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[ GR No. 24788, Dec 17, 1926 ]



49 Phil. 749

[ G. R. No. 24788, December 17, 1926 ]




The purpose of this action  was to recover the sum of P1,795.20 together with 47 cavans of palay or their equivalent in the sum of P5 per cavan,  and costs.  The said sum  of P1,795.20,  as  alleged  by the plaintiff,  was  the Amount due for merchandise  sold by  the plaintiff  to J. Pablo Garcia and his wife during his lifetime together with certain sums  of money loaned  to them  from time to time. The 47 cavans of palay was the balance of a larger number sold by the plaintiff to the defendant.  The defendant interposed a general and special  defense together with  a counterclaim.

After hearing the evidence upon the issue presented by the petition and answer, the Honorable M. L. de la  Rosa, auxiliary judge, denied the contention of the plaintiff in re said 47 cavans  of palay and  also the special  defense and counterclaim of the defendant as well as a part of the claim of the plaintiff for the said sum of P1,795.20, and rendered a judgment in favor of the plaintiff and against the defendant  for  the  sum  of P1,774.55.  From  that judgment the defendant appealed,  and presents several assignments  of error.

From an examination of the record it appears that during the trial of the  cause the plaintiff, in support of his contention that the defendant owed him the said sum  of P1,795.20, presented a number oi vales as  proof of said indebtedness. Objection was made to the  admissibility of said vales upon the ground that an internal  revenue, stamp, as required by paragraph (g), section  1449, in relation  with section  1452  of the Administrative Code, had not been placed thereon in order to make  them admissible in evidence.   The lower court found that some of the chits and proof presented by  the plaintiff did not sustain his contention, and refused to allow  them as evidence of the claim of indebtedness  against  the  defendant.  After the elimination of said chits  the lower court rendered a judgment in favor of the plaintiff against the defendant for the amount due  upon" the vales admitted in evidence amounting to P1,774.55.  The lower court further  ordered that the plaintiff,  in order to conform with the law, should place the revenue  stamps Required by law upon the vales admitted in evidence, and that  no execution should be issued upon the judgment rendered until the  plaintiff had complied with that order.  From that  judgment  the defendant appealed.

In his first assignment of error  the appellant alleges that the lower court committed an error in admitting said vales as evidence, without the same having been stamped with the internal  revenue stamps in accordance with  paragraph  (g)  of section 1449 in  relation  with  section 1452 of the Administrative Code.  An examination of said vales will show that they  are  in  fact promises to pay  money; that they are signed by the defendant; that said vales contain  all of the elements required by the Negotiable Instruments Law for promissory notes and therefore must be stamped in accordance with  the  provisions of the  law. By reference to  sections 40 and  41 of the  revised rules relating to documentary stamps, it will be seen by section 41  that all vales containing the necessary elements of a promissory note must be stamped with the internal revenue stamps.  That being true, the lower court committed  an error in admitting  said vales as evidence until they were stamped in accordance with the provisions  of the law.

That error, however, of the lower court was cured  by his refusal to allow an execution upon the judgment rendered until said vales had been stamped.   The rule requiring said vales to be  stamped  does not contain any provision as to the time when  they shall be stamped.  The result is, therefore, that they may be stamped at the time they are executed and delivered or  at  the time they  are presented in evidence. The lower  court evidently recognized  that fact  and admitted them in  evidence without being stamped, erroneously, but  gave the plaintiff an  opportunity  to stamp them  in order to obtain  an  execution upon his judgment.  Section 1459 provides that the tax shall be paid by the person making said vales, by the person signing them, by the person issuing them, or by the  person  accepting them or transferring them,  and shall be paid at  the time such act is done or transaction had.  However, the rule is well established that this tax may be said at any time either before or at the time said documents are presented in  evidence.   The lower court committed no  error, therefore, by requiring the plaintiff, in  order to secure an execution of his judgment,  to place the necessary  stamps  upon said vales.

Attention is called, however, to the provisions of section 2721 of the Administrative Code, as amended by section  16 of Act No. 2835, which provides a penalty for the failure to affix the necessary stamps.  Said section 16  of Act No. 2835 provides: "Any person who fails to affix and cancel the requisite  stamp  or stamps to any document  at the time required by law shall be subject to a fine of not more than three hundred pesos."

The appellant further contends that the lower court committed an error  in admitting a large  number of said vales in evidence,  for the  reason  that they had  either,  been changed or altered without the consent of  the appellant. With reference to the said  assignment of error, an examination of the evidence adduced during the trial of the cause clearly sustains the conclusions of the lower  court.   The appellant further contends in his fifth assignment of error that the lower court should have admitted his counterclaim. An examination of the record  in relation with  said assignment of error clearly justifies the conclusion of the lower court in denying said counterclaim.

From all of the foregoing, and  after a careful examination of the record, we find no reason for changing or modifying  the  judgment of the  lower  court.  The same is therefore hereby  affirmed, with costs.  So ordered.

Avanceña,  C. J., Street,  Malcolm, Ostrand, Johns,  Romualdez, and Villa-Real, JJ., concur.