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G.R. No.

L-25142 March 25, 1975

PHILIPPINE RABBIT BUS LINES, INC. and FELIX PANGALANGAN, plaintiffs-appellants,

vs.

PHIL-AMERICAN FORWARDERS, INC., ARCHIMEDES J. BALINGIT and FERNANDO PINEDA, defendants-


appellees.

Angel A. Sison for plaintiffs-appellants.

Fidel Zosimo U. Canilao for defendants-appellees.

AQUINO, J.:ñé+.£ªwph!1

Philippine Rabbit Bus Lines, Inc. and Felix Pangalangan appealed on pure questions of law from the
order of the Court of First Instance of Tarlac, dismissing their complaint against Archimedes J. Balingit.

The dismissal was based on the ground that Balingit as the manager of Phil-American Forwarders, Inc.,
which together with Fernando Pineda and Balingit, was sued for damages in an action based on quasi-
delict or culpa aquiliana, is not the manager of an establishment contemplated in article 2180 of the Civil
Code (Civil Case No. 3865).

In the complaint for damages filed by the bus company and Pangalangan against Phil-American
Forwarders, Inc., Balingit and Pineda, it was alleged that on November 24, 1962, Pineda drove recklessly
a freight truck, owned by Phil-American Forwarders, Inc., along the national highway at Sto. Tomas,
Pampanga. The truck bumped the bus driven by Pangalangan, which was owned by Philippine Rabbit
Bus Lines, Inc. As a result of the bumping, Pangalangan suffered injuries and the bus was damaged and
could not be used for seventy-nine days, thus depriving the company of earnings amounting to
P8,665.51. Balingit was the manager of Phil-American Forwarders, Inc.
Among the defenses interposed by the defendants in their answer was that Balingit was not Pineda's
employer.

Balingit moved that the complaint against him be dismissed on the ground that the bus company and
the bus driver had no cause of action against him. As already stated, the lower court dismissed the
action as to Balingit. The bus company and its driver appealed.

The Civil Code provides:têñ.£îhqwâ£

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 quasi-delict and is governed by the provisions of this Chapter.

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

xxx xxx xxx

The owners and managers of an establishment or enterprise are likewise responsible for damages
caused by their employees in the service of the branches in which the latter are employed or on the
occasion of their functions.

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

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. (1903a)
The novel and unprecedented legal issue in this appeal is whether the terms "employers" and "owners
and managers of an establishment or enterprise" (dueños o directores de un establicimiento o empresa)
used in article 2180 of the Civil Code, formerly article 1903 of the old Code, embrace the manager of a
corporation owning a truck, the reckless operation of which allegedly resulted in the vehicular accident
from which the damage arose.

We are of the opinion that those terms do not include the manager of a corporation. It may be gathered
from the context of article 2180 that the term "manager" ("director" in the Spanish version) is used in
the sense of "employer".

Hence, under the allegations of the complaint, no tortious or quasi-delictual liability can be fastened on
Balingit as manager of Phil-American Forwarders, Inc., in connection with the vehicular accident already
mentioned because he himself may be regarded as an employee or dependiente of his employer, Phil-
American Forwarders, Inc.

Thus, it was held "que es dependiente, a los efectos de la responsabilidad subsidiaria establecida en el
num 3.0 del (art.) 1903, el director de un periodico explotado por una sociedad, porque cualquiera que
sea su jerarquia y aunque Ileve la direccion de determinadas convicciones politicas no por eso deja de
estar subordinado a la superior autoridad de la Empresa" (Decision of Spanish Supreme Court dated
December 6, 1912 cited in 12 Manresa, Codigo Civil Español 5th Ed. 662; 1913 Enciclopedia Juridica
Española 992).

The bus company and its driver, in their appellants' brief, injected a new factual issue which was not
alleged in their complaint. They argue that Phil- American Forwarders, Inc. is merely a business conduit
of Balingit because out of its capital stock with a par value of P41,200, Balingit and his wife had
subscribed P40,000 and they paid P10,000 on their subscription, while the other incorporators, namely,
Rodolfo Limjuco, Ponciano Caparas and Rafael Suntay paid P250.25 and P25, respectively.

That argument implies that the veil of corporate fiction should be pierced and that Phil-American
Forwarders, Inc. and Balingit and his wife should be treated as one and the same civil personality.
We cannot countenance that argument in this appeal. It was not raised in the lower court. The case has
to be decided on the basis of the pleadings filed in the trial court where it was assumed that Phil-
American Forwarders, Inc. has a personality separate and distinct from that of the Balingit spouses.

The legal issue, which the plaintiffs-appellants can ventilate in this appeal, is one which was raised in the
lower court and which is within the issues framed by the parties (Sec. 18, Rule 46, Rules of Court).

When a party deliberately adopts a certain theory and the case is decided upon that theory in the court
below, he will not be permitted to change his theory on appeal because, to permit him to do so, could
be unfair to the adverse party (2 Moran's Comments on the Rules of Court, 1970 Ed. p. 505).

WHEREFORE, the lower court's order of dismissal is affirmed. Costs against the plaintiffs-appellants.

SO ORDERED.

PANTRANCO NORTH EXPRESS, INC., Petitioner, v. MARICAR BASCOS BAESA, thru her personal guardian
FRANCISCA O. BASCOS, FE O. ICO, in her behalf and in behalf of her minor children, namely ERWIN,
OLIVE, EDMUNDO and SHARON ICO, Respondents.

Efren N. Ambrosio & Associates for petitioner PNEI.

Emiliano S. Micu for Respondents.

SYLLABUS
1. CIVIL LAW; DAMAGES; LAST CLEAR CHANCE DOCTRINE; WHEN APPLICABLE. — The doctrine of
last clear chance applies only in a situation where the defendant, having the last fair chance to avoid the
impending harm and failed to do so, becomes liable for all the consequences of the accident
notwithstanding the prior negligence of the plaintiff.

2. ID.; ID.; ID.; CONDITION TO MAKE DOCTRINE APPLICABLE. — In order that the doctrine of last
clear chance may be applied, it must be shown that the person who allegedly had the last opportunity to
avert the accident was aware of the existence of the peril or with exercise of due care should have been
aware of it.

3. ID.; ID.; ID.; NOT APPLICABLE TO PERSON ACTING INSTANTANEOUSLY OR BY AVAILABLE MEANS.
— This doctrine of last chance has no application to a case where a person is to act instantaneously, and
if the injury cannot be avoided by using all means available after the peril is or should have been
discovered.

4. ID.; ID.; PROVISION OF R.A. NO. 4136 RE VEHICLE ENTERING A THROUGH HIGHWAY OR A STOP
INTERSECTION. — Section 43 (c), Article III, Chapter IV of Republic Act No. 1436 cannot apply to case a
bar where at the time of the accident, the jeepney had already crossed the intersection.

5. ID.; ID.; NEGLIGENCE; BURDEN OF PROOF LIES ON THE EMPLOYER. — A finding of negligence on
the part of the driver establishes a presumption that the employer has been negligent and the latter has
the burden of proof that it has exercised due negligence not only in the selection of its employees but
also in adequately supervising their work.

6. ID.; ID.; FAILURE TO PRESENT EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT CLAIM FOR DAMAGES. — Plaintiff’s failure
to present documentary evidence to support their claim for damages for loss of earning capacity of the
deceased victim does not bar recovery of the damages, if such loss may be based sufficiently on their
testimonies.

7. ID.; ID.; INDEMNITY FIXED AT P30,000. — The indemnity for the death of a person was fixed by
this Court at (P30,000.00).
DECISION

CORTES, J.:

In this Petition, Pantranco North Express Inc. (PANTRANCO), asks the Court to review the decision of the
Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. No. 05494-95 which affirmed the decisions of the Court of First Instance of
Rosales, Pangasinan in Civil Case No. 561-R and Civil Case No. 589-R wherein PANTRANCO was ordered
to pay damages and attorney’s fees to herein private respondents.chanrobles virtual lawlibrary

The pertinent fact are as follows:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

At about 7:00 o’clock in the morning of June 12, 1981, the spouses Ceasar and Marilyn Baesa and their
children Harold Jim, Marcelino and Maricar, together with spouses David Ico and Fe O. Ico with their son
Erwin Ico and seven other persons, were aboard a passenger jeepney on their way to a picnic at
Malalam River, Ilagan, Isabela, to celebrate the fifth wedding anniversary of Ceasar and Marilyn Baesa.

The group, numbering fifteen (15) persons, rode in the passenger jeepney driven by David Ico, who was
also the registered owner thereof. From Ilagan, Isabela, they proceeded to Barrio Capayacan to deliver
some viands to one Mrs. Bascos and thenceforth to San Felipe, taking the highway going to Malalam
River. Upon reaching the highway, the jeepney turned right and proceeded to Malalam River at a speed
of about 20 kph. While they were proceeding towards Malalam River, a speeding PANTRANCO bus from
Aparri, on its regular route to Manila, encroached on the jeepney’s lane while negotiating a curve, and
collided with it.

As a result of the accident David Ico, spouses Ceasar Baesa and Marilyn Baesa and their children, Harold
Jim and Marcelino Baesa, died while the rest of the passengers suffered injuries. The jeepney was
extensively damaged. After the accident the driver of the PANTRANCO Bus, Ambrosio Ramirez, boarded
a car and proceeded to Santiago, Isabela. From that time on up to the present, Ramirez has never been
seen and has apparently remained in hiding.
All the victims and/or their surviving heirs except herein private respondents settled the case amicably
under the "No Fault" insurance coverage of PANTRANCO.

Maricar Baesa through her guardian Francisca O. Bascos and Fe O. Ico for herself and for her minor
children, filed separate actions for damages arising from quasi-delict against PANTRANCO, respectively
docketed as Civil Case No. 561-R and 589-R of the Court of First Instance of Pangasinan.

