G.R. No. 38384, 3 November 1993
The plaintiff Corazon Ch. Veloso was the owner of certain undivided portions of the five parcels of land in question together with the improvements thereon, situated in the City of Manila. In the month of May, 1929, the defendant herein Jose Maria del Mar, plaintiff’s brother-in-law, forged two powers of attorney purporting to have been executed by the plaintiffs, as husband and wife, conferring upon him ample authority to mortgage the plaintiff’s participation in the aforementioned properties described in said certificates of title. These powers of attorney were duly registered in the office of the register of deeds. Acting under these powers of attorney, Del Mar succeeded in mortgaging the plaintiff’s participations to La Previsora Filipina.
Immediately, he cancelled said mortgage and transferred it to the defendant La Urbana which granted him a loan. Upon mortgaging the said participations of the plaintiff to the aforesaid defendant, Del Mar delivered to the mortgage creditor the owner’s duplicates of the certificates of title whereon the mortgage in question was noted. Del Mar obtained from the same defendant an additional loan, of P2,875 and executing another mortgage deed which was likewise noted or, the aforesaid duplicates of the certificates of title. Del Mar later violated the conditions of the mortgages whereupon La Urbana foreclosed them and purchased the said properties at public auction which was the total amount of Del Mar’s indebtedness at that time.
Whether the power of attorney is valid.
The forged powers of attorney prepared by Del Mar were without force and effects and that the registration of the mortgages constituted by virtue thereof were likewise null and void and without force and effect, and that they could not in any way prejudice the rights of the plaintiff as the registered owners of her participations in the properties in question.
The defendant-appellant herein assign various alleged errors in its brief consideration thereof. Inasmuch as Del Mar is not the registered owner of the mortgaged properties and inasmuch as the appellant was fully aware of the fact that it was dealing with him on the strength of the alleged powers of attorney purporting to have been conferred upon him by the plaintiff, it was its duty to ascertain the genuineness of said instruments and not the said powers of attorney appeared to have been registered. In view of its failure to proceed in this manner, it acted negligently and should suffer the consequences and damages resulting from such transactions.
Every person dealing with an agent is put upon inquiry, and must discover upon his peril the authority of the agent, and this is especially true where the act of the agent is of an unusual nature. If a person makes no 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 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 Lowel Dave D. Manuel, JD-4, Andres Bonifacio Law School, S.Y. 2019-2020