G.R. No. L-20853. May 29, 1967 (Case Brief / Digest)

### Title:
**Bonifacio Bros., Inc., et al. v. Enrique Mora, et al.**

### Facts:
The case concerns a dispute over the right to proceeds from an insurance policy following an automobile accident. Enrique Mora, the owner of a mortgaged Oldsmobile sedan, insured his vehicle through State Bonding & Insurance Co. Inc., with H.S. Reyes, Inc., the mortgagee, as the beneficiary of the policy. The car was involved in an accident, and repairs were unauthorizedly conducted by Bonifacio Bros. Inc., with materials supplied by Ayala Auto Parts Co. Subsequently, the insurance company issued a cheque for P2,002.73, representing the insurance proceeds, payable to either Enrique Mora or H.S. Reyes, Inc.

The Bonifacio Bros. Inc. and Ayala Auto Parts Co. sued for the proceeds, leading to a counterclaim for interpleader by the insurance company to resolve the rightful claimant to the funds. The Municipal Court of Manila and, on appeal, the Court of First Instance of Manila, both decided in favor of H.S. Reyes, Inc., prompting Bonifacio Bros. Inc. and Ayala Auto Parts Co. to further appeal to the Supreme Court of the Philippines.

### Issues:
1. Whether there is a privity of contract between Bonifacio Bros. Inc. and the Ayala Auto Parts Co., and the State Bonding & Insurance Co. Inc.
2. Whether the insurance proceeds should rightfully be directed to the repair shops or directly to the mortgagee, H.S. Reyes, Inc.
3. Whether the term “loss” in the insurance policy includes “damage” and therefore entitles H.S. Reyes, Inc. to the insurance proceeds as the beneficiary.

### Court’s Decision:
The Supreme Court affirmed the lower courts’ decisions, holding that contracts take effect only among the parties; thus, third persons (Bonifacio Bros. Inc. and Ayala Auto Parts Co.) not party to the insurance contract have no claim over its proceeds absent a stipulation pour autrui, or an express provision for their benefit, which the policy lacked. The court clarified that the repair authorization provision in the insurance contract did not establish privity with third-party repairers or suppliers but delineated the steps the insured must take to claim repair costs. The court also rejected the appellants’ attempt to differentiate between “loss” and “damage,” noting that insurance law recognizes damage as a form of loss.

### Doctrine:
1. **Stipulation Pour Autrui**: Third parties have no rights in a contract unless it contains a clear and deliberate stipulation for their benefit.
2. **Privity of Contract**: Contracts are only binding between the parties involved, and rights or obligations cannot be extended to third parties without an explicit stipulation.
3. **Interpretation of “Loss” in Insurance**: “Loss” encompasses both total and partial losses, including damages.

### Class Notes:
– **Essential Understanding of Contracts**: Contracts are agreements that create obligations enforceable by law, but only parties to the contract are bound or can benefit from it, a principle demonstrated in this case.
– **Stipulation Pour Autrui (Art. 1311, Civil Code of the Philippines)**: A rare exception where a contract intentionally benefits a third party, who may then enforce the benefit.
– **Privity of Contract**: Demonstrates the principle that contractual obligations and rights are confined to parties to the contract, barring specific legal exceptions.
– **Insurance Law on “Loss”**: Clarifies that the term “loss” in insurance contracts is broad enough to include any form of damage or injury to the insured property.

### Historical Background:
This litigation underscores the complexities that can arise in insurance claims, particularly involving third parties not directly party to the original insurance contract. It stands as a pivotal case in elucidating the doctrines regarding privity of contract, Third-party benefits in contracts (stipulation pour autrui), and the interpretation of terms within insurance law in the Philippines, contributing to the legal discourse on contract and insurance law.


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