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MARY ANN RODRIGUEZ, petitioner, vs. Hon. THELMA


A. PONFERRADA, in Her Official Capacity as Presiding
Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch
104; PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES; and GLADYS
NOCOM, respondents.

Actions; Criminal Law; Criminal Procedure; Parties; An


offended party may intervene in the prosecution of a crime;
Exceptions.—Based on the foregoing rules, an offended party may
intervene in the prosecution of a crime, except in the following
instances: (1) when, from the nature of the crime and the law
defining and punishing it, no civil liability arises in favor of a
private offended party; and (2) when, from the nature of the
offense, the offended parties are entitled to civil indemnity, but (a)
they waive the right to institute a civil action, (b) expressly
reserve the right to do so, or (c) the suit has already been
instituted. In any of these instances, the private complainant’s
interest in the case disappears and criminal prosecution becomes
the sole function of the public prosecutor. None of these
exceptions apply to the instant case. Hence, the private
prosecutor cannot be barred from intervening in the estafa suit.
Same; Same; Estafa; Bouncing Checks Law (B.P. 22); While
the single act of issuing a bouncing check may give rise to two
distinct criminal offenses—estafa and violation of B.P. 22—the
same involves

_______________

* THIRD DIVISION.

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only one civil liability for the offended party since he sustained
only a single injury.—True, each of the overt acts in these
instances may give rise to two criminal liabilities—one for estafa
and another for violation of BP 22. But every such act of issuing a
bouncing check involves only one civil liability for the offended
party, who has sustained only a single injury. This is the import
of Banal v. Tadeo, which we quote in part as follows: “Generally,
the basis of civil liability arising from crime is the fundamental
postulate of our law that ‘Every man criminally liable is also
civilly liable’ (Art. 100, The Revised Penal Code). Underlying this
legal principle is the traditional theory that when a person
commits a crime he offends two entities namely (1) the society in
which he lives in or the political entity called the State whose law
he had violated; and (2) the individual member of that society
whose person, right, honor, chastity or property was actually or
directly injured or damaged by the same punishable act or
omission. However, this rather broad and general provision is
among the most complex and controversial topics in criminal
procedure. It can be misleading in its implications especially
where the same act or omission may be treated as a crime in one
instance and as a tort in another or where the law allows a
separate civil action to proceed independently of the course of the
criminal prosecution with which it is intimately intertwined.
Many legal scholars treat as a misconception or fallacy the
generally accepted notion that the civil liability actually arises
from the crime when, in the ultimate analysis, it does not. While
an act or omission is felonious because it is punishable by law, it
gives rise to civil liability not so much because it is a crime but
because it caused damage to another. Viewing things
pragmatically, we can readily see that what gives rise to the civil
liability is really the obligation and the moral duty of everyone to
repair or make whole the damage caused to another by reason of
his own act or omission, done intentionally or negligently,
whether or not the same be punishable by law. In other words,
criminal liability will give rise to civil liability only if the same
felonious act or omission results in damage or injury to another
and is the direct and proximate cause thereof. Damage or injury
to another is evidently the foundation of the civil action. Such is
not the case in criminal actions for, to be criminally liable, it is
enough that the act or omission complained of is punishable,
regardless of whether or not it also causes material damage to
another. (See Sangco, Philippine Law on Torts and Damages,
1978, Revised Edition, pp. 246-247).”

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Same; Same; Same; Same; Forum Shopping; The possible


