GUILLERMO P. VILLASOR v. RODOLFO A. MEDEL

FACTS:

A large tract of land situated in the municipality of Bacolod, Negros Occidental, and covered by several certificates of title, formerly belonged as conjugal property to Guillermo Villasor and Basilisa Camento, man and wife. Guillermo Villasor died on September 21, 1914, leaving as universal heirs his widow and five children died intestate while a minor and her share of the land passed to her mother, Basilisa Camento. Basilisa Camento, as judicial administratrix of her deceased husband’s estate, submitted to the court a project of partition, whereby 4/10 undivided part of the estate was allotted to her four surviving children and 6/10 to herself. The partition was approved in due course. Jose C. Villasor, as guardian and in behalf of three grandchildren of Basilisa Camento and with the necessary permission of the court, sold their shares to Mariano Medalla, appellee. the plaintiff, who had reached majority, “through his attorneys addressed a registered special delivery letter to Mariano Medalla, formally offering him the amount of P12,000 for the re-purchase” of the shares of the three minors, but he made no offer for Resureccion Villasor’s share. Rodolfo A. Medel et.al bought the shares of other co-owners of the tract. Refusing at first to sell to the plaintiff, they were made defendants with Medalla in the same case under separate causes of action, but the suit as to them was settled in some form or other trial or appeal. Mariano Medalla, by way of special defense, alleged that the portions of the estate had been segregated and adjudicated to him, that the complaint did not state facts sufficient to constitute a cause of action, that the plaintiff at the time of the sale of those portions to Mariano Medalla on July 1, 1931, was not yet a co-owner of the hacienda, having become such only on December 2, 1936, when for the first time he appeared as one of its registered owners. Medalla maintained that the plaintiff became a co-owner, not from the date of the donation but from the date of its registration.

ISSUE:

WON the plaintiff has the right of legal redemption under Article 1524 of NCC.

RULING:

Yes, according to the Supreme Court, The policy of the law with regard to the period of conventional redemption (pacto de retro) furnishes the key to the scope of article 1524 with reference to the period for legal redemption. It is to be noted that legal redemption and conventional redemption are of the same nature. The provisions governing both are to be found in the same Chapter VI entitled “Resolution of the Sale”; the same Title IV entitled “Contract of Purchase or Sale”; and the same Book entitled “Obligations and Contracts,” all of the Civil Code. It is also to be noted that the law fixes the duration of conventional redemption at four years, in default of an express agreement, and at ten years the maximum period beyond which the parties themselves may not agree. (Article 1508.) Now, it would hardly be contended that a period of grace might be claimed by a vendor with the right of repurchase or his successor by reason of mental disability or non-age. This brings home more eloquently than anything else can illustrate the injustice which a prolonged period for legal redemption would entail. Here, the plaintiff would repurchase the lots nine years after the defendant bought them, during which years, the latter claims, he has improved the property. To the argument such as that advanced, that a purchaser does not have to improve the property and need only reap its fruits, the answer is that not all lands are in a condition of full productivity when purchased. Some require investments of capital and toil to bring them into a state of usefulness.

Digest Credit: Karl Mark Felizardo Dayawon

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