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G.R. No.

48941

http://www.lawphil.net/judjuris/juri1946/may1946/gr_l-48941_1946.html

Today is Friday, August 30, 2013

Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC G.R. No. 48941 May 6, 1946

NORBERTO L. DILAG, as administrator of the intestate estate of Laureano Marquez, petitioner, vs. THE LEGAL HEIRS OF FORTUNATO RESURRECCION, ET AL., respondents. Vicente J. Francisco for petitioner. Magno S. Gatmaitan and Jose Borlongan for respondents. OZAETA, J.: This case is before us on certiorari to review a decision of the First Division of the Court of Appeals affirming, with modification, that of the Court of First Instance of Bulacan. The record as reconstituted by the parties consist only of the supplemental petition for certiorari; the brief for the petitioner, which contains as an appendix the decision of the Court of Appeals; the brief for the respondents; the memorandum for the petitioner in lieu of oral argument; and the reply memorandum for the respondents. The facts found by the Court of Appeals may be restated as follows: Before the year 1936 Laureano Marquez was indebted to Fortunato Resurreccion in the sum of P5,000 as the balance of the purchase price of a parcel of land which the former had bought and received from the latter. Fortunato Resurreccion in turn was indebted to the Luzon Surety Company in the same amount, which was secured by a mortgage on three parcels of land, one of which was that bought by Laureano Marquez from him. The formal deed of sale from Resurreccion to Marquez was to have been executed after Marquez shall have fully paid the purchase price and after Ressurreccion shall have secured the cancellation of the mortgage by the Luzon Surety Company. As early as 1933 Laureano Marquez had agreed to pay Fortunato Resurreccion's indebtedness of P5,000 to the Luzon Surety Company by way of satisfaction of his own indebtedness to Fortunato Resurreccion in the same amount (Exhibits O and Q). In Exhibit Q signed by Laureano Marquez on July 10, 1933, he bound himself as follows: "In the event an action is presented by the Luzon Surety Company against Fortunato Resurreccion for the recovery of the said indebtedness and the interests thereon, I, Laureano Marquez, obligate myself to indemnify Fortunato Resurreccion for all the damages he may suffer in case the parcels of land mortgaged to the Luzon Surety Company are sold at public auction, including the fees of the attorneys of Fortunato Resurreccion in the suit brought by the Luzon Surety Company as well as in the action that Fortunato Resurreccion may bring against me in relation to this agreement." . Laureano Marquez failed to pay the indebtedness of Fortunato Resurreccion to the Luzon Surety Company, and the latter foreclosed judicially the mortgage executed in its favor by Fortunato Resurreccion. On April 25, 1936, pending the foreclosure sale of the lands mortgaged by Resurreccion to the Luzon Surety Company, Laureano Marquez executed and delivered to Fortunato Resurreccion another document in the following terms: Sepan todos los que la presente vieren: Que yo, Laureano Marquez, de 51 anos de edad, filipino, viudo, y vecino del barrio de Paco, municipio de Obando, Provincia de Bulacan, libre y voluntariamente hago constar y otorgo: Primero. Que yo, Laureano Marquez, me comprometo y me obligo en pagar a la "Luzon Surety Co., Inc.," una corporacion domiciliada en la Ciudad de Manila, toda la deuda del Sr. Fortunato Resurreccion, con todos sus intereses vencidos y que en adelante vencieren, los honorarios de abogados, y todos los gastos de ejecucion y costas judiciales, segun estan especificados en la sentencia y orden de ejecucion de hipoteca

