Is the failure to annotate the vendor a retro’s right of repurchase in the certificates of title of the real estate properties subject of dacion en pago conclusive evidence of the vendee a retro’s malice and bad faith, entitling the former to damages? In a sale with pacto de retro, is the repurchase price limited by Article 1616 of the Civil Code?
These are the basic questions raised in this petition for review on certiorari
under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court assailing the Court of Appeals 1 Decision 2 promulgated on April 25, 1994 and Resolution 3 of September 26, 1994 in CA-G.R. CV No. 39154, affirming the decision 4 of the Regional Trial Court of Pasig, Branch 157 in Civil Case No. 51214. The said RTC decision sustained the validity of the subject dacion en pago agreement and declared the same as "a true sale with right of repurchase."cralaw virtua1aw library
The facts of the case as narrated by the trial court and reproduced in the assailed Decision of the Court of Appeals are undisputed by the parties. These are the relevant portions:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"It appears that on June 4, 1979, Solid Homes executed in favor of State Financing (Center, Inc.) a Real Estate Mortgage (Exhibit ‘3’) on its properties embraced in Transfer Certificate of Title No. 9633 (Exhibit ‘9’) and Transfer Certificate of Title No. (492194)-11938 (Exhibit ‘8’) of the Registry of Deeds in Pasig, Metro Manila, in order to secure the payment of a loan of P10,000,000.00 which the former obtained from the latter. A year after, Solid Homes applied for and was granted an additional loan of P1,511,270.03 by State Financing, and to secure its payment, Solid Homes executed the Amendment to Real Estate Mortgage dated June 4, 1980 (Exhibit ‘4’) whereby the credits secured by the first mortgage on the abovementioned properties were increased from P10,000,000.00 to P11,511,270.03. Sometime thereafter, Solid Homes obtained additional credits financing facilities from Estate Financing in the sum of P1,499,811.97, and to secure its payment, Solid Homes executed in favor of State Financing the Amendment to Real Estate Mortgage dated March 5, 1982 (Exhibit ‘5’) whereby the mortgage executed on its properties on June 4, 1979 was again amended so that the loans or credits secured thereby were further increased from P11,511,270.03 to P13,011,082.00.
"When the loan obligations abovementioned became due and payable, State Financing made repeated demands upon Solid Homes for payment thereof, but the latter failed to do so. So, on December 16, 1982, State Financing filed a petition for extrajudicial foreclosure of the mortgages abovementioned with the Provincial Sheriff of Rizal, who, in pursuance of the petition, issued a Notice of Sheriff’s Sale dated February 4, 1983 (Exhibit ‘6’) whereby the mortgaged properties of Solid Homes and the improvements existing thereon, including the V.V. Soliven Towers II Building, were set for public auction sale on March 7, 1983 in order to satisfy the full amount of Solid Homes’ mortgage indebtedness, the interest thereon, and the fees and expenses incidental to the foreclosure proceedings.
"Before the scheduled public auction sale . . ., the mortgagor Solid Homes made representations and induced State Financing to forego with the foreclosure of the real estate mortgages referred to above. By reason thereof, State Financing agreed to suspend the foreclosure of the mortgaged properties, subject to the terms and conditions they agreed upon, and in pursuance of their said agreement, they executed a document entitled MEMORANDUM OF AGREEMENT/DACION EN PAGO (’Memorandum’) dated February 28, 1983 (Exhibits ‘C’ and ‘7’) . . .. Among the terms and conditions that said parties agreed upon were . . . :chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
‘1. (Solid Homes) acknowledges that it has an outstanding obligation due and payable to (State Financing) and binds and obligates to pay (State Financing) the totality of its outstanding obligations in the amount of P14,225,178.40, within one hundred eighty (180) days from date of signing of this instrument. However, it is understood and agreed that the principal obligation of P14,225,178.40 shall earn interest at the rate of 14% per annum and penalty of 16% per annum counted from March 01, 1983 until fully paid.
‘2. The parties agreed that should (Solid Homes) be able to pay (State Financing) an amount equivalent to sixty per centum (60%) of the principal obligation, or the amount of P8,535,107.04, within the first one hundred eighty (180) days, (State Financing) shall allow the remaining obligation of (Solid Homes) to be mutually agreed between the parties.
