Petitioner Cristina B. Castillo testified that she is engaged in real estate business, educational institution, boutique, and trading business. She met respondent through a common friend in December 2000 and became close since then. Respondent had told her that his friends, Jinggoy Estrada and Rudy Fernandez, were engaged in the freight and remittance business and that Jinggoy even brought him to Hong Kong and Singapore to promote the former’s business. Petitioner eventually met respondent’s brother and manager, Ramon Salvador, to whom she volunteered to financially help respondent in his bid for the Vice-Mayoralty race in Mandaluyong. It was also in the same meeting that they talked about the matter of engaging in a freight and remittance business. Respondent enticed petitioner to go to Hong Kong to see for herself the viability of such business and Ramon suggested to use respondent’s name to attract the overseas contract workers.
As petitioner had deeply fallen in love with respondent and since she trusted him very much as he even acted as a father to her children when her annulment was ongoing, she agreed to embark on the remittance business. In December 2001, she, accompanied by her mother, Zenaida G. Bondoc (Zenaida), and Ramon, went to Hong Kong and had the Phillip Salvador Freight and Remittance International Limited registered on December 27, 2001. A Memorandum of Articles of Incorporation and a Certificate of Incorporation were issued. They also rented an office space in Tsimshatsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong which they registered as their office address as a requirement for opening a business in Hong Kong, thus, a Notification of Situation of Registered Office was also issued. She agreed with respondent and Ramon that any profit derived from the business would be equally divided among them and that respondent would be in charge of promotion and marketing in Hong Kong,while Ramon would take charge of the operations of business in the Philippines and she would be financing the business.
The business has not operated yet as petitioner was still raising the amount of US$100,000.00 as capital for the actual operation. When petitioner already had the money, she handed the same to respondent in May 2002 at her mother’s house in Las Piñas City, which was witnessed by her disabled half-brother Enrico B. Tan (Enrico). She also gave respondent ₱100,000.00 in cash to begiven to Charlie Chau, who is a resident of Hong Kong, as payment for the heart-shaped earrings she bought from him while she was there. Respondent and Ramon went to Hong Kong in May 2002. However, the proposed business never operated as respondent only stayed in Hong Kong for three days. When she asked respondent about the money and the business, the latter told her that the money was deposited in a bank. However, upon further query, respondent confessed that he used the money to pay for his other obligations. Since then, the US$100,000.00 was not returned at all. Petitioner filed a case against the respondent.
On April 21, 2006, the RTC rendered a Decision charged PHILLIP SALVADOR GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Estafa under Article 315.
Respondent appealed his conviction to the CA. The parties filed their respective pleadings, after which, the case was submitted for decision.
On February 11, 2010, the CA rendered its Decision reversing the decision of the RTC.
Petitioner files the instant petition on the civil aspect of the case alleging that the trial court was correct in convicting the respondent so that even if the court of appeals decided to acquit him it should have at least retained the award of damages to the petitioner.
Whether the respondent is liable to pay the petitioner with the award of damages granted by the RTC which was reversed by the CA?
No, 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 actor 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 delicto is 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.”