Accessory Follows the Principal

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When creditor acquires fruits of thing in obligation to deliver – The creditor acquires a right to the fruits of the thing from the time the obligation to deliver becomes due and demandable.[1] Nevertheless, he will not acquire any real right (ownership) over the fruits until delivery thereof to him. [2] This follows the principle that an accessory follows the principal.[3]

Cu Unjieng Hijos v. The Mabalacat Sugar Company
G.R. No. 37206, 22 September 1933

To secure a loan from plaintiff Cu Unjieng E Hijos, defendant Mabalacat Sugar Company mortgaged two parcels of land with all the buildings, improvements, sugar-cane mill, railway, telephone installations, apparatus, utensils, and everything forming part or necessary to complete the said sugar-cane mill, railway, or telephone installation, actually existing or that may later exist on the said lots, belonging exclusively to the mortgage debtor. After the mortgage was foreclosed for defendant’s failure to pay, the sheriff sold in public auction defendant’s sugar mill including the machinery and accessories found therein. Defendants claimed that the machinery and accessories should not have been included in the sale.

HELD: The machinery and accessories follow the principal which were the lands subject of the foreclosed mortgaged. “As to whether or not the machinery and accessories in question were included in the notice of sale of public auction, inasmuch as the sheriff stated therein that he would sell all the properties belonging to the Mabalacat Sugar Central… they were included in the notice in question, following the principle of law that the accessory follows the principal.”

Best Legal Practices

  • Exclude accessories or personal/movable properties in a real estate mortgage or contract of sale – To exclude certain accessories or personal/movable properties in a real estate mortgage, a contractual stipulation to that effect should be clearly and categorically stated on the agreement. The same should be observed in a contract of sale.

Rules to follow in case of obligation to deliver determinate or indeterminate thing –If the obligation is to deliver a determinate/specific thing, the creditor may demand the following from the debtor: (1) to deliver the determinate thing, and/or (2) damages.[4] The obligation “includes that of delivering all its accessions and accessories, even though they may not have been mentioned.”[5] On the other hand, if the obligation is to deliver an indeterminate/generic thing, the creditor may have the same done through another at the expense of the debtor.[6]

Same; Liability for fortuitous event by the creditor in delay – In the event that the debtor delays, or has promised to deliver the same thing (whether determinate or indeterminate) to two or more persons who do not have the same interest, the debtor is liable for any fortuitous event until he has delivered the same.[7]Rules to follow in case of obligation to do and not to do – When the debtor who fails to do his obligation or contravenes the tenor of thereof, the creditor may have it executed at the cost of the debtor.[8] The creditor may likewise require the debtor to undo an obligation which was been poorly done.[9] If the debtor does what has been forbidden of him arising from an obligation not to do, the creditor may likewise require the debtor to undo the same at the expense of the debtor.[10]


[1] Ibid. Article 1164.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Philippine National Bank v. Sps. Bernard and Cresencia Marañon, G.R. No. 189316, 01 July 2013, citing Torbela v. Rosario, G.R. No. 140528, 07 December 2011, 661 SCRA 633, 675.

[4] CIVIL CODE. Paragraph 1, Article 1165, cf. Article 1170.

[5] Ibid. Article 1166.

[6] Ibid. Paragraph 2, Article 1165

[7] Ibid. Paragraph 3, Article 1165

[8] Ibid. Paragraph 1, Article 1167.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Ibid. Article 1168.

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