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en la causa civil No. 5037 del Juzgado de Primeria Instancia de Bulacan, intitulado "Luzon Surety Company, Inc," demandante, contra Fortunato Resurreccion, cuyo pago hare efectivo antes de hacerse la subasta en el momento en que se haga la subasta de las tres (3) parcelas de terrenos convertidos en pesquerias constituidos en hipoteca por dicho demandado Fortunato Resurreccion a favor de dicha "Luzon Surety Co., Inc." con el fin de que dichas tres (3) parcelas de terrenos y cualquiera de ellas no puedan venderse en subasta publica en el dia senalado en el aviso del Sheriff Provincial de Bulacan. Segundo. Que este compromiso y obligacion de pago arriba especificado se debe en consideracion al hecho de que el deudor y demandado Sr. Fortunato Resurreccion no ha podido pagar toda su deuda con sus intereses a la citada acreedora "Luzon Surety Co., Inc." porque yo, Laureano Marquez, no he pagado a mi vez al Sr. Fortunato Resurreccion mi deuda como parte del precio de venta a mi favor de una de las tres pesquerias objeto de hipoteca, y por efecto de mi morosidad, el Sr. Fortunato Resurreccion incurrio a su vez en morosidad en el pago de su deuda con sus intereses a la "Luzon Surety Co., Inc. " Tercero. Que en el caso de que yo, Laureano Marquez, no pudiera pagar a la Luzon Surety Co., Inc., todas las obligaciones del demandado Fortunato Resurreccion especificadas en el parrafo Primero de esta escritura, y por dicha falta de pago de mi parte, se llevara a cabo y se efectuara la Subasta Publica de todas o cualquiera de las tres (3) parcelas de terrenos objeto de hipoteca a favor de la Luzon Surety Co., Inc., entonces y en tal caso, yo, Laureano Marquez, quedo obligado a pagar al Sr. Fortunato Resurreccion o a las personas que sean duenas de todas o cualquiera de dichas tres (3) parcelas de terrenos pesquerias, el valor real de todas o cualesquiera de dichas tres (3) pesquerias que se vendieran definitivamente en Subasta Publica, y pagare ademas la correspondiente indemnizacion a dicho Fortunato Resurreccion o a las personas que sean duenas de dichas tres (3) pesquerias, con los correspondientes honorarios de sus abogados, y costas judiciales, en caso de pleito. Cuarto. Que en y como garantia de mi obligacion de pagar y de indemnizar al Sr. Fortunato Resurreccion, en consideracion a la suma de un peso (P1) y en consideracion ademas, a todo lo expuesto en el parrafo tercero de este documento, por la presente constituyo en segunda hipoteca a favor de dicho Sr. Fortunato Resurreccion, y sus cesionarios, las siguientes cinco (5) parcelas de terrenos de mi propiedad que se describen como sigue: . 1. Una parcela de terreno (lote No. 2569 of the S. M. de Pandi Estate, G. L. R. O. Reeord No. 8503), situated in the municipality of Bigaa, Province of Bulacan, Island of Luzon. Bounded on the north by lots Nos. 2567 and 2571, on the East by lot No. 2570, on the South by lots Nos. 2570 and 2568, and on the West by lot No. 2567, containing an area of thirty-two thousand eight hundred six (32,806) square meters, more or less. Transfer Certificate of Title No. 16561. 2. A parcel of land (lot No. 2012 of the S. M. de Pandi Estate, G. L. R. O. Record No. 8503), situated in the municipality of Bigaa, Province of Bulacan, Island of Luzon. Bounded on the Northeast by lots Nos. 2827, 2826, 2825, 2824 and 2813, on the Southeast by lot No. 2811, on the Southwest by lot No. 2811, and on the Northwest by lot No. 2828. Containing an area of thirty-one thousand one hundred twenty-four (31,124) square meters, more or less. Transfer Certificate of Title No. 16563. 3. A parcel of land (lot No. 2871 of the S. M. de Pandi Estate, G. L. R. O. Record No. 8503), situated in the municipality of Bigaa, Province of Bulacan, Island of Luzon. Bounded on the Northeast by lots Nos. 5090 and 2880, on the Southeast by lot No. 2870, on the Southwest by Manatal creek, and on the Northwest by lot No. 2872. Containing an area of nineteen thousand four hundred and one (19,401) square meters, more or less. Transfer Certificate of Title No. 16564. 4. A parcel of land (lot No. 2873 of the S. M. de Pandi Estate, G. L. R. O. Record No. 8603), situated in the municipality of Bigaa, Province of Bulacan, Island of Luzon. Bounded on the Northeast by lots Nos. 5089 and 2879, on the Southeast by lot No. 2872, on the Southwest by Manatal creek, and on the Northwest by lot No. 2874. Containing an area of nineteen thousand thirteen (19,013) square meters, more or less. Transfer Certificate of Title No. 16565. 5. A parcel of land (lot No. 2880 of the S. M. de Pandi Estate, G. L. R. O. Record No.8503), situated in the municipality of Bigaa, Province of Bulacan, Island of Luzon. Bounded on the Northeast by lot No. 2883, on the Southeast by lot No. 2881, on the Southwest by lots Nos. 2870 and 2871, and on the Northwest by lots Nos. 5090 and 2879. Containing an area of twenty-two thousand one hundred fourteen (22,114) square meters, more or less. Transfer Certificate of Title No. 16566.' . Quinto. Que siendo el valor real de las cinco (5) parcelas de terrenos arriba descritos en el parrafo cuarto de este documento insuficientes para cubrir todas mis obligaciones y responsibilidades objeto de este documento a favor del Sr. Fortunato Resurreccion, constituyo tambien en garantia a favor del Sr. Fortunato Resurreccion y sus cesionarios cualesquiera bienes que hoy y en adelante tuviere, y cualesquiera derechos

