G.R. No. 1454. August 17, 1905

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4 Phil. 664

[ G.R. No. 1454. August 17, 1905 ]




There was no motion for a new trial in this case, and therefore the
evidence does not appear in the bill of exceptions. The question
presented is, Do the facts admitted in the pleadings and those stated
in the decision justify the judgment in favor of the defendant?

The action was brought to recover the value of twenty-seven
carabaos. The defendant, who lived at Nueva Caceres, being the owner of
the carabaos, in 1897 was taken to Manila as a political prisoner. On
his return from Manila he found the carabaos in the possession of
officers of the revolutionary government, who delivered them to him.
Later they all died while in his possession.

The plaintiff’s claim is that while the defendant was in Manila he
had in Nueva Caceres a general agent; that this general agent sold the
carabaos in question to the plaintiff, and that they were afterwards
seized by the authorities of the revolutionary government on the ground
that the plaintiff was a Spaniard. The judge in his decision did not
determine whether or not such a sale had taken place. He based his
opinion in favor of the defendant upon the propositions (1) that the
carabaos died without the fault of the defendant; (2) that the
defendant took possession of them in good faith, believing them to be
his, and without any knowledge of the sale alleged to have been made by
his agent; and (3) that under these circumstances article 457 of the
Civil Code relieves the defendant of the responsibility for their loss.

The first and third of these propositions the appellant does not
controvert, but he claims that the defendant did not take possession of
the carabaos in good faith. His claim is that the defendant was
informed of the sale made by his general agent and approved it
expressly in a letter written by the defendant to such agent. The judge
finds as a fact that this letter did not refer to the carabaos which
are in question in this suit. The letter does not appear in the record,
and inasmuch as there was no motion for a new trial we can not review
the evidence, nor determine whether the construction which the judge
placed upon the letter was the correct one or not. There is nothing in
the facts stated in the decision which indicates that the appellant had
knowledge of this sale, and the judge says in his decision that “it
appears that the only written evidence of the alleged sale in existence
at the time the defendant took possession of the carabaos was a private
memorandum which the plaintiff then had with him in Manila, whither he
had fled, and that the defendant knew nothing of the existence of this
document.” The fact that the defendant learned that the carabaos had
been seized as the property of the plaintiff is not sufficient to prove
fraud on the part of the former. Twenty of them still bore the marks of
the plaintiff, and as to the other seven which bore the marks of the
plaintiff, they were calves. No public record of this alleged sale by
the general agent of the defendant to the plaintiff was ever made.

Under all these circumstances it can not be said that when the
defendant took possession of the, stock he did so in bad faith. The
judgment of the court below is affirmed, with the costs of this
instance against the appellant. After the expiration of twenty days
judgment will be entered in conformity herewith, and the cause will be
returned to the lower court for execution.

Arellano, C. J., Torres, Mapa, and Johnson, JJ., concur.
Carson, J., disqualified.

Date created: April 25, 2014


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