single 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, and as both
remedies are simultaneously available to such party, there can be
no forum shopping.—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. In the crimes of both estafa and violation of
BP 22, Rule 111 of the Rules of Court expressly allows, even
automatically in the present case, the institution of a civil action
without need of election by the offended party. As both remedies
are simultaneously available to this party, there can be no forum
shopping.
Same; Same; Same; Same; Doctrine of Election of Remedies;
Words and Phrases; In its broad sense, election of remedies refers
to the choice by a party to an action of one of two or more coexisting
remedial rights, where several such rights arise out of the same
facts, but the term has been generally limited to a choice by a party
between inconsistent remedial rights, the assertion of one being
necessarily repugnant to, or a repudiation of, the other.—
Petitioner is actually raising the doctrine of election of remedies.
“In its broad sense, election of remedies refers to the choice by a
party to an action of one of two or more coexisting remedial rights,
where several such rights arise out of the same facts, but the term
has been generally limited to a choice by a party between
inconsistent remedial rights, the assertion of one being
necessarily repugnant to, or a repudiation of, the other.” In its
more restricted and technical sense, the election of remedies is the
adoption of one of two or more coexisting ones, with the effect of
precluding a resort to the others.
Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; While some American
authorities hold that the mere initiation of proceedings constitutes
a binding choice of remedies that precludes pursuit of alternative
courses, the better rule is that no binding election occurs before a
decision on the merits is had or a detriment to the other party
supervenes.—The Court further elucidates in Mellon Bank v.
Magsino as follows: “As a technical rule of procedure, the purpose
of the doctrine of election of remedies is not to prevent recourse to
any remedy, but to prevent double redress for a single wrong. It is
regarded as an application of the law of estoppel, upon the theory
that a party can-

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not, in the assertion of his right occupy inconsistent positions


which form the basis of his respective remedies. However, when a
certain state of facts under the law entitles a party to alternative
remedies, both founded upon the identical state of facts, these
remedies are not considered inconsistent remedies. In such case,
the invocation of one remedy is not an election which will bar the
other, unless the suit upon the remedy first invoked shall reach
the stage of final adjudication or unless by the invocation of the
remedy first sought to be enforced, the plaintiff shall have gained
an advantage thereby or caused detriment or change of situation
to the other. It must be pointed out that ordinarily, election of
remedies is not made until the judicial proceedings has gone to
judgment on the merits. “Consonant with these rulings, this
Court, through Justice J.B.L. Reyes, opined that while some
American authorities hold that the mere initiation of proceedings
constitutes a binding choice of remedies that precludes pursuit of
alternative courses, the better rule is that no binding election
occurs before a decision on the merits is had or a detriment to the
other party supervenes. This is because the principle of election of
remedies is discordant with the modern procedural concepts
embodied in the Code of Civil Procedure which permits a party to
seek inconsistent remedies in his claim for relief without being
required to elect between them at the pleading stage of the
litigation.” Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; Nothing in the Rules
signifies that the necessary inclusion of a civil action in a criminal
case for violation of the Bouncing Checks Law precludes the
institution in an estafa case of the corresponding civil action, even
if both offenses relate to the issuance of the same check.—In the
present cases before us, the institution of the civil actions with the
estafa cases and the inclusion of another set of civil actions with
the BP 22 cases are not exactly repugnant or inconsistent with
each other. Nothing in the Rules signifies that the necessary
inclusion of a civil action in a criminal case for violation of the
Bouncing Checks Law precludes the institution in an estafa case
of the corresponding civil action, even if both offenses relate to the
issuance of the same check.
Same; Same; Same; Same; Filing Fees; While ordinarily no
filing fees were charged for actual damages in criminal cases, the
rule on the necessary inclusion of a civil action with the payment of
filing fees based on the face value of the check involved was laid
down to prevent the practice of creditors of using the threat of a
criminal
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prosecution to collect on their credit free of charge.—The purpose


