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G.R.No.48541

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RepublicofthePhilippines
SUPREMECOURT
Manila
THIRDDIVISION
G.R.No.48541August21,1989
BERNABECASTILLO(Inhisownbehalf,andinbehalfofSERAPIONCASTILLO,whohassincethen
becomedeceased,andEULOGIOCASTILLO,hisminorchild)andGENEROSAGALANGCASTILLO,
petitionersappellants,
vs.
THEHONORABLECOURTOFAPPEALS,JUANITOROSARIOandCRESENCIAROSARIO,respondents
appellees.
LinoR.Eugenioforpetitioners.
EduardoG.Rosarioforprivaterespondents.

FERNAN,C.J.:
Inthispetitionforreviewoncertiorari,petitionersseekthereversaloftheFebruary13,1978decisionoftheCourt
of Appeals in CAG.R. No. 52567R, entitled "Bernabe Castillo, et al. v. Juanita Rosario, et al," affirming the
dismissalbytheCourtofFirstInstanceofManilaofthecomplaintfordamagesfiledbypetitionersagainstprivate
respondents. Said dismissal was decreed on the basis of the evidence before the trial court as well as the
decisionoftheCourtofAppealsinCAG.R.No.07684CR,entitled"Peoplev.JuanitoRosario."
PetitionersandprivaterespondentsfiguredinavehicularaccidentonMay2,1965atBagac,Villasis,Pangasinan,
whichcausedinjuriestotheirpersonsanddamagetotheirrespectivevehicles.
Thepartieshaveconflictingversionsastowhatactuallytranspiredonthatfatefuldayeachpartypointingtothe
negligence of the other as the proximate cause of the accident. Thus, as expected in cases like this, the main
issueis:Whowasatfault?Accordingtothepetitioners,theaccidenthappenedasfollows:1
On May 2, 1985, at about 2:00 o'clock in the afternoon, petitioner Bernabe Castillo was driving his
jeep with Plate No. J4649 '64 Manila on the right lane of the McArthur Highway with Generosa
Castillo,hiswife,fatherSerapionCastillo,seatedinfrontandEulogioCastillo,thenaminorchild,as
passengers, bound and northward for Binmaley, Pangasinan at the rate of 25 kilometers per hour.
Just past San Nicolas bridge, Villasis, he noticed, from a distance of 120 meters more or less, a
speedingoncomingcarwithPlateNo.L27045'64Cavite,alongthesamelane(facingnorth)hewas
driving,overtakingacargotruckaheadofit.Heswitchedonhisheadlightstosignalthecartoreturn
toitsownrightlaneasthewaywasnotclearforittoovertakethetruck.
Thecarturnedouttobedrivenbytheprivaterespondent,JuanitoRosario,withhiswife,Cresencia
Rosario. The signal was disregarded, as the car proceeded on its direction southward on the right
lane(facingnorth). Inordertoevadetheimpendingcollision,petitionerBernabeCastilloswervedhis
jeep to the right towards the shoulder and applied on the brakes, and leaving his feet on it, even,
immediately after the impact. The car rested on the shoulder of the right lane. The jeep's rear left
wheelwasontheroad,leavingshorttiremarksbehinditwhilethecarleftlongtiremarks,specially
itsleftrearwheel.Thejeepsufferedashatteredwindshield,pushedinradiator.Theleftmidportion
of its bumper badly dented. The car had a flat tire on its right front wheel its right fender badly
dentedastheheadlampontopofit.Thebumberstoopeddownward,becauseitwentthruunderthe
bumperofthejeep.
l w p h 1 . t

