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Republic of the Philippines

SUPREME COURT
Manila

FIRST DIVISION

G.R. No. 127405

September 20, 2001

MARJORIE TOCAO and WILLIAM T. BELO, petitioners,


vs.
COURT OF APPEALS and NENITA A. ANAY, respondent.

RESOLUTION

YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:

The inherent powers of a Court to amend and control its processes and orders so as to make them conformable to law and justice includes the right to reverse itself, especially when in its
honest opinion it has committed an error or mistake in judgment, and that to adhere to its decision will cause injustice to a party litigant. 1

On November 14, 2001, petitioners Marjorie Tocao and William T. Belo filed a Motion for Reconsideration of our Decision dated October 4, 2000. They maintain that there was no partnership
between petitioner Belo, on the one hand, and respondent Nenita A. Anay, on the other hand; and that the latter being merely an employee of petitioner Tocao.

After a careful review of the evidence presented, we are convinced that, indeed, petitioner Belo acted merely as guarantor of Geminesse Enterprise. This was categorically affirmed by
respondent's own witness, Elizabeth Bantilan, during her cross-examination. Furthermore, Bantilan testified that it was Peter Lo who was the company's financier. Thus:

You mentioned a while ago the name William Belo. Now, what is the role of William Belo with Geminesse Enterprise?

William Belo is the friend of Marjorie Tocao and he was the guarantor of the company.

What do you mean by guarantor?

He guarantees the stocks that she owes somebody who is Peter Lo and he acts as guarantor for us. We can borrow money from him.

You mentioned a certain Peter Lo. Who is this Peter Lo?

Peter Lo is based in Singapore.

What is the role of Peter Lo in the Geminesse Enterprise?

He is the one fixing our orders that open the L/C.

You mean Peter Lo is the financier?

Yes, he is the financier.

And the defendant William Belo is merely the guarantor of Geminesse Enterprise, am I correct?

Yes, sir2

The foregoing was neither refuted nor contradicted by respondent's evidence. It should be recalled that the business relationship created between petitioner Tocao and respondent Anay was an
informal partnership, which was not even recorded with the Securities and Exchange Commission. As such, it was understandable that Belo, who was after all petitioner Tocao's good friend and
confidante, would occasionally participate in the affairs of the business, although never in a formal or official capacity.3 Again, respondent's witness, Elizabeth Bantilan, confirmed that petitioner
Belo's presence in Geminesse Enterprise's meetings was merely as guarantor of the company and to help petitioner Tocao. 4

Furthermore, no evidence was presented to show that petitioner Belo participated in the profits of the business enterprise. Respondent herself professed lack of knowledge that petitioner Belo
received any share in the net income of the partnership. 5 On the other hand, petitioner Tocao declared that petitioner Belo was not entitled to any share in the profits of Geminesse
Enterprise.6 With no participation in the profits, petitioner Belo cannot be deemed a partner since the essence of a partnership is that the partners share in the profits and losses. 7

Consequently, inasmuch as petitioner Belo was not a partner in Geminesse Enterprise, respondent had no cause of action against him and her complaint against him should accordingly be
dismissed.

As regards the award of damages, petitioners argue that respondent should be deemed in bad faith for failing to account for stocks of Geminesse Enterprise amounting to P208,250.00 and
that, accordingly, her claim for damages should be barred to that extent. We do not agree. Given the circumstances surrounding private respondent's sudden ouster from the partnership by
petitioner Tocao, her act of withholding whatever stocks were in her possession and control was justified, if only to serve as security for her claims against the partnership. However, while we do
not agree that the same renders private respondent in bad faith and should bar her claim for damages, we find that the said sum of P208,250.00 should be deducted from whatever amount is
finally adjudged in her favor on the basis of the formal account of the partnership affairs to be submitted to the Regional Trial Court.

WHEREFORE, based on the foregoing, the Motion for Reconsideration of petitioners is PARTIALLY GRANTED. The Regional Trial Court of Makati is hereby ordered to DISMISS the complaint,
docketed as Civil Case No. 88-509, as against petitioner William T. Belo only. The sum of P208,250.00 shall be deducted from whatever amount petitioner Marjorie Tocao shall be held liable to
pay respondent after the normal accounting of the partnership affairs. SO ORDERED. Davide, Jr., Kapunan, and Pardo; JJ., concur. Puno, J., on official leave.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila

SECOND DIVISION

G.R. No. 127347 November 25, 1999

ALFREDO N. AGUILA, JR., petitioner,


vs.
HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS and FELICIDAD S. VDA. DE ABROGAR, respondents.

MENDOZA, J.:

of the Court of Appeals, dated November 29, 1990, which reversed the
decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 273, Marikina, Metro Manila, dated April 11, 1995. The trial
court dismissed the petition for declaration of nullity of a deed of sale filed by private respondent Felicidad
S. Vda. de Abrogar against petitioner Alfredo N. Aguila, Jr.
This is a petition for review on certiorari of the decision

The facts are as follows:

Petitioner is the manager of A.C. Aguila & Sons, Co., a partnership engaged in lending activities. Private respondent and her late husband, Ruben M. Abrogar, were the registered owners of a
house and lot, covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. 195101, in Marikina, Metro Manila. On April 18, 1991, private respondent, with the consent of her late husband, and A.C. Aguila &
Sons, Co., represented by petitioner, entered into a Memorandum of Agreement, which provided:

(1) That the SECOND PARTY [A.C. Aguila & Sons, Co.] shall buy the above-described property from the FIRST PARTY [Felicidad S. Vda. de Abrogar], and
pursuant to this agreement, a Deed of Absolute Sale shall be executed by the FIRST PARTY conveying the property to the SECOND PARTY for and in
consideration of the sum of Two Hundred Thousand Pesos (P200,000.00), Philippine Currency;

(2) The FIRST PARTY is hereby given by the SECOND PARTY the option to repurchase the said property within a period of ninety (90) days from the execution of
this memorandum of agreement effective April 18, 1991, for the amount of TWO HUNDRED THIRTY THOUSAND PESOS (P230,000.00);

(3) In the event that the FIRST PARTY fail to exercise her option to repurchase the said property within a period of ninety (90) days, the FIRST PARTY is obliged to
deliver peacefully the possession of the property to the SECOND PARTY within fifteen (15) days after the expiration of the said 90 day grace period;

(4) During the said grace period, the FIRST PARTY obliges herself not to file any lis pendens or whatever claims on the property nor shall be cause the annotation
of say claim at the back of the title to the said property;

(5) With the execution of the deed of absolute sale, the FIRST PARTY warrants her ownership of the property and shall defend the rights of the SECOND PARTY
against any party whom may have any interests over the property;

(6) All expenses for documentation and other incidental expenses shall be for the account of the FIRST PARTY;

(7) Should the FIRST PARTY fail to deliver peaceful possession of the property to the SECOND PARTY after the expiration of the 15-day grace period given in
paragraph 3 above, the FIRST PARTY shall pay an amount equivalent to Five Percent of the principal amount of TWO HUNDRED PESOS (P200.00) or
P10,000.00 per month of delay as and for rentals and liquidated damages;

(8) Should the FIRST PARTY fail to exercise her option to repurchase the property within ninety (90) days period above-mentioned, this memorandum of
agreement shall be deemed cancelled and the Deed of Absolute Sale, executed by the parties shall be the final contract considered as entered between the
parties and the SECOND PARTY shall proceed to transfer ownership of the property above described to its name free from lines and encumbrances. 2

dated June 11, 1991, wherein private respondent, with


the consent of her late husband, sold the subject property to A.C. Aguila & Sons, Co., represented by
petitioner, for P200,000,00. In a special power of attorney dated the same day, April 18, 1991, private
respondent authorized petitioner to cause the cancellation of TCT No. 195101 and the issuance of a new
On the same day, April 18, 1991, the parties likewise executed a deed of absolute sale,

certificate of title in the name of A.C. Aguila and Sons, Co., in the event she failed to redeem the subject
property as provided in the Memorandum of Agreement.
4

Private respondent failed to redeem the property within the 90-day period as provided in the Memorandum of Agreement. Hence, pursuant to the special power of attorney mentioned above,
petitioner caused the cancellation of TCT No. 195101 and the issuance of a new certificate of title in the name of A.C. Aguila and Sons, Co. 5

Private respondent then received a letter dated August 10, 1991 from Atty. Lamberto C. Nanquil, counsel for A.C. Aguila & Sons, Co., demanding that she vacate the premises within 15 days
after receipt of the letter and surrender its possession peacefully to A.C. Aguila & Sons, Co. Otherwise, the latter would bring the appropriate action in court. 6

Upon the refusal of private respondent to vacate the subject premises, A.C. Aguila & Sons, Co. filed an ejectment case against her in the Metropolitan Trial Court, Branch 76, Marikina, Metro
Manila. In a decision, dated April 3, 1992, the Metropolitan Trial Court ruled in favor of A.C. Aguila & Sons, Co. on the ground that private respondent did not redeem the subject property before
the expiration of the 90-day period provided in the Memorandum of Agreement. Private respondent appealed first to the Regional Trial Court, Branch 163, Pasig, Metro Manila, then to the Court
of Appeals, and later to this Court, but she lost in all the cases.

Private respondent then filed a petition for declaration of nullity of a deed of sale with the Regional Trial Court, Branch 273, Marikina, Metro Manila on December 4, 1993. She alleged that the
signature of her husband on the deed of sale was a forgery because he was already dead when the deed was supposed to have been executed on June 11, 1991.

It appears, however, that private respondent had filed a criminal complaint for falsification against petitioner with the Office of the Prosecutor of Quezon City which was dismissed in a resolution,
dated February 14, 1994.

On April 11, 1995, Branch 273 of RTC-Marikina rendered its decision:

Plaintiff's claim therefore that the Deed of Absolute Sale is a forgery because they could not personally appear before Notary Public Lamberto C. Nanquil on June
11, 1991 because her husband, Ruben Abrogar, died on May 8, 1991 or one month and 2 days before the execution of the Deed of Absolute Sale, while the
plaintiff was still in the Quezon City Medical Center recuperating from wounds which she suffered at the same vehicular accident on May 8, 1991, cannot be
sustained. The Court is convinced that the three required documents, to wit: the Memorandum of Agreement, the Special Power of Attorney, and the Deed of
Absolute Sale were all signed by the parties on the same date on April 18, 1991. It is a common and accepted business practice of those engaged in money
lending to prepare an undated absolute deed of sale in loans of money secured by real estate for various reasons, foremost of which is the evasion of taxes and
surcharges. The plaintiff never questioned receiving the sum of P200,000.00 representing her loan from the defendant. Common sense dictates that an
established lending and realty firm like the Aguila & Sons, Co. would not part with P200,000.00 to the Abrogar spouses, who are virtual strangers to it, without the
simultaneous accomplishment and signing of all the required documents, more particularly the Deed of Absolute Sale, to protect its interest.

xxx xxx xxx

WHEREFORE, foregoing premises considered, the case in caption is hereby ORDERED DISMISSED, with costs against the plaintiff.