of Section 1(b) of Rule 111 is explained by Justice Florenz D.
Regalado (ret.), former chairman of the committee tasked with the
revision of the Rules of Criminal Procedure. He clarified that the
special rule on BP 22 cases was added, because the dockets of the
courts were clogged with such litigations; creditors were using the
courts as collectors. While ordinarily no filing fees were charged
for actual damages in criminal cases, the rule on the necessary
inclusion of a civil action with the payment of filing fees based on
the face value of the check involved was laid down to prevent the
practice of creditors of using the threat of a criminal prosecution
to collect on their credit free of charge. Clearly, it was not the
intent of the special rule to preclude the prosecution of the civil
action that corresponds to the estafa case, should the latter also
be filed. The crimes of estafa and violation of BP 22 are different
and distinct from each other. There is no identity of offenses
involved, for which legal jeopardy in one case may be invoked in
the other. The offenses charged in the informations are perfectly
distinct from each other in point of law, however nearly they may
be connected in point of fact.
Same; Same; Same; Same; What Section 1(b), Rule 111 of the
Rules of Court prohibits is the reservation to file the corresponding
civil action; The fact that the Rules do not allow the reservations of
civil action in BP 22 cases cannot deprive the private complainant
of the right to protect her interests in the criminal action for estafa
—in promulgating the Rules, the Supreme Court did not intend to
leave the offended parties without any remedy to protect their
interests in estafa cases.—What Section 1(b) of the Rules of Court
prohibits is the reservation to file the corresponding civil action.
The criminal action shall be deemed to include the corresponding
civil action. “[U]nless a separate civil action has been filed before
the institution of the criminal action, no such civil action can be
instituted after the criminal action has been filed as the same has
been included therein.” In the instant case, the criminal action for
estafa was admittedly filed prior to the criminal case for violation
of BP 22, with the corresponding filing fees for the inclusion of the
corresponding civil action paid accordingly. Furthermore, the fact
that the Rules do not allow the reservation of civil actions in BP
22 cases cannot deprive private complainant of the right to
protect her interests in the criminal action for estafa. Nothing in
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the current law or rules on BP 22 vests the jurisdiction of the


corresponding civil case exclusively in the

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court trying the BP 22 criminal case. In promulgating the Rules,


this Court did not intend to leave the offended parties without
any remedy to protect their interests in estafa cases. Its power to
promulgate the Rules of Court is limited in the sense that rules
“shall not diminish, increase or modify substantive rights.”
Private complainant’s intervention in the prosecution of estafa is
justified not only for the prosecution of her interests, but also for
the speedy and inexpensive administration of justice as mandated
by the Constitution.
Same; Same; Same; Same; Unjust Enrichment; A recovery by
the offended party under one remedy necessarily bars that under
the other—obviously stemming from the fundamental rule against
unjust enrichment, this is in essence the rationale for the
proscription in our law against double recovery for the same act or
omission.—The trial court was, therefore, correct in holding that
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. A recovery by the offended party under
one remedy, however, necessarily bars that under the other.
Obviously stemming from the fundamental rule against unjust
enrichment, this is in essence the rationale for the proscription in
our law against double recovery for the same act or omission.

SPECIAL CIVIL ACTION in the Supreme Court.


Certiorari.

The facts are stated in the opinion of the Court.


     RRV Legal Consultancy Firm for petitioner.
     The Solicitor General for the People.

PANGANIBAN, J.:

Settled is the rule that the single act of issuing a bouncing


check may give rise to two distinct criminal offenses: estafa
and violation of Batas Pambansa Bilang 22 (BP 22). The
Rules of Court allow the offended party to intervene via a
private prosecutor in each of these two penal proceedings.

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However, the recovery of the single civil liability arising


from the single act of issuing a bouncing check in either
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Rodriguez vs. Ponferrada

criminal case bars the recovery of the same civil liability in


the other criminal action. While the law allows two
simultaneous civil remedies for the offended party, it
authorizes recovery in only one. In short, while two crimes
arise from a single set of facts, only one civil liability
attaches to it.

The Case
1
Before us is a Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 of the2
Rules of Court, seeking to reverse the July 27, 2002 Order
of the Regional Court (RTC) of Quezon City (Branch 104) in
Criminal Case Nos. Q-01-106256 to3 Q-01-106259. Also
assailed is the August 16, 2002 Order of the RTC denying
petitioner’s Motion for Reconsideration. The first assailed
Order is quoted in full as follows:

“For consideration is the opposition of the accused, through


counsel, to the formal entry of appearance of private prosecutor.
“Accused, through counsel, 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.
“The private prosecutor submitted comment stating that the
offended party did not manifest within fifteen (15) days following
the filing of the information that the civil liability arising from the
crime has been or would be separately prosecuted and that she
should therefore be required to pay the legal fees pursuant to
Section 20 of Rule 141 of the Rules of Court, as amended.
“Considering that the prosecution under B.P. 22 is without
prejudice to any liability for violation of any provision of the
Revised Penal Code (BP 22, Sec. 5), the civil action for the
recovery of the civil liability arising from the estafa cases pending
before this Court is deemed instituted with the criminal action
(Rule 111, Sec. 1 [a]).