‘3. It is hereby understood and agreed that in the event (Solid Homes) fails to comply with the provisions of the preceding paragraphs, within the said period of one hundred eighty (180) days, this document shall automatically operate to be an instrument of dacion en pago without the need of executing any document to such an effect and (Solid Homes) hereby obligates and binds itself to transfer, convey and assign to (State Financing), by way of dacion en pago, its heirs, successors and assigns, and (State Financing) does hereby accept the conveyance and transfer of the above-described real properties, including all the improvements thereon, free from all liens and encumbrances, in full payment of the outstanding indebtedness of (Solid Homes) to (State Financing) . . .
x x x
‘6. (State Financing) hereby grants (Solid Homes) the right to repurchase the aforesaid real properties, including the condominium units and other improvements thereon, within ten (10) months counted from and after the one hundred eighty (180) days from date of signing hereof at an agreed price of P14,225,178.40, or as reduced pursuant to par. 5 (d), plus all cost of money equivalent to 30% per annum, registration fees, real estate and documentary stamp taxes and other incidental expenses incurred by (State Financing) in the transfer and registration of its ownership via dacion en pago . . .’
x x x
"Subsequently, Solid Homes failed to pay State Financing an amount equivalent to 60% (or P8,535,107.04) of the principal obligation of P14,225,178.40 within 180 days from the signing of the (Memorandum) on February 28, 1983, as provided under paragraph 2 of the said document. Hence, and in pursuance of paragraph 3 thereof which provided that ‘this document shall automatically operate to be an instrument of dacion en pago without the need of executing any document to such an effect . . . (,)’ State Financing registered the said (Memorandum) with the Register of Deeds in Pasig, Metro Manila on September 15, 1983. Consequently, the said Register of Deeds cancelled TCT No. 9633 and TCT No. (492194) 11938 in the name of Solid Homes which were the subject matter of the (Memorandum) above mentioned, and in lieu thereof, the said office issued Transfer Certificate of Title No. 40533 (Exhibits ‘J’ and ‘11’) and Transfer Certificate of Title No. 40534 (Exhibits ‘K’ and ‘12’) in the name of State Financing. . . .
"In a letter dated October 11, 1983 (Exhibit ‘16’), State Financing informed Solid Homes of the transfer in its name of the titles to all the properties subject matter of the (Memorandum) and demanded among other things, that Solid Homes turn over to State Financing the possession of the V.V. Soliven Towers II Building erected on two of the said properties. Solid Homes replied with a letter dated October 14, 1983, (Exhibit ‘20’) asking for a period of ten (10) days within which to categorize its position on the matter; and in a subsequent letter dated October 24, 1983, Solid Homes made known to State Financing its position that the (Memorandum) is null and void because the essence thereof is that State Financing, as mortgagee creditor, would be able to appropriate unto itself the properties mortgaged by Solid Homes which is in contravention of Article 2088 of the Civil Code. State Financing then sent to Solid Homes another letter dated November 3, 1983 (Exhibit ‘17’), whereby it pointed out that Art. 2088 of the Civil Code is not applicable to the (Memorandum) they have executed, and also reiterated its previous demand that Solid Homes turn over to it the possession of the V.V. Soliven Towers II Building within five (5) days, but Solid Homes did not comply with the said demand.
". . . and within that period of repurchase, Solid Homes wrote to State Financing a letter dated April 30, 1984 containing its proposal for repayment schemes under terms and conditions indicated therein for the repurchase of the properties referred to. In reply to said letter, State Financing sent a letter dated May 17, 1984 (Exhibit ‘18’) advising Solid Homes that State Financing’s management was not amenable to its proposal, and that by way of granting it some concessions, said management made a counter-proposal requiring Solid Homes to make an initial payment of P10 million until 22 May 1984 and the balance payable within the remaining period to repurchase the properties as provided for under the (Memorandum) . . . Thereafter, a number of conferences were held among the corporate officers of both companies wherein they discussed the payment arrangement of Solid Home’s outstanding obligation. . . . In a letter dated June 7, 1984 (Exhibit ‘19’), State Financing reiterated the counter-proposal in its previous letter dated May 17, 1984 to Solid Homes as a way of making good its account, and at the same time reminded Solid Homes that it has until 27 June 1984 to exercise its right to repurchase the properties pursuant to the terms and conditions of the (Memorandum), otherwise, it will have to vacate and turn over the possession of said properties to State Financing. In return, Solid Homes sent to State Financing a letter dated June 18, 1984 (Exhibits ‘N’ and ‘22’) containing a copy of the written offer made by C.L. Alma Jose & Sons, Inc. (Exhibits ‘M’ and ‘22-A’) to avail of Solid Homes’ right to repurchase the V.V. Soliven Towers II pursuant to the terms of the Dacion En Pago. The letter also contained a request that the repurchase period under said Dacion En Pago which will expire on June 27, 1984 be extended by sixty (60) days to enable Solid Homes to comply with the conditions in the offer of Alma Jose & Sons, Inc. referred to, and thereafter, to avail of the one year period to pay the balance based on the verbal commitment of State Financing’s President. . . .
