Gaite v. Fonacier

G.R. No. L-11827, July 31, 1961, 2 SCRA 830

FACTS:

Gaite was appointed by Fonacier as attorney-in-fact to contract any party for the exploration and development of mining claims. Gaite executed a deed of assignment in favor of a single proprietorship owned by him. For some reasons, Fonacier revoked the agency, which was acceded to by Gaite, subject to certain conditions, one of which being the transfer of ores extracted from the mineral claims for P75,000, of which P10,000 has already been paid upon signing of the agreement and the balance to be paid from the first letter of credit for the first local sale of the iron ores. To secure payment, Fonacier delivered a surety agreement with Larap Mines and some of its stockholders, and another one with Far Eastern Insurance. When the second surety agreement expired with no sale being made on the ores, Gaite demanded the P65,000 balance. Defendants contended that the payment was subject to the condition that the ores will be sold.

ISSUE:

(1) Whether the sale is conditional or one with a period
(2) Whether there were insufficient tons of ores

HELD:

(1) The shipment or local sale of the iron ore is not a condition precedent (or suspensive) to the payment of the balance of P65,000.00, but was only a suspensive period or term. What characterizes a conditional obligation is the fact that its efficacy or obligatory force (as distinguished from its demandability) is subordinated to the happening of a future and uncertain event; so that if the suspensive condition does not take place, the parties would stand as if the conditional obligation had never existed.

A contract of sale is normally commutative and onerous: not only does each one of the parties assume a correlative obligation (the seller to deliver and transfer ownership of the thing sold and the buyer to pay the price),but each party anticipates performance by the other from the very start. While in a sale the obligation of one party can be lawfully subordinated to an uncertain event, so that the other understands that he assumes the risk of receiving nothing for what he gives (as in the case of a sale of hopes or expectations, emptio spei), it is not in the usual course of business to do so; hence, the contingent character of the obligation must clearly appear. Nothing is found in the record to evidence that Gaite desired or assumed to run the risk of losing his right over the ore without getting paid for it, or that Fonacier understood that Gaite assumed any such risk. This is proved by the fact that Gaite insisted on a bond a to guarantee payment of the P65,000.00, an not only upon a bond by Fonacier, the Larap Mines & Smelting Co., and the company’s stockholders, but also on one by a surety company; and the fact that appellants did put up such bonds indicates that they admitted the definite existence of their obligation to pay the balance of P65,000.00.

The appellant have forfeited the right court below that the appellants have forfeited the right to compel Gaite to wait for the sale of the ore before receiving payment of the balance of P65,000.00, because of their failure to renew the bond of the Far Eastern Surety Company or else replace it with an equivalent guarantee. The expiration of the bonding company’s undertaking on December 8, 1955 substantially reduced the security of the vendor’s rights as creditor for the unpaid P65,000.00, a security that Gaite considered essential and upon which he had insisted when he executed the deed of sale of the ore to Fonacier.

(2) The sale between the parties is a sale of a specific mass or iron ore because no provision was made in their contract for the measuring or weighing of the ore sold in order to complete or perfect the sale, nor was the price of P75,000,00 agreed upon by the parties based upon any such measurement.(see Art. 1480, second par., New Civil Code). The subject matter of the sale is, therefore, a determinate object, the mass, and not the actual number of units or tons contained therein, so that all that was required of the seller Gaite was to deliver in good faith to his buyer all of the ore found in the mass, notwithstanding that the quantity delivered is less than the amount estimated by them.

 * Case digest by Leizel Lagare, LLB-1, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2017-2018

By |2018-07-06T03:13:35+00:00June 8th, 2018|Case Digests|0 Comments

Leave A Comment