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y acciones que hoy y en adelante tuviere. Sexto. Que hoy he recibido del Sr. Fortunato Resurreccion el Certificado de Transferencia de Titulo No. 16562 sobre el terreno lote No. 2811 de mi propiedad, en Bigaa, Bulacan, con el objeto de vender dicha parcela de terreno, y su precio de venta se pagara tambien a la "Luzon Surety Co., Inc." para completar el pago total de las obligaciones del Sr. Fortunato Resurreccion conforme en que yo venda en venta absoluta dicho terreno lote No. 2811, aunque dicho terreno formaba parte de mi garantia a favor del citado Sr. Fortunato Resurreccion sobre mis obligaciones objeto de este documento. En testimonio de todo lo cual, firmo la presente en Malolos, Bulacan, hoy a 25 de abril de 1936. (Fdo.) LAUREANO MARQUEZ. Firmado en presencia de: (Fdo.) JOSE R. PLATON (Fdo.) ILEGIBLE (Exhibit A.) Since Laureano Marquez did not fulfill his promise contained in the first clause of the instrument above quoted, with the result that the mortgaged properties were sold at public auction and were totally lost by Fortunato Resurreccion, the latter commenced the present action against Laureano Marquez upon the instrument above quoted (1) to recover the value of the lost properties amounting to P16,500, with legal interest thereon from the date of the filing of the complaint, plus P2,000 as indemnity for the rents of the lands sold and P1,000 as attorney's fees, and (2) to foreclose the mortgage embodied in said instrument. As we do not have the record on appeal before us, we have to rely entirely upon the statements found in the decision of the Court of Appeals as to the issues raised by the parties in the lower courts. The issues raised in the Court of First Instance were stated by the Court of Appeals in its decision as follows:. El demandado, ademas de una negacion general, alego como defensa especial, hechos que en sintesis significan que el firmo el Exhibit A por acomodacion, reclamando en contrademanda la suma de P5,000 por danos y perjuicios y honorarios de abogados, contestacion que fue enmendada para incluir como partes contrademandados a Honorio Resurreccion y Emilia Resurreccion, y alega que de la suma de P8,397 que el debia al demandante ya habia pagado P8,103.29. El demadante tambien enmendo su demanda y su contestacion enmendada a la contrademanda enmendada, alegando entre otras cosas, que Honorio y Emilia Resurreccion no tomaron parte en la venta del terreno descrito en el certificado original de titulo No. 437, que el precio convenido era de P2,000 y no P1,500, y que el Exhibit A expresa la verdadera intencion de las partes, contestacion que volvio a enmendarse el 5 de agosto de 1940. The questions discussed and decided by the Court of Appeals were the following:. 1. La primera cuestion que suscita el demandado y apelante es la de que el demandante no tienie derecho de cobrar los danos y perjuicios, objetos de la demanda, porque las parcelas primera y tercera de las hipotecadas a la Luzon Surety Company, Inc., no le pertenecen, sino a Honorio Resurreccion y a los hijos del abogado Vicente Platon, segun la particion de los bienes del finado Arcadio Resurreccion. . . 2. La siguiente cuestion es la de si el demandado tiene derecho a rescindir el contrato, porque el demandante no ha querido otorgar la escritura de venta a su favor. . . 3. Dejaremos para mas tarde discutir los senalamientos de error 3.o y 4.o y pasemos al 5.o y 8.o. Segun estos el demandado firmo el Exhibit A por acomodacion. . . . 4. En cuanto a la posesion del terreno, la conclusion del Juzgado de que la tenia el demandado esta sostenida por el testimonio de Vicente Platon, corroborado por el guardian o encargado de la pesqueria, Roman Sto. Tomas. 5. En cuanto al 3. senalamiento de error, o sea, el precio por hectarea del terreno vendido, el Juzgado estimo que era el de P2,000 por hectarea. . . . All these questions were decided favorably to the plaintiff, who had died in the meantime and who is now represented by the herein respondents. The dispositive part of the decision of the Court of Appeals reads as follows: En resumen el demandado debe pagar a los hectaderos del demandante la suma de P16,500, por la unica