On appeal, the Court of Appeals reversed. It held:

The facts and evidence show that the transaction between plaintiff-appellant and defendant-appellee is indubitably an equitable mortgage. Article 1602 of the New
Civil Code finds strong application in the case at bar in the light of the following circumstances.

First: The purchase price for the alleged sale with right to repurchase is unusually inadequate. The property is a two hundred forty (240) sq. m. lot. On said lot, the
residential house of plaintiff-appellant stands. The property is inside a subdivision/village. The property is situated in Marikina which is already part of Metro Manila.
The alleged sale took place in 1991 when the value of the land had considerably increased.

For this property, defendant-appellee pays only a measly P200,000.00 or P833.33 per square meter for both the land and for the house.

Second: The disputed Memorandum of Agreement specifically provides that plaintiff-appellant is obliged to deliver peacefully the possession of the property to the
SECOND PARTY within fifteen (15) days after the expiration of the said ninety (90) day grace period. Otherwise stated, plaintiff-appellant is to retain physical
possession of the thing allegedly sold.

In fact, plaintiff-appellant retained possession of the property "sold" as if they were still the absolute owners. There was no provision for maintenance or expenses,
much less for payment of rent.

Third: The apparent vendor, plaintiff-appellant herein, continued to pay taxes on the property "sold". It is well-known that payment of taxes accompanied by actual
possession of the land covered by the tax declaration, constitute evidence of great weight that a person under whose name the real taxes were declared has a
claim of right over the land.

It is well-settled that the presence of even one of the circumstances in Article 1602 of the New Civil Code is sufficient to declare a contract of sale with right to
repurchase an equitable mortgage.

Considering that plaintiff-appellant, as vendor, was paid a price which is unusually inadequate, has retained possession of the subject property and has continued
paying the realty taxes over the subject property, (circumstances mentioned in par. (1) (2) and (5) of Article 1602 of the New Civil Code), it must be conclusively
presumed that the transaction the parties actually entered into is an equitable mortgage, not a sale with right to repurchase. The factors cited are in support to the
finding that the Deed of Sale/Memorandum of Agreement with right to repurchase is in actuality an equitable mortgage.

Moreover, it is undisputed that the deed of sale with right of repurchase was executed by reason of the loan extended by defendant-appellee to plaintiff-appellant.
The amount of loan being the same with the amount of the purchase price.

xxx xxx xxx

Since the real intention of the party is to secure the payment of debt, now deemed to be repurchase price: the transaction shall then be considered to be an
equitable mortgage.

Being a mortgage, the transaction entered into by the parties is in the nature of a pactum commissorium which is clearly prohibited by Article 2088 of the New Civil
Code. Article 2088 of the New Civil Code reads:

Art. 2088. The creditor cannot appropriate the things given by way of pledge or mortgage, or dispose of them. Any stipulation to the
contrary is null and void.

The aforequoted provision furnishes the two elements for pactum commissorium to exist: (1) that there should be a pledge or mortgage wherein a property is
pledged or mortgaged by way of security for the payment of principal obligation; and (2) that there should be a stipulation for an automatic appropriation by the
creditor of the thing pledged and mortgaged in the event of non-payment of the principal obligation within the stipulated period.

In this case, defendant-appellee in reality extended a P200,000.00 loan to plaintiff-appellant secured by a mortgage on the property of plaintiff-appellant. The loan
was payable within ninety (90) days, the period within which plaintiff-appellant can repurchase the property. Plaintiff-appellant will pay P230,000.00 and not
P200,000.00, the P30,000.00 excess is the interest for the loan extended. Failure of plaintiff-appellee to pay the P230,000.00 within the ninety (90) days period,
the property shall automatically belong to defendant-appellee by virtue of the deed of sale executed.

Clearly, the agreement entered into by the parties is in the nature of pactum commissorium. Therefore, the deed of sale should be declared void as we hereby so
declare to be invalid, for being violative of law.

xxx xxx xxx

WHEREFORE, foregoing considered, the appealed decision is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The questioned Deed of Sale and the cancellation of the TCT
No. 195101 issued in favor of plaintiff-appellant and the issuance of TCT No. 267073 issued in favor of defendant-appellee pursuant to the questioned Deed of
Sale is hereby declared VOID and is hereby ANNULLED. Transfer Certificate of Title No. 195101 of the Registry of Marikina is hereby ordered REINSTATED. The
loan in the amount of P230,000.00 shall be paid within ninety (90) days from the finality of this decision. In case of failure to pay the amount of P230,000.00 from
the period therein stated, the property shall be sold at public auction to satisfy the mortgage debt and costs and if there is an excess, the same is to be given to the
owner.

Petitioner now contends that: (1) he is not the real party in interest but A.C. Aguila & Co., against which this case should have been brought; (2) the judgment in the ejectment case is a bar to
the filing of the complaint for declaration of nullity of a deed of sale in this case; and (3) the contract between A.C. Aguila & Sons, Co. and private respondent is a pacto de retro sale and not an
equitable mortgage as held by the appellate court.

The petition is meritorious.

Rule 3, 2 of the Rules of Court of 1964, under which the complaint in this case was filed, provided that "every action must be prosecuted and defended in the name of the real party in interest."

This ruling is now embodied in Rule


3, 2 of the 1997 Revised Rules of Civil Procedure. Any decision rendered against a person who is not a
real party in interest in the case cannot be executed. Hence, a complaint filed against such a person
should be dismissed for failure to state a cause of action.
A real party in interest is one who would be benefited or injured by the judgment, or who is entitled to the avails of the suit.

Under Art. 1768 of the Civil Code, a partnership "has a juridical personality separate and distinct from that of each of the partners." The partners cannot be held liable for the obligations of the

In this case, private


respondent has not shown that A.C. Aguila & Sons, Co., as a separate juridical entity, is being used for
fraudulent, unfair, or illegal purposes. Moreover, the title to the subject property is in the name of A.C.
Aguila & Sons, Co. and the Memorandum of Agreement was executed between private respondent, with
the consent of her late husband, and A.C. Aguila & Sons, Co., represented by petitioner. Hence, it is the
partnership, not its officers or agents, which should be impleaded in any litigation involving property
registered in its name. A violation of this rule will result in the dismissal of the complaint. We cannot
understand why both the Regional Trial Court and the Court of Appeals sidestepped this issue when it
was squarely raised before them by petitioner.
partnership unless it is shown that the legal fiction of a different juridical personality is being used for fraudulent, unfair, or illegal purposes.

10

11

Our conclusion that petitioner is not the real party in interest against whom this action should be prosecuted makes it unnecessary to discuss the other issues raised by him in this appeal.

WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals is hereby REVERSED and the complaint against petitioner is DISMISSED.

SO ORDERED.

Bellosillo, Quisumbing, Buena and De Leon, Jr., JJ., concur.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT

SECOND DIVISION

G.R. No. 126881

October 3, 2000

HEIRS OF TAN ENG KEE, petitioners,


vs.
COURT OF APPEALS and BENGUET LUMBER COMPANY, represented by its President TAN ENG LAY,respondents.

DE LEON, JR., J.:

In this petition for review on certiorari, petitioners pray for the reversal of the Decision 1 dated March 13, 1996 of the former Fifth Division2 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 47937, the
dispositive portion of which states:

THE FOREGOING CONSIDERED, the appealed decision is hereby set aside, and the complaint dismissed.

The facts are:

Following the death of Tan Eng Kee on September 13, 1984, Matilde Abubo, the common-law spouse of the decedent, joined by their children Teresita, Nena, Clarita, Carlos, Corazon and
Elpidio, collectively known as herein petitioners HEIRS OF TAN ENG KEE, filed suit against the decedent's brother TAN ENG LAY on February 19, 1990. The complaint, 3 docketed as Civil Case
No. 1983-R in the Regional Trial Court of Baguio City was for accounting, liquidation and winding up of the alleged partnership formed after World War II between Tan Eng Kee and Tan Eng
Lay. On March 18, 1991, the petitioners filed an amended complaint 4 impleading private respondent herein BENGUET LUMBER COMPANY, as represented by Tan Eng Lay. The amended
complaint was admitted by the trial court in its Order dated May 3, 1991.5

The amended complaint principally alleged that after the second World War, Tan Eng Kee and Tan Eng Lay, pooling their resources and industry together, entered into a partnership engaged in
the business of selling lumber and hardware and construction supplies. They named their enterprise "Benguet Lumber" which they jointly managed until Tan Eng Kee's death. Petitioners herein
averred that the business prospered due to the hard work and thrift of the alleged partners. However, they claimed that in 1981, Tan Eng Lay and his children caused the conversion of the
partnership "Benguet Lumber" into a corporation called "Benguet Lumber Company." The incorporation was purportedly a ruse to deprive Tan Eng Kee and his heirs of their rightful participation
in the profits of the business. Petitioners prayed for accounting of the partnership assets, and the dissolution, winding up and liquidation thereof, and the equal division of the net assets of
Benguet Lumber.

After trial, Regional Trial Court of Baguio City, Branch 7 rendered judgment6 on April 12, 1995, to wit:

WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, judgment is hereby rendered:

a) Declaring that Benguet Lumber is a joint venture which is akin to a particular partnership;

b) Declaring that the deceased Tan Eng Kee and Tan Eng Lay are joint adventurers and/or partners in a business venture and/or particular partnership called Benguet Lumber
and as such should share in the profits and/or losses of the business venture or particular partnership;

c) Declaring that the assets of Benguet Lumber are the same assets turned over to Benguet Lumber Co. Inc. and as such the heirs or legal representatives of the deceased Tan
Eng Kee have a legal right to share in said assets;

d) Declaring that all the rights and obligations of Tan Eng Kee as joint adventurer and/or as partner in a particular partnership have descended to the plaintiffs who are his legal
heirs.

e) Ordering the defendant Tan Eng Lay and/or the President and/or General Manager of Benguet Lumber Company Inc. to render an accounting of all the assets of Benguet
Lumber Company, Inc. so the plaintiffs know their proper share in the business;

f) Ordering the appointment of a receiver to preserve and/or administer the assets of Benguet Lumber Company, Inc. until such time that said corporation is finally liquidated are
directed to submit the name of any person they want to be appointed as receiver failing in which this Court will appoint the Branch Clerk of Court or another one who is qualified
to act as such.

g) Denying the award of damages to the plaintiffs for lack of proof except the expenses in filing the instant case.

h) Dismissing the counter-claim of the defendant for lack of merit.

SO ORDERED.

Private respondent sought relief before the Court of Appeals which, on March 13, 1996, rendered the assailed decision reversing the judgment of the trial court. Petitioners' motion for
reconsideration7 was denied by the Court of Appeals in a Resolution8 dated October 11, 1996.

Hence, the present petition.