In its answer, PANTRANCO, aside from pointing to the late David Ico’s alleged negligence as the
proximate cause of the accident, invoked the defense of due diligence in the selection and supervision
of its driver, Ambrosio Ramirez.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

On July 3, 1984, the CFI of Pangasinan rendered a decision against PANTRANCO awarding the total
amount of Two Million Three Hundred Four Thousand Six Hundred Forty-Seven (P2,304,647.00) as
damages, plus 10% thereof as attorney’s fees and costs to Maricar Baesa in Civil Case No. 561-R, and the
total amount of Six Hundred Fifty Two Thousand Six Hundred Seventy-Two Pesos (P652,672.00) as
damages, plus 10% thereof as attorney’s fees and costs to Fe Ico and her children in Civil Case No. 589-R.
On appeal, the cases were consolidated and the Court of Appeals modified the decision of the trial court
by ordering PANTRANCO to pay the total amount of One Million One Hundred Eighty-Nine Thousand
Nine Hundred Twenty Seven Pesos (P1,189,927.00) as damages, plus Twenty Thousand Pesos
(P20,000.00) as attorney’s fees to Maricar Baesa, and the total amount of Three Hundred Forty-Four
Thousand Pesos (P344,000.00) plus Ten Thousand Pesos (P10,000.00) as attorney’s fees to Fe Ico and
her children, and to pay the costs in both cases. The dispositive portion of the assailed decision reads as
follows:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is hereby modified by ordering the defendant PANTRANCO
North Express, Inc. to pay:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

I. The plaintiff in Civil Case No. 561-R, Maricar Bascos Baesa, the following damages:chanrob1es
virtual 1aw library

A) As compensatory damages for the death of Ceasar Baesa — P30,000.00;

B) As compensatory damages for the death of Marilyn Baesa — P30,000.00;


C) As compensatory damages for the death of Harold Jim Baesa and Marcelino Baesa —
P30,000.00;

D) For the loss of earnings of Ceasar Baesa — P630,000.00;

E) For the loss of earnings of Marilyn Bascos Baesa — P375,000.00;

F) For the burial expenses of the deceased Ceasar and Marilyn Baesa — P41,200.00;

G) For hospitalization expenses of Maricar Baesa — P3,727.00;

H) As moral damages — P50,000.00;

I) As attorney’s fees — P20,000.00;

II. The plaintiffs in Civil Case No. 589-R, the following damages:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

A) As compensatory damages for the death of David Ico — P30,000.00;

B) For loss of earning capacity of David Ico — P252,000.00;

C) As moral damages for the death of David Ico and the injury of Fe Ico — P30,000.00

D) As payment for the jeepney — P20,000.00;


E) For the hospitalization of Fe Ico — P12,000.000;

F) And for attorney’s fees — P10,000.00;

and to pay the costs in both cases.

The amount of P25,000 paid to Maricar Bascos Baesa, plaintiff in Civil Case No. 561-R, and the medical
expenses in the sum of P3,273.55, should be deducted from the award in her favor.chanrobles virtual
lawlibrary

All the foregoing amounts herein awarded except the costs shall earn interest at the legal rate from date
of this decision until fully paid. [CA Decision, pp. 14-15; Rollo, pp. 57-58.]

PANTRANCO filed a motion for reconsideration of the Court of Appeal’s decision, but on June 26, 1987,
it denied the same for lack of merit. PANTRANCO then filed the instant petition for review.

Petitioner faults the Court of Appeals for not applying the doctrine of the "last clear chance" against the
jeepney driver. Petitioner claims that under the circumstances of the case, it was the driver of the
passenger jeepney who had the last clear chance to avoid the collision and was therefore negligent in
failing to utilize with reasonable care and competence his then existing opportunity to avoid the harm.

The doctrine of the last clear chance was defined by this Court in the case of Ong v. Metropolitan Water
District, 104 Phil. 397 (1958), in this wise:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

The doctrine of the last clear chance simply, means that the negligence of a claimant does not preclude
a recovery for the negligence of defendant where it appears that the latter, by exercising reasonable
care and prudence, might have avoided injurious consequences to claimant notwithstanding his
negligence.

The doctrine applies only in a situation where the plaintiff was guilty of prior or antecedent negligence
but the defendant, who had the last fair chance to avoid the impending harm and failed to do so, is
made liable for all the consequences of the accident notwithstanding the prior negligence of the plaintiff
[Picart v. Smith, 37 Phil. 809 (1918); Glan People’s Lumber and Hardware, Et. Al. v. Intermediate
Appellate Court, Cecilia Alferez Vda. de Calibo, Et Al., G.R. No. 70493, May 18, 1989]. The subsequent
negligence of the defendant in failing to exercise ordinary care to avoid injury to plaintiff becomes the
immediate or proximate cause of the accident which intervenes between the accident and the more
remote negligence of the plaintiff, thus making the defendant liable to the plaintiff [Picart v. Smith,
supra].

Generally, the last clear chance doctrine is invoked for the purpose of making a defendant liable to a
plaintiff who was guilty of prior or antecedent negligence, although it may also be raised as a defense to
defeat claim for damages.chanrobles lawlibrary : rednad

To avoid liability for the negligence of its driver, petitioner claims that the original negligence of its
driver was not the proximate cause of the accident and that the sole proximate cause was the
supervening negligence of the jeepney driver David Ico in failing to avoid the accident. It is petitioner’s
position that even assuming arguendo, that the bus encroached into the lane of the jeepney, the driver
of the latter could have swerved the jeepney towards the spacious dirt shoulder on his right without
danger to himself or his passengers.

The above contention of petitioner is manifestly devoid of merit.

Contrary to the petitioner’s contention, the doctrine of "last clear chance" finds no application in this
case. For the doctrine to be applicable, it is necessary to show that the person who allegedly had the last
opportunity to avert the accident was aware of the existence of the peril or should, with exercise of due
care, have been aware of it. One cannot be expected to avoid an accident or injury if he does not know
or could not have known the existence of the peril. In this case, there is nothing to show that the
jeepney driver David Ico knew of the impending danger. When he saw at a distance that the
approaching bus was encroaching on his lane, he did not immediately swerve the jeepney to the dirt
shoulder on his right since he must have assumed that the bus driver will return the bus to its own lane
upon seeing the jeepney approaching from the opposite direction. As held by this Court in the case of
Vda. De Bonifacio v. BLTB, G.R. No. L-26810, August 31, 1970, 34 SCRA 618, a motorist who is properly
proceeding on his own side of the highway is generally entitled to assume that an approaching vehicle
coming towards him on the wrong side, will return to his proper lane of traffic. There was nothing to
indicate to David Ico that the bus could not return to its own lane or was prevented from returning to
the proper lane by anything beyond the control of its driver. Leo Marantan, an alternate driver of the
Pantranco bus who was seated beside the driver Ramirez at the time of the accident, testified that
Ramirez had no choice but to swerve the steering wheel to the left and encroach on the jeepney’s lane
because there was a steep precipice on the right [CA Decision, p. 2; Rollo, p. 45]. However, this is belied
by the evidence on record which clearly shows that there was enough space to swerve the bus back to
its own lane without any danger [CA Decision, p. 7; Rollo, p. 50].

Moreover, both the trial court and the Court of Appeals found that at the time of the accident the
Pantranco bus was speeding towards Manila [CA Decision, p. 2; Rollo, p. 45]. By the time David Ico must
have realized that the bus was not returning to its own lane, it was already too late to swerve the
jeepney to his right to prevent an accident. The speed at which the approaching bus was running
prevented David Ico from swerving the jeepney to the right shoulder of the road in time to avoid the
collision. Thus, even assuming that the jeepney driver perceived the danger a few seconds before the
actual collision, he had no opportunity to avoid it. This Court has held that the last clear chance doctrine
"can never apply where the party charged is required to act instantaneously, and if the injury cannot be
avoided by the application of all means at hand after the peril is or should have been discovered" [Ong v.
Metropolitan Water District, supra].chanrobles.com : virtual law library

Petitioner likewise insists that David Ico was negligent in failing to observe Section 43 (c), Article III
Chapter IV of Republic Act No. 4136 * which provides that the driver of a vehicle entering a through
highway or a stop intersection shall yield the right of way to all vehicles approaching in either direction
on such through highway.

Petitioner’s misplaced reliance on the aforesaid law is readily apparent in this case. The cited law itself
provides that it applies only to vehicles entering a through highway or a stop intersection. At the time of
the accident, the jeepney had already crossed the intersection and was on its way to Malalam River.
Petitioner itself cited Fe Ico’s testimony that the accident occurred after the jeepney had travelled a
distance of about two (2) meters from the point of intersection [Petition p. 10; Rollo, p. 27]. In fact, even
the witness for the petitioner, Leo Marantan, testified that both vehicles were coming from opposite
directions [CA Decision, p. 7; Rollo, p. 50], clearly indicating that the jeepney had already crossed the
intersection.
Considering the foregoing, the Court finds that the negligence of petitioner’s driver in encroaching into
the lane of the incoming jeepney and in failing to return the bus to its own lane immediately upon
seeing the jeepney coming from the opposite direction was the sole and proximate cause of the
accident without which the collision would not have occurred. There was no supervening or intervening
negligence on the part of the jeepney driver which would have made the prior negligence of petitioner’s
driver a mere remote cause of the accident.

II

On the issue of its liability as an employer, petitioner claims that it had observed the diligence of a good
father of a family to prevent damage, conformably to the last paragraph of Article 2180 of the Civil Code.
Petitioner adduced evidence to show that in hiring its drivers, the latter are required to have
professional driver’s license and police clearance. The drivers must also pass written examinations,
interviews and practical driving tests, and are required to undergo a six-month training period. Rodrigo
San Pedro, petitioner’s Training Coordinator, testified on petitioner’s policy of conducting regular and
continuing training programs and safety seminars for its drivers, conductors, inspectors and supervisors
at a frequency rate of at least two (2) seminars a month.

On this point, the Court quotes with approval the following findings of the trial court which was adopted
by the Court of Appeals in its challenged decision:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

When an injury is caused by the negligence of an employee, there instantly arises a presumption that
the employer has been negligent either in the selection of his employees or in the supervision over their
acts. Although this presumption is only a disputable presumption which could be overcome by proof of
diligence of a good father of a family, this Court believes that the evidence submitted by the defendant
to show that it exercised the diligence of a good father of a family in the case of Ramirez, as a company
driver is far from sufficient. No support evidence has been adduced. The professional driver’s license of
Ramirez has not been produced. There is no proof that he is between 25 to 38 years old. There is also no
proof as to his educational attainment, his age, his weight and the fact that he is married or not. Neither
are the result of the written test, psychological and physical test, among other tests, have been
submitted in evidence [sic]. His NBI or police clearances and clearances from previous employment were
not marked in evidence. No evidence was presented that Ramirez actually and really attended the
seminars. Vital evidence should have been the certificate of attendance or certificate of participation or
evidence of such participation like a logbook signed by the trainees when they attended the seminars. If
such records are not available, the testimony of the classmates that Ramirez was their classmate in said
seminar (should have been presented) [CA Decision, pp. 8-9; Rollo, pp. 51-52].chanrobles law library

Petitioner contends that the fact that Ambrosio Ramirez was employed and remained as its driver only
means that he underwent the same rigid selection process and was subjected to the same strict
supervision imposed by petitioner on all applicants and employees. It is argued by the petitioner that
unless proven otherwise, it is presumed that petitioner observed its usual recruitment procedure and
company polices on safety and efficiency [Petition, p. 20; Rollo, p. 37].

