Palay, Inc. vs. Clave

G.R. No. L-56076, September 21, 1983, 124 SCRA 7

FACTS:

On March 28, 1965, petitioner Palay, Inc., through its President, Albert Onstott executed in favor of private respondent, Nazario Dumpit, a Contract to Sell a parcel of Land owned by said corporation. The contract expressly provided for automatic extrajudicial rescission upon default in payment of any monthly installment after the lapse of 90 days from the expiration of the grace period of one month, without need of notice and with forfeiture of all installments paid.

Respondent Dumpit paid the down payment and several installments, but failed to pay the balance. On May 10, 1973, or almost six (6) years later, private respondent wrote petitioner offering to update all his overdue accounts with interest, and seeking its written consent to the assignment of his rights to a certain Lourdes Dizon. However, petitioners informed respondent that his Contract to Sell had long been rescinded pursuant to paragraph 6 of the contract, and that the lot had already been resold.

Respondent filed a letter complaint with the National Housing Authority (NHA) for reconveyance with an alternative prayer for refund. NHA finds the rescission void in the absence of either judicial or notarial demand, ordered Palay, Inc. and Alberto Onstott in his capacity as President of the corporation, jointly and severally, to refund immediately to Nazario Dumpit. Petitioners appealed but subsequently denied for lack of merit. Thus, the present petition.

ISSUE:

Whether or not demand is necessary to rescind a contract regardless of the express stipulation in the contract that demand is not needed.

RULING:

Well settled is the rule, as held in previous jurisprudence, that judicial action for the rescission of a contract is not necessary where the contract provides that it may be revoked and cancelled for violation of any of its terms and conditions. However, even in the cited cases, there was at least a written notice sent to the defaulter informing him of the rescission. As stressed in University of the Philippines vs. Walfrido de los Angeles which held that the act of a party in treating a contract as cancelled or resolved in account of infractions by the other contracting party must be made known to the other and is always provisional being ever subject to scrutiny and review by the proper court. If the other party denies that rescission is justified it is free to resort to judicial action in its own behalf, and bring the matter to court. Then, should the court, after due hearing, decide that the resolution of the contract was not warranted, the responsible party will be sentenced to damages; in the contrary case, the resolution will be affirmed, and the consequent indemnity awarded to the party prejudiced.
In other words, the party who deems the contract violated may consider it resolved or rescinded, and act accordingly, without previous court action, but it proceeds at its own risk. For it is only the final judgment of the corresponding court that will conclusively and finally settle whether the action taken was or was not correct in law. But the law definitely does not require that the contracting party who believes itself injured must first file suit and wait for a judgment before taking extrajudicial steps to protect its interest. Otherwise, the party injured by the other’s breach will have to passively sit and watch its damages accumulate during the pendency of the suit until the final judgment of rescission is rendered when the law itself requires that he should exercise due diligence to minimize its own damages.

Moreover, there was no waiver on the part of the private respondent of his right to be notified under paragraph 6 of the contract since it was a contract of adhesion, a standard form of petitioner corporation, and private respondent had no freedom to stipulate. Finally, it is a matter of public policy to protect buyers of real estate on instalment payments against onerous and oppressive conditions. Waiver of notice is one such onerous and oppressive condition to buyers of real estate on instalment payments.

 * Case digest by Frilin Lomosad, LLB-1, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2017-2018

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