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Yakult Phils. and Larry Salvado vs. Court of Appeals (G.R. No. 91856. October 05, 1990)

31 May

YAKULT PHILIPPINES AND LARRY SALVADO, petitioner,
vs.
COURT OF APPEALS, WENCESLAO M. POLO, in his capacity as Presiding Judge of Br. 19 of the RTC of Manila, and ROY CAMASO, respondents.

Tomas R. Leonidas for petitioners.

David B. Agoncillo for private respondent.

Ponente: GANCAYCO

FACTS:

Petitioner was charged with the crime of reckless imprudence resulting in slight physical injuries. Later, a complaint for damages was filed by respondent represented by his father, against petitioners in the Regional Trial Court. Trial court rendered decision awarding damages to respondents. Petitioners’ appealed on the thesis  that the civil action for damages for injuries arising from alleged criminal negligence of Salvado, being without malice, cannot be filed independently of the criminal action under Article 33 of the Civil Code. Further, it is contended that under Section 1, Rule 111 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure such a separate civil action may not be filed unless reservation thereof is expressly made. The appeal was dismissed.

ISSUE:

Whether or not a civil action instituted after the criminal action was filed, before presentation of evidence by the prosecution, would prosper even if there was no reservation to file a separate civil action.

HELD:

YES. Petition was denied. Decision of the Court of Appeals was affirmed.

RATIO:

[T]he civil action for the recovery of civil liability is impliedly instituted with the criminal action unless the offended party waives the civil action, reserves his right to institute it separately or institutes the civil action prior to the criminal action. Such civil action includes recovery of indemnity under the Revised Penal Code, and damages under Articles 32, 33, 34 and 2176 of the Civil Code of the Philippines arising from the same act or omission of the accused. The purpose of this rule requiring reservation is to prevent the offended party from recovering damages twice for the same act or omission.

Although the separate civil action filed in this case was without previous reservation in the criminal case, nevertheless since it was instituted before the prosecution presented evidence in the criminal action, and the judge handling the criminal case was informed thereof, then the actual filing of the civil action is even far better than a compliance with the requirement of an express reservation that should be made by the offended party before the prosecution presents its evidence.

Procedural laws have retroactive application.

 

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