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Torts and Damages Case Digest: Maria Benita A. Dulay, et al., v. The Court of Appeals, et al.(1995)

G.R. No. 108017 April 3, 1995
Lesson Applicable: Quasi-delict (Torts and Damages)

  • December 7, 1988: Due to a heated argument, Benigno Torzuela, the security guard on duty at Big Bang Sa Alabang carnival, shot and killed Atty. Napoleon Dulay
  • Maria Benita A. Dulay, widow of the deceased Napoleon Dulay, in her own behalf and in behalf of her minor children filed an action for damages against Benigno Torzuela for wanton and reckless discharge of the firearm and Safeguard Investigation and Security Co., Inc., (Safeguard) and/or Superguard Security Corp. (Superguard) as employers for negligence having failed to exercise the diligence of a good father of a family in the supervision and control of its employee to avoid the injury
    • Superguard: 
      • Torzuela's act of shooting Dulay was beyond the scope of his duties, and was committed with deliberate intent (dolo), the civil liability therefor is governed by Article 100 of the Revised Penal Code, which states:
Art. 100. Civil liability of a person guilty of a felony. — Every person criminally liable for a felony is also civilly liable. 
      • civil liability under Article 2176 applies only to quasi-offenses under Article 365 of the Revised Penal Code
  • CA Affirmed RTC: dismising the case of Dulay
ISSUE: W/N Superguard and Safeguard commited an actionable breach and can be civilly liable even if Benigno Torzuela is already being prosecuted for homicide

HELD: YES.  Petition for Review is Granted. remanded to RTC for trial on the merits
  • Rule 111 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure provides:
Sec. 1. Institution of criminal and civil actions. When a criminal action is instituted, the civil action for the recovery of civil liability is impliedly instituted with the criminal action, unless the offended party waives the civil action , reserves his right to institute it separately or institutes the civil action prior to the criminal action

Such civil action includes recovery of indemnity under the Revised Penal Code, and damages under Articles 32, 33, 34, and 2176 of the Civil Code of the Philippines arising from the same act or omission of the accused
  • Contrary to the theory of private respondents, there is no justification for limiting the scope of Article 2176 of the Civil Code to acts or omissions resulting from negligence. Well-entrenched is the doctrine that article 2176 covers not only acts committed with negligence, but also acts which are voluntary and intentional. 
  • Article 2176, where it refers to "fault or negligence," covers not only acts "not punishable by law" but also acts criminal in character; whether intentional and voluntary or negligent. Consequently, a separate civil action against the offender in a criminal act, whether or not he is criminally prosecuted and found guilty or acquitted, provided that the offended party is not allowed, if he is actually charged also criminally, to recover damages on both scores, and would be entitled in such eventuality only to the bigger award of the two, assuming the awards made in the two cases vary
  • extinction of civil liability referred to in Par. (e) of Section 3, Rule 111, refers exclusively to civil liability founded on Article 100 of the Revised Penal Code, whereas the civil liability for the same act considered as quasi-delict only and not as a crime is not extinguished even by a declaration in the criminal case that the criminal act charged has not happened or has not been committed by the accused
  • It is enough that the complaint alleged that Benigno Torzuela shot Napoleon Dulay resulting in the latter's death; that the shooting occurred while Torzuela was on duty; and that either SUPERGUARD and/or SAFEGUARD was Torzuela's employer and responsible for his acts.