The Court finds the above contention unmeritorious.

The finding of negligence on the part of its driver Ambrosio Ramirez gave rise to the presumption of
negligence on the part of petitioner and the burden of proving that it exercised due diligence not only in
the selection of its employees but also in adequately supervising their work rests with the petitioner
[Lilius v. Manila Railroad Company, 59 Phil. 758 (1934); Umali v. Bacani, G.R. No. L-40570, June 30, 1976,
69 SCRA 623]. Contrary to petitioner’s claim, there is no presumption that the usual recruitment
procedures and safety standards were observed. The mere issuance of rules and regulations and the
formulation of various company policies on safety, without showing that they are being complied with,
are not sufficient to exempt petitioner from liability arising from the negligence of its employee. 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. Petitioner failed to do this.
Hence, the Court finds no cogent reason to disturb the finding of both the trial court and the Court of
Appeals that the evidence presented by the petitioner, which consists mainly of the uncorroborated
testimony of its Training Coordinator, is insufficient to overcome the presumption of negligence against
petitioner.cralawnad

III

On the question of damages, petitioner claims that the Court of Appeals erred in fixing the damages for
the loss of earning capacity of the deceased victims. Petitioner assails respondent court’s findings
because no documentary evidence in support thereof, such as income tax returns, pay-rolls, pay slips or
invoices obtained in the usual course of business, were presented [Petition, p. 22; Rollo, p. 39].
Petitioner argues that the "bare and self-serving testimonies of the wife of the deceased David Ico and
the mother of the deceased Marilyn Baesa . . . have no probative value to sustain in law the Court of
Appeals’ conclusion on the respective earnings of the deceased victims." [Petition, pp. 21-22; Rollo, pp.
38-39.] It is petitioner’s contention that the evidence presented by the private respondent does not
meet the requirements of clear and satisfactory evidence to prove actual and compensatory damages.

The Court finds that the Court of Appeals committed no reversible error in fixing the amount of damages
for the loss of earning capacity of the deceased victims. While it is true that private respondents should
have presented documentary evidence to support their claim for damages for loss of earning capacity of
the deceased victims, the absence thereof does not necessarily bar the recovery of the damages in
question. The testimony of Fe Ico and Francisca Bascos as to the earning capacity of David Ico, and the
spouses Baesa, respectively, are sufficient to establish a basis from which the court can make a fair and
reasonable estimate of the damages for the loss of earning capacity of the three deceased victims.
Moreover, in fixing the damages for loss of earning capacity of a deceased victim, the court can consider
the nature of his occupation, his educational attainment and the state of his health at the time of death.

In the instant case, David Ico was thirty eight (38) years old at the time of his death in 1981 and was
driving his own passenger jeepney. The spouses Ceasar and Marilyn Baesa were both thirty (30) years
old at the time of their death. Ceasar Baesa was a commerce degree holder and the proprietor of the
Cauayan Press, printer of the Cauayan Valley Newspaper and the Valley Times at Cauayan, Isabela.
Marilyn Baesa graduated as a nurse in 1976 and at the time of her death, was the company nurse,
personnel manager, treasurer and cashier of the Ilagan Press at Ilagan, Isabela. Respondent court duly
considered these factors, together with the uncontradicted testimonies of Fe Ico and Francisca Bascos,
in fixing the amount of damages for the loss of earning capacity of David Ico and the spouses
Baesa.chanrobles.com:cralaw:red

However, it should be pointed out that the Court of Appeals committed error in fixing the compensatory
damages for the death of Harold Jim Baesa and Marcelino Baesa. Respondent court awarded to plaintiff
(private respondent) Maricar Baesa Thirty Thousand Pesos (P30,000.00) as "compensatory damages for
the death of Harold Jim Baesa and Marcelino Baesa." [CA Decision, p. 14; Rollo, 57]. In other words, the
Court of Appeals awarded only Fifteen Thousand Pesos (P15,000.00) as indemnity for the death of
Harold Jim Baesa and another Fifteen Thousand Pesos (P15,000.00) for the death of Marcelino Baesa.
This is clearly erroneous. In the case of People v. de la Fuente, G.R. Nos. 63251-52, December 29, 1983,
126 SCRA 518, the indemnity for the death of a person was fixed by this Court at Thirty Thousand Pesos
(P30,000.00). Plaintiff Maricar Baesa should therefore be awarded Sixty Thousand Pesos (P60,000.00) as
indemnity for the death of her brothers, Harold Jim Baesa and Marcelino Baesa or Thirty Thousand
Pesos (P30,000.00) for the death of each brother.
The other items of damages awarded by respondent court which were not challenged by the petitioner
are hereby affirmed.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is DENIED, and the decision of respondent Court of
Appeals is hereby AFFIRMED with the modification that the amount of compensatory damages for the
death of Harold Jim Baesa and Marcelino Baesa are increased to Thirty Thousand Pesos (P30,000.00)
each.chanrobles law library

SO ORDERED.

EQUITABLE LEASING CORPORATION, petitioner, vs. LUCITA SUYOM, MARISSA ENANO, MYRNA TAMAYO
and FELIX OLEDAN, respondents.

DECISION

PANGANIBAN, J.:

In an action based on quasi delict, the registered owner of a motor vehicle is solidarily liable for the
injuries and damages caused by the negligence of the driver, in spite of the fact that the vehicle may
have already been the subject of an unregistered Deed of Sale in favor of another person. Unless
registered with the Land Transportation Office, the sale -- while valid and binding between the parties --
does not affect third parties, especially the victims of accidents involving the said transport equipment.
Thus, in the present case, petitioner, which is the registered owner, is liable for the acts of the driver
employed by its former lessee who has become the owner of that vehicle by virtue of an unregistered
Deed of Sale.

Statement of the Case

Before us is a Petition for Review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, assailing the May 12, 2000
Decision[1] of the Court of Appeals[2] (CA) in CA-GR CV No. 55474. The decretal portion of the Decision
reads as follows:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant appeal is hereby DISMISSED for lack of merit. The
assailed decision, dated May 5, 1997, of the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 14, in Civil Case No.
95-73522, is hereby AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION that the award of attorneys fees is DELETED.[3]

On the other hand, in Civil Case No. 95-73522, the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila (Branch 14) had
earlier disposed in this wise:

WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiffs and against the defendant Equitable
Leasing Corporation ordering said defendant to pay to the plaintiffs the following:

A. TO MYRNA TAMAYO

1. the sum of P50,000.00 for the death of Reniel Tamayo;

2. P50,000.00 as moral damages; and

3. P56,000.00 for the damage to the store and its contents, and funeral expenses.

B. TO FELIX OLEDAN

1. the sum of P50,000.00 for the death of Felmarie Oledan;

2. P50,000.00 as moral damages; and

3. P30,000.00 for medical expenses, and funeral expenses.

C. TO MARISSA ENANO
1. P7,000.00 as actual damages

D. TO LUCITA SUYOM

1. The sum of P5,000.00 for the medical treatment of her two sons.

The sum of P120,000.00 as and for attorneys fees.[4]

The Facts

On July 17, 1994, a Fuso Road Tractor driven by Raul Tutor rammed into the house cum store of Myrna
Tamayo located at Pier 18, Vitas, Tondo, Manila. A portion of the house was destroyed. Pinned to death
under the engine of the tractor were Respondent Myrna Tamayos son, Reniel Tamayo, and Respondent
Felix Oledans daughter, Felmarie Oledan. Injured were Respondent Oledan himself, Respondent Marissa
Enano, and two sons of Respondent Lucita Suyom.

Tutor was charged with and later convicted of reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide and
multiple physical injuries in Criminal Case No. 296094-SA, Metropolitan Trial Court of Manila, Branch
12.[5]

Upon verification with the Land Transportation Office, respondents were furnished a copy of Official
Receipt No. 62204139[6] and Certificate of Registration No. 08262797,[7] showing that the registered
owner of the tractor was Equitable Leasing Corporation/leased to Edwin Lim. On April 15, 1995,
respondents filed against Raul Tutor, Ecatine Corporation (Ecatine) and Equitable Leasing Corporation
(Equitable) a Complaint[8] for damages docketed as Civil Case No. 95-73522 in the RTC of Manila,
Branch 14.

The trial court, upon motion of plaintiffs counsel, issued an Order dropping Raul Tutor, Ecatine and
Edwin Lim from the Complaint, because they could not be located and served with summonses.[9] On
the other hand, in its Answer with Counterclaim,[10] petitioner alleged that the vehicle had already
been sold to Ecatine and that the former was no longer in possession and control thereof at the time of
the incident. It also claimed that Tutor was an employee, not of Equitable, but of Ecatine.

After trial on the merits, the RTC rendered its Decision ordering petitioner to pay actual and moral
damages and attorneys fees to respondents. It held that since the Deed of Sale between petitioner and
Ecatine had not been registered with the Land Transportation Office (LTO), the legal owner was still
Equitable.[11] Thus, petitioner was liable to respondents.[12]

Ruling of the Court of Appeals

Sustaining the RTC, the CA held that petitioner was still to be legally deemed the owner/operator of the
tractor, even if that vehicle had been the subject of a Deed of Sale in favor of Ecatine on December 9,
1992. The reason cited by the CA was that the Certificate of Registration on file with the LTO still
remained in petitioners name.[13] In order that a transfer of ownership of a motor vehicle can bind
third persons, it must be duly recorded in the LTO.[14]

The CA likewise upheld respondents claim for moral damages against petitioner because the appellate
court considered Tutor, the driver of the tractor, to be an agent of the registered owner/operator.[15]

Hence, this Petition.[16]

Issues

In its Memorandum, petitioner raises the following issues for the Courts consideration:

Whether or not the Court of Appeals and the trial court gravely erred when they decided and held that
petitioner [was] liable for damages suffered by private respondents in an action based on quasi delict for
the negligent acts of a driver who [was] not the employee of the petitioner.
II

Whether or not the Court of Appeals and the trial court gravely erred when they awarded moral
damages to private respondents despite their failure to prove that the injuries they suffered were
brought by petitioners wrongful act.[17]

This Courts Ruling

The Petition has no merit.

