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G.R. No. 117190 January 2, 1997 JACINTO TANGUILIG doing business under the name and style J.M.T.

ENGINEERING AND GENERAL MERCHANDISING, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS and VICENTE HERCE JR., respondents. BELLOSILLO, J.: Jacinto Tanguilig [owner of JMT Engineering and General merchandise] was contracted by Vicente Herce to construct a windmill for P 60,000 Herce paid P30,000 downpayment, an instalment of P15,000, and left a balance of P15,000 Petitioner [Tanguilig] filed a complaint for non-payment of the remaining balance. Respondent answered saying that he already paid remaining balance to San Pedro General Merchandising Inc., who constructed the deep well connected to the windmill. Also, respondent claimed that P15,000 balance should be offset since the windmill collapsed after a strong wind hit it. Respondent contends that since petitioner did not have the capacity to install the pump the latter agreed to have a third party do the work the cost of which was to be deducted from the contract price. He presented Guillermo Pili of SPGMI who declared that petitioner Tanguilig approached him with a letter from respondent Herce Jr. asking him to build a deep well pump as "part of the price/contract which Engineer (Herce) had with Mr. Tanguilig." TRIAL COURT: Deep well was NOT PART of the contract. NO clear showing that there is defect in the construction. CA: REVERSED TC decision. Deep well was part of the contract. Petitioner [Tanguilig] should reconstruct the windmill.

ISSUE: W/N deep well was part of the contract. W/N petitioner should reconstruct the windmill. W/N respondent can claim that Pili accepted his payment on behalf of petitioner? HELD: Deep well was NOT PART of the contract Petitioner SHOULD reconstruct the windmill. No. RATIO:

Part of the contract There is absolutely no mention in the two (2) documents that a deep well pump is a component of the proposed windmill system. The contract prices fixed in both proposals cover only the features specifically described therein and no other. The words "deep well" and "deep well pump merely describe the type of deep well pump for which the proposed windmill would be suitable. For if the real intent of petitioner was to include a deep well in the agreement to construct a windmill, he would have used instead the conjunctions "and" or "with." It is a cardinal rule in the interpretation of contracts that the intention of the parties shall be accorded primordial consideration and, in case of doubt, their contemporaneous and subsequent acts shall be principally considered. The claim of Pili that Herce Jr. wrote him a letter is unsubstantiated. The alleged letter was never presented in court by private respondent for reasons known only to him. Claim that Pili accepted on behalf of petitioner While the law is clear that "payment shall be made to the person in whose favor the obligation has been constituted, or his successor in interest, or any person authorized to receive it," it does not appear from the record that Pili and/or SPGMI was so authorized. Respondent cannot claim the benefit of the law concerning "payments made by a third person." The Civil Code provisions do not apply in the instant case because no creditor-debtor relationship between petitioner and Guillermo Pili and/or SPGMI has been established regarding the construction of the deep well. Circumstances only show that the construction of the well by SPGMI was for the sole account of respondent and that petitioner merely supervised the installation of the well because the windmill was to be connected to it. There is no legal nor factual basis by which this Court can impose upon petitioner an obligation he did not expressly assume nor ratify.

Claim for exemption from liability In order for a party to claim exemption from liability by reason of fortuitous event under Art. 1174 of the Civil Code the event should be the sole and proximate cause of the loss or destruction of the object of the contract. Requisites for exemption (a) the cause of the breach of the obligation must be independent of the will of the debtor; (b) the event must be either unforeseeable or unavoidable; (c) the event must be such as to render it impossible for the debtor to fulfill his obligation in a normal manner; (d) the debtor must be free from any participation in or aggravation of the injury to the creditor. Petitioner merely stated that there was a "strong wind." But a strong wind in this case cannot be fortuitous unforeseeable nor unavoidable. On the contrary, a strong wind should be present in places where windmills are constructed, otherwise the windmills will not turn.