Like us on Facebook

Please wait..10 Seconds Cancel

Torts and Damages Case Digest: Fausto Barredo v. Severino Garcia and Timotea Almario (1942)

G.R. No. L-48006             July 8, 1942

Laws Applicable: ART. 1089, ART. 1092, ART. 1093, ART. 1094 of the Civil Code, ART. 101, ART. 102, ART. 103, ART. 365 of RPC
Lessons Applicable: Quasi-delict (Torts and Damages)

  • May 3, 1936 1:30 am: road between Malabon and Navotas, Province of Rizal, there was a head-on collision between a taxi of the Malate Taxicab driven by Pedro Fontanilla and a carretela guided by Pedro Dimapalis
    • The carretela was overturned and its passenger Faustino Garcia (16 years old boy) suffered injuries from which he died two days later
    • Fontanilla 's negligence was the cause of the mishap
      • he was driving on the wrong side of the road and at high speed
  • criminal action was filed against Fontanilla in the CFI
  • CA affirmed CFI: he was convicted and sentenced to an indeterminate sentence of 1 year and 1 day to 2 years of prision correccional. The court in the criminal case granted the petition that the right to bring a separate civil action be reserved. 
  • March 7, 1939: parents Severino Garcia and Timotea Almario brought an action in the CFI of Manila against Fausto Barredo as the sole proprietor of the Malate Taxicab and employer of Fontanilla 
    • Barredo was careless in employing Fontanilla who had been caught several times for violation of the Automobile Law and speeding violation which appeared in the records of the Bureau of Public Works available to be public and to himself
    • Therefore, he must indemnify plaintiffs under the provisions of article 1903 of the Civil Code
      • defense: liability of Barredo is governed by the RPC>liability is only subsidiary (no civil action against the driver Fontanilla Barredo cannot be held responsible in the case)
  • CFI awarded damages for P2,000 plus legal interest 
  • CA: reduced the damages to P1,000 w/ legal interest 
    • Applied Article 1903: applicable only to those (obligations) arising from wrongful or negligent acts or commission not punishable by law
      • by reason of his negligence in the selection or supervision of his servant or employee
ISSUE: W/N the parents may bring separate civil action against Barredo, thus making him primarily and directly, responsible under article 1903 of the Civil Code as an employer 

HELD: YES. CA Affirmed.
  • quasi-delict or "culpa aquiliana " is a separate legal institution under the Civil Code with a substantivity all its own, and individuality that is entirely apart and independent from delict or crime
    • Upon this principle and on the wording and spirit article 1903 of the Civil Code, the primary and direct responsibility of employers may be safely anchored.

ART. 1089 Obligations arise from law, from contracts and quasi-contracts, and from acts and omissions which are unlawful or in which any kind of fault or negligence intervenes.
x x x           x x x           x x x
ART. 1092. Civil obligations arising from felonies or misdemeanors shall be governed by the provisions of the Penal Code.
ART. 1093. Those which are derived from acts or omissions in which fault or negligence, not punishable by law, intervenes shall be subject to the provisions of Chapter II, Title XVI of this book.
x x x           x x x           x x x
ART 1902. Any person who by an act or omission causes damage to another by his fault or negligence shall be liable for the damage so done.
ART. 1903. The obligation imposed by the next preceding article is enforcible, not only for personal acts and omissions, but also for those of persons for whom another is responsible.
The father and in, case of his death or incapacity, the mother, are liable for any damages caused by the minor children who live with them.
Guardians are liable for damages done by minors or incapacitated persons subject to their authority and living with them.
Owners or directors of an establishment or business are equally liable for any damages caused by their employees while engaged in the branch of the service in which employed, or on occasion of the performance of their duties.
The State is subject to the same liability when it acts through a special agent, but not if the damage shall have been caused by the official upon whom properly devolved the duty of doing the act performed, in which case the provisions of the next preceding article shall be applicable.
Finally, teachers or directors of arts trades are liable for any damages caused by their pupils or apprentices while they are under their custody.
The liability imposed by this article shall cease in case the persons mentioned therein prove that they are exercised all the diligence of a good father of a family to prevent the damage.
ART. 1904. Any person who pays for damage caused by his employees may recover from the latter what he may have paid.
ART. 100. Civil liability of a person guilty of felony. — Every person criminally liable for a felony is also civilly liable.
ART. 101. Rules regarding civil liability in certain cases. — The exemption from criminal liability established in subdivisions 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6 of article 12 and in subdivision 4 of article 11 of this Code does not include exemption from civil liability, which shall be enforced to the following rules:
First. In cases of subdivision, 1, 2 and 3 of article 12 the civil liability for acts committed by any imbecile or insane person, and by a person under nine years of age, or by one over nine but under fifteen years of age, who has acted without discernment shall devolve upon those having such person under their legal authority or control, unless it appears that there was no fault or negligence on their part.
Should there be no person having such insane, imbecile or minor under his authority, legal guardianship, or control, or if such person be insolvent, said insane, imbecile, or minor shall respond with their own property, excepting property exempt from execution, in accordance with the civil law.
Second. In cases falling within subdivision 4 of article 11, the person for whose benefit the harm has been prevented shall be civilly liable in proportion to the benefit which they may have received.
The courts shall determine, in their sound discretion, the proportionate amount for which each one shall be liable.
When the respective shares can not be equitably determined, even approximately, or when the liability also attaches to the Government, or to the majority of the inhabitants of the town, and, in all events, whenever the damage has been caused with the consent of the authorities or their agents, indemnification shall be made in the manner prescribed by special laws or regulations.
Third. In cases falling within subdivisions 5 and 6 of article 12, the persons using violence or causing the fear shall be primarily liable and secondarily, or, if there be no such persons, those doing the act shall be liable, saving always to the latter that part of their property exempt from execution.
ART. 102. Subsidiary civil liability of innkeepers, tavern keepers and proprietors of establishment. — In default of persons criminally liable, innkeepers, tavern keepers, and any other persons or corporation shall be civilly liable for crimes committed in their establishments, in all cases where a violation of municipal ordinances or some general or special police regulation shall have been committed by them or their employees.
Innkeepers are also subsidiarily liable for the restitution of goods taken by robbery or theft within their houses lodging therein, or the person, or for the payment of the value thereof, provided that such guests shall have notified in advance the innkeeper himself, or the person representing him, of the deposit of such goods within the inn; and shall furthermore have followed the directions which such innkeeper or his representative may have given them with respect to the care of and vigilance over such goods. No liability shall attach in case of robbery with violence against or intimidation against or intimidation of persons unless committed by the innkeeper's employees.
ART. 103. Subsidiary civil liability of other persons. — The subsidiary liability established in the next preceding article shall also apply to employers, teachers, persons, and corporations engaged in any kind of industry for felonies committed by their servants, pupils, workmen, apprentices, or employees in the discharge of their duties.
x x x           x x x           x x x
ART. 365. Imprudence and negligence. — Any person who, by reckless imprudence, shall commit any act which, had it been intentional, would constitute a grave felony, shall suffer the penalty of arresto mayor in its maximum period to prision correccional in its minimum period; if it would have constituted a less grave felony, the penalty of arresto mayor in its minimum and medium periods shall be imposed.
Any person who, by simple imprudence or negligence, shall commit an act which would otherwise constitute a grave felony, shall suffer the penalty of arresto mayor in its medium and maximum periods; if it would have constituted a less serious felony, the penalty of arresto mayor in its minimum period shall be imposed."
  •  Some of the differences between crimes under the Penal Code and the culpa aquiliana or cuasi-delito under the Civil Code are:
    1. That crimes affect the public interest, while cuasi-delitos are only of private concern.
    2. That, consequently, the Penal Code punishes or corrects the criminal act, while the Civil Code, by means of indemnification, merely repairs the damage.
    3. That delicts are not as broad as quasi-delicts, because the former are punished only if there is a penal law clearly covering them, while the latter, cuasi-delitos, include all acts in which "any king of fault or negligence intervenes." However, it should be noted that not all violations of the penal law produce civil responsibility, such as begging in contravention of ordinances, violation of the game laws, infraction of the rules of traffic when nobody is hurt.
  • Penal Code
    Civil Code
    minors and incapacitated persons
    other persons

