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Ang civil liability sa kasong kriminal

  • Written by Atty. Persida Rueda-Acosta
  • Published in Opinion
  • Read: 183

Say mo Attorney?

KGG. na Chief Acosta,

Sinampahan po ng kasong estafa ang aking kapatid. Sa kabutihang palad ay napawalang sala siya matapos ang mahabang paglilitis. Ngunit ang ipinagtataka ko po ay kahit na na-acquit siya ay ipinag-utos ng korte na magbayad siya ng P100,000. Posible po ba talaga ito samantalang korte na mismo ang nagsabi na wala siyang kasalanan?

Lubos na gumagalang,

Dalton

Dear Dalton,

Dapat ninyong malaman na ang bawat kasong kriminal ay may kaakibat na kasong sibil o pananagutang sibil (civil liability) na idinulot ng krimen, katulad ng danyos sa biktima. Kaugnay nito, hindi sa lahat ng pagkakataon ay nawawala ang civil liability ng isang akusado kahit pa siya ay na-acquit. Ayon sa Section 2, Rule III ng Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure:
   
Section 2. When separate civil action is suspended.
   
The extinction of the penal action does not carry with its extinction of the civil action. However, the civil action based on delict shall be deemed extinguished if there is a finding in a final judgment in the criminal action that the act or omission from which the civil liability may arise did not exist. (Binigyang-diin) Gayundin, nakasaad sa Artikulo 29 ng Civil Code of the Philippines na:
   
Article 29. When the accused in a criminal prosecution is acquitted on the ground that his guilt has not been proved beyond reasonable doubt, a civil action for damages for the same act or omission may be instituted. Such action requires only a preponderance of evidence. Upon motion of the defendant, the court may require the plaintiff to file a bond to answer for damages in case the complaint should be found to be malicious.
   
If in a criminal case the judgment of acquittal is based upon reasonable doubt, the court shall so declare. In the absence of any declaration to that effect, it may be inferred from the text of the decision whether or not the acquittal is due to that ground. (Binigyang-diin)
   
Sa ibang salita, ang isang akusado na na-acquit dahil tahasang sinabi ng korte na wala si­yang ginawang kamalian ay wala ring anumang pananagutang sibil. Ngunit mayroong dalawang sitwasyon kung saan ang isang akusadong na-acquit ay maaari pa ring magkaroon ng pananagutang sibil. Ito ay kung:
   
(1) ang isang akusado ay na-acquit lamang dahil mayroong reasonable doubt o pagdududa ang husgado;
   
(2) tahasang sinabi ng husgado na ang pananagutan ng akusado ay sa aspektong sibil at hindi kriminal.
   
Ipinaliwanag sa Sapiera v. Court of Appeals (G.R. No. 128927, 14 September 1999) na isinulat ng dating Kasamang Mahistrado, ang Kagalang-galang na Josue N. Bellosillo, ang dahilan kung bakit maaari pa ring magkaroon ng pananagutang sibil ang isang taong na-acquit:
   
The old rule that the acquittal of the accused in a criminal case also releases him from civil liability is one of the most serious flaws in the Philippine legal system. It has given rise to numberless instances of miscarriage of justice, where the acquittal was due to a reasonable doubt in the mind of the court as to the guilt of the accused. The reasoning followed is that inasmuch as the civil responsibility is derived from the criminal offense, when the latter is not proved, civil liability cannot be demanded.
   
This is one of those cases where confused thinking leads to unfortunate and deplorable consequences. Such reasoning fails to draw a clear line of demarcation between criminal liability and civil responsibility, and to determine the logical result of the distinction. The two liabilities are separate and distinct from each other. One affects the social order and the other private rights. One is for punishment or correction of the offender while the other is for reparation of damages suffered by the aggrieved party . . . . It is just and proper that for the purposes of imprisonment of or fine upon the accused, the offense should be proved beyond reasonable doubt. But the purpose of indemnifying the complaining party, why should the offense also be proved beyond reasonable doubt? Is not the invasion or violation of every private right to be proved only by preponderance of evidence? Is the right of the aggrieved person any less private because the wrongful acts is also punishable by the criminal law? (Binigyang-d
iin)
   
Hindi ninyo nabanggit kung ano ang dahilan kung bakit napawalang-sala ang inyong kapatid. Kung siya ay na-acquit dahil sa wala siyang maling nagawa, kriminal man o sibil, wala rin si­yang dapat na civil liability. Sa sitwasyong ito, maaari kayong maghain ng apela hinggil dito sa loob ng panahong itinakda ng batas. Samantala kung ang acquittal ng inyong kapatid ay dahil lamang sa reasonable doubt, kakulangan ng ebidensiya, o dahil natukoy ng hukuman na ang kaniyang kamaliaan ay sibil at hindi kriminal, ay maaari siyang panagutin sa kaniyang civil liability.
   
Nawa ay nasagot namin ang inyong mga katanungan. Nais na­ming ipaalala sa inyo na ang opinyong ito ay nakabase sa inyong mga naisalaysay sa inyong liham at sa pagkakaintindi namin dito. Maaaring maiba ang opinyon kung mayroong karagdagang impormasyon na ibibigay. Mas mainam kung personal kayong sasangguni sa isang abogado.
   
Maraming salamat sa inyong patuloy na pagtitiwala.

Ang inyong Lingkod- Bayan,

DR. PERSIDA V. RUEDA-ACOSTA

Punong Manananggol Pambayan