As a side-bar to the proceedings, petitioners filed Criminal Case No. 78856 against Tan Eng Lay and Wilborn Tan for the use of allegedly falsified documents in a judicial proceeding. Petitioners
complained that Exhibits "4" to "4-U" offered by the defendants before the trial court, consisting of payrolls indicating that Tan Eng Kee was a mere employee of Benguet Lumber, were fake,
based on the discrepancy in the signatures of Tan Eng Kee. They also filed Criminal Cases Nos. 78857-78870 against Gloria, Julia, Juliano, Willie, Wilfredo, Jean, Mary and Willy, all surnamed
Tan, for alleged falsification of commercial documents by a private individual. On March 20, 1999, the Municipal Trial Court of Baguio City, Branch 1, wherein the charges were filed, rendered
judgment9 dismissing the cases for insufficiency of evidence.

In their assignment of errors, petitioners claim that:

THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THERE WAS NO PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN THE LATE TAN ENG KEE AND HIS BROTHER TAN ENG
LAY BECAUSE: (A) THERE WAS NO FIRM ACCOUNT; (B) THERE WAS NO FIRM LETTERHEADS SUBMITTED AS EVIDENCE; (C) THERE WAS NO CERTIFICATE OF
PARTNERSHIP; (D) THERE WAS NO AGREEMENT AS TO PROFITS AND LOSSES; AND (E) THERE WAS NO TIME FIXED FOR THE DURATION OF THE PARTNERSHIP
(PAGE 13, DECISION).

II

THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN RELYING SOLELY ON THE SELF-SERVING TESTIMONY OF RESPONDENT TAN ENG LAY THAT BENGUET LUMBER
WAS A SOLE PROPRIETORSHIP AND THAT TAN ENG KEE WAS ONLY AN EMPLOYEE THEREOF.

III

THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE FOLLOWING FACTS WHICH WERE DULY SUPPORTED BY EVIDENCE OF BOTH PARTIES DO
NOT SUPPORT THE EXISTENCE OF A PARTNERSHIP JUST BECAUSE THERE WAS NO ARTICLES OF PARTNERSHIP DULY RECORDED BEFORE THE SECURITIES
AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION:

a. THAT THE FAMILIES OF TAN ENG KEE AND TAN ENG LAY WERE ALL LIVING AT THE BENGUET LUMBER COMPOUND;

b. THAT BOTH TAN ENG LAY AND TAN ENG KEE WERE COMMANDING THE EMPLOYEES OF BENGUET LUMBER;

c. THAT BOTH TAN ENG KEE AND TAN ENG LAY WERE SUPERVISING THE EMPLOYEES THEREIN;

d. THAT TAN ENG KEE AND TAN ENG LAY WERE THE ONES DETERMINING THE PRICES OF STOCKS TO BE SOLD TO THE PUBLIC; AND

e. THAT TAN ENG LAY AND TAN ENG KEE WERE THE ONES MAKING ORDERS TO THE SUPPLIERS (PAGE 18, DECISION).

IV

THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THERE WAS NO PARTNERSHIP JUST BECAUSE THE CHILDREN OF THE LATE TAN ENG KEE:
ELPIDIO TAN AND VERONICA CHOI, TOGETHER WITH THEIR WITNESS BEATRIZ TANDOC, ADMITTED THAT THEY DO NOT KNOW WHEN THE ESTABLISHMENT
KNOWN IN BAGUIO CITY AS BENGUET LUMBER WAS STARTED AS A PARTNERSHIP (PAGE 16-17, DECISION).

THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THERE WAS NO PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN THE LATE TAN ENG KEE AND HIS BROTHER TAN ENG
LAY BECAUSE THE PRESENT CAPITAL OR ASSETS OF BENGUET LUMBER IS DEFINITELY MORE THAN P3,000.00 AND AS SUCH THE EXECUTION OF A PUBLIC
INSTRUMENT CREATING A PARTNERSHIP SHOULD HAVE BEEN MADE AND NO SUCH PUBLIC INSTRUMENT ESTABLISHED BY THE APPELLEES (PAGE 17,
DECISION).

As a premise, we reiterate the oft-repeated rule that findings of facts of the Court of Appeals will not be disturbed on appeal if such are supported by the evidence. 10 Our jurisdiction, it must be
emphasized, does not include review of factual issues. Thus:

Filing of petition with Supreme Court. A party desiring to appeal by certiorari from a judgment or final order or resolution of the Court of Appeals, the Sandiganbayan, the
Regional Trial Court or other courts whenever authorized by law, may file with the Supreme Court a verified petition for review on certiorari. The petition shall raise only questions
of law which must be distinctly set forth.11 [emphasis supplied]

Admitted exceptions have been recognized, though, and when present, may compel us to analyze the evidentiary basis on which the lower court rendered judgment. Review of factual issues is
therefore warranted:

(1) when the factual findings of the Court of Appeals and the trial court are contradictory;

(2) when the findings are grounded entirely on speculation, surmises, or conjectures;

(3) when the inference made by the Court of Appeals from its findings of fact is manifestly mistaken, absurd, or impossible;

(4) when there is grave abuse of discretion in the appreciation of facts;

(5) when the appellate court, in making its findings, goes beyond the issues of the case, and such findings are contrary to the admissions of both appellant and appellee;

(6) when the judgment of the Court of Appeals is premised on a misapprehension of facts;

(7) when the Court of Appeals fails to notice certain relevant facts which, if properly considered, will justify a different conclusion;

(8) when the findings of fact are themselves conflicting;

(9) when the findings of fact are conclusions without citation of the specific evidence on which they are based; and

(10) when the findings of fact of the Court of Appeals are premised on the absence of evidence but such findings are contradicted by the evidence on record. 12

In reversing the trial court, the Court of Appeals ruled, to wit:

We note that the Court a quo over extended the issue because while the plaintiffs mentioned only the existence of a partnership, the Court in turn went beyond that by justifying
the existence of a joint venture.

When mention is made of a joint venture, it would presuppose parity of standing between the parties, equal proprietary interest and the exercise by the parties equally of the
conduct of the business, thus:

xxx

xxx

xxx

We have the admission that the father of the plaintiffs was not a partner of the Benguet Lumber before the war. The appellees however argued that (Rollo, p. 104; Brief, p. 6) this
is because during the war, the entire stocks of the pre-war Benguet Lumber were confiscated if not burned by the Japanese. After the war, because of the absence of capital to
start a lumber and hardware business, Lay and Kee pooled the proceeds of their individual businesses earned from buying and selling military supplies, so that the common fund
would be enough to form a partnership, both in the lumber and hardware business. That Lay and Kee actually established the Benguet Lumber in Baguio City, was even testified
to by witnesses. Because of the pooling of resources, the post-war Benguet Lumber was eventually established. That the father of the plaintiffs and Lay were partners, is obvious
from the fact that: (1) they conducted the affairs of the business during Kee's lifetime, jointly, (2) they were the ones giving orders to the employees, (3) they were the ones
preparing orders from the suppliers, (4) their families stayed together at the Benguet Lumber compound, and (5) all their children were employed in the business in different
capacities.

xxx

xxx

xxx

It is obvious that there was no partnership whatsoever. Except for a firm name, there was no firm account, no firm letterheads submitted as evidence, no certificate of partnership,
no agreement as to profits and losses, and no time fixed for the duration of the partnership. There was even no attempt to submit an accounting corresponding to the period after
the war until Kee's death in 1984. It had no business book, no written account nor any memorandum for that matter and no license mentioning the existence of a partnership
[citation omitted].

Also, the exhibits support the establishment of only a proprietorship. The certification dated March 4, 1971, Exhibit "2", mentioned co-defendant Lay as the only registered owner
of the Benguet Lumber and Hardware. His application for registration, effective 1954, in fact mentioned that his business started in 1945 until 1985 (thereafter, the incorporation).
The deceased, Kee, on the other hand, was merely an employee of the Benguet Lumber Company, on the basis of his SSS coverage effective 1958, Exhibit "3". In the Payrolls,
Exhibits "4" to "4-U", inclusive, for the years 1982 to 1983, Kee was similarly listed only as an employee; precisely, he was on the payroll listing. In the Termination Notice, Exhibit
"5", Lay was mentioned also as the proprietor.

xxx

xxx

xxx

We would like to refer to Arts. 771 and 772, NCC, that a partner [sic] may be constituted in any form, but when an immovable is constituted, the execution of a public instrument
becomes necessary. This is equally true if the capitalization exceeds P3,000.00, in which case a public instrument is also necessary, and which is to be recorded with the
Securities and Exchange Commission. In this case at bar, we can easily assume that the business establishment, which from the language of the appellees, prospered (pars. 5 &
9, Complaint), definitely exceeded P3,000.00, in addition to the accumulation of real properties and to the fact that it is now a compound. The execution of a public instrument, on
the other hand, was never established by the appellees.

And then in 1981, the business was incorporated and the incorporators were only Lay and the members of his family. There is no proof either that the capital assets of the
partnership, assuming them to be in existence, were maliciously assigned or transferred by Lay, supposedly to the corporation and since then have been treated as a part of the
latter's capital assets, contrary to the allegations in pars. 6, 7 and 8 of the complaint.

These are not evidences supporting the existence of a partnership:

1) That Kee was living in a bunk house just across the lumber store, and then in a room in the bunk house in Trinidad, but within the compound of the lumber establishment, as
testified to by Tandoc; 2) that both Lay and Kee were seated on a table and were "commanding people" as testified to by the son, Elpidio Tan; 3) that both were supervising the
laborers, as testified to by Victoria Choi; and 4) that Dionisio Peralta was supposedly being told by Kee that the proceeds of the 80 pieces of the G.I. sheets were added to the
business.

Partnership presupposes the following elements [citation omitted]: 1) a contract, either oral or written. However, if it involves real property or where the capital is P3,000.00 or
more, the execution of a contract is necessary; 2) the capacity of the parties to execute the contract; 3) money property or industry contribution; 4) community of funds and
interest, mentioning equality of the partners or one having a proportionate share in the benefits; and 5) intention to divide the profits, being the true test of the partnership. The
intention to join in the business venture for the purpose of obtaining profits thereafter to be divided, must be established. We cannot see these elements from the testimonial
evidence of the appellees.

As can be seen, the appellate court disputed and differed from the trial court which had adjudged that TAN ENG KEE and TAN ENG LAY had allegedly entered into a joint venture. In this
connection, we have held that whether a partnership exists is a factual matter; consequently, since the appeal is brought to us under Rule 45, we cannot entertain inquiries relative to the
correctness of the assessment of the evidence by the court a quo.13 Inasmuch as the Court of Appeals and the trial court had reached conflicting conclusions, perforce we must examine the
record to determine if the reversal was justified.

The primordial issue here is whether Tan Eng Kee and Tan Eng Lay were partners in Benguet Lumber. A contract of partnership is defined by law as one where:

. . . two or more persons bind themselves to contribute money, property, or industry to a common fund, with the intention of dividing the profits among themselves.

