Moreno v. Wolff

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  Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila FIRST DIVISIONG.R. No. 152317 November 10, 2004VICTORI MORE!O #ENTFER, $  GUNTER #ENTFER %&' (O)N CRIGIE *OUNG CROSS,  petitioners, vs. )NS (URGEN +O#FF,  respondent. D E C I S I O NUISUM-ING,  J  . For review on certiorari are the Decision 1  dated June 14, 2001, and Resolution 2  dated Februar 22, 2002, of the !ourt of ppeals in ! #$.R. !% &o. 4'2(2. )he decision reversed the  *ud+ent -  of the Re+ional )rial !ourt of !alapan !it, riental Mindoro, /ranch -, in !ivil !ase &o. R#421.)he facts are as follows)he petitioners are $unter entfer, a $eran citi3en his Filipina wife, %ictoria More5o#entferand John !rai+ie 6oun+ !ross, an ustralian citi3en, all residin+ in 7aban+, Puerto $alera, riental Mindoro. Respondent 8ans Jur+en 9olff is a $eran citi3en, residin+ in 7an oren3o %illa+e, Ma:ati !it.Petitioners alle+ed that with respondent, on March ;, 12, the en+a+ed the notarial services of tt. Rodri+o !. Diaacac for <1= the sale of a beach house owned b petitioner !ross in 7aban+, Puerto $alera, riental Mindoro, and <2= the assi+nent of !ross> contract of lease on the land where the house stood. )he sale of the beach house and the assi+nent of the lease ri+htwould be in the nae of petitioner %ictoria More5o#entfer, but the total consideration of 220,000 Deutschar:s <DM= would be paid b respondent 8ans Jur+en 9olff. proissor note was e?ecuted b said respondent in favor of petitioner !ross. ccordin+ to respondent, however, the entfer spouses were his confidants who held in trust for hi, a tie deposit account in the aount of DM 200,000 4  at 7olid /an: !orporation. pprised of his interest to own a house alon+ a beach, the entfer couple ur+ed hi to bu petitioner !ross> beach house and lease ri+hts in Puerto $alera. Respondent a+reed and throu+h a ban:#to# ban: transaction, he paid !ross the aount of DM 221,(00 @  as total consideration for the sale  and assi+nent of the lease ri+hts. 8owever, !ross, More5o#entfer and tt. Diaacac surreptitiousl e?ecuted a deed of sale whereb the beach house was ade to appear as sold to More5o#entfer for onl P100,000. ;  )he assi+nent of the lease ri+ht was li:ewise ade in favor of More5o#entfer. (  Apon learnin+ of this, respondent filed a !oplaint doc:eted as !ivil !ase &o. R#421 with the lower court for annulent of sale and reconveance of propert with daa+es and praer for a writ of attachent. fter trial, the court a Buo disissed the coplaint for failure to establish a cause of action, thus !!RDC&$6, *ud+ent is hereb rendered in favor of the defendants and a+ainst the  plaintiff, disissin+ the coplaint for the reason that plaintiff has not established a cause of action a+ainst the defendants with costs a+ainst the plaintiff.7 RDRD. ' ++rieved, respondent appealed to the !ourt of ppeals.  /ut in its Decision 10  dated June 14, 2001, the appellate court reversed the decision of the trial court, thus98RFR, the *ud+ent appealed fro is hereb R%R7D and a new one is hereb rendered, as follows1. Defendants#appellees spouses $enter  11  and %ictoria Moreno#entfer and John !rai+ie 6oun+ !ross are *ointl and severall held liable to pa plaintiff#appellantthe aount of 220,000.00 DM $eran !urrenc or its present peso eBuivalent  plus le+al interest startin+ fro March ', 1-, the date of the last final deand letter2. )he above defendants#appellees are *ointl and severall held liable to pa  plaintiff#appellant the aount of P200,000.00 Philippine !urrenc, representin+ the aount of e?penses incurred in the repairs and aintenance of the propert  plus le+al interest startin+ fro ctober 2', 12, the date the aount was received b defendant#appellee %ictoria Moreno#entfer and-. )he case a+ainst defendant#appellee Rodri+o Diaacac is disissed.7 RDRD. 12 8ence, the instant petition raisin+ the followin+ issues1= D7 R)C! 12-' F )8 &9 !C%C !D PP6 C& )8 ! 7 ) / RE 1-  2= D7 )8 PRC&!CP F 7A)C C&D/C)C A&DR R)C! 21@4 F )8 &9 !C%C !D, )8 PRC&!CP F JA7)C! &D AC)6, PP6 C& )8 ! 7 ) / RE 14 rticle 12-' of the &ew !ivil !ode provides R). 12-'. Paent ade b a third person who does not intend to be reibursed b thedebtor is deeed to be a donation, which reBuires the debtor>s consent. /ut the paent is in an case valid as to the creditor who has accepted it.Petitioners posit that in a contract of sale, the seller is the creditor, who in this case is !ross, and the buer is the debtor, nael More5o#entfer in this case. Respondent is the third person who  paid the consideration on behalf of More5o#entfer, the debtor. Petitioners insist that respondent did not intend to be reibursed for said paent and debtor More5o#entfer consented to it. )hus, b virtue of rticle 12-', paent b respondent is considered a donation.Respondent counters that rticle 12-' bears no relevance to the case since it applies onl to contracts of loan where paent is ade b a third person to a creditor in favor of a debtor of a  previousl incurred obli+ation. )he instant case, in contrast, involves a contract of sale where no real creditor#debtor relationship e?ists between the parties. Further, respondent ar+ues his conduct never at an tie intiated an intention