Oblicon Digest 2.11.17

September 22, 2017 | Author: Joana Pasion | Category: Prosecutor, Lawsuit, Supreme Courts, Criminal Law, Judiciaries
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San Ildefonso Lines Inc and Eduardo Javier, petitioners Court of Appeals abs Pioneer Insurance Surety Corporation, respondents GR 119771 FACTS: A Toyota Lite Ace Van being driven by Annie U. Jao and a passenger bus of herein petitioner San Ildefonso Lines, Inc. (hereafter, SILI) had a vehicular mishap at the intersection of Julia Vargas Avenue and Rodriguez Lanuza Avenue in Pasig, Metro Manila, totally wrecking the Toyota van and injuring Ms. Jao and her two (2) passengers in the process. A criminal case was thereafter filed charging the driver of the bus, herein petitioner Eduardo Javier, with reckless imprudence resulting in damage to property with multiple physical injuries. About four (4) months later, herein private respondent Pioneer Insurance and Surety Corporation (PISC), as insurer of the van and subrogee, filed a case for damages against petitioner SILI with the Regional Trial Court of Manila, seeking to recover the sums it paid the assured under a motor vehicle insurance policy as well as other damages. Petitioners filed a Manifestation and Motion to Suspend Civil Proceedings grounded onthe pendency of the criminal case against petitioner Javier in the Pasig RTC and the failure of respondent PISC to make a reservation to file a separate damage suit in said criminal action. This was denied by the Manila Regional Trial Court. After their motion for reconsideration the Order was denied, petitioners elevated the matter to this Court via petition for certiorari which was, however, referred to public respondent Court of Appeals for disposition. A decision adverse to petitioners once again was rendered by respondent court, upholding the assailed Manila Regional Trial Court Order. Hence, this petition for review after a motion for reconsideration was denied.

Issues: 1) If a criminal case was filed, can an independent civil action based on quasi-delict under Article 2176 of the Civil Code be filed if no reservation was made in the said criminal case? 2) Can a subrogee of an offended party maintain an independent civil action during the pendency of a criminal action when no reservation of the right to file an independent civil action was made in the criminal action and despite the fact that the private complainant is actively participating through a private prosecutor in the aforementioned criminal case? Held: The Supreme Court assailed with the decision of the Court of Appeals.

On the chief issue of "reservation", there is no dispute that these so-called "independent civil actions" based on the aforementioned Civil Code articles are the exceptions to the primacy of the criminal action over the civil action as set forth in Section 2 of Rule 111. Objections were raised to the inclusion in this Rule of quasi-delicts under Article 2176 of the Civil Code of the Philippines. However, in view of Article 2177 of the said code which provides that the offended party may not recover twice for the same act or omission of the accused, and in line with the policy of avoiding multiplicity of suits, these objections were overruled. In any event, the offended party is not precluded from filing a civil action to recover damages arising from quasi-delict before the institution of the criminal action, or from reserving his right to file such a separate civil action, just as he is not precluded from filing a civil action for damages under Articles 32, 33 and 34 before the institution of the criminal action, or from reserving his right to file such a separate civil action. It is only in those cases where the offended party has not previously filed a civil action or has not reserved his right to file a separate civil action that his civil action is deemed impliedly instituted with the criminal action. Now that the necessity of a prior reservation is the standing rule that shall govern the institution of the independent civil actions referred to in Rule 111 of the Rules of Court, past pronouncements that view the reservation requirement as an "unauthorized amendment" to substantive law - i.e., the Civil Code, should no longer be controlling. There must be a renewed adherence to the time-honored dictum that procedural rules are designed, not to defeat, but to safeguard the ends of substantial justice. And for this noble reason, no less than the Constitution itself has mandated this Court to promulgate rules concerning the enforcement of rights with the end in view of providing a simplified and inexpensive procedure for the speedy disposition of cases which should not diminish, increase or modify substantive rights.[7] Far from altering substantive rights, the primary purpose of the reservation is, to borrow the words of the Court in "Caos v. Peralta":[8] " to avoid multiplicity of suits, to guard against oppression and abuse, to prevent delays, to clear congested dockets, to simplify the work of the trial court; in short, the attainment of justice with the least expense and vexation to the partieslitigants." Clearly then, private respondent PISC, as subrogee under Article 2207 of the Civil Code,[9] is not exempt from the reservation requirement with respect to its damages suit based on quasi-delict arising from the same act or omission of petitioner Javier complained of in the criminal case. As private respondent PISC merely stepped into the shoes of Ms. Jao (as owner of the insured Toyota van), then it is bound to observe the procedural requirements which Ms. Jao ought to follow had she herself instituted the civil case.

