UP vs. De Los Angeles

G.R. No. L-28602, 29 September 1970

FACTS:

Petitioner and respondent ALUMCO entered into a logging agreement under which the latter was granted exclusive authority, for a period starting from the date of the agreement to 31 December 1965, extendible for a further period of five (5) years by mutual agreement, to cut, collect and remove timber from the Land Grant, in consideration of payment to UP of royalties, forest fees, etc. The Land Grant, situated at the Lubayat areas in the provinces of Laguna and Quezon, was segregated from the public domain and given as an endowment to UP, an institution of higher learning, to be operated and developed for the purpose of raising additional income for its support, pursuant to Act 3608. ALUMCO cut and removed timber therefrom but, as of 8 December 1964, it had incurred an unpaid account of P219,362.94, which, despite repeated demands, it had failed to pay. After a notice was given by the petitioner that they would rescind or terminate the logging agreement, ALUMCO executed an instrument, entitled “Acknowledgment of Debt and Proposed Manner of Payments,” dated 9 December 1964, which was approved by the president of UP, and which stipulated the following:

3. In the event that the payments called for in Nos. 1 and 2 of this paragraph are not sufficient to liquidate the foregoing indebtedness of the DEBTOR in favor of the CREDITOR, the balance outstanding after the said payments have been applied shall be paid by the DEBTOR in full no later than June 30, 1965;

5. In the event that the DEBTOR fails to comply with any of its promises or undertakings in this document, the DEBTOR agrees without reservation that the CREDITOR shall have the right and the power to consider the Logging Agreement dated December 2, 1960 as rescinded without the necessity of any judicial suit, and the CREDITOR shall be entitled as a matter of right to Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50,000.00) by way of and for liquidated damages;

ALUMCO continued its logging operations, but again incurred an unpaid account, for the period from 9 December 1964 to 15 July 1965, in the amount of P61,133.74, in addition to the indebtedness that it had previously acknowledged. Four days later, petitioner UP informed respondent ALUMCO that it had, as of that date, considered as rescinded and of no further legal effect the logging agreement that they had entered in 1960.

ISSUE:

Whether or not petitioner UP treat its contract with ALUMCO rescinded, and may disregard the same before any judicial pronouncement to that effect.

RULING:

Yes to both. UP and ALUMCO had expressly stipulated in the “Acknowledgment of Debt and Proposed Manner of Payments” that, upon default by the debtor ALUMCO, the creditor (UP) has “the right and the power to consider, the Logging Agreement dated 2 December 1960 as rescinded without the necessity of any judicial suit.” As to such special stipulation, and in connection with Article 1191 of the Civil Code, this Court stated in Froilan vs. Pan Oriental Shipping Co., et al., L-11897, 31 October 1964, 12 SCRA 276:

there is nothing in the law that prohibits the parties from entering into agreement that violation of the terms of the contract would cause cancellation thereof, even without court intervention. In other words, it is not always necessary for the injured party to resort to court for rescission of the contract.

Of course, it must be understood that the act of party in treating a contract as cancelled or resolved on 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.

 * Case digest by Suzeyne Garcia, LLB-1, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2017-2018

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