The parties in this case are brothers, except Alejandro Sangalang, herein intervenor-respondent. Senen and Virgilio purchased a house and lot located in Parañaque City, Metro Manila for the benefit of their father, Maximiano Aguilar (now deceased). The brothers wanted their father to enjoy his retirement in a quiet neighbourhood. On February 23, 1970, they executed a written agreement stipulating that their shares in the house and lot would be equal; and that Senen would live with their father on condition that he would pay the Social Security System (SSS) the remaining loan obligation of the former owners. In 1974, their father died. Virgilio then demanded that Senen vacate the house and that the property be sold, the proceeds to be divided between them. Senen refused to comply with Virgilios demand. On March 27, 1995, Senen filed with the Regional Trial Court, Branch 260, Parañaque City, an action for legal redemption against Virgilio and another brother, Angel. Senen alleged that while he knows that Virgilio sold his share of the property to Angel in January 1989, however, he (Senen) was not furnished any written notice of the sale. Consequently, as a co-owner, he has the right to redeem the property.
WON Co-owners is required to receive a written notice of the sale by the vendee or vendor.
The Supreme Court ruled that the petitioner’s contention lacks merit. The old rule is that a written notice of the sale by the vendor to his co-owners is indispensable for the latter to exercise their retracto legal de comuneros. More recently, however, we have relaxed the written notice requirement as ruled in Si V. Court of Appeals, we ruled that a co-owner with actual notice of the sale is not entitled to a written notice for such would be superfluous. The law does not demand what is unnecessary. Petitioner has actual knowledge of the sale of Virgilios share to Angel in 1989. As provided by Article 1623, he has thirty days from such actual knowledge within which to exercise his right to redeem the property. Inexplicably, petitioner did not take any action. He waited for seven (7) years before filing his complaint. Definitely, such an unexplained delay is tantamount to laches. To be sure, to uphold his right would unduly cause injury to respondent-intervenor, a purchaser in good faith and for value. Wherefore, the petition is denied.
Digest Credit: Karl Mark Felizardo Dayawon