSONAL USE.
On August 10, 1989, while this case was pending before Us, petitioner's counsel filed a
manifestation that his client, Richard V. Petralba, had died, evidenced by a death certificate dated
July 10, 1989. (Rollo, Annex "A" of Manifestation, p. 173).
Under Article 89 of the Revised Penal Code, death of the convict extinguishes criminal liability. In
view of the fact that one of the juridical conditions of penalty is that it is personal. Actio personalis
moritur cum persona; actio peonalis in haeredem non datur nisi forte ex damno locupletior haeres
factus sit. (A personal right of action dies with the person. A penal action is not given against an heir,
unless, indeed, such heir is benefited by the wrong.)
Criminal liability does not only mean the obligation to serve the personal or imprisonment penalties
but it also includes the liability to pay the fines or pecuniary penalties. Pecuniary liability is
extinguished only when the death of the offender occurs before final judgment. (Art. 89(l), Revised
Penal Code). In the case at bar, petitioner Richard V. Petralba died pending appeal and before any
final judgment therein. Hence, the death of Richard V. Petralba extinguished his personal and
pecuniary (such as the fine) liabilities.
Though the death of an accused-appellant during the pendency of an appeal extinguished his
criminal liability, his civil liability survives. Extinction of criminal liability does not necessarily mean
that the civil liability is also extinguished. In People vs. Navoa, 132 SCRA 410, and in People vs.
Sendaydiego, 81 SCRA 120, We ruled that only the criminal liability (including the fine, which is
pecuniary but not civil) of the accused is extinguished by his death, but the civil liability remains. The
claim of the government for the civil liability survives Petralba but only if the offense can be proved.
The Supreme Court continues to exercise appellate jurisdiction over the petitioner's possible civil
liability for the money claims of the government arising from the alleged criminal acts complained of,
in much the same way as when no criminal action had been filed. No separate civil action need be
instituted (People v. Senday-diego supra).
Going now into the civil liability of the accused, be it noted that he claimed that no shortage ever
occurred because:
1. The discrepancy between Exhibit "4" prepared by the accused and Exhibit "H" prepared by the
Trazo team casts doubt on the veracity of the latter. Petitioner's total collection for the month of
January, 1981 in Exhibit "4" appears to be P13,515.04 while Exhibit "H" indicates a collection of

P12,515.04, or a difference of P 1,000.00. For the month of February, 1981 petitioner's collection, as
reflected in Exhibit "4", is P21,532.36, while Exhibit "H" indicates a collection of P23,479.07, or a
difference of P 1,946.71.
2. The respondent Court failed to include Exhs. "11" to "11-M" representing the amount of P6,835.48
to settle the account of petitioner.
The above allegations are devoid of any merit.
Exhibit "4" was prepared by the petitioner to apprise Suico of his transactions from January 1, 1981
to March 15,1981. Due to the in veracity of Exhibit "4", an audit was performed, the result of which is
listed in Exhibit "H". Evidently, Exhibit "4" is self-serving and unreliable and, therefore, cannot prevail
over the official findings of the Trazo team contained in Exhibit "H". Besides, petitioner himself
acknowledged and signed the official findings of the Trazo team. He is estopped from impugning the
veracity of Exhibit "H".
Equally baseless is the claim of the petitioner that Sandiganbayan did not consider his Exhibit "l1 " to
"l1-M". It is admitted by petitioner that Exhibit "l1 " to "l1-M" were among the vouchers listed in
Exhibits "2-A" and "2-B" allowed by the Alagar team and by the Trazo team. (Memorandum for the
accused, p. 11). Auditor Alagar declared that Exhibits "2-A" and "2-B" were taken into account during
his audit. (Decision of Sandiganbayan, p. 7, Rollo, p. 58). Thus, the amount appearing in Exhibit its
"11" to "11-M" was included in the amount of P22,119.97 allowed by the Trazo team in reducing the
original unaccounted amount of P50,447.06 to P29,098.19. (Exhibit "8-B").
Petitioner alleges that Exhibit "2", indicating a total of P10,296.47, should total P10,371.47. His
argument is based on the non- inclusion of the amount of P75.00. However, a perusal of Annex "B"
of petitioner's Reply (Rollo, p. 126) indicates that the name of creditor opposite the amount of P75.00
was erased, and the same was not presented by petitioner as part of his Exhibit "7". Thus, the Trazo
team did not commit any abuse of discretion in their failure to credit P75.00.
Petitioner was able to explain the amount of P22,119.97 out of the shortage of P29,098.19, but he
failed to explain the remaining balance of P6,978.22, thereby giving rise to the conclusion that he
had spent such amount for his personal use.
PREMISES CONSIDERED, the estate of the deceased petitioner is hereby sentenced to indemnify
the government in the amount of P6,978.22. With costs.
SO ORDERED.
Fernan, C.J., Narvasa, Melencio-Herrera, Gutierrez, Jr., Cruz, Feliciano, Gancayco, Padilla, Bidin,
Sarmiento, Grio-Aquino, Medialdea, Regalado and Davide, Jr., JJ., concur.

Footnotes

* Penned by Associate Justice Regino Hermosisima, Jr. and concurred in by Associate Justices
Romeo M. Escareal and Augusto M. Amores.
The Lawphil Project - Arellano Law Foundation

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Baguio City
SECOND DIVISION

G.R. No. 82562 April 11, 1997


LYDIA VILLEGAS, MA TERESITA VILLEGAS, ANTONIO VILLEGAS, JR., and ANTONIETTE
VILLEGAS, petitioners,
vs.
THE COURT OF APPEALS, PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES and ANTONIO V.
RAQUIZA, respondents.
G.R. No. 82592 April 11, 1997
ANTONIO V. RAQUIZA, petitioner,
vs.
COURT OF APPEALS, LYDIA A. VILLEGAS, ANTONIO VILLEGAS, JR., MA. ANTONETTE
VILLEGAS, MA. LYDIA VILLEGAS and ESTATE OF ANTONIO J. VILLEGAS, respondents.