"However. on June 26, 1984, a day before the expiry date of its right to repurchase the properties involved in the (Memorandum) on June 27, 1984, Solid Homes filed the present action against defendants State Financing and the Register of Deeds for Metro Manila District II (Pasig), seeking the annulment of said (Memorandum) and the consequent reinstatement of the mortgages over the same properties; . . ." 5
As earlier stated, the trial court held that the Memorandum of Agreement/Dacion En Pago executed by the parties was valid and binding, and that the registration of said instrument in the Register of Deeds was in accordance with law and the agreement of the parties. It disposed of the case thus:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"WHEREFORE, this Court hereby renders judgment, as follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"1. Declaring that the Memorandum of Agreement/Dacion En Pago entered into by and between plaintiff Solid Homes and defendant State Financing on February 28, 1983 is a valid and binding document which does not violate the prohibition against pactum commisorium under Art. 2088 of the Civil Code;
"2. Declaring that the said Memorandum of Agreement/Dacion En Pago is a true sale with right of repurchase, and not an equitable mortgage;
"3. Declaring that the registration of the said Memorandum of Agreement/Dacion En Pago with the defendant Register of Deeds in Pasig, Metro Manila by defendant State Financing on September 15, 1983 is in accordance with law and the agreement of the parties in the said document; but the annotation of the said document by the said Register of Deeds on the certificates of title over the properties subject of the Memorandum of Agreement/Dacion En Pago without any mention of the right of repurchase and the period thereof, is improper, and said Register of Deeds’ cancellation of the certificates of title in the name of Solid homes over the properties referred to and issuance of new titles in lieu thereof in the name of State Financing — during the period of repurchase and without any judicial order — is in violation of Art. 1607 of the Civil Code, which renders said titles null and void;
"4. Ordering the defendant State Financing to surrender to the defendant Register of Deeds in Pasig, Metro Manila for the cancellation thereof, all the certificates of title issued in its name over the properties subject of the Memorandum of Agreement/Dacion En Pago, including those titles covering the fully paid condominium units and the substitute collateral submitted in exchange for said condominium units;
"5. Ordering the said defendant Register of Deeds to cancel all the titles in the name of State Financing referred to and to reinstate the former titles over the same properties in the name of Solid Homes, with the proper annotation thereon of the Memorandum of Agreement/Dacion En Pago together with the right of repurchase and the period thereof — as provided in said document — and to return the said reinstated former titles (owner’s copies) in the name of Solid Homes to State Financing;
"6. Ordering the defendant State Financing to release to plaintiff Solid Homes all the certificates of title over the fully paid condominium units in the name of Solid Homes, free from all liens and encumbrances by releasing the mortgage thereon;
"7. Granting the plaintiff Solid Homes the opportunity to exercise its right to repurchase the properties subject of the Memorandum of Agreement/Dacion En Pago within thirty (30) days from the finality of this Decision, by paying to defendant State Financing the agreed price of P14,225,178.40 plus all cost of money equivalent to 30 % (interest of 14% and penalty of 16% from March 1, 1983) per annum, registration fees, real estate and documentary stamp taxes and other incidental expenses incurred by State Financing in the transfer and registration of its ownership via the Dacion En Pago, as provided in the said document and in pursuance of Articles 1606 and 1616 of the Civil Code; and
"8. Ordering the defendant Register of Deeds in Pasig, Metro Manila — should plaintiff Solid Homes fail to exercise the above-mentioned right to repurchase within 30 days from the finality of this judgment — to record the consolidation of ownership in State Financing over the properties subject of the Memorandum of Agreement/Dacion En Pago in the Registry of Property, in pursuance of this Order, but excluding therefrom the fully paid condominium units and their corresponding titles to be released by State Financing.
