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G.R. No.

195671, January 21, 2015


ROGELIO J. GONZAGA v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES
PERLAS-BERNABE, J.:

Facts:
Dionesio Sr. and his children were ascending the curving road going to Bocboc,
Bukidnon on their proper lane on the right side of the road when a Toyota Land
Cruiser driven by Rogelio was swiftly descending the same lane from the opposite
direction. Dionesio, Sr. blew the horn of his motorcycle to signal the Land Cruiser to
return to its proper lane but the Land Cruiser remained. In order to avoid collision,
Dionesio, Sr.tried to swerve to the left, but the Land Cruiser suddenly swerved
towards the same direction and collided head-on with the motorcycle causing
Dionesios death and his childrens injury. Hence, this case of Reckless Imprudence
Resulting to Homicide with Double Serious Physical Injuries and Damage to Property.

Issue: Whether or not Rogelio is guilty of Reckless Imprudence.

SC Ruling:
YES. Reckless imprudence, as defined in Article 365 of the RPC, consists in
voluntarily, but without malice, doing or failing to do an act from which material
damage results by reason of inexcusable lack of precaution on the part of the
person performing or failing to perform such act, taking into consideration his
employment or occupation, degree of intelligence, physical condition and other
circumstances regarding persons, time and place.
In order to establish a motorists liability for the negligent operation of a vehicle, it
must be shown that there was a direct causal connection between such negligence
and the injuries or damages complained of. To constitute the offense of reckless
driving, the act must be something more than a mere negligence in the operation of
a motor vehicle a willful and wanton disregard of the consequences is
required. Willful, wanton or reckless disregard for the safety of others within the
meaning of reckless driving statutes has been held to involve a conscious choice of
a course of action which injures another, either with knowledge of serious danger to
others involved, or with knowledge of facts which would disclose the danger to any
reasonable person. Verily, it is the inexcusable lack of precaution or
conscious indifference to the consequences of the conduct which supplies
the criminal intent and brings an act of mere negligence and imprudence

under the operation of the penal law, without regard to whether the
private offended party may himself be considered likewise at fault.
Rogelios act of driving very fast on the wrong side of the road was the proximate
cause of the collision, resulting to the death of Dionesio, Sr. and serious physical
injuries to Dionesio, Jr. and Cherry. Notably, the road where the incident occurred
was a curve sloping upwards towards Brgy. Bocboc where the Inguitos were bound
and descending towards the opposite direction where Rogelio was going. Indeed,
the very fact of speeding, under such circumstances, is indicative of imprudent
behavior.
Consequently, the Court finds that Rogelio acted recklessly and imprudently in
driving at a fast speed on the wrong side of the road while approaching the curve
where the incident happened, thereby rendering him criminally liable, as well as
civilly
accountable
for
the
material
damages
resulting
therefrom.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------G.R. No. 194390, August 13, 2014
VENANCIO M. SEVILLA vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES
REYES, J.:

Facts:
Sevilla, a former councilor of Malabon City, was charged with falsification of public
document due to a false narration he made in his Personal Data Sheet (PDS) when
he answered no to the question of whether there is a pending criminal case
against him despite the pendency of a criminal case against him for assault upon an
agent of a person in authority
The Sandiganbayan found him guilty of Falsification of Public Documents Through
Reckless Imprudence. The Sandiganbayan opined that Sevilla cannot be convicted
of falsification of public document under Article 171(4) of the RPC since he did not
act with malicious intent to falsify the aforementioned entry in his PDS. However,
considering that Sevillas PDS was haphazardly and recklessly done, which resulted
in the false entry therein, the Sandiganbayan convicted Sevilla of falsification of
public document through reckless imprudence under Article 365 of the RPC.

Issue: Whether or not Sevilla can be convicted of the felony of falsification of public
document through reckless imprudence.

SC Ruling:
YES. However, the designation of the felony is erroneous.
The Sandiganbayan convicted Sevilla of reckless imprudence, punished under
Article 365 of the RPC, which resulted into the falsification of a public document.
However, the Sandiganbayan designated the felony committed as "falsification of
public document through reckless imprudence." The foregoing designation implies
that reckless imprudence is not a crime in itself but simply a modality of committing
it. Quasi-offenses under Article 365 of the RPC are distinct and separate crimes and
not a mere modality in the commission of a crime.
Were criminal negligence is but a modality in the commission of felonies, operating
only to reduce the penalty therefor, then it would be absorbed in the mitigating
circumstances of Art. 13, specially the lack of intent to commit so grave a wrong as
the one actually committed. Furthermore, the theory would require that the
corresponding penalty should be fixed in proportion to the penalty prescribed for
each crime when committed willfully. For each penalty for the willful offense, there
would then be a corresponding penalty for the negligent variety. But instead, our
Revised Penal Code (Art. 365) fixes the penalty for reckless imprudence at arresto
mayor maximum, to prision correccional[medium], if the willful act would constitute
a grave felony, notwithstanding that the penalty for the latter could range all the
way from prision mayor to death, according to the case. It can be seen that the
actual penalty for criminal negligence bears no relation to the individual willful
crime, but is set in relation to a whole class, or series, of crimes.