Gomez v. Court of Appeals

340 SCRA 720, 21 September 2000

FACTS:

Pursuant to the Land for the Landless Programs of the City of Manila and in accordance with City Ordinance No. 6880, the Office of the City Mayor issued Resolution No. 16-A, 3 Series of 1978, dated 17 May 1978, which effectively set guidelines and criteria for the award of city home lots to qualified and deserving applicants. Attached to said resolution and made as integral part thereof was a Contract to sell that further laid down terms and conditions, which the lot awardees must comply with. On 30 June 1978, the City of Manila, through the City Tenants Security Committee presently known as the Urban Settlement Office, passed Resolution 17-18 5which in effect awarded to 46 applicants, 37 home lots in the former Ampil-Gororspe estate located in Tondo, Manila.

Luisa Gomez, predecessor-in-interest of herein petitioner Vicente Gomez, was awarded a land subject to the provisions of Resolution No. 3-78 of the CTSC and building, subdivision and zoning rules and regulations. Consequently, a certificate of award dated 02 July 1978 was granted by the CTSC in favor of Luisa Gomez, who paid the purchase price of the lot on installment basis.

Thereafter, despite the full payment, Luisa still paid in installment an amount of P8,244.00, in excess of the purchase price, which the City of Manila accepted. Additionally, the lot was declared for taxation purposes and the corresponding real estate taxes thereon paid from 1980- 1988. In 1982, Luisa, together with her spouse Daniel, left again for the United States of America where she died and was survived by her husband and four children.

Subsequently, in a memorandum, the Urban Settlements Officer and Executive Secretary of the CTSC directed the Western Police District, City Hall Detachment, to conduct an investigation regarding reported violations of the terms and conditions of the award committed by the lot awardees.

An investigation report revealed that of all the lot awardees in the said estate, Daniel Gomez was confirmed to have violated the terms and conditions of their respective awards, as the place was found actually occupied by Erlinda Perez and her family together with Mr. Mignony Lorghas and family, who are paying monthly rentals of P210.00 each to Vicente Gomez, brother of awardee.Thus, the CTSC ordered the cancellation of the lot awards of Daniel Gomez, and other awardees who were found to have committed violations, and further declaring the forfeiture of payments made by said awardees as reasonable compensation for the use of the home lots. Petitioner Vicente Gomez, acting as attorney-in-fact of his brother Daniel Gomez asked for reconsideration of the CTSC resolution revoking the award of the lot. Three memoranda were later filed in the CTSC praying the resolution be set aside and that the award of the lot be restored to Luisa Gomez, or her heirs or successor-in-interest, preferably Vicente Gomez.

Petitioner then filed before the RTC of Manila, a petition for certiorari and prohibition. The lower court granted this. On appeal, the CA reversed the lower court’s decision prompting petitioner to file a motion for reconsideration, which the appellate court denied. Hence, the instant appeal.

RULING:

The petition is unmeritorious.

The cancellation of the award covering the subject lot, was properly exercised within the bounds of law and contractual stipulation between the parties. Primarily, it must be stressed that the contract entered into between the City of Manila and awardee Luisa Gomez was not one of sale but a contract to sell. Which, under both statutory and case law, has its own attributes, peculiarities and effects.

In a contract of sale, the title passes to the vendee upon the delivery of the thing sold; whereas in a contract of sell, by agreement, the ownership is reserved in the vendor and is not pass until the full payment of the price. In a contract of sale, the vendor has lost and cannot recover ownership until and unless the contract is resolved or rescinded; whereas in a contract to sell, title is retained by the vendor until the full payment of purchase price, such payment being a positive suspensive condition and failure of which is not a breach but an event that prevents the obligation of the vendor to convey title from being effective.

A contract of sale may either be absolute or conditional. One form of conditional sale is what is now popularly termed as a “Contract to Sell” where ownership or title is retained until the fulfillment of positive suspensive condition normally the payment of the purchase price in the manner agreed upon. The contracting parties are accorded the liberality and freedom to establish such stipulations, clauses, terms and conditions as they may deem convenient, provided the same are not contrary to law, morals, good customs, public order or public policy.

Under the present circumstances, we see no hindrance that prohibits the parties from stipulating other lawful conditions, aside from full payment of the purchase price, which they pledge to bind themselves and upon which transfer of ownership depends. In the instant case, we uphold the Contract to sell which explicitly provides for additional terms and conditions upon which the lot awardees are bounded.

As to the matter of acceptance, the same may be evidenced by some acts. Verily, Resolution 16-A and the contract to sell which was annexed, attached and made to form part of said resolution, clearly laid down the terms and conditions which the awardee-vendee must comply with. Accordingly, as an awardee, Luisa Gomez, her heirs and successors-in-interest alike, are duty-bound to perform the correlative obligations embodied in Resolution 16-A and the Contract to Sell.

*Case digest by Rezeile S. Morandarte, JD – 4, Andres Bonifacio College, SY 2019–2020

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