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G.R. No.


November 3, 1939

MARGARITA QUINTOS and ANGEL A. ANSALDO, plaintiffs-appellants,

BECK, defendant-appellee.
Mauricio Carlos for appellants.
Felipe Buencamino, Jr. for appellee.

The plaintiff brought this action to compel the defendant to return her certain
furniture which she lent him for his use. She appealed from the judgment of the
Court of First Instance of Manila which ordered that the defendant return to her the
three has heaters and the four electric lamps found in the possession of the Sheriff of
said city, that she call for the other furniture from the said sheriff of Manila at her
own expense, and that the fees which the Sheriff may charge for the deposit of the
furniture be paid pro rata by both parties, without pronouncement as to the costs.

The defendant was a tenant of the plaintiff and as such occupied the latter's house on
M. H. del Pilar street, No. 1175. On January 14, 1936, upon the novation of the
contract of lease between the plaintiff and the defendant, the former gratuitously
granted to the latter the use of the furniture described in the third paragraph of the
stipulation of facts, subject to the condition that the defendant would return them to
the plaintiff upon the latter's demand. The plaintiff sold the property to Maria Lopez
and Rosario Lopez and on September 14, 1936, these three notified the defendant of
the conveyance, giving him sixty days to vacate the premises under one of the
clauses of the contract of lease. There after the plaintiff required the defendant to
return all the furniture transferred to him for them in the house where they were
found. On
November 5, 1936, the defendant, through another person, wrote
to the plaintiff reiterating that she may call for the furniture in the ground floor of the
house. On the 7th of the same month, the defendant wrote another letter to the
plaintiff informing her that he could not give up the three gas heaters and the four
electric lamps because he would use them until the 15th of the same month when the
lease in due to expire. The plaintiff refused to get the furniture in view of the fact that

the defendant had declined to make delivery of all of them. On

15th, before vacating the house, the defendant deposited with the Sheriff all the
furniture belonging to the plaintiff and they are now on deposit in the warehouse
situated at No. 1521, Rizal Avenue, in the custody of the said sheriff.

In their seven assigned errors the plaintiffs contend that the trial court incorrectly
applied the law: in holding that they violated the contract by not calling for all the
furniture on November 5, 1936, when the defendant placed them at their disposal; in
not ordering the defendant to pay them the value of the furniture in case they are not
delivered; in holding that they should get all the furniture from the Sheriff at their
expenses; in ordering them to pay-half of the expenses claimed by the Sheriff for the
deposit of the furniture; in ruling that both parties should pay their respective legal
expenses or the costs; and in denying pay their respective legal expenses or the costs;
and in denying the motions for reconsideration and new trial. To dispose of the case,
it is only necessary to decide whether the defendant complied with his obligation to
return the furniture upon the plaintiff's demand; whether the latter is bound to bear
the deposit fees thereof, and whether she is entitled to the costs of litigation.

The contract entered into between the parties is one of commadatum, because under
it the plaintiff gratuitously granted the use of the furniture to the defendant, reserving
for herself the ownership thereof; by this contract the defendant bound himself to
return the furniture to the plaintiff, upon the latters demand (clause 7 of the contract,
Exhibit A; articles 1740, paragraph 1, and 1741 of the Civil Code). The obligation
voluntarily assumed by the defendant to return the furniture upon the plaintiff's
demand, means that he should return all of them to the plaintiff at the latter's
residence or house. The defendant did not comply with this obligation when he
merely placed them at the disposal of the plaintiff, retaining for his benefit the three
gas heaters and the four eletric lamps. The provisions of article 1169 of the Civil
Code cited by counsel for the parties are not squarely applicable. The trial court,
therefore, erred when it came to the legal conclusion that the plaintiff failed to
comply with her obligation to get the furniture when they were offered to her.
As the defendant had voluntarily undertaken to return all the furniture to the plaintiff,
upon the latter's demand, the Court could not legally compel her to bear the expenses
occasioned by the deposit of the furniture at the defendant's behest. The latter, as

bailee, was not entitled to place the furniture on deposit; nor was the plaintiff under a
duty to accept the offer to return the furniture, because the defendant wanted to retain
the three gas heaters and the four electric lamps.

As to the value of the furniture, we do not believe that the plaintiff is entitled to the
payment thereof by the defendant in case of his inability to return some of the
furniture because under paragraph 6 of the stipulation of facts, the defendant has
neither agreed to nor admitted the correctness of the said value. Should the defendant
fail to deliver some of the furniture, the value thereof should be latter determined by
the trial Court through evidence which the parties may desire to present.

The costs in both instances should be borne by the defendant because the plaintiff is
the prevailing party (section 487 of the Code of Civil Procedure). The defendant was
the one who breached the contract of commodatum, and without any reason he
refused to return and deliver all the furniture upon the plaintiff's demand. In these
circumstances, it is just and equitable that he pay the legal expenses and other
judicial costs which the plaintiff would not have otherwise defrayed.