ROMERO, J.:

This case originated from a libel suit filed by then Assemblyman Antonio V. Raquiza against then
Manila Mayor Antonio J. Villegas, who allegedly publicly imputed to him acts constituting violations of
the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. He did this on several occasions in August 1968 through (a)
a speech before the Lion's Club of Malasiqui, Pangasinan on August 10; (b) public statements in
Manila on August 13 and in Davao on August 17, which was coupled with a radio-TV interview; and
(c) a public statement shortly prior to his appearance before the Senate Committee on Public Works
(the Committee) on August 20 to formally submit a letter-complaint implicating Raquiza, among other
government officials.
The Committee, however, observed that all the allegations in the complaint were based mainly on the
uncorroborated testimony of a certain Pedro U. Fernandez, whose credibility turned out to be highly
questionable. Villegas also failed to submit the original copies of his documentary evidence. Thus, after
thorough investigation, Raquiza was cleared of all charges by the Committee. 1 All these acts of political
grandstanding received extensive media coverage.

On July 25, 1969, an information for libel was filed by the Office of the City Fiscal of Manila with the
then Court of First Instance of Manila against Villegas who denied the charge. After losing in the
1971 elections, Villegas left for the United States where he stayed until his death on November 16,
1984. Nevertheless, trial proceeded on absentia by the time of his death the in 1984, the prosecution
had already rested its case Two months after notice of his death, the court issued an order
dismissing the crimal aspect of the case but reserving the right to resolve its civil aspect. No
memorandum was ever filed in his behalf.

Judge Marcelo R. Obien 2 rendered judgment on March 7, 1985, the dispositive portion of which was
amended on March 26 to read as follows:

WHEREFORE, and in view of the foregoing considerations, judgment is hereby


rendered as follows:
1. The dismissal of the criminal case against Antonio J. Vlllegas, on account of his
death on November 16, 1984. is hereby reiterated.
2. Ordenng the estate of Antonio J. Villegas, represented herein by his legal heirs,
namely: Lydia A Villegas, Ma. Teresita Villegas, Antonio Villegas, Jr., Ma. Anton(i)ette
Villegas, and Ma. Lydia Villegas (sic), to pay plaintiff Antonio V. Raquiza Two
Hundred Million Pesos (P200,000,000.00), itemized as follows:
a) One Hundred Fifty Million Pesos (P150.000.000.00) as moral damages:
b) Two Hundred Thousand Pesos (P200.000.00) as actual damages:
c) Forty-nine Million Eight Hundred Thousand Pesos (P49,800,000.00) as exemplary
damages; and
d) The cost of suit.
SO ORDERED. 3 (Amendments underscored)

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

It is immediately apparent that the focal issue in these petitions is the effect of the death of Villegas
before the case was decided by the trial court. Stated otherwise, did the death of the accused before
final judgment extinguish his civil liability?
Fortunately, this Court has already settled this issue with the promulgation of the case of People
v. Bayotas (G.R. No. 102007) on September 2, 1994, 4 viz.:
It is thus evident that as jurisprudence evolved from Castillo 5 to Torrijos, 6 the rule
established was 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.

xxx xxx xxx


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

xxx xxx xxx


From this lengthy dlsquisition, we summarize our ruling herein:
1 Death of the accused pending appeal of his conviction extinguishes his criminal
liability as well as the civil liability based solely thereon As opined by Justice
Regalado, in this regard, "the death of the accused prior to final judgment terminates
his criminal liability and only the civil liability 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 (the)
accused, if the same may also be predicated on a source of obligation other than
delict. Article 1157 of the Civil Code enumerates these other sources of obligation
from which the civil liability may arise as a result of the same act or omission:
a) Law
b) Contracts
c) Quasi-contracts
d) x x x x x x x x x
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. 8 This separate civil action may be enforced either against the

executor/administrator o(f) the estate of the accused, depending on the source of


obligation upon which the same is based as explained above.

4. Finally, the private offended party need not fear a forfeiture of his right to file this
separate civil action by prescription, in cases where during the prosecution of the
criminal action and prior to its extinction, the private offended party instituted together
therewith the civil action. In such case, the statute of limitations on the civil liability is
deemed interrupted during the pendency of the criminal case, conformably with (the)
provisions of Article 1155 of the Civil Code, that should thereby avoid any
apprehension on a possible privation of right by prescription. (Emphasis supplied).
The source of Villegas' civil liability in the present case is the felonious act of libel he allegedly committed.
Yet, this act could also be deemed a quasi-delict within the purview of Article 33 9 in relation to Article
1157 of the Civil Code. If the Court ruled in Bayotas that the death of an accused during the pendency of
his appeal extinguishes not only his criminal but also his civil liability unless the latter can be predicated
on a source of obligation other than the act or omission complained of, with more reason should it apply
to the case at bar where the accused died shortly after the prosecution had rested its case and before he
was able to submit his memorandum and all this before any decision could even be reached by the trial
court.

The Bayotas ruling, however, makes the enforcement of a deceased accused's civil liability
dependent on two factors, namely, that it be pursued by filing a separate civil action and that it be
made subject to Section 1, Rule 111 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure, as amended.
Obviously, in the case at bar, the civil action was deemed instituted with the criminal. There was no
waiver of the civil action and no reservation of the right to institute the same, nor was it instituted
prior to the criminal action. What then is the recourse of the private offended party in a criminal case
such as this which must be dismissed in accordance with the Bayotas doctrine, where the civil action
was impliedly instituted with it?
The answer is likewise provided in Bayatas, thus:
Assuming that for lack of express reservation, Belamala's civil civil for damages was to
be considered instituted together with the crinimal action still, since both proceedings
were terminated without finals adjudication the civil action of the offended party under
Article 33 may yet be enforced separately 10 (Emphasis supplied)

Hence, logically, the court a quo should have dismissed both actions against Vilegas which dismissal
will not, however, bar Raquiza as the private offended party from pursuing his claim for damages
against the executor or administrator of the former's estate, notwitnstanding the fact that he did not
reserve the right to institute a civil separate civil action based on Article 33 of the Civil Code.
It cannot be argued either that to follow Bayotas would result in further delay in this protracted
litigation. This is because the resolution of the civil aspect of the case after the dismissal of the main
criminal action by the trial court was technically defective There was no proper substitution of parties,
as correctly pointed out by the Heirs and repeatedly put in issue by Atty. Quisumbing. What should
have been followed by the court a quo was the procedure laid down in the Rules of Court,
specifically, Section 17, Rule 3, in connection with Section 1, Rule 87. The pertinent provisions state
as follws:
Rule 3