_______________

1 Rollo, pp. 3-22.

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2 Id., p. 23. Penned by Judge Thelma A. Ponferrada.


3 Id., p. 24-27.

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The offended party may thus intervene by counsel in the


prosecution of the offense (Rule 110, Sec. 16).
“WHEREFORE, the appearance of a private prosecutor shall
be allowed upon payment of the legal fees for these estafa cases
pending before this Court pursuant
4
to Section 1 of Rule 141 of the
Rules of Court, as amended.”

The Facts

The undisputed facts are narrated by petitioner as follows:

“On 10 December 2001, the Honorable Assistant City Prosecutor


Rossana S. Morales-Montojo of Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office
issued her Resolution in I.S. No. 01-15902, the dispositive portion
of which reads as follows:

‘Premises considered, there being PROBABLE CAUSE to charge


respondent for ESTAFA under Article 315 paragraph 2(d) as amended by
PD 818 and for Violation of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22, it is respectfully
recommended that the attached Information be approved and filed in
Court.’

“As a consequence thereof, separate informations were


separately filed against herein [p]etitioner before proper [c]ourts,
for Estafa and [v]iolation of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22.
“Upon payment of the assessed and required docket fees by the
[p]rivate [c]omplainant, the informations for [v]iolation of Batas
Pambansa Blg. 22 against herein [p]etitioner were filed and
raffled to the Metropolitan Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 42,
docketed as Criminal Cases Nos. 0108033 to 36.
“On the other hand, the informations for [e]stafa cases against
herein [p]etitioner were likewise filed and raffled to the Regional
Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 104, docketed as Criminal
Cases Nos. 01-106256 to 59.
“On 17 June 2002, petitioner through counsel filed in open
court before the [p]ublic [r]espondent an ‘Opposition to the Formal
Entry of Appearance of the Private Prosecutor’ dated 14 June
2002.

_______________
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4 June 27, 2002 Order; Rollo, p. 23.

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Rodriguez vs. Ponferrada

“The [p]ublic [r]espondent court during the said hearing noted the
Formal Entry of Appearance of Atty. Felix R. Solomon as [p]rivate
[p]rosecutor as well as the Opposition filed thereto by herein
[p]etitioner. x x x.
“As ordered by the Court, [p]rivate [c]omplainant through
counsel filed her Comment to the Opposition of herein
[p]etitioner.
“On 27 June 2002, the [p]ublic [r]espondent court issued the
first assailed Order allowing the appearance of the [p]rivate
[p]rosecutor in the above-entitled criminal cases upon payment of
the legal fees pursuant to Section 1 of Rule 141 of the Rules of
Court, as amended.
“On 31 July 2002, [a]ccused through counsel filed a Motion for
Reconsideration dated 26 July 2002.
“On 16 August 2002, the [p]ublic [r]espondent court issued the
second assailed Order5
denying the Motion for Reconsideration of
herein [p]etitioner.”

Ruling of the Trial Court

Noting petitioner’s opposition to the private prosecutor’s


entry of appearance, the RTC held that the 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), the RTC allowed the private prosecutor to
appear and intervene in6 the proceedings.
Hence, this Petition.

