Coverage of quasi-delict


OLD RULE: The concept of quasi-delict does not cover intentional acts. The liability arising from from extra-contractual culpa is always based upon a voluntary act or omission, which, without willful intent, but by mere negligence or inattention, has caused damage to another. (G.R. No. 12191)

NEW RULE: There is no justification for limiting the scope of Article 2176 of the Civil Code to acts or omissions resulting from negligence. Well-entrenched is the doctrine that article 2176 covers not only acts committed with negligence, but also acts which are voluntary and intentional. As far back as the definitive case of Elcano v. Hill (77 SCRA 98 [1977]), this Court already held that: . . . Article 2176, where it refers to "fault or negligence," covers not only acts "not punishable by law" but also acts criminal in character; whether intentional and voluntary or negligent. Consequently, a separate civil action against the offender in a criminal act, whether or not he is criminally prosecuted and found guilty or acquitted, provided that the offended party is not allowed, if he is actually charged also criminally, to recover damages on both scores, and would be entitled in such eventuality only to the bigger award of the two, assuming the awards made in the two cases vary.

In other words, the extinction of civil liability referred to in Par. (e) of Section 3, Rule 111, refers exclusively to civil liability founded on Article 100 of the Revised Penal Code, whereas the civil liability for the same act considered as quasi-delict only and not as a crime is not extinguished even by a declaration in the criminal case that the criminal act charged has not happened or has not been committed by the accused. Briefly stated, We here hold, in reiteration of Garcia, that culpa aquiliana includes voluntary and negligent acts which may be punishable by law. (G.R. No. 108017. April 3, 1995)

The same doctrine was echoed in the case of Andamo v. Intermediate Appellate Court (191 SCRA 195 [1990]), wherein the Court held: Article 2176, whenever it refers to "fault or negligence," covers not only acts criminal in character, whether intentional and voluntary or negligent. Consequently, a civil action lies against the offender in a criminal act, whether or not he is prosecuted or found guilty or acquitted, provided that the offended party is not allowed, (if the tortfeasor is actually also charged criminally), to recover damages on both scores, and would be entitled in such eventuality only to the bigger award of the two, assuming the awards made in the two cases vary. (G.R. No. 108017. April 3, 1995)

The concept of quasi-delict is so broad that it includes not only injuries to persons but also damage to property. (G.R. No. L-33171)

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