Sunday, February 05, 2012

Ladera, et. al. vs. Hodges, et. al. , O.G No. 8027-R, September 23, 1952

Facts: Paz G. Ladera entered into a contract with C.N Hodges, whereby the latter promised to sell a parced of land to the former subject to the stipulation of the contract saying that the failure of the purchaser to pay within sixty days after it fell due would render the contract annulled or rescinded. Furthermore, it is likewise stipulated that the sums of money paid under the contract would be considered rentals and the owner would be at liberty to dispose of the said lands with all its improvements to other persons as if this contract had never been made. After the execution of the contract, Ladera built a house on the lot. Upon her failure to pay, Hodges filed an action for ejectment. The court decided that Ladera is to vacate and surrender possession of the lot. Also, on that day, Ladera paid Hodges P188.50 which the latter recorded as rental payment. A writ of execution was then issued and the City Sheriff levied upon “all rights, interest and participation over the house.” The Sheriff then sold the house to Avelina A. Magno who in turn sold the house to Manuela Villa. But this transaction was not recorded. Upon knowledge of this, Ladera went to see the Sheriff and paid him to redeem the property but was received as rental payment. This amount, however, was not turned over to Hodges.

Issue: Whether or not the house built on a land owned by another person, should be regarded in law as movable or personal property

Held: No. The sale of the land was not made without the proper publication required by law of the sale of immovable property. In this instance, the determination of whether or not the house in dispute is an immovable or movable property is vital. The undisputed rule is whether it is immovable by destination (place by the owner of the tenement), an immovable by incorporation (attachment not necessarily made by the owner of the tenement) or an accession. A true building is an immovable or real property whether the owner of the land is a usufructuary or lessee erects it. Moreover, when Ladera built the house in question, she was not a mere lessee but occupied the land under a valid contract with Hodges to sell it to her. Thus, the object of the levy and the sale was real property. The publication in a newspaper in a general circulation was made making the execution sale void and conferred no title to the purchaser. Furthermore, there was a valid exercise of redemption. So, at the time Magno sold the property to Villa, Magno no longer had title over the property strengthening the fact that since there was no title, the subsequent sale was null and void.

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