Two or more persons may also form a partnership for the exercise of a profession.14

Thus, in order to constitute a partnership, it must be established that (1) two or more persons bound themselves to contribute money, property, or industry to a common fund, and
(2) they intend to divide the profits among themselves.15 The agreement need not be formally reduced into writing, since statute allows the oral constitution of a partnership, save
in two instances: (1) when immovable property or real rights are contributed,16 and (2) when the partnership has a capital of three thousand pesos or more.17 In both cases, a
public instrument is required.18 An inventory to be signed by the parties and attached to the public instrument is also indispensable to the validity of the partnership whenever
immovable property is contributed to the partnership.19

The trial court determined that Tan Eng Kee and Tan Eng Lay had entered into a joint venture, which it said is akin to a particular partnership. 20 A particular partnership is distinguished from a
joint adventure, to wit:

(a) A joint adventure (an American concept similar to our joint accounts) is a sort of informal partnership, with no firm name and no legal personality. In a joint account, the
participating merchants can transact business under their own name, and can be individually liable therefor.

(b) Usually, but not necessarily a joint adventure is limited to a SINGLE TRANSACTION, although the business of pursuing to a successful termination may continue for a number
of years; a partnership generally relates to a continuing business of various transactions of a certain kind. 21

A joint venture "presupposes generally a parity of standing between the joint co-ventures or partners, in which each party has an equal proprietary interest in the capital or property contributed,
and where each party exercises equal rights in the conduct of the business." 22 Nonetheless, in Aurbach, et. al. v. Sanitary Wares Manufacturing Corporation, et. al., 23 we expressed the view that
a joint venture may be likened to a particular partnership, thus:

The legal concept of a joint venture is of common law origin. It has no precise legal definition, but it has been generally understood to mean an organization formed for some
temporary purpose. (Gates v. Megargel, 266 Fed. 811 [1920]) It is hardly distinguishable from the partnership, since their elements are similar community of interest in the
business, sharing of profits and losses, and a mutual right of control. (Blackner v. McDermott, 176 F. 2d. 498, [1949]; Carboneau v. Peterson, 95 P.2d., 1043 [1939]; Buckley v.
Chadwick, 45 Cal. 2d. 183, 288 P.2d. 12 289 P.2d. 242 [1955]). The main distinction cited by most opinions in common law jurisdiction is that the partnership contemplates a
general business with some degree of continuity, while the joint venture is formed for the execution of a single transaction, and is thus of a temporary nature. (Tufts v. Mann. 116
Cal. App. 170, 2 P. 2d. 500 [1931]; Harmon v. Martin, 395 Ill. 595, 71 NE 2d. 74 [1947]; Gates v. Megargel 266 Fed. 811 [1920]). This observation is not entirely accurate in this
jurisdiction, since under the Civil Code, a partnership may be particular or universal, and a particular partnership may have for its object a specific undertaking. (Art. 1783, Civil
Code). It would seem therefore that under Philippine law, a joint venture is a form of partnership and should thus be governed by the law of partnerships. The Supreme Court has
however recognized a distinction between these two business forms, and has held that although a corporation cannot enter into a partnership contract, it may however engage in
a joint venture with others. (At p. 12, Tuazon v. Bolaos, 95 Phil. 906 [1954]) (Campos and Lopez-Campos Comments, Notes and Selected Cases, Corporation Code 1981).

Undoubtedly, the best evidence would have been the contract of partnership itself, or the articles of partnership but there is none. The alleged partnership, though, was never formally
organized. In addition, petitioners point out that the New Civil Code was not yet in effect when the partnership was allegedly formed sometime in 1945, although the contrary may well be argued
that nothing prevented the parties from complying with the provisions of the New Civil Code when it took effect on August 30, 1950. But all that is in the past. The net effect, however, is that we
are asked to determine whether a partnership existed based purely on circumstantial evidence. A review of the record persuades us that the Court of Appeals correctly reversed the decision of
the trial court. The evidence presented by petitioners falls short of the quantum of proof required to establish a partnership.

Unfortunately for petitioners, Tan Eng Kee has passed away. Only he, aside from Tan Eng Lay, could have expounded on the precise nature of the business relationship between them. In the
absence of evidence, we cannot accept as an established fact that Tan Eng Kee allegedly contributed his resources to a common fund for the purpose of establishing a partnership. The
testimonies to that effect of petitioners' witnesses is directly controverted by Tan Eng Lay. It should be noted that it is not with the number of witnesses wherein preponderance lies; 24 the quality
of their testimonies is to be considered. None of petitioners' witnesses could suitably account for the beginnings of Benguet Lumber Company, except perhaps for Dionisio Peralta whose

deceased wife was related to Matilde Abubo. 25 He stated that when he met Tan Eng Kee after the liberation, the latter asked the former to accompany him to get 80 pieces of G.I. sheets
supposedly owned by both brothers.26Tan Eng Lay, however, denied knowledge of this meeting or of the conversation between Peralta and his brother.27 Tan Eng Lay consistently testified that
he had his business and his brother had his, that it was only later on that his said brother, Tan Eng Kee, came to work for him. Be that as it may, co-ownership or co-possession (specifically
here, of the G.I. sheets) is not an indicium of the existence of a partnership. 28

Besides, it is indeed odd, if not unnatural, that despite the forty years the partnership was allegedly in existence, Tan Eng Kee never asked for an accounting. The essence of a partnership is
that the partners share in the profits and losses.29 Each has the right to demand an accounting as long as the partnership exists. 30 We have allowed a scenario wherein "[i]f excellent relations
exist among the partners at the start of the business and all the partners are more interested in seeing the firm grow rather than get immediate returns, a deferment of sharing in the profits is
perfectly plausible."31 But in the situation in the case at bar, the deferment, if any, had gone on too long to be plausible. A person is presumed to take ordinary care of his concerns. 32 As we
explained in another case:

In the first place, plaintiff did not furnish the supposed P20,000.00 capital. In the second place, she did not furnish any help or intervention in the management of the theatre. In
the third place, it does not appear that she has even demanded from defendant any accounting of the expenses and earnings of the business. Were she really a partner, her first
concern should have been to find out how the business was progressing, whether the expenses were legitimate, whether the earnings were correct, etc. She was absolutely
silent with respect to any of the acts that a partner should have done; all that she did was to receive her share of P3,000.00 a month, which cannot be interpreted in any manner
than a payment for the use of the premises which she had leased from the owners. Clearly, plaintiff had always acted in accordance with the original letter of defendant of June
17, 1945 (Exh. "A"), which shows that both parties considered this offer as the real contract between them. 33 [emphasis supplied]

A demand for periodic accounting is evidence of a partnership. 34 During his lifetime, Tan Eng Kee appeared never to have made any such demand for accounting from his brother, Tang Eng
Lay.

This brings us to the matter of Exhibits "4" to "4-U" for private respondents, consisting of payrolls purporting to show that Tan Eng Kee was an ordinary employee of Benguet Lumber, as it was
then called. The authenticity of these documents was questioned by petitioners, to the extent that they filed criminal charges against Tan Eng Lay and his wife and children. As aforesaid, the
criminal cases were dismissed for insufficiency of evidence. Exhibits "4" to "4-U" in fact shows that Tan Eng Kee received sums as wages of an employee. In connection therewith, Article 1769
of the Civil Code provides:

In determining whether a partnership exists, these rules shall apply:

(1) Except as provided by Article 1825, persons who are not partners as to each other are not partners as to third persons;

(2) Co-ownership or co-possession does not of itself establish a partnership, whether such co-owners or co-possessors do or do not share any profits made by the use of the
property;

(3) The sharing of gross returns does not of itself establish a partnership, whether or not the persons sharing them have a joint or common right or interest in any property which
the returns are derived;

(4) The receipt by a person of a share of the profits of a business is a prima facie evidence that he is a partner in the business, but no such inference shall be drawn if such profits
were received in payment:

(a) As a debt by installment or otherwise;

(b) As wages of an employee or rent to a landlord;

(c) As an annuity to a widow or representative of a deceased partner;

(d) As interest on a loan, though the amount of payment vary with the profits of the business;

(e) As the consideration for the sale of a goodwill of a business or other property by installments or otherwise.

In the light of the aforequoted legal provision, we conclude that Tan Eng Kee was only an employee, not a partner. Even if the payrolls as evidence were discarded, petitioners would still be
back to square one, so to speak, since they did not present and offer evidence that would show that Tan Eng Kee received amounts of money allegedly representing his share in the profits of
the enterprise. Petitioners failed to show how much their father, Tan Eng Kee, received, if any, as his share in the profits of Benguet Lumber Company for any particular period. Hence, they
failed to prove that Tan Eng Kee and Tan Eng Lay intended to divide the profits of the business between themselves, which is one of the essential features of a partnership.

Nevertheless, petitioners would still want us to infer or believe the alleged existence of a partnership from this set of circumstances: that Tan Eng Lay and Tan Eng Kee were commanding the
employees; that both were supervising the employees; that both were the ones who determined the price at which the stocks were to be sold; and that both placed orders to the suppliers of the
Benguet Lumber Company. They also point out that the families of the brothers Tan Eng Kee and Tan Eng Lay lived at the Benguet Lumber Company compound, a privilege not extended to its
ordinary employees.

However, private respondent counters that:

Petitioners seem to have missed the point in asserting that the above enumerated powers and privileges granted in favor of Tan Eng Kee, were indicative of his being a partner in
Benguet Lumber for the following reasons:

(i) even a mere supervisor in a company, factory or store gives orders and directions to his subordinates. So long, therefore, that an employee's position is higher in rank, it is not
unusual that he orders around those lower in rank.

(ii) even a messenger or other trusted employee, over whom confidence is reposed by the owner, can order materials from suppliers for and in behalf of Benguet Lumber.
Furthermore, even a partner does not necessarily have to perform this particular task. It is, thus, not an indication that Tan Eng Kee was a partner.

(iii) although Tan Eng Kee, together with his family, lived in the lumber compound and this privilege was not accorded to other employees, the undisputed fact remains that Tan
Eng Kee is the brother of Tan Eng Lay. Naturally, close personal relations existed between them. Whatever privileges Tan Eng Lay gave his brother, and which were not given the
other employees, only proves the kindness and generosity of Tan Eng Lay towards a blood relative.

(iv) and even if it is assumed that Tan Eng Kee was quarreling with Tan Eng Lay in connection with the pricing of stocks, this does not adequately prove the existence of a
partnership relation between them. Even highly confidential employees and the owners of a company sometimes argue with respect to certain matters which, in no way indicates
that they are partners as to each other.35

In the instant case, we find private respondent's arguments to be well-taken. Where circumstances taken singly may be inadequate to prove the intent to form a partnership, nevertheless,
the collective effect of these circumstances may be such as to support a finding of the existence of the parties' intent. 36 Yet, in the case at bench, even the aforesaid circumstances when taken
together are not persuasive indicia of a partnership. They only tend to show that Tan Eng Kee was involved in the operations of Benguet Lumber, but in what capacity is unclear. We cannot
discount the likelihood that as a member of the family, he occupied a niche above the rank-and-file employees. He would have enjoyed liberties otherwise unavailable were he not kin, such as
his residence in the Benguet Lumber Company compound. He would have moral, if not actual, superiority over his fellow employees, thereby entitling him to exercise powers of supervision. It
may even be that among his duties is to place orders with suppliers. Again, the circumstances proffered by petitioners do not provide a logical nexus to the conclusion desired; these are not
inconsistent with the powers and duties of a manager, even in a business organized and run as informally as Benguet Lumber Company.