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que se reclama en la demanda, mas P1,246 por las rentas de dos de los terrenos vendidos por la Luzon Surety Company, Inc., y mas P1,000 por honorarios de abogados, pero con deduccion de la suma de P5,255.99 que dicho demandado habia pagado al demandante, con los intereses legales de la primera cantidad desde la interposicion de la demanda y las costas. En el caso de que el demandando dejara de verificar dicho pago dentro del plazo de 90 dias, se vendera en subasta publica los bienes hipotecados en el Exhibit A. The petitioner makes the following assignment of errors alleged to have been committed by the Court of Appeals: 1. The Court of Appeals erred in not holding that the verbal sale agreement between Fortunato Resurreccion and Laureano Marquez covering the land under Title 437 which belonged to the estate of Arcadio Resurreccion and which was then under judicial administration, was void ab initio or nonexistent, because it was not consented to nor approved by the probate court taking cognizance of the settlement of the estate of said Arcadio Resurreccion. 2. The Court of Appeals erred in not holding that the agreement purported to be contained by Exhibits O, Q and A, or any other agreement based upon the verbal agreement to sell the land under Title 437, was void ab initio or nonexistent due to absolute lack of consideration, because the said verbal agreement, being in itself void ab initio, cannot serve as consideration under the law. 3. The Court of Appeals erred in denying the motion for reconsideration submitted by the herein petitioner as appellant to that court, and in declaring in its resolution of denial that the invalidity of Exhibit A may not be invoked by Laureano Marquez or his legal representative but only by the heirs of Arcadio Resurreccion. 4. The Court of Appeals erred in holding that Fortunato Resurreccion had the right to enforce and foreclose Exhibit A as regards the damages caused by the loss of the lands under Titles 435 and 877, adjudicated, respectively, to Emiliana Resurreccion and the children of Vicente Platon under the project of partition, notwithstanding the fact that Fortunato Resurreccion did not, and his legal heirs now do not, claim any damages for the loss of the land under Title 437. 5. The Court on Appeals erred in ordering (if it is the meaning of the decision) the sale in public auction of the five parcels of land mentioned in the complaint of Fortunato Resurreccion (pages 10-12 of the bill of exceptions, accompanying the petition herein), which lands were not mortgaged in legal contemplation in favor of Fortunato Resurreccion under Exhibit A. 1 and 2. The main ground of this appeal by certiorari is contained in the first and second assignments of error. But all the argument adduced by the counsel in support thereof is premised upon alleged facts which do not appear in the decision of the Court of Appeals and which are disputed by the respondents herein. In truth, that decision does not even give any hint that any question pertaining to the supposed nullity of the sale agreement between Fortunato Resurreccion and Laureano Marquez and of Exhibit A upon which this action is based, was ever raised in the lower courts. According to the Court of Appeals the special defense alleged by the defendant was that he signed Exhibit A as an accommodation. In rejecting that defense the Court of Appeals stated that Exhibit A was not the only document executed by the defendant in favor of the plaintiff obligating himself to pay the latter's indebtedness to the Luzon Surety Company, but also Exhibit O and Q, dated March 9 and July 10, 1933, wherein said defendant declared that he was obligated to make said payment because he owned the plaintiff P5,000 