G.R. No. 117355, 5 April 2002, 380 SCRA 245
Respondent Reyes executed a ten year renewable Contract of Lease with Riviera involving a parcel of land which was a subject of a Real Estate Mortgage executed by Reyes in favor of Prudential Bank but the loan with Prudential Bank remained unpaid upon maturity so the bank foreclosed the mortgage thereon and emerged as the highest bidder at the public auction sale. Reyes decided to sell the property offered it to Reviera. After seven months, Riviera offered to buy the property but Reyes denied it and increased the price of the property. Reyes’ counsel informed Riviera that he is selling the property for P6,000 per square meter and to confirm their conversation, Riviera sent a letter stating his interest in buying the property for the fixed and final price of P5,000 per square meters but Reyes did not accede to said price.
Reyes confided to Traballo and the latter expressed interest in buying the said property for P5,300 per square meter but he did not have enough amount so he looked for a partner. Despite of the impending expiration of the redemption period of the foreclosed mortgaged property and the deal between Reyes and Traballo was not yet formally concluded, Reyes decided to approach Riviera and requested Atty. Alinea to approach Angeles and find out if the latter was still interested in buying the subject property and ask him to raise his offer for the purchase of the said property a little higher but Riviera said that his offer is P5,000 per square meter so Reyes did not agree.
Cypress and Trading Corporation, were able to come up with the amount sufficient to cover the redemption money, with which Reyes paid to the Prudential Bank to redeem the subject property and Reyes executed a Deed of Absolute Sale covering the subject property. Cypress and Cornhill mortgaged the subject property to Urban Development Bank. Riviera sought from Reyes, Cypress and Cornhill a resale of the subject property to it claiming that its right of first refusal under the lease contract was violated but his attempts were unsuccessful. Riviera filed the suit to compel Reyes, Cypress, Cornhill and Urban Development Bank to transfer the disputed title to the land in favor of Riviera upon its payment of the price paid by Cypress and Cornhill.
Whether petitioner can still exercise his “right of first refusal”.
In Parañaque Kings Enterprises, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, the Court affirmed the nature of and the concomitant rights and obligations of parties under a right of first refusal. The Court, summarizing the rulings in Guzman, Bocaling & Co. v. Bonnevie and Equatorial Realty Development, Inc. v. Mayfair Theater, Inc., held that in order to have full compliance with the contractual right granting petitioner the first option to purchase, the sale of the properties for the price for which they were finally sold to a third person should have likewise been first offered to the former. Further, there should be identity of terms and conditions to be offered to the buyer holding a right of first refusal if such right is not to be rendered illusory. Lastly, the basis of the right of first refusal must be the current offer to sell of the seller or offer to purchase of any prospective buyer.
Thus, the prevailing doctrine is that a right of first refusal means identity of terms and conditions to be offered to the lessee and all other prospective buyers and a contract of sale entered into in violation of a right of first refusal of another person, while valid, is rescissible.
*Case digest by Teonilo M. Bagalanon Jr., JD – 4, Andres Bonifacio College, SY 2019 – 2020