Anda di halaman 1dari 12

ANNOTATION COMPLAINT BASED ON QUASI-DELICT

By Prof. LOHEL A. MARTIREZ

1. Report of the Code Commission on Quasi-Delicts, p. 208. 2. Article 2176, New Civil Code, p. 209. 3. Article 2180, New Civil Code, p. 211. 4. Case Citations in capsule, p. 213. 5. Article 2177, New Civil Code, p. 216.

______________

The case under Annotation entitled LEOPOLDO POBLETE, Plaintiff-Appellant, versus DONATO FABROS and GODOFREDO DE LA CRUZ, Defendants-Appellees, G.R. No. L29803, Promulgated on September 14, 1979 is an action for damages, arising from a vehicular accident. 1. Report of the Code Commission on Quasi-Delicts

A question of nomenclature confronted the Commission. After a careful deliberation, it was agreed to use the term quasi-delict for those obligations which do not arise from law, contracts, quasi-contracts, or criminal offenses. They are known in Spanish legal treatises as culpa aquiliana, culpa extra-contractual or quasi-delitos. The phrase culpa extra-contractual or its translation extracontractual fault was eliminated because it did not exclude quasi-contractual or penal obligations. Aquiliana fault might have been selected, but it was thought inadvisable to refer to so ancient a law as the Lex Aquilia. So quasi-delicts was chosen, which more nearly corresponds to the Roman Law classification of obligation, and is in harmony with the nature of this kind of liability.

209

VOL. 93, SEPTEMBER 14, 1979

209

Complaint Based On Quasi-Delict

The Commission also thought of the possibility of adopting the word tort from Anglo-American law. But tort under that system is much broader than the SpanishPhilippine concept of obligations arising from non-contractual negligence. Tort in Anglo-American jurisdiction includes not only negligence, but also intentional criminal acts, such as assault and battery, false imprisonment and deceit. In the general plan of the Philippine legal system, intentional and malicious acts are governed by the Penal Code, although certain exceptions are made in the Project. 2. Article 2176, New Civil Code

Whoever by act or omission causes damage to another, there being fault or negligence, is obliged to pay for the damage done. Such fault or negligence, if there is no pre-existing contractual relation between the parties, is called a quasi-delict and is governed by the provisions of this Chapter.

Quasi-delicts are a source of obligations (Art. 1157, No. 5), and they are governed by Title XVII, Chapter 2 (Arts. 2176-2194) and by special laws (Art. 1162) (See Padilla, Civil Code Annotated)

In Daywalt vs. Corporacion de PP. Agustinos Recoletos, 39 Phil. 587, the Supreme Court dealt on the scope of Art. 2176 as follows: Article 1902 (Now, Art. 2176) of the Civil Code declares that any person who by an act or omission, characterised by fault or negligence, causes damage to another shall be liable for the damage so done. Ignoring so much of this article as relates to liability for negligence, we take

the rule to be that a person is liable for damage done to another by any culpable act; and by culpable act we mean any act which is blameworthy when judged by accepted legal standards. The idea thus expressed is undoubtedly broad enough to include any rational conception of liability for the tortious acts likely to be developed in any society.

210

210

SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED

Complaint Based On Quasi-Delict

As mentioned in Cangco vs. Manila Railroad, 38 Phil. 768, the Court distinguished negligence as source of obligations and in the performance of contractual obligations in this manner: It is important to note that the foundation of the legal liability of the defendant is the contract of carriage, and that the obligation to respond for the damage which plaintiff has suffered arise, if at all, from the breach of that contract by reason of the failure of defendant to exercise due care in its performance. That is to say, its liability is direct and immediate, differing essentially, in the legal viewpoint from that presumptive responsibility for the negligence of its servants imposed by Article 1903 (Now Art. 2180) of the Civil Code, which can be rebutted by proof of the exercise of due care in their selection and supervision. Article 1903 (Now 2180) of the Civil Code is not applicable to obligations arising ex contractu, but only to extra-contractual obligationsor to use the technical form of expression, that article relates only to culpa aquiliana and not to culpa contractual.