_______________

5 Petitioner’s Memorandum, pp. 3-5; Rollo, pp. 153-155.


6 The case was deemed submitted for decision on May 28, 2004, upon
receipt by this Court of Petitioner’s Memorandum signed by Atty.
Redemberto R. Villanueva. Respondent’s Manifestation and Motion For

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Leave to Adopt Comment as Memorandum, signed by Assistant Solicitor


General Fernanda Lampas Peralta and Associate

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Issues

Petitioner raises this sole issue for the Court’s


consideration:

“Whether or not a [p]rivate [p]rosecutor can be allowed to


intervene and participate in the proceedings of the above-entitled
[e]stafa cases for the purpose of prosecuting the attached civil
liability arising from the issuance of the checks involved
7
which is
also subject matter of the pending B.P. 22 cases.”

The Court’s Ruling

The Petition has no merit.

Sole Issue: Civil Action in BP 22 Case Not a Bar


to Civil Action in Estafa Case
Petitioner theorizes that the civil action necessarily arising
from the criminal case pending before the MTC for
violation of BP 22 precludes the institution of the
corresponding civil action in the criminal case for estafa
now pending before the RTC. She hinges her theory on the
following provisions of Rules 110 and 111 of the Rules of
Court:

“SECTION 16. 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.”
“SECTION 1. Institution of criminal and civil actions.—(a)
When a criminal action is instituted, the civil action for the
recovery of civil liability arising from the offense charged shall be
deemed instituted with the criminal action unless the offended
party waives

_______________

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Solicitor Josephine de Sagon Mejia, was received by the Court on August 20,
2003.
7 Petitioner’s Memorandum, p. 5; Rollo, p. 155.

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the civil action, reserves the right to institute it separately or


institutes the civil action prior to the criminal action.
“The reservation of the right to institute separately the civil
action shall be made before the prosecution starts presenting its
evidence and under circumstances affording the offended party a
reasonable opportunity to make such reservation.
“When the offended party seeks to enforce civil liability against
the accused by way of moral, nominal, temperate, or exemplary
damages without specifying the amount thereof in the complaint
or information, the filing fees therefor shall constitute a first lien
on the judgment awarding such damages.
x x x      x x x      x x x
“(b) 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.
“Upon filing of the aforesaid joint criminal and civil actions, the
offended party shall pay in full the filing fees based on the
amount of the check involved, which shall be considered as the
actual damages claimed. Where the complaint or information also
seeks to recover liquidated, moral, nominal, temperate or
exemplary damages, the offended party shall pay the filing fees
based on the amounts alleged therein. If the amounts are not so
alleged but any of these damages are subsequently awarded by
the court, the filing fees based on the amount awarded shall
constitute a first lien on the judgment.
“Where the civil action has been filed separately and trial
thereof has not yet commenced, it may be consolidated with the
criminal action upon application with the court trying the latter
case. If the application is granted, the trial of both actions shall
proceed in accordance with section 2 of this Rule governing
consolidation of the civil and criminal actions.”

Based on the foregoing rules, an offended party may


intervene in the prosecution of a crime, except in the
following instances: (1) when, from the nature of the crime
and the law defining and punishing it, no civil liability
arises in favor of a private offended party; and (2) when,
from the nature of the offense, the offended parties are

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entitled to civil indemnity, but (a) they waive the right to


institute a civil action, (b) ex-
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pressly reserve the right to do so, or (c) the suit has already
been instituted. In any of these instances, the private
complainant’s interest in the case disappears and criminal
prosecution8 becomes the sole function of the public
prosecutor. None of these exceptions apply to the instant
case. Hence, the private prosecutor cannot be barred from
intervening in the estafa suit.
True, each of the overt acts in these instances may give
rise to two criminal liabilities—one for estafa and another
for violation of BP 22. But every such act of issuing a
bouncing check involves only one civil liability for the9
offended party, who has sustained only 10
a single injury.
This is the import of Banal v. Tadeo, which we quote in
part as follows:

