Caram v. Laureta

G.R. No. L-28740, 24 February 1981

FACTS:

Marcos Mata conveyed a parcel of land in favor of Claro Laureta. The deed of absolute sale was not registered because it was not acknowledged before a notary public or any authorized officer. Nonetheless, Mata delivered to Laureta possession of the property together with pertinent papers (OCT, tax declaration etc.)

Subsequently, the same parcel of land was sold by Mata to Fermin Caram. The deed of sale in favor of Caram was acknowledged before Atty. Aportadera. Mata, through Aportadera and Arcilla, filed with the CFI Davao a petition for the issuance of a new owner’s duplicate of the OCT, alleging loss of said document. The court issued a new title and declared the loss title null and void

Laureta, then, filed before CFI Davao an action for nullity, recovery of ownership and/or reconveyance against Mata and Caram.

Mata, in his answer, alleged that he signed the sale in favor of Laureta as he was subjected to duress, threat and intimidation since Laureta was the commanding officer of the USFIP in Davao. Caram, on the other hand, denied that he had any knowledge or information of any previous encumbrance, transaction or alienation in favor of Laureta until the filing of the complaints

The trial court held in favor of Laureta and declared the sale in favor of Caram null and void

Petitioner Caram assailed the trial court finding that the second sale of the property was made through his representatives, Irespe and Aportadera. Caram contended that Irespe merely acted as a broker with the specific task and duty to pay Mata P1,000 for the property and to ensure that the deed of sale was executed by Mata, and that Aportadera only acted as notary public in the execution of the deed of sale

ISSUE:

WON Irespe and Aportadera were agents of Caram for the purpose of buying the subject property?

RULING:

YES. The facts show that Mata and Caram had never met. During the trial Mata testified that he knew Aportadera but he did not know Caram. Thus, the sale of the property could only have been through Caram’s representatives, Irespe and Aportadera.

Even if Irespe and Aportadera did not have actual knowledge of the first sale, still their actions have not satisfied the requirement of good faith. In the instant Case, Irespe and Aportadera had knowledge of circumstances which ought to have put them on inquiry. Both of them knew that Mata’s OCT together with other papers pertaining to the land were taken by Laureta.

There is no doubt then that Irespe and Aportadera, acting as agents of Caram, purchased the property of Mata in bad faith. Applying the principle of agency, Caram as principal, should also be deemed to have acted in bad faith.

*Case digest by Benjie L. Sumalpong, JD – 4, Andres Bonifacio College, SY 2019 – 2020

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