Thedriverofthejeep,includinghispassengerssufferedphysicalinjuries.BernabeCastillo,withthe
patella of his right knee, fractured, suffered serious physical injuries, in other parts of his body.
SerapionCastillowhoseheadcrushedthroughthewindshield,wasnearlybeheaded,whiletheother
twopassengerssufferedmultipleslightandlessseriousinjuries.
Privaterespondents,ontheotherhand,havetheirownversionoftheaccidentandthusasseverateasfollows:2
Sometime in the early afternoon of May 2, 1965, the private respondents, together with their small
daughter,wereontheirwayfromSanCarlosCity(Pangasinan)toOlongapoCitywheretheyresided
atthetimeandwhereJuanitoRosario,amemberoftheUSNavy,hadbeentemporarilystationed.
Theyrodeinthefamilycar.(TSN,C.Rosario,p.35J.Rosario,pp.2,12Annex"D","Requestfor
Admission")
At or about 2:30 p.m. of the same date, as Juanito Rosario who was driving the car, and his two
passengers,werealongMacArthurHighwayinBarrioBacag,Villasis,Pangasinan,goingtowardsthe
south,theysawaheadofthemabigheavilyloadedcargotruck.(TSN,B.Castillo,p.532,Annex"B",
"RequestforAdmission")ThetruckwasmovingveryslowlybecauseofitsheavyloadsothatJuanito
Rosariodecidedtoovertakeit.Butbeforedoingso,hefirstsawtoitthattheroadwasclearandas
additionalprecautionarymeasure,heblewhishornseveraltimesatthetimehewasovertakingthe
truck.(TSN,JuanitoRosario,pp.4,11C.Rosario,pp.3141,Annex"B","RequestforAdmission")
Thenasthecarwasabouttoovertaketheslowmovingcargotruck,thecar'sfrontlefttiresuddenly
burstduetopressurecausingthecartoswervetotheleftandnaturallymakingsteeringandcontrol
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difficult. Because of the tendency of the car to veer towards the left due to the blown out tire, the
driversteeredthecartowardsthedirectionwherehecouldfindasafeplacetoparkandfixthetire.
Hefinallybroughtthecartoahaltattheleftshoulderoftheroad(facingsouth).(TSN,C.Rosario,p.
31J.Rosario,pp.4,17,Annex"D","RequestforAdmission")
Butbarelyhadthesaiddefendantparkedhiscarontheleftshoulderoftheroadandjustashewas
about to get off to fix the flat tire, the car was suddenly bumped by the jeep driven by Bernabe
Castillowhichcamefromtheoppositedirection.(TSN,C.Rosario,p.32J.Rosario,p.6,"Request
for Admission") Both vehicles were damaged, the car suffering the heavier damage. (Please see
Annex"C","RequestforAdmission")Passengersofthejeepsustainedinjurieswhilethoseofthecar
werebadlyshaken.
OnJune30,1965,acivilcasefortherecoveryofdamagesfortheinjuriessustainedbypetitionersandforthe
damagetotheirvehicleasaresultofthecollision,wasinstitutedbythepetitionersintheCourtofFirstInstanceof
Manila. While this case was pending, the Provincial Fiscal of Pangasinan filed an information dated September
29, 1965 against Juanito Rosario, private respondent herein, for double physical injuries double less serious
physical injuries and damage to property thru reckless imprudence, in the Court of First Instance of Urdaneta.
RespondentJuanitoRosariowasprosecutedandconvictedbythetrialcourtinthecriminalcase.Heappealedto
theCourtofAppeals,whichrenderedadecision 3 acquitting him from the crime charged on the ground that his guilt
hasnotbeenprovedbeyondreasonabledoubt.

In the meantime, private respondents thru counsel, filed a "Request for Admission" 4 on April 3, 1972 in the civil
case, requesting petitioners to admit the truthfulness of the facts set forth therein as well as the correctness and
genuineness of the documents attached thereto. On May 5,1972, petitioners filled a "Manifestation", 5 admitting the
allegations in the "Request for Admission" with some qualifications. Later, both parties submitted their respective
memoranda.

