Civil Law,  Legally Yours

Manotok Realty v. Tecson

Manotok Realty v. Tecson

MANOTOK REALTY, INC. v. THE HONORABLE JOSE H. TECSON, Judge of the Court of First Instance of Manila and NILO MADLANGAWA
G.R. No. L-47475 August 19, 1988
Gutierrrez, Jr., J.

FACTS:

In a complaint filed by the petitioner for recovery of possession and damages against the private respondent, the then Court of First Instance of Manila rendered judgment declaring the defendant Nilo Madlangawa as a builder or possessor in good faith; and ordering the plaintiff to recognize the right of said defendant to remain in Lot No. 345, Block 1, of the Clara Tambunting Subdivision until after he shall have been reimbursed by the plaintiff the sum of P7,500.00, without pronouncement as to costs.

Not satisfied with the trial court’s decision, the petitioner appealed to the Court of Appeals and upon affirmance by the latter of the decision below, the petitioner elevated its case to this Court which dismissed the case for lack of merit.

The petitioner filed with the trial court, presided over by respondent Judge Jose H. Tecson, a motion for the approval of petitioner’s exercise of option and for satisfaction of judgment, praying that the court issue an order: a) approving the exercise of petitioner’s option to appropriate the improvements introduced by the private respondent on the property; b) thereafter, private respondent be ordered to deliver possession of the property in question to the petitioner.

After a denial of its motion for reconsideration, the petitioner filed the present petition for mandamus alleging that the respondent judge committed grave abuse of discretion in denying his motion to exercise option and for execution of judgment on the grounds that under Articles 448 and 546 of the Civil Code, the exercise of option belongs to the owner of the property, who is the petitioner herein, and that upon finality of judgment, the prevailing party is entitled, as a matter of right, to its execution which is only a ministerial act on the part of the respondent judge.

ISSUE:

Should the motion for the approval of the exercise of option be granted?

HELD:

Yes. When the decision of the trial court became final and executory, it became incumbent upon the respondent judge to issue the necessary writ for the execution of the same. There is, therefore, no basis for the respondent judge to deny the petitioner’s motion to avail of its option to appropriate the improvements made on its property.

To be deemed a builder in good faith, it is essential that a person assert title to the land on which he builds; i.e., that he be a possessor in the concept of owner and that he be unaware ‘that there exists in his title or mode of acquisition any flaw which invalidates it. The private respondent’s good faith ceased after the filing of the complaint below by the petitioner.

Thus, the repairs and improvements introduced by the said respondents after the complaint was filed cannot be considered to have been built in good faith, much less, justify the denial of the petitioner’s exercise of option. Since the improvements have been gutted by fire, and therefore, the basis for private respondent’s right to retain the premises has already been extinguished without the fault of the petitioner, there is no other recourse for the private respondent but to vacate the premises and deliver the same to herein petitioner.

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