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Kathryn Punongbayan-Akmad

Bulacan State University

College of Law
Title: Diana v. Batangas
Facts: The present appeal stems from a case originally instituted in the Court of First Instance
of Laguna wherein plaintiffs seek to recover from defendant as a party susidiarily liale for
the crime committed y an employee in the discharge of his duty the sum of !"#$%% as
damages# plus legal interest# and the costs of action.
The appeal was originally taken to the Court of &ppeals ut the case was certified to this court
on the ground that it poses merely a 'uestion of law.
!laintiffs are the heirs of one Florenio Diana# a former employee of the defendant. (n )une "*#
*+,$# while Florenio Diana was riding in Truck -o. *,# elonging to the defendant# driven y
.ivencio Bristol# the truck ran into a ditch at Bay# Laguna# resulting in the death of Florenio
Diana and other passengers. /use'uently# .ivencio Bristol was charged and convicted of
multiple homicide through reckless imprudence wherein# among other things# he was ordered
to indemnify the heirs of the deceased in the amount of !"#%%%. 0hen the decision ecame
final# a writ of e1ecution was issued in order that the indemnity may e satisfied ut the sheriff
filed a return stating that the accused had no visile leviale property. The present case was
started when defendant failed to pay the indemnity under its susidiary liaility under article
*%2 of the 3evised !enal Code. The complaint was filed on (ctoer *+# *+,4 5civil case -o.
(n Decemer *2# *+,4# defendant filed a motion to dis7 miss on the ground that there was
another action pending etween the same parties for the same cause 5civil case -o. 4%"2 of the
Court of First Instance of Laguna6 in which the same plaintiffs herein sought to recover from
the same defendant the amount of !,#$%% as damages resulting from the death of Florenio
Diana who died while on oard a truck of defendant due to the negligent act of the driver
.ivencio Bristol. This first action was predicated on culpa a'uiliana.
(n Decemer *8# *+,4# plaintiffs filed a written opposition to the motion to dismiss. (n
Feruary 2# *+,+# the lower court# having found the motion well founded# dismissed the
complaint# without special pronouncement as to costs9 and their motion for reconsideration
having een denied# plaintiffs took the present appeal.
The only 'uestion to e determined is whether the lower court correctly dismissed the
complaint on the sole ground that there was another action pending etween the same parties
for the same cause under 3ule 4# section *5d6 of the 3ules of Court.
The determination of this issue hinges on the proper interpretation of 3ule 4# section * 5d6
which allows the dismissal of a case on the ground that :there is another action pending
etween the same parties for the same cause.: Former )ustice ;oran# commenting on this
ground# says: :In order that this ground may e invoked# there must e etween the action
under consideration and the other action# 5*6 identity of parties# or at least such as representing
the same interest in oth actions9 5"6 identity of rights asserted and relief prayed for# the relief
eing found on the same facts9 and 526 the identity on the two preceding particulars should e
such that any <udgment which may e rendered on the other action will# regardless of which
party is successful# amount to res ad<udicata in the action under consideration.: =I ;oran#
Comments on the 3ules of Court# 5*+$"6# p. *84.>.
There is no dout with regard to the identity of parties. In oth cases# the plaintiffs and the
defendant are the same. 0ith regard to the identity of reliefs prayed for# a different
Kathryn Punongbayan-Akmad
Bulacan State University
College of Law
consideration should e made. It should e noted that the present case 5civil case -o. +""*6
stems from a criminal case in which the driver of the defendant was found guilty of multiple
homicide through reckless imprudence and was ordered to pay an indemnity of !"#%%% for
which the defendant is made susidiarily liale under article *%2 of the 3evised !enal Code#
while the other case 5civil case -o. 4%"26 is an action for damages ased on culpa a'uiliana
which underlies the civil liaility predicated on articles *+%" to *+*% of the old Civil Code.
These two cases involve two different remedies. &s this court aptly said: :& 'uasi7delict or
culpa a'uiliana is a separate legal institution under the Civil Code# with a sustantivity all its
own# and individuality that is entirely apart and independent from a delict or crime. ? ? ?. &
distinction e1ists etween the civil liaility arising from a crime and the responsiility for
cuasi7delictos or culpa e1tra7contractual. The same negligent act causing dam7 ages may
produce civil liaility arising from a crime under article *%% of the 3evised !enal Code# or
create an action for cuasi7delito or culpa e1tra7contractual under articles *+%"7*+*% of the Civil
Code 5Barredo vs. @arcia and &l7 mario# A2 !hil.# 8%A6. The other differences pointed out
etween crimes and culpa a'uiliana are:.
*. That crimes affect the pulic interest# while cuasi7delitos are only of private concern.
". That# conse'uently# the !enal Code punishes or corrects the criminal act# while the Civil
Code# y means of indemnification# merely repairs the damage.
2. That delicts are not as road as 'uasi7delicts# ecause the former are punished only if there is
a penal law clearly covering them# while the latter# cuasi7delitos# include all acts in which Bany
kind of fault or negligence intervenes. 5!. 8**# supra.6.
Considering the distinguishing characteristics of the two cases# which involve two different
remedies# it can hardly e said that there is identity of reliefs in oth actions as to make the
present case fall under the operation of 3ule 4# section *5d6 of the 3ules of Court. In other
words# it is a mistake to say that the present action should e dismissed ecause of the
pendency of another action etween the same parties involving the same cause. Cvidently# oth
cases involve different causes of action. In fact# when the Court of &ppeals dismissed the
action ased on culpa a'uiliana 5civil case -o. 4%"26# this distinction was stressed. It was there
said that the negligent act committed y defendantBs employee is not a 'uasi crime# for such
negligence is punishale y law. 0hat plaintiffs should have done was to institute an action
under article *%2 of the 3evised !enal Code 5C&7@.3. -o. 282"736. &nd this is what plaintiffs
have done. To deprive them now of this remedy# after the conviction of defendantBs employee#
would e to deprive them altogether of the indemnity to which they are entitled y law and y
a court decision# which in<ustice it is our duty to prevent.
0herefore# the order appealed from is reversed and the case is herey remanded to the lower
court for further proceedings. -o pronouncement as to costs.
!aras# C.).# !alo# BengDon# !adilla# Tuason# ;ontemayor# )ugo# and Larador# )).# concur.