as part of the purchase price of the land bought by him. The Court of Appeals further set forth the negotiations had by the defendant with the Luzon Surety Company to secure extensions of the time within which to pay the mortgage of the plaintiff. The Court of Appeals made no mention whatsoever of the facts involved in the first two errors now assigned by the petitioner before this Court. We find no factual basis upon which to consider and decide the questions raised in petitioner's first and second assignments of error. We cannot reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeals upon alleged facts different from, and even contradictory to, those found by that court. 3. Neither can we pass upon the third assignment of error, first, because it is a mere sequence of the first two assignments of error and, second, because we do not even have before us petitioner's motion for reconsideration in the Court of Appeals and the latter's resolution thereon. 4. Under his fourth assignment of error the petitioner contends that Fortunato Resurreccion had no right to enforce and foreclose Exhibit A as regards the damages caused by the loss of two of the three parcels of land mortgaged to the Luzon Surety Company because they did not belong to Fortunato Resurreccion but to Emiliana Resurreccion and the children of Vicente Platon. He contends that it was only the said owners of those lands who could have brought the present action. This contention runs counter to the provision of section 3 of Rule 3 of the Rules of Court, which says that "a party with whom or in whose name a contract has been made for the benefit of another . . . . may sue or be sued without

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joining the party for whose benefit the action is presented or defended." It will be noted that in the third clause of Exhibit A Laureano Marquez obligated himself to pay to Fortunato Resurreccion or to the persons who may be the owners of all or any of the three parcels of land, the real value thereof in case they were sold at public auction. In his memorandum in lieu of oral argument counsel for the petitioner says that at first glance section 3 of Rule 3 above cited would appear applicable against his contention. But he argues that it should not be applied because Exhibit A is a unilateral promise by Laureano Marquez to indemnify Fortunato Resurreccion or those who might become the owners of the lands in question; and that Fortunato Resurreccion was not a party to the contract Exhibit A, for as a matter of fact it was signed by Laureano Marquez only. We do not think that the word "contract" used in section 3 of Rule 3 refers exclusively to a bilateral contract. It obviously refers to any contract bilateral or unilateral enforcible in court. The rule in question refers to a suit by or against "a party with whom or in whose name a contract has been made for the benefit of another." Article 1254 of the Civil Code says that a contract exists from the moment one or more persons consent to be bound with respect to another or others to deliver something or to render some service. A deed of sale or mortgage is usually a unilateral contract in the sense that only the vendor or mortgagor signs it. Likewise a promissory note is a unilateral contract in the sense that only the promisor or maker signs it. But these do not mean that the signer is the only party to that contract and the only one entitled to sue thereon. The obligee is as much a part to the contract as the obligor, for there can be no obligor without an obligee; and as a matter of course it is the obligee who has the right to sue on and enforce the obligation. In his supplemental petition for certiorari the petitioner expresses the fear that the decision of the Court of Appeals may not preclude Emiliana Resurreccion and the children of Vicente Platon from enforcing the pour autrui stipulation in Exhibit A. We think such fear is unfounded. Once Exhibit A is enforced by the court under the authority of section 3 of Rule 3 above cited, at the instance of one of the parties thereto, there is no room for the apprehension that it may be enforced anew at the instance of any other party. In authorizing a suit by a trustee or a party in a representative capacity, said rule necessarily precludes the necessity and authority for the beneficiary to bring a separate suit on his own account upon the same cause of action; for the law does not countenance a multiplicity of suits, and much less an injustice. 