CASE DIGEST: Spouses dela Cruz vs. Concepcion

G.R. No. 172825 : October 11, 2012

SPOUSES MINIANO B. DELA CRUZ and LETA L. DELA CRUZ, Petitioners, v. ANA MARIE CONCEPCION, Respondent.

PERALTA, J.:


FACTS:

Petitioners Miniano and Leta Dela Cruz (spouses Dela Cruz) entered into a contract to sell with respondent Ana Marie Concepcion (Concepcion) involving a house and lot for a consideration of PhP 2,000,000.00 payable in installments. As instructed by spousesDela Cruz, Concepcion paid her last installment to a certain Adoracion or "Dori" Losloso. Thus, Concepcion was able to pay the total purchase price and the title to the property was transferred in her favor.

Notwithstanding Concepcions full payment, the spouses Dela Cruz demanded the amount of P209,000.00 purportedly as remaining balance of the purchase price. Concepcion refused to pay the said amount. The spouses averred that Concepcions payment to "Dori" was not valid. Hence, spouses Dela Cruz filed a Complaint for Sum of Money with Damages before the RTC.

In her answer, Concepcion failed to allege the defense of payment of the amount claimed by the spouses. However, during the presentation of her evidence, she submitted a receipt to prove that she had already paid the remaining balance.

The RTC dismissed the spouses complaint. On appeal, the CA affirmed the RTCs decision with modification. Hence, this instant petition.

ISSUES:

I. Whether or not the RTC erred in dismissing the spouses complaint notwithstanding that Concepcion failed to allege in her answer the defense of payment?

II. Whether or not payment to Losloso amounts to a valid tender of payment?

HELD: The petition is without merit.

FIRST ISSUE: The RTC cannot be faulted for admitting respondents testimonial and documentary evidence to prove payment.

REMEDIAL LAW: amendment to conform to or authorize presentation of evidence

Section 1, Rule 9 of the Rules of Court states that "defenses and objections not pleaded either in a motion to dismiss or in the answer are deemed waived." Hence, respondent should have been barred from raising the defense of payment of the unpaid P200,000.00. However, Section 5, Rule 10 of the Rules of Court allows the amendment to conform to or authorize presentation of evidence.

The foregoing provision envisions two scenarios, namely, when evidence is introduced in an issue not alleged in the pleadings and no objection was interjected; and when evidence is offered on an issue not alleged in the pleadings but this time an objection was raised. When the issue is tried without the objection of the parties, it should be treated in all respects as if it had been raised in the pleadings. On the other hand, when there is an objection, the evidence may be admitted where its admission will not prejudice him.

When the receipt was formally offered as evidence, petitioners did not manifest their objection to the admissibility of said document on the ground that payment was not an issue. Since there was an implied consent on the part of petitioners to try the issue of payment, even if no motion was filed and no amendment of the pleading has been ordered, the RTC cannot be faulted for admitting respondents testimonial and documentary evidence to prove payment.

SECOND ISSUE: Payment made to Losloso is deemed payment to the spouses Dela Cruz.

CIVIL LAW: payment

In order to extinguish said obligation, payment should be made to the proper person as set forth in Article 1240 of the Civil Code. The Court explained in Cambroon v. City of Butuan, cited in Republic v. De Guzman, to whom payment should be made in order to extinguish an obligation: "In general, a payment in order to be effective to discharge an obligation, must be made to the proper person. Thus, payment must be made to the obligee himself or to an agent having authority, express or implied, to receive the particular payment. Payment made to one having apparent authority to receive the money will, as a rule, be treated as though actual authority had been given for its receipt. Likewise, if payment is made to one who by law is authorized to act for the creditor, it will work a discharge."

Taking into consideration the busy schedule of respondent, petitioners advised the latter to leave the payment to a certain "Dori" who admittedly is Losloso, or to her trusted helper. This is an express authority given to Losloso to receive payment. Thus, as shown in the receipt signed by petitioners agent and pursuant to the authority granted by petitioners to Losloso, payment made to the latter is deemed payment to petitioners.

Petition is DENIED.

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