There being no partnership, it follows that there is no dissolution, winding up or liquidation to speak of. Hence, the petition must fail.

WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby denied, and the appealed decision of the Court of Appeals is herebyAFFIRMED in toto. No pronouncement as to costs.

SO ORDERED.

Bellosillo, Mendoza, Quisumbing and Buena, JJ ., concur.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila

THIRD DIVISION

G.R. No. 172690

March 3, 2010

HEIRS OF JOSE LIM, represented by ELENITO LIM, Petitioners,


vs.
JULIET VILLA LIM, Respondent.

DECISION

NACHURA, J.:

Before this Court is a Petition for Review on Certiorari1 under Rule 45 of the Rules of Civil Procedure, assailing the Court of Appeals (CA) Decision 2 dated June 29, 2005, which reversed and
set aside the decision3 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Lucena City, dated April 12, 2004.

The facts of the case are as follows:

Petitioners are the heirs of the late Jose Lim (Jose), namely: Jose's widow Cresencia Palad (Cresencia); and their children Elenito, Evelia, Imelda, Edelyna and Edison, all surnamed Lim
(petitioners), represented by Elenito Lim (Elenito). They filed a Complaint4 for Partition, Accounting and Damages against respondent Juliet Villa Lim (respondent), widow of the late Elfledo Lim
(Elfledo), who was the eldest son of Jose and Cresencia.

Petitioners alleged that Jose was the liaison officer of Interwood Sawmill in Cagsiay, Mauban, Quezon. Sometime in 1980, Jose, together with his friends Jimmy Yu (Jimmy) and Norberto Uy
(Norberto), formed a partnership to engage in the trucking business. Initially, with a contribution of P50,000.00 each, they purchased a truck to be used in the hauling and transport of lumber of
the sawmill. Jose managed the operations of this trucking business until his death on August 15, 1981. Thereafter, Jose's heirs, including Elfledo, and partners agreed to continue the business
under the management of Elfledo. The shares in the partnership profits and income that formed part of the estate of Jose were held in trust by Elfledo, with petitioners' authority for Elfledo to
use, purchase or acquire properties using said funds.

Petitioners also alleged that, at that time, Elfledo was a fresh commerce graduate serving as his fathers driver in the trucking business. He was never a partner or an investor in the business
and merely supervised the purchase of additional trucks using the income from the trucking business of the partners. By the time the partnership ceased, it had nine trucks, which were all
registered in Elfledo's name. Petitioners asseverated that it was also through Elfledos management of the partnership that he was able to purchase numerous real properties by using the
profits derived therefrom, all of which were registered in his name and that of respondent. In addition to the nine trucks, Elfledo also acquired five other motor vehicles.

On May 18, 1995, Elfledo died, leaving respondent as his sole surviving heir. Petitioners claimed that respondent took over the administration of the aforementioned properties, which belonged
to the estate of Jose, without their consent and approval. Claiming that they are co-owners of the properties, petitioners required respondent to submit an accounting of all income, profits and
rentals received from the estate of Elfledo, and to surrender the administration thereof. Respondent refused; thus, the filing of this case.

Respondent traversed petitioners' allegations and claimed that Elfledo was himself a partner of Norberto and Jimmy. Respondent also claimed that per testimony of Cresencia, sometime in
1980, Jose gave ElfledoP50,000.00 as the latter's capital in an informal partnership with Jimmy and Norberto. When Elfledo and respondent got married in 1981, the partnership only had one
truck; but through the efforts of Elfledo, the business flourished. Other than this trucking business, Elfledo, together with respondent, engaged in other business ventures. Thus, they were able
to buy real properties and to put up their own car assembly and repair business. When Norberto was ambushed and killed on July 16, 1993, the trucking business started to falter. When Elfledo
died on May 18, 1995 due to a heart attack, respondent talked to Jimmy and to the heirs of Norberto, as she could no longer run the business. Jimmy suggested that three out of the nine trucks
be given to him as his share, while the other three trucks be given to the heirs of Norberto. However, Norberto's wife, Paquita Uy, was not interested in the vehicles. Thus, she sold the same to
respondent, who paid for them in installments.

Respondent also alleged that when Jose died in 1981, he left no known assets, and the partnership with Jimmy and Norberto ceased upon his demise. Respondent also stressed that Jose left
no properties that Elfledo could have held in trust. Respondent maintained that all the properties involved in this case were purchased and acquired through her and her husbands joint efforts
and hard work, and without any participation or contribution from petitioners or from Jose. Respondent submitted that these are conjugal partnership properties; and thus, she had the right to
refuse to render an accounting for the income or profits of their own business.

Trial on the merits ensued. On April 12, 2004, the RTC rendered its decision in favor of petitioners, thus:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered:

1) Ordering the partition of the above-mentioned properties equally between the plaintiffs and heirs of Jose Lim and the defendant Juliet Villa-Lim; and

2) Ordering the defendant to submit an accounting of all incomes, profits and rentals received by her from said properties.

SO ORDERED.

Aggrieved, respondent appealed to the CA.

On June 29, 2005, the CA reversed and set aside the RTC's decision, dismissing petitioners' complaint for lack of merit. Undaunted, petitioners filed their Motion for Reconsideration, 5 which the
CA, however, denied in its Resolution6 dated May 8, 2006.

Hence, this Petition, raising the sole question, viz.:

IN THE APPRECIATION BY THE COURT OF THE EVIDENCE SUBMITTED BY THE PARTIES, CAN THE TESTIMONY OF ONE OF THE PETITIONERS BE GIVEN GREATER WEIGHT
THAN THAT BY A FORMER PARTNER ON THE ISSUE OF THE IDENTITY OF THE OTHER PARTNERS IN THE PARTNERSHIP? 7

In essence, petitioners argue that according to the testimony of Jimmy, the sole surviving partner, Elfledo was not a partner; and that he and Norberto entered into a partnership with Jose. Thus,
the CA erred in not giving that testimony greater weight than that of Cresencia, who was merely the spouse of Jose and not a party to the partnership. 8

Respondent counters that the issue raised by petitioners is not proper in a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Civil Procedure, as it would entail the review, evaluation,
calibration, and re-weighing of the factual findings of the CA. Moreover, respondent invokes the rationale of the CA decision that, in light of the admissions of Cresencia and Edison and the
testimony of respondent, the testimony of Jimmy was effectively refuted; accordingly, the CA's reversal of the RTC's findings was fully justified. 9

We resolve first the procedural matter regarding the propriety of the instant Petition.

Verily, the evaluation and calibration of the evidence necessarily involves consideration of factual issues an exercise that is not appropriate for a petition for review on certiorari under Rule
45. This rule provides that the parties may raise only questions of law, because the Supreme Court is not a trier of facts. Generally, we are not duty-bound to analyze again and weigh the
evidence introduced in and considered by the tribunals below.10When supported by substantial evidence, the findings of fact of the CA are conclusive and binding on the parties and are not
reviewable by this Court, unless the case falls under any of the following recognized exceptions:

(1) When the conclusion is a finding grounded entirely on speculation, surmises and conjectures;

(2) When the inference made is manifestly mistaken, absurd or impossible;

(3) Where there is a grave abuse of discretion;

(4) When the judgment is based on a misapprehension of facts;

(5) When the findings of fact are conflicting;

(6) When the Court of Appeals, in making its findings, went beyond the issues of the case and the same is contrary to the admissions of both appellant and appellee;

(7) When the findings are contrary to those of the trial court;

(8) When the findings of fact are conclusions without citation of specific evidence on which they are based;

(9) When the facts set forth in the petition as well as in the petitioners' main and reply briefs are not disputed by the respondents; and

(10) When the findings of fact of the Court of Appeals are premised on the supposed absence of evidence and contradicted by the evidence on record. 11

We note, however, that the findings of fact of the RTC are contrary to those of the CA. Thus, our review of such findings is warranted.

On the merits of the case, we find that the instant Petition is bereft of merit.

A partnership exists when two or more persons agree to place their money, effects, labor, and skill in lawful commerce or business, with the understanding that there shall be a proportionate
sharing of the profits and losses among them. A contract of partnership is defined by the Civil Code as one where two or more persons bind themselves to contribute money, property, or
industry to a common fund, with the intention of dividing the profits among themselves.12

Undoubtedly, the best evidence would have been the contract of partnership or the articles of partnership. Unfortunately, there is none in this case, because the alleged partnership was never
formally organized. Nonetheless, we are asked to determine who between Jose and Elfledo was the "partner" in the trucking business.

A careful review of the records persuades us to affirm the CA decision. The evidence presented by petitioners falls short of the quantum of proof required to establish that: (1) Jose was the
partner and not Elfledo; and (2) all the properties acquired by Elfledo and respondent form part of the estate of Jose, having been derived from the alleged partnership.

Petitioners heavily rely on Jimmy's testimony. But that testimony is just one piece of evidence against respondent. It must be considered and weighed along with petitioners' other evidence vis-vis respondent's contrary evidence. In civil cases, the party having the burden of proof must establish his case by a preponderance of evidence. "Preponderance of evidence" is the weight,
credit, and value of the aggregate evidence on either side and is usually considered synonymous with the term "greater weight of the evidence" or "greater weight of the credible evidence."
"Preponderance of evidence" is a phrase that, in the last analysis, means probability of the truth. It is evidence that is more convincing to the court as worthy of belief than that which is offered
in opposition thereto.13 Rule 133, Section 1 of the Rules of Court provides the guidelines in determining preponderance of evidence, thus:

SECTION I. Preponderance of evidence, how determined. In civil cases, the party having burden of proof must establish his case by a preponderance of evidence. In determining where the
preponderance or superior weight of evidence on the issues involved lies, the court may consider all the facts and circumstances of the case, the witnesses' manner of testifying, their
intelligence, their means and opportunity of knowing the facts to which they are testifying, the nature of the facts to which they testify, the probability or improbability of their testimony, their
interest or want of interest, and also their personal credibility so far as the same may legitimately appear upon the trial. The court may also consider the number of witnesses, though the
preponderance is not necessarily with the greater number.