Sec.17. Death of party. After a party dies and the claim is not there
extinguished, the court shall order upon proper notice the legal representative of the
deceased to appear and to be substituted for the deceased, within a period of thirty
(30) days, or within such time as may begranted. . . . The heirs of the deceased may
be allowed to be for the deceased, without requiring the appointment of an executor
or administrator and the court may appoint guardian ad litem for the minor heirs.
Rule 87
Sec. 1. Actions which may and which may not be brought against or executor or
administrator. No action upon a claim for the recovery of money or debt or interest
thereon shall be commenced against the executor or administrator; but actions to
recover real or personal property, or an interest therein, from the estate, or to enforce
a lien thereon, and actions to recover damages for an injury to person or property,
real or personal may be commenced against him.
Accordingly, the Court sees no more necessity in resolving the other issues used by both parties in
these petitions.
WHEREFORE, the petition in G.R. No. 82562 is GRANTED and the petition in G.R. No. 82592 is
DENIED. The decisions of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR No. 82186 dated March 15, 1988,
and of the Manila Regional Trial Court, Branch 44, dated March 7, 1985, as amended, are hereby
REVERSED and SET ASIDE, without prejudice to the right of the private offended party Antonio
V. Raquiza, to file the appropriate civil action for damages against the executor or administrator of
the estate or the heirs of the late Antonto J. Villegas in accordance with the foregoing procedure.
SO ORDERED.
Regalado, Puno, Mendoza and Torres, Jr., JJ., concur.
Footnotes
1 Exhibit "WW." pp. 255-279 of original exhibits.
2 Presiding Judge, Manila Regional Trial Court, Branch 44.
3 Records. p. 621.
4 236 SCRA 239 (1994).
5 People v. Castillo and Ocfemia, 81 SCRA 120 (1978).
6 Torrijos v. Court of Appeals, 67 SCRA 394 (1975).
7 Citing Belamala v. Polinar, 21 SCRA 970 (1967).
8 In states inter alia
"Rule III
Prosecution of Civil Action

Sec. 1 Institution of criminal and civil actions When a criminal action is instituted,
the civil action for the recovery of civil liability is impliedly instituted with the criminal
action, unless the offended party waives the civil action, reserves his right to institute
it the civil action prior to the criminal action.
xxx xxx xxx
The reservation of the right to institute the separate civil action 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.
xxx xxx xxx
9 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.
10 Belamala, supra.
The Lawphil Project - Arellano Law Foundation

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
SECOND DIVISION

G.R. No. 108395 March 7, 1997


HEIRS OF THE LATE TEODORO GUARING, JR., petitioners,
vs.
COURT OF APPEALS, PHILIPPINE RABBIT BUS LINES, INC., and ANGELES
CUEVAS, respondents.

MENDOZA, J.:

This is a petition for review of the decision of the Court of Appeals, reversing the decision of the
Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 20, which ordered respondent Philippine Rabbit Bus Lines,
Inc. and its driver, Angeles Cuevas, to pay various amounts in damages to petitioners, the heirs of
the late Teodoro Guaring, Jr.
This case arose from an unfortunate vehicular accident which happened on November 7, 1987,
along the North Expressway in San Rafael, Mexico, Pampanga. Involved in the accident were a

Mitsubishi Lancer car driven by Teodoro Guaring, Jr., who died as a result of the mishap, Philippine
Rabbit Bus No. 415, driven by Angeles Cuevas, and a Toyota Cressida car, driven by Eligio
Enriquez. The Mitsubishi Lancer was heading north, at the speed of 80 to 90 kilometers per hour.
Following it was the Philippine Rabbit Bus No. 415, with Plate No. CVD-584. On the other hand, the
Toyota Cressida was cruising on the opposite lane, bound for Manila.
Petitioners, heirs of Teodoro Guaring, Jr., brought this action for damages, based on quasi delict, in
the Regional Trial Court of Manila. Their evidence tended to show that the Rabbit bus tried to
overtake Guaring's car by passing on the right shoulder of the road and that in so doing it hit the right
rear portion of Guaring's Mitsubishi Lancer. The impact caused the Lancer to swerve to the southbound lane, as a result of which it collided with the Toyota Cressida car coming from the opposite
direction.
With Teodoro Guaring, Jr. in the Lancer, seated beside him in front, was Bonifacio Clemente. Riding
in the Toyota Cressida driven by Sgt. Eligio Enriquez was his mother, Dolores Enriquez, who was
seated beside him. Seated at the back were his daughter Katherine (who was directly behind him),
his wife Lilian, and his nephew Felix Candelaria.
Killed in the collision were Teodoro Guaring, Jr., who was driving the Lancer, and Dolores Enriquez,
who was riding in the Cressida, while injured were Bonifacio Clemente and the occupants of the
Toyota Cressida.
Private respondents, on the other hand, presented evidence tending to show that the accident was
due to the negligence of the deceased Guaring. They claimed that it was Guaring who tried to
overtake the vehicle ahead of him on the highway and that in doing so he encroached on the southbound lane and collided with the oncoming Cressida of U.S. Air Force Sgt. Enriquez. Private
respondents claim that as a result of the collision the Lancer was thrown back to its lane where it
crashed into the Rabbit bus.
On May 16, 1990, the Regional Trial Court rendered judgment finding Philippine Rabbit Bus Lines,
Inc. and its driver, Angeles Cuevas, at fault, and holding them solidarily liable for damages to
petitioners. The dispositive portion of its decision reads:
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiffs and against the
defendants, ordering the latter to pay the former, jointly and severally, the sum of:
1. P500,000.00 for loss of earning capacity of the deceased Teodoro Guaring, Jr.;
2. P1,000,000.00 as moral damages;
3. P50,000.00 as and for attorney's fees; and
4. Costs of suit.
From this judgment, private respondent Philippine Rabbit Bus Lines, Inc. appealed,
contending:
1. The lower court erred in not finding that the proximate cause of the collision was
Guaring's negligence in attempting to overtake the car in front of him.

