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Abellana V.

Marave – independent civil actions

Case:

• Petition for certiorari from the decision of the Judge of RTC of Ozamiz City was issued
with grave abuse of discretion, to dismiss the Independent civil action filed by
defendants for failure to reserve their right to institute it separately, when the
criminal case for physical injuries thru reckless imprudence was commenced.

Facts:

• Abellana while driving his cargo truck hitting a motorized pedicab resulting in injuries
to its passengers, private respondents, Lamason, Gurrea, Flores, Nemeno resulting in
the crime of physical injuries thru reckless imprudence.

• RTC of Ozamis found Abellan guilty of the said crime in the criminal case, damages
was in favor awarded to the offended parties. Abellana appealed this decision.
Likewise, the offended parties filed a separate and independent civil action for
damages allegedly suffered by them for reckless driving of Abellana. Crispin
Abellana, as employer of Francisco was included as defendants in the complaint.

• Both Crispin and Francisco sought the dismissal of such action principally on the
ground that there was no reservation for the filing thereof in the City Court of
Ozamis. They argued it was not allowable at the stage where the criminal case was
already on appeal.

Issue:

• W/N respondent judge’s decision was of grave abuse of discretion?

Ruling:

• Petition for Certiorari is Dismissed.

• Their motion to dismiss and MR was rejected by the court, stating that, petitioners
stand was anchored on the thought that, “the civil action for recovery of civil liability
from the offense charge is impliedly instituted with the criminal action, unless the
offended party reserves his right to institute it separately”. The legal proposition –
that a separate civil action can be legally filed and allowed by the court only at the
institution, or the right to file such separate civil action reserved of waived, at such
institution of the criminal action, and never on appeal to the next higher court. This
was the stand of the petitioners.

• Such interpretation, as noted, ignores the de novo aspect of appealed cases from city
courts. On appeal to this court, the judgment of the city court was vacated and a trial
de novo will have to be conducted.

• Section 7 of Rule 123 of RC, “an appealed case shall be tried in all respects anew in
the CFI as if it had been originally instituted in that court”. Respondent judge was
duly mindful of such norm.
• Art 33 of the Civil code states that, in cases of physical injuries, a civil action for
damages, entirely separate and distinct from the criminal action, maybe brought by
the injured party. Such civil action shall proceed independently of the criminal
prosecution and shall require only preponderance of evidence.