to donate in favor of petitioner More5o#entfer.Moreover, respondent contends that the alle+ed donation is void for non#copliance with the foral reBuireents set b law. !itin+ rticle (4' 1@  of the &ew !ivil !ode, respondent avers thatsince the aount involved e?ceeds P@,000, both the donation and its acceptance ust be in writin+ for the donation to be valid. Respondent further sas there was no siultaneous deliver of the one as reBuired b rt. (4' for instances of oral donation. Respondent also calls our attention to the sudden chan+e in petitioners> theor. Previousl, before the !ourt of ppeals, the  petitioners claied that what was donated were the sub*ect properties. /ut before this !ourt, theinsist that what was actuall donated was the one used in the purchase of sub*ect properties.n this point, we find petitioners> stance without erit. rticle 12-' of the &ew !ivil !ode is not applicable in this case.)rin+ to appl rt. 12-' to the instant case is li:e forcin+ a sBuare pe+ into a round hole. )he absence of intention to be reibursed, the Bualifin+ circustance in rt. 12-', is ne+ated b thefacts of this case. Respondent>s acts contradict an intention to donate the properties to petitioner More5o#entfer. 9hen respondent learned that the sale of the beach house and assi+nent of thelease ri+ht were in favor of %ictoria More5o#entfer, he iediatel filed a coplaint for annulent of the sale and reconveance of the propert with daa+es and praer for a writ of attachent. Respondent More5o#entfer at that tie claied the beach house, to+ether with the lease ri+ht, was donated to her. &oteworth, she had chan+ed her theor, to sa that it was onl the one used in the purchase that was donated to her. /ut in an event, respondent actuall staed in the beach house in the concept of an owner and shouldered the e?penses for its aintenance and repair aountin+ to P200,000 for the entire period of his sta for ten wee:s.  Moreover, the appellate court found that respondent is not related or even close to the entfer spouses. bviousl, respondent had trusted the entfer spouses to :eep a tie deposit account for hi with 7olid /an: for the purpose of a:in+ the purchase of the cited properties.Petitioner More5o#entfer>s clai of either cash or propert donation rin+s hollow. donation is a siple act of liberalit where a person +ives freel of a thin+ or ri+ht in favor of another, who accepts it. 1;  /ut when a lar+e aount of one is involved, eBuivalent to P-,2(,'00, based on the e?chan+e rate in the ear 12, we are constrained to ta:e the petitioners> clai of liberalit of the donor with ore than a +rain of salt.Petitioners could not brush aside the fact that a donation ust copl with the andator foralreBuireents set forth b law for its validit. 7ince the sub*ect of donation is the purchase one, rt. (4' of the &ew !ivil !ode is applicable. ccordin+l, the donation of one eBuivalent to P-,2(,'00 as well as its acceptance should have been in writin+. Ct was not. 8ence, the donation is invalid for non#copliance with the foral reBuisites prescribed b law. nent the second issue, petitioners insist that since the deed of sale in favor of More5o#entfer was neither identified or ar:ed nor forall offered in evidence, the sae cannot be +iven an evidentiar value. )he add that since it was not annulled, it reains valid and bindin+. 8ence,  petitioners ar+ue, the principle of solutio indebiti under rticle 21@4 1(  of the &ew !ivil !ode should be the applicable provision in the resolution of this controvers. Cf so, the parties un*ustl enriched would be liable to the other part who suffered thereb b bein+ correspondin+l in*ured or daa+ed.)he Buasi#contract of solutio indebiti har:s bac: to the ancient principle that no one shall enrich hiself un*ustl at the e?pense of another. 1'  Ct applies where <1= a paent is ade when there e?ists no bindin+ relation between the paor, who has no dut to pa, and the person who received the paent, and <2= the paent is ade throu+h ista:e, and not throu+h liberalit or soe other cause. 1 Cn the instant case, records show that a ban:#to#ban: paent was ade b respondent 9olff to  petitioner !ross in favor of co#petitioner More5o#entfer. Respondent was under no dut to a:e such paent for the benefit of More5o#entfer. )here was no bindin+ relation between respondent and the beneficiar, More5o#entfer. )he paent was clearl a ista:e. 7ince More5o#entfer received soethin+ when there was no ri+ht to deand it, she had an obli+ation to return it. 20 Followin+ rticle 22 21  of the &ew !ivil !ode, two conditions ust concur to declare that a  person has un*ustl enriched hiself or herself, nael <a= a person is un*ustl benefited, and <b= such benefit is derived at the e?pense of or to the daa+e of another. 22 9e are convinced petitioner More5o#entfer had been un*ustl enriched at the e?pense of respondent. 7he acBuired the properties throu+h deceit, fraud and abuse of confidence. )he  principle of *ustice and eBuit does not wor: in her favor but in favor of respondent 9olff. 9hatever she a have received b ista:e fro and at the e?pense of respondent should thus  be returned to the latter, if the deands of *ustice are to be served.
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