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1CHAPTER1NATUREOFSALEDEFINITIONOFSALEArticle 1458 of the Civil Code defines “sale” as a contract whereby one of the contracting parties (Seller) obligates himself to transfer the ownership, and to deliver the possession, of a determinate thing; and the other party (Buyer) obligates himself to pay therefor a price certain in money or its equivalent.1The Roman Law concept embodied in the old Civil Code2that treated delivery of tangible property as the sole purpose of sale has been modified under the present Article 1458, which applies the common law concept of requiring the obligation to transfer the ownership of the subject matter of the sale as a principal obligation of the seller.1. Nature of Obligations Created in a SaleThe definition of the contract of sale under Article 1458 provides that its perfection brings about the creation of two sets of obligations:(a) Two OBLIGATIONSof the SELLERto:(i) Transfer the Ownership,3and1Alfredo v. Borras, 404 SCRA 145 (2003); Cruz v. Fernando, 477 SCRA 173 (2005); Roberts v. Papio, 515 SCRA 346 (2007).2Art. 1445 of the old Civil Code.3Flancia v. Court of Appeals, 457 SCRA 224, 231 (2005), defi nes “ownership” as “the independent and general power of a person over a thing for purposes recognized by law and within the limits established thereby — aside form the jus utendiand the jus abutendiinherent in the right to enjoy the thing, the right to dispose, or the jus disponendi, is the power of the owner to alienate, encumber, transform and even destroy the thing owned.”
LAW ON SALES2(ii) Deliver the Possession,of the SUBJECTMATTER; (b) An OBLIGATIONfor the BUYERto:(i) Paythe PRICE.4Both sets of obligations, are real obligationsor obligations “to give,” as contrasted from personal obligations “to do” and “not to do,” and can be the proper subject of actions for specific performance.5In contrast, obligations to do or not to do, cannot be enforced through actions for specific performance because of the public policy against involuntary servitude;6although the creditor can have the same executed by another at the cost of the obligor,7and the obligor’s refusal to comply can be the basis for claims for damages.8To illustrate, Article 1480 of the Civil Code, which cross-refers to Article 1165 thereof, provides that when what is to be delivered is a determinate thing, the buyer, in addition to the right to recover damages, may compel the seller to make the delivery. In other words, a defaulting party in a sale cannot insist on just paying damages when the non-defaulting party demands performance. 2. Subject Matter of SaleAlthough Article 1458, in defining sale, uses the word “determinate” to describe the subject matter of the sale, the present Law on Sales has expanded the coverage to include generic objects which are at least “determinable.” Article 1460 states that the “requisite that the thing be determinate is satisfied if at the time the contract is entered into, the thing is capable of 4Acap v. Court of Appeals, 251 SCRA 30 (1995); Velarde v. Court of Appeals