The appealed judgment is modified and the defendant is ordered to return and deliver
to the plaintiff, in the residence to return and deliver to the plaintiff, in the residence
or house of the latter, all the furniture described in paragraph 3 of the stipulation of
facts Exhibit A. The expenses which may be occasioned by the delivery to and
deposit of the furniture with the Sheriff shall be for the account of the defendant. the
defendant shall pay the costs in both instances. So ordered.

FELICIDAD M. BAGTAS, Administratrix of the Intestate Estate left by the late

Jose V. Bagtas, petitioner-appellant.

The Court of Appeals certified this case to this Court because only questions of law
are raised.

On 8 May 1948 Jose V. Bagtas borrowed from the Republic of the Philippines
through the Bureau of Animal Industry three bulls: a Red Sindhi with a book value of
P1,176.46, a Bhagnari, of P1,320.56 and a Sahiniwal, of P744.46, for a period of one
year from 8 May 1948 to 7 May 1949 for breeding purposes subject to a government
charge of breeding fee of 10% of the book value of the bulls. Upon the expiration on
7 May 1949 of the contract, the borrower asked for a renewal for another period of
one year. However, the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources approved a
renewal thereof of only one bull for another year from 8 May 1949 to 7 May 1950
and requested the return of the other two. On 25 March 1950 Jose V. Bagtas wrote to
the Director of Animal Industry that he would pay the value of the three bulls. On 17
October 1950 he reiterated his desire to buy them at a value with a deduction of
yearly depreciation to be approved by the Auditor General. On 19 October 1950 the
Director of Animal Industry advised him that the book value of the three bulls could
not be reduced and that they either be returned or their book value paid not later than
31 October 1950. Jose V. Bagtas failed to pay the book value of the three bulls or to
return them. So, on 20 December 1950 in the Court of First Instance of Manila the
Republic of the Philippines commenced an action against him praying that he be
ordered to return the three bulls loaned to him or to pay their book value in the total
sum of P3,241.45 and the unpaid breeding fee in the sum of P199.62, both with
interests, and costs; and that other just and equitable relief be granted in (civil No.

Avancea, C.J., Villa-Real, Laurel, Concepcion and Moran, JJ., concur.

G.R. No. L-17474

October 25, 1962

REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,

JOSE V. BAGTAS, defendant,

On 5 July 1951 Jose V. Bagtas, through counsel Navarro, Rosete and Manalo,
answered that because of the bad peace and order situation in Cagayan Valley,
particularly in the barrio of Baggao, and of the pending appeal he had taken to the
Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the President of the Philippines
from the refusal by the Director of Animal Industry to deduct from the book value of
the bulls corresponding yearly depreciation of 8% from the date of acquisition, to

which depreciation the Auditor General did not object, he could not return the
animals nor pay their value and prayed for the dismissal of the complaint.
After hearing, on 30 July 1956 the trial court render judgment
. . . sentencing the latter (defendant) to pay the sum of P3,625.09 the total
value of the three bulls plus the breeding fees in the amount of P626.17 with
interest on both sums of (at) the legal rate from the filing of this complaint
and costs.
On 9 October 1958 the plaintiff moved ex parte for a writ of execution which the
court granted on 18 October and issued on 11 November 1958. On 2 December 1958
granted an ex-parte motion filed by the plaintiff on November 1958 for the
appointment of a special sheriff to serve the writ outside Manila. Of this order
appointing a special sheriff, on 6 December 1958, Felicidad M. Bagtas, the surviving
spouse of the defendant Jose Bagtas who died on 23 October 1951 and as
administratrix of his estate, was notified. On 7 January 1959 she file a motion
alleging that on 26 June 1952 the two bull Sindhi and Bhagnari were returned to the
Bureau Animal of Industry and that sometime in November 1958 the third bull, the
Sahiniwal, died from gunshot wound inflicted during a Huk raid on Hacienda
Felicidad Intal, and praying that the writ of execution be quashed and that a writ of
preliminary injunction be issued. On 31 January 1959 the plaintiff objected to her
motion. On 6 February 1959 she filed a reply thereto. On the same day, 6 February,
the Court denied her motion. Hence, this appeal certified by the Court of Appeals to
this Court as stated at the beginning of this opinion.

It is true that on 26 June 1952 Jose M. Bagtas, Jr., son of the appellant by the late
defendant, returned the Sindhi and Bhagnari bulls to Roman Remorin,
Superintendent of the NVB Station, Bureau of Animal Industry, Bayombong, Nueva
Vizcaya, as evidenced by a memorandum receipt signed by the latter (Exhibit 2).
That is why in its objection of 31 January 1959 to the appellant's motion to quash the
writ of execution the appellee prays "that another writ of execution in the sum of
P859.53 be issued against the estate of defendant deceased Jose V. Bagtas." She
cannot be held liable for the two bulls which already had been returned to and
received by the appellee.

