G.R. No. 122544, 28 January 2003
Private respondent Overland Express Lines, Inc. (lessee) entered into a Contract of Lease with Option to Buy with petitioners (lessors) involving a parcel of land. The term of the lease was for one (1) year commencing from May 16, 1974 up to May 15, 1975. During this period, private respondent was granted an option to purchase for the amount of P3,000.00 per square meter. Thereafter, the lease shall be on a per month basis with a monthly rental of P3,000.00.
For failure of private respondent to pay the increased rental of P8,000.00 per month, petitioners filed an action for ejectment. It also concluded that there was a perfected contract of sale between the parties on the leased premises and that pursuant to the option to buy agreement, private respondent had acquired the rights of a vendee in a contract of sale. It opined that the payment by private respondent of the partial payment for the leased property, which petitioners accepted (through Alice A. Dizon) and for which an official receipt was issued, was the operative act that gave rise to a perfected contract of sale, and that for failure of petitioners to deny receipt thereof, private respondent can therefore assume that Alice A. Dizon, acting as agent of petitioners, was authorized by them to receive the money in their behalf.
Whether or not Alice Dizon was an authorized agent of the petitioners to receive payment from the respondents.
No. There was no valid consent by the petitioners (as co-owners of the leased premises) on the supposed sale entered into by Alice A. Dizon, as petitioners’ alleged agent, and private respondent. The basis for agency is representation and a person dealing with an agent is put upon inquiry and must discover upon his peril the authority of the agent. As provided in Article 1868 of the New Civil Code, there was no showing that petitioners consented to the act of Alice A. Dizon nor authorized her to act on their behalf with regard to her transaction with private respondent. The most prudent thing private respondent should have done was to ascertain the extent of the authority of Alice A. Dizon. Being negligent in this regard, private respondent cannot seek relief on the basis of a supposed agency.
In Bacaltos Coal Mines vs. Court of Appeals, we explained the rule in dealing with an agent: Every person dealing with an agent is put upon inquiry and must discover upon his peril the authority of the agent. If he does not make such inquiry, he is chargeable with knowledge of the agent’s authority, and his ignorance of that authority will not be any excuse. Persons dealing with an assumed agent, whether the assumed agency be a general or special one, are bound at their peril, if they would hold the principal, to ascertain not only the fact of the agency but also the nature and extent of the authority, and in case either is controverted, the burden of proof is upon them to establish it.
*Case digest by Sherl Dianne S. Estoque, JD-3, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2019-2020