RULE 111 – Prosecution of Civil Action

RULE 111 – Prosecution of Civil Action

  1. Civil liability arising from the offense is deemed instituted (Sec. 1)
    1. Exception: Waiver, Reservation, Prior institution (WaRP)
    2. On filling fee: Counterclaim, cross-claim, 3rd Party Complaint
    3. Compare with Sec. 7, 8, 11 of Rule 6
    4. Peculiar Nature of B.P. 22
      1. Solidum vs People, 718 SCRA 263 (Full Text)
        1. The acquittal of the accused would not immediately exempt him from civil liability. But the Court cannot now find and declare him civilly liable because the circumstances that have been established here do not present the factual and legal bases for validly doing so. His acquittal did not derive only from reasonable doubt. There was really no firm and competent showing how the injury to victim had been caused.
      2. Castillo vs Salvador, July, 2014 (Full Text)
        1. Our law recognizes two kinds of acquittal, with different effects on the civil liability of the accused. First is an acquittal on the ground that the accused is not the author of the act or omission complained of. This instance closes the door to civil liability, for a person who has been found to be not the perpetrator of any act or omission cannot and can never be held liable for such act or omission. There being no delict, civil liability ex delictobis out of the question, and the civil action, if any, which may be instituted must be based on grounds other than the delict complained of. This is the situation contemplated in Rule III of the Rules of Court. The second instance is an acquittal based on reasonable doubt on the guilt of the accused. In this case, even if the guilt of the accused has not been satisfactorily established, he is not exempt from civil liability which may be proved by preponderance of evidence only. This is the situation contemplated in Article 29 of the Civil Code, where the civil action for damages is “for the same act or omission.”
  2. Suspension of Civil Action
    1. Lim vs. Kou Co Ping, 679 SCRA 114, G.R. No. 175256 (Full Text)
      1. A single act or omission that causes damage to an offended party may give rise to two separate civil liabilities on the part of the offender (1) civil liability ex delicto, that is, civil liability arising from the criminal offense under Article 100 of the Revised Penal Code, and (2) independent civil liability, that is, civil liability that may be pursued independently of the criminal proceedings. The independent civil liability may be based on “an obligation not arising from the act or omission complained of as a felony,” as provided in Article 31 of the Civil Code (such as for breach of contract or for tort). It may also be based on an act or omission that may constitute felony but, nevertheless, treated independently from the criminal action by specific provision of Article 33 of the Civil Code (“in cases of defamation, fraud and physical injuries”). Because of the distinct and independent nature of the two kinds of civil liabilities, jurisprudence holds that the offended party may pursue the two types of civil liabilities simultaneously or cumulatively, without offending the rules on forum shopping, litis pendentia, or res judicata.
  3. Independent Civil Action
    1. Casupanan vs. Laroya (388 SCRA 28) (Full Text)
      1. Under Section 1 of the present Rule 111, the independent civil action in Articles 32, 33, 34 and 2176 (Quasi-delict) of the Civil Code is not deemed instituted with the criminal action but may be filed separately by the offended party even without reservation. The commencement of the criminal action does not suspend the prosecution of the independent civil action under these articles of the Civil Code. The suspension in Section 2 of the present Rule 111 refers only to the civil action arising from the crime, if such civil action is reserved or filed before the commencement of the criminal action.

        Thus, the offended party can file two separate suits for the same act or omission. The first a criminal case where the civil action to recover civil liability ex-delicto is deemed instituted, and the other a civil case for quasi-delict – without violating the rule on non-forum shopping. The two cases can proceed simultaneously and independently of each other. The commencement or prosecution of the criminal action will not suspend the civil action for quasi-delict. The only limitation is that the offended party cannot recover damages twice for the same act or omission of the defendant. In most cases, the offended party will have no reason to file a second civil action since he cannot recover damages twice for the same act or omission of the accused. In some instances, the accused may be insolvent, necessitating the filing of another case against his employer or guardians.