2. The lower court erred in not holding that PRBL exercised due diligence in the
supervision of its employees.
3. The lower court erred in awarding the amount of P500,000.00 in favor of plaintiffsappellees representing Guaring's loss of earning capacity.
4. The lower court erred in awarding moral damages in favor of plaintiffs-appellees.
5. The lower court erred in awarding attorney's fees in favor of plaintiffs-appellees.
On December 16, 1992, the Court of Appeals rendered a decision, setting aside the decision of the
Regional Trial Court of Manila in the civil action for damages and dismissing the complaint against
private respondents Philippine Rabbit Bus Lines, Inc. and Cuevas, on the strength of a decision
rendered by the Regional Trial Court at San Fernando, Pampanga, in the criminal case, acquitting
the bus driver Angeles Cuevas of reckless imprudence resulting in damage to property and double
homicide. The appellate court held that since the basis of petitioners' action was the alleged
negligence of the bus driver, the latter's acquittal in the criminal case rendered the civil case based
on quasi delict untenable.
Hence, this petition. Petitioners contend that
[1] EVIDENCE IN ONE CASE IS INADMISSIBLE IN ANOTHER CASE AGAINST A
PERSON NOT A PARTY IN THE FIRST CASE AND TO HOLD OTHERWISE IS
VIOLATIVE OF PROCEDURAL DUE PROCESS.
[2] THE DECISION OF THE COURT OF APPEALS WAS WITHOUT FACTUAL
FINDINGS AND DID NOT RESOLVE SQUARELY THE ASSIGNED ERRORS AND
IS THEREFORE A VOID JUDGMENT.
[3] ACQUITTAL OF THE ACCUSED IN THE CRIMINAL CASE, WHETHER ON
REASONABLE DOUBT OR NOT, IS NO BAR TO THE PROSECUTION FOR
DAMAGES BASED ON QUASI-DELICT.
The question is whether the judgment in the criminal case extinguished the liability of private respondent
Philippine Rabbit Bus Lines, Inc. and its driver, Angeles Cuevas, for damages for the death of Teodoro
Guaring, Jr. In absolving private respondents from liability, the Court of Appeals reasoned: 1

Since the appellee's civil action is predicated upon the negligence of the accused
which does not exist as found by the trial court in the said criminal case, it
necessarily follows that the acquittal of the accused in the criminal case carries with it
the extinction of the civil responsibility arising therefrom. Otherwise stated, the fact
from which the civil action might arise, that is, the negligence of the accused, did not
exist.
The finding in the criminal case that accused Cuevas was not negligent and the
proximate cause of the accident was the act of deceased Guaring in overtaking
another vehicle ahead of him likewise exonerates PRB from any civil liability.
Although it did not say so expressly, the appellate court appears to have based its ruling on Rule
111, 2(b) of the Rules of Criminal Procedure, which provides:

(b) Extinction of the penal action does not carry with it extinction of the civil, unless
the extinction proceeds from a declaration in a final judgment that the fact from which
the civil might arise did not exist.
This provision contemplates, however, a civil action arising from crime, whereas the present action
was instituted pursuant to Art. 2176 of the Civil Code, which provides:
Art. 2176. Whoever by act or omission causes damage to another, there being fault
or negligence, is obliged to pay for the damage done. Such fault or negligence, if
there is no pre-existing contractual relation between the parties, is called a quasidelict and is governed by the provisions of this Chapter.
It is now settled that acquittal of the accused, even if based on a finding that he is not guilty, does not
carry with it the extinction of the civil liability based on quasi delict. Thus, in Tayag v. Alcantara, 2 it was
held:

. . . 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. (c), Section 3, Rule 111 [now Rule 111, 2(b)], 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. . . .
It is noteworthy that the accident in that case also involved a Philippine Rabbit bus and that, as in
this case, the acquittal of the bus driver was based on reasonable doubt. We held that the civil case
for damages was not barred since the cause of action of the heirs was based on quasi delict.
Again, in Gula v. Dianala it was held: 3

Since the cause of action of plaintiffs-appellants is based on culpa aquiliana and


not culpa criminal, thus precluding the application of the exception in Sec. 3(c) of
Rule 111 [now Rule 111, 2(b)], and the fact that it can be inferred from the criminal
case that defendant-accused, Pedro Dianala, was acquitted on reasonable doubt
because of dearth of evidence and lack of veracity of the two principal witnesses, the
doctrine inMendoza vs. Arrieta, 91 SCRA 113, will not find application. In that case,
the acquittal was not based on reasonable doubt and the cause of action was based
on culpa criminal, for which reason we held the suit for damages barred.
Even if damages are sought on the basis of crime and not quasi delict, the acquittal of the bus driver will
not bar recovery of damages because the acquittal was based not on a finding that he was not guilty but
only on reasonable doubt. Thus, it has been held: 4

The judgment of acquittal extinguishes the liability of the accused for damages only
when it includes a declaration that the facts from which the civil might arise did not
exist. Thus, the civil liability is not extinguished by acquittal where the acquittal is
based on reasonable doubt (PNB v. Catipon, 98 Phil. 286) as only preponderance of
evidence is required in civil cases; where the court expressly declares that the

liability of the accused is not criminal but only civil in nature (De Guzman v. Alvia, 96
Phil. 558; People v. Pantig,supra) as, for instance, in the felonies of estafa, theft, and
malicious mischief committed by certain relatives who thereby incur only civil liability
(See Art. 332, Revised Penal Code); and, where the civil liability does not arise from
or is not based upon the criminal act of which the accused was acquitted (Castro v.
Collector of Internal Revenue, 4 SCRA 1093; See Regalado, Remedial Law
Compendium, 1983 ed., p. 623).
In the present case, the dispositive portion of the decision of the RTC in the criminal case
reads:
WHEREFORE, the Court, entertaining reasonable doubt as to his guilt, the accused
is hereby acquitted, of the offense of reckless imprudence resulting to double
homicide and damage to property as charged in the Information, without
pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED. 5

It was thus error for the appellate court to skip the review of the evidence in this case and instead
base its decision on the findings of the trial court in the criminal case. In so doing, the appellate court
disregarded the fact that this case had been instituted independently of the criminal case and that
petitioners herein took no part in the criminal prosecution. In fact this action was filed below before
the prosecution presented evidence in the criminal action. The attention of the Court of Appeals was
called to the decision in the criminal case, which was decided on September 7, 1990, only when the
decision of the trial court in this case was already pending review before it (the Court of Appeals).
The appellate court did not even have before it the evidence in the criminal case. What it did was
simply to cite findings contained in the decision of the criminal court. Worse, what the criminal court
considered was reasonable doubt concerning the liability of the bus driver the appellate court
regarded as a categorical finding that the driver was not negligent and, on that basis, declared in this
case that "the proximate cause of the accident was the act of deceased Guaring in overtaking
another vehicle ahead of him." The notion that an action for quasi delict is separate and distinct from
the criminal action was thus set aside.
This case must be decided on the basis of the evidence in the civil case. This is important because the
criminal court appears to have based its decision, acquitting the bus driver on the ground of reasonable
doubt, solely on what it perceived to be the relative capacity for observation of the prosecution and
defense witnesses. 6 The prosecution did not call Bonifacio Clemente to testify despite the fact that shortly
after the accident he gave a statement to the police, pinning the blame for the accident on the Philippine
Rabbit bus driver. Indeed, the civil case involved a different set of witnesses. Petitioners presented Eligio
Enriquez who was driving the Cressida, and Bonifacio Clemente, who was a passenger in Guaring's car.
Thus, both had full view of the accident

