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PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

FIRST DIVISION

[G.R. No. L-3546. September 13, 1907. ]

PIA DEL ROSARIO, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. JUAN LUCENA, ET AL., Defendants-Appellees.

Perfecto Gabriel, for Appellant.

Vicente Ilustre, for Appellees.

SYLLABUS


CONFLICT OF RIGHTS BETWEEN THE OWNER OF A THING AND THE CREDITOR PLEDGEE OF THE SAME THING. — If the defendant accepted jewels in pledge from a third person in the name of the owner thereof, without ascertaining if the latter had given the former an order or other authority to pledge the jewels, the defendant is responsible for having accepted the pledge even of in deciding the matter she was improperly or falsely informed, and it would be neither just nor logical that the consequences of her deception, upon finding out her own error or the deceit employed by a stranger, should fall on the owner of the jewels who, without any act of her own, became the victim of a crime. The conflict between the owner of the movable property who lost it or was deprived thereof illegally and the creditor who loaned money thereon and holds it in pledge will not, as a general rule, be decided against the owner, to whom the Civil Code grants right of action for the recovery thereof form whoever may be in possession. (Art. 464.)


D E C I S I O N


ARELLANO, C.J. :


A complaint having been filed against Juan Lucena as his wife, Praxedes Flores, and also against Teresa Verches the last named alone appeared at the trial and answered the complaint.

Among the facts alleged in the complaint, the following are of importance in this appeal:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"I. That the plaintiff is the owner of the jewels, which are subsequently specified together with their respective valuation.

"II. That the said jewels are now detained by the defendant Teresa Verches, to whom they were pawned by the other defendants, the married coupled, without the knowledge or consent of the plaintiff, for which act the defendant Praxedes was convicted of estafa by this same court and sentenced to five months of presidio correccional, both she and her husband being bound to return the jewels otherwise to pay for them."cralaw virtua1aw library

The principal object of the complaint was to obtain from the court a declaration that the jewels were the property of the plaintiff and that, in view thereof, they should be returned to her and the defendants sentenced to pay the costs and expresses of the action.

The court rendered judgment in favor of the plaintiff, Pia del Rosario, and against the defendant Teresa Verches, for the possession of the jewels described in the complaint provided, however, that 500 pesos, Philippine currency plaintiff to the defendant Teresa Verches, or in case the jewel could not be returned the married couple, Juan Lucena and Praxedes Flores, jointly and severally, and against Teresa Verches for the sum of P1,555, less P500, and the costs in the action.

The plaintiff appealed from this decision, and in her brief she sets forth the alleged errors contained in the judgment appealed from. The conclusion is:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

1. That the defendant in answer to the complaint alleged —

"III. That the said jewels were pledged by the other defendant, Praxedes Flores, in the name of the plaintiff, Da. Pia del Rosario, which act was subsequently ratified by the plaintiff." (B. of E., 4.)

2. That it is an undisputed fact that the jewels were delivered by Pia del Rosario to Praxedes Flores for sale on commission for the term of two months, after which, if not sold, that should be returned to the owner; and,

3. That by reason of having pledged them for the purpose of gain to the amount of 500 pesos. Praxedes Flores was convicted of estafa in, criminal proceedings instituted against her.

From the answer of the defendant it appears that she accepted the contract of pledge, and that she received the jewels in the name of Pia del Rosario, without the least proof appearing in the record of the case that Praxedes Flores had any authority from Pia del Rosario to pledge them; rather, on the contrary, it is acknowledged in the judgment appealed from that the transaction carried out by Praxedes Flores was made without the knowledge or consent of Pia del Rosario.

If Teresa Verches accepted the jewels as a pledge constituted by Praxedes Flores in the name of Pia del Rosario without ascertaining whether the latter had given the former any order or authority for the pledging given of her jewels, Teresa Verches must stand the risk arising from her acceptance of the pledge, even if when relying upon her judgment she was improperly or falsely informed; and it would not just nor logical that the consequences of her reception, due to her own mistake, or to deceit employed by a stranger, should fall on the owner of the jewels who, without having taken any part in the transaction, became the victim of a crime. The conflict between the right of the owner of movable property who has either lost it or been illegally therefore and that of the creditor who has loaned money thereon and holds it in pledge can not be decided against the owner, to whom the Civil Code grants a right of action to recover the property from whoever may be in possession. (Art. 464.)

The exceptions to article 464 are herein contained, namely: (1) If the possessors of personal property, lost or stolen, has acquired it at a public sale; (2) in favor of Montes de Piedad established under authorization of the Government; and (3) with regard to things acquired on exchange, or at this fairs or markets or from a merchant lawfully engage in similar business. the defendant was not with any of the exception under which she could refuse to make restitution of the property without reimbursement of the amount advanced upon the pledge.

Therefore the decision which provides for such reimbursement before the return of the jewels is not based on any law whatever. On the contrary, it is in violation of article 464 of the Civil Code.

It is true that a subsequent ratification by the owner, of the illegal act performed by an agent without, his consent, is equivalent to an order, and confirms the otherwise unlawful act of the agent; but such subsequent ratification must appear in like manner as the order itself. No such ratification of the illegal act committed by Paraxedes Flores can arise out of the fact that a son of the plaintiff called at the house of the defendant in order to inquire if the that he intended to redeem them. Nor is a real intent to redeem stolen property a subsequent ratification of an illegal act whereby the owner was deprived of the same.

We therefore hold that it is improper to compel the plaintiff to reimburse the defendant in the sum of 3500 pesos, Philippine Currency, which Praxedes Flores obtained through the commission of an unlawful act, but that it is proper and in accordance with the law to compel the defendant to returned to the plaintiff, absolutely and unconditionally, the jewels in question.

Wherefore the judgment appealed from is hereby reversed without special as to costs, and the jewels shall be forthwith returned to the plaintiff. So ordered.

Torres, Johnson, Willard, and Tracey, JJ., concur.

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