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Criminal Procedure: Rule 111 - Prosecution of Civil Action


RULE 111
Prosecution of Civil Action

Section 1. Institution of criminal and civil actions. — (a) When a criminal action is instituted, the civil action for the recovery of civil liability arising from the offense charged shall be deemed instituted with the criminal action unless the offended party waives the civil action, reserves the right to institute it separately or institutes the civil action prior to the criminal action.

The reservation of the right to institute separately the civil action shall be made before the prosecution starts presenting its evidence and under circumstances affording the offended party a reasonable opportunity to make such reservation.

When the offended party seeks to enforce civil liability against the accused by way of moral, nominal, temperate, or exemplary damages without specifying the amount thereof in the complaint or information, the filing fees thereof shall constitute a first lien on the judgment awarding such damages.

Where the amount of damages, other than actual, is specified in the complaint or information, the corresponding filing fees shall be paid by the offended party upon the filing thereof in court.

Except as otherwise provided in these Rules, no filing fees shall be required for actual damages.

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. 

(b) The criminal action for violation of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22 shall be deemed to include the corresponding civil action. No reservation to file such civil action separately shall be allowed.

Upon filing of the aforesaid joint criminal and civil actions, the offended party shall pay in full the filing fees based on the amount of the check involved, which shall be considered as the actual damages claimed. Where the complaint or information also seeks to recover liquidated, moral, nominal, temperate or exemplary damages, the offended party shall pay additional filing fees based on the amounts alleged therein. If the amounts are not so alleged but any of these damages are subsequently awarded by the court, the filing fees based on the amount awarded shall constitute a first lien on the judgment.

Where the civil action has been filed separately and trial thereof has not yet commenced, it may be consolidated with the criminal action upon application with the court trying the latter case. If the application is granted, the trial of both actions shall proceed in accordance with section 2 of this Rule governing consolidation of the civil and criminal actions. 

Section 2. When separate civil action is suspended. — After the criminal action has been commenced, the separate civil action arising therefrom cannot be instituted until final judgment has been entered in the criminal action.

If the criminal action is filed after the said civil action has already been instituted, the latter shall be suspended in whatever stage it may be found before judgment on the merits. The suspension shall last until final judgment is rendered in the criminal action. Nevertheless, before judgment on the merits is rendered in the civil action, the same may, upon motion of the offended party, be consolidated with the criminal action in the court trying the criminal action. In case of consolidation, the evidence already adduced in the civil action shall be deemed automatically reproduced in the criminal action without prejudice to the right of the prosecution to cross-examine the witnesses presented by the offended party in the criminal case and of the parties to present additional evidence. The consolidated criminal and civil actions shall be tried and decided jointly.

During the pendency of the criminal action, the running of the period of prescription of the civil action which cannot be instituted separately or whose proceeding has been suspended shall be tolled. 

The extinction of the penal action does not carry with it 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. 

Section 3. When civil action may proceeded independently. — In the cases provided for in Articles 32, 33, 34 and 2176 of the Civil Code of the Philippines, the independent civil action may be brought by the offended party. It shall proceed independently of the criminal action and shall require only a preponderance of evidence. In no case, however, may the offended party recover damages twice for the same act or omission charged in the criminal action. 

Section 4. Effect of death on civil actions. — The death of the accused after arraignment and during the pendency of the criminal action shall extinguish the civil liability arising from the delict. However, the independent civil action instituted under section 3 of this Rule or which thereafter is instituted to enforce liability arising from other sources of obligation may be continued against the estate or legal representative of the accused after proper substitution or against said estate, as the case may be. The heirs of the accused may be substituted for the deceased without requiring the appointment of an executor or administrator and the court may appoint a guardian ad litem for the minor heirs.

The court shall forthwith order said legal representative or representatives to appear and be substituted within a period of thirty (30) days from notice.

A final judgment entered in favor of the offended party shall be enforced in the manner especially provided in these rules for prosecuting claims against the estate of the deceased.

If the accused dies before arraignment, the case shall be dismissed without prejudice to any civil action the offended party may file against the estate of the deceased. 

Section 5. Judgment in civil action not a bar. — A final judgment rendered in a civil action absolving the defendant from civil liability is not a bar to a criminal action against the defendant for the same act or omission subject of the civil action.

Section 6. Suspension by reason of prejudicial question. — A petition for suspension of the criminal action based upon the pendency of a prejudicial question in a civil action may be filed in the office of the prosecutor or the court conducting the preliminary investigation. When the criminal action has been filed in court for trial, the petition to suspend shall be filed in the same criminal action at any time before the prosecution rests. 

Section 7. Elements of prejudicial question. — The elements of a prejudicial question are: (a) the previously instituted civil action involves an issue similar or intimately related to the issue raised in the subsequent criminal action, and (b) the resolution of such issue determines whether or not the criminal action may proceed.

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