At this juncture, our ruling in Heirs of Tan Eng Kee v. Court of Appeals14 is enlightening. Therein, we cited Article 1769 of the Civil Code, which provides:

Art. 1769. In determining whether a partnership exists, these rules shall apply:

(1) Except as provided by Article 1825, persons who are not partners as to each other are not partners as to third persons;

(2) Co-ownership or co-possession does not of itself establish a partnership, whether such co-owners or co-possessors do or do not share any profits made by the use of the
property;

(3) The sharing of gross returns does not of itself establish a partnership, whether or not the persons sharing them have a joint or common right or interest in any property from
which the returns are derived;

(4) The receipt by a person of a share of the profits of a business is a prima facie evidence that he is a partner in the business, but no such inference shall be drawn if such profits
were received in payment:

(a) As a debt by installments or otherwise;

(b) As wages of an employee or rent to a landlord;

(c) As an annuity to a widow or representative of a deceased partner;

(d) As interest on a loan, though the amount of payment vary with the profits of the business;

(e) As the consideration for the sale of a goodwill of a business or other property by installments or otherwise.

Applying the legal provision to the facts of this case, the following circumstances tend to prove that Elfledo was himself the partner of Jimmy and Norberto: 1) Cresencia testified that Jose gave
Elfledo P50,000.00, as share in the partnership, on a date that coincided with the payment of the initial capital in the partnership; 15 (2) Elfledo ran the affairs of the partnership, wielding absolute
control, power and authority, without any intervention or opposition whatsoever from any of petitioners herein; 16 (3) all of the properties, particularly the nine trucks of the partnership, were
registered in the name of Elfledo; (4) Jimmy testified that Elfledo did not receive wages or salaries from the partnership, indicating that what he actually received were shares of the profits of the
business;17 and (5) none of the petitioners, as heirs of Jose, the alleged partner, demanded periodic accounting from Elfledo during his lifetime. As repeatedly stressed in Heirs of Tan Eng
Kee,18 a demand for periodic accounting is evidence of a partnership.

Furthermore, petitioners failed to adduce any evidence to show that the real and personal properties acquired and registered in the names of Elfledo and respondent formed part of the estate of
Jose, having been derived from Jose's alleged partnership with Jimmy and Norberto. They failed to refute respondent's claim that Elfledo and respondent engaged in other businesses. Edison
even admitted that Elfledo also sold Interwood lumber as a sideline.19 Petitioners could not offer any credible evidence other than their bare assertions. Thus, we apply the basic rule of evidence
that between documentary and oral evidence, the former carries more weight. 20

Finally, we agree with the judicious findings of the CA, to wit:

The above testimonies prove that Elfledo was not just a hired help but one of the partners in the trucking business, active and visible in the running of its affairs from day one until this ceased
operations upon his demise. The extent of his control, administration and management of the partnership and its business, the fact that its properties were placed in his name, and that he was
not paid salary or other compensation by the partners, are indicative of the fact that Elfledo was a partner and a controlling one at that. It is apparent that the other partners only contributed in
the initial capital but had no say thereafter on how the business was ran. Evidently it was through Elfredos efforts and hard work that the partnership was able to acquire more trucks and
otherwise prosper. Even the appellant participated in the affairs of the partnership by acting as the bookkeeper sans salary.
1avvphi1

It is notable too that Jose Lim died when the partnership was barely a year old, and the partnership and its business not only continued but also flourished. If it were true that it was Jose Lim
and not Elfledo who was the partner, then upon his death the partnership should have

been dissolved and its assets liquidated. On the contrary, these were not done but instead its operation continued under the helm of Elfledo and without any participation from the heirs of Jose
Lim.

Whatever properties appellant and her husband had acquired, this was through their own concerted efforts and hard work. Elfledo did not limit himself to the business of their partnership but
engaged in other lines of businesses as well.

In sum, we find no cogent reason to disturb the findings and the ruling of the CA as they are amply supported by the law and by the evidence on record.

WHEREFORE, the instant Petition is DENIED. The assailed Court of Appeals Decision dated June 29, 2005 is AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioners.

SO ORDERED.

ANTONIO EDUARDO B. NACHURA


Associate Justice

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila

EN BANC

G.R. No. L-24193

June 28, 1968

MAURICIO AGAD, plaintiff-appellant,


vs.
SEVERINO MABATO and MABATO and AGAD COMPANY, defendants-appellees.

Angeles, Maskarino and Associates for plaintiff-appellant.


Victorio S. Advincula for defendants-appellees.

CONCEPCION, C.J.:

In this appeal, taken by plaintiff Mauricio Agad, from an order of dismissal of the Court of First Instance of Davao, we are called upon to determine the applicability of Article 1773 of our Civil
Code to the contract of partnership on which the complaint herein is based.

Alleging that he and defendant Severino Mabato are pursuant to a public instrument dated August 29, 1952, copy of which is attached to the complaint as Annex "A" partners in a fishpond
business, to the capital of which Agad contributed P1,000, with the right to receive 50% of the profits; that from 1952 up to and including 1956, Mabato who handled the partnership funds, had
yearly rendered accounts of the operations of the partnership; and that, despite repeated demands, Mabato had failed and refused to render accounts for the years 1957 to 1963, Agad prayed
in his complaint against Mabato and Mabato & Agad Company, filed on June 9, 1964, that judgment be rendered sentencing Mabato to pay him (Agad) the sum of P14,000, as his share in the
profits of the partnership for the period from 1957 to 1963, in addition to P1,000 as attorney's fees, and ordering the dissolution of the partnership, as well as the winding up of its affairs by a
receiver to be appointed therefor.

In his answer, Mabato admitted the formal allegations of the complaint and denied the existence of said partnership, upon the ground that the contract therefor had not been perfected, despite
the execution of Annex "A", because Agad had allegedly failed to give his P1,000 contribution to the partnership capital. Mabato prayed, therefore, that the complaint be dismissed; that Annex
"A" be declared void ab initio; and that Agad be sentenced to pay actual, moral and exemplary damages, as well as attorney's fees.

Subsequently, Mabato filed a motion to dismiss, upon the ground that the complaint states no cause of action and that the lower court had no jurisdiction over the subject matter of the case,
because it involves principally the determination of rights over public lands. After due hearing, the court issued the order appealed from, granting the motion to dismiss the complaint for failure
to state a cause of action. This conclusion was predicated upon the theory that the contract of partnership, Annex "A", is null and void, pursuant to Art. 1773 of our Civil Code, because an
inventory of the fishpond referred in said instrument had not been attached thereto. A reconsideration of this order having been denied, Agad brought the matter to us for review by record on
appeal.

Articles 1771 and 1773 of said Code provide:

Art. 1771. A partnership may be constituted in any form, except where immovable property or real rights are contributed thereto, in which case a public instrument shall be
necessary.

Art. 1773. A contract of partnership is void, whenever immovable property is contributed thereto, if inventory of said property is not made, signed by the parties; and attached to
the public instrument.

The issue before us hinges on whether or not "immovable property or real rights" have been contributed to the partnership under consideration. Mabato alleged and the lower court held that the
answer should be in the affirmative, because "it is really inconceivable how a partnership engaged in the fishpond business could exist without said fishpond property (being) contributed to the
partnership." It should be noted, however, that, as stated in Annex "A" the partnership was established "to operate a fishpond", not to "engage in a fishpond business". Moreover, none of the
partners contributed either a fishpond or a real right to any fishpond. Their contributions were limited to the sum of P1,000 each. Indeed, Paragraph 4 of Annex "A" provides:

That the capital of the said partnership is Two Thousand (P2,000.00) Pesos Philippine Currency, of which One Thousand (P1,000.00) pesos has been contributed by Severino
Mabato and One Thousand (P1,000.00) Pesos has been contributed by Mauricio Agad.

xxx

xxx

xxx

The operation of the fishpond mentioned in Annex "A" was the purpose of the partnership. Neither said fishpond nor a real right thereto was contributed to the partnership or became part of the
capital thereof, even if a fishpond or a real right thereto could become part of its assets.

WHEREFORE, we find that said Article 1773 of the Civil Code is not in point and that, the order appealed from should be, as it is hereby set aside and the case remanded to the lower court for
further proceedings, with the costs of this instance against defendant-appellee, Severino Mabato. It is so ordered.

Reyes, J.B.L., Dizon, Makalintal, Zaldivar, Sanchez, Castro, Angeles and Fernando, JJ., concur.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila

THIRD DIVISION

G.R. No. 134559 December 9, 1999

ANTONIA TORRES assisted by her husband, ANGELO TORRES; and EMETERIA BARING, petitioners,
vs.
COURT OF APPEALS and MANUEL TORRES, respondents.

PANGANIBAN, J.:

Courts may not extricate parties from the necessary consequences of their acts. That the terms of a contract turn out to be financially disadvantageous to them will not relieve them of their
obligations therein. The lack of an inventory of real property will not ipso facto release the contracting partners from their respective obligations to each other arising from acts executed in
accordance with their agreement.

The Case

of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-GR CV No. 42378 and


its June 25, 1998 Resolution denying reconsideration. The assailed Decision affirmed the ruling of the
Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Cebu City in Civil Case No. R-21208, which disposed as follows:
The Petition for Review on Certiorari before us assails the March 5, 1998 Decision

WHEREFORE, for all the foregoing considerations, the Court, finding for the defendant and against the plaintiffs, orders the dismissal of the plaintiffs complaint.
The counterclaims of the defendant are likewise ordered dismissed. No pronouncement as to costs. 3

The Facts

Sisters Antonia Torres and Emeteria Baring, herein petitioners, entered into a "joint venture agreement" with Respondent Manuel Torres for the development of a parcel of land into a
subdivision. Pursuant to the contract, they executed a Deed of Sale covering the said parcel of land in favor of respondent, who then had it registered in his name. By mortgaging the property,
respondent obtained from Equitable Bank a loan of P40,000 which, under the Joint Venture Agreement, was to be used for the development of the subdivision.

All three of them

also agreed to share the proceeds from the sale of the subdivided lots.
The project did not push through, and the land was subsequently foreclosed by the bank.

According to petitioners, the project failed because of "respondent's lack of funds or means and skills." They add that respondent used the loan not for the development of the subdivision, but in
furtherance of his own company, Universal Umbrella Company.

On the other hand, respondent alleged that he used the loan to implement the Agreement. With the said amount, he was able to effect the survey and the subdivision of the lots. He secured the
Lapu Lapu City Council's approval of the subdivision project which he advertised in a local newspaper. He also caused the construction of roads, curbs and gutters. Likewise, he entered into a
contract with an engineering firm for the building of sixty low-cost housing units and actually even set up a model house on one of the subdivision lots. He did all of these for a total expense of
P85,000.

Respondent claimed that the subdivision project failed, however, because petitioners and their relatives had separately caused the annotations of adverse claims on the title to the land, which
eventually scared away prospective buyers. Despite his requests, petitioners refused to cause the clearing of the claims, thereby forcing him to give up on the project. 5

Subsequently, petitioners filed a criminal case for estafa against respondent and his wife, who were however acquitted. Thereafter, they filed the present civil case which, upon respondent's
motion, was later dismissed by the trial court in an Order dated September 6, 1982. On appeal, however, the appellate court remanded the case for further proceedings. Thereafter, the RTC
issued its assailed Decision, which, as earlier stated, was affirmed by the CA.

