ALMENDRADA VS NGO 471 SCRA 311

FACTS:

Petitioner spouses Ricardo Almendrada and Rosario Doroja filed a complaint for legal redemption and damages against respondent spouses Wing On Ngo and Lily T. Ngo before the RTC of Biñan, Laguna. They alleged that: they are the registered owners of a lot situated along Mabini St., San Pedro, Laguna. The spouses Josefina and Lysias Manalo Ricardo’s sister and brother-in-law, respectively, used to be the registered owners of a Lot adjoining their lot. They discovered that the Manalo spouses sold the lot to the Ngo spouses for the sum of ₱44,000.00. The sale was registered without the requisite vendor’s affidavit regarding service of written notices thereof to adjacent owners; The Almendrada spouses filed a motion to declare the Ngo spouses in default for the failure to file their Answer. One month after, the Ngo spouses filed the opposition to the motion for default with motion to admit their answer. In their Answer, Ngo spouses claimed that they merely relied in good faith on Josefina Manalo’s assurance that none of her relatives wanted to buy the property and that they have no intention to oppose the desire of the Almendrada spouses to redeem the same. They prayed that the case be dismissed for being premature and for lack of merit. On April 30, 1997, the RTC rendered its decision upholding the right of legal redemption of the Almendrada spouses based on: (a) the testimony of Ricardo Almendrada, as corroborated by Ariel Uypico, that the Ngo spouses were selling the lot; (b) the non-approval by the proper building official or municipal engineer of the building design and plan for the lot prepared by Jaime Patalud for the Ngo spouses; (c) the failure of the building design and plan to comply with the legal requirement imposed by the National Building Code and its Implementing Rules and Regulations that a commercial building with an area of 20 to 24 square meters must allow a road right of way of 6 meters in front, 3 meters at the side and 3 meters at the rear. It held that the lot is so small that it cannot be used for any practical purpose within a reasonable time and was bought by the Ngo spouses for speculation. Dissatisfied, the Ngo spouses filed an appeal with the CA which, on September 30, 1999, set aside the decision of the RTC and dismissed the complaint for legal redemption and damages. The Almendrada spouses filed a motion for reconsideration but it was denied in the CA Resolution dated March 9, 2000. Hence, the present petition for review on certiorari.

ISSUE:

WON The Petitioner rights to legal redemption is valid under Art. 1622 of the NCC.

RULING:

No, There are 4 elements necessary for the application of Article 1622, to wit: (1) that the piece of land is urban land; (2) that the land is so small that a major portion thereof cannot be used for any practical purpose within a reasonable time; (3) that it was bought merely for speculation; and (4) that the land is about to be resold, or that its resale has been perfected. Before a party may avail of the right of pre-emption or redemption under this provision, it is necessary that all these elements be alleged in the complaint and proved at the trial. In this case reveals that the Almendrada spouses failed to allege in their complaint that they based their cause of action under Article 1622 because they did not allege the elements necessary for the application of said provision. They insist, nonetheless, that they adduced sufficient evidence to support their claim. Wherefore, the petition is denied for lack of merit.

Digest Credit: Karl Mark Felizardo Dayawon

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