Ligon vs. RTC of Makati Branch 56, G.R. No. 190028, February 26, 2014

On November 20, 2002, petitioner Leticia P. Ligon (Ligon) filed an amended complaint before the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 101 (Quezon City RTC) for collection of sum of money and damages, rescission of contract, and nullification of title with prayer for the issuance of a writ of preliminary attachment against Sps. Baladjay and Polished Arrow Holdings, Inc. (Polished Arrow).
Subsequently, an Amended Writ of Preliminary Attachment (1st Writ of Preliminary Attachment) was issued on November 26, 2002, and annotated on the dorsal portion of TCT No. 9273 on December 3, 2002.

On February 18, 2003, a similar complaint for collection of sum of money, damages, and cancellation of title with prayer for issuance of a writ of preliminary attachment was lodged before the Makati City RTC by Spouses Cecilia and Gil Vicente (Sps. Vicente) against Sps. Baladjay, Polished Arrow, and other corporations. During the proceedings therein, a writ of preliminary attachment (2nd Writ of Preliminary Attachment) also against the subject property was issued and annotated on the dorsal portion of TCT No. 9273 on March 12, 2003.

Thereafter, but before the Quezon City Case was concluded, the Makati City RTC rendered a Decision dated December 9, 2004 (December 9, 2004 Decision), rescinding the transfer of the subject property from Sps. Baladjay to Polished Arrow upon a finding that the same was made in fraud of creditors. Consequently, the Makati City RTC directed the Register of Deeds of Muntinlupa City to: (a) cancel TCT No. 9273 in the name of Polished Arrow; and (b) restore TCT No. 8502 “in its previous condition” in the name of Rosario Baladjay, married to Saturnino Baladjay.

Quezon City RTC rendered a Decision dated March 26, 2008 (March 26, 2008 Decision), directing Sps. Baladjay to pay Ligon the amount of ₱3,000,000.00 with interest, as well as attorney’s fees and costs of suit. On September 25, 2008, the March 26, 2008 Decision of the Quezon City RTC became final and executory. However, when Ligon sought its execution, she discovered that the December 3, 2002 attachment annotation had been deleted from TCT No. 9273 when the subject property was sold by way of public auction on September 9, 2005 to the highest bidder, respondent Ting, for the amount of ₱9,000,000.00 during the execution proceedings in the Makati City Case, as evidenced by the Officer’s Final Deed of Sale dated October 27, 2006 (Officer’s Final Deed of Sale) issued by Sheriff Alejo. In this regard, Ligon learned that the Makati City RTC had issued its first assailed Order dated February 9, 2007 (First Assailed Order), directing Atty. Garing, as the Register of Deeds of Muntinlupa City, to: (a) register the Officer’s Final Deed of Sale on the official Record Book of the Register of Deeds of Muntinlupa City; and (b) cancel TCT No. 8502 in the name of Sps. Baladjay and issue a new title in the name of Ting, free from any liens and encumbrances.

In view of the preceding circumstances, Ligon filed, inter alia, a certiorari petition against respondent Presiding Judge Reynaldo Laigo (Judge Laigo), Sheriff Alejo, Atty. Garing, Ting, and Techico (respondents), alleging, among others, that the Makati City RTC committed grave abuse of discretion in issuing the Assailed Orders.

Whether the Order of the Makati RTC to delete the 1st Writ of Attachment of QC RTC is valid.

No, Attachment is defined as a provisional remedy by which the property of an adverse party is taken into legal custody, either at the commencement of an action or at any time thereafter, as a security for the satisfaction of any judgment that may be recovered by the plaintiff or any proper party. Case law instructs that an attachment is a proceeding in rem, and, hence, is against the particular property, enforceable against the whole world. Accordingly, the attaching creditor acquires a specific lien on the attached property which nothing can subsequently destroy except the very dissolution of the attachment or levy itself. Such a proceeding, in effect, means that the property attached is an indebted thing and a virtual condemnation of it to pay the owner’s debt. The lien continues until the debt is paid, or sale is had under execution issued on the judgment, or until the judgment is satisfied, or the attachment discharged or vacated in some manner provided by law. Thus, a prior registration of an attachment lien creates a preference, such that when an attachment has been duly levied upon a property, a purchaser thereof subsequent to the attachment takes the property subject to the said attachment. As provided under PD 1529, said registration operates as a form of constructive notice to all persons.


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