The appellant contends that the Sahiniwal bull was accidentally killed during a raid
by the Huk in November 1953 upon the surrounding barrios of Hacienda Felicidad
Intal, Baggao, Cagayan, where the animal was kept, and that as such death was due
to force majeure she is relieved from the duty of returning the bull or paying its value
to the appellee. The contention is without merit. The loan by the appellee to the late
defendant Jose V. Bagtas of the three bulls for breeding purposes for a period of one
year from 8 May 1948 to 7 May 1949, later on renewed for another year as regards
one bull, was subject to the payment by the borrower of breeding fee of 10% of the
book value of the bulls. The appellant contends that the contract
was commodatum and that, for that reason, as the appellee retained ownership or title
to the bull it should suffer its loss due to force majeure. A contract ofcommodatum is
essentially gratuitous.1 If the breeding fee be considered a compensation, then the
contract would be a lease of the bull. Under article 1671 of the Civil Code the lessee
would be subject to the responsibilities of a possessor in bad faith, because she had
continued possession of the bull after the expiry of the contract. And even if the
contract be commodatum, still the appellant is liable, because article 1942 of the
Civil Code provides that a bailee in a contract of commodatum
. . . is liable for loss of the things, even if it should be through a fortuitous
(2) If he keeps it longer than the period stipulated . . .
(3) If the thing loaned has been delivered with appraisal of its value, unless
there is a stipulation exempting the bailee from responsibility in case of a
fortuitous event;

The original period of the loan was from 8 May 1948 to 7 May 1949. The loan of
one bull was renewed for another period of one year to end on 8 May 1950. But the
appellant kept and used the bull until November 1953 when during a Huk raid it was
killed by stray bullets. Furthermore, when lent and delivered to the deceased husband
of the appellant the bulls had each an appraised book value, to with: the Sindhi, at
P1,176.46, the Bhagnari at P1,320.56 and the Sahiniwal at P744.46. It was not
stipulated that in case of loss of the bull due to fortuitous event the late husband of
the appellant would be exempt from liability.

The appellant's contention that the demand or prayer by the appellee for the return of
the bull or the payment of its value being a money claim should be presented or filed
in the intestate proceedings of the defendant who died on 23 October 1951, is not
altogether without merit. However, the claim that his civil personality having ceased
to exist the trial court lost jurisdiction over the case against him, is untenable,
because section 17 of Rule 3 of the Rules of Court provides that
After a party dies and the claim is not thereby extinguished, the court shall
order, upon proper notice, the legal representative of the deceased to appear
and to be substituted for the deceased, within a period of thirty (30) days, or
within such time as may be granted. . . .
and after the defendant's death on 23 October 1951 his counsel failed to comply with
section 16 of Rule 3 which provides that
Whenever a party to a pending case dies . . . it shall be the duty of his
attorney to inform the court promptly of such death . . . and to give the
name and residence of the executory administrator, guardian, or other legal
representative of the deceased . . . .

The notice by the probate court and its publication in the Voz de Manila that
Felicidad M. Bagtas had been issue letters of administration of the estate of the late
Jose Bagtas and that "all persons having claims for monopoly against the deceased
Jose V. Bagtas, arising from contract express or implied, whether the same be due,
not due, or contingent, for funeral expenses and expenses of the last sickness of the
said decedent, and judgment for monopoly against him, to file said claims with the
Clerk of this Court at the City Hall Bldg., Highway 54, Quezon City, within six (6)
months from the date of the first publication of this order, serving a copy thereof
upon the aforementioned Felicidad M. Bagtas, the appointed administratrix of the
estate of the said deceased," is not a notice to the court and the appellee who were to

be notified of the defendant's death in accordance with the above-quoted rule, and
there was no reason for such failure to notify, because the attorney who appeared for
the defendant was the same who represented the administratrix in the special
proceedings instituted for the administration and settlement of his estate. The
appellee or its attorney or representative could not be expected to know of the death
of the defendant or of the administration proceedings of his estate instituted in
another court that if the attorney for the deceased defendant did not notify the
plaintiff or its attorney of such death as required by the rule.

As the appellant already had returned the two bulls to the appellee, the estate of the
late defendant is only liable for the sum of P859.63, the value of the bull which has
not been returned to the appellee, because it was killed while in the custody of the
administratrix of his estate. This is the amount prayed for by the appellee in its
objection on 31 January 1959 to the motion filed on 7 January 1959 by the appellant
for the quashing of the writ of execution.

Special proceedings for the administration and settlement of the estate of the
deceased Jose V. Bagtas having been instituted in the Court of First Instance of Rizal
(Q-200), the money judgment rendered in favor of the appellee cannot be enforced
by means of a writ of execution but must be presented to the probate court for
payment by the appellant, the administratrix appointed by the court.
ACCORDINGLY, the writ of execution appealed from is set aside, without
pronouncement as to costs.