Civil Law,  Legally Yours

Guzman, Bocaling & Co. v. Bonnevie

Guzman, Bocaling & Co. v. Bonnevie

G.R. No. 86150 March 2, 1992

FACTS:

Renoso is the owner of the property being leased by the Bonnevies. Their Contract of Lease states that the lessee shall be given a first priority to purchased the same. Reynoso sold the property to Guzman, Bocaling and Co. (GBC) without informing the Bonnevies that the property shall be sold. Hence, the lessees were not able to exercise their right of first priority to purchase. The Bonnevies then filed an action for the annulment of the Contract of Sale between GBC and Reynoso.

ISSUE:

Whether or not the Contract of Sale between Guzman, Bocaling & Co. and Reynoso is rescissible

HELD:

Yes. The Contract of Sale was not voidable but rescissible. Under Article 1380 to 1381 (3) of the Civil Code, a contract otherwise valid may nonetheless be subsequently rescinded by reason of injury to third persons, like creditors. The status of creditors could be validly accorded the Bonnevies for they had substantial interests that were prejudiced by the sale of the subject property to the petitioner without recognizing their right of first priority under the Contract of Lease.

According to Tolentino, rescission is a remedy granted by law to the contracting parties and even to third persons, to secure reparations for damages caused to them by a contract, even if this should be valid, by means of the restoration of things to their condition at the moment prior to the celebration of said contract. It is a relief allowed for the protection of one of the contracting parties and even third persons from all injury and damage the contract may cause, or to protect some incompatible and preferent right created by the contract. Rescission implies a contract which, even if initially valid, produces a lesion or pecuniary damage to someone that justifies its invalidation for reasons of equity.

It is true that the acquisition by a third person of the property subject of the contract is an obstacle to the action for its rescission where it is shown that such third person is in lawful possession of the subject of the contract and that he did not act in bad faith. However, this rule is not applicable in the case before us because the petitioner is not considered a third party in relation to the Contract of Sale nor may its possession of the subject property be regarded as acquired lawfully and in good faith.

Indeed, Guzman, Bocaling and Co. was the vendee in the Contract of Sale. Moreover, the petitioner cannot be deemed a purchaser in good faith for the record shows that it categorically admitted that it was aware of the lease in favor of the Bonnevies, who were actually occupying the subject property at the time it was sold to it. Although the Contract of Lease was not annotated on the transfer certificate of title in the name of the late Jose Reynoso and Africa Reynoso, the petitioner cannot deny actual knowledge of such lease which was equivalent to and indeed more binding than presumed notice by registration.

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