5. The fifth assignment of error assails the judgment of the Court of Appeals in so far as it authorizes the sale at public auction of five parcels of land mentioned in plaintiff's complaint but not specifically described in the mortgage deed Exhibit A. Those five parcels are said to have been acquired by Laureano Marquez subsequent to the execution of Exhibit A. In the fifth clause of said document Laureano Marquez stipulated that inasmuch as the five parcels of land described in the fourth clause were not sufficient to cover all his obligations in favor of Fortunato Resurreccion, he also constituted a mortgage in favor of the latter and his assignees on any other property he then might have and on those he might acquire in the future. Did such a stipulation constitute a valid mortgage on the five other parcels of land which Laureano Marquez subsequently acquired? We do not think so. In the first place, Laureano Marquez could not legally mortgage any property he did not yet own (see paragraph 2, article 1857, Civil Code). In the second place, in order that a mortgage may be validly constituted the instrument by which it is created must be recorded in the registry of deeds (article 1875, id.); and so far as the additional as parcels of land are concerned, the registration of Exhibit A did not affect and could not have affected them because they were not specifically described therein. The contention of the respondents that after the institution of the present action notice of lis pendens was filed in the registry of deeds affecting the said five additional parcels of land, merely serves to emphasize the fact that there was no mortgage thereon; otherwise there would have been no necessity for any notice of lis pendens . The fifth assignment of error is well taken and is therefore sustained. We observe that the Court of Appeals awarded to the plaintiff not only the value of the land, amounting to P16,500, which the plaintiff or his co-heirs lost as a result of the foreclosure sale made at the instance of the Luzon Surety Company, plus legal interest thereon from the date of the filing of the complaint but also the sum of P1,246 as rent or income of said land which the plaintiff failed to receive. We do not think the last-mentioned amount was included in Laureano Marquez' undertaking. In the third clause of Exhibit A he obligated himself, in the event said parcels of land were auctioned off, to pay their real value to Fortunato Resurreccion. If the plaintiff is entitled to indemnity for the land he lost, he is not entitled to the subsequent rent or income of that land. He is entitled only to the interest on the amount of the indemnity from the time he sues therefor to the time it is paid. We do not find in the decision of the Court of Appeals any basis for awarding the said rent or income of P1,246. To what period of time that rent or income was supposed to correspond, has not even been shown. If it was rent before the sale of said land at public auction, the defendant could not be held liable therefor; and if it was rent after the sale, neither could the defendant be held liable for it, since his undertaking was to pay for the value of the land as of the date of the sale, and once

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the owner is indemnified for the land, he is not entitled to the subsequent income therefrom. We consider that error plain enough to authorize us to notice it, although it was not specifically assigned by the petitioner, under section 5 of Rule 53. Moreover, the petitioner questions his entire liability under Exhibit A, and if he cannot be absolved entirely he may be absolved at least partially. With the elimination of the item of P1,246 and with the understanding that the foreclosure sale shall be limited to the five parcels of land described in the mortgage deed Exhibit A that the judgment of the Court of Appeals is for the heirs of Vicente Platon, said judgment is affirmed, without any finding as to costs in this instance. Moran, C.J., Jaranilla, Feria, De Joya, Hilado and Bengzon, JJ., concur.

