190 SCRA 171
Petitioners filed with the CFI a complaint for injunction and damages,seeking to enjoin private respondents from selling to a third party their pro-indiviso shares as co-owners in eight parcels of land. Petitioner claimed that under Article 1620 of the new Civil Code, they, as co-owners, had a preferential right to purchase these shares from private respondents for a reasonable price. Respondent trial judge denied the ex parte application for awrit of preliminary injunction, on the ground that petitioners’ registered notice of lis pendens was ample protection of their rights.
Whether the co-owners has a preferential right to purchase the pro-indiviso shares of his co-owners.
This claim is patently without basis. In this jurisdiction, the legal provisions on co-ownership do not grant to any of the owners of a property held in common a pre-emptive right to purchase the pro-indiviso shares of his co-owners. Petitioners’ reliance on Article 1620 of the New Civil Code is misplaced. Article 1620 provides:A co-owner of a thing may exercise the right of redemption in case the shares of all the co-owners or of any of them, are sold to a third person. If the price of the alienation is grossly excessive, the redemptioner shall pay only a reasonable one. Should two or more co-owners desire to exercise the right of redemption, they may only do so in proportion to the share they may respectively have in the thing owned in common [Emphasis supplied].
Article 1620 contemplates of a situation where a co-owner has alienated his pro-indiviso shares to a stranger. By the very nature of the right of “legal redemption”, a co-owner’s light to redeem is invoked only after the shares of the other co-owners are sold to a third party or stranger to the co-ownership [See Estrada v. Reyes, 33 Phil. 31 (1915)]. But in the case at bar, at the time petitioners filed their complaint for injunction and damages against private respondents, no sale of the latter’s pro-indiviso shares to a third party had yet been made. Thus, Article 1620 of the New Civil Code finds no application to the case at bar.
There is likewise no merit to petitioners’ contention that private respondents had acknowledged the pre-emptive right of petitioners to purchase their shares at a “reasonable price”. Although it appears that private respondents had agreed to sell their pro-indiviso shares to petitioners, the offer was made at a fixed rate of P12.50 per square meter [See Pre-trial Order dated July 9, 1980, Annex “C” of the Petition; Rollo, pp. 43-45]. It cannot be said that private respondents had agreed, without qualification, to sell their shares to petitioners. Hence, petitioners cannot insist on a right to purchase the shares at a price lower than the selling price of private respondents.
*Case digest by April Rose B. Tuanda , JD – 4, Andres Bonifacio College, SY 2019 – 2020