Laureta Trinidad v. IAC

G.R. No. L-65922, 3 December 1991

FACTS:

The house looked beautiful in summer but not when the waters came. Then it was flooded five feet deep and leas than prepossessing, let alone livable. Disenchanted, the buyer sued the seller for the annulment of the sale and damages, alleging fraud.

ISSUE:

Whether or not there was misrepresentation on the part of Francisco to justify the rescission of the sale and the award damages to the petitioner.

RULING:

Fraud is never lightly inferred, it is presumed that “a person is innocent of crime or wrong” and that “private transactions have been fair and regular.” While disputable, these presumptions can be overcome only by clear and preponderant evidence. Our finding is that the fraud alleged by the petitioner has not been satisfactorily established to call for the annulment of the contract. This finding is based on the following considerations.

First, it was the petitioner who admittedly approached the private respondent, who never advertised the property nor offered it for sale to her.

Second, the petitioner had full opportunity to inspect the premises, including the drainage canals indicated in the vicinity map that was furnished her, before she entered into the contract of conditional sale.

Third, it is assumed that she made her appraisal of the property not with the untrained eye of the ordinary prospective buyer but with the experience and even expertise of the licensed real estate broker that she was.

Fourth, seeing that the lot was depressed and there was a drainage lot abutting it, she cannot say she was not forewarned of the possibility that the place might be flooded.

Fifth, there is no evidence except her own testimony that two previous owners of the property had vacated it because of the floods and that Francisco assured her that the house would not be flooded again. The supposed previous owners were not presented as witnesses and neither were the neighbors. Francisco himself denied having made the alleged assurance.

Sixth, the petitioner paid the 1970 and 1971 amortizations even if, according to her Complaint, “since 1969 said lot had been under floods of about one (1) foot deep,” and despite the floods of September and November 1970.

Seventh, it is also curious that notwithstanding the said floods, the petitioner still “made annexes and decorations on the house,” all of a permanent nature, for which she now claims reimbursement from the private respondent.

 * Case digest by Denura, Lady Rubyge LLB-1, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2017-2018

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