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Jan. 25, 2007 | CHICO-NAZARIO, J.| Culpa Aquiliana v. Crime
SUMMARY: Bus hit a jeep. Driver of bus was exonerated from criminal liability as he was not found to
have been negligent (under the RPC). Bus owner seeks to exonerate himself from liability. SC ruled
otherwise, and found the bus driver negligent (for purposes of quasi-delict) and the owner liable as
employer for failure to exercise due diligence as good father of a fam.
DOCTRINE: See Held #s 4 and 5 (6 din pala)

1. At around 6-7am, July 12, 1988, Calaunan with Marcelo Mendoza were Manila-bound from
Pangasinan aboard the formers owner-type jeep. The bus, owned by PRBLI and driven by
Manliclic was also Manila-bound from Tarlac. The vehicles collided along NLEX (Plaridel, Bulacan),
and the front right side of the bus hit the rear left side of the jeep, which caused the latter to fall
into a ditch with water.
2. Calaunan suffered minor injuries and was brought first to the Manila Central University Hospital
in Caloocan by Buan, the conductor of the bus. He was later transferred to the Veterans Memorial
Medical Center. Mendoza was unhurt.
3. Manliclic was charged Reckless Imprudence resulting in Damage to Property with Physical Injuries
in a crim case before the RTC of Malolos. A civil case for damages was subsequently filed by
Calaunan against the petitioners before the RTC of Dagupan.
4. Respondents counsel, in the civil case prayed that the stenographic notes of the crim case be
received in evidence in the civil case as the witnesses whose testimonies were used therein would
not be available to testify in the civil case. (Witnesses Respondent and Ramos left the country,
while Mendoza allegedly went missing while looking for a job in his hometown).
5. Parties differ only in the manner by which the collision took place. Petitioner: that while
overtaking the jeep, the bus hit the jeep. This was corroborated by Ramos (who saw what
happened while aboard another jeep) and Mendoza. Petitioners maintain, however, that while it
was in the process of overtaking the jeep, the said jeep swerved to the left in an attempt to
overtake another jeep in front of it. Petitioner company further maintains that it observed the
diligence of a good father of a family in the selection of their employees (Manliclic).
6. TC ruled in favour of Calaunan and ordered the petitioners to pay actual, moral, and exemplary
damages, as well as attorneys fees.
ISSUE: Who is liable for the collision? PRBLI is soldarily liable for the damages caused by Manliclic

1. (As to propriety of admitting the evidence used in the crim case) The Court acknowledged that
the responded failed to comply with the requisites in Sec. 47, Rule 130, in order that the
testimonies be admitted as exceptions to the hearsay rule. However, the Court noted that the
petitioners also failed to object to the admissibility of the said testimonies, and are deemed to
have waived their right to object to such admissibility. Hence, such testimonies were admitted
in evidence.
2. (As to which facts should govern) The Court acknowledged that the case was based on quasi-
delict. Manliclic was sued for reckless imprudence, while PRBLI was sued for failing to exercise
due diligence of a good father of a family in selecting and supervising its employees. The Court
also noted that Manliclic was exonerated by the CA, which held that Manliclic was not negligent,
as the swerving of the jeep in front of him was beyond his control (CA used facts in Fact#5).
3. The Court then held that Manliclic, being exonerated for non-negligence, could not be held
liable for reckless imprudence under the RPC.

4. A quasi-delict or culpa aquiliana is a separate legal institution under the Civil Code with a
substantivity all its own, and individuality that is entirely apart and independent from a delict
or crime a distinction exists between the civil liability arising from a crime and the
responsibility for quasi-delicts or culpa extra-contractual. The same negligence causing
damages may produce civil liability arising from a crime under the Penal Code, or create an
action for quasi-delicts or culpa extra-contractual under the Civil Code. It is now settled that
acquittal of the accused, even if based on a finding that he is not guilty, does not carry with it
the extinction of the civil liability based on quasi delict.
5. In other words, if an accused is acquitted based on reasonable doubt on his guilt, his civil
liability arising from the crime may be proved by preponderance of evidence only. However, if
an accused is acquitted on the basis that he was not the author of the act or omission
complained of (or that there is declaration in a final judgment that the fact from which the civil
might arise did not exist), said acquittal closes the door to civil liability based on the crime or
ex delicto. In this second instance, there being no crime or delict to speak of, civil liability
based thereon or ex delicto is not possible. In this case, a civil action, if any, may be instituted
on grounds other than the delict complained of.
6. As regards civil liability arising from quasi-delict or culpa aquiliana, same will not be extinguished
by an acquittal, whether it be on ground of reasonable doubt or that accused was not the
author of the act or omission complained of (or that there is declaration in a final judgment that
the fact from which the civil liability might arise did not exist). The responsibility arising from
fault or negligence in a quasi-delict is entirely separate and distinct from the civil liability arising
from negligence under the Penal Code. An acquittal or conviction in the criminal case is entirely
irrelevant in the civil case based on quasi-delict or culpa aquiliana.
7. The Court adhered to the trials court version of the facts and held that Manliclic was negligent.
Further, PRBLI, as the employer, was held to be solidarily liable as it failed to submit concrete
proof or compliance to show that it had exercised the due diligence of a good father of a family.