Death and criminal, civil liabilities

Dear Atty. Angela,

My father was involved in a conspiracy case for theft in his previous company in the amount of P500,000. There were three of them accused in the case filed. The case is still pending and my father just recently passed away. The company’s representative has been making threats that they will still pursue claiming the money claimed to be stolen. Can they still make our family pay for what my father has done, if proven? Please help.



Dear Anthony,

No, the company can no longer pursue both criminal and civil cases against your family.

The Death of your father prior to the Final Judgment of the court extinguishes his criminal liability and civil liability ex-delicto.

Article 89 (1) of the Revised Penal Code provides that:

“Art. 89. How criminal liability is totally extinguished. — Criminal liability is totally extinguished.”

1. “By the death of the convict, as to the personal penalties; and as to pecuniary penalties, liability therefor is extinguished only when the death of the offender occurs before final judgment;”

It is settled that “upon the death of the accused pending appeal of his conviction, the criminal action is extinguished inasmuch as there is no longer a defendant to stand as the accused; the civil action instituted therein for recovery of civil liability ex delicto is ipso facto extinguished, grounded as it is on the criminal.” (People v. Agacer, G.R. 177751 (7 January 2013)

Since the civil action instituted by the company was for recovery of civil liability grounded on the criminal act, the death of your father, by operation of law extinguishes all monetary liability that the company is trying to recover. The company cannot threaten your family to pay for any amount since the death of your father preceded the decision or final judgment of the court.

Atty. Angela Antonio

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