Maniago v. CA (G.R. No. 104392)

Facts:

One of the shuttle buses owned by petitioner Ruben Maniago, and driven by Herminio Andaya, figured in a vehicular accident with a passenger jeepney owned by respondent Boado along Loakan Road, Baguio City. A criminal case for reckless imprudence resulting in damage to property and multiple physical injuries was filed against petitioner’s driver. A month later, respondent Boado filed a civil case for damages against petitioner Maniago himself. Petitioner moved that the civil case be suspended citing that a criminal case was already pending. The trial court denied the motion on the ground that the civil action could proceed independently of the criminal action. On appeal to CA, petitioner reiterated his contention adding that the civil action could not proceed because no reservation to bring it separately was made in the criminal case. CA affirmed the trial court’s decision.

Issue:

Whether or not the civil action may proceed independently of the criminal action when no reservation of right to bring it separately was made.

Ruling: NO.

*We have reached the conclusion that the right to bring an action for damages under the Civil Code must be reserved as required by Rule III, §1, otherwise it should be dismissed.

To begin with, §1 quite clearly requires that a reservation must be made to institute separately all civil actions for the recovery of civil liability, otherwise they will be deemed to have been instituted with the criminal case. Such civil actions are not limited to those which arise “from the offense charged,” as originally provided in Rule III before the amendment of the Rules of Court in 1988. In other words the right of the injured party to sue separately for the recovery of the civil liability whether arising from crimes (ex delicto) or from quasi delict under Art. 2176 of the Civil Code must be reserved otherwise they will be deemed instituted with the criminal action.

*NOTA BENE: This case is decided under the old rules on criminal procedure. Now, there is no more need for a reservation of the right to file independent civil actions under Articles 32, 33, 34 and 2176 of the Civil Code of the Philippines. The reservation and waiver referred to refers only to the civil action for the recovery of the civil liability arising from the offense charged (Case on Point: DMPI Employees Credit Cooperative v. Velez, G.R. No. 129282, November 29, 2001)

 

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