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PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

FIRST DIVISION

[G.R. No. L-13333. March 21, 1918. ]

THE UNITED STATES, plaintiff-appallee, v. BRIGIDO RAZON and MARTINA TAYAG, Defendants. BRIGIDO RAZON, Appellant.

Leodegrio Azarrga for Appellant.

Acting Attorney-General Paredes for Appellee.

SYLLABUS


1. CRIMINAL LAW; CHATTEL MORTGAGES; SALE OF MORTGAGED PROPERTY. — The unauthorized removal or sale of mortgaged property, whether it be all or any part of such property, so long as all or any part of the mortgage indebtedness remains unpaid, is penalized under the provisions of the Chattel Mortgage Law. The United States v. Iguidez ([1917], 36 Phil. Rep., 860), affirmed.

2. ID.; ID.; — L, mortgagee an proprietor, and R, mortgagor and tenant, entered into an agreement by which R became indebted to L in the sum of P1,534.50 and for 530 cavanes of palay, payment being guaranteed by the palay planted by R on the property of L. 1,330 cavanes was R’s share. L admitted that he received 488 cavanes of palay than the amount of palay mortgaged, the terms of the mortgage could not have been violated by R, the defendant. Moreover, if R’s claim, that P1,534.50 was the amount of the mortgage was in the nature of interest, is true, then from the standpoint of equity, at the current price of rice as testified to by the provincial governor, L received all that was coming to him. to sanction more would be to sanction usury.

3. EVIDENCE; REBUTTAL. — The rules of evidence permit the use of considerable discretion by trial courts in the admission of rebuttal evidence. It cannot be said that a trial court abuses its discretion in this respect, where the defendant is not taken by surprise and is not prevented from introducing evidence in sur-rebuttal.

4. ID.; ADMISSIBILITY OF SUMMARY OF ACCOUNTS. — The question of whether a summary of accounts should be regarded as hearsay or should be admitted in evidence must necessarily be left to the discretion of the trial court.

5. ID.; ID. — Statements in the nature of a summary of accounts should usually only be permitted to be introduced where the books and documents are multifarious and voluminous and of a charter to render it difficult for the court to comprehend material facts without the aid of such statements.

6. ID.; CONFESSIONS AND ADMISSIONS DISTINGUISHED. — There is a plain distinction between confessions and admissions. (U.S. v. Corrales [1914], 28 Phil., 362.) Defendant admitted to the complainant that he had sold 150 cavanes of palay to pay for eight carabaos. Held: That this statement by the defendant amounted to no more than an admission and was therefore not improperly admitted.


D E C I S I O N


MALCOLM, J.:


The issues raised by this appeal are criminal in nature although based on a civil transaction. They all relate to the alleged violation of sections 10 and 12 of the Chattel Mortgage Law by a mortgagor of personal property.

The chattel mortgage in question, to which the parties are Pedro N. Liongson, mortgagee and proprietor, and Brigido Razon, motgagor and tenant, reads in translation as follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"I, Brigido Razon, of legal age, married, laborer, and resident of Conception, Tarlac, P.I., do hereby acknowledge being indebted to Pedro N. Liongson, a resident of the capital of Tarlac, Tarlac, in the sum of P1,534.50 and for 530 cavanes of palay, both the amount and the palay being payable as soon as the next harvest of palay takes place, which I have planted in the field of the said mortgage creditor, located in the barrio of Sta. Cruz, municipality of Conception, Tarlac, PI., which harvest will take place during January and February, 1017. And to guarantee the payment of this amount, I, the mortgage to the said mortgage creditor, Pedro N. Liongson, the said harvest of palay, under the following conditions:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"(A) That I, the mortgage debtor, promise to duly guard, take care of, and protect the said harvest during the period of its growth and development and to reap same truly and without delay, and that the mere lack of compliance with any of these conditions will entitle the mortgage creditor, without further proceedings, to enter upon the land, take the necessary steps for the protection of the harvest, put it under his control, and sell it, and with the proceeds of the sale to reimburse himself for the expenses incurred for the care, reaping, and sale, and the amount of the debt above stated.

"(B) That I, the mortgage debtor, do hereby promise not to dispose of, transfer, or mortgage the said harvest or any part thereof until the total amount of indebtedness guaranteed by this mortgage is fully satisfied.

"The conditions of this mortgage are such that if I, the mortgage debtor, my heirs, representatives, executors, or administrators should pay the total amount of this contract, this obligation shall be null and void; otherwise, to be of full force and effect.

"In witness whereof we hereunto subscribe our names at Tarlac, Tarlac, July 1916.

(Sgd.) "BRIGIDO RAZON.

(Sgd.) "PEDRO N. LIONGSON.

"In the presence of:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

(Sgd.) "POLICARPO GONZAGA

(Sgd.) "TIBURCIO QUINTU.

