184 SCRA 614
Professor Jose Cruz, identified himself as such placed an order by telephone with the EDCA for 406 books, payable on delivery. Corresponding invoice were prepared and delivered the books as ordered, for which Cruz issued a personal check covering the purchase price. Cruz sold 120 of the books to private respondent Leonor Santos who, after verifying the seller’s ownership from the invoice he showed her, paid him P1,700.00.
Over investigation it was made known that Jose Cruz’s real name is Tomas de la Peña. Petitioners with the assistance of authority, seized without warrant the books sold to the respondent Leonor Santos and delivered it to the petitioners.
Whether or not the petitioner may seize the books from private respondent because it has been unlawfully deprived of the books due to the dishonored check issued by the impostor.
No. In its extended memorandum, EDCA cites numerous cases holding that the owner who has been unlawfully deprived of personal property is entitled to its recovery except only where the property was purchased at a public sale, in which event its return is subject to reimbursement of the purchase price. The petitioner is begging the question. It is putting the cart before the horse. Unlike in the cases invoked, it has yet to be established in the case at bar that EDCA has been unlawfully deprived of the books.
Actual delivery of the books having been made, Cruz acquired ownership over the books which he could then validly transfer to the private respondents. The fact that he had not yet paid for them to EDCA was a matter between him and EDCA and did not impair the title acquired by the private respondents to the books.
*Case digest by Sherl Dianne S. Estoque, JD 3-, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2019-2020