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No counterclaim, cross-claim or third-party complaint in criminal cases


Can the accused in a criminal case file a counterclaim, cross-claim or third-party complaint?

No. Sec. 1, Rule 111 of the Rules of Court provides that: "No counterclaim, cross-claim or third-party complaint may be filed by the accused in the criminal case, but any cause of action which could have been the subject thereof may be litigated in a separate civil action."


What then is the remedy of the accused?

Under this provision, the accused is barred from filing a counterclaim, cross-claim or third-party complaint in the criminal case. However, the same provision states that any cause of action which could have been the subject (of the counterclaim, cross-claim or third-party complaint) may be litigated in a separate civil action. The present Rule 111 mandates the accused to file his counterclaim in a separate civil action which shall proceed independently of the criminal action, even as the civil action of the offended party is litigated in the criminal action. (Casupanan vs. Laroya, G.R. No. 145391, August 26, 2002)


Can the accused in a pending criminal case for reckless imprudence validly file, simultaneously and independently, a separate civil action for quasi-delict against the private complainant in the criminal case? Is there forum-shopping in such case?

Yes. the accused can file a civil action for quasi-delict for the same act or omission he is accused of in the criminal case. This is expressly allowed in paragraph 6, Section 1 of the present Rule 111 which states that the counterclaim of the accused may be litigated in a separate civil action. This is only fair for two reasons. First, the accused is prohibited from setting up any counterclaim in the civil aspect that is deemed instituted in the criminal case. The accused is therefore forced to litigate separately his counterclaim against the offended party. If the accused does not file a separate civil action for quasi-delict, the prescriptive period may set in since the period continues to run until the civil action for quasi-delict is filed.

Second, the accused, who is presumed innocent, has a right to invoke Article 2177 of the Civil Code, in the same way that the offended party can avail of this remedy which is independent of the criminal action. To disallow the accused from filing a separate civil action for quasi-delict, while refusing to recognize his counterclaim in the criminal case, is to deny him due process of law, access to the courts, and equal protection of the law. (Casupanan vs. Laroya)


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