“Generally, the basis of civil liability arising from crime is the


fundamental postulate of our law that ‘Every man criminally
liable is also civilly liable’ (Art. 100, The Revised Penal Code).
Underlying this legal principle is the traditional theory that when
a person commits a crime he offends two entities namely (1) the
society in which he lives in or the political entity called the State
whose law he had violated; and (2) the individual member of that
society whose person, right, honor, chastity or property was
actually or directly injured or damaged by the same punishable
act or omission. However, this rather broad and general provision
is among the most complex and controversial topics in criminal
procedure. It can be misleading in its implications especially
where the same act or omission may be treated as a crime in one
instance and as a tort in another or where the law allows a
separate civil action to proceed independently of the course of the
criminal prosecution with which it is intimately intertwined.
Many legal scholars treat as a misconception or fallacy the
generally accepted notion that the civil liability actually arises
from the crime when, in the ultimate analysis, it does not. While
an act or omission is felonious because it is punishable by law, it
gives rise to civil liability not so much because it is a crime

_______________

8 Gorospe v. Gamaitan, 98 Phil. 600, 602, March 14, 1956.

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9 See Joseph v. Bautista, 170 SCRA 540, February 23, 1989.


10 156 SCRA 325, 329-330, December 11, 1987, per Gutierrez Jr., J.

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but because it caused damage to another. Viewing things


pragmatically, we can readily see that what gives rise to the civil
liability is really the obligation and the moral duty of everyone to
repair or make whole the damage caused to another by reason of
his own act or omission, done intentionally or negligently,
whether or not the same be punishable by law. In other words,
criminal liability will give rise to civil liability only if the same
felonious act or omission results in damage or injury to another
and is the direct and proximate cause thereof. Damage or injury
to another is evidently the foundation of the civil action. Such is
not the case in criminal actions for, to be criminally liable, it is
enough that the act or omission complained of is punishable,
regardless of whether or not it also causes material damage to
another. (See Sangco, Philippine Law on Torts and Damages,
1978, Revised Edition, pp. 246-247).”

Thus, 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. In the crimes of both estafa and
violation of BP 22, Rule 111 of the Rules of Court expressly
allows, even automatically in the present case, the
institution of a civil action without need of election by the
offended party. As both remedies are simultaneously 11
available to this party, there can be no forum shopping.
Hence, this Court cannot agree with what petitioner
ultimately espouses. At the present stage, no judgment on
the civil liability has been rendered in either criminal case.
There is as yet no call for the offended party to elect
remedies and, after choosing one of them, be considered
barred from others available to her.

Election of Remedies
Petitioner is actually raising the doctrine of election of
remedies. “In its broad sense, election of remedies refers to
the choice by a party to an action of one of two or more
coex-

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11 See Cancio v. Isip, 391 SCRA 393, November 12, 2002.

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Rodriguez vs. Ponferrada

isting remedial rights, where several such rights arise out


of the same facts, but the term has been generally limited
to a choice by a party between inconsistent remedial rights,
the assertion of one being necessarily
12
repugnant to, or a
repudiation of, the other.” In its more restricted and
technical sense, the election of remedies is the adoption of
one of two or more coexisting13 ones, with the effect of
precluding a resort to the others.
The 14Court further elucidates in Mellon Bank v.
Magsino as follows:

“As a technical rule of procedure, the purpose of the doctrine of


election of remedies is not to prevent recourse
15
to any remedy, but
to prevent double redress for a single wrong. It is regarded as an
application of the law of estoppel, upon the theory that a party
cannot, in the assertion of his right occupy inconsistent positions
which form the basis of his respective remedies. However, when a
certain state of facts under the law entitles a party to alternative
remedies, both founded upon the identical state of facts, these
remedies are not considered inconsistent remedies. In such case,
the invocation of one remedy is not an election which will bar the
other, unless the suit upon the remedy first invoked shall reach
the stage of final adjudication or unless by the invocation of the
remedy first sought to be enforced, the plaintiff shall have gained
an advantage 16
thereby or caused detriment or change of situation
to the other. It must be

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12 Mellon Bank, N.A. v. Magsino, 190 SCRA 633, 649, October 18, 1990, per
Fernan, CJ.
13 Id., citing People v. Court of Appeals, No. 54641, November 28, 1980, 101
SCRA 450, 463-464 citing Whitney v. Vermon [Tex. Civ. A] 154, 264, 267 and
Southern R. Co. v. Attalla, 147 Ala. 653, 41 S. 664.
14 Ibid.
15 Royal Resources, Inc. v. Gibraltar Financial Corp., 603 P. 2d 793.
16 Giron v. Housing Authority of Opelousas, 393 So. 2d 1267.