"We, the mortgage creditor and debtor, individually swear that the preceding mortgage has been executed for the purpose of guaranteeing the payment of debt and the compliance of the conditions above specified and not for any other purpose, and that the same is an obligation just and valid, and has not been executed for the purpose fraud.

(Sgd.) "BRIGIDO RAZON.

(Sgd.) "PEDRO N. LIONGSON.

"(Acknowledgment and certificate of registration follow.)"

On July 3, 1917, or after the palay mentioned in the chattel mortgage was supposed to have been harvested and delivered to Liongson, an information was filed in the Court of First Instance of Tarlac, charging Brigido Razon and his wife Martin Tayag with a violation of the Chattel Mortgage Law, based on the terms of the chattel mortgage, and alleging that the defendants failed to comply with the conditions of the mortgage and with intent to defraud and prejudice the interests of the mortgagee, without his knowledge, had disposed of a portion of the mortgaged property. A demurrer to the complaint with respect to Martin Tayag was sustained, and the trial proceeded only against her husband Brigido Razon. The court found the defendant guilty as charged and sentenced him to pay a fine of P4,295, to pay one-half of the costs, and to suffer subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency not to exceed six months.

The section of the Chattel Mortgage Law, section 10, Act No. 1508, to which these proceedings relate is as follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"A mortgagor of personal property shall not sell or pledge such property, or any part thereof, mortgaged by him without the consent of the mortgagee in writing on the back of the mortgage and o the margin of the record thereof in the office where such mortgage is recorded."cralaw virtua1aw library

Section 12 of the same law provides the penalty for the mortgaged personal property which cannot be sold or pledge, adds the phrase "or any part thereof." The result is, as recently held by this court, in the United States v. Iguidez ([1917], 36, Phil. Rep., 860), that the unauthorized removal or sale of mortgaged property, whether it be all or any part of such property, so long as all or any part of the mortgage indebtedness remains unpaid, is penalized under the provisions of the Chattel Mortgaged Law. If, then, Brigido Razon, the mortgagor of this palay, did sell any part of the palay which was mortgaged by him without the expressed consent of the mortgagor he must be found guilt as charged.

Appellant makes fourteen assignments of error. The Attorney-General reclassifies these assignments. Being impressed by the painstaking care disclosed by the relief of the Attorney-General and being uncertain whether his analysis could be improved upon, the order and much of the argument used by the representative of the Government will be followed in the discussion of these assignments.

1. SUFFICIENCY OF THE EVIDENCE REGARDING THE QUESTION OF WHETHER OR NOT THE MORTGAGEE, OR THE GROSS INDEBTEDNESS OF THE MORTGAGOR. — The first, sixth, seventh, and eight assignments of error allege in substance that the indebtedness mentioned in the mortgage was not a liquidated balance due the mortgagee but merely the gross indebtedness of the mortgagor, to which had been added usurious interest and from which should be deducted various amounts which were paid to the mortgagee prior to the execution of the mortgage. The evidence on this point is irreconcilable. We do not go into the rival contentions because unnecessary in view of the outcome as to other questions which more easily dispose of the case.

2. ADMISSIBILITY OF A SUMMARY OF ACCOUNTS. — The fifth assignment of error alleges in substance that Exhibit C, the memorandum of Liongson, should not have been admitted in evidence for two reasons: (1) Because if it was evidence which should have been admitted at all, it should have been submitted by the prosecution before it rested its case and not on rebuttal, and (2) because it is hearsay. The rules of evidence permit the use of considerable discretion by trial courts in the admission of rebuttal evidence. (Mueller v. Rebhan, [1879], 94 Ill., 142.) With special reference to the instant case, it cannot be said that the trial court abused its discretion in this respect because the defendant was not taken by surprise and was not prevented from introducing evidence in sur-rebuttal. The question, also, of whether or not this memorandum, which appears to be merely a summary of accounts, should be regarded as hearsay, should follow much the same principle as above enunciated. In other words, questions of this sort must necessarily be left to the discretion of the trial court but such statements usually prepared just previous to the trial should only be permitted to be introduced where the books and documents are multifarious and voluminous and of a character to render it difficult for the court to comprehend material facts without the aid of such statements. (Boston & W.R.R. Co. v. Dana [1854], 1 Gray [Mass. ], 83.)

We do not think that in the admission of Exhibit C error was committed by the trial court or that thereby the case of the defendant was prejudiced.

3. ADMISSIBILITY OF CERTAIN SUPPOSED CONFESSIONS OR ADMISSION. — There is a plain distinction between confessions and admissions. These two terms have heretofore been accurately defined by this court in the United States v. Corrales ([1914], 28 Phil., 362). Out of the difference between the two arises the conclusion until and unless the prescribed foundation is laid is not applicable to an admission. In the instant case, the so-called confession was no more than as admission by the defendant that he had sold 150 cavanes of palay to pay for eight carabaos. As the sale of palay to pay for carabaos is not a crime, necessarily this statement by the defendant amounted to no more than an admission.