In commenting upon Article 1903 (Now Art. 2180) Manresa clearly points out the difference between culpa, substantive and independent, which of itself constitutes the source of an obligation between persons not formerly connected by any legal tie and culpa considered as an accident in the performance of an obligation already existing.

In the Rakes case the decision of this court was made to rest squarely upon the proposition that Article 1903 (Now Art. 2180) of the Civil Code is not appolicable to acts of negligence which constitute the breach of a contract.

Upon this point the Court said:

The acts to which these articles (1902 and 1903Now Arts. 2178 and 2180 respectively) are applicable are understood to be those not growing out of preexisting 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 (Now Arts. 1170, 1172 and 1173) of the same code. (See Rakes vs. Atlantic, Gulf and Pacific Co., 7 Phil. Rep. 359). (Cited in Padilla, Civil Code Annotated, p. 762)

211

VOL. 93, SEPTEMBER 14, 1979

211

Complaint Based On Quasi-Delict

CULPA CONTRACTUAL distinguished from CULPA AQUILIANA

In Del Prado vs. Manila Electric Co., 52 Phil. 900, the Court said:The distinction between these two sorts of negligence is important in this jurisdiction, for the reason that where liability arises from a mere tort (culpa aquiliana), not involving a

breach of positive obligation, an employer, or master, may exculpate himself, under of Article 1903 (Now Art. 2180) of the Civil Code, by proving that he had exercised due diligence to prevent the damage; whereas this defense is not available if the liability of the master arises from a breach of contractual duty (culpa contractual). In the case before us the company pleaded as a special defense that it had used all the diligence of a good father of a family to prevent the damage suffered by the plaintiff; and showing that due care had been used in training and instructing the motorman in charge of his car in his art. But this proof is irrelevant in view of the fact that the liability involved was derived from a breach of obligation.... 3. Article 2180, New Civil Code

The obligation imposed by article 2176 is demandable not only for ones own acts or omissions, but also for those of persons for whom one is responsible.

The father and, in case of his death or incapacity, the mother, are responsible for the damages caused by the minor children who live in their company.

Guardians are liable for damages caused by the minors or incapacitated persons who are under their authority and live in their company.

The owners and managers of an establishment or enterprise are likewise responsible for damages caused by their employees in the service of the branches in which the latter are employed or on the occasion of their functions.

Employers shall be liable for the damages caused by their employees and household helpers acting within the scope of their assigned tasks, even though the former are not engaged in any business or industry.

212

212

SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED

Complaint Based On Quasi-Delict

The State is responsible in like manner when it acts through a special agent; but not when the damage has been caused by the official to whom the task done properly pertains, in which case what is provided in article 2176 shall be applicable.

Lastly, teachers or heads of establishments of arts and trades shall be liable for damages caused by their pupils and students or apprentices, so long as they remain in their custody.

The responsibility treated of in this article shall cease when the persons herein mentioned prove that they observed all the diligence of a good father of a family to prevent damage.

(1) The parents exercise parental authority over their minor unemancipated children (Art. 311). They have the right to keep them in their company and the duty to correct and punish them moderately (Art. 316), The father, or in his absence the mother, is the legal administrator of the property of the minor children (Art. 310). Hence he or she must answer for the negligent acts of such children. (2) The same principle applies. Inasmuch as guardians are charged with the duty of taking care of the minors or the incapacitated in their persons or property they should be liable for their negligent acts. (3) This is similar to the subsidiary civil liability of corporations or persons engaged in trade or industry for acts committed by their employees while in the discharge of their duties (Art. 103, R.P.C.). (4) This is a new insertion which extends liability even if the employers are not engaged in business or industry. (5) The State is like an employer when it entrusts to a particular official or a special agent the doing of a particular task. This is not a violation of the rule that the State cannot be sued without its consent, because the acts herein done by

special agents are not purely governmental or public functions but are corporate or private in nature. Furthermore, the approval of this article by Congress is a manifestation that the State consents to be sued. A special agent is one who is duly empowered by a definite order or commission to perform some act or one charged with some definite purpose which gives rise to the claim. (6) This is limited to the establishments of arts and trades. It does not extend to academic colleges.

