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Norkis v.

CA Author: Ocampo, Miguel


G.R. No. 91029. Feb. 7, 1991.
Topic: Loss at time of perfection,
NCC1493-1494.
Ponente: Grino-Aquino, J.
Facts:
Petitioner Norkis Distributors, Inc. is the distributor of Yamaha
motorcycles in Negros Occidental with a Bacolod branch with Avelino
Labajo as the Branch Manager.
Respondent Alberto Nepales bought from such branch a brand new
Maroon Yamaha Wonderbike motorcycle Model YL2DX for P7.5k,
payable by means of a Letter of Guaranty from the Devt Bank of PH
(DBP) which Labajo agreed to accept.
Hence, a P7.5k loan was granted to respondent for the price, payable
by DBP upon release of his motorcycle loan. As security for the loan,
Nepales would execute a chattel mortgage in DBPs favor. Branch
Manager Labajo issued Norkis a sales invoice, which respondent
signed, showing that the contract of sale of the motorcycle had been
perfected. Then the motorcycle was registered in the Land
Transportation Commission in respondents name. But the
motorcycle remained in Norkis' possession, and later on, the
motorcycle was delivered to a certain Julian Nepales who was
allegedly respondents agent but respondent denies it.
On Feb. 3, 1980, after all what they did, the motorcycle met an
accident. An investigation was made showing that the unit was
driven by a certain Zacarias Payba at the time of the accident. The
unit was a total wreck and was returned and stored inside Norkis'
warehouse.
A month later, DBP released the P7.5k loan of respondent's
motorcycle to Norkis. As the price of the motorcycle later increased
to P7.8k, respondent paid the difference of P328 and demanded the
delivery of the motorcycle. Norkis couldnt deliver, hence, this action
for specific performance against Norkis alleging that Norkis failed to
deliver the motorcycle which he purchased, thereby causing him
damages.
Norkis states as defense that the motorcycle had already been
delivered to respondent before the accident, hence, the risk of loss or
damage had to be borne by him as owner of the unit.
RTC rules for respondent. Orders Norkis to deliver a new one of same
brand, kind, quality as it was destroyed in its possession at the time
of the accident. CA affirms.
Norkis appeals contending that there was constructive delivery of the
unit upon:
a. Issuance of the Sales Invoice in respondents name;
b. Registration of the vehicle in respondent's name; and
c. Issuance of official receipt for payment of registration fees.
Issue:
WON petitioner Norkis bears the loss. YES.
Held:
SC points out that the issuance of a sales invoice does not prove
transfer of ownership of the thing sold to the buyer. An invoice is
nothing more than a detailed statement of the nature, quantity and
cost of the thing sold and has been considered not a bill of sale. In all
forms of delivery, it is necessary that the act of delivery whether
constructive or actual, be coupled with the intention of delivering the
thing. The act, without the intention, is insufficient.
When the motorcycle was registered by Norkis respondents name,
Norkis did not intend yet to transfer ownership because this was
DBPs condition for the approval of the loan, that there should be a
chattel mortgage in favor of DBP. If Norkis wouldnt register, no loan
to respondent, hence, no sale.
But before the loan was released, the motorcycle already had an
accident while driven by the Zacarias Payba, who was not shown by
Norkis to be a representative or relative of respondent. The latter's
supposed relative, who allegedly took possession of the vehicle from
Norkis did not explain how Payba got hold of the vehicle on February
3, 1980.
SC also applied NCC1496, in relation to the doctrine of res perit
domino.
Doctrine: In the absence of an express assumption of risk by the buyer, the
things sold remain at seller's risk until the ownership thereof is transferred
to the buyer.