First Issue:

Liability for Wrongful Acts

Petitioner contends that it should not be held liable for the damages sustained by respondents and that
arose from the negligence of the driver of the Fuso Road Tractor, which it had already sold to Ecatine at
the time of the accident. Not having employed Raul Tutor, the driver of the vehicle, it could not have
controlled or supervised him.[18]

We are not persuaded. In negligence cases, the aggrieved party may sue the negligent party under (1)
Article 100[19] of the Revised Penal Code, for civil liability ex delicto; or (2) under Article 2176[20] of the
Civil Code, for civil liability ex quasi delicto.[21]

Furthermore, under Article 103 of the Revised Penal Code, employers may be held subsidiarily liable for
felonies committed by their employees in the discharge of the latters duties.[22] This liability attaches
when the employees who are convicted of crimes committed in the performance of their work are
found to be insolvent and are thus unable to satisfy the civil liability adjudged.[23]
On the other hand, under Article 2176 in relation to Article 2180[24] of the Civil Code, an action
predicated on quasi delict may be instituted against the employer for an employees act or omission. The
liability for the negligent conduct of the subordinate is direct and primary, but is subject to the defense
of due diligence in the selection and supervision of the employee.[25] The enforcement of the judgment
against the employer for an action based on Article 2176 does not require the employee to be insolvent,
since the liability of the former is solidary -- the latter being statutorily considered a joint tortfeasor.[26]
To sustain a claim based on quasi delict, the following requisites must be proven: (a) damage suffered by
the plaintiff, (b) fault or negligence of the defendant, and (c) connection of cause and effect between
the fault or negligence of the defendant and the damage incurred by the plaintiff.[27]

These two causes of action (ex delicto or ex quasi delicto) may be availed of, subject to the caveat[28]
that the offended party cannot recover damages twice for the same act or omission or under both
causes.[29] Since these two civil liabilities are distinct and independent of each other, the failure to
recover in one will not necessarily preclude recovery in the other.[30]

In the instant case, respondents -- having failed to recover anything in the criminal case -- elected to file
a separate civil action for damages, based on quasi delict under Article 2176 of the Civil Code.[31] The
evidence is clear that the deaths and the injuries suffered by respondents and their kins were due to the
fault of the driver of the Fuso tractor.

Dated June 4, 1991, the Lease Agreement[32] between petitioner and Edwin Lim stipulated that it is the
intention of the parties to enter into a FINANCE LEASE AGREEMENT.[33] Under such scheme, ownership
of the subject tractor was to be registered in the name of petitioner, until the value of the vehicle has
been fully paid by Edwin Lim.[34] Further, in the Lease Schedule,[35] the monthly rental for the tractor
was stipulated, and the term of the Lease was scheduled to expire on December 4, 1992. After a few
months, Lim completed the payments to cover the full price of the tractor.[36] Thus, on December 9,
1992, a Deed of Sale[37] over the tractor was executed by petitioner in favor of Ecatine represented by
Edwin Lim. However, the Deed was not registered with the LTO.

We hold petitioner liable for the deaths and the injuries complained of, because it was the registered
owner of the tractor at the time of the accident on July 17, 1994.[38] The Court has consistently ruled
that, regardless of sales made of a motor vehicle, the registered owner is the lawful operator insofar as
the public and third persons are concerned; consequently, it is directly and primarily responsible for the
consequences of its operation.[39] In contemplation of law, the owner/operator of record is the
employer of the driver, the actual operator and employer being considered as merely its agent.[40] The
same principle applies even if the registered owner of any vehicle does not use it for public service.[41]
Since Equitable remained the registered owner of the tractor, it could not escape primary liability for the
deaths and the injuries arising from the negligence of the driver.[42]

The finance-lease agreement between Equitable on the one hand and Lim or Ecatine on the other has
already been superseded by the sale. In any event, it does not bind third persons. The rationale for this
rule has been aptly explained in Erezo v. Jepte,[43] which we quote hereunder:

x x x. The main aim of motor vehicle registration is to identify the owner so that if any accident happens,
or that any damage or injury is caused by the vehicle on the public highways, responsibility therefor can
be fixed on a definite individual, the registered owner. Instances are numerous where vehicles running
on public highways caused accidents or injuries to pedestrians or other vehicles without positive
identification of the owner or drivers, or with very scant means of identification. It is to forestall these
circumstances, so inconvenient or prejudicial to the public, that the motor vehicle registration is
primarily ordained, in the interest of the determination of persons responsible for damages or injuries
caused on public highways.[44]

Further, petitioners insistence on FGU Insurance Corp. v. Court of Appeals is misplaced.[45] First, in FGU
Insurance, the registered vehicle owner, which was engaged in a rent-a-car business, rented out the car.
In this case, the registered owner of the truck, which is engaged in the business of financing motor
vehicle acquisitions, has actually sold the truck to Ecatine, which in turn employed Tutor. Second, in FGU
Insurance, the registered owner of the vehicle was not held responsible for the negligent acts of the
person who rented one of its cars, because Article 2180 of the Civil Code was not applicable. We held
that no vinculum juris as employer and employee existed between the owner and the driver.[46] In this
case, the registered owner of the tractor is considered under the law to be the employer of the driver,
while the actual operator is deemed to be its agent.[47] Thus, Equitable, the registered owner of the
tractor, is -- for purposes of the law on quasi delict -- the employer of Raul Tutor, the driver of the
tractor. Ecatine, Tutors actual employer, is deemed as merely an agent of Equitable.[48]

True, the LTO Certificate of Registration, dated 5/31/91, qualifies the name of the registered owner as
EQUITABLE LEASING CORPORATION/Leased to Edwin Lim. But the lease agreement between Equitable
and Lim has been overtaken by the Deed of Sale on December 9, 1992, between petitioner and Ecatine.
While this Deed does not affect respondents in this quasi delict suit, it definitely binds petitioner
because, unlike them, it is a party to it.
We must stress that the failure of Equitable and/or Ecatine to register the sale with the LTO should not
prejudice respondents, who have the legal right to rely on the legal principle that the registered vehicle
owner is liable for the damages caused by the negligence of the driver. Petitioner cannot hide behind its
allegation that Tutor was the employee of Ecatine. This will effectively prevent respondents from
recovering their losses on the basis of the inaction or fault of petitioner in failing to register the sale. The
non-registration is the fault of petitioner, which should thus face the legal consequences thereof.

Second Issue:

Moral Damages

Petitioner further claims that it is not liable for moral damages, because respondents failed to establish
or show the causal connection or relation between the factual basis of their claim and their wrongful act
or omission, if any. [49]

Moral damages are not punitive in nature, but are designed to compensate[50] and alleviate in some
way the physical suffering, mental anguish, fright, serious anxiety, besmirched reputation, wounded
feelings, moral shock, social humiliation, and similar injury unjustly caused a person.[51] Although
incapable of pecuniary computation, moral damages must nevertheless be somehow proportional to
and in approximation of the suffering inflicted.[52] This is so because moral damages are in the category
of an award designed to compensate the claimant for actual injury suffered, not to impose a penalty on
the wrongdoer.[53]

Viewed as an action for quasi delict, the present case falls squarely within the purview of Article 2219
(2),[54] which provides for the payment of moral damages in cases of quasi delict.[55] Having
established the liability of petitioner as the registered owner of the vehicle,[56] respondents have
satisfactorily shown the existence of the factual basis for the award[57] and its causal connection to the
acts of Raul Tutor, who is deemed as petitioners employee.[58] Indeed, the damages and injuries
suffered by respondents were the proximate result of petitioners tortious act or omission.[59]

Further, no proof of pecuniary loss is necessary in order that moral damages may be awarded, the
amount of indemnity being left to the discretion of the court.[60] The evidence gives no ground for
doubt that such discretion was properly and judiciously exercised by the trial court.[61] The award is in
fact consistent with the rule that moral damages are not intended to enrich the injured party, but to
alleviate the moral suffering undergone by that party by reason of the defendants culpable action.[62]

WHEREFORE, the Petition is DENIED and the assailed Decision AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner.

SO ORDERED

In this Petition for Review on Certiorari,[1] the registered owner of a motor vehicle challenges the
Decision[2] dated July 11, 2006 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No. 67764 which held him
liable for damages to the heirs of the victims who were run over by the said vehicle.

Factual Antecedents

At dawn on New Years Day of 1993, Emilia Bacoy Monsalud (Emilia), along with her spouse Leonardo
Monsalud, Sr. and their daughter Glenda Monsalud, were on their way home from a Christmas party
they attended in Poblacion, Sominot, Zamboanga Del Sur. Upon reaching Purok Paglaom in Sominot,
they were run over by a Fuso passenger jeep bearing plate number UV-PEK-600 that was being driven by
Allan Maglasang (Allan). The jeep was registered in the name of petitioner Oscar del Carmen, Jr. (Oscar
Jr.) and used as a public utility vehicle plying the Molave, Zamboanga del Sur to Sominot, Zamboanga del
Sur and vice versa route.

Because of the unfortunate incident, Criminal Case No. 93-10347[3] for Reckless Imprudence Resulting
in Multiple Homicide was filed against Allan before the Regional Trial Court of Molave, Zamboanga del
Sur, Branch 23. In a Decision dated March 13, 1997, said court declared Allan guilty beyond reasonable
doubt of the crime charged.[4]

During the pendency of said criminal case, Emilias father, Geronimo Bacoy (Geronimo), in behalf of the
six minor children[5] of the Monsaluds, filed Civil Case No. 96-20219,[6] an independent civil action for
damages based on culpa aquiliana. Aside from Allan, also impleaded therein were his alleged employers,
namely, the spouses Oscar del Carmen, Sr. (Oscar Sr.) and Norma del Carmen (Spouses del Carmen) and
the registered owner of the jeep, their son Oscar Jr. Geronimo prayed for the reimbursement of funeral
and burial expenses, as well as the award of attorneys fees, moral and exemplary damages resulting
from the death of the three victims, and loss of net income earnings of Emilia who was employed as a
public school teacher at the time of her death.[7]

Defendants refused to assume civil liability for the victims deaths. Oscar Sr. averred that the Monsaluds
have no cause of action against them because he and his wife do not own the jeep and that they were
never the employers of Allan.[8] For his part, Oscar Jr. claimed to be a victim himself. He alleged that
Allan and his friends[9] stole his jeep while it was parked beside his drivers rented house to take it for a
joyride. Both he and a vehicle mechanic testified that the subject jeep can easily be started by mere
pushing sans the ignition key. The vehicles engine shall then run but without any headlights on.[10] And
implying that this was the manner by which the vehicle was illegally taken, Oscar Jr. submitted as part of
his documentary evidence the statements[11] of Jemar Alarcon (Jemar) and Benjamin Andujar
(Benjamin). The two, who were with Allan in the jeep at the time of the accident, declared before the
investigating officer that during said time, the vehicles headlights were off. Because of this allegation,
Oscar Jr. even filed before the same trial court a carnapping case against Allan and his companions
docketed as Criminal Case No. 93-10380.[12] The case was, however, dismissed for insufficiency of
evidence.[13]

Oscar Jr. clarified that Allan was his jeep conductor and that it was the latters brother, Rodrigo
Maglasang (Rodrigo), who was employed as the driver.[14] In any event, Allans employment as
conductor was already severed before the mishap occurred on January 1, 1993 since he served as such
conductor only from the first week of December until December 14, 1992.[15] In support of this, Oscar
Jr. presented as witnesses Faustino Sismundo (Faustino) and Cresencio Junior Baobao (Cresencio).
Faustino, a resident of Molave, testified that when he boarded the jeep heading to Sominot on
December 31, 1992, it was Cresencio who was the conductor. He also believed that Crecencio started to
work as such at around December 15 or 16, 1992.[16] Cresencio, for his part, testified that he worked as
Oscar Jr.s conductor from December 15, 1992 to January 1, 1993 and that Rodrigo was his driver.[17] He
stated that upon learning that the jeep figured in an accident, he never bothered to verify the news.
Instead, he went to Midsalip to work there as a conductor for his brothers vehicle, thereby terminating
his employment with Oscar Jr.[18]

Oscar Jr. likewise testified that it was routinary that after a days trip, the jeep would be parked beside
Rodrigos rented house[19] for the next early-morning operation.

