A novated judgment may no longer be enforced by sheriff
"I obtained a favorable court judgment in the amount of P450,000. Consequently, I obtained a writ of execution for the sheriff’s enforcement. When the sheriff was about to enforce the writ, I told him to stop the execution since I have had an agreement with the judgment obligor to pay me, on installment, the amount of P500,000, payable in five months and secured by a car. Unfortunately, after paying for three months, the judgment obligor just stopped providing payment. Because of this non-payment, can I instead ask the sheriff to continue the enforcement of the court judgment in my favor?Sergio
Dear Sergio,The answer to your query is no because the sheriff is no longer tasked to enforce the writ of execution. It is important to know that among the recognized grounds to refuse enforcement of a final and executory judgment is when the parties novated the judgment.
To elucidate this point, let us first define the term “novation” by looking at the case of Ever Electrical Manufacturing Inc. vs Philippine Bank of Communications (GR 187822-23, Aug. 3, 2016, Ponente: Associate Justice Andres Reyes), to wit:“Under the Civil Code, novation is one of the means to extinguish an obligation. This is done either by changing the object or principal conditions, by substituting the person of the debtor, or by subrogating a third person in the rights of the creditor. It is a relative extinguishment since a new obligation is created in lieu of the old obligation.”
In your case, novation took place when you had an agreement to modify the judgment obligation by a higher amount secured by a vehicle. In fact, the Supreme Court in its en banc decision in the case of Fua Cam Lu vs Yap (GR 4879, July 30, 1943), it held that the judgment may no longer be enforced since it was extinguished by the novation of such by the judgment obligor and judgment obligee’s new agreement, viz:“We concur in the theory that appellants’ liability under the judgment in civil case No.
42125 had been extinguished by the settlement evidenced by the mortgage executed by them in favor of the appellee on Dec. 16, 1933. Although said mortgage did not expressly cancel the old obligation, this was impliedly novated by reason of incompatibility resulting from the fact that, whereas the judgment was for P1,538.04, payable at one time, did not provide for attorney’s fees, and was not secured, the new obligation is for P1,200 payable in installments, stipulates for attorney’s fees, and is secured by a mortgage.”To reiterate, novation was present in your case when the judgment decision’s tenor was substantially changed. In light of this, we submit that the court judgment in your favor is no longer enforceable by the sheriff. Nonetheless, this is without prejudice to the other available remedies in enforcing the new obligation.We hope that we were able to answer your queries. Please be reminded that this advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated.Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to email@example.com"
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"A novated judgment may no longer be enforced by sheriff"
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and updated on 14 September 2021