GR No. 104875, 13 November 1992
Florante Manacop and his wife Euaceli purchased on March 1972, a residential lot with a bungalow located in Quezon City. The petitioner failed to pay the sub-contract cost pursuant to a deed of assignment signed between petitioner’s corporation and private respondent herein (FF Cruz & Co). The latter filed a complaint for the recovery for the sum of money with a prayer for preliminary attachment against the former. Consequently, the corresponding writ for the provisional remedy was issued which triggered the attachment of a parcel of land in Quezon City owned by the Manacop Construction President, the petitioner. The latter insists that the attached property is a family home having been occupied by him and his family since 1972 and is therefore exempt from attachment.
WON the subject property is indeed exempted from attachment.
The residential house and lot of petitioner became a family home by operation of law under Article 153 of the Family Code. Such provision does not mean that said article has a retroactive effect such that all existing family residences, petitioner’s included, are deemed to have been constituted as family homes at the time of their occupation prior to the effectivity of the Family Code and henceforth, are exempt from execution for the payment of obligations incurred before the effectivity of the Family Code on August 3, 1988. Since petitioner incurred debt in 1987, it preceded the effectivity of the Code and his property is therefore not exempt form attachment.
Under the Family Code, a family home is deemed constituted on a house and lot from the time it is occupied as a family residence. There is no need to constitute the same judicially or extrajudicially as required in the Civil Code. If the family actually resides in the premises, it is, therefore, a family home as contemplated by law. Thus, the creditors should take the necessary precautions to protect their interest before extending credit to the spouses or head of the family who owns the home.
Article 155 of the Family Code also provides as follows:
“The family home shall be exempt from execution, forced sale or attachment except:
(1) For nonpayment of taxes;
(2) For debts incurred prior to the constitution of the family home;
(3) For debts secured by mortgages on the premises before or after such constitution; and
(4) For debts due to laborers, mechanics, architects, builders, materialmen and others who have rendered service or furnished material for the construction of the building.
The exemption provided as aforestated is effective from the time of the constitution of the family home as such, and lasts so long as any of its beneficiaries actually resides therein.”
In the present case, the residential house and lot of petitioner was not constituted as a family home whether judicially or extrajudicially under the Civil Code. It became a family home by operation of law only under Article 153 of the Family Code. It is deemed constituted as a family home upon the effectivity of the Family Code on August 3, 1988 not August 4, one year after its publication in the Manila Chronicle on August 4, 1987 (1988 being a leap year).
Article 153 of the Family Code Has No Retroactive Effect
The petition was dismissed by SC.
* Case digest by Neah Hope L. Bato, LLB-1, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2017-2018