It is unfair to bind petitioners to the result of the criminal action when the fact is that they did not take
part therein. That the witnesses presented on behalf of the petitioners are different from those
presented by the prosecution should have brought home to the appellate court the fundamental
unfairness of considering the decision in the criminal case conclusive of the civil case.
Because the Court of Appeals did not consider the evidence in the civil case, this case should be
remanded to it so that it may render another decision in accordance with the law and the evidence.
The issues raised by the petitioners are essentially factual and require the evaluation of evidence,

which is the function of the Court of Appeals in the exercise of its exclusive appellate jurisdiction.
They cannot be decided in this Court.
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals is REVERSED and this case is REMANDED to
the Court of Appeals with instruction to render judgment with reasonable dispatch in accordance with
law and the evidence presented in Civil Case No. 88-43860.
SO ORDERED.
Regalado, Romero, Puno and Torres, Jr., JJ., concur.
Footnotes
1 Rollo, p. 60.
2 98 SCRA 723, 728 (1980) (emphasis added).
3 132 SCRA 245, 248-249 (1984).
4 Padilla v. Court of Appeals, 129 SCRA 558, 565-566 (1984).
5 RTC decision, p. 31; Rollo, p. 46 (emphasis added).
6 This is apparent from the following excerpt from the decision in the criminal case
which the Court of Appeals quoted:
While Edgardo Sobrevilla was seated in the conductor's seat in the front portion of
the Philippine Rabbit Bus, Mrs. Lilian Enriquez was at the back seat of the Cressida
car. As between them, it is in accord with ordinary human experience that Edgardo
Sobrevilla was in a better position to see the actual occur[r]ence of the incident.
Confirmatory to the testimony of Edgardo Sobrevilla are the sketches (Exhs. "A" and
"A-1") drawn by Pat. Danilo Gonzales, the investigating Policeman, which reveal no
fallen debris on the North bound lane. Fallen debris could have surely occur[r]ed in
the North-bound lane if there was a violent contact between the Mitsubishi Lancer
car and the Philippine Rabbit bus in the North bound lane before the Lancer car left
its lane to encroach on the South bound lane. The sketches (Exh. "A"' and "A-1")
reveal very clearly that fallen debris are on the concrete pavement and asphalt
shoulder of the South-bound lane, clearly indicative that the collision between the
Lancer and the Cressida occur[r]ed in the lane of the latter.
The Lawphil Project - Arellano Law Foundation

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC

G.R. No. L-29640 June 10, 1971


GUILLERMO AUSTRIA, petitioner,
vs.
THE COURT OF APPEALS (Second Division), PACIFICO ABAD and MARIA G.
ABAD, respondents.
Antonio Enrile Inton for petitioner.
Jose A. Buendia for respondents.

REYES, J.B.L., J.:

Guillermo Austria petitions for the review of the decision rendered by the Court of Appeal (in CA-G.R.
No. 33572-R), on the sole issue of whether in a contract of agency (consignment of goods for sale) it
is necessary that there be prior conviction for robbery before the loss of the article shall exempt the
consignee from liability for such loss.
In a receipt dated 30 January 1961, Maria G. Abad acknowledged having received from Guillermo
Austria one (1) pendant with diamonds valued at P4,500.00, to be sold on commission basis or to be
returned on demand. On 1 February 1961, however, while walking home to her residence in
Mandaluyong, Rizal, Abad was said to have been accosted by two men, one of whom hit her on the
face, while the other snatched her purse containing jewelry and cash, and ran away. Among the
pieces of jewelry allegedly taken by the robbers was the consigned pendant. The incident became
the subject of a criminal case filed in the Court of First Instance of Rizal against certain persons
(Criminal Case No. 10649, People vs. Rene Garcia, et al.).
As Abad failed to return the jewelry or pay for its value notwithstanding demands, Austria brought in
the Court of First Instance of Manila an action against her and her husband for recovery of the
pendant or of its value, and damages. Answering the allegations of the complaint, defendants
spouses set up the defense that the alleged robbery had extinguished their obligation.
After due hearing, the trial court rendered judgment for the plaintiff, and ordered defendants
spouses, jointly and severally, to pay to the former the sum of P4,500.00, with legal interest thereon,
plus the amount of P450.00 as reasonable attorneys' fees, and the costs. It was held that defendants
failed to prove the fact of robbery, or, if indeed it was committed, that defendant Maria Abad was
guilty of negligence when she went home without any companion, although it was already getting
dark and she was carrying a large amount of cash and valuables on the day in question, and such
negligence did not free her from liability for damages for the loss of the jewelry.
Not satisfied with his decision, the defendants went to the Court of Appeals, and there secured a
reversal of the judgment. The appellate court overruling the finding of the trial court on the lack of
credibility of the two defense witnesses who testified on the occurrence of the robbery, and holding
that the facts of robbery and defendant Maria Abad's possesion of the pendant on that unfortunate
day have been duly published, declared respondents not responsible for the loss of the jewelry on
account of a fortuitous event, and relieved them from liability for damages to the owner. Plaintiff
thereupon instituted the present proceeding.

It is now contended by herein petitioner that the Court of Appeals erred in finding that there was
robbery in the case, although nobody has been found guilty of the supposed crime. It is petitioner's
theory that for robbery to fall under the category of a fortuitous event and relieve the obligor from his
obligation under a contract, pursuant to Article 1174 of the new Civil Code, there ought to be prior
finding on the guilt of the persons responsible therefor. In short, that the occurrence of the robbery
should be proved by a final judgment of conviction in the criminal case. To adopt a different view,
petitioner argues, would be to encourage persons accountable for goods or properties received in
trust or consignment to connive with others, who would be willing to be accused in court for the
robbery, in order to be absolved from civil liability for the loss or disappearance of the entrusted
articles.
We find no merit in the contention of petitioner.
It is recognized in this jurisdiction that to constitute a caso fortuito that would exempt a person from
responsibility, it is necessary that (1) the event must be independent of the human will (or rather, of the
debtor's or obligor's); (2) the occurrence must render it impossible for the debtor to fulfill the obligation in a
normal manner; and that (3) the obligor must be free of participation in or aggravation of the injury to the
creditor. 1 A fortuitous event, therefore, can be produced by nature, e.g., earthquakes, storms, floods, etc.,
or by the act of man, such as war, attack by bandits, robbery, 2 etc., provided that the event has all the
characteristics enumerated above.