"For lack of merit, the respective claims of both parties for damages, attorney’s fees, expenses of litigation and costs of suit are hereby denied." 6
Both parties appealed from the trial court’s decision. Solid Homes raised a lone question contesting the denial of its claim for damages. Such damages allegedly resulted from the bad faith and malice of State Financing in deliberately failing to annotate Solid Homes’ right to repurchase the subject properties in the former’s consolidated titles thereto. As a result of the non-annotation, Solid Homes claimed to have been prevented from generating funds from prospective buyers to enable it to comply with the Agreement and to redeem the subject properties.cralawnad
State Financing, on the other hand, assigned three errors against the RTC decision: (1) granting Solid Homes a period of thirty (30) days from finality of the judgment within which to exercise its right of repurchase; (2) ordering Solid Homes to pay only 30% per annum as interest and penalty on the principal obligation, rather than reasonable rental value from the time of the properties was illegally withheld from State Financing; and (3) failing to order the immediate turnover of the possession of the properties to State Financing as the purchaser a retro from whom no repurchase has been made.
As to the lone issue raised by Solid Homes, the court of Appeals agreed with the trial court that the failure to annotate the right of repurchase of the vendor a retro is not by itself an indication of bad faith or malice. State Financing was not legally bound to cause its annotation, and Solid Homes could have taken steps to protect its own interests. The evidence shows that after such registration and transfer of titles, State Financing willingly negotiated with Solid Homes to enable the latter to exercise its right to repurchase the subject properties, 7 an act that negates bad faith.
Anent the first error assigned by State financing, Respondent Court likewise upheld the trial court in applying Article 1606, paragraph 3 8 of the Civil Code. Solid Homes was not in bad faith in filling the complaint for the declaration of nullity of the Memorandum of Agreement/Dacion En Pago. There is statutory basis for petitioner’s claim that an equitable mortgage existed since it believed that (1) the price of P14 million was grossly inadequate, considering that the building alone was allegedly built at a cost of P60 million in 1979 and the lot was valued at P5,000.00 per square meter and (2) it remained in possession of the subject properties. 9 Furthermore, Article 1607 10 of the Civil Code abolished automatic consolidation of ownership in the vendee a retro upon expiration of the redemption by requiring the vendee to insure an action for consolidation where the vendor a retro may be duly heard. If the vendee succeeds in proving that the transaction was indeed a pacto de retro, the vendor is still given a period of thirty days from the finality of the judgment within which to repurchase the property. 11
Respondent Court also affirmed the trial court’s imposition of the 30% interest per annum on top of the redemption price in accordance with paragraph 6 of the parties’ Memorandum of Agreement. 12
However, Respondent Court of Appeals ruled favorably on State Financing’s last assigned error by ordering Solid Homes to deliver possession of the subject properties to the private respondent, citing jurisprudence that in a sale with pacto de retro, the vendee shall immediately acquire title over and possession of the real property sold, subject only to the vendor’s right of redemption. 13 The full text of the dispositive portion of the assailed Decision is as follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"WHEREFORE, the judgment appealed from is affirmed with the modification that plaintiff Solid Homes is further ordered to deliver the possession of the subject property to State Financing." 14
The two opposing parties filed their respective motions for reconsideration of the assailed Decision. Both were denied by said Court for lack of merit. Both parties thereafter filed separate petitions for review before this Court. In a minute Resolution 15 dated December 5, 1994, this Court (Third Division) denied State Financing Center’s petition because of its failure to show that a reversible error was committed by the appellate court. Its motion for reconsideration of said resolution was likewise denied for lack of merit. This case disposes only of the petition filed by Solid Homes, Inc.
In its petition, Solid Homes repeats its arguments before the Court of Appeals. It claims damages allegedly arising from the non-annotation of its right of repurchase in the consolidated titles issued to private Respondent
. Petitioner reiterates its attack against the inclusion of 30% interest per annum as part of the redemption price. It asserts that Article 1616 of the Civil Code authorizes only the return of the (1) price of the sale, (2) expenses of the contract and any other legitimate payments by reason of the sale and (3) necessary and useful expenses made on the thing sold. Considering that the transfer of titles was null and void, it was thus erroneous to charge petitioner the registration fees, documentary stamp taxes and other incidental expenses incurred by State Financing in the transfer and registration of the subject properties via the dacion en pago. Lastly, petitioner argues that there is no need for the immediate turnover of the properties to State Financing since the same was not stipulated under their Agreement, and the latter’s rights were amply protected by the issuance of new certificates of title in its name.