213

VOL. 93, SEPTEMBER 14, 1979

213

Complaint Based On Quasi-Delict

The liability of the person herein mentioned, parents, guardians, owners, employers, State and teachers may be extinguished by proof that they have observed all the diligence of a good father of a family to prevent damage. In contractual liability proof of diligence is not sufficient when there is a breach of the contract and liability attaches unless the obligor proves that the damage was caused by a fortuitous event (Art. 1174). Carriers who are bound to observe extra-ordinary diligence (Art. 1733) must prove, to escape liability, that they observed such extra-ordinary diligence (Art. 1735). But a common carriers liability for the acts of its employees resulting in the death or injury of its passengers does not cease by proof of the exercise of due diligence as generally prescribed by this article (Art. 1759, par, 2). In quasi-delicts, it is sufficient that such persons have exercised the ordinary diligence of a good father of a family to prevent the damage.

The diligence required will depend upon the nature of the obligation, and the circumstances of persons, time and place (Art. 1173). Ordinarily, the diligence of a

good father of a family is the diligence which an ordinary prudent man would exercise with regard to his own property. (Ref. quotations, Padilla, Civil Code Annotated) 4. Case Citations in capsule

Under article 100 of the Revised Penal Code, a person criminally liable for a felony is also civilly liable. As a consequence, the institution of the criminal action carries with it the institution of the civil action arising therefrom, except when there is a separate civil action or reservation of the latter on the part of the complainant. As explained in Ramcar, Inc. vs. De Leon (78 Phil. 449): When no civil action is expressly instituted, according to subsection (a) of section 1 of Rule 107, it shall be impliedly jointly instituted with the criminal ac-tion. That means that if two actions are joined in one as twins, each one complete with the same completeness as any of the two normal persons composing a twin. It means that the civil action may be tried and prosecuted, with all the ancillary processes provided by law.

214

214

SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED

Complaint Based On Quasi-Delict

Pursuant to Article 103, in relation to Article 102, of the Revised Penal Code, an employer may be subsidiarily liable for the employees civil liability in a criminal action when: (1) the employer is engaged in any kind of industry; (2) the employee committed the offense in the discharge of his duties, and (3) he is insolvent and has not satisfied his civil liability. (Joaquin vs. Amiceto, 12 SCRA 308, cited in Pajarito vs. Seneris, 87 SCRA 277).

The subsidiary civil liability of the employer, however, arises only after conviction of the employee in the criminal case. In Martinez vs. Barredo, 81 Phil. 1, this court ruled that a judgment of conviction sentencing a defendant employee to pay an indemnity, in the absence of any collusion between the defendant and the offended party, is conclusive upon the employer in an action for the enforcement of the latters subsidiary liability.

. . . The stigma of a criminal conviction surpasses in effect and implication mere civil liability. Common sense dictates that a finding of guilt in a criminal case in which proof beyond reasonable doubt is necessary, should not be nullified in a subsequent civil action unless those who support the contrary rule should also hold that an absolution in civil case will operate to automatically set aside the verdict against the defendant in the criminal case. It is anomalous to say the least, to suppose that the driver, excelling Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, could be guilty of reckless negligence insofar as his obligation to pay indemnity is concerned, and at the same time could be free from any blame when said indemnity is soubht to be collected from his employer, although the right to the indemnity arose from and was based on one and the same act of the driver.

The employer cannot be said to have been deprived of his day in court, because the situation before us is not one wherein the employer is sued for a primary liability under article 1903 of the Civil Code, but one in which enforcement in sought of a subsidiary civil liability incident to and dependent upon his drivers criminal negligence which is a proper issue to be tried and decided only in a criminal action. In other words the employer becomes ipso facto subsidiarily liable upon his

215

VOL. 93, SEPTEMBER 14, 1979

215

Complaint Based On Quasi-Delict

drivers conviction and upon proof of the latters insolvency, in the same way that acquittal wipes out not only the employees primary civil liability but also his employers subsidiary liability for such criminal negligence. (Almeida et al. vs. Abaroa, 8 Phil. 178).

