G.R. No. 149140, 12 September 2006
Petitioner contracted services of the respondent for construction of a boutique which were to be paid by progress billings to be paid every 2 weeks. Petitioner refused to pay progress billing no. 4 which prompted the suit for collection. Respondent alleged that petitioner unjustifiably demanded to change floor tiles and rush said work which resulted in an outcome that petitioner found unsatisfactory. Petitioner filed an answer alleging among other reasons that the bill was not paid because of novation. Petitioner contended that respondent agreed to be paid only upon the completion of the change of floor tiles which respondent allegedly abandoned (instead of every 2 weeks).
WON there was a novated agreement between the parties.
No. There was no novation on the contract.
SC ruled that novation is never presumed and that Article 1291 of the Civil Code states the means to accomplish the same which are: (1) Changing their object or principal conditions; (2) Substituting the person of the debtor; and (3) Subrogating a third person in the rights of the creditor. Novation may be partial or total. There is partial novation when there is only a modification or change in some principal conditions of the obligation. It is total when the obligation is completely extinguished.
If petitioner’s allegation was true, then the fourth partial billing’s principal condition that the: “balance shall be collected every 2-weeks, based on the accomplishment of work value submitted by the contractor to the Owner and to be certified for payment by the architect assigned on site” – would have been modified to include another condition, that of the finishing of the new flooring by the respondent. The petition is dismissed.
* Case digest by Ariel M. Acopiado, LLB-1, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2017-2018