Hence, this Petition. 6

Ruling of the Court of Appeals

In affirming the trial court, the Court of Appeals held that petitioners and respondent had formed a partnership for the development of the subdivision. Thus, they must bear the loss suffered by
the partnership in the same proportion as their share in the profits stipulated in the contract. Disagreeing with the trial court's pronouncement that losses as well as profits in a joint venture
should be distributed equally, 7

the CA invoked Article 1797 of the Civil Code which provides:

Art. 1797 The losses and profits shall be distributed in conformity with the agreement. If only the share of each partner in the profits has been agreed upon, the
share of each in the losses shall be in the same proportion.

The CA elucidated further:

In the absence of stipulation, the share of each partner in the profits and losses shall be in proportion to what he may have contributed, but the industrial partner
shall not be liable for the losses. As for the profits, the industrial partner shall receive such share as may be just and equitable under the circumstances. If besides
his services he has contributed capital, he shall also receive a share in the profits in proportion to his capital.

The Issue

Petitioners impute to the Court of Appeals the following error:

. . . [The] Court of Appeals erred in concluding that the transaction


. . . between the petitioners and respondent was that of a joint venture/partnership, ignoring outright the provision of Article 1769, and other related provisions of
the Civil Code of the Philippines. 8

The Court's Ruling

The Petition is bereft of merit.

Main Issue:

Existence of a Partnership

Petitioners deny having formed a partnership with respondent. They contend that the Joint Venture Agreement and the earlier Deed of Sale, both of which were the bases of the appellate
court's finding of a partnership, were void.

In the same breath, however, they assert that under those very same contracts, respondent is liable for his failure to implement the project. Because the agreement entitled them to receive 60
percent of the proceeds from the sale of the subdivision lots, they pray that respondent pay them damages equivalent to 60 percent of the value of the property. 9

The pertinent portions of the Joint Venture Agreement read as follows:

KNOW ALL MEN BY THESE PRESENTS:

This AGREEMENT, is made and entered into at Cebu City, Philippines, this 5th day of March, 1969, by and between MR. MANUEL R. TORRES, . . . the FIRST
PARTY, likewise, MRS. ANTONIA B. TORRES, and MISS EMETERIA BARING, . . . the SECOND PARTY:

WITNESSETH:

That, whereas, the SECOND PARTY, voluntarily offered the FIRST PARTY, this property located at Lapu-Lapu City, Island of Mactan, under Lot No. 1368 covering
TCT No. T-0184 with a total area of 17,009 square meters, to be sub-divided by the FIRST PARTY;

Whereas, the FIRST PARTY had given the SECOND PARTY, the sum of: TWENTY THOUSAND (P20,000.00) Pesos, Philippine Currency upon the execution of
this contract for the property entrusted by the SECOND PARTY, for sub-division projects and development purposes;

NOW THEREFORE, for and in consideration of the above covenants and promises herein contained the respective parties hereto do hereby stipulate and agree
as follows:

ONE: That the SECOND PARTY signed an absolute Deed of Sale . . . dated March 5, 1969, in the amount of TWENTY FIVE THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED
THIRTEEN & FIFTY CTVS. (P25,513.50) Philippine Currency, for 1,700 square meters at ONE [PESO] & FIFTY CTVS. (P1.50) Philippine Currency, in favor of the
FIRST PARTY, but the SECOND PARTY did not actually receive the payment.

SECOND: That the SECOND PARTY, had received from the FIRST PARTY, the necessary amount of TWENTY THOUSAND (P20,000.00) pesos, Philippine
currency, for their personal obligations and this particular amount will serve as an advance payment from the FIRST PARTY for the property mentioned to be subdivided and to be deducted from the sales.

THIRD: That the FIRST PARTY, will not collect from the SECOND PARTY, the interest and the principal amount involving the amount of TWENTY THOUSAND
(P20,000.00) Pesos, Philippine Currency, until the sub-division project is terminated and ready for sale to any interested parties, and the amount of TWENTY
THOUSAND (P20,000.00) pesos, Philippine currency, will be deducted accordingly.

FOURTH: That all general expense[s] and all cost[s] involved in the sub-division project should be paid by the FIRST PARTY, exclusively and all the expenses will
not be deducted from the sales after the development of the sub-division project.

FIFTH: That the sales of the sub-divided lots will be divided into SIXTY PERCENTUM 60% for the SECOND PARTY and FORTY PERCENTUM 40% for the FIRST
PARTY, and additional profits or whatever income deriving from the sales will be divided equally according to the . . . percentage [agreed upon] by both parties.

SIXTH: That the intended sub-division project of the property involved will start the work and all improvements upon the adjacent lots will be negotiated in both
parties['] favor and all sales shall [be] decided by both parties.

SEVENTH: That the SECOND PARTIES, should be given an option to get back the property mentioned provided the amount of TWENTY THOUSAND
(P20,000.00) Pesos, Philippine Currency, borrowed by the SECOND PARTY, will be paid in full to the FIRST PARTY, including all necessary improvements spent
by the FIRST PARTY, and-the FIRST PARTY will be given a grace period to turnover the property mentioned above.

That this AGREEMENT shall be binding and obligatory to the parties who executed same freely and voluntarily for the uses and purposes therein stated.

10

A reading of the terms embodied in the Agreement indubitably shows the existence of a partnership pursuant to Article 1767 of the Civil Code, which provides:

Art. 1767. By the contract of partnership two or more persons bind themselves to contribute money, property, or industry to a common fund, with the intention of
dividing the profits among themselves.

Under the above-quoted Agreement, petitioners would contribute property to the partnership in the form of land which was to be developed into a subdivision; while respondent would give, in
addition to his industry, the amount needed for general expenses and other costs. Furthermore, the income from the said project would be divided according to the stipulated percentage.
Clearly, the contract manifested the intention of the parties to form a partnership. 11

It should be stressed that the parties implemented the contract. Thus, petitioners transferred the title to the land to facilitate its use in the name of the respondent. On the other hand, respondent
caused the subject land to be mortgaged, the proceeds of which were used for the survey and the subdivision of the land. As noted earlier, he developed the roads, the curbs and the gutters of
the subdivision and entered into a contract to construct low-cost housing units on the property.

Respondent's actions clearly belie petitioners' contention that he made no contribution to the partnership. Under Article 1767 of the Civil Code, a partner may contribute not only money or
property, but also industry.

Petitioners Bound by

Terms of Contract

Under Article 1315 of the Civil Code, contracts bind the parties not only to what has been expressly stipulated, but also to all necessary consequences thereof, as follows:

Art. 1315. Contracts are perfected by mere consent, and from that moment the parties are bound not only to the fulfillment of what has been expressly stipulated
but also to all the consequences which, according to their nature, may be in keeping with good faith, usage and law.

It is undisputed that petitioners are educated and are thus presumed to have understood the terms of the contract they voluntarily signed. If it was not in consonance with their expectations,
they should have objected to it and insisted on the provisions they wanted.

Courts are not authorized to extricate parties from the necessary consequences of their acts, and the fact that the contractual stipulations may turn out to be financially disadvantageous will not
relieve parties thereto of their obligations. They cannot now disavow the relationship formed from such agreement due to their supposed misunderstanding of its terms.

Alleged Nullity of the

Partnership Agreement

Petitioners argue that the Joint Venture Agreement is void under Article 1773 of the Civil Code, which provides:

Art. 1773. A contract of partnership is void, whenever immovable property is contributed thereto, if an inventory of said property is not made, signed by the parties,
and attached to the public instrument.

They contend that since the parties did not make, sign or attach to the public instrument an inventory of the real property contributed, the partnership is void.

We clarify. First, Article 1773 was intended primarily to protect third persons. Thus, the eminent Arturo M. Tolentino states that under the aforecited provision which is a complement of Article

"The execution of a public instrument would be useless if there is no inventory of the property
contributed, because without its designation and description, they cannot be subject to inscription in the
Registry of Property, and their contribution cannot prejudice third persons. This will result in fraud to those
who contract with the partnership in the belief [in] the efficacy of the guaranty in which the immovables
may consist. Thus, the contract is declared void by the law when no such inventory is made." The case at
bar does not involve third parties who may be prejudiced.
1771, 12

They cannot in
one breath deny the contract and in another recognize it, depending on what momentarily suits their
purpose. Parties cannot adopt inconsistent positions in regard to a contract and courts will not tolerate,
much less approve, such practice.
Second, petitioners themselves invoke the allegedly void contract as basis for their claim that respondent should pay them 60 percent of the value of the property.

13

In short, the alleged nullity of the partnership will not prevent courts from considering the Joint Venture Agreement an ordinary contract from which the parties' rights and obligations to each
other may be inferred and enforced.

Partnership Agreement Not the Result

of an Earlier Illegal Contract

of the Civil Code, because it is the direct result of an


earlier illegal contract, which was for the sale of the land without valid consideration.
Petitioners also contend that the Joint Venture Agreement is void under Article 1422

14

This argument is puerile. The Joint Venture Agreement clearly states that the consideration for the sale was the expectation of profits from the subdivision project. Its first stipulation states that
petitioners did not actually receive payment for the parcel of land sold to respondent. Consideration, more properly denominated as cause, can take different forms, such as the prestation or
promise of a thing or service by another. 15

In this case, the cause of the contract of sale consisted not in the stated peso value of the land, but in the expectation of profits from the subdivision project, for which the land was intended to
be used. As explained by the trial court, "the land was in effect given to the partnership as [petitioner's] participation therein. . . . There was therefore a consideration for the sale, the [petitioners]
acting in the expectation that, should the venture come into fruition, they [would] get sixty percent of the net profits."

Liability of the Parties

Claiming that rerpondent was solely responsible for the failure of the subdivision project, petitioners maintain that he should be made to pay damages equivalent to 60 percent of the value of
the property, which was their share in the profits under the Joint Venture Agreement.

But it also ruled that neither was


respondent responsible therefor. In imputing the blame solely to him, petitioners failed to give any
reason why we should disregard the factual findings of the appellate court relieving him of fault. Verily,
factual issues cannot be resolved in a petition for review under Rule 45, as in this case. Petitioners have
not alleged, not to say shown, that their Petition constitutes one of the exceptions to this
doctrine. Accordingly, we find no reversible error in the CA's ruling that petitioners are not entitled to
damages.
We are not persuaded. True, the Court of Appeals held that petitioners' acts were not the cause of the failure of the project.
17

18

WHEREFORE, the Perition is hereby DENIED and the challenged Decision AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioners.

SO ORDERED

Melo, Vitug, Purisima and Gonzaga-Reyes, JJ., concur.

16

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila

EN BANC

G.R. No. L-25532

February 28, 1969

COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, petitioner,


vs.
WILLIAM J. SUTER and THE COURT OF TAX APPEALS, respondents.

