G.R. No. L-74027, 7 December 1989


On various dates in October, November and December, 1975, Gregorio de Leon doing business under the name and style of Mark Industrial Sales sold and delivered to Silahis Marketing Corporation, and its president Jose Taylo various items of merchandise covered by several invoices in the aggregate amount of P22,213.75 payable within thirty (30) days from date of the covering invoices. Allegedly due to Silahis’ failure to pay its account upon maturity despite repeated demands, de Leon filed a complaint for the collection of the said accounts including accrued interest thereon in the amount of P661.03 and attorney’s fees of P5,000.00 plus costs of litigation. The answer admitted the allegations of the complaint insofar as the invoices were concerned but presented as affirmative defenses; [a] a debit memo for P22,200.00 as unrealized profit for a supposed commission that Silahis should have received from de Leon for the sale of sprockets in the amount of P111,000.00 made directly to Dole Philippines, Incorporated by the latter sometime in August 1975; and [b] Silahis’ claim that it is entitled to return the stainless steel screen which was found defective by its client, Borden International, Davao City, and to have the corresponding amount cancelled from its account with de Leon.


Whether or not the commissions be regarded as a valid compensation.


It must be remembered that compensation takes place when two persons, in their own right, are creditors and debtors to each other. Article 1279 of the Civil Code provides that: “In order that compensation may be proper, it is necessary: [1] that each one of the obligors be bound principally, and that he be at the same time a principal creditor of the other; [2] that both debts consist in a sum of money, or if the things due are consumable, they be of the same kind, and also of the same quality if the latter has been stated; [3] that the two debts be due; [4] that they be liquidated and demandable; [5] that over neither of them there be any retention or controversy, commenced by third persons and communicated in due time to the debtor.”

Undoubtedly, petitioner admits the validity of its outstanding accounts with private respondent in the amount of P22,213.75 as contained in its answer. But whether the private respondent is liable to pay the petitioner a 20% margin or commission on the subject sale to Dole Philippines, Inc. is vigorously disputed. This circumstance prevents legal compensation from taking place.

The Court agrees with respondent appellate court that there is no evidence on record from which it can be inferred that there was an agreement between the petitioner and private respondent prohibiting the latter from selling directly to Dole Philippines, Incorporated. Definitely, it cannot be asserted that the debit memo was a contract binding between the parties considering that the same, as correctly found by the appellate court, was not signed by private respondent nor was there any mention therein of any commitment by the latter to pay any commission to the former involving the sale of sprockets to Dole Philippines, Inc. in the amount of P111,000.00. Indeed, such document can be taken as self-serving with no probative value absent a showing or at the very least an inference, that the party sought to be bound assented to its contents or showed conformity thereto.

* Case digest by Immanuel Y. GranadaLLB-1, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2017-2018