The aggravating circumstance not specifically alleged in the information cannot be appreciated to increase the criminal liability of the accused, the established presence of one or two aggravating circumstances of any kind or nature entitles the offended party to exemplary damages

Under Article 2230 of the Civil Code,[32] the attendance of any aggravating circumstance (generic, qualifying, or attendant) entitles the offended party to recover exemplary damages. Here, relationship was the aggravating circumstance attendant in both cases. We need to award P30,000.00 as exemplary damages in rape and of P10,000.00 as exemplary damages in acts of lasciviousness.

Although, as earlier mentioned, an aggravating circumstance not specifically alleged in the information (albeit established at trial) cannot be appreciated to increase the criminal liability of the accused, the established presence of one or two aggravating circumstances of any kind or nature entitles the offended party to exemplary damages under Article 2230 of the Civil Code because the requirement of specificity in the information affected only the criminal liability of the accused, not his civil liability. The Court has well explained this in People v. Catubig:[33]

The term “aggravating circumstances” used by the Civil Code, the law not having specified otherwise, is to be understood in its broad or generic sense. The commission of an offense has a two-pronged effect, one on the public as it breaches the social order and the other upon the private victim as it causes personal sufferings, each of which is addressed by, respectively, the prescription of heavier punishment for the accused and by an award of additional damages to the victim. The increase of the penalty or a shift to a graver felony underscores the exacerbation of the offense by the attendance of aggravating circumstances, whether ordinary or qualifying, in its commission. Unlike the criminal liability which is basically a State concern, the award of damages, however, is likewise, if not primarily, intended for the offended party who suffers thereby.  It would make little sense for an award of exemplary damages to be due the private offended party when the aggravating circumstance is ordinary but to be withheld when it is qualifying. Withal, the ordinary or qualifying nature of an aggravating circumstance is a distinction that should only be of consequence to the criminal, rather than to the civil, liability of the offender.  In fine, relative to the civil aspect of the case, an aggravating circumstance, whether ordinary or qualifying, should entitle the offended party to an award of exemplary damages within the unbridled meaning of Article 2230 of the Civil Code.

That People v. Catubig was subsequent to the dates of the commission of the crimes charged did not matter. Like any other judicial interpretation of an existing law, the ruling in People v. Catubig settled the circumstances when Article 2230 of the Civil Code applied, thereby reflecting the meaning and state of that legal provision. The retroactivity of the ruling vis-à-vis the accused could not be challenged or be barred by virtue of its being civil, not penal, in effect.

 http://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/jurisprudence/2011/february2011/172321.htm

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About Erineus

Ernesto O. Bendita. Born on December 28, 1965, Surallah, South Cotabato, Southern Mindanao, Philippines.
This entry was posted in Circumstances, Retroactive Ruling, Torts and Damages and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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