G.R. No. 155791 March 16, 2005
Lessons Applicable: Proximate cause, EX to Every person criminally liable for a felony is also civilly liable.
- November 13, 1995 7:30 am: Edison Garcia, 11 year-old and Grade 4 elementary school pupil, and his playmate, Wilson Quinto saw Dante Andres and Randyver Pacheco by the mouth of a drainage culvert.
- Andres and Pacheco invited Wilson to go fishing with them inside the drainage culvert. Wilson agreed while Garcia seeing that it was dark inside, opted to remain seated in a grassy area about two meters from the entrance of the drainage system
- Only Pacheco had a flashlight. Pacheco, who was holding a fish, came out of the drainage system and left without saying a word. Then, Andres came out, went back inside, and emerged again carrying Wilson who was already dead. He laid his body down in the grassy area.
- Garcia, shocked, fled from the scene. Andres went to the house of Melba Quinto, Wilson’s mother, and informed her that her son had died. They rushed to the drainage culvert. Wilson was buried without any complaints filed.
- November 28, 1995: National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) took the sworn statements of Pacheco, Garcia and Quinto
- Pacheco alleged that he had never been to the drainage system catching fish with Andres and Wilson
- Dr. Dominic Aguda of the NBI’s autopsy showed that the cause death is drowning with traumatic head injuries as contributory
- NBI filed a criminal complaint for homicide against Andres and Pacheco with the RTC
- Dr. Dominic Aguda testified that Wilson could have fallen, and that the occipital portion of his head could have hit a blunt object, That the 14x7-centimeter hematoma at the back of Wilson’s head could have rendered the him unconscious so he drowned. The 4x3-centimeter abrasion on the right side of Wilson’s face could have also been caused by rubbing against a concrete wall or pavement, or by contact with a rough surface. He also stated that the trachea region was full of mud, but that there was no sign of strangulation.
- RTC: granted demurer to evidence on the ground of insufficiency of evidence
- CA: Affirmed RTC
ISSUE: W/N Acquittal in criminal case bars a civil action where the judgment of acquittal holds that the accused did not commit the criminal acts imputed to them
HELD: YES. petition is DENIED
- Every person criminally liable for a felony is also civilly liable.
o The civil liability of such person established in Articles 100, 102 and 103 of the Revised Penal Code includes restitution, reparation of the damage caused, and indemnification for consequential damages
- GR: When a criminal action is instituted, the civil action for the recovery of civil liability arising from the offense charged shall be deemed instituted with the criminal action
EX: the offended party waives the civil action, reserves the right to institute it separately or institutes the civil action prior to the criminal action
- With the implied institution of the civil action in the criminal action, the two actions are merged into one composite proceeding, with the criminal action predominating the civil.
- The prime purpose of the criminal action is to punish the offender in order to deter him and others from committing the same or similar offense, to isolate him from society, to reform and rehabilitate him or, in general, to maintain social order.
- The sole purpose of the civil action is the restitution, reparation or indemnification of the private offended party for the damage or injury he sustained by reason of the delictual or felonious act of the accused
o While the prosecution must prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt for the crime charged, it is required to prove the cause of action of the private complainant against the accused for damages and/or restitution.
o Insofar as the civil aspect of the case is concerned, the prosecution or the private complainant is burdened to adduce preponderance of evidence or superior weight of evidence. – failed
§ That the deceased fell or slipped cannot be totally foreclosed because even Garcia testified that the drainage culvert was dark, and that he himself was so afraid that he refused to join respondents Andres and Pacheco inside
§ failed to adduce proof of any ill-motive on the part of either respondent to kill the deceased before or after the latter was invited to join them in fishing
- GR: The extinction of the penal action does not carry with it the extinction of the civil action.
EX: civil action based on delict shall be deemed extinguished if there is a finding in a final judgment in the civil action that the act or omission from where the civil liability may arise does not exist
- a person committing a felony is criminally liable for all the natural and logical consequences resulting therefrom although the wrongful act done be different from that which he intended
o Natural - an occurrence in the ordinary course of human life or events
o Logical - a rational connection between the act of the accused and the resulting injury or damage
- The felony committed must be the proximate cause of the resulting injury
o Proximate cause
§ cause which in natural and continuous sequence, unbroken by an efficient intervening cause, produces the injury, and without which the result would not have occurred
§ acting first and producing the injury, either immediately, or by setting other events in motion, all constituting a natural and continuous chain of events, each having a close causal connection with its immediate predecessor
o There must be a relation of “cause and effect,”
§ cause = felonious act of the offender
§ effect = resultant injuries and/or death of the victim.
- The “cause and effect” relationship is not altered or changed because of the
o pre-existing conditions
§ pathological condition of the victim
§ predisposition of the offended party
§ physical condition of the offended party
o concomitant or concurrent conditions
§ negligence or fault of the doctors
§ conditions supervening the felonious act
Ø pulmonary infection
- not the proximate cause of the resulting injury when:
1. there is an active force that intervened between the felony committed and the resulting injury, and the active force is a distinct act or fact absolutely foreign from the felonious act of the accused; or
2. the resulting injury is due to the intentional act of the victim
- The offender is criminally liable for the death of the victim if his delictual act caused, accelerated or contributed to the death of the victim.
- the prosecution was burdened to prove the corpus delicti which consists of two things:
1. first, the criminal act - objective
2. second, defendant’s agency in the commission of the act - subjective element of crimes
· In homicide (by dolo) and in murder cases, the prosecution is burdened to prove:
1. the death of the party alleged to be dead
2. that the death was produced by the criminal act of some other than the deceased and was not the result of accident, natural cause or suicide
3. that defendant committed the criminal act or was in some way criminally responsible for the act which produced the death