Legally Yours

Alonzo v. IAC

Statutory Construction. Ratio legis.
Alonzo v. IAC
G.R. No. 72873 May 28, 1987

FACTS:
Five brothers and sisters inherited in equal pro indiviso shares a parcel of land registered in the name of their deceased parents. One of them, Celestino Padua, transferred his undivided share of the herein petitioners by way of absolute sale. One year later, on April 22, 1964, Eustaquia Padua, his sister, sold her own share to the same vendees. The petitioners occupied, after the said sales, an area corresponding to two-fifths of the said lot, representing the portions sold to them. On February 25, 1976, Mariano Padua, one of the five coheirs, sought to redeem the area sold to the spouses Alonzo, but his complaint was dismissed when it appeared that he was an American citizen. On May 27, 1977, however, Tecla Padua, another co-heir, filed her own complaint invoking the same right of redemption claimed by her brother.

ISSUE:
Whether or not a written notice is required in relation to Article 1088 of the Civil Code

HELD:
Law and justice are inseparable, and we must keep them so. To be sure, there are some laws that, while generally valid, may seem arbitrary when applied in a particular case because of its peculiar circumstances. In such a situation, we are not bound, because only of our nature and functions, to apply them just the same, in slavish obedience to their language. The spirit, rather than the letter of a statute determines its construction, hence, a statute must be read according to its spirit or intent. For what is within the spirit is within the letter but although it is not within the letter thereof, and that which is within the letter but not within the spirit is not within the statute. In requiring written notice, Article 1088 seeks to ensure that the redemptioner is properly notified of the sale and to indicate the date of such notice as the starting time of the 30-day period of redemption. Considering the shortness of the period, it is really necessary, as a general rule, to pinpoint the precise date it is supposed to begin, to obviate any problem of alleged delays, sometimes consisting of only a day or two. The instant case presents no such problem because the right of redemption was invoked not days but years after the sales were made in 1963 and 1964. The complaint was filed by Tecla Padua in 1977, thirteen years after the first sale and fourteen years after the second sale. The delay invoked by the petitioners extends to more than a decade, assuming of course that there was a valid notice that tolled the running of the period of redemption. The co-heirs, in this case, were undeniably informed of the sales although no notice in writing was given them. And there is no doubt either that the 30-day period began and ended during the 14 years between the sales in question and the filing of the complaint for redemption in 1977, without the co-heirs exercising their right of redemption. These are the justifications for this exception.

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