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AIDS TO CONSTRUCTION HIDALGO V HIDALGO L-25326; May 29, 1970 J. Teehankee, ponente PETITION for review from decisions of Court of Agrarian Relations
DOCTRINE: Where the true intent of the law is clear, such intent or spirit must prevail over the letter thereof. Whatever is within the spirit of a statue is within the statute, since adherence to the letter would result in absurdity, injustice, and contradictions and would defeat the plain and vital purpose of the statute.
Case jointly decided two petitions for review of decisions with the same issue involving the same landowners and vendees which dismissed petitioner’s actions as share tenants for the enforcement of the right to redeem agricultural lands. Petitioners have been working on the lands as share tenants for several years.
1. First case: respondent-vendor Policarpio Hidalgo owned lands and sold it with two other parcels of land for 4,000. Igmidio Hidalgo and Martina Rosales as tenants alleged that the area of land they worked on is worth 1, 500 and thus they seek the execution of a deed of sale for the same amount by respondents-vendee in their favor by way of redemption. 2. Second case: parcel of land worth 750 was sold by respondent. Petitioner-spouses Hilario Aguila and Adela Hidalgo sought the execution of a deed of sale for the same price by way of redemption.
Sec12 of