G.R. No. L-24803, May 26, 1977, 77 SCRA


Respondent Reginald Hill killed the son of the plaintiffs named Agapito Elcano. A criminal complaint was instituted against him but he was acquitted on the ground that his act was not criminal, because of lack of intent to kill, couple with mistake. Subsequently, plaintiffs filed a complaint for recovery of damages against defendant Reginald Hill, a minor, married at the time of the occurrence, and his father, the defendant Marvin Hill, with who he was living and getting subsistence, for the same killing. A motion to dismiss was filed by the defendants. The Court of First Instance of Quezon City denied the motion. Nevertheless, the civil case was finally dismissed upon motion for reconsideration.


WoN the present civil action for damages is barred by the acquittal of Reginald in the criminal case.


No, the present civil action for damages is not barred by the acquittal of Reginald in the criminal case. Firstly, there is a distinction as regards the proof required in a criminal case and a civil case. To find the accused guilty in a criminal case, proof of guilt beyond reasonable doubt is required, while in a civil case, preponderance of evidence is sufficient to make the defendant pay in damages. Furthermore, a civil case for damages on the basis of quasi-delict does is independently instituted from a criminal act. As such the acquittal of Reginald Hill in the criminal case has not extinguished his liability for quasi-delict, hence that acquittal is not a bar to the instant action against him.


ART. 2177. Responsibility for fault or negligence under the preceding article is entirely separate and distinct from the civil liability arising from negligence under the Penal Code. But the plaintiff cannot recover damages twice for the same act or omission of the defendant.

em> * Case digest by Lady Rubyge Denura, LLB-1, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2017-2018