It is not here disputed that if respondent Maria Abad were indeed the victim of robbery, and if it were
really true that the pendant, which she was obliged either to sell on commission or to return to
petitioner, were taken during the robbery, then the occurrence of that fortuitous event would have
extinguished her liability. The point at issue in this proceeding is how the fact of robbery is to be
established in order that a person may avail of the exempting provision of Article 1174 of the new
Civil Code, which reads as follows:
ART. 1174. Except in cases expressly specified by law, or when it is otherwise
declared by stipulation, or when the nature of the obligation requires the assumption
of risk, no person shall be responsible for those events which could not be foreseen,
or which, though foreseen, were inevitable.
It may be noted the reform that the emphasis of the provision is on the events, not on the agents or
factors responsible for them. To avail of the exemption granted in the law, it is not necessary that the
persons responsible for the occurrence should be found or punished; it would only be sufficient to
established that the enforceable event, the robbery in this case did take place without any
concurrent fault on the debtor's part, and this can be done by preponderant evidence. To require in
the present action for recovery the prior conviction of the culprits in the criminal case, in order to
establish the robbery as a fact, would be to demand proof beyond reasonable doubt to prove a fact
in a civil case.
It is undeniable that in order to completely exonerate the debtor for reason of a fortutious event, such
debtor must, in addition to the cams itself, be free of any concurrent or contributory fault or
negligence. 3 This is apparent from Article 1170 of the Civil Code of the Philippines, providing that:

ART. 1170. Those who in the performance of their obligations are guilty of fraud,
negligence, or delay, and those who in any manner contravene the tenor thereof, are
liable for damages.
It is clear that under the circumstances prevailing at present in the City of Manila and its suburbs,
with their high incidence of crimes against persons and property that renders travel after nightfall a

matter to be sedulously avoided without suitable precaution and protection, the conduct of
respondent Maria G. Abad, in returning alone to her house in the evening, carrying jewelry of
considerable value would be negligent per se and would not exempt her from responsibility in the
case of a robbery. We are not persuaded, however, that the same rule should obtain ten years
previously, in 1961, when the robbery in question did take place, for at that time criminality had not
by far reached the levels attained in the present day.
There is likewise no merit in petitioner's argument that to allow the fact of robbery to be recognized
in the civil case before conviction is secured in the criminal action, would prejudice the latter case, or
would result in inconsistency should the accused obtain an acquittal or should the criminal case be
dismissed. It must be realized that a court finding that a robbery has happened would not
necessarily mean that those accused in the criminal action should be found guilty of the crime; nor
would a ruling that those actually accused did not commit the robbery be inconsistent with a finding
that a robbery did take place. The evidence to establish these facts would not necessarily be the
same.
WHEREFORE, finding no error in the decision of the Court of Appeals under review, the petition in
this case is hereby dismissed with costs against the petitioner.
Concepcion, C.J., Dizon, Makalintal, Zaldivar, Fernando, Teehankee, Barredo, Villamor and
Makasiar, JJ., concur.
Castro, J., took no part.

Footnotes

1 Reyes & Puno, Outline of Philippine Civil Law, Vol. IV, pages 25-26, citing Lasam
vs. Smith, 45 Phil. 657, 661.
2 Tolentino, Civil Code of the Philippines, Vol. IV, 1962 ed., page 117, citing 3 Salvat
83-84.
3 V. Lachica vs. Gayoso, 48 Off. Gaz. (No. 1) 205, and cases cited; Lanaso Fruit SS
Co. vs. Univ. Ins. Co., 82 L. Ed. 422.
The Lawphil Project - Arellano Law Foundation

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
FIRST DIVISION
G.R. No. 153004

November 5, 2004

SANTOS VENTURA HOCORMA FOUNDATION, INC., petitioner,


vs.
ERNESTO V. SANTOS and RIVERLAND, INC., respondents.

DECISION

QUISUMBING, J.:
Subject of the present petition for review on certiorari is the Decision, 1 dated January 30, 2002, as well as
the April 12, 2002, Resolution2 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 55122. The appellate court
reversed the Decision,3 dated October 4, 1996, of the Regional Trial Court of Makati City, Branch 148, in
Civil Case No. 95-811, and likewise denied petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration.
The facts of this case are undisputed.
Ernesto V. Santos and Santos Ventura Hocorma Foundation, Inc. (SVHFI) were the plaintiff and
defendant, respectively, in several civil cases filed in different courts in the Philippines. On October 26,
1990, the parties executed a Compromise Agreement4 which amicably ended all their pending litigations.
The pertinent portions of the Agreement read as follows:

1. Defendant Foundation shall pay Plaintiff Santos P14.5 Million in the following manner:
a. P1.5 Million immediately upon the execution of this agreement;
b. The balance of P13 Million shall be paid, whether in one lump sum or in
installments, at the discretion of the Foundation, within a period of not more than two
(2) years from the execution of this agreement; provided, however, that in the event
that the Foundation does not pay the whole or any part of such balance, the same
shall be paid with the corresponding portion of the land or real properties subject of
the aforesaid cases and previously covered by the notices of lis pendens, under such
terms and conditions as to area, valuation, and location mutually acceptable to both
parties; but in no case shall the payment of such balance be later than two (2) years
from the date of this agreement; otherwise, payment of any unpaid portion shall only
be in the form of land aforesaid;
2. Immediately upon the execution of this agreement (and [the] receipt of the P1.5 Million),
plaintiff Santos shall cause the dismissal with prejudice of Civil Cases Nos. 88-743, 1413OR,
TC-1024, 45366 and 18166 and voluntarily withdraw the appeals in Civil Cases Nos. 4968
(C.A.-G.R. No. 26598) and 88-45366 (C.A.-G.R. No. 24304) respectively and for the
immediate lifting of the aforesaid various notices of lis pendens on the real properties
aforementioned (by signing herein attached corresponding documents, for such lifting);
provided, however, that in the event that defendant Foundation shall sell or dispose of any of
the lands previously subject of lis pendens, the proceeds of any such sale, or any part
thereof as may be required, shall be partially devoted to the payment of the Foundation's
obligations under this agreement as may still be subsisting and payable at the time of any
such sale or sales;

