MASICLAT VS CENTENO

FACTS

Defendant-respondent Centeno owned 15 sacks of rice offered for sale at her store situated on a street near public market. In the  morning  of  Jan.  21,  1951,  a  person  approached  defendant and  offered  her  to  purchase  the  rice in question. Defendant agreed to sell 15 sacks of rice in question at P26/sack, which the buyer promised to pay as soon  as  he  would  receive  the  price of  his  adobe  stones  which  were  being  then  unloaded  from  a truck  owned by Francisco Tan, then parked at the opposite side of the street in front of the Union Grocery facing the defendant’s store. Relying on this promise and upon the request of said purchaser, the defendant ordered the rice in question loaded in the  said  truck,  of  which  the  plaintiff  was  the  caretaker, expecting  that  as  soon  as  the  adobe  stones would be paid, said purchaser would pay her the price of the rice.

While the rice was being loaded on the truck and even thereafter, defendant kept an eye on it waiting for the purchaser to come to pay her. When the adobe stones were completely unloaded from the truck, the defendant looked for the purchaser, but the latter was not found. So defendant decided to unload the rice from the truck but to her surprise plaintiff-petitioner Masiclat objected on the ground  that he has bought it at P26/sack from a person whom he  did not know  and whom he met only that morning for the first time. Defendant insisted in unloading the rice and the plaintiff objected. Hence, defendant called a policeman to investigate the matter and the latter brought the rice in question to the Municipal building where it was deposited pending investigation. Plaintiff then initiated this action for recovery of possession of the rice in question

ISSUES

  1. WON the contract of sale was consummated between respondent Centeno and unknown purchaser (alleged unknown seller to plaintiff)
  2. WON petitioners have a better title to the rice in question

HELD

  1. Although a contract of sale is perfected upon the parties having agreed as to the thing which is the subject matter of the contract and the price, ownership is not considered transmitted until the property is actually delivered and the purchaser has taken possession and paid the price agreed upon.

Reasoning:

  • The evidence does not clearly show the identity of the person who tried to buy the rice in question from the respondent, and neither does it show that the same person was the one who sold the commodity to Ramon Masiclat.
  • The sale between the respondent Centeno and the  unknown purchaserwas not consummated  because although the former allowed the rice in question to be loaded in the truck, she did not intend to transfer its ownership until she was paid the stipulated price; and this is very evident from the fact that  respondent continually watched her rice and demanded its unloading as soon as the unknown purchaser was missing. Respondent thus has not lost ownership and legal possession thereof.

  1. The general principle of law as enunciated in A1505 CC that where one of 2 persons must suffer the fraud of a third, the loss should fall upon him who has enabled the third person to do the wrong, does not apply for the ff. reasons:
  • there was no definite finding that the unknown purchaser was same person who sold the rice to Masiclat,
  • Centeno could not have been so negligent as to allow the unknown purchaser to run away with said rice and enable him to sell it to Masiclat, it evident that in fact Centeno kept an eye on the rice in question.

Digest Credit: Mark Alfed Santillan

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