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Rodriguez vs. Ponferrada

pointed out that ordinarily, election of remedies is not made17 until


the judicial proceedings has gone to judgment on the merits.
“Consonant with these rulings, this Court, through Justice
J.B.L. Reyes, opined that while some American authorities hold
that the mere initiation of proceedings constitutes a binding
choice of remedies that precludes pursuit of alternative courses,
the better rule is that no binding election occurs before a decision
18
on the merits is had or a detriment to the other party supervenes.
This is because the principle of election of remedies is discordant
with the modern procedural concepts embodied in the Code of Civil
Procedure which permits a party to seek inconsistent remedies in
his claim for relief without being required
19
to elect between them at
the pleading stage of the litigation.”

In the present cases before us, the institution of the civil


actions with the estafa cases and the inclusion of another
set of civil actions with the BP 22 cases are not exactly
repugnant or inconsistent with each other. Nothing in the
Rules signifies that the necessary inclusion of a civil action
in a20 criminal case for violation of the Bouncing Checks
Law precludes the institution in an estafa case of the
corresponding civil action, even if both offenses relate to
the issuance of the same check.
The purpose of Section 1(b) of Rule 111 is explained by
Justice Florenz D. Regalado (ret.), former chairman of the
committee tasked with the revision of the Rules of Criminal
Procedure. He clarified that the special rule on BP 22 cases
was added, because the dockets of the courts were clogged
with such litigations; creditors were using the courts as
collectors. While ordinarily no filing fees were charged for
actual damages in criminal cases, the rule on the necessary
inclusion

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17 Colonial Leasing Co. of New England, Inc. v. Tracy, 557 P. 2d 639,


276 Or. 1193; Johnson v. Dave’s Auto Center, 257 Or. 34, 476 P. 2d 190.
18 Radiowealth, Inc. v Lavin, L-18563, April 27, 1963, 7 SCRA 804.
19 Giron v. Housing Authority of the City of Opelousas, supra.
20 Batas Pambansa Blg. 22.

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of a civil action with the payment of filing fees based on the


face value of the check involved was laid down to prevent
the practice of creditors of using the threat of a 21criminal
prosecution to collect on their credit free of charge.
Clearly, it was not the intent of the special rule to
preclude the prosecution of the civil action that corresponds
to the estafa case, should the latter also be filed. The
crimes of estafa and violation of BP 22 are different and
distinct from each other. There is no identity of offenses
involved, for which legal jeopardy in one case may be
invoked in the other. The offenses charged in the
informations are perfectly distinct from each other in point
of law,
22
however nearly they may be connected in point of
fact.
What Section 1(b) of the Rules of Court prohibits is the
reservation to file the corresponding civil action. The
criminal action shall be deemed to include the
corresponding civil action. “[U]nless a separate civil action
has been filed before the institution of the criminal action,
no such civil action can be instituted after the criminal
action has23
been filed as the same has been included
therein.” In the instant case, the criminal action for estafa
was admittedly filed prior to the criminal case for violation
of BP 22, with the corresponding filing fees for the
inclusion of 24
the corresponding civil action paid
accordingly.