Geronimo, on the other hand, averred that Allan was still Oscar Jr.s employee subsequent to December
14, 1992. To prove this, he presented as witnesses Saturnino Jumawan (Saturnino) and Jose Navarro
(Jose). Saturnino testified that he would pay his fare to Allan every time he would board the jeep in
going to Molave and that the last time he rode the subject vehicle was on December 23, 1992. He also
claimed that immediately before January 1, 1993, Rodrigo and Allan used to park the jeep at the yard of
his house.[20] Jose likewise attested that Allan was still the jeep conductor during the said period as he
had ridden the jeep many times in mid-December of 1992.[21]

Ruling of the Regional Trial Court


In its Decision[22] dated April 17, 2000, the RTC exculpated the spouses del Carmen from civil liability
for insufficiency of evidence. However, their son Oscar Jr. was held civilly liable in a subsidiary capacity.
The RTC anchored its ruling primarily on the principle of res ipsa loquitur, i.e., that a presumption of
negligence on the part of a defendant may be inferred if the thing that caused an injury is shown to be
under his management and that in the ordinary course of things, the accident would not have happened
had there been an exercise of care. Said court ratiocinated that Oscar Jr., as the registered owner of the
jeep, managed and controlled the same through his driver Rodrigo, in whose house the jeep was usually
parked. Since both Oscar Jr. and Rodrigo were well aware that the jeep could easily be started by a mere
push even without the ignition key, they should have taken the necessary precaution to prevent the
vehicle from being used by unauthorized persons like Allan. The RTC thus concluded that such lack of
proper precaution, due care and foresight constitute negligence making the registered owner of the
vehicle civilly liable for the damage caused by the same.

The RTC disposed of the case as follows:

Wherefore, judgment is hereby entered in favor of the plaintiffs and against the defendants Allan
Maglasang and Oscar del Carmen, Jr. ordering

1. Defendant ALLAN MAGLASANG to pay the plaintiffs, and in case of insolvency, for defendant
OSCAR DEL CARMEN, JR., to pay the plaintiffs, the following sums:

a. P73,112.00 for their funeral and burial expenses;


b. P1,000,000.00 moral damages for the death of the late Emilia Monsalud;

c. P250,000.00 moral damages for the death of the late Leonardo Monsalud, Sr.;

d. P250,000.00 moral damages for the death of the late Glenda Monsalud;

e. P40, 000.00, for exemplary damages;

f. P20,000.00 attorneys fees; and

g. The cost of this proceedings.

2. The dismissal of the complaint as against the spouses OSCAR DEL CARMEN SR. and NORMA
DEL CARMEN.

SO ORDERED.[23]

Del Carmen vs. Bacayao


Oscar Jr. moved for reconsideration[24] contending that the provision on vicarious liability of the
employer under Article 2180 of the Civil Code[25] requires the existence of employer-employee
relationship and that the employee was acting within the scope of his employment when the tort
occurred. He stressed that even assuming that Allan was his employee, he was hired not as a driver but
as a conductor. Hence, Allan acted beyond the scope of his employment when he drove the jeep.

Oscar Jr. also stressed that the fact that the jeep was running without its headlights on at the time of the
accident indubitably shows that the same was stolen. He further alleged that the jeep could not have
been taken by only one person. As Rodrigo declared in Criminal Case No. 93-10380 (carnapping case),
based on his experience, the jeep cannot be pushed by only one person but by at least five people in
order for it to start. This was due to the vehicles mass and the deep canal which separates the parking
area from the curved road that was obstructed by a house.[26]

Setting aside its earlier decision, the lower court in its Order[27] dated June 21, 2000 granted the
Motion for Reconsideration and absolved Oscar Jr. from civil liability. It cited Article 103 of the Revised
Penal Code which provides that for an employer to be subsidiarily liable for the criminal acts of his
employee, the latter should have committed the same in the discharge of his duties. The court agreed
with Oscar Jr. that this condition is wanting in Allans case as he was not acting in the discharge of his
duties as a conductor when he drove the jeep.

The court also declared the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur inapplicable since the property owner cannot be
made responsible for the damages caused by his property by reason of the criminal acts of another. It
then adjudged that only Allan should bear the consequences of his criminal acts. Thus:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the MOTION FOR


RECONSIDERATION is granted, and defendant OSCAR DEL CARMEN JR. is hereby absolved from all civil
liability arising from the felonious acts of convicted accused ALLAN MAGLASANG.

IT IS SO ORDERED.[28]

Geronimo appealed.

Ruling of the Court of Appeals

In its July 11, 2006 Decision,[29] the CA granted the appeal.

In resolving the case, the CA first determined the preliminary issue of whether there was an employer-
employee relationship between Oscar Jr. and Allan at the time of the accident. It ruled in the affirmative
and gave more credence to the testimonies of Geronimos witnesses than to those of Oscar Jr.s
witnesses, Faustino and Cresencio. The CA ratiocinated that unlike the witness presented by Geronimo,
Faustino never resided in Poblacion and thus has limited knowledge of the place. His testimony was also
unreliable considering that he only rode the subject jeep twice[30] during the last two weeks of
December 1992. As regards Cresencios testimony, the appellate court found it puzzling why he
appeared to have acted uninterested upon learning that the jeep was the subject of an accident when it
was his bread and butter. Said court likewise considered questionable Oscar Jr.s asseveration that
Cresencio replaced Allan as conductor when Cresencio testified that he replaced a certain Sumagang
Jr.[31]

With regard to the main issue, the CA adjudged Oscar Jr. liable to the heirs of the victims based on the
principle that the registered owner of a vehicle is directly and primarily responsible for the injuries or
death of third parties caused by the operation of such vehicle. It disbelieved Oscar Jr.s defense that the
jeep was stolen not only because the carnapping case filed against Allan and his companions was
dismissed but also because, given the circumstances, Oscar Jr. is deemed to have given Allan the implied
permission to use the subject vehicle. To support its conclusion, the CA cited the following
circumstances: siblings Rodrigo and Allan were both employees assigned to the said jeep; after a days
work, said vehicle would be parked just beside Rodrigos house where Allan also lived; the jeep could
easily be started even without the use of an ignition key; the said parking area was not fenced or
secured to prevent the unauthorized use of the vehicle which can be started even without the ignition
key.

The dispositive portion of the CA Decision reads:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant appeal is GRANTED. The assailed Order dated 21 June
2000 of the Regional Trial Court (Branch 23), Molave, Zamboanga del Sur, in Civil Case No. 96-20,219 is
SET ASIDE and a new one is hereby entered. OSCAR DEL CARMEN, Jr. and ALLAN MAGLASANG are held
primarily liable, jointly and severally, to pay plaintiffs-appellants:
1. Civil indemnity for the death of Emilia Bacoy Monsalud, Leonardo Monsalud Sr., and Glenda
Monsalud in the amount of Fifty thousand pesos (P50,000.00) each or for the total amount of One
hundred fifty thousand pesos (P150,000.00);

2. Temperate damages in the amount of Twenty-five Thousand Pesos (P25,000.00) each for the death of
Emilia Monsalud, Leonardo Monsalud Sr., and Glenda Monsalud (collectively the Monsaluds) or for the
total amount of Seventy-five thousand pesos (P75,000.00);

3. Moral damages in the amount of Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50,000.00) each for the death of the
Monsaluds or for a total amount of One Hundred Fifty Thousand Pesos (P150,000.00);

4. Exemplary damages of Forty Thousand Pesos (P40,000.00).

No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED. [32]

Issues

As a result of the adverse judgment, Oscar Jr. filed this Petition for Review on Certiorari alleging that the
CA erred in:

1. x x x basing its conclusions and findings on speculations, surmises and conjectures;


misapprehension of facts which are in conflict with the findings of the trial court;

2. x x x declaring a question of substance not in accord with law and with the applicable decisions
of the Supreme Court;
3. x x x departing from the regular course of the judicial proceedings in the disposition of the
appeal and [in going] beyond the issues of the case.[33]

Oscar Jr. points out that the CA failed to consider the RTCs ruling in its June 21, 2000 Order which was in
accord with Article 2180 of the Civil Code, i.e., that the tort committed by an employee should have
been done within the scope of his assigned tasks for an employer to be held liable under culpa aquiliana.
However, the CA never touched upon this matter even if it was glaring that Allans driving the subject
vehicle was not within the scope of his previous employment as conductor. Moreover, Oscar Jr. insists
that his jeep was stolen and stresses that the liability of a registered owner of a vehicle as to third
persons, as well as the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur, should not apply to him. He asserts that although
Allan and his companions were not found to have committed the crime of carnapping beyond
reasonable doubt, it was nevertheless established that the jeep was illicitly taken by them from a well
secured area. This is considering that the vehicle was running without its headlights on at the time of the
accident, a proof that it was started without the ignition key.

Our Ruling

Petitioners own evidence casts doubt on his claim that his jeep was stolen by Allan and his alleged
cohorts. Negligence is presumed under the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur.
Oscar Jr.s core defense to release him from responsibility for the death of the Monsaluds is that his jeep
was stolen. He highlights that the unauthorized taking of the jeep from the parking area was indeed
carried out by the clandestine and concerted efforts of Allan and his five companions, notwithstanding
the obstacles surrounding the parking area and the weight of the jeep.

