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MINDANAO PORTLAND CEMENT CORP v CA, PACWELD STEEL CORP, and ATTY.

CASIANO LAQUIHON
G.R. No. L-62169 February 28, 1983
Teehankee, J.
Modes of Extinguishment of Obligations > Compensation

FACTS:
MINDANAO PORTLAND CEMENT CORP (MPCC) PACWELD STEEL CORP (Pacweld)
Atty. Laquihon (Pacweld’s counsel)
 1978 - One Atty. Casiano Laquihon, in behalf of defendant Pacweld Steel Corporation (Pacweld) filed a
pleading addressed to plaintiff Mindanao Portland Cement Corporation (MPCC). Pleading is entitled 'Motion to
Direct Payment of Attorney's Fee to Counsel Laquihon' (ELAM: IOW – Atty Laquihon is asking MPCC to pay him
attorney’s fees)
o Atty Laquihon invokes in his motion the fact that in the decision of the court of Sept. 14, 1976 in which MPCC was
adjudged to pay Pacweld the sum of P10,000.00 as attorney's fees
 MPCC filed an opposition to Atty. Laquihon's motion stating as grounds that said amount claimed by Atty Laquihon is
compensated by a like sum of P10,000 which MPCC is to collect from Pacweld also by way of attorney's fees, which
MPCC recovered in a Civil Case.
 CFI: denied opposition of MPCC; ruled in favor of Pacweld; ordered MPCC to pay P10,000.00 attorney's fees directly
to Atty Laquihon
 CA: ruled in favor of MPCC: lower court erred in not holding that two obligations are extinguished reciprocally by
operation of law. This appeal calls for the application of Arts. 1278, 1279, and 1290 of Civil Code, as urged by MPCC.

ISSUE: WoN the obligation extinguished?

RULING:
MPCC: There was legal compensation. Therefore, Atty Laguihon cannot recover P10k attorney’s fees due to him from
MPCC.
Court ruled (with MPCC):
 After considering the briefs of the parties in the appellate court and the additional pleadings required of them by this
Court, the Court finds merit in the appeal by MPCC, and sets aside orders of CFI Manila.

 It is clear from records that both corporations, petitioner MPCC and Pacweld were creditors and debtors of each
other, their debts to each other consisting in final and executory judgments of CFI in two (2) separate cases, ordering
the payment to each other of the sum of P10,000.00 by way of attorney's fees.
 The two (2) obligations, therefore, respectively offset each other, compensation having taken effect by operation of
law and extinguished both debts to the concurrent amount of P10,000.00, pursuant to the provisions of Arts. 1278,
1279 and 1290 of the Civil Code, since all the requisites provided in Art. 1279 of the said Code for automatic
compensation "even though the creditors and debtors are not aware of the compensation" were duly present.

 Necessarily, CFI’s order granting Atty. Laquihon's motion for amendment of the judgment against MPCC so as to
make the award of P10,000 as attorney's fees payable directly to himself as counsel of Pacweld instead of payable
directly to said corporation was a void alteration of judgment. It was a substantial change or amendment beyond the
trial court's jurisdiction and authority and it could not defeat the compensation or set-off of the two 2 obligations of the
corporations to each other which had already extinguished both debts by operation of law. (ELAM: IOW – The
obligation was already extinguished via compensation > CFI therefore, cannot amend the judgment anymore.)

DISPOSITION:
ACCORDINGLY, the appealed orders are hereby annulled and set aside. No costs.