Separate Opinions BRIONES, M., concurrente y disidente: No cabe duda de que Laureano Marquez se obligo a pagar a la Luzon Surety Co. la deuda del Intestado de Arcadio Resurreccion montante a unos P10,000. Marquez asumio esta obligacion por haber comprado una de las 3 parcelas de terreno (pesquerias) hipotecadas a la Luzon Surety en garantia de dicha deuda. La parcela de terreno comprada tiene un poquito mis de 5 hectareas de extension y lleva el certificado de titulo Torrens No. 437. Habiendose fijado el precio de la compraventa a razon de P2,000 la hectarea, Marquez tenia que pagar por el terreno la suma total de unos P10,000, es decir, la misma cantidad de la deuda del Intestado de Resurreccion cuyo pago asumio a favor de Luzon Surety Co. Esto explica la naturaleza de la transaccion: Marquez, en lugar de pagar al contado el precio de la compraventa a Fortunato Resurreccion, administrador del Intestado, asumio la obligacion de pagar la deuda de este a favor de Luzon Surety. A mi juicio, es indiferente que Fortunato Resurreccion haya vendido la finca como propiedad suya personal, o como propiedad del Intestado. Los autos demuestran que, de todas maneras, el predio quedo finalmente adjudicado a dicho Fortunato en el decreto de particion expedido por el Juez de testamentarias. Esto vino a curar la compraventa de cualquier vicio de origen de que hubiera podido adolecer por haberse vendido una propiedad in custodia legis, sin previa aprobacion del Juzgado (De los Santos contra Antonio, R. G. No. 38014, promulgada el 11 de Octubre, 1933; Jakosalem contra Rafols, 73 Phil., 628). Pero disiento, en parte, de la opinion de la mayoria porque encuentro muy onerosa y pesada la sentencia dictada contra Marquez o sus herederos. En apoyo de una atenuacion de la responsabilidad del deudor se pueden tener en cuenta las siguientes circunstancias: (a) Segun la sentencia del Tribunal de Apelacion, Marquez ya habia pagado un poquito mas de la mitad del precio de la compraventa, esto es, la cantidad de P5,255.99. La mayoria confirma esta apreciacion en su opinion. (b) La escritura de hipoteca Exhibit A, que es la base de la presente accion, se firmo y otorgo por Marquez cinco (5) dias antes del dia de la subasta en que se vendieron las tres (3) parcelas de terreno hipotecadas a la LuzonSurety por morosidad del deudor. En vertud de dicho Exhibit A, Marquez se obligada dentro del plazo perentorio de cinco (5) dias a buscar el dinero necesario para pagar el credito hipotecario de Luzon Surety. Si fallaba, como fallo, tenia que pagar a los duenos de las fincas vendidas en la subasta una indemnizacion equivalente a su valor en plaza, y para asegurar esta obligacion constituia una hipoteca sobre cinco (5) parcelas de terreno, las unicas que tenia, y sobre bienes futuros. Es cierto que la mayoria elimina este ultimo, o sea la hipoteca sobre bienes futuros, pero, con todo, la obligacion es aun harto onerosa. Se trasluce en autos que Marquez firmo el contrato bajo la presion de las circunstancias y apremiado por unos acreedores que se sentian nerviosos e intranquilos ante la proximidad de la subasta. Es evidente que el plazo de cinco (5) dias era un plazo muy corto para buscar el dinero que se necesitaba. (c) Si bien se mira, el Exhibit A no es un contrato ordinario de hipoteca, sino que contiene una obligacion principal y, como aditamento, una clausula de indemnizacion que es practicamente una clausula penal. La obligacion principal era la de pagar el remanente de la deuda a la Luzon Surety--obligacion asumida por Marquez a cambio, como queda dicho, del precio no pagado de la parcela de terreno que dicho Marquez habia comprado de Fortunato Resurreccion; y la clausula penal consistia en que si, por falta de pago a la Luzon Surety, se siguiese la subasta y se rematasen las fincas hipotecadas, Marques indemnizaria a los duenos de estas de todo su valor real. __Que quiere decir esto, traducido en cifras? Lo singuiente: el precio que tenia que pagar Marquez eran unos P10,000; deducidos