G.R. No. 171399
May 8, 2009
Petitioners bought on an installment basis subdivision lots from respondent CRS Realty and had paid in full the agreed purchase prices; but notwithstanding the full payment and despite demands, respondents failed and refused to deliver the corresponding certificates of title to petitioners. They alleged that respondent Casal was the owner of a parcel of land situated in General Mariano Alvarez, Cavite known as the CRS Farm Estate while respondent Salvador was the president of respondent CRS Realty, the developer of CRS Farm Estate. Petitioners averred that respondents failed to deliver the titles to their respective properties. Casal averred that despite his willingness to deliver them, petitioners refused to accept the certificates of title with notice of lis pendens covering the subdivision lots. Respondent Salvador alleged that the failure by respondent Casal to comply with his obligation under the first agreement to deliver to CRS or the buyers the certificates of title was caused by the annotation of the notice of lis pendens on the certificate of title covering the subdivision property.
HLURB Arbiter Ma. Perpetua Y. Aquino declared that the regular courts and not the HLURB had jurisdiction over petitioners’ complaint, thus, the complaint for quieting of title could not be given due course. The Heirs of Laudiza and Ligon were dropped as parties on the ground of lack of cause of action. However, she found respondents CRS Realty, Casal and Salvador liable on their obligation to deliver the certificates of title of the subdivision lots to petitioners who had paid in full the purchase price of the properties. She also found as fraudulent and consequently nullified the subsequent transfer of a portion of the subdivision to respondents Ang and Cuason.
(1) whether or not the absence of a license to sell has rendered the sales void;
(2) whether or not the subsequent sale to respondent Cuason and Ang constitutes double sale;
(3) whether or not the HLURB has jurisdiction over petitioners’ complaint; and
(4) whether a minute decision conforms to the requirement of Section 14, Article VIII of the Constitution.
1. The only requisite for a contract of sale or contract to sell to exist in law is the meeting of minds upon the thing which is the object of the contract and the price, including the manner the price is to be paid by the vendee. The absence of the license to sell does not affect the validity of the already perfected contract of sale between petitioners and respondent CRS Realty.
2. The HLURB has exclusive jurisdiction over the complaint for specific performance to compel respondents CRS Realty, Casal and Salvador as subdivision owners and developers to deliver to petitioners the certificates of title after full payment of the subdivision lots. On this score, the Court affirms the findings of HLURB Arbiter Aquino with respect to the obligation of respondents Casal, Salvador and CRS Realty to deliver the certificates of title of the subdivision to petitioners pursuant to their respective contracts to sell.
There is no question that respondents Casal, Salvador and CRS Realty breached their obligations to petitioners under the contracts to sell. It is settled that a breach of contract is a cause of action either for specific performance or rescission of contracts.Respondents Casal, Salvador and CRS Realty have the obligation to deliver the corresponding clean certificates of title of the subdivision lots, the purchase price of which have been paid in full by petitioners. That the subject subdivision property is involved in a pending litigation between respondent Casal and persons not parties to the instant case must not prejudice petitioners.
3. As regards petitioners’ prayer to declare them the absolute owners of the subdivision lots, the HLURB had no jurisdiction to declare petitioners as absolute owners of the subdivision lots as against the Heirs of Laudiza who filed an action for reconveyance against respondent Casal, which is still pending before the RTC.
4. The decision of the OP does not violate the mandate of Section 14, Article VIII of the Constitution, which provides that “No decision shall be rendered by any court without expressing therein clearly and distinctly the facts and the law on which it is based.”
The OP decision ruled that “the findings of fact and conclusions of law of the office a quo are amply supported by substantial evidence” and that it is “bound by said findings of facts and conclusions of law and hereby adopt(s) the assailed resolution by reference.”
The Court finds these legal bases in conformity with the requirements of the Constitution. The Court has sanctioned the use of memorandum decisions, a species of succinctly written decisions by appellate courts in accordance with the provisions of Section 40, B.P. Blg. 129 on the grounds of expediency, practicality, convenience and docket status of our courts. The Court has declared that memorandum decisions comply with the constitutional mandate.