G.R. No. 179025, 17 June 2015, 759 SCRA 1
On December 31, 1956, the late Asuncion Sadaya, mother of herein respondents, executed a Deed of Sale covering a parcel of land denominated as Lot 1064, consisting of an area of 4,563 square meters, located at Lahug, Cebu City, and covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. 13086 of the Register of Deeds, Cebu Province, in favor of Sudlon Agricultural High School (SAHS). The sale was subject to the right of the vendor to repurchase the property after SAHS shall have ceased to exist, or shall have transferred its school site elsewhere. She died.
On June 10, 1983, Batas Pambansa (BP) Blg. 412, entitled “An Act Converting the Cebu School of Arts and Trades in Cebu City into a Chartered College to be Known as the Cebu State College of Science and Technology, Expanding its Jurisdiction and Curricular Programs” took effect. It incorporated and consolidated several schools in the Province of Cebu, including the SAHS, as part of the Cebu State College of Science and Technology (CSCST). The law also transferred all personnel, properties, including buildings, sites, and improvements, records, obligations, monies and appropriations of SAHS to the CSCST.
On March 13, 1990, respondents, through their counsel, Atty. Ricardo Padilla, informed petitioner of their intention to exercise their right to repurchase under the Deed of Sale on the ground that the SAHS had ceased to exist. However, petitioner’s Vocational School Superintendent II, Jesus T. Bonilla, informed respondents that SAHS still existed as only the name of the school was changed.
Whether or not the heirs of Asuncion may still exercise their right to redeem the property.
No. Their right has already prescribed. While the counting of this four-year period shall begin from the execution of the contract, where the right is suspended by agreement until after a certain time, event or condition, the period shall be counted from the time such right could be exercised, but not exceeding ten (10) years from the execution of the contract. Applying the provision to the instant case, the period to repurchase the property must be deemed to be four (4) years from 9 March 1975 or until 9 March 1979.
In the instant case, while the four(4)-year period was counted from the time the right to repurchase could be exercised or when the SAHS ceased to exist, even beyond ten (10) years from the execution of the deed of sale, one must not nevertheless lose sight of the fundamental spirit and intent of the law which have been upheld in jurisprudence, time and time again, viz.: The question of the period within which the repurchase may be made is unanimously considered as a question of public interest. It is not a good thing that the title to property should be left for a long period of time subject to indefinite conditions of this nature. For this reason, the intention of the law is restrictive and limitative.
*Case digest by Catherine C. Velasco, LLB-IV, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2019-2020