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Republic V.

Bagtas (1962)

G.R. No. L-17474 October 25, 1962

Laws Applicable: Commodatum


 May 8, 1948: Jose V. Bagtas borrowed from the Republic of the Philippines through the Bureau of
Animal Industry three bulls: a Red Sindhi with a book value of P1,176.46, a Bhagnari, of P1,320.56
and a Sahiniwal, of P744.46, for a period of 1 year for breeding purposes subject to a breeding fee
of 10% of the book value of the bulls

 May 7, 1949: Jose requested for a renewal for another year for the three bulls but only one bull
was approved while the others are to be returned

 March 25, 1950: He wrote to the Director of Animal Industry that he would pay the value of the 3

 October 17, 1950: he reiterated his desire to buy them at a value with a deduction of yearly
depreciation to be approved by the Auditor General.

 October 19, 1950: Director of Animal Industry advised him that either the 3 bulls are to be
returned or their book value without deductions should be paid not later than October 31, 1950
which he was not able to do

 December 20, 1950: An action at the CFI was commenced against Jose praying that he be ordered
to return the 3 bulls or to pay their book value of P3,241.45 and the unpaid breeding fee of
P199.62, both with interests, and costs

 July 5, 1951: Jose V. Bagtas, through counsel Navarro, Rosete and Manalo, answered that because
of the bad peace and order situation in Cagayan Valley, particularly in the barrio of Baggao, and
of the pending appeal he had taken to the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the
President of the Philippines, he could not return the animals nor pay their value and prayed for
the dismissal of the complaint.

 RTC: granted the action

 December 1958: granted an ex-parte motion for the appointment of a special sheriff to serve the
writ outside Manila

 December 6, 1958: Felicidad M. Bagtas, the surviving spouse of Jose who died on October 23,
1951 and administratrix of his estate, was notified

 January 7, 1959: she file a motion that the 2 bulls where returned by his son on June 26, 1952
evidenced by recipt and the 3rd bull died from gunshot wound inflicted during a Huk raid and
prayed that the writ of execution be quashed and that a writ of preliminary injunction be issued.

ISSUE: W/N the contract is commodatum and NOT a lease and the estate should be liable for the loss due
to force majeure due to delay.
HELD: YES. writ of execution appealed from is set aside, without pronouncement as to costs

 If contract was commodatum then Bureau of Animal Industry retained ownership or title to the
bull it should suffer its loss due to force majeure. A contract of commodatum is essentially
gratuitous. If the breeding fee be considered a compensation, then the contract would be a lease
of the bull. Under article 1671 of the Civil Code the lessee would be subject to the responsibilities
of a possessor in bad faith, because she had continued possession of the bull after the expiry of
the contract. And even if the contract be commodatum, still the appellant is liable if he keeps it
longer than the period stipulated

 the estate of the late defendant is only liable for the sum of P859.63, the value of the bull which
has not been returned because it was killed while in the custody of the administratrix of his estate

 Special proceedings for the administration and settlement of the estate of the deceased Jose V.
Bagtas having been instituted in the CFI, the money judgment rendered in favor of the appellee
cannot be enforced by means of a writ of execution but must be presented to the probate court
for payment by the appellant, the administratrix appointed by the court.




G.R. No. 80294-95 September 21, 1988

Nature: Review on certiorari

Keywords: Recovery of possession, commodatum, adverse possession

Summary: Catholic Vicar Apostolic of the Mountain Province (VICAR for brevity) filed an application for
registration of title over Lots 1, 2, 3, and 4, said Lots being the sites of the Catholic Church building,
convents, high school building, school gymnasium, school dormitories, social hall, stonewalls, etc. The
Heirs of Juan Valdez and the Heirs of Egmidio Octaviano filed their Answer/Opposition on Lots Nos. 2 and
3, respectively, asserting ownership and title thereto since their predecessors’ house was borrowed by
petitioner Vicar after the church and the convent were destroyed.. After trial on the merits, the land
registration court promulgated its Decision confirming the registrable title of VICAR to Lots 1, 2, 3, and 4.
The Heirs of Juan Valdez appealed the decision of the land registration court to the then Court of Appeals,
The Court of Appeals reversed the decision. Thereupon, the VICAR filed with the Supreme Court a petition
for review on certiorari of the decision of the Court of Appeals dismissing his application for registration
of Lots 2 and 3.



- 1962: Catholic Vicar Apostolic of the Mountain Province (Vicar), petitioner, filed with the court an
application for the registration of title over lots 1, 2, 3 and 4 situated in Poblacion Central, Benguet, said
lots being used as sites of the Catholic Church, building, convents, high school building, school gymnasium,
dormitories, social hall and stonewalls.

- 1963: Heirs of Juan Valdez and Heirs of Egmidio Octaviano claimed that they have ownership over lots
1, 2 and 3. (2 separate civil cases)
- 1965: The land registration court confirmed the registrable title of Vicar to lots 1 , 2, 3 and 4. Upon appeal
by the private respondents (heirs), the decision of the lower court was reversed. Title for lots 2 and 3 were

- VICAR filed with the Supreme Court a petition for review on certiorari of the decision of the Court of
Appeals dismissing his application for registration of Lots 2 and 3.

- During trial, the Heirs of Octaviano presented one (1) witness, who testified on the alleged ownership of
the land in question (Lot 3) by their predecessor-in-interest, Egmidio Octaviano; his written demand to
Vicar for the return of the land to them; and the reasonable rentals for the use of the land at P10,000 per
month. On the other hand, Vicar presented the Register of Deeds for the Province of Benguet, Atty. Sison,
who testified that the land in question is not covered by any title in the name of Egmidio Octaviano or any
of the heirs. Vicar dispensed with the testimony of Mons. Brasseur when the heirs admitted that the
witness if called to the witness stand, would testify that Vicar has been in possession of Lot 3, for 75 years
continuously and peacefully and has constructed permanent structures thereon.


1. WON Vicar had been in possession of lots 2 and 3 merely as bailee borrower in commodatum, a
gratuitous loan for use.

2. Whether or not the failure to return the subject matter of commodatum constitutes an adverse
possession on the part of the owner


1. YES. Private respondents were able to prove that their predecessors' house was borrowed by petitioner
Vicar after the church and the convent were destroyed. They never asked for the return of the house, but
when they allowed its free use, they became bailors in commodatum and the petitioner the bailee.

2. No. The bailees’ failure to return the subject matter of commodatum to the bailor did not mean adverse
possession on the part of the borrower. The bailee held in trust the property subject matter of

Petitioner repudiated the trust by declaring the properties in its name for taxation purposes.
Ratio: The Court of Appeals found that petitioner Vicar did not meet the requirement of 30 years
possession for acquisitive prescription over Lots 2 and 3. Neither did it satisfy the requirement of 10
years possession for ordinary acquisitive prescription because of the absence of just title. The appellate
court did not believe the findings of the trial court that Lot 2 was acquired from Juan Valdez by purchase
and Lot 3 was acquired also by purchase from Egmidio Octaviano by petitioner Vicar because there was
absolutely no documentary evidence to support the same and the alleged purchases were never
mentioned in the application for registration.

Ruling: WHEREFORE AND BY REASON OF THE FOREGOING, this petition is DENIED for lack of merit, the
Decision dated Aug. 31, 1987 in CA-G.R. Nos. 05148 and 05149, by respondent Court of Appeals is
AFFIRMED, with costs against petitioner