...
5. Failure of compliance of any of the foregoing terms and conditions by either or both
parties to this agreement shall ipso facto and ipso jure automatically entitle the aggrieved
party to a writ of execution for the enforcement of this agreement. [Emphasis supplied] 5
In compliance with the Compromise Agreement, respondent Santos moved for the dismissal of the
aforesaid civil cases. He also caused the lifting of the notices of lis pendens on the real properties
involved. For its part, petitioner SVHFI, paid P1.5 million to respondent Santos, leaving a balance of P13
million.
Subsequently, petitioner SVHFI sold to Development Exchange Livelihood Corporation two real
properties, which were previously subjects of lis pendens. Discovering the disposition made by the
petitioner, respondent Santos sent a letter to the petitioner demanding the payment of the remaining P13
million, which was ignored by the latter. Meanwhile, on September 30, 1991, the Regional Trial Court of
Makati City, Branch 62, issued a Decision6 approving the compromise agreement.
On October 28, 1992, respondent Santos sent another letter to petitioner inquiring when it would pay the
balance of P13 million. There was no response from petitioner. Consequently, respondent Santos applied
with the Regional Trial Court of Makati City, Branch 62, for the issuance of a writ of execution of its
compromise judgment dated September 30, 1991. The RTC granted the writ. Thus, on March 10, 1993,
the Sheriff levied on the real properties of petitioner, which were formerly subjects of the lis pendens.
Petitioner, however, filed numerous motions to block the enforcement of the said writ. The challenge of
the execution of the aforesaid compromise judgment even reached the Supreme Court. All these efforts,
however, were futile.
On November 22, 1994, petitioner's real properties located in Mabalacat, Pampanga were auctioned. In
the said auction, Riverland, Inc. was the highest bidder for P12 million and it was issued a Certificate of
Sale covering the real properties subject of the auction sale. Subsequently, another auction sale was held
on February 8, 1995, for the sale of real properties of petitioner in Bacolod City. Again, Riverland, Inc. was
the highest bidder. The Certificates of Sale issued for both properties provided for the right of redemption
within one year from the date of registration of the said properties.
On June 2, 1995, Santos and Riverland Inc. filed a Complaint for Declaratory Relief and
Damages7 alleging that there was delay on the part of petitioner in paying the balance of P13 million.
They further alleged that under the Compromise Agreement, the obligation became due on October 26,
1992, but payment of the remaining P12 million was effected only on November 22, 1994. Thus,
respondents prayed that petitioner be ordered to pay legal interest on the obligation, penalty, attorney's
fees and costs of litigation. Furthermore, they prayed that the aforesaid sales be declared final and not
subject to legal redemption.
In its Answer,8 petitioner countered that respondents have no cause of action against it since it had fully
paid its obligation to the latter. It further claimed that the alleged delay in the payment of the balance was
due to its valid exercise of its rights to protect its interests as provided under the Rules. Petitioner
counterclaimed for attorney's fees and exemplary damages.
On October 4, 1996, the trial court rendered a Decision 9 dismissing herein respondents' complaint and
ordering them to pay attorney's fees and exemplary damages to petitioner. Respondents then appealed to
the Court of Appeals. The appellate court reversed the ruling of the trial court:

WHEREFORE, finding merit in the appeal, the appealed Decision is hereby REVERSED and
judgment is hereby rendered ordering appellee SVHFI to pay appellants Santos and
Riverland, Inc.: (1) legal interest on the principal amount of P13 million at the rate of 12% per

annum from the date of demand on October 28, 1992 up to the date of actual payment of the
whole obligation; and (2) P20,000 as attorney's fees and costs of suit.
SO ORDERED.
Hence this petition for review on certiorari where petitioner assigns the following issues:
I

WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED REVERSIBLE ERROR


WHEN IT AWARDED LEGAL INTEREST IN FAVOR OF THE RESPONDENTS, MR.
SANTOS AND RIVERLAND, INC., NOTWITHSTANDING THE FACT THAT NEITHER IN
THE COMPROMISE AGREEMENT NOR IN THE COMPROMISE JUDGEMENT OF HON.
JUDGE DIOKNO PROVIDES FOR PAYMENT OF INTEREST TO THE RESPONDENT
II

WHETHER OF NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN AWARDING LEGAL


IN[T]EREST IN FAVOR OF THE RESPONDENTS, MR. SANTOS AND RIVERLAND, INC.,
NOTWITHSTANDING THE FACT THAT THE OBLIGATION OF THE PETITIONER TO
RESPONDENT SANTOS TO PAY A SUM OF MONEY HAD BEEN CONVERTED TO AN
OBLIGATION TO PAY IN KIND DELIVERY OF REAL PROPERTIES OWNED BY THE
PETITIONER WHICH HAD BEEN FULLY PERFORMED
III

WHETHER OR NOT RESPONDENTS ARE BARRED FROM DEMANDING PAYMENT OF


INTEREST BY REASON OF THE WAIVER PROVISION IN THE COMPROMISE
AGREEMENT, WHICH BECAME THE LAW AMONG THE PARTIES10
The only issue to be resolved is whether the respondents are entitled to legal interest.
Petitioner SVHFI alleges that where a compromise agreement or compromise judgment does not provide
for the payment of interest, the legal interest by way of penalty on account of fault or delay shall not be
due and payable, considering that the obligation or loan, on which the payment of legal interest could be
based, has been superseded by the compromise agreement. 11 Furthermore, the petitioner argues that the
respondents are barred by res judicata from seeking legal interest on account of the waiver clause in the
duly approved compromise agreement.12 Article 4 of the compromise agreement provides:

