G.R. No. 103068, June 22, 2001
Meat Packing Corporation of the Philippines (MPCP) is a corporation wholly owned by GSIS. It is the owner of 3 parcels of land in Pasig as well as the meat processing and packing plant thereon. MPCP and Philippine Integrated Meat Corporation (PIMECO) entered into an Agreement: MPCP leased to PIMECO, under a lease-purchase arrangement, its aforesaid property at an annual rental rate of P1,375,563.92. It is payable over 28 years commencing on the date of execution of the Agreement, or for a total consideration of P38,515,789.87. The Agreement’s rescission clause: If the lessee-vendee (PIMECO) should fail or default in the payment of rentals equivalent to the cumulative sum total of 3 annual installments, the Agreement shall be deemed automatically canceled and forfeited without the need of judicial intervention. MPCP and PIMECO entered into a Supplementary and Loan Agreement. In consideration of the additional expenditures incurred by MPCP for plant rehabilitation, the total contract price of the lease-purchase agreement was increased to P93,695,552.59, payable over a period of 28 years, at the annual rental rate of P3,346,269.70. PCGG sequestered all the assets, properties, and records of PIMECO, including the meat packing plant and the lease-purchase agreement. MPCP wrote a letter to PIMECO, giving notice of the rescission of the lease-purchase agreement on the ground, among others, of non-payment of rentals of more than P2M. GSIS asked the PCGG to exclude the meat packing plant from the sequestered assets of PIMECO because it is owned by MPCP. However, PCGG denied the request. Likewise, MPCP sought the turnover to it of the meat packaging plant on the ground that the lease-purchase agreement had already been rescinded. PCGG ordered the transfer of the plant to GSIS, under the condition that the PCGG management team might continue its operations to complete outstanding orders.
Sandiganbayan found that PCGG committed grave abuse of authority, power, and discretion in unilaterally terminating the lease-purchase agreement of PIMECO and MPCP, and in turning over its management, control, and operation to the latter.
Whether or not the lease-purchase agreement has been rescinded.
No. Consignation is the act of depositing the thing due with the court or judicial authorities whenever the creditor cannot accept or refuses to accept payment, and it generally requires a prior tender of payment. Tender is the antecedent of consignation. Tender of payment may be extrajudicial, while consignation is necessarily judicial, and the priority of the first is the attempt to make a private settlement before proceeding to the solemnities of consignation. Tender and consignation, where validly made, produces the effect of payment and extinguishes the obligation.
Article 1256. If the creditor to whom tender of payment has been made refuses without just cause to accept it, the debtor shall be released from responsibility by the consignation of the thing or sum due.
There was prior tender by PCGG for payment of the rentals in arrears. MPCP’s refusal to accept the same on the ground merely that its lease-purchase agreement with PIMECO had been rescinded was unjustified. PIMECO paid, and GSIS/MPCP received several amounts due under the lease-purchase agreement. Certainly, the acceptance by MPCP and GSIS of such payments negates any rescission of the lease-purchase agreement. Under the terms of the lease-purchase agreement, the amount of arrears in rentals or amortizations must be equivalent to the cumulative sum of three annual installments, in order to warrant the rescission of the contract.
Therefore, it must be shown that PIMECO failed to pay the aggregate amount of at least P10,038,809.10 before the lease-purchase agreement can be deemed automatically canceled. Assuming in the extreme that, as alleged by MPCP, the arrears at the time of tender amounted to P12,578,171.00, the tender and consignation of the sum of P5,000,000.00, which had the effect of payment, reduced the back rentals to only P7,578,171.00, an amount less than the equivalent of three annual installments. Thus, with the Sandiganbayan’s approval of the consignation and directive for MPCP to accept the tendered payment, the lease-purchase agreement could not be said to have been rescinded.
* Case digest by Vera L.Nataa, LLB-1, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2017-2018