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CONRADO P. NAVARRO, plaintiff-appellee, vs. RUFINO G. PINEDA, RAMONA REYES, ET AL., defendants-appellants. G.R. No.

L-18456 November 30, 1963 FACTS: Defendants Rufino G. Pineda and his mother Juana Gonzales, borrowed from plaintiff Conrado P. Navarro, the sum of P2,500.00, payable after 6 months. To secure the indebtedness, Rufino executed a document captioned "DEED OF REAL ESTATE and CHATTEL MORTGAGES", whereby Juana Gonzales, by way of Real Estate Mortgage hypothecated a parcel of land, belonging to her, and Rufino G. Pineda, by way of Chattel Mortgage, mortgaged his two-story residential house, erected on a lot belonging to Atty. Vicente Castro and one motor truck, registered in his name. When the mortgage debt became due and payable, the defendants, after demands made on them, failed to pay and even after two extensions as to the period when payments became due. In due course, the plaintiff filed a complaint for foreclosure of the mortgage and for damages. While the case is being heard, the parties submitted a Stipulation of Facts, wherein the defendants admitted the indebtedness, the authenticity and due execution of the Real Estate and Chattel Mortgages and leaving the only issue in the case as whether or not the residential house, subject of the mortgage can be considered a Chattel. Despite such stipulation of facts, the lower court later on ruled and ordered defendants to pay the amount owing plus 12% compounded interest per annum to Navarro (90) days from receipt of the Order which further ordered defendant to deliver immediately to the Provincial Sheriff of Tarlac the personal properties used as security. ISSUE/S: Whether or not the residential house, subject of the mortgage can be considered a chattel and still remain valid RULING/RATIO: Yes, this Court agrees with the trial court in declaring the deed of chattel mortgage valid solely on the ground that the house mortgaged was erected on the land which belonged to a third person, but also and principally on the doctrine of estoppel, in that "the parties have so expressly agreed" in the mortgage to consider the house as chattel "for its smallness and mixed materials of sawali and wood. It is undeniable that the parties to a contract may by agreement treat as personal property that which by nature would be real property. There cannot be any question that a building of mixed materials may be the subject of a chattel mortgage, in which case, it is considered as between the parties as personal property. The matter depends on the circumstances and the intention of the parties. It should be noted, though, that the view that parties to a deed of chattel mortgagee may agree to consider a house as personal property for the purposes of said contract, is good only insofar as the contracting parties are concerned.

Hence, if a house belonging to a person stands on a rented land belonging to another person, it may be mortgaged as a personal property is so stipulated in the document of mortgage. It should be noted, however, that the principle is predicated on statements by the owner declaring his house to be a chattel, a conduct that may conceivably estop him from subsequently claiming otherwise. The doctrine, therefore, gathered from these cases is that although in some instances, a house of mixed materials has been considered as a chattel between them, has been recognized, it has been a constant criterion nevertheless that, with respect to third persons, who are not parties to the contract, and specially in execution proceedings, the house is considered as an immovable property (Art. 1431, New Civil Code).