los pagos parciales que, segun la sentencia, montaban a P5,255.99, quedaba un remanente de un poquito menos de P5,000, y en esto consista la obligacion principal de Marquez. Como quiera que, segun la sentencia, el valor de las fincas rematadas se estima en P16,500; luego resulta que el importe de la indemnizacion proveniente de la clausula penal es tres veces mayor que la obligacion principal. (d) es verdad que el contrato, cuando en el concurren los requisitos exigidosw por la ley para su validez, es ley entre las partres, y los tribunales casi nunca estan autorizados para intervenir y mediatizar la libertad individual en

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materia de contratacion. Pero la ley misma establece ciertas limitaciones. El articulo 1255 del Codigo Civil dispone que "los contratantes pueden establecer los actos, clausulas y condiciones que tengan por conveniente, siempre que no sean contrarios a las leyes, a la moral, ni al orden publico." Y el articulo 1154 del mismo Codigo provee que "el Juez modificara equitativamente la pena cuando la obligacion principal hubiera sido en parte o irregularmente cumplida por el deudor." Es mi sentir que en el caso que nos ocupa hay algo repugnante a la conciencia, algo que choca con los principios aun de la moral al uso. Una penalidad que es mas del triple de la obligacion principal es cosa que moralmente no puede justificarse y autoriza la intervencion de los tribunales para mitigar sus efectos (Ibarra contra Aveyro y Pre, 37 Jur. Fil., 286). Esta intervencion queda tambien justificada bajo el articulo 1154 del Codigo Civil arriba citado, pues consta establecido en la misma sentencia que Marquez, el deudor, ya habia cumplido la obligacion principal en parte, pagando mas de la mitad del precio (Laureano contra Kilayco y Lizares de Kilayco, 32 Jur. Fil., 202). (e) Otra razon porque debemos intervenir para mitigar los efectos del contrato es que las parcelas rematadas en la subasta y por las cuales se condena a los herederos de Marquez a pagar indemnizacion (certificados de titulo Torrens Nos. 435 y 877) no debian de valer P16,500 cuando se efectuo la subasta. Dichas parcelas no formaban parte de la compra hecha por Marquez de Fortunato Resurreccion; por tanto, sus duenos tenian perfecta libertad para disponer de ellas y levantar el dinero necesario para satisfacer el credito hipotecario de la Luzon Surety Co. que despues de todo ya no llegaba a P10,000. Sin embargo, ni en la subasta ni fuera de ella hubo nadie que ofreciera por tales parcelas la citada cantidad de P16,500, ni mucho menos. En autos se trasluce que tanto ellas como la cubbierta por el titulo No. 437 se remataron por la misma Luzon Surety por la cantidad de su credito. Mi conclusion, pues, es que por equidad se debe reducir sustancialmente la cuantia de la indemnizacion. Teniendo en cuenta que la obligacion principal ya se habia cumplido en poco mas de la mitad, es decir, que tan solo unos P5,000 quedaban como parte no pagada del precio, estimo que, por lo menos, la indemnizacion se debe reducir a una cantidad igual, o sea P5,000, en vez de los P16,500 a que monta la sentencia. Esto, por una parte. Por otra, se debe relevar a los herederos de Resurreccion de la obligacion de develver a los herederos de Marquez la suma de P5,255.99 a que ascienden los pagos parciales hechos por este para satisfacer el precio, compensando dicha suma con el valor razonable del uso y disfrute de la finca vendida, pues en autos consta que Marquez tuvo la posesion de la misma. Bajo la formula de solucion que propongo se condena sencillamente a los herederos de Marquez a pagar una indemnizacion de P5,000 con intereses legales desde la interposicion de la demanda; y la hipoteca se limita a las cinco (5) parcelas actualmente poseidas por Marquez cuando se otorgo el Exhibit A, conforme propone la mayoria en su opinion. Sin pronunciamiento en cuanto a las costas. Pablo, Paras y Perfecto, MM, conforme.
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