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G.R. No.

L-48006             July 8, 1942

FAUSTO BARREDO, petitioner, 

Facts: On May 3, 1936, there was a head-on collision between a taxi of the Malate
taxicab driven by Fontanilla and a carretela guided by Dimapilis. The carretela was
over-turned, and a passenger, a 16-year old boy, Garcia, suffered injuries from which
he died. A criminal action was filed against Fontanilla, and he was convicted. The court
in the criminal case granted the petition to reserve the civil action. Garcia and Almario,
parents of the deceased, on March 7, 1939, filed a civil action against Barredo, the
proprietor of the Malate Taxicab and employer of Fontanilla, making him primarily and
directly responsible under culpa acquiliana of Article 2180 of the Civil Code of the
Philippines. It is undisputed that Fontanilla’s negligence was the cause of the accident,
as he was driving on the wrong side of the road at high speed, and there was no
showing that Barredo exercised the diligence of a good father of a family, a defense to
Article 2180 of the said Code. Barredo’s theory of defense is that Fontanilla’s
negligence being punished by the Revised Penal Code, his liability as employer is only
subsidiary, but Fontanilla, was not sued for civil liability. Hence, Barredo claims that he
cannot be held liable.

Issue: Whether or not Barredo, as employer is civilly liable for the acts of Fontanilla, his

Held:  Quasi-delict or culpa acquiliana is a separate legal institution under the Civil
Code of the Philippines is entirely distinct and independent from a delict or crime under
the Revised Penal Code. In this jurisdiction, the same negligent act causing damage
may produce civil liability (subsidiary) arising from a crime under Article 103 of the
Revised Penal Code of the Philippines; or create an action for quasi-delicto or culpa
aquiliana under Articles 2179 and 2180 of the Civil Code and the parties are free to
choose which course to take. And in the instant case, the negligent act of Fontanilla
produces two (2) liabilities of Barredo: First, a subsidiary one because of the civil
liability of Fontanilla arising from the latter’s criminal negligence under Article 103 of the
Revised Penal Code, and second, Barredo’s primary and direct responsibility arising
from his presumed negligence as an employer under Article 2180 of the Civil Code.
Since the plaintiffs are free to choose what remedy to take, they preferred the second,
which is within their rights. This is the more expedious and effective method of relief
because Fontanilla was either in prison or just been released or had no property.
Barredo was held liable for damages.