This statement of the defendant, which does not amount to a confession, was then not improperly admitted. The ninth assignment of error is thus disposed of.

4. SUFFICIENCY OF THE EVIDENCE TO PROVE THE "CORPUS DELICTI." — The second and tenth assignments of error allege in substance that the court erred in considering that the palay claimed to have been illegally disposed of was covered by the mortgage. It is true that the mortgage is indefinite in this respect for it s does not state how much palay the mortgagor then had planted on the land mentioned. Neither is there any direct evidence proving that all or any of the palay alleged to have been illegally disposed of was planted or in existence on July 1, 1916, the date of the mortgage. We believe, however, that a fair inference from all the terms of the mortgage is that the mortgagee had a potential interest in the crop, and that the terms of the mortgage related to a growing crop which was expected to be harvested in January and February of 1917.

We hold against appellant as to these two assignments of error.

5. SUFFICIENCY OF THE EVIDENCE AS TO THE AMOUNT OF PALAY HARVESTED BY THE DEFENDANT ON THE LAND OF THE MORTGAGEE. — The third and forth assignments of error concern the question as to whether the court erred in finding that there was a balance of 1,480 cavanes of mortgage palay harvested by the defendant on the land of the mortgagee in the first three months of 1917, after the costs of caring for and reaping the crop were paid. All of the witnesses agree that approximately 1,330 cavanes of palay were thrashed on the property under defendant’s control in February, 1917. To constitute the amount of 1,480 cavanes mentioned in the decision of the court, it was necessary to add 150 cavanes, the alleged sale of which may have occurred six months or a year before the mortgage was prepared. Without positive proof such as is required in criminal cases, we should not make a guess to the detriment of the accused. The undisputed evidence is that approximately, 1,330 cavanes of palay were thrashed by defendant, and therefore constituted the gross amount taken from the land.

On the question of fact raised by these two assignments of error, appellant is correct.

6. SUFFICIENCY OF THE EVIDENCE TO PROVE THAT THE DEFENDANT SOLD 859 "CAVANES" OF MORTGAGED PALAY WITHOUT THE CONSENT OF THE MORTGAGEE. — The eleventh assignment of error alleges in substance that the court erred in convicting the accused for the sale supposed to have been made by the wife of appellant to certain persons of part of at the palay mortgaged to Liongson. The twelfth assignment of error alleges in substance that the court erred in finding that the accused and his wife sold 859 cavanes of mortgaged palay. The evidence proving sale of the palay by the defendant is uncertain and inconclusive.

The exact situation can be more readily grasped by the following analysis. As previously found 1,330 cavanes was the gross amount of palay harvested on this land. It was claimed that Liongson, the owner of the land, was by agreement to receive five per cent of the entire crop. Ten per cent was the share belonging to the thrasher. Fifty per cent was the subtenants’ share. Five per cent of 1,330 cavanes equals 67 cavanes, liaisons’ the thrasher’s share. Fifty per cent of 1,330 cavanes 665 cavanes, the subtenant’s share. Liongson + thrasher’ + = defendants =665 cavanes. Or, 665 cavanes — 67 cavanes — 133 cavanes =465 cavanes, defendant’s share. Liongson admitted that he received 488 cavanes and the defense claims that he received 542 cavanes. 465 cavanes was, consequently, the only amount which defendant could mortgage. As Liongson received at least 23 more cavanes of palay than that mortgaged, the terms of the mortgage could not have been violated regardless of whether the full amount mentioned in the mortgage was or was not paid. If defendant’s claim that the P1,534.50 was the amount of the mortgage and that the 530 cavanes of palay mentioned in the mortgage was in the nature of interest, is true, then from the standpoint of equity, at the current price of rice as testified to by the provincial governor, Liongson received all that was coming to him. To sanction more would be to sanction usury.

While objection might be raised to the deduction derived from these figures, remembering that this is a criminal case, and resolving all reasonable doubt in favor of the defendant, we must find that because of a lack of credible evidence and because apparently the mortgagor had done all that he was required to do under the mortgage, the allegations in these two assignments of error are correct.

CONCLUSION. — As indicated in the beginning of this decision the appeal presents aspects both civil and criminal in nature. It partakes of the nature of a civil case in that the amount of the account between the mortgagor and the mortgagee must be liquidate with accuracy and definiteness. A preponderance of the evidence would prove the obligation of the mortgagor of the palay to mortgagee. The case, however, is distinctly criminal, and being so, in accordance with old principles, the accused must be presumed to innocent until he is proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and until the defense is shown to be untenable. If the defendant is under any obligation to Liongson, it is a civil obligation.

Following the recommendation of the Attorney-General, the judgment of the trial court is reversed and the defendant and appellant is acquitted with costs de officio. So ordered.

Arellano, C.J., Torres, Carson, Araullo, Street., Avanceña, and Fisher, JJ., concur.

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