Notably, the carnapping case filed against Allan and his group was already dismissed by the RTC for
insufficiency of evidence. But even in this civil case and as correctly concluded by the CA, the evidentiary
standard of preponderance of evidence required was likewise not met to support Oscar Jr.s claim that
his jeep was unlawfully taken.

Two of Allans co-accused in the carnapping case, Jemar and Benjamin, declared before the police that
when Allan invited them to ride with him, he was already driving the jeep:

04. Q- On that night, on or about 11:30 oclock on December 31, 1992, where were you?

A- I went to the disco near [the] Public Market[,] Sominot, Zamboanga del Sur.
05. Q- While you were in disco place, do you know if there was an incident [that] happened?

A- No sir but when I was in the disco place, at about 3:30 at dawn more or less[,] January 1, 1993, Allan
Maglasang arrived driving the jeep and he invited me to ride together with Benjamin Andujar, Dioscoro
Sol, Arniel Rezada and Joven Orot.[34]

xxxx

04. Q- On that night, on or about 9:00 oclock in the evening more or less on December 31, 1992, where
were you?

A- I went to the disco at [the] Public Market[,] Sominot, Zamboanga del Sur.

05. Q- While you were in the disco place, do you know if there was an incident [that] happened?

A- No, sir, but when I was in the disco place, at about 3:30 at dawn more or less[,] January 1, 1993, Allan
Maglasang arrive[d] driving the jeep and he invited me to ride together with Jemar Alarcon, Dioscoro Sol,
Arniel Rizada and Joven Orot.[35]
There were six accused in the carnapping case. If Jemar and Benjamin were fetched by Allan who was
driving the jeep, this would mean that only three men pushed the jeep contrary to Rodrigos testimony
in Criminal Case No. 93-10380 that it has to be pushed by at least five people so that it could start
without the ignition key.

On direct examination,[36] Oscar Jr. was asked as to what Rodrigo, his driver who had informed him
about the accident on January 1, 1993 at around 7:00 a.m., turned over to him after the incident, viz:

Q: When Rodrigo Maglasang, your driver informed you about the accident, what did he carry with him if
any and turned over to you?

A: The OR (Official Receipt) and the CR (Certificate of Registration) Sir.

Q: How about the key of the vehicle?

A: It was not turned over, Sir.[37]


Assuming arguendo that Allan stole the jeep by having the same pushed by a group, the ignition key
should then be with Rodrigo as he was entrusted with the jeeps possession. Thus, at the time Rodrigo
faced his employer hours after the incident, it is reasonable to expect that the driver should have also
returned the key to the operator together with the Official Receipt and Certificate of Registration.
Notably, Rodrigo did not do so and instead, the key was allegedly handed over to the police for reasons
unexplained and not available from the records. Interestingly, Oscar Jr. never presented Rodrigo as his
witness. Neither was he able to attest on cross-examination that Allan really stole the jeep by pushing or
that the key was handed over to him by Rodrigo:

Q: On December 31, 1992, you did not know that it was Rodrigo Maglasang who gave the key to Allan
Maglasang. Is that correct?

A: I was not there. So, I do not know but he had an affidavit to show that he turned it over to the police.

Q: What I was asking you is that, [o]n the night of December 31, 1992, when it was driven by Allan
Maglasang, you did not know that the key was voluntarily given by Rodrigo Maglasang to Allan
Maglasang?

A: I was not there.

Q: So, you could not testify on that, is that correct?

A: Yes Sir, I was not there.[38]


Furthermore, Oscar Jr. acknowledged the dismissal of the carnapping case, thus:

Q: Now, there was a case filed against Allan Maglasang and [his] x x x co-accused x x x [n]amely:
Benjamin Andojar, Dioscoro Sol, Joven Orot, [Jemar Azarcon] and [Arniel] Rizada, for carnapping. Is that
correct?

A: Yes Sir.

Q: That case was filed by you because you alleged that on December 31, 1992, your jeep was carnapped
by Allan Maglasang and his co-accused, the said mentioned, is that correct?

A: Yes Sir.

Q: You testified on the case in Aurora, is that correct?

A: Yes, Sir.
Q: And you could well remember that this representation is the counsel of the co-accused of Allan
Maglasang, is that correct?

A: Yes Sir.

Q: And that case for carnapping was dismissed, is that correct?

A: Yes Sir.

Q: Even the case of Allan Maglasang, was also dismissed, is that correct

A: Yes Sir.

Q: Because there was no sufficient evidence to establish that the jeep was carnapped, is that correct?

A: Yes Sir.[39]
While Oscar Jr. highlights that the headlights were not on to support his claim that his jeep was stolen,
this circumstance by itself will not prove that it really was stolen. The reason why the headlights were
not on at the time of the accident was not sufficiently established during the trial. Besides, the fact that
the headlights were not on cannot be exclusively attributed to the lack of ignition key in starting the
jeep as there may be other possibilities such as electrical problems, broken headlights, or that they were
simply turned off.

Hence, sans the testimony of witnesses and other relevant evidence to support the defense of
unauthorized taking, we cannot subscribe to Oscar Jr.s claim that his jeep was stolen. The evidence on
record brings forth more questions than clear-cut answers.

Oscar Jr. alleges that the presumption of negligence under the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur (literally, the
thing speaks for itself) should not have been applied because he was vigilant in securing his vehicle. He
claims that the jeep was parked in a well secured area not remote to the watchful senses of its driver
Rodrigo.

Under the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur, [w]here the thing that caused the injury complained of is shown
to be under the management of the defendant or his servants; and the accident, in the ordinary course
of things, would not happen if those who had management or control used proper care, it affords
reasonable evidence in the absence of a sufficient, reasonable and logical explanation by defendant that
the accident arose from or was caused by the defendants want of care.[40] Res ipsa loquitur is merely
evidentiary, a mode of proof, or a mere procedural convenience, since it furnishes a substitute for, and
relieves a plaintiff of, the burden of producing a specific proof of negligence.[41] It recognizes that
parties may establish prima facie negligence without direct proof, thus, it allows the principle to
substitute for specific proof of negligence. It permits the plaintiff to present along with proof of the
accident, enough of the attending circumstances to invoke the doctrine, create an inference or
presumption of negligence and thereby place on the defendant the burden of proving that there was no
negligence on his part.[42] The doctrine is based partly on the theory that the defendant in charge of
the instrumentality which causes the injury either knows the cause of the accident or has the best
opportunity of ascertaining it while the plaintiff has no such knowledge, and is therefore compelled to
allege negligence in general terms.[43]

The requisites of the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur as established by jurisprudence are as follows:

1) the accident is of a kind which does not ordinarily occur unless someone is negligent;

2) the cause of the injury was under the exclusive control of the person in charge and

3) the injury suffered must not have been due to any voluntary action or contribution on the part of the
person injured.[44]
The above requisites are all present in this case. First, no person just walking along the road would
suddenly be sideswiped and run over by an on-rushing vehicle unless the one in charge of the said
vehicle had been negligent. Second, the jeep which caused the injury was under the exclusive control of
Oscar Jr. as its owner. When Oscar Jr. entrusted the ignition key to Rodrigo, he had the power to instruct
him with regard to the specific restrictions of the jeeps use, including who or who may not drive it. As he
is aware that the jeep may run without the ignition key, he also has the responsibility to park it safely
and securely and to instruct his driver Rodrigo to observe the same precaution. Lastly, there was no
showing that the death of the victims was due to any voluntary action or contribution on their part.

The aforementioned requisites having been met, there now arises a presumption of negligence against
Oscar Jr. which he could have overcome by evidence that he exercised due care and diligence in
preventing strangers from using his jeep. Unfortunately, he failed to do so.

What this Court instead finds worthy of credence is the CAs conclusion that Oscar Jr. gave his implied
permission for Allan to use the jeep. This is in view of Oscar Jr.s failure to provide solid proof that he
ensured that the parking area is well secured and that he had expressly imposed restrictions as to the
use of the jeep when he entrusted the same to his driver Rodrigo. As fittingly inferred by the CA, the
jeep could have been endorsed to Allan by his brother Rodrigo since as already mentioned, Oscar Jr. did
not give Rodrigo any specific and strict instructions on matters regarding its use. Rodrigo therefore is
deemed to have been given the absolute discretion as to the vehicles operation, including the discretion
to allow his brother Allan to use it.

The operator on record of a vehicle is primarily responsible to third persons for the deaths or injuries
consequent to its operation, regardless of whether the employee drove the registered owners vehicle in
connection with his employment.
Without disputing the factual finding of the CA that Allan was still his

employee at the time of the accident, a finding which we see no reason to disturb, Oscar Jr. contends
that Allan drove the jeep in his private capacity and thus, an employers vicarious liability for the
employees fault under Article 2180 of the Civil Code cannot apply to him.

The contention is no longer novel. In Aguilar Sr. v. Commercial Savings Bank,[45] the car of therein
respondent bank caused the death of Conrado Aguilar, Jr. while being driven by its assistant vice
president. Despite Article 2180, we still held the bank liable for damages for the accident as said
provision should defer to the settled doctrine concerning accidents involving registered motor vehicles,
i.e., that the registered owner of any vehicle, even if not used for public service, would primarily be
responsible to the public or to third persons for injuries caused the latter while the vehicle was being
driven on the highways or streets.[46] We have already ratiocinated that:

The main aim of motor vehicle registration is to identify the owner so that if any accident happens, or
that any damage or injury is caused by the vehicle on the public highways, responsibility therefor can be
fixed on a definite individual, the registered owner. Instances are numerous where vehicles running on
public highways caused accidents or injuries to pedestrians or other vehicles without positive
identification of the owner or drivers, or with very scant means of identification. It is to forestall these
circumstances, so inconvenient or prejudicial to the public, that the motor vehicle registration is
primarily ordained, in the interest of the determination of persons responsible for damages or injuries
caused on public highways.[47]
Absent the circumstance of unauthorized use[48] or that the subject vehicle was stolen[49] which are
valid defenses available to a registered owner, Oscar Jr. cannot escape liability for quasi-delict resulting
from his jeeps use.

All told and considering that the amounts of damages awarded are in accordance with prevailing
jurisprudence, the Court concurs with the findings of the CA and sustains the awards made. In addition,
pursuant to Eastern Shipping Lines, Inc. v. Court of Appeals,[50] an interest of six percent (6%) per
annum on the amounts awarded shall be imposed, computed from the time the judgment of the RTC is
rendered on April 17, 2000 and twelve percent (12%) per annum on such amount upon finality of this
Decision until the payment thereof.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant petition is DENIED. The Decision dated July 11, 2006 of
the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 67764 is hereby AFFIRMED with further MODIFICATION that an
interest of six percent (6%) per annum on the amounts awarded shall be imposed, computed from the
time the judgment of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 23, Molave, Zamboanga del Sur is rendered on
April 17, 2000 and twelve percent (12%) per annum on such amount upon finality of this Decision until
the payment thereof.

