Kane v. Roggenkamp

 Kane v. Roggenkamp, 

G.R. No. 214326, 

July 6, 2020

DOCTRINE: An acquittal from a charge of physical violence against women and their

children is not a bar to the filing of a civil action for damages for physical injuries under

Article 33 of the Civil Code if an acquittal was due to reasonable doubt, without any

declaration that the facts upon which the offense arises are nonexistent.


Alastair John Kane (Alastair John) and Patricia Roggenkamp (Patricia)

are Australian citizens. They met in January 2004 in Brisbane, Australia, and became

lovers immediately.

Patricia decided to put up a business in the Philippines, and eventually travelled

with Alastair John to Manila. They settled in a condominium unit located in Parañaque

City supposedly owned by Patricia.

On March 30, 2006, an Information for violation of Republic Act No. 9262 or

the Anti-Violence Against Women and Children Act of 2004 was filed against Alastair

John, with Patricia as the private complainant. The case, docketed as Criminal Case

No. 06-0413, was then raffled to Branch 260 of the Regional Trial Court of Parañaque


According to Patricia, she and Alastair John attended a party hosted by her

son, Ashley Richard Cayzer (Ashley Richard) on November 30, 2004. The next day,

December 1, 2004, after they had just arrived at their residence at about 1:00 a.m.,

Patricia confronted Alastair John for allegedly looking at the underwear of other female

guests at the party. Ignoring Patricia, Alastair John went on to lie down on the bed.

Patricia then sat on a nearby chair.

Alastair John, angered by Patricia's remarks, allegedly approached Patricia,

lifted her off the chair, and dropped her on the floor. Patricia further claimed that

Alastair John punched her in the head, dragged her by the hair to the bed, and pushed

her head against the pillow. Patricia fought back and, when she had the chance, ran

to the bathroom and locked herself inside.

The next day, on December 2, 2004, Patricia's son, Ashley Richard, visited his

mother and saw her lying in bed in pain. Alastair John told Ashley Richard that his

mother had too much liquor the night of the party and, when they arrived home,

Alastair John tried to carry her to the bed. Unfortunately, he accidently dropped her

on the floor because the bed, which allegedly had wheels, moved.

Ashley Richard then brought Patricia to the San Juan de Dios Hospital where

she was prescribed painkillers for 12 days. After the trip to the hospital, Patricia went

home to Alastair John. Their situation went back to being peaceful, and they even

went on vacation from December 26, 2004 to January 1, 2005.

On January 6, 2005, or merely five (5) days after, Alastair John allegedly

verbally abused Patricia. He then left the next day, taking Patricia's car with him, as

well as the keys to their Parañaque residence and another condominium unit in Pasig

City where he stayed. Patricia, accompanied by her driver, went to the Pasig

condominium unit and recovered possession of her car.

On February 4, 2005, Patricia finally reported the incidents to the police. She

explained that, prior to the December 1, 2004 incident, there were already prior

incidents of abuse committed against her by Alastair John. After preliminary

investigation, probable cause for violation of Republic Act 9262 or the Anti-Violence

Against Women and their Children Act of 2004 was found against Alastair John.

After trial, the Regional Trial Court, Branch 260, Parañaque City acquitted

Alastair John on the ground of reasonable doubt. The Parañaque trial court was of

the opinion that Alastair John's account of the events — that he accidentally dropped

Patricia on the floor while he was carrying her — was "in accord with human

experience[,]" while that of Patricia's was not. It further said that "if [Patricia] was really

a victim of violence or abuse, she should have told the same to her son [Ashley

Richard], especially because the latter, according to her, is a lawyer."

Thereafter, Patricia filed a Complaint for Damages based on Article 33 of

the Civil Code before the Regional Trial Court of Mandaluyong City, praying for actual,

moral and exemplary damages, and attorney's fees. Patricia argued that the right of

action provided in Article 33 in cases of physical injuries is entirely separate and

distinct from the criminal action earlier commenced against Alastair John.

Further, she added that the civil actions for damages under Articles 32, 33, 34,

and 2176 of the Civil Code, called independent civil actions, "are not deemed instituted

with the criminal action and may be filed separately by the offended party even without

reservation." Considering that Alastair John was acquitted on the ground of

reasonable doubt, not because he wasn't the author of the act complained of, Patricia

argued that he may still be held liable under Article 33 of the Civil Code.

Opposing the civil action, Alastair John filed a Motion to Dismiss on the grounds

of res judicata and improper venue. Alastair John claimed that the dismissal of the

criminal case barred the filing of the civil case, because the cases allegedly involved

identical causes of action. He emphasized that the cases were both based on his

alleged physical abuse of Patricia, a matter already found to be not "in accord with

human experience." With respect to the venue, Alastair John argued that it was

improperly laid. The action for damages was a personal action, yet none of the parties

resided in Mandaluyong City where the civil action was filed.


1. Whether or not petitioner may still be held civilly liable because of his

acquittal was based on reasonable doubt.

2. Whether or not action is barred by res juridicata.


YES. Article 33 is explicit that in cases of defamation, fraud, and physical

injuries, the civil action is "entirely separate and distinct from the criminal action" and

shall "proceed independently of the criminal prosecution." Accordingly, Article 33

"contemplates a civil action for the recovery of damages that is entirely unrelated to

the purely criminal aspect of the case." Even the quantum of proof required —

preponderance of evidence, as opposed to the proof beyond reasonable doubt in

criminal cases — is different, confirming that the civil action under Article 33 is

independent of the criminal action.

Reservation of the right to separately file a civil action for damages under Article

33 need not even be made. The civil action under Article 33 may be pursued before

the filing of the criminal case, during the pendency of the criminal case, or even after

the criminal case is resolved. The only limitation is that an offended party cannot

"recover [damages] twice for the same act or omission" of the defendant.

It is not hard to see that respondent properly availed herself of a separate action

for damages under Article 33 after the dismissal of the criminal case against petitioner.

The criminal action filed against petitioner was one for physical injuries in the sense

contemplated in Article 33, that is, bodily injury.

Nevertheless, Alastair John claims that his acquittal should have barred the

filing of the Complaint for Damages. He maintains that, as allegedly held by the

Parañaque trial court, the act or commission from which the civil liability might arise

did not exist; hence, there is no civil liability ex delicto to which the Article 33 action

may be anchored.

NO. Furthermore, contrary to petitioner's argument, the decision of the

Parañaque trial court acquitting him did not operate as res judicata so as to bar

the filing of the Complaint for Damages under Article 33 of the Civil Code. The

elements of res judicata are:

(1) the judgment sought to bar the new action must be final;

(2) the decision must have been rendered by a court having

jurisdiction over the subject matter and the parties;

(3) the disposition of the case must be a judgment on the merits;


(4) there must be as between the first and second action identity

of parties, subject matter, and causes of action.

It is settled that a decision acquitting the accused is not res judicata on the

independent civil action, even if the latter action arises from the same act or omission

on which the criminal action was based.

No comments:

Post a Comment