Onthebasisofthetestimoniesandevidencesubmittedbythepetitioners,aswellastherecordsofthecriminal
case attached in the "Request for Admission" of the private respondents, the Court of First Instance of Manila
renderedadecision 6onDecember28,1972,dismissingthecomplaintofthepetitionersagainstprivaterespondentsas
well as the counterclaim of private respondents against the petitioners. On January 24, 1973, petitioners appealed to the
Court of Appeals. On February 13, 1978, the Court of Appeals affirmed the decision 7 of the Court of First Instance of
Manila.

Hence,thepresentpetitionforreviewoncertiorari. 8 The petitionersappellants raise in issue before Us the following


questions,towit:

1)IsthedecisionoftheCourtofAppeals,whereitsdispositivepart,or"fallo",statesthattheguiltof
the(appellant)accusedwasnotprovedbeyondreasonabledoubtfinalandconclusive,onanaction
fordamagesbasedonquasidelict?
2) Are the testimonies given in a criminal case, without strict compliance with Section 41 Rule 130
and without opportunity to cross examine the witnesses who made these testimonies, admissible
evidenceinasubsequentcaseandcanbethebasisofavaliddecision?
3) Is an action for damages based on quasidelict barred by a decision of the appellate court
acquitting the accused, the body of which lays the blame on the plaintiff but in its dispositive part,
declarestheguiltoftheaccusednotprovedbeyondreasonabledoubt?9
The main thrust of this petition for review which stems from a cause of action based on quasidelict or culpa
aquiliana(beingarecoveryfordamagesarisingfromthevehicularaccident),isthatpetitionersweredeprivedof
dueprocessbecausetheircivilactionwasdecidedonthebasisofprivaterespondentJuanitaRosario'sacquittal
inthecriminalcaseforrecklessimprudence.
There is no dispute that the subject action for damages, being civil in nature, is separate and distinct from the
criminalaspect,necessitatingonlyapreponderanceofevidence.Accordingtoanumberofcases,10aquasidelict
orculpaaquilianaisaseparatelegalinstitutionundertheCivilCode,withasubstantivelyallitsown,andindividualitythatis
entirelyapartandindependentfromadelictorcrime.Adistinctionexistsbetweenthecivilliabilityarisingfromacrimeand
the responsibility for quasidelicts or culpa extracontractual. The same negligence causing damages may produce civil
liabilityarisingfromacrimeunderthePenalCode,orcreateanactionforquasidelictosorculpaextracontractualunderthe
CivilCode.Therefore,theacquittalorconvictioninthecriminalcaseisentirelyirrelevantinthecivilcase.11

InthecaseofAzucenav.Potenciano,L14028,June30,1962,5SCRA468,470471,thisCourtheld:
...inthecriminalcaseforrecklessimprudenceresultinginseriousphysicalinjuries...,thejudgment
of acquittal does not operate to extinguish the civil liability of the defendant based on the same
incident. The civil action is entirely independent of the criminal case according to Articles 33 and
2177oftheCivilCode.Therecanbenologicalconclusionthanthis,fortosubordinatethecivilaction
contemplatedinthesaidarticlestotheresultofthecriminalprosecutionwhetheritbeconviction
oracquittalwouldrendermeaninglesstheindependentcharacterofthecivilactionandtheclear
injunction in Article 31, that his action may proceed independently of the criminal proceedings and
regardlessoftheresultofthelatter.
Butthisruleisnotwithoutexception.Thus,Section2(c)ofRule111oftheRulesofCourtprovides:
Extinction of the penal action does not carry with it extinction of the civil, unless the extinction
proceedsfromadeclarationfromafinaljudgmentthatthefactfromwhichthecivilactionmightarise
didnotexist.
Inapreviouscase,CAG.R.No.07684CR,Peoplev.Rosario,theCourtofAppealsafterapainstakinganalysis
of.(a)thetestimonialevidence(b)therelativepositionsofthetwovehiclesasdepictedinthesketches(c)the
distanceofeachofthetwovehiclesfromthecementededgeoftheroad(d)thepointofimpact(e)thevisible
tiremarks,and(f)theextentofthedamagecauseduponeachofthetwovehicles,ruledthatitwasthedriverof
thejeepandnottheaccuseddriverofthecarwhowasnegligentandaccordinglyacquittedthelatter.12

