Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Davao Sawmill Co., Inc. v. Castillo

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G.R. No. L-40411 August 7, 1935

DAVAO SAW MILL CO., INC., plaintiff-appellant,
APRONIANO G. CASTILLO and DAVAO LIGHT & POWER CO., INC., defendants-appellees.



The Davao Saw Mill Co., Inc., is the holder of a lumber concession from the Government of the Philippine Islands. It has operated a sawmill in the sitio of Maa, barrio of Tigatu, municipality of Davao, Province of Davao. However, the land upon which the business was conducted belonged to another person. On the land the sawmill company erected a building which housed the machinery used by it. Some of the implements thus used were clearly personal property, the conflict concerning machines which were placed and mounted on foundations of cement.

In the contract of lease between the sawmill company and the owner of the land there appeared the following provision:

That on the expiration of the period agreed upon, all the improvements and buildings introduced and erected by the party of the second part shall pass to the exclusive ownership of the party of the first part without any obligation on its part to pay any amount for said improvements and buildings; also, in the event the party of the second part should leave or abandon the land leased before the time herein stipulated, the improvements and buildings shall likewise pass to the ownership of the party of the first part as though the time agreed upon had expired: Provided, however, That the machineries and accessories are not included in the improvements which will pass to the party of the first part on the expiration or abandonment of the land leased.

In another action, wherein the Davao Light & Power Co., Inc., was the plaintiff and the Davao, Saw, Mill Co., Inc., was the defendant, a judgment was rendered in favor of the plaintiff in that action against the defendant in that action; a writ of execution issued thereon, and the properties now in question were levied upon as personalty by the sheriff. No third party claim was filed for such properties at the time of the sales thereof as is borne out by the record made by the plaintiff herein. Indeed the bidder, which was the plaintiff in that action, and the defendant herein having consummated the sale, proceeded to take possession of the machinery and other properties described in the corresponding certificates of sale executed in its favor by the sheriff of Davao.

As connecting up with the facts, it should further be explained that the Davao Saw Mill Co., Inc., has on a number of occasions treated the machinery as personal property by executing chattel mortgages in favor of third persons. One of such persons is the appellee by assignment from the original mortgages.


The sawmill company which erected a building that housed a machinery involves the determination of the nature of the properties described in the complaint whether it is a movable or immovable property.


Article 334, paragraphs 1 and 5, of the Civil Code, is in point. According to the Code, real property consists of —

1. Land, buildings, roads and constructions of all kinds adhering to the soil;

5. Machinery, liquid containers, instruments or implements intended by the owner of any building or land for use in connection with any industry or trade being carried on therein and which are expressly adapted to meet the requirements of such trade of industry.

Appellant emphasizes the first paragraph, and appellees the last mentioned paragraph. We entertain no doubt that the trial judge and appellees are right in their appreciation of the legal doctrines flowing from the facts.
In the first place, it must again be pointed out that the appellant should have registered its protest before or at the time of the sale of this property. It must further be pointed out that while not conclusive, the characterization of the property as chattels by the appellant is indicative of intention and impresses upon the property the character determined by the parties. In this connection the decision of this court in the case of Standard Oil Co. of New York vs. Jaramillo [1923], 44 Phil., 630), whether obiter dicta or not, furnishes the key to such a situation.

It is, however not necessary to spend overly must time in the resolution of this appeal on side issues. It is machinery which is involved; moreover, machinery not intended by the owner of any building or land for use in connection therewith, but intended by a lessee for use in a building erected on the land by the latter to be returned to the lessee on the expiration or abandonment of the lease.
Finding no reversible error in the record, the judgment appealed from will be affirmed, the costs of this instance to be paid by the appellant.

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