    direct (article 19)
    subsidiary (articles 20 and 21)
    direct(Art. 1903) 
  • same act may come under both the Penal Code and the Civil Code
  • interpretation of the words of article 1093 "fault or negligence not punished by law"
    • consequence of which are regulated by articles 1902 and 1903 of the Civil Code
      • The acts to which these articles are applicable are understood to be those not growing out of pre-existing duties of the parties to one another. 
    • But where relations already formed give rise to duties, whether springing from contract or quasi contract, then breaches of those duties are subject to articles 1101, 1103, and 1104 of the same code. 
      • A typical application of this distinction may be found in the consequences of a railway accident due to defective machinery supplied by the employer. His liability to his employee would arise out of the contract of employment, that to the passengers out of the contract for passage, while that to the injured bystander would originate in the negligent act itself.
  • Article 1903 of the Civil Code not only establishes liability in cases of negligence, but also provides when the liability shall cease. It says:
"The liability referred to in this article shall cease when the persons mentioned therein prove that they employed all the diligence of a good father of a family to avoid the damage."
  • exemption from civil liability established in article 1903 of the Civil Code for all who have acted with the diligence of a good father of a family, is not applicable to the subsidiary civil liability provided in article 20 of the Penal Code
  • distinction between civil liability arising from criminal negligence (governed by the Penal Code) and responsibility for fault or negligence under articles 1902 to 1910 of the Civil Code, and that the same negligent act may produce either a civil liability arising from a crime under the Penal Code, or a separate responsibility for fault or negligence under articles 1902 to 1910 of the Civil Code
  • Rationales:
  1. Revised Penal Code in article 365 punishes not only reckless but also simple negligence. If we were to hold that articles 1902 to 1910 of the Civil Code refer only to fault or negligence not punished by law, according to the literal import of article 1093 of the Civil Code, the legal institution of culpa aquiliana would have very little scope and application in actual life
  2. to find the accused guilty in a criminal case, proof of guilt beyond reasonable doubt is required, while in a civil case, preponderance of evidence is sufficient to make the defendant pay in damages. There are numerous cases of criminal negligence which can not be shown beyond reasonable doubt, but can be proved by a preponderance of evidence. In such cases, the defendant can and should be made responsible in a civil action under articles 1902 to 1910 of the Civil Code. Otherwise, there would be many instances of unvindicated civil wrongs. Ubi jus ibi remedium.
  3. It is much more equitable and just that such responsibility should fall upon the principal or director who could have chosen a careful and prudent employee, and not upon the injured person who could not exercise such selection and who used such employee because of his confidence in the principal or director
  4. not depending on the issues, limitations and results of a criminal prosecution, and entirely directed by the party wronged or his counsel, is more likely to secure adequate and efficacious redress