Criminal Law, Remedial Law

PHILIPPINE RABBIT BUS LINES vs. PEOPLE G.R. No. 147703 April 14, 2004 Subsidiary Liability, Appeal in Criminal Cases

FACTS:

Accused Napoleon Roman was found guilty and convicted of the crime of reckless imprudence resulting to triple homicide, multiple physical injuries and damage to property.

The accused had jumped bail and remained at-large.

Section 8, Rule 124 of the Rules of Court authorizes the dismissal of appeal when appellant jumps bail. Since the notice of appeal filed by the accused had already been dismissed by the CA, then the judgment of conviction and the award of civil liability became final and executory. Included in the civil liability of the accused was the employer’s subsidiary liability.

Hence, this Petition filed by the employer of the accused.

Pointing out that it had seasonably filed a notice of appeal from the RTC Decision, petitioner contends that the judgment of conviction against the accused-employee has not attained finality. Petitioner insists that its appeal stayed the finality, notwithstanding the fact that the latter had jumped bail. In effect, petitioner argues that its appeal takes the place of that of the accused-employee.

 

ISSUE:

Whether or not the instant Appeal filed by the Employer is proper.

 

RULING:

Section 1 of Rule 122 of the 2000 Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure states thus:

“Any party may appeal from a judgment or final order, unless the accused will be placed in double jeopardy.”

As to when a judgment of conviction attains finality is explained in Section 7 of Rule 120 of the 2000 Rules of Criminal Procedure, which we quote:

“A judgment of conviction may, upon motion of the accused, be modified or set aside before it becomes final or before appeal is perfected.”

                         xxx

In the case before us, the accused-employee has escaped and refused to surrender to the proper authorities; thus, he is deemed to have abandoned his appeal. Consequently, the judgment against him has become final and executory.

The subsidiary civil liability of the employer under Article 103 of the Revised Penal Code may be enforced by execution on the basis of the judgment of conviction meted out to the employee.

Under Article 103 of the Revised Penal Code, employers are subsidiarily liable for the adjudicated civil liabilities of their employees in the event of the latter’s insolvency.

To allow employers to dispute the civil liability fixed in a criminal case would enable them to amend, nullify or defeat a final judgment rendered by a competent court. By the same token, to allow them to appeal the final criminal conviction of their employees without the latter’s consent would also result in improperly amending, nullifying or defeating the judgment.

The decision convicting an employee in a criminal case is binding and conclusive upon the employer not only with regard to the former’s civil liability, but also with regard to its amount. The liability of an employer cannot be separated from that of the employee.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.