G.R. No. L-27782, 31 July 1970


Kalalo the plaintiff is a licensed civil engineer he entered into an agreement with defendant Alfredo J. Luz a license architect. Plaintiff sent a statement of account to defendant stating his fee for the service that he rendered. The defendant however did not pay the plaintiff of the exact amount that he requested because some of appellee’s services were not in accordance with the agreement and appellee’s claims were not justified by the services actually rendered. Defendant alleges that plaintiff had no cause of action, that plaintiff was in estoppel because of certain acts, representations, admissions and/or silence, which led appellant to believe certain facts to exist and to act upon said facts.


Whether or not under the doctrine of estoppel would apply in this case.


No. The statement of accounts could not estop appellee, because appellant did not rely thereon as found by the Commissioner. Under article 1431 of the Civil Code, in order that estoppel may apply the person, to whom representations have been made and who claims the estoppel in his favor must have relied or acted on such representations.

The essential elements of estoppel in pais may be considered in relation to the party sought to be estopped, and in relation to the party invoking the estoppel in his favor. As related to the party to be estopped, the essential elements are: (1) conduct amounting to false representation or concealment of material facts or at least calculated to convey the impression that the facts are otherwise than, and inconsistent with, those which the party subsequently attempts to assert; (2) intent, or at least expectation that his conduct shall be acted upon by, or at least influence, the other party; and (3) knowledge, actual or constructive, of the real facts. As related to the party claiming the estoppel, the essential elements are (1) lack of knowledge and of the means of knowledge of the truth as the facts in questions; (2) (reliance, in good faith, upon the conduct or statements of the party to be estopped; (3) action or inaction based thereon of such character as to change the position or status of the party claiming the estoppel, to his injury, detriment or prejudice.

The first essential element in relation to the party sought to be estopped does not obtain in the instant case, for, as appears in the Report of the Commissioner, appellee testified “that when he wrote Exhibit 1 and prepared Exhibit 1-A, he had not yet consulted the services of his counsel and it was only upon advice of counsel that the terms of the contract were interpreted to him resulting in his subsequent letters to the defendant demanding payments of his fees pursuant to the contract Exhibit A.” It is established, therefore, that Exhibit 1-A was written by appellee through ignorance or mistake. Anent this matter, it has been held that if an act, conduct or misrepresentation of the party sought to be estopped is due to ignorance founded on innocent mistake, estoppel will not arise. Regarding the essential elements of estoppel in relation to the party claiming the estoppel, the first element does not obtain in the instant case, for it cannot be said that appellant did not know, or at least did not have the means of knowing, the services rendered to him by appellee and the fees due thereon as provided in Exhibit A. The second element is also wanting, for, as adverted to, appellant did not rely on Exhibit 1-A but consistently denied the accounts stated therein. Neither does the third element obtain, for appellant did not act on the basis of the representations in Exhibit 1-A, and there was no change in his position, to his own injury or prejudice.

 * Case digest by  Lea Caipang, LLB-1, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2017-2018