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Obaña vs.

Court of Appeals and Sandoval 135 SCRA 557, March 29, 1985 First Division

Facts: On November 21, 1964, Anicleto Sandoval (owner of Sandoval’s and Sons Rice Mill) was approached by Chan Lin who offered to purchase from him 170 cavans of rice at the price of P37.25 per cavan. The driver attempted to collect the payment from Chan Lin and Petitioner Anacleto Sandoval but the latter refused, stating that he had already made the payment to Chan Lin. Further demands having been met with refusal, Sandoval, as plaintiff, filed suit for Replevin against petitioner, before the Municipal Court of San Fernando, La Union which ordered petitioner- defendant to pay to Sandoval ½ of the cost of the rice or P2,805. On appeal by the petitioner to the court of First Instance, judgment was rendered dismissing the complaint. On appeal to respondent Appellate Court, Sandoval obtained a reversal in his favor. Hence, the present petition seeks for the review of the decision of Court of Appeals ordering Obaña in action for Replevin to return to Sandoval, Private Respondent herein, 170 cavans of rice or to pay its value in the amount P37.25 per cavan, with legal interest from the filing of the complaint until fully paid. Issue: Whether or not the petitioner-dependent had unjustly enriched himself at the expense of another by holding on to property no longer belonging to him. Held: The judgment under review is hereby affirmed. Costs against petitioner. No person should be benefited without a valid basis or justification, shall enrich himself at the expense of another and hold on to a property no longer belonging to him. The petition- defendant in his own testimony said that he was repaid the sum of P5,600 by Chan Lin and claimed that he delivered the rice back to them. However, the driver denied that the rice had ever been returned. The driver’s version is more credible since Sandoval’s lawyer had manifested in open court that they would have withdrawn the complaint if the return of the rice had been effected. In law and equity, therefore, Sandoval is entitled to recover the rice, or the value thereof since he was not paid the price therefor.