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Calang v. People [G.R. No. 190696. August 3, 2010]

03 Oct

ROLITO CALANG and PHILTRANCO SERVICE ENTERPRISE, INC.petitioners,
vs.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondent.

[G.R. No. 190696. August 3, 2010]

FACTS:

Petitioner Calang was driving a bus owned by Philtranco when its rear left side hit the front left portion of a Sarao jeep coming from the opposite direction. As a result of the collision, the jeep’s driver, lost control of the vehicle, and bumped and killed a bystander who was standing along the highway’s shoulder. The jeep turned turtle three (3) times before finally stopping at about 25 meters from the point of impact. Two of the jeep’s passengers were instantly killed, while the other passengers sustained serious physical injuries. The prosecution charged Calang with multiple homicide, multiple serious physical injuries and damage to property thru reckless imprudence before the RTC. RTC found Calang guilty beyond reasonable doubt of reckless imprudence resulting [in] multiple homicide, multiple physical injuries and damage to property. The Court of Appeals affirmed in toto the decision of RTC.

ISSUES:

Remedial Law

(1)  Whether or not factual issues may be raised on petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Court.

Civil Law

(1)  Whether or not Philtranco may be held jointly and severally liable with Calang.

Criminal Law

(1)  Whether or not Philtranco may be held subsidiary liable with Calang.

RULINGS:

Remedial Law

(1)  No. The finding of negligence on his part by the trial court, affirmed by the CA, is a question of fact that [the Court] cannot pass upon without going into factual matters touching on the finding of negligence.  In petitions for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Court, this Court is limited to reviewing only errors of law, not of fact, unless the factual findings complained of are devoid of support by the evidence on record, or the assailed judgment is based on a misapprehension of facts.

Civil Law

(1)  No. The RTC and the CA both erred in holding Philtranco jointly and severally liable with Calang. He was charged criminally before the RTC. Undisputedly, Philtranco was not a direct party in this case. Since the cause of action against Calang was based on delict, both the RTC and the CA erred in holding Philtranco jointly and severally liable with Calang, based on quasi-delict under Articles 2176 and 2180 of the Civil Code. Articles 2176 and 2180 of the Civil Code pertain to the vicarious liability of an employer for quasi-delicts that an employee has committed. Such provision of law does not apply to civil liability arising from delict.

Criminal Law

(1)  Yes. Philtranco’s liability may only be subsidiary. Article 102 of the Revised Penal Code states the subsidiary civil liabilities of innkeepers, tavernkeepers and proprietors of establishments, as follows:

In default of the persons criminally liable, innkeepers, tavernkeepers, and any other persons or corporations shall be civilly liable for crimes committed in their establishments, in all cases where a violation of municipal ordinances or some general or special police regulations shall have been committed by them or their employees.

Innkeepers are also subsidiary liable for the restitution of goods taken by robbery or theft within their houses from guests lodging therein, or for the payment of the value thereof, provided that such guests shall have notified in advance the innkeeper himself, or the person representing him, of the deposit of such goods within the inn; and shall furthermore have followed the directions which such innkeeper or his representative may have given them with respect to the care of and vigilance over such goods.  No liability shall attach in case of robbery with violence against or intimidation of persons unless committed by the innkeeper’s employees.

The foregoing subsidiary liability applies to employers, according to Article 103 of the Revised Penal Code, which reads:

The subsidiary liability established in the next preceding article shall also apply to employers, teachers, persons, and corporations engaged in any kind of industry for felonies committed by their servants, pupils, workmen, apprentices, or employees in the discharge of their duties.

The provisions of the Revised Penal Code on subsidiary liability – Articles 102 and 103 – are deemed written into the judgments in cases to which they are applicable. Thus, in the dispositive portion of its decision, the trial court need not expressly pronounce the subsidiary liability of the employer. Nonetheless, before the employers’ subsidiary liability is enforced, adequate evidence must exist establishing that (1) they are indeed the employers of the convicted employees; (2) they are engaged in some kind of industry; (3) the crime was committed by the employees in the discharge of their duties; and (4) the execution against the latter has not been satisfied due to insolvency.  The determination of these conditions may be done in the same criminal action in which the employee’s liability, criminal and civil, has been pronounced, in a hearing set for that precise purpose, with due notice to the employer, as part of the proceedings for the execution of the judgment.

 

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