The Court’s Ruling
First Issue: Damages
To resolved the issue of damages, an examination of factual circumstances would be necessary, a task that is clearly beyond this Court’s dominion. It is elementary that in petitions for review on certiorari
, only questions of law may be brought by the parties and passed upon by this Court. Findings of fact of lower courts are deemed conclusive and binding upon the Supreme Court except when the findings are grounded on speculation, surmises or conjectures; when the inference made is manifestly mistaken, absurd or impossible; when there is a grave abuse of discretion in the appreciation of facts; when the factual findings of the trial and appellate courts are conflicting; when the Court of Appeals, in making its findings, has gone beyond the issues of the case and such findings are contrary to the admissions of both appellant and appellee; 16 when the judgment of the appellate court is premised on a misapprehension of facts or when it has failed to notice certain relevant facts which, if properly considered, will justify a different conclusions; when the findings of fact are conclusions without citation of specific evidence upon which they are based; and when findings of fact of the Court of Appeals are premised on the absence of evidence but are contradicted by the evidence on records. 17
The petitioner has not shown any — and indeed the Court finds none — of the above-mentioned exceptions to warrant a departure from the general rule.
In fact, petitioner has not even bothered to support with evidence its claim for "actual, moral and punitive/nominal damages" as well as "exemplary damages and attorney’s fees." It is basic that the claim for these damages must each be independently identified and justified; such claims cannot be dealt with in the aggregate, since they are neither kindred or analogous nor governed by a coincident set of rules. 18
The trial court found, and the Court of Appeals affirmed, that petitioner’s actual claim for actual damages was baseless. Solid Homes utterly failed to prove that respondent corporation had maliciously and in bad faith caused the non-annotation of petitioner’s right of repurchase so as to prevent the latter from exercising such right. On the contrary, it is admitted by both parties that State Financing informed petitioner of the registration with the Register of Deeds of Pasig of their Memorandum of Agreement/Dacion en Pago and the issuance of new certificate of title in the name of the respondent corporation. Petitioner exchanged communications and held conferences with private respondent in order to draw a mutually acceptable payment arrangement for the former’s repurchase of the subject properties. A written offer from another corporation alleging willingness to avail itself of petitioner’s right of repurchase was even attached to one of these communications. Clearly, petitioner was not prejudiced by the non-annotation of such right in the certificates of titles issued in the name of State Financing. Besides, as the Court of Appeals noted, it was not the function of respondent corporation to cause said annotation. It was equally the responsibility of petitioner to protect its own rights by making sure that its right of repurchase was indeed annotated in the consolidated titles of private Respondent
The only legal transgression of State Financing was its failure to observe the proper procedure in affecting the consolidation of the titles in its name. But this does not automatically entitle the petitioner to damages absent convincing proof of malice and bad faith 19 on the part of private respondent and actual damages suffered by petitioner as a direct and probable consequence thereof. In fact, the evidence proffered by petitioner consist of mere conjectures and speculations with no factual moorings. Furthermore, such transgression was addressed by the lower courts when they nullified the consolidation of ownership over the subject properties in the name of respondent corporations, because it had been effected in contravention of the provisions of Article 1607 20 of the Civil Code. Such rulings are consistent with law and jurisprudence.
Neither can moral damages be awarded to petitioner. Time and again, we have held that a corporation — being an artificial person which has no feelings, emotions or senses, and which cannot experience physical suffering or mental anguish — is not entitled to moral damages. 21
While the amount of exemplary damages need not be proved, petitioner must show that he is entitled to moral or actual damages; 22 but the converse obtains in the instant case. Award of attorney’s fees is likewise not warranted when moral damages are eliminated and entitlement thereto is not demonstrated by the claimant. 23
Lastly," (n)ominal damages are adjudicated in order that a right of the plaintiff, which has been violated or invaded by the defendant, may be vindicated or recognized, and not for the purpose of indemnifying the plaintiff for any loss suffered by him." 24 As elaborated above and in the decisions of the two lower courts, no right of petitioner was violated or invaded by respondent corporation.