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Negligence,beingthesourceandfoundationofactionsofquasidelict,isthebasisfortherecoveryofdamages.
Inthecaseatbar,theCourtofAppealsfoundthatnonegligencewascommittedbyJuanitoRosariotowarrantan
awardofdamagestothepetitioners.
RespondentAppellateCourtstates:
InacquittingdefendantappelleeJuanitoRosarioinCAG.R.No.07684CRonOctober28,1968,this
CourtheldthatthecollisionwasnotduetothenegligenceofJuanitoRosariobutitwasCastillo'sown
actofdrivingthejeeptotheshoulder[oftheroad]wherethecarwasthatwasactuallytheproximate
causeofthecollision.'(Ibid.,p.183)Withthisfinding,thisCourtactuallyexoneratedappelleeJuanito
Rosariofromcivilliability.Sinceplaintiffsappellants'civilactionispredicateduponJuanitoRosario's
alleged negligence which does not exist, it follows that his acquittal in the criminal action, which is
alreadyfinal,carriedwithittheextinctionofcivilresponsibilityarisingtherefrom.(Corpusvs.Paje,28
SCRA 1062, 1064, 1067 Faraon vs. Priela, 24 SCRA 582, 583 De Soriano vs. Albornoz, 98 Phil.
785,787788Tanvs.StandardVacuumOilCo.,91Phil.672,675).13
ItwastheCourtofAppealsfindingsthatthecollisionwasnotduetothenegligenceofJuanitaRosariobutratherit
wasCastillo'sownactofdrivingthejeeptotheshoulderoftheroadwherethecarwas,whichwasactuallythe
proximate cause of the collision. With this findings, the Court of Appeals exonerated Juanito Rosario from civil
liabilityonthegroundthattheallegednegligencedidnotexist.
Asearlierstated,thequestioneddecisionoftheCourtofAppealswasanaffirmationofthedecisionoftheCourt
ofFirstInstanceofManila.DuringthetrialofthecasebeforetheCourtofFirstInstance,theprivaterespondents
werenotpresent,inviewofthefactthattheywereoutofthecountryatthattime.Theircounselintroducedas
partoftheirevidence,therecordsinthecriminalcase,inaccordancewithSection41,Rule130oftheRulesof
Court.14Theserecordswereattachedtotheir"RequestforAdmission"andweresubstantiallyadmittedbypetitioners.The
said records were mostly composed of transcripts of the hearing in the criminal case. Petitioners raised, as one of their
objections,theproprietyandcorrectnessofadmittingandadoptingthesetranscriptsaspartoftherecordinthecivilcase.
Accordingtothem,thisisaviolationofSection41,Rule130oftheRulesofCourt,onthegroundthatpetitionerswerenot
given the opportunity to crossexamine. We have to disagree. A careful reading of the transcripts would reveal that then
counsel for petitioners, Atty. Nicodemo Ferrer, actively participated during the proceedings of the criminal case. He raised
variousobjections,15inthecourseofthetrial.Petitioners,therefore,thrucounselhadtheopportunitytocrossexaminethe
witnesses.

