G.R. No. L-29981, 30 April 1971


Millar obtained a favorable condemning Antonio P. Gabriel to pay him the sum of P1,746.98 with interest at 12% per annum from the date of the filing of the complaint, the sum of P400 as attorney’s fees, and the costs of suit. The lower court issued the writ of execution on the basis of which the sheriff seized the respondent’s Willy’s Ford jeep. The respondent, however, pleaded with the petitioner to release the jeep under an arrangement whereby the respondent, to secure the payment of the judgment debt, agreed to mortgage the vehicle in favor of the petitioner. The petitioner agreed to the arrangement; thus, the parties executed a chattel mortgage on the jeep. Resolution of the controversy posed by the petition at bar hinges entirely on a determination of whether or not the subsequent agreement of the parties as embodied in the deed of chattel mortgage impliedly novated the judgment obligation.


Whether or not there is novation?


No substantial incompatibility between the mortgage obligation and the judgment liability of the respondent sufficient to justify a conclusion of implied novation. The stipulation for the payment of the obligation under the terms of the deed of chattel mortgage serves only to provide an express and specific method for its extinguishment — payment in two equal installments. The chattel mortgage simply gave the respondent a method and more time to enable him to fully satisfy the judgment indebtedness. The chattel mortgage agreement in no manner introduced any substantial modification or alteration of the judgment. Instead of extinguishing the obligation of the respondent arising from the judgment, the deed of chattel mortgage expressly ratified and confirmed the existence of the same, amplifying only the mode and period for compliance by the respondent.

The defense of implied novation requires clear and convincing proof of complete incompatibility between the two obligations. The law requires no specific form for an effective novation by implication. The test is whether the two obligations can stand together. If they cannot, incompatibility arises, and the second obligation novates the first. If they can stand together, no incompatibility results and novation does not take place.

* Case digest by  Leizel O. Lagare, LLB-1, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2017-2018