    2. Caterpillar Inc. vs Samson (808 SCRA 309, G.R. No. 205972) (Full Text)
      1. The civil case filed by Petitioner in the RTC, was for unfair competition, damages and cancellation of trademark, while Criminal Cases were the criminal prosecution of Respondent for unfair competition. A common element of all such cases for unfair competition – civil and criminal – was fraud. Under Article 33 of the Civil Code, a civil action entirely separate and distinct from the criminal action may be brought by the injured party in cases of fraud, and such civil action shall proceed independently of the criminal prosecution. Secondly, a civil action for damages and cancellation of trademark cannot be considered a prejudicial question by which to suspend the proceedings in the criminal cases for unfair competition. A prejudicial question is that which arises in a civil case the resolution of which is a logical antecedent of the issues to be determined in the criminal case. It must appear not only that the civil case involves facts upon which the criminal action is based, but also that the resolution of the issues raised in the civil action will necessarily be determinative of the criminal case.
  4. Effect of Death on Civil Action
    1. People vs Romero (306 SCRA 90) (Full Text)
      1. As a consequence of his death before final judgment, his criminal and civil liability ex delicto, were extinguished.
  5. Prejudicial Question
    1. Magistrado vs People (527 SCRA 125) (Full Text)
      1. No, A prejudial question is defined as that which arises in a case the resolution of which is a logical antecedent of the issue involved therein, and the cognizance of which pertains to another tribunal. The prejudicial question must be determinative of the case before the court but the jurisdiction to try and resolve the question must be lodged in another court or tribunal. It is a question based on a fact distinct and separate from the crime but so intimately connected with it that it determines the guilt or innocence of the accused.

        For a prejudicial question in a civil case to suspend criminal action, it must appear not only that said case involves facts intimately related to those upon which the criminal prosecution would be based but also that in the resolution of the issue or issues raised in the civil case, the guilt or innocence of the accused would necessarily be determined.

        I f the resolution of the issue in the civil action will not determine the criminal responsibility of the accused in the criminal action based on the same facts, or there is no necessity “that the civil case be determined first before taking up the criminal case,” therefore, the civil case does not involve a prejudicial question.30 Neither is there a prejudicial question if the civil and the criminal action can, according to law, proceed independently of each other.

    2. Pimentel vs Pimentel (630 SCRA 90) (Full Text)
      1. The rule is clear that the civil action must be instituted first before the filing of the criminal action. In this case, the Information for Frustrated Parricide was filed before the Civil Case was instituted. Clearly, the civil case for annulment was filed after the filing of the criminal case for frustrated parricide. As such, the requirement of Section 7, Rule 111 of the 2000 Rules on Criminal Procedure was not met since the civil action was filed subsequent to the filing of the criminal action.

        Further, the resolution of the civil action is not a prejudicial question that would warrant the suspension of the criminal action.

        The relationship between the offender and the victim is a key element in the crime of parricide, which punishes any person “who shall kill his father, mother, or child, whether legitimate or illegitimate, or any of his ascendants or descendants, or his spouse.” The relationship between the offender and the victim distinguishes the crime of parricide from murder or homicide. However, the issue in the annulment of marriage is not similar or intimately related to the issue in the criminal case for parricide. Further, the relationship between the offender and the victim is not determinative of the guilt or innocence of the accused.

    3. JM Dominguez vs Liclican (764 SACRA 338) (Full Text)
      1. The resolution of the prejudicial question did not, in context, cure the grave abuse of discretion already committed. The fact remains that when the RTC, issued its challenged Orders, the Judgment in favor of petitioners was not yet rendered. Consequently, there was still, at that time, a real dispute as to who the rightful set of officers were. Plainly, the RTC Judge should not have issued the challenged Orders and should have, instead, suspended the proceedings until Civil Case was resolved with finality. To grant the instant petition and rule that the procedural infirmity has subsequently been cured either by the Judgment or by Judge’s inhibition would mean condoning the continuation of the criminal proceedings despite, at that time, the existence of a prejudicial question. Such condonation would create a precedent that renders inutile the doctrine on prejudicial question, such that the court trying the criminal case will be permitted to proceed with the trial in the aberrant assumption that the resolution of the prior instituted civil case would benefit the private complainant in the criminal proceedings.

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