Second Issue: Redemption Price
Another fundamental principle of procedural law precludes higher courts from entertaining matters neither alleged in the pleadings nor raised during the proceedings below, but ventilated for the first time only in a motion for reconsideration or on appeal. 25 On appeal, only errors specially assigned and properly argued in the brief will be considered, with the exception of those affecting jurisdiction over the subject matter as well as plain and clerical errors. 26
As stated earlier, the single issue raised by petitioner in its appeal of the RTC decision to the Court of Appeals concerned only the denial of its claim for damages. Petitioner succinctly stated such issue in its brief as follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"I. LONE ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR
"The trial court erred in that after having found that the registration of the Memorandum of Agreement/Dacion en Pago on September 15, 1983 [and the consequent cancellation of the titles of plaintiff-appellant Solid Homes, Inc. and issuance in lieu thereof of titles to defendant-appellant State Financing Center, Inc. (SFCI) was null and void because of failure to duly annotate the right to repurchase granted to plaintiff-appellant Solid Homes, Inc. under par. 6 thereof still then subsisting up to June 28, 1984 and the failure to comply with the provisions of Art. 1607, Civil Code . . .
"I[t] nonetheless did not rule that such irregular registration unduly deprived plaintiff-appellant Solid Homes, Inc. of its right of repurchase and that it further erred in not having declared that defendant-appellant SFCI liable in favor of said plaintiff-appellant for damages." 27
Petitioner is thus barred from raising a new issue in its appeal before this Court. Nevertheless, in the interest of substantial justice, we now resolve the additional question posed with respect to the composition of the redemption price prescribed by the trial court and affirmed by the Court of Appeals, as follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"7. Granting the plaintiff Solid Homes the opportunity to exercise its right to repurchase the properties . . . by paying to defendant State Financing the agreed price of P14,225,178.40 plus all cost of money equivalent to 30% (interest of 14% and penalty of 16% from March 1, 1983) per annum, registration fees, real estate and documentary stamp taxes and other incidental expenses incurred by State Financing in the transfer and registration of its ownership via the Dacion En Pago, as provided in the said document and in pursuance of Article 1606 and 1616 of the Civil Code." 28
Petitioner argues that such total redemption price is in contravention of Art. 1616 of the Civil Code. We do not, however, find said legal provision to be restrictive or exclusive, barring additional amount that the parties may agree upon. Said provision should be construed together with Art. 1601 of the same Code which provides as follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"Art. 1601. Conventional redemption shall take place when the vendor reserves the right to repurchase the thing sold, with the obligation to comply with the provisions of article 1616 and other stipulations may have been agreed upon." (Emphasis supplied
It is clear, therefore, that the provisions of Art. 1601 require petitioner to "comply with . . . the other stipulations" of the Memorandum of Agreement/Dacion en Pago it freely entered into with private Respondent
. The said Memorandum’s provision on redemption states:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"6. The FIRST PARTY (State Financing) hereby grants the SECOND PARTY (Solid Homes) the right to repurchase the aforesaid real properties, including the condominium units and other improvements thereon, within ten (10) months counted from and after the one hundred eighty (180) days from date of signing hereof at an agreed price of P14, 225,178.40, or as reduced pursuant to par. 5 (d), plus all cost of money equivalent to 30% per annum, registration fees, real estate and documentary stamp taxes and other incidental expenses incurred by the FIRST PARTY (State Financing) in the transfer and registration of its ownership via dacion en pago . . ." 29 (Emphasis supplied
Contracts have the force of law between the contracting parties who may establish such stipulations, clauses, terms and conditions as they may want, subject only to the limitation that their agreements are not contrary to law, morals, customs, public policy or public order 30 — and the above-quoted provision of the Memorandum does not appear to be so.
Petitioner, however, is right in its observation that the Court of Appeal’s inclusion of "registration fees, real estate and documentary stamp taxes and other incidental expenses incurred by State Financing in the transfer and registration of its ownership (of the subject properties) via dacion en pago" was vague, if not erroneous, considering that such transfer and issuance of the new titles were null and void. Thus, the redemption price shall include only those expenses relating to the registration of the dacion en pago, but not the registration and other expenses incurred in the issuance of new certificates of title in the name of State Financing.