Office of the Solicitor General Antonio P. Barredo, Assistant Solicitor General Felicisimo R. Rosete and Special Attorneys B. Gatdula, Jr. and T. Temprosa Jr. for petitioner.
A. S. Monzon, Gutierrez, Farrales and Ong for respondents.

REYES, J.B.L., J.:

A limited partnership, named "William J. Suter 'Morcoin' Co., Ltd.," was formed on 30 September 1947 by herein respondent William J. Suter as the general partner, and Julia Spirig and Gustav
Carlson, as the limited partners. The partners contributed, respectively, P20,000.00, P18,000.00 and P2,000.00 to the partnership. On 1 October 1947, the limited partnership was registered
with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The firm engaged, among other activities, in the importation, marketing, distribution and operation of automatic phonographs, radios, television
sets and amusement machines, their parts and accessories. It had an office and held itself out as a limited partnership, handling and carrying merchandise, using invoices, bills and letterheads
bearing its trade-name, maintaining its own books of accounts and bank accounts, and had a quota allocation with the Central Bank.

In 1948, however, general partner Suter and limited partner Spirig got married and, thereafter, on 18 December 1948, limited partner Carlson sold his share in the partnership to Suter and his
wife. The sale was duly recorded with the Securities and Exchange Commission on 20 December 1948.

The limited partnership had been filing its income tax returns as a corporation, without objection by the herein petitioner, Commissioner of Internal Revenue, until in 1959 when the latter, in an
assessment, consolidated the income of the firm and the individual incomes of the partners-spouses Suter and Spirig resulting in a determination of a deficiency income tax against respondent
Suter in the amount of P2,678.06 for 1954 and P4,567.00 for 1955.

Respondent Suter protested the assessment, and requested its cancellation and withdrawal, as not in accordance with law, but his request was denied. Unable to secure a reconsideration, he
appealed to the Court of Tax Appeals, which court, after trial, rendered a decision, on 11 November 1965, reversing that of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue.

The present case is a petition for review, filed by the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, of the tax court's aforesaid decision. It raises these issues:

(a) Whether or not the corporate personality of the William J. Suter "Morcoin" Co., Ltd. should be disregarded for income tax purposes, considering that respondent William J. Suter and his wife,
Julia Spirig Suter actually formed a single taxable unit; and

(b) Whether or not the partnership was dissolved after the marriage of the partners, respondent William J. Suter and Julia Spirig Suter and the subsequent sale to them by the remaining
partner, Gustav Carlson, of his participation of P2,000.00 in the partnership for a nominal amount of P1.00.

The theory of the petitioner, Commissioner of Internal Revenue, is that the marriage of Suter and Spirig and their subsequent acquisition of the interests of remaining partner Carlson in the
partnership dissolved the limited partnership, and if they did not, the fiction of juridical personality of the partnership should be disregarded for income tax purposes because the spouses have

exclusive ownership and control of the business; consequently the income tax return of respondent Suter for the years in question should have included his and his wife's individual incomes
and that of the limited partnership, in accordance with Section 45 (d) of the National Internal Revenue Code, which provides as follows:

(d) Husband and wife. In the case of married persons, whether citizens, residents or non-residents, only one consolidated return for the taxable year shall be filed by either
spouse to cover the income of both spouses; ....

In refutation of the foregoing, respondent Suter maintains, as the Court of Tax Appeals held, that his marriage with limited partner Spirig and their acquisition of Carlson's interests in the
partnership in 1948 is not a ground for dissolution of the partnership, either in the Code of Commerce or in the New Civil Code, and that since its juridical personality had not been affected and
since, as a limited partnership, as contra distinguished from a duly registered general partnership, it is taxable on its income similarly with corporations, Suter was not bound to include in his
individual return the income of the limited partnership.

We find the Commissioner's appeal unmeritorious.

The thesis that the limited partnership, William J. Suter "Morcoin" Co., Ltd., has been dissolved by operation of law because of the marriage of the only general partner, William J. Suter to the
originally limited partner, Julia Spirig one year after the partnership was organized is rested by the appellant upon the opinion of now Senator Tolentino in Commentaries and Jurisprudence on
Commercial Laws of the Philippines, Vol. 1, 4th Ed., page 58, that reads as follows:

A husband and a wife may not enter into a contract of general copartnership, because under the Civil Code, which applies in the absence of express provision in the Code of
Commerce, persons prohibited from making donations to each other are prohibited from entering into universal partnerships. (2 Echaverri 196) It follows that the marriage of
partners necessarily brings about the dissolution of a pre-existing partnership. (1 Guy de Montella 58)

The petitioner-appellant has evidently failed to observe the fact that William J. Suter "Morcoin" Co., Ltd. was not a universal partnership, but a particular one. As appears from Articles 1674 and
1675 of the Spanish Civil Code, of 1889 (which was the law in force when the subject firm was organized in 1947), a universal partnership requires either that the object of the association be all
the present property of the partners, as contributed by them to the common fund, or else "all that the partners may acquire by their industry or work during the existence of the partnership".
William J. Suter "Morcoin" Co., Ltd. was not such a universal partnership, since the contributions of the partners were fixed sums of money, P20,000.00 by William Suter and P18,000.00 by
Julia Spirig and neither one of them was an industrial partner. It follows that William J. Suter "Morcoin" Co., Ltd. was not a partnership that spouses were forbidden to enter by Article 1677 of the
Civil Code of 1889.

The former Chief Justice of the Spanish Supreme Court, D. Jose Casan, in his Derecho Civil, 7th Edition, 1952, Volume 4, page 546, footnote 1, says with regard to the prohibition contained in
the aforesaid Article 1677:

Los conyuges, segun esto, no pueden celebrar entre si el contrato de sociedad universal, pero o podran constituir sociedad particular? Aunque el punto ha sido muy debatido,
nos inclinamos a la tesis permisiva de los contratos de sociedad particular entre esposos, ya que ningun precepto de nuestro Codigo los prohibe, y hay que estar a la norma
general segun la que toda persona es capaz para contratar mientras no sea declarado incapaz por la ley. La jurisprudencia de la Direccion de los Registros fue favorable a esta
misma tesis en su resolution de 3 de febrero de 1936, mas parece cambiar de rumbo en la de 9 de marzo de 1943.

Nor could the subsequent marriage of the partners operate to dissolve it, such marriage not being one of the causes provided for that purpose either by the Spanish Civil Code or the Code of
Commerce.

The appellant's view, that by the marriage of both partners the company became a single proprietorship, is equally erroneous. The capital contributions of partners William J. Suter and Julia
Spirig were separately owned and contributed by them before their marriage; and after they were joined in wedlock, such contributions remained their respective separate property under the
Spanish Civil Code (Article 1396):

The following shall be the exclusive property of each spouse:

(a) That which is brought to the marriage as his or her own; ....

Thus, the individual interest of each consort in William J. Suter "Morcoin" Co., Ltd. did not become common property of both after their marriage in 1948.

It being a basic tenet of the Spanish and Philippine law that the partnership has a juridical personality of its own, distinct and separate from that of its partners (unlike American and English law
that does not recognize such separate juridical personality), the bypassing of the existence of the limited partnership as a taxpayer can only be done by ignoring or disregarding clear statutory
mandates and basic principles of our law. The limited partnership's separate individuality makes it impossible to equate its income with that of the component members. True, section 24 of the
Internal Revenue Code merges registered general co-partnerships (compaias colectivas) with the personality of the individual partners for income tax purposes. But this rule is exceptional in
its disregard of a cardinal tenet of our partnership laws, and can not be extended by mere implication to limited partnerships.

The rulings cited by the petitioner (Collector of Internal Revenue vs. University of the Visayas, L-13554, Resolution of 30 October 1964, and Koppel [Phil.], Inc. vs. Yatco, 77 Phil. 504) as
authority for disregarding the fiction of legal personality of the corporations involved therein are not applicable to the present case. In the cited cases, the corporations were already subject to
tax when the fiction of their corporate personality was pierced; in the present case, to do so would exempt the limited partnership from income taxation but would throw the tax burden upon the
partners-spouses in their individual capacities. The corporations, in the cases cited, merely served as business conduits or alter egos of the stockholders, a factor that justified a disregard of
their corporate personalities for tax purposes. This is not true in the present case. Here, the limited partnership is not a mere business conduit of the partner-spouses; it was organized for
legitimate business purposes; it conducted its own dealings with its customers prior to appellee's marriage, and had been filing its own income tax returns as such independent entity. The
change in its membership, brought about by the marriage of the partners and their subsequent acquisition of all interest therein, is no ground for withdrawing the partnership from the coverage
of Section 24 of the tax code, requiring it to pay income tax. As far as the records show, the partners did not enter into matrimony and thereafter buy the interests of the remaining partner with
the premeditated scheme or design to use the partnership as a business conduit to dodge the tax laws. Regularity, not otherwise, is presumed.

As the limited partnership under consideration is taxable on its income, to require that income to be included in the individual tax return of respondent Suter is to overstretch the letter and intent
of the law. In fact, it would even conflict with what it specifically provides in its Section 24: for the appellant Commissioner's stand results in equal treatment, tax wise, of a general copartnership
(compaia colectiva) and a limited partnership, when the code plainly differentiates the two. Thus, the code taxes the latter on its income, but not the former, because it is in the case
of compaias colectivas that the members, and not the firm, are taxable in their individual capacities for any dividend or share of the profit derived from the duly registered general partnership
(Section 26, N.I.R.C.; Araas, Anno. & Juris. on the N.I.R.C., As Amended, Vol. 1, pp. 88-89).
lawphi1.nt

But it is argued that the income of the limited partnership is actually or constructively the income of the spouses and forms part of the conjugal partnership of gains. This is not wholly correct. As
pointed out in Agapito vs. Molo 50 Phil. 779, and People's Bank vs. Register of Deeds of Manila, 60 Phil. 167, the fruits of the wife's parapherna become conjugal only when no longer needed

to defray the expenses for the administration and preservation of the paraphernal capital of the wife. Then again, the appellant's argument erroneously confines itself to the question of the legal
personality of the limited partnership, which is not essential to the income taxability of the partnership since the law taxes the income of even joint accounts that have no personality of their
own. 1Appellant is, likewise, mistaken in that it assumes that the conjugal partnership of gains is a taxable unit, which it is not. What is taxable is the "income of both spouses" (Section 45 [d] in
their individual capacities. Though the amount of income (income of the conjugal partnership vis-a-vis the joint income of husband and wife) may be the same for a given taxable year, their
consequences would be different, as their contributions in the business partnership are not the same.

The difference in tax rates between the income of the limited partnership being consolidated with, and when split from the income of the spouses, is not a justification for requiring consolidation;
the revenue code, as it presently stands, does not authorize it, and even bars it by requiring the limited partnership to pay tax on its own income.

FOR THE FOREGOING REASONS, the decision under review is hereby affirmed. No costs.

Concepcion, C.J., Dizon, Makalintal, Zaldivar, Sanchez, Castro, Fernando, Capistrano and Teehankee, JJ., concur.
Barredo, J., took no part.