Lucio Francisco vs Crispulo Onrubia

G.R. No. 22063 – 46 Phil. 327 – Civil Law< -┬áTorts and Damages - When Liability for Quasi Delict Arises

In November 1922, Crispulo Onrubia was driving his car in Calle Ascarraga, Manila and he overrun the 9-year old son of Lucio Francisco which led to his son’s death. Francisco sued Onrubia for homicide through reckless imprudence. The lower court acquitted Onrubia as it ruled that Onrubia did not drive the automobile he was operating at an exaggerated or unreasonable speed, was not responsible for any imprudence, fault, carelessness or negligence whatsoever, and did not violate any regulation in connection with said death.

Now Francisco filed a separate civil suit for damages against Onrubia for . Onrubia assailed the civil suit arguing that Francisco did not reserve the right to file a separate civil case against him. Francisco grounded the civil suit on Article 1902 which states that “Any person who by an act or omission causes damages to another by his fault or negligence shall be liable for the damage so done.”

ISSUE: Whether or not Onrubia is civilly liable.

HELD: No. In order to establish the civil liability in a criminal case, it is necessary that the same spring from, or be a consequence of, the criminal liability, and, therefore, if a defendant is acquitted of a crime, a judgment, sentencing him to pay a determinate indemnity by reason of the same crime is not possible. A person not criminally liable for a crime or misdemeanor cannot be civilly liable. The full and complete acquittal of Onrubia necessarily implies his innocence of, and freedom from responsibility for, the crime of which he was accused.

Though there is another provision of the Civil Code (Article 1093) which states that “those arising from wrongful or negligent acts or omissions not punishable by law shall be subject to the provisions of Chapter Second of Title Sixteen of this book.”, and said chapter contains Article 1902, it is necessary that the negligence or fault in question be not punished by law. This is not the case in the case at bar; the negligence complained of in this case is punishable by law, however, said negligence does not exist on the part of Onrubia.

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