It is high time that the employer exercised the greatest care in selecting his employees, taking real and deep interest in their welfare; intervening in any criminal action brought against them by reason of or as a result of the performance of their duties, if only in the way of giving them the benefit of counsel, and consequently doing away with the practice of leaving them to their fates. If these be done, the American rule requiring notice on the part of the employer shall have been satisfied.

In Miranda vs. Malate Garage & Taxicab, Inc., 99 Phil. 670, this Court further amplified the rule that the decision convicting the employee is binding and conclusive upon the employer, not only with regard to (the latters) civil liability but also with regard to its amount because the liability of an employer cannot be separated but follows that of his employee. That is why the law says that his liability is subsidiary (Article 103, Revised Penal Code).

The conclusiveness upon the employer of the judgment of conviction sentencing the employee to pay civil indemnity, for the enforcement of the employers subsidiary civil liability under article 103 was again reiterated in Manalo and Salvador vs. Robles Transportation Company, Inc., 99 Phil. 729, where the Court ruled that the sheriffs return submitted in evidence in the action against the employer, Robles Transportation Company, Inc., showing that the two writs of execution were not satisfied because of the insolvency of the driver, is a prima facie evidence of the employees insolvency.

Considering that the judgment of conviction, sentencing a defendant employee to pay an indemnity under Articles 102 and 103 of the Revised Penal Code, is conclusive upon the employer not only with regard to the latters civil liability but also with regard to its amount, this Court stated in Rotea vs. Halili, 409 Phil. 495, that in the action to enforce the employers subsidiary liability, the court has no other function

216

216

SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED

Complaint Based On Quasi-Delict

than to render decision based upon the indemnity awarded in the criminal case and has no power to amend or modify it even if in its opinion an error has been committed in the decision. 5. Article 2177, New Civil Code

Responsibility for fault or negligence under the preceding article is entirely separate and distinct from the civil liability arising from negligence under the Penal Code. But the plaintiff cannot recover damages twice for the same act or mission of the defendant.

The Supreme Court has held that:

According to the Code Commission: The foregoing provision (article 2177) though at first sight startling, is not so novel or extraordinary when we consider the exact nature of criminal and civil negligence. The former is a violation of the criminal law, while the latter is a culpa aquiliana or quasidelict, of ancient origin, having always had its own foundation and individuality separate from criminal negligence. Such distinction between criminal negligence and culpa extra-contractual or quasidelito has been sustained by decisions of the Supreme Court of Spain and maintained as clear, sound and perfectly tenable by Maura, an outstanding Spanish jurist. Therefore, under the proposed article 2177, acquittal from an accusation of criminal negligence, whether on reasonable doubt or not, shall not be a bar to a

subsequent civil action, not for civil liability arising from criminal negligence, but for damages due to a quasi-delict or culpa aquiliana. But said article forestalls a double recovery. (Report of the Code Commission, p. 162)

Although, again, this article 2177 does seem to literally refer to only acts of negligence, the same argument of Justice Bocobo about construction that upholds the spirit that giveth life rather that which is literal that killeth the intent of the lawmaker should be observed in applying the same. And considering that the preliminary chapter on human relations of the New Civil Code definitely establishes the separability and independence of liability in a civil action for acts criminal in

217

VOL. 93, SEPTEMBER 14, 1979

217

Complaint Based On Quasi-Delict

character (under articles 29 to 32) from the civil responsibility arising from crime fixed by Article 100 of the Revised Penal Code, and, in a sense the Rules of Court, under Sections 2 and 3 (c), Rule 111, contemplate also the same separability, it is more congruent with the spirit of law, equity and justice, and more in harmony with modern progress, to borrow the felicitous relevant language in Rakes vs. Atlantic Gulf and Pacific Co., 7 Phil. 359, to hold, as We do hold, that 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 . . . . . .(See Elcano vs. Hill, 77 SCRA 98; Virata vs. Ochoa, 81 SCRA 472) [Complaint Based On Quasi-Delict, 93 SCRA 208(1979)]