HEIRS OF EDUARDO SIMON- Petitioners Elvin Chan -Respondent GR No. 157547 FACTS:  Sometime in December 1996, Simon issued a Landbank check to Elvin Chan amounting to PhP 336,000.00 which was dishonored upon presentation on the ground that the account has been closed.  Elvin filed a case in violation of BP 22 against Simon before MeTC of Manila. (Criminal case)  After more than 3 years, Elvin Chan commenced in the MeTC in Pasay City a civil action for the collection of the principal amount of PhP 336,000.00 coupled with an application for a writ of preliminary attachment.  He alleged that Simon employed fraud, deceit and misrepresentation when he issued check subject to Criminal case which when presented for payment was dishonored by the drawee bank.  Simon moved to dismissed the civil case on the ground of litis pendencia, as a consequence of the pendency of Criminal case .  Elvin opposed the motion to dismiss, citing as bases Art. 31,32,33,34 and 2177 of the Civil Code which allows an independent civil action entirely separate and distinct from the criminal action and which may be brought by the injured part during the pendency of the criminal case provided the right to file the civil action is reserved.  The MeTC granted the motion to dismiss. The RTC affirmed the MeTC decision.  However, the CA overturned the decision of the RTC citing that the complaint was brought on allegation of fraud under Art. 33 of the Civil Code and committed by the respondent in the issuance of the check which was later bounced. It was filed before the trial courts, despite the pendency of the criminal case for violation of BP 22 against the respondent. The CA also cited that procedural rules may be given retroactive application since there are no vested rights in the rules of procedures. Thus, he case remanded to the trial court for further proceedings  Simon appealed to the Supreme Court for petition for review. ISSUE:

Whether or not Chan’s civil action to recover the amount of the unfunded check (Civil Case) was an independent civil action HELD:

NO. There is no independent civil action to recover the civil liability arising from the issuance of an unfunded check prohibited and punished under Batas Pambansa Bilang 22 (BP 22). This is clear from Rule 111 of the Rules of Court which relevantly provides: "The criminal action for violation of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22 shall be deemed to include the corresponding civil action. No reservation to file such civil action separately shall be allowed."

Supreme Court Circular 57-97 also provides that: "1. The criminal action for violation of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22 shall be deemed to necessarily include the corresponding civil action, and no reservation to file such civil action separately shall be allowed or recognized." The Supreme Court granted the petition and accordingly reverse and set aside the CA decision thereby reinstating the decision of the MeTC.

Mary Ann Rodriiguez, Petitioner People of the Phils and Gladys Nocom, Respondents GR 155531-34 FACTS:  Rodriguez was charged with Estafa and violation of BP22 (bouncing checks law)  City Prosecutor Rossana S. Morales-Montojo of Quezon CityProsecutor’s Office found PROBABLE CAUSE to charge Rodriguez with ESTAFA under Article 315 paragraph 2(d) as amended by PD 818 and for Violation of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22  Violation of BP22 was filed in MTC of QC- docket fees were accordingly paid byprivate complainant.  ESTAFA was filed with RTC of QC  During the hearing, respondent court noted the Formal Entry of Appearance of Atty. Felix R. Solomon as PRIVATE prosecutor (in order to pursue Civil Liability against Rodriguez), but this was opposed by Rodriguez  Rodriguez’s contends that the private prosecutor is barred from appearing before this Court as his appearance is limited to the civil aspect which must be presented and asserted in B.P. 22 cases pending before the Metropolitan Trial Court of Quezon City (and not in the Regional Trial Court where his ESTAFA case is being tried)7.  RTC held that civil action for the recovery of civil liability arising from the offense charged is deemed instituted, unless the offended party (1) waives the civil action, (2) reserves the right to institute it separately, or (3) institutes the civil action prior to the criminal action. Considering that the offended party had paid the corresponding filing fee for the estafa cases prior to the filing of the BP 22 cases with the Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC), theRTC allowed the private prosecutor to appear and intervene in the proceedings. ISSUE: Whether or not a Private Prosecutor can be allowed to intervene and participate in the proceedings of the above-entitled Estafa cases for the

purpose of prosecuting the attached civil liability arising from the issuance of the checks involved which is also subject matter of the pending B.P. 22 cases. HELD: YES. Atty. Solomon can be allowed to intervene and participate in the estafa cases for recovery of civil liability. Section 16, Rule 110 of the Rules of Court: Intervention of the offended party in criminal action. Where the civil action for recovery of civil liability is instituted in the criminal action pursuant to Rule 111, the offended party may intervene by counsel in the prosecution of the offense. The possible single civil liability arising from the act of issuing a bouncing check can be the subject of both civil actions deemed instituted with the estafa case and the BP 22 violation prosecution. As both remedies are simultaneously available to this party, there can be no forum shopping. The private prosecutor may intervene before the RTC in the proceedings for estafa, despite the necessary inclusion of the corresponding civil action in the proceedings for violation of BP 22 pending before the MTC. However, the recovery by the offended party under one remedy necessarily bars the recovery under the other. Because the law prohibits double recovery for the same act or omission. Thus, the petition is Dismissed.

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