Possession of the Subject Properties
During the Redemption Period
The Court of Appeals Decision modified that of the trial court only insofar as it ordered petitioner to deliver possession of the subject properties to State Financing, the vendee a retro. We find no legal error in this holding. In a contract of sale with pacto de retro, the vendee has a right to the immediate possession of the property sold, unless otherwise agreed upon. It is basic that in a pacto de retro sale, the title and ownership of the property sold are immediately vested in the vendee a retro, subject only to the resolutory condition of repurchase by the vendor a retro within the stipulated period. 31
WHEREFORE, the assailed Decision of the Court of Appeals is hereby AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION that the redemption price shall not include the registration and other expenses incurred by State Financing Center, Inc. in the issuance of new certificates of title in its name, as this was done without the proper judicial order required under Article 1607 of the Civil Code.
, Davide, Jr. and Francisco, JJ.
, is on leave.
1. Sixteenth Division composed of JJ . Minerva P. Gonzaga-Reyes (chairman and ponente), Eduardo G. Montenegro and Conrado M. Vasquez, Jr.
2. Rollo, pp. 43-68.
3. Ibid., pp. 190-193.
4. Ibid., pp. 114-137.
5. Assailed Decision, pp. 1-11; rollo, pp. 43-52.
6. RTC Decision, pp. 24-26; rollo, pp. 135-137.
7. Assailed Decision, p. 22; rollo, p. 64.
8. "However, the vendor may still exercise the right to repurchase within thirty days from the time final judgment was rendered in a civil action on the basis that the contract was a true sale with right to repurchase."cralaw virtua1aw library
9. Assailed Decision, p. 23; rollo, p. 65.
10. "Art. 1607. In case of real property, the consolidation of ownership in the vendee by virtue of the failure of the vendor to comply with the provisions of Article 1616 shall not be recorded in the Registry of Property without a judicial order, after the vendor has been duly heard."cralaw virtua1aw library
Article 1616 provides:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"Art. 1616. The vendor avail himself of the right or repurchase without returning to the vendee the price of the sale, and in addition:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"(1) The expenses of the contract, and any other legitimate payments made by reason of the sale;
"(2) The necessary and useful expenses made on the thing sold."cralaw virtua1aw library
11. Assailed Decision, p. 24; rollo, p. 66.
12. Ibid., p. 25; rollo, p. 67.
13. Ibid., pp. 25-26; rollo, p. 67-68.
14. Ibid., p. 26; rollo, p. 68.
15. In G.R. No. 117404.
16. Castillo v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 106472, August 7, 1996 citing Chua Tiong Tay v. Court of Appeals, 243 SCRA 183, March 31, 1995.
17. Fuentes v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 109849, February 26, 1997, citing several cases.
18. Del Mundo v. Court of Appeals, 240 SCRA 348, 1995.
19. Vda. de Cruzo v. Carriaga, Jr., 174 SCRA 330, 346, June 28, 1989.
20. See note 10.
21. LBC Express, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, 236 SCRA 602, September 21, 1994.
22. Article 2234, Civil Code.
23. Philippine Air Lines v. Miano, 242 SCRA 235, March 8, 1995.
24. Article 2221, Civil Code; Lufthansa German Airlines v. Court of Appeals, 243 SCRA 600, 616, April 21, 1995.
25. People v. Echegaray, G.R. No. 117472, February 7, 1997 citing Manila Bay Club Corporation v. Court of Appeals 249 SCRA 303, October 13, 1995.
26. Section 7, Rule 51 of the Rules of Court, which provides:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"SEC. 7. Questions that may be decided. — No error which does not affect the jurisdiction over the subject matter will be considered unless stated in the assignment of errors and properly argued in the brief, save as the court, at its option, may notice plain errors not specified, and also clerical errors."cralaw virtua1aw library
27. Brief for Plaintiff-Appellant Solid Homes, Inc. (before the Court of Appeals), pp. 1-2; rollo, pp. 71-72.
28. RTC Decision, p. 25; rollo, p. 136.
29. Rollo, p. 46.
30. Manila Bay Club Corporation v. Court of Appeals, 245 SCRA 713, 730, July 11, 1995.
31. De Guzman, Jr. v. Court of Appeals, 156 SCRA 701, 711, December 21, 1987; Flores v. So, 162 SCRA 117, 121, June 15, 1988; Vda. de Cruzo v. Carriaga, Jr., supra.