Lex Rex Ph

Casupanan vs. Laroya Digest

Lesson: The accused can file a separate civil action for quasi-delict – Rule 111 Sec. 1 Par. 6

Facts

Lesson: The accused can file a separate civil action for quasi-delict – Rule 111 Sec. 1 Par. 6

The vehicles of Laroya and Casupanan (driver)/Capitulo(owner), figured in an accident. Each party believed that the accident was the fault of the other. Laroya filed a criminal case against Casupanan for reckless imprudence resulting in damage to property. On the other hand, Casupanan et al filed an independent civil action for quasi-delict against Laroya. 

When Casupanan filed the civil case, the criminal case filed by Laroya was at its preliminary investigation stage. Laroya filed a motion to dismiss the civil case filed by Casupanan on the ground of forum shopping considering the pendency of the criminal case. As a defense, Casupanan insisted that the civil case is a separate civil action that can proceed independently of the criminal case. 

Casupanan et al appealed to the SC.

Issues

Can an accused (Casupanan) in a criminal case validly file a separate and independent civil action for quasi-delict against his own private complainant (Laroya)? Yes.

Ruling

Yes, the accused can file a civil action for quasi-delict for the same act or omission he is accused of in the criminal case. This is expressly allowed in paragraph 6, Section 1 of the present Rule 111 which states that the counterclaim of the accused “may be litigated in a separate civil action.” 

This is only fair for two reasons:
First, the accused is prohibited from setting up any counterclaim in the civil aspect that is deemed instituted in the criminal case.

Second, the accused, who is presumed innocent, has a right to invoke Article 2177 of the Civil Code, in the same way that the offended party can avail of this remedy which is independent of the criminal action.

Thus, the civil action based on quasi-delict filed separately by Casupanan and Capitulo is proper.

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