Makati Leasing and Finance Corp., vs Wearever Textile Mills, Inc.,

Makati Leasing and Finance Corp., vs Wearever Textile Mills, Inc.,
122 SCRA 296
GR No. L-58469
May 16, 1983

FACTS
Wearever Textile Mills, Inc. executed a chattel mortgage contract in favor of Makati Leasing and Finance Corporation covering certain raw materials and machinery. Upon default, Makati Leasing fi led a petition for judicial foreclosure of the properties mortgaged. Acting on Makati Leasing’s application for replevin, the lower court issued a writ of seizure. Pursuant thereto, the sheriff enforcing the seizure order seized the machinery subject matter of the mortgage. In a petition for certiorari and prohibition, the Court of Appeals ordered the return of the machinery on the ground that the same can-not be the subject of replevin because it is a real property pursuant to Article415 of the new Civil Code, the same being attached to the ground by means of bolts and the only way to remove it from Wearever textile’s plant would be to drill out or destroy the concrete fl oor. When the motion for reconsideration of Makati Leasing was denied by the Court of Appeals, Makati Leasing elevated the matter to the Supreme Court.

ISSUE
Whether the machinery in suit is real or personal property from the point of view of the parties.

HELD
There is no logical justification to exclude the rule out the present case from the application of the pronouncement in Tumalad v Vicencio, 41 SCRA 143. If a house of strong materials, like what was involved in the Tumalad case, may be considered as personal property for purposes of executing a chattel mortgage thereon as long as the parties to the contract so agree and no innocent third party will be prejudiced thereby, there is absolutely no reason why a machinery, which is movable in its nature and becomes immobilized only by destination or purpose, may not be likewise treated as such. This is really because one who has so agreed is estopped from the denying the existence of the chattel mortgage.

In rejecting petitioner’s assertion on the applicability of the Tumalad doctrine, the CA lays stress on the fact that the house involved therein was built on a land that did not belong to the owner of such house. But the law makes no distinction with respect to the ownership of the land on which the house is built and We should not lay down distinctions not contemplated by law.

It must be pointed out that the characterization by the private respondent is indicative of the intention and impresses upon the property the character determined by the parties. As stated in Standard Oil Co. of New York v. Jaramillo, 44 Phil. 630, it is undeniable that the parties to a contract may, by agreement, treat as personal property that which by nature would be a real property as long as no interest of third parties would be prejudiced thereby.

The status of the subject matter as movable or immovable property was not raised as an issue before the lower court and the CA, except in a supplemental memorandum in support of the petition filed in the appellate court. There is no record showing that the mortgage has been annulled, or that steps were taken to nullify the same. On the other hand, respondent has benefited from the said contract.

Equity dictates that one should not benefit at the expense of another.

As such, private respondent could no longer be allowed to impugn the efficacy of the chattel mortgage after it has benefited therefrom.

Therefore, the questioned machinery should be considered as personal property.

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