Plaintiff Santos waives and renounces any and all other claims that he and his family may
have on the defendant Foundation arising from and in connection with the aforesaid civil
cases, and defendant Foundation, on the other hand, also waives and renounces any and all
claims that it may have against plaintiff Santos in connection with such cases. 13 [Emphasis
supplied.]
Lastly, petitioner alleges that since the compromise agreement did not provide for a period within which
the obligation will become due and demandable, it is incumbent upon respondent Santos to ask for
judicial intervention for purposes of fixing the period. It is only when a fixed period exists that the legal
interests can be computed.
Respondents profer that their right to damages is based on delay in the payment of the obligation
provided in the Compromise Agreement. The Compromise Agreement provides that payment must be

made within the two-year period from its execution. This was approved by the trial court and became the
law governing their contract. Respondents posit that petitioner's failure to comply entitles them to
damages, by way of interest.14
The petition lacks merit.
A compromise is a contract whereby the parties, by making reciprocal concessions, avoid a litigation or
put an end to one already commenced.15 It is an agreement between two or more persons, who, for
preventing or putting an end to a lawsuit, adjust their difficulties by mutual consent in the manner which
they agree on, and which everyone of them prefers in the hope of gaining, balanced by the danger of
losing.16
The general rule is that a compromise has upon the parties the effect and authority of res judicata, with
respect to the matter definitely stated therein, or which by implication from its terms should be deemed to
have been included therein.17This holds true even if the agreement has not been judicially approved. 18
In the case at bar, the Compromise Agreement was entered into by the parties on October 26, 1990. 19 It
was judicially approved on September 30, 1991.20 Applying existing jurisprudence, the compromise
agreement as a consensual contract became binding between the parties upon its execution and not
upon its court approval. From the time a compromise is validly entered into, it becomes the source of the
rights and obligations of the parties thereto. The purpose of the compromise is precisely to replace and
terminate controverted claims.21
In accordance with the compromise agreement, the respondents asked for the dismissal of the pending
civil cases. The petitioner, on the other hand, paid the initial P1.5 million upon the execution of the
agreement. This act of the petitioner showed that it acknowledges that the agreement was immediately
executory and enforceable upon its execution.
As to the remaining P13 million, the terms and conditions of the compromise agreement are clear and
unambiguous. It provides:

...
b. The balance of P13 Million shall be paid, whether in one lump sum or in installments, at
the discretion of the Foundation, within a period of not more than two (2) years from the
execution of this agreement22 [Emphasis supplied.]
...
The two-year period must be counted from October 26, 1990, the date of execution of the compromise
agreement, and not on the judicial approval of the compromise agreement on September 30, 1991. When
respondents wrote a demand letter to petitioner on October 28, 1992, the obligation was already due and
demandable. When the petitioner failed to pay its due obligation after the demand was made, it incurred
delay.
Article 1169 of the New Civil Code provides:

Those obliged to deliver or to do something incur in delay from the time the obligee judicially
or extrajudicially demands from them the fulfillment of their obligation. [Emphasis supplied]
Delay as used in this article is synonymous to default or mora which means delay in the fulfillment of
obligations. It is the non-fulfillment of the obligation with respect to time. 23

In order for the debtor to be in default, it is necessary that the following requisites be present: (1) that the
obligation be demandable and already liquidated; (2) that the debtor delays performance; and (3) that the
creditor requires the performance judicially or extrajudicially.24
In the case at bar, the obligation was already due and demandable after the lapse of the two-year period
from the execution of the contract. The two-year period ended on October 26, 1992. When the
respondents gave a demand letter on October 28, 1992, to the petitioner, the obligation was already due
and demandable. Furthermore, the obligation is liquidated because the debtor knows precisely how much
he is to pay and when he is to pay it.
The second requisite is also present. Petitioner delayed in the performance. It was able to fully settle its
outstanding balance only on February 8, 1995, which is more than two years after the extra-judicial
demand. Moreover, it filed several motions and elevated adverse resolutions to the appellate court to
hinder the execution of a final and executory judgment, and further delay the fulfillment of its obligation.
Third, the demand letter sent to the petitioner on October 28, 1992, was in accordance with an extrajudicial demand contemplated by law.
Verily, the petitioner is liable for damages for the delay in the performance of its obligation. This is
provided for in Article 117025 of the New Civil Code.
When the debtor knows the amount and period when he is to pay, interest as damages is generally
allowed as a matter of right.26 The complaining party has been deprived of funds to which he is entitled by
virtue of their compromise agreement. The goal of compensation requires that the complainant be
compensated for the loss of use of those funds. This compensation is in the form of interest. 27 In the
absence of agreement, the legal rate of interest shall prevail. 28 The legal interest for loan as forbearance
of money is 12% per annum29 to be computed from default, i.e., from judicial or extrajudicial demand
under and subject to the provisions of Article 1169 of the Civil Code. 30
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED for lack of merit. The Decision dated January 30, 2002 of the Court
of Appeals and its April 12, 2002 Resolution in CA-G.R. CV No. 55122 are AFFIRMED. Costs against
petitioner.
SO ORDERED.
Davide, Jr. C.J. (Chairman), Ynares-Santiago and Carpio, JJ., concur.
Azcuna, J., on leave.

Footnotes

Rollo, pp. 39-45. Penned by Associate Justice Hilarion L. Aquino, with Associate Justices
Edgardo P. Cruz, and Amelita G. Tolentino concurring.
1

Id. at 46.

Id. at 77-82.

Records, pp. 118-123.

Id. at 38-40.

Id. at 36-40.

Id. at 1-11.

Id. at 23-35.

Id. at 151-156.

10

Rollo, p. 218.

11

Id. at 219-220.

12

Id. at 221.

13

Records, pp. 39-40.

14

Rollo, p. 149.

15

New Civil Code, Art. 2028.

Cebu International Finance Corp. v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 123031, 12 October 1999,
316 SCRA 488, 498-499 citing David v. Court of Ap
16

Libi vs. Intermediate Appellate Court,


214 SCRA 16
By LLBe:LawLifeBuzzEtcetera
Facts:
On January 14, 1979, Julie Ann Gotiong and Wendell Libi died, each from a single gunshot wound from a
revolver licensed in the name of petitioner Cresencio Libi. The respondents, parents of Julie Ann, filed a case
against the parents of Wendell to recover damages arising from the latters vicarious liability under Article
2180 of the Civil Code. The trial court dismissed the complaint. On appeal, the IAC set aside the judgment of
the lower court dismissing the complaint of Julie Anns parents.
Issue:
Whether or not Article 2180 of the Civil Code was correctly interpreted by the respondent Court to make
petitioners liable for vicarious liability.
Held:

Yes. The petitioners were gravely remiss in their duties as parents in not diligently supervising the activities of
their son. Both parents were wanting in their duty and responsibility in monitoring and knowing the activities
of their son. The petitioners utterly failed to exercise all the diligence of a good father of a family in preventing
their son from committing the crime by means of the gun which was freely accessible to Wendell Libi because
they have not regularly checked whether the gun was still under lock, but learned that it was missing from the
safety deposit box only after the crime had been committed. The civil liability of parents for quasi-delicts of
their minor children, as contemplated in Article 2180, is primary and not subsidiary.
Like this:
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Dulay vs. Court of Appeals, 243 SCRA 220
In "Case Digests (Civil Law)"