Civil Law

Ciriaco Landa vs Mayor Francisco Tobias

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G.R. No. L-24490 – 23 SCRA 928 – Civil Law – Law on Property – Seizure and Auction of Property – Proof of Ownership

In 1962, peace officers Pecate and Alfaro of Cabatuan, Iloilo seized the carabao of Ciriaco Landa for the reason that Landa showed a tampered certificate of ownership which was not even under his name. The carabao was allegedly bought by Landa from a certain Montemayor who was charged with swindling.

The peace officers, pursuant to the Revised Administrative Code  caused the posting of a notice of seizure of the said animal for the rightful owner to claim it. No one came forward, not even Landa, to claim the carabao and prove ownership. An auction was then held. Landa opposed the auction on the ground that the Civil Code provides that contracts (such as the one he had with Montemayor) are enforceable in whatever form they may be provided that all essential requisites for their validity are present. He also alleged that the auction should have been declared as auction for an astray animal.

ISSUE: Whether or not Landa was able to show sufficient proof of ownership.

HELD: No. In the first place, Montemayor was not presented to take the witness stand and prove that there existed a sale between them and Landa and that Montemayor owned the said carabao at the time of the sale.

Further, Landa did not comply with the Revised Administrative Code. He should have registered his cattle, the transfer of said cattle to him, and for this, the issuance of the certificate of transfer to him.

Further still, the carabao cannot be labeled as astray. It was correctly captioned as “sale of unclaimed animal”.

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