RAFAEL REYES TRUCKING CORPORATION, petitioner, vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES and ROSARIO P. DY
(for herself and on behalf of the minors Maria Luisa, Francis Edward, Francis Mark and Francis Rafael, all
surnamed Dy), respondents.

DECISION

PARDO, J.:
The case is an appeal via certiorari from the amended decision[1] of the Court of Appeals[2] affirming
the decision and supplemental decision of the trial court,[3] as follows:

"IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, judgment is hereby rendered dismissing the appeals interposed by both
accused and Reyes Trucking Corporation and affirming the Decision and Supplemental Decision dated
June 6, 1992 and October 26, 1992 respectively.

"SO ORDERED."[4]

The facts are as follows:

On October 10, 1989, Provincial Prosecutor Patricio T. Durian of Isabela filed with the Regional Trial
Court, Isabela, Branch 19, Cauayan an amended information charging Romeo Dunca y de Tumol with
reckless imprudence resulting in double homicide and damage to property, reading as follows:

"That on or about the 20th day of June, 1989, in the Municipality of Cauayan, Province of Isabela,
Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused being the driver and
person-in-charge of a Trailer Truck Tractor bearing Plate No. N2A-867 registered in the name of Rafael
Reyes Trucking Corporation, with a load of 2,000 cases of empty bottles of beer grande, willfully,
unlawfully and feloniously drove and operated the same while along the National Highway of Barangay
Tagaran, in said Municipality, in a negligent, careless and imprudent manner, without due regard to
traffic laws, rules and ordinances and without taking the necessary precautions to prevent injuries to
persons and damage to property, causing by such negligence, carelessness and imprudence the said
trailer truck to hit and bump a Nissan Pick-up bearing Plate No. BBG-957 driven by Feliciano Balcita and
Francisco Dy, Jr., @ Pacquing, due to irreversible shock, internal and external hemorrhage and multiple
injuries, open wounds, abrasions, and further causing damages to the heirs of Feliciano Balcita in the
amount of P100,000.00 and to the death of Francisco Dy, Jr.; @ Pacquing and damages to his Nissan
Pick-Up bearing Plate No. BBG-957 in the total amount of P2,000,000.00.

"CONTRARY TO LAW.

"Cauayan, Isabela, October 10, 1989.


"(Sgd.) FAUSTO C. CABANTAC

"Third Assistant Provincial Prosecutor"

Upon arraignment on October 23, 1989, the accused entered a plea of not guilty. On the same occasion,
the offended parties (Rosario P. Dy and minor children and Angelina M. Balcita and minor son Paolo)
made a reservation to file a separate civil action against the accused arising from the offense charged.[5]
On November 29, 1989, the offended parties actually filed with the Regional Trial Court, Isabela, Branch
19, Cauayan a complaint against petitioner Rafael Reyes Trucking Corporation, as employer of driver
Romeo Dunca y de Tumol, based on quasi delict. The petitioner settled the claim of the heirs of Feliciano
Balcita (the driver of the other vehicle involved in the accident). The private respondents opted to
pursue the criminal action but did not withdraw the civil case quasi ex delicto they filed against
petitioner. On December 15, 1989, private respondents withdrew the reservation to file a separate civil
action against the accused and manifested that they would prosecute the civil aspect ex delicto in the
criminal action.[6] However, they did not withdraw the separate civil action based on quasi delict
against petitioner as employer arising from the same act or omission of the accused driver.[7]

Upon agreement of the parties, the trial court consolidated both criminal and civil cases and conducted
a joint trial of the same.

The facts, as found by the trial court, which appear to be undisputed, are as follows:

"The defendant Rafael Reyes Trucking Corporation is a domestic corporation engaged in the business of
transporting beer products for the San Miguel Corporation (SMC for short) from the latters San
Fernando, Pampanga plant to its various sales outlets in Luzon. Among its fleets of vehicles for hire is the
white truck trailer described above driven by Romeo Dunca y Tumol, a duly licensed driver. Aside from
the Corporations memorandum to all its drivers and helpers to physically inspect their vehicles before
each trip (Exh. 15, pars. 4 & 5), the SMCs Traffic Investigator-Inspector certified the roadworthiness of
this White Truck trailer prior to June 20, 1989 (Exh. 17). In addition to a professional drivers license, it
also conducts a rigid examination of all driver applicants before they are hired.

"In the early morning of June 20, 1989, the White Truck driven by Dunca left Tuguegarao, Cagayan
bound to San Fernando, Pampanga loaded with 2,000 cases of empty beer "Grande" bottles. Seated at
the front right seat beside him was Ferdinand Domingo, his truck helper ("pahinante" in Pilipino). At
around 4:00 oclock that same morning while the truck was descending at a slight downgrade along the
national road at Tagaran, Cauayan, Isabela, it approached a damaged portion of the road covering the
full width of the trucks right lane going south and about six meters in length. These made the surface of
the road uneven because the potholes were about five to six inches deep. The left lane parallel to this
damaged portion is smooth. As narrated by Ferdinand Domingo, before approaching the potholes, he
and Dunca saw the Nissan with its headlights on coming from the opposite direction. They used to
evade this damaged road by taking the left lance but at that particular moment, because of the
incoming vehicle, they had to run over it. This caused the truck to bounce wildly. Dunca lost control of
the wheels and the truck swerved to the left invading the lane of the Nissan. As a result, Duncas vehicle
rammed the incoming Nissan dragging it to the left shoulder of the road and climbed a ridge above said
shoulder where it finally stopped. (see Exh. A-5, p. 8, record). The Nissan was severely damaged (Exhs.
A-7, A-8, A-9 and A-14, pp. 9-11, record), and its two passengers, namely: Feliciano Balcita and Francisco
Dy, Jr. died instantly (Exh. A-19) from external and internal hemorrhage and multiple fractures (pp. 15
and 16, record).

"For the funeral expenses of Francisco Dy, Jr. her widow spent P651,360.00 (Exh. I-3). At the time of his
death he was 45 years old. He was the President and Chairman of the Board of the Dynamic Wood
Products and Development Corporation (DWPC), a wood processing establishment, from which he was
receiving an income of P10,000.00 a month (Exh. D). In the Articles of Incorporation of the DWPC, the
spouses Francisco Dy, Jr. and Rosario Perez Dy appear to be stockholders of 10,000 shares each with par
value of P100.00 per share out of its outstanding and subscribed capital stock of 60,000 shares valued at
P6,000,000.00 (Exhs. K-1 & 10-B). Under its 1988 Income Tax Returns (Exh. J) the DWPC had a taxable
net income of P78,499.30 (Exh. J). Francisco Dy, Jr. was a La Salle University graduate in Business
Administration, past president of the Pasay Jaycees, National Treasurer and President of the Philippine
Jaycees in 1971 and 1976, respectively, and World Vice-President of Jaycees International in 1979. He
was also the recipient of numerous awards as a civic leader (Exh. C). His children were all studying in
prestigious schools and spent about P180,000.00 for their education in 1988 alone (Exh. H-4).

"As stated earlier, the plaintiffs procurement of a writ of attachment of the properties of the
Corporation was declared illegal by the Court of Appeals. It was shown that on December 26, 1989,
Deputy Sheriff Edgardo Zabat of the RTC at San Fernando, Pampanga, attached six units of Truck
Tractors and trailers of the Corporation at its garage at San Fernando, Pampanga. These vehicles were
kept under PC guard by the plaintiffs in said garage thus preventing the Corporation to operate them.
However, on December 28, 1989, the Court of Appeals dissolved the writ (p. 30, record) and on
December 29, 1989, said Sheriff reported to this Court that the attached vehicles were taken by the
defendants representative, Melita Manapil (Exh. O, p. 31, record). The defendants general Manager
declared that it lost P21,000.00 per day for the non-operation of the six units during their attachment (p.
31, t.s.n., Natividad C. Babaran, proceedings on December 10, 1990)."[8]
On June 6, 1992, the trial court rendered a joint decision, the dispositive portion of which reads as
follows:

"WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing considerations judgment is hereby rendered:

"1. Finding the accused Romeo Dunca y de Tumol guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of
Double Homicide through Reckless Imprudence with violation of the Motor Vehicle Law (Rep. Act No.
4136), and appreciating in his favor the mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender without any
aggravating circumstance to offset the same, the Court hereby sentences him to suffer two (2)
indeterminate penalties of four months and one day of arresto mayor as minimum to three years, six
months and twenty days as maximum; to indemnify the Heirs of Francisco Dy. Jr. in the amount of
P3,000,000.00 as compensatory damages, P1,000,000.00 as moral damages, and P1,030,000.00 as
funeral expenses;

"2. Ordering the plaintiff in Civil Case No. Br. 19-424 to pay the defendant therein actual damages in the
amount of P84,000.00; and

"3. Ordering the dismissal of the complaint in Civil Case No. Br. 19-424.

"No pronouncement as to costs.

"SO ORDERED.

"Cauayan, Isabela, June 6, 1992.

"(Sgd.) ARTEMIO R. ALIVIA

"Regional Trial Judge"[9]


On September 3, 1992, petitioner and the accused filed a notice of appeal from the joint decision.[10]

On the other hand, private respondents moved for amendment of the dispositive portion of the joint
decision so as to hold petitioner subsidiarily liable for the damages awarded to the private respondents
in the event of insolvency of the accused.[11]

On October 26, 1992, the trial court rendered a supplemental decision amending the dispositive portion
by inserting an additional paragraph reading as follows:

"2:A Ordering the defendant Reyes Trucking Corporation subsidiarily liable for all the damages awarded
to the heirs of Francisco Dy, Jr., in the event of insolvency of the accused but deducting therefrom the
damages of P84,000.00 awarded to said defendant in the next preceding paragraph; and x x x"[12]

On November 12, 1992, petitioner filed with the trial court a supplemental notice of appeal from the
supplemental decision.[13]

During the pendency of the appeal, the accused jumped bail and fled to a foreign country. By resolution
dated December 29, 1994, the Court of Appeals dismissed the appeal of the accused in the criminal
case.[14]

On January 6, 1997, the Court of Appeals rendered an amended decision affirming that of the trial court,
as set out in the opening paragraph of this decision.[15]

On January 31, 1997, petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration of the amended decision.[16]

On April 21, 1997, the Court of Appeals denied petitioners motion for reconsideration for lack of
merit.[17]

Hence, this petition for review.[18]


On July 21, 1997, the Court required respondents to comment on the petition within ten (10) days from
notice.[19]

On January 27, 1998, the Solicitor General filed his comment.[20] On April 13, 1998, the Court granted
leave to petitioner to file a reply and noted the reply it filed on March 11, 1998.[21]

We now resolve to give due course to the petition and decide the case.

