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September 8, 2014

Tagatac vs. Jimenez

Facts:
  • Trinidad Tagatac bought a car for $4,500 in the US. After 7 months, she brought the car to the Philippines. 
  • Warner Feist, who pretended to be a wealthy man, offered to buy Trinidad’s car for P15,000, and Tagatac was amenable to the idea. Hnece, a deed of sale was exceuted.
  • Feist paid by means of a postdated check, and the car was delivered to Feist. However, PNB refused to honor the checks and told her that Feist had no account in said bank. 
  • Tagatac notified the law enforcement agencies of the estafa committed by Feist, but the latter was not apprehended and the car disappeared.
  • Meanwhile, Feist managed succeeded in having the car’s registration certificate (RC) transferred in his name. He sold the car to Sanchez, who was able to transfer the registration certificate to his name. 
  • Sanchez then offered to sell the car to defendant Liberato Jimenez, who bought the car for P10,000 after investigating in the Motor Vehicles Office.
  • Tagatac discovered that the car was in California Car Exchange’s (place where Jimenez displayed the car for sale), so she demanded from the manager for the delivery of the car, but the latter refused. 
  • Tagatac filed a suit for the recovery of the car’s possession, and the sheriff, pursuant to a warrant of seizure that Tagatac obtained, seized and impounded the car, but it was delivered back to Jimenez upon his filing of a counter-bond. 
  • The lower court held that Jimenez had the right of ownership and possession over the car.



Issue: WON Jimenez was a purchaser in good faith and thus entitled to the ownership and possession of the car. YES

Held:

It must be noted that Tagactac was not unlawfully deprived of his car
In this case, there is a valid transmission of ownership from true owner [Tagatac] to the swindler [Feist], considering that they had a contract of sale (note: but such sale is voidable for the fraud and deceit by Feist).

The disputable presumption that a person found in possession of a thing taken in the doing of a recent wrongful act is the taker and the doer of the whole act does NOT apply in this case because the car was not stolen from Tagatac, and Jimenez came into possession of the car two months after Feist swindled Tagatac. 

Jimenez was a purchaser in good faith for he was not aware of any flaw invalidating the title from the seller of the car
In addition, when Jimenez acquired the car, he had no knowledge of any flaw in the title of the person from whom he acquired it. It was only later that he became fully aware that there were some questions regarding the car, when he filed a petition to dissolve Tagatac’s search warrant which had as its subject the car in question.

The contract between Feist and Tagactac was a voidable contract, it can be annulled or ratified
. . . The fraud and deceit practiced by Warner L. Feist earmarks this sale as a voidable contract (Article 1390 N.C.C.). Being a voidable contract, it is susceptible of either ratification or annulment. 
 (
If the contract is ratified, the action to annul it is extinguished (Article 1392, N.C.C.) and the contract is cleansed from all its defects (Article 1396, N.C.C.); if the contract is annulled, the contracting parties are restored to their respective situations before the contract and mutual restitution follows as a consequence (Article 1398, N.C.C.).

Being a voidable contract, it remains valid and binding until annulled
However, as long as no action is taken by the party entitled, either that of annulment or of ratification, the contract of sale remains valid and binding. When plaintiff-appellant Trinidad C. Tagatac delivered the car to Feist by virtue of said voidable contract of sale, the title to the car passed to Feist. Of course, the title that Feist acquired was defective and voidable. 

Nevertheless, at the time he sold the car to Felix Sanchez, his title thereto had not been avoided and he therefore conferred a good title on the latter, provided he bought the car in good faith, for value and without notice of the defect in Feist's title (Article 1506, N.C.C.). There being no proof on record that Felix Sanchez acted in bad faith, it is safe to assume that he acted in good faith.

Reference:
TRINIDAD TAGATAC v. LIBERATO JIMENEZ
53 OG 3792

1 comment:

  1. hello! do you have a copy of the full text of this? thanks!

    ReplyDelete

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