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Torts and Damages Case Digest: Canlas v. CA (2000)

G.R. No. 112160 February 28, 2000

Lessons Applicable: Last Clear Chance (Torts and Damages)
Laws Applicable: Article 1173


  • August, 1982: Osmundo S. Canlas executed a Special Power of Attorney authorizing Vicente Mañosca to mortgage 2 parcels of land situated in BF Homes Paranaque in the name of his wife Angelina Canlas.  
  • Subsequently, Osmundo Canlas agreed to sell the lands to Mañosca for P850K, P500K payable within 1 week, and the balance serves as his investment in the business.  Mañosca issued 2 checks P40K and P460K.  The P460K lacked sufficient funds. 
  • September 3, 1982: Mañosca mortgage to Atty. Manuel Magno the parcels of lands for P100K with the help of impostors who misrepresented themselves as the Spouses Canlas.
  • September 29, 1982: Mañosca was granted a loan by the respondent Asian Savings Bank (ASB) for P500K with the parcels of land as security and with the help of the same impostors.  The loan was left unpaid resulting in a extrajudicially foreclosure on the lots.
  • January 15, 1983: Canlas wrote a letter informing ASB that the mortgage was without their authority.  He also requested the sheriff Contreras to hold or cancel the auction.  Both parties refused.
  • The spouses Canlas filed a case for annulment of deed of real estate mortgage with prayer for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction
  • RTC: restrained the sheriff from issuing a Certificate of Sheriff’s Sale and annulled the mortgage
  • CA: reversed holding Canlas estopped for coming to the bank with Mañosca and letting himself be introduced as Leonardo Rey
ISSUE: W/N the ASB had was negligent due to the doctrine of last clear chance

HELD: YES. Petition is GRANTED

  • Article 1173. The fault or negligence of the obligor consist in the omission of that diligence which is required by the nature of the obligation and corresponds with the circumstances of the persons, of the time and of the place. When negligence shows bad faith, the provisions of articles 1171 and 2201, paragraph 2, shall apply
  • The degree of diligence required of banks is more than that of a good father of a family
    • not even a single identification card was exhibited by the said impostors to show their true identity
    • acted simply on the basis of the residence certificates bearing signatures which tended to match the signatures affixed on a previous deed of mortgage to Atty. Magno
      • previous deed of mortgage did not bear the tax account number of the spouses as well as the Community Tax Certificate of Angelina Canlas 
  • doctrine of last clear chance 
    • where both parties are negligent but the negligent act of one is appreciably later in point of time than that of the other, or where it is impossible to determine whose fault or negligence brought about the occurrence of the incident, the one who had the last clear opportunity to avoid the impending harm but failed to do so, is chargeable with the consequences arising therefrom
    • the antecedent negligence of a person does not preclude recovery of damages caused by the supervening negligence of the latter, who had the last fair chance to prevent the impending harm by the exercise of due diligence
  • Antecedent Negligence: Osmundo Canlas was negligent in giving Vicente Mañosca the opportunity to perpetrate the fraud, by entrusting him the owner's copy of the transfer certificates of title of subject parcels of land
  • Supervening Negligence: Failing to perform the simple expedient of faithfully complying with the requirements for banks to ascertain the identity of the persons transacting with them - ASB bears the loss
  • Canlas went to ASB with Mañosca and he was introduced as Leonardo Rey.  He didn't correct Mañosca.  However, he did not know that the lots were being used as a security for he was there to make sure that Mañosca pays his debt so he cannot be estopped from assailing the validity of the mortgage 
  • But being negligent in believing the misrepresentation by Mañosca that he had other lots and that the lot were not to be used as a security, Canlas was negligent and undeserving of Attorney's fees.
  • the contract of mortgage sued upon was entered into and signed by impostors who misrepresented themselves as the spouses Osmundo Canlas and Angelina Canlas = complete nullity