Petitioner raises three (3) grounds for allowance of the petition, which, however, boil down to two (2)
basic issues, namely:

1.....May petitioner as owner of the truck involved in the accident be held subsidiarily liable for the
damages awarded to the offended parties in the criminal action against the truck driver despite the
filing of a separate civil action by the offended parties against the employer of the truck driver?

2.....May the Court award damages to the offended parties in the criminal case despite the filing of a
civil action against the employer of the truck driver; and in amounts exceeding that alleged in the
information for reckless imprudence resulting in homicide and damage to property?[22]

We grant the petition, resolving under the circumstances pro hac vice to remand the cases to the trial
court for determination of the civil liability of petitioner as employer of the accused driver in the civil
action quasi ex delicto re-opened for the purpose.

In negligence cases, the aggrieved party has the choice between (1) an action to enforce civil liability
arising from crime under Article 100 of the Revised Penal Code; and (2) a separate action for quasi delict
under Article 2176 of the Civil Code of the Philippines. Once the choice is made, the injured party can
not avail himself of any other remedy because he may not recover damages twice for the same
negligent act or omission of the accused.[23] This is the rule against double recovery.
In other words, "the same act or omission can create two kinds of liability on the part of the offender,
that is, civil liability ex delicto, and civil liability quasi delicto" either of which "may be enforced against
the culprit, subject to the caveat under Article 2177 of the Civil Code that the offended party can not
recover damages under both types of liability."[24]

In the instant case, the offended parties elected to file a separate civil action for damages against
petitioner as employer of the accused, based on quasi delict, under Article 2176 of the Civil Code of the
Philippines. Private respondents sued petitioner Rafael Reyes Trucking Corporation, as the employer of
the accused, to be vicariously liable for the fault or negligence of the latter. Under the law, this vicarious
liability of the employer is founded on at least two specific provisions of law.

The first is expressed in Article 2176 in relation to Article 2180 of the Civil Code, which would allow an
action predicated on quasi-delict to be instituted by the injured party against the employer for an act or
omission of the employee and would necessitate only a preponderance of evidence to prevail. Here, the
liability of the employer for the negligent conduct of the subordinate is direct and primary, subject to
the defense of due diligence in the selection and supervision of the employee. The enforcement of the
judgment against the employer in an action based on Article 2176 does not require the employee to be
insolvent since the nature of the liability of the employer with that of the employee, the two being
statutorily considered joint tortfeasors, is solidary.[25] The second, predicated on Article 103 of the
Revised Penal Code, provides that an employer may be held subsidiarily civilly liable for a felony
committed by his employee in the discharge of his duty. This liability attaches when the employee is
convicted of a crime done in the performance of his work and is found to be insolvent that renders him
unable to properly respond to the civil liability adjudged.[26]

As regards the first issue, the answer is in the negative. Rafael Reyes Trucking Corporation, as employer
of the accused who has been adjudged guilty in the criminal case for reckless imprudence, can not be
held subsidiarily liable because of the filing of the separate civil action based on quasi delict against it. In
view of the reservation to file, and the subsequent filing of the civil action for recovery of civil liability,
the same was not instituted with the criminal action. Such separate civil action was for recovery of
damages under Article 2176 of the Civil Code, arising from the same act or omission of the accused.[27]

Pursuant to the provision of Rule 111, Section 1, paragraph 3 of the 1985 Rules of Criminal Procedure,
when private respondents, as complainants in the criminal action, reserved the right to file the separate
civil action, they waived other available civil actions predicated on the same act or omission of the
accused-driver. Such civil action includes the recovery of indemnity under the Revised Penal Code, and
damages under Articles 32, 33, and 34 of the Civil Code of the Philippines arising from the same act or
omission of the accused.[28]

The intention of private respondents to proceed primarily and directly against petitioner as employer of
accused truck driver became clearer when they did not ask for the dismissal of the civil action against
the latter based on quasi delict.

Consequently, the Court of Appeals and the trial court erred in holding the accused civilly liable, and
petitioner-employer of the accused subsidiarily liable for damages arising from crime (ex delicto) in the
criminal action as the offended parties in fact filed a separate civil action against the employer based on
quasi delict resulting in the waiver of the civil action ex delicto.

It might be argued that private respondents as complainants in the criminal case withdrew the
reservation to file a civil action against the driver (accused) and manifested that they would pursue the
civil liability of the driver in the criminal action. However, the withdrawal is ineffective to reverse the
effect of the reservation earlier made because private respondents did not withdraw the civil action
against petitioner based on quasi delict. In such a case, the provision of Rule 111, Section 1, paragraph 3
of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure is clear that the reservation to file or the filing of a separate
civil action results in a waiver of other available civil actions arising from the same act or omission of the
accused. Rule 111, Section 1, paragraph 2 enumerated what are the civil actions deemed waived upon
such reservation or filing, and one of which is the civil indemnity under the Revised Penal Code. Rule 111,
Section 1, paragraph 3 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure specifically provides:

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

The rationale behind this rule is the avoidance of multiple suits between the same litigants arising out of
the same act or omission of the offender. The restrictive phraseology of the section under consideration
is meant to cover all kinds of civil actions, regardless of their source in law, provided that the action has
for its basis the same act or omission of the offender.[29]

However, petitioner as defendant in the separate civil action for damages filed against it, based on quasi
delict, may be held liable thereon. Thus, the trial court grievously erred in dismissing plaintiffs civil
complaint. And the Court of Appeals erred in affirming the trial courts decision. Unfortunately private
respondents did not appeal from such dismissal and could not be granted affirmative relief.[30]

The Court, however, in exceptional cases has relaxed the rules "in order to promote their objectives and
assist the parties in obtaining just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every action or
proceeding"[31] or exempted "a particular case from the operation of the rules."[32]

Invoking this principle, we rule that the trial court erred in awarding civil damages in the criminal case
and in dismissing the civil action. Apparently satisfied with such award, private respondent did not
appeal from the dismissal of the civil case. However, petitioner did appeal. Hence, this case should be
remanded to the trial court so that it may render decision in the civil case awarding damages as may be
warranted by the evidence.[33]

With regard to the second issue, the award of damages in the criminal case was improper because the
civil action for the recovery of civil liability was waived in the criminal action by the filing of a separate
civil action against the employer. As enunciated in Ramos vs. Gonong,[34] "civil indemnity is not part of
the penalty for the crime committed." The only issue brought before the trial court in the criminal action
is whether accused Romeo Dunca y de Tumol is guilty of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide and
damage to property. The action for recovery of civil liability is not included therein, but is covered by the
separate civil action filed against the petitioner as employer of the accused truck-driver.

In this case, accused-driver jumped bail pending his appeal from his conviction. Thus, the judgment
convicting the accused became final and executory, but only insofar as the penalty in the criminal action
is concerned. The damages awarded in the criminal action was invalid because of its effective waiver.
The pronouncement was void because the action for recovery of the civil liability arising from the crime
has been waived in said criminal action.

With respect to the issue that the award of damages in the criminal action exceeded the amount of
damages alleged in the amended information, the issue is de minimis. At any rate, the trial court erred
in awarding damages in the criminal case because by virtue of the reservation of the right to bring a
separate civil action or the filing thereof, "there would be no possibility that the employer would be held
liable because in such a case there would be no pronouncement as to the civil liability of the accused.[35]
As a final note, we reiterate that "the policy against double recovery requires that only one action be
maintained for the same act or omission whether the action is brought against the employee or against
his employer.[36] The injured party must choose which of the available causes of action for damages he
will bring.[37]

Parenthetically, the trial court found the accused "guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of
Double Homicide Through Reckless Imprudence with violation of the Motor Vehicle Law (Rep. Act No.
4136)." There is no such nomenclature of an offense under the Revised Penal Code. Thus, the trial court
was misled to sentence the accused "to suffer two (2) indeterminate penalties of four (4) months and
one (1) day of arresto mayor, as minimum, to three (3) years, six (6) months and twenty (20) days of
prision correccional, as maximum." This is erroneous because in reckless imprudence cases, the actual
penalty for criminal negligence bears no relation to the individual willful crime or crimes committed, but
is set in relation to a whole class, or series of crimes.[38]

Unfortunately, we can no longer correct this judgment even if erroneous, as it is, because it has become
final and executory.

Under Article 365 of the Revised Penal Code, criminal negligence "is treated as a mere quasi offense,
and dealt with separately from willful offenses. It is not a question of classification or terminology. In
intentional crimes, the act itself is punished; in negligence or imprudence, what is principally penalized is
the mental attitude or condition behind the act, the dangerous recklessness, lack of care or foresight,
the imprudencia punible. Much of the confusion has arisen from the common use of such descriptive
phrase as homicide through reckless imprudence, and the like; when the strict technical sense is, more
accurately, reckless imprudence resulting in homicide; or simple imprudence causing damages to
property."[39]

There is need, therefore, to rectify the designation of the offense without disturbing the imposed
penalty for the guidance of bench and bar in strict adherence to precedent.

WHEREFORE, the Court GRANTS the petition and SETS ASIDE the amended decision and resolution of
the Court of Appeals in CA-G. R. CR No. 14448, promulgated on January 6, 1997, and the joint decision of
the Regional Trial Court, Isabela, Branch 19, Cauayan, in Criminal Case No. Br. 19-311 and Civil Case No.
Br. 19-424, dated June 6, 1992.
IN LIEU THEREOF, the Court renders judgment as follows:

(1) In Criminal Case No. Br. 19-311, the Court declares the accused Romeo Dunca y de Tumol guilty
beyond reasonable doubt of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide and damage to property, defined
and penalized under Article 365, paragraph 2 of the Revised Penal Code, with violation of the
automobile law (R. A. No. 4136, as amended), and sentences him to suffer two (2) indeterminate
penalties of four (4) months and one (1) day of arresto mayor, as minimum, to three (3) years, six (6)
months and twenty (20) days of prision correccional, as maximum,[40] without indemnity, and to pay
the costs, and

(2) In Civil Case No. Br. 19-424, the Court orders the case re-opened to determine the liability of the
defendant Rafael Reyes Trucking Corporation to plaintiffs and that of plaintiffs on defendants
counterclaim.

No costs in this instance.