Thus,theadmissionofthesaidtestimoniescannotbesetaside.
Finally, in a long line of decisions, this Court has held time and again that the findings of facts by the Court of
AppealsareconclusiveandnotreviewablebytheSupremeCourt.16
InMacadangdangv.CourtofAppeals,100SCRA73andTolentinov.DeJesus,56SCRA167,itwasheldthat:
Findings of fact of the Court of Appeals are conclusive on the parties and on the Supreme Court,
unless (1) the conclusion is a finding grounded entirely on speculations, surmises and conjectures
(2) the inference made is manifestly mistaken (3) there is grave abuse of discretion (4) the
judgmentisbasedonmisapprehensionoffacts(5)theCourtofAppealswentbeyondtheissuesof
the case and its findings are contrary to the admission of both appellant and appellee (6) the
findings of facts of the Court of Appeals are contrary to those of the trial court (7) said findings of
factsareconclusionswithoutcitationofspecificevidenceonwhichtheyarebased(8)thefactsset
forth in the petition as well as in the petitioner's main and reply briefs are not disputed by the
respondentand(9)whenthefindingoffactsoftheCourtofAppealsispremisedontheabsenceof
evidenceandiscontradictedbyevidenceonrecord.
Finding that the questioned decision does not fall under any of the exceptions cited above, we find no cogent
reasontodisturbthefindingsandconclusionsoftheCourtofAppeals.
WHEREFORE,inviewoftheforegoing,thepetitionisherebydenied.Nopronouncementastocosts.
SOORDERED.
Gutierrez,Jr.,Feliciano,BidinandCortes,JJ.,concur.

Footnotes
1Rollo,p.110,BriefofPetitioners,pp.13.
2Rollo,pp.144146.
3Rollo,p.122,CasedocketedasCAG.R.No.07684CRbytheFirstDivision,composedof
PresidingJusticeJulioVillamor,ponenteJusticesHermogenesConcepcion,Jr.andAngelH.Mojica,
concurring.
4Rollo,p.47RecordonAppeal,pp.6368.
5Rollo,p.47RecordonAppeal,pp.7981.
6Rollo,p.47RecordonAppeal,pp.168188,pennedbyJudgeHilarionV.Jarencio.
7Rollo,pp.123128,CasedocketedasCAG.R.52567R,bytheEightDivision,composedof
JusticeCrisolitoPascual,ponente,andJusticesMarianoAgcaoiliandRafaelClimaco,concurring.
8Rollo,pp.745.
9Rollo,p.110BriefofPetitioners,pp.56.
10Diana,etal.v.BatangasTransportationCo.,L4920,June29,1953,93Phil.391,395Lanuzov.
SyBonPing,etal.,L53064,September25,1980,100SCRA205Garcia,etal.v.JudgeFloridaet
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al.,L35095,August31,1973,52SCRA420.
11Dionisio,etal.v.Hon.Alvendia,L10567,November26,1957,102Phil.443Chanv.Hon.Yatco,
L11163,April30,1958,103Phil.1126BatangasLagunaTayabasBusCo.,Inc.,etal.v.Courtof
Appeals,et.al.,L3313839,June27,1975,64SCRA427Elcanov.Hill,L24803,May26,1977,77
SCRA98Virata,etal.v.Ochoa,L46179,January31,1978,81SCRA472HeirsofPedroTayagv.
Alcantara,et.al.,L50959,July23,1980,98SCRA723.
12Rollo,pp.114122.
13Rollo,pp.127128.
14Rule111,Section41.TESTIMONYATAFORMERTRIAL.Thetestimonyofawitnessdeceased
oroutofthePhilippines,orunabletotestify,giveninaformercasebetweenthesameparties
relatingtothesamematter,theadversepartyhavinghadanopportunitytocrossexaminehim,may
begiveninevidence.
15OriginalRecord,pp.101,104,106&107.
16PhilippineSurety&InsuranceCo.,v.Zabal,21SCRA682PALv.Salcedo,21SCRA372Coingco
v.Flores,82Phil.284Fongv.Javier,107Phil.392Castillov.Pasco,11SCRA103Laperalv.
William,13SCRA27Conejerov.CourtofAppeals,16SCRA775Sta.Anav.Hernandez,18SCRA
973RizalCementv.Villareal,135SCRA16[19853DulosRealtyv.C.A.,157SCRA426Directorof
Landsv.Funtillo,142SCRA57(1986).
TheLawphilProjectArellanoLawFoundation

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