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21 Florenz D. Regalado, Remedial Law Compendium, Vol. II, 9th


revised ed., pp. 293-294.
22 Ada v. Virola, 172 SCRA 336, 341, April 17, 1989.
23 Agpalo, Handbook on Criminal Procedure (2001), pp. 96-97.
Emphasis supplied.
24 Section 20, Rule 141 of the Rules of Court provides:

“Section 20. Other Fees.—The following fees shall also be collected by the clerks of
Regional Trial Courts or courts of the first level, as the case may be:
(a) In estafa cases where the offended party fails to manifest within fifteen (15)
days following the filing of the in-

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Rodriguez vs. Ponferrada

Furthermore, the fact that the Rules do not allow the


reservation of civil actions in BP 22 cases cannot deprive
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private complainant of the right to protect her interests in


the criminal action for estafa. Nothing in the current law or
rules on BP 22 vests the jurisdiction of the corresponding
civil case
25
exclusively in the court trying the BP 22 criminal
case.
In promulgating the Rules, this Court did not intend to
leave the offended parties without any remedy to protect
their interests in estafa cases. Its power to promulgate the
Rules of Court is limited in the sense that rules “shall
26
not
diminish, increase or modify substantive rights.” Private
complainant’s

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formation that the civil liability arising from the crime has been or
would be separately prosecuted[.]”
25 Unlike in Section 4 of Presidential Decree No. 1606 (Revising
Presidential Decree No. 1486 Creating A Special Court to Be Known as
“Sandiganbayan” and For Other Purposes, December 10, 1978), as
amended, which provides:

“Any provision of law or Rules of Court to the contrary notwithstanding, the


criminal action and the corresponding civil action for the recovery of civil liability
shall at all times be simultaneously instituted with, and jointly determined in, the
same proceeding by the Sandiganbayan or the appropriate courts, the filing of the
criminal action being deemed to necessarily carry with it the filing of the civil
action, and no right to reserve the filing of such civil action separately from the
criminal action shall be recognized: Provided, however, That where the civil action
had heretofore been filed separately but judgment therein has not yet been
rendered, and the criminal case is hereafter filed with the Sandiganbayan or the
appropriate court, said civil action shall be transferred to the Sandiganbayan or
the appropriate court, as the case may be, for consolidation and joint
determination with the criminal action, otherwise the separate action shall be
deemed abandoned.”

26 See Abellana v. Marave, 156 Phil. 79; 57 SCRA 106, May 29, 1974.
Section 5 of Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution provides:

“Sec. 5. The Supreme Court shall have the following powers:


x x x      x x x      x x x

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Rodriguez vs. Ponferrada

intervention in the prosecution of estafa is justified not


only for the prosecution of her interests, but also for the

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speedy and inexpensive administration


27
of justice as
mandated by the Constitution.
The trial court was, therefore, correct in holding that 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. A recovery by
the offended party under one remedy, however, necessarily
bars that under the other. Obviously stemming 28
from the
fundamental rule against unjust enrichment, this is in
essence the rationale for the proscription in our law against
double recovery for the same act or omission.
WHEREFORE, the Petition is DISMISSED and the
assailed Order AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner.
SO ORDERED.

          Sandoval-Gutierrez, Carpio-Morales and Garcia,


JJ., concur.
     Corona, J., On Official Leave.

Petition dismissed, assailed order affirmed.

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“(5) Promulgate rules concerning the protection and enforcement of constitutional


rights, pleading, practice, and procedure in all courts, the admission to the
practice of law, the Integrated Bar, and legal assistance to the underprivileged.
Such rules shall provide a simplified and inexpensive procedure for the speedy
disposition of cases, shall be uniform for all courts of the same grade, and shall not
diminish, increase, or modify substantive rights. Rules of procedure of special
courts and quasi-judicial bodies shall remain effective unless disapproved by the
Supreme Court.”

27 See Banal v. Tadeo Jr.; supra, p. 331.


28 Joseph v. Bautista, 170 SCRA 541, 545, February 23, 1989.

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Abad vs. Guimba

Notes.—The judgment creditors having received what is


due them, should not seek nor be granted anything more,
not even by a final and executory judgment, for to do so
would be to sanction unjust enrichment. (Buan vs. Court of
Appeals, 235 SCRA 424 [1994])
A party can not be required to pay twice for the same
items, for it would be tantamount to unjust enrichment on

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the part of the other party. (Sarmiento vs. Court of Appeals,


291 SCRA 656 [1998])

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