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Plaintiff-appellee Siari Valley Estates Inc. vs.

defendant-appellant Filemon Lucasan


GR No. L-7046, 31 August 1955, 97 Phil 987
Facts: In 1921, plaintiff-appellee and duly-organized agricultural corporation Siari Valley Estate Inc.
started raising livestock on its 950-hectare ranch with 7 native cattle. It acquired in 1923 thirty (30)
native cattle and two Indian bulls. Through a native black bull, native stock was introduced into its herd
and the male offspring of that bull were castrated. Prior to Japanese occupation, the fence enclosing
Siari Valley's pasture was well kept. But in 1943, a portion of that fence was destroyed, causing some
of the cattle straying into defendant-appellant Filemon Lucasan's adjoining unfenced range in
Sindangan, Zamboanga. Several men employed under him took advantage of the situation and
willfully, deliberately rounding up and driving many animals from Siari pasture towards his grazing
land. In December 1948, Siari Valley Estate Inc. filed an action to recover about 200 head of cattle that
were driven or wandered from its pasture lands into defendant's adjoining ranch. It asked for return of
its animals with their offspring or for payment of those disposed of by defendant, plus damages.
Lucasan denied in his answer that he appropriated or retained any cattle belonging to Siari Valley and
alleged on the contrary that the plaintiff took away from his pasture 105 heads of cattle through force
and intimidation. He also demanded suitable compensation.
Farmer Jesus Pandi testified that during the war he saw Lucasan's men Angel Galimon, Francisco
Ramos and Bilingan Subane driving 30 heads of cattle from Siari Valley Estate to defendant's ranch,
and his testimony remained uncontradicted. Galimon, Ramos and Bilingan were available during the
trial, but Lucasan did not place them on the witness stand to contradict Pandi's testimony.
After submission of several motion and petitions by both parties, a trial was held, and the Court of First
Instance (CFI) Zamboanga on 30 June 1952 (via Hon. Judge Patricio Ceniza) decided in favor of Siari
Valley Estate, affirming its right to recover the (alleged) strayed animals and its offspring. The said trial
court also ordered Filemon Lucasan to deliver all the cattle in his ranch, especially the 323 animals and
its offspring demanded by Siari Valley. He was also found guilty of contempt proceedings and he is
hereby sentenced to pay a fine of P500.00 pursuant to Section 6, Rule 64 of the Rules of Court or suffer
subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency at the rate of one day, for every PhP2.50 that he fails to
pay.
Issues: Defendant Filemon Lucasan appealed CFI Zamboanga's decision raising the issue whether Siari
Valley Estate's cattle were commingled with his cattle, and was such mix-up (commixtion) was made in
bad faith?
Legal Provisions: Articles 472-473 of RA 386 (The New Civil Code) states:
Art. 472 - If by the will of their owners two things of the same or different kinds are mixed, or if
the mixture occurs by chance, and in the latter case the things are not separable without injury,
each owner shall acquire a right proportional to the part belonging to him, bearing in mind the
value of the things mixed or confused. (381)
Art. 473 - If by the will of only one owner, but in good faith, two things of the same or different
kinds are mixed or confused, the rights of the owners shall be determined by the provisions of
the preceding article. If the one who caused the mixture or confusion acted in bad faith, he shall
lose the thing belonging to him thus mixed or confused, besides being obliged to pay indemnity
for the damages caused to the owner of the other thing with which his own was mixed. (382)

Held by the Supreme Court: The Supreme Court denied Lucasan's appeal and affirmed CFI
Zamboanga's decision that held him guilty of appropriating or retaining Siari Valley's Cattle and its
offspring. The Supreme Court also applied Article 473 of the New Civil Code in the present case and it
held that Lucasan acted in bad faith:
Lucasan's cowboys and even his sons Rafael and Vicente rounded up and drove Siari Valley's
cattle into his pasture. He knew that he had the plaintiff's cattle, but refused to return them
despite plaintiff's demands. He even threatened Siari Valley's men when it tried to retrieve the
animals. He harassed them with false prosecutions for their attempts to get the said animals
back. He would not allow plaintiff' s cowboys to get into his pasture to identify its flock. Lastly,
he rebranded several Siari Valley cattle with his own brand and sold those cattle without
registering the sales. Also, after some cattle impounded were entrusted to his custody as trustee,
he disposed of not less than 5 head of cattle among those he received as such trustee. He
disposed of much more cattle than he had a right to.