Soco v. Militante

G.R. No. L-58961, 28 June 1983

FACTS:

Soco and Francisco entered into a contract of lease whereby Soco leased her commercial building and lot to Francisco for a monthly rental of P 800.00 for a period of 10 years renewable for another 10 years at the option of the lessee.

Francisco noticed that Soco did not anymore send her collector for the payment of rentals and at times there were payments made but no receipts were issued. This situation prompted Francisco to write Soco a letter which the latter received. After writing this letter, Francisco sent his payment for rentals by checks issued by the Commercial Bank and Trust Company.

Soon after Soco learned that Francisco sub-leased a portion of the building to NACIDA at a monthly rental of more than P3,000.00 which is definitely very much higher than what Francisco was paying to Soco under the Contract of Lease, the latter felt that she was on the losing end of the lease agreement so she tried to look for ways and means to terminate the contract.

In view of the alleged non-payment of rental of the leased premises, Soco, through her lawyer, sent to Francisco serving notice to the latter ‘to vacate the premises leased.’ In answer to this letter, Francisco, through his lawyer, informed Soco and her lawyer that all payments of rental due her were in fact paid by Commercial Bank and Trust Company through the Clerk of Court. Despite this explanation, Soco filed a case of Illegal Detainer.

ISSUE:

Whether or not there was a valid consignation of payment of the rentals.

RULING:

No valid consignation. In order that consignation may be effective, the debtor must first comply with certain requirements prescribed by law. The debtor must show:

(1) that there was a debt due;
(2) that the consignation of the obligation had been made because the creditor to whom tender of payment was made refused to accept it, or because he was absent or incapacitated, or because several persons claimed to be entitled to receive the amount due (Art. 1176, Civil Code);
(3) that previous notice of the consignation had been given to the person interested in the performance of the obligation (Art. 1177, Civil Code);
(4) that the amount due was placed at the disposal of the court (Art. 1178, Civil Code); and
(5) that after the consignation had been made the person interested was notified thereof (Art. 1178, Civil Code).

Failure in any of these requirements is enough ground to render a consignation ineffective.

The Court held that the respondent lessee has utterly failed to prove the following requisites of a valid consignation.

First, failed to prove tender of payment of the monthly rentals to the lessor.

Second, respondent lessee also failed to prove the first notice to the lessor prior to consignation. Evidently, from this arrangement, it was the lessee’s duty to send someone to get the cashier’s check from the bank and logically, the lessee has the obligation to make and tender the check to the lessor. This the lessee failed to do, which is fatal to his defense.

Third, respondent lessee likewise failed to prove the second notice, that is, after consignation has been made, to the lessor.

And, lastly, respondent lessee failed to prove the actual deposit or consignation of the monthly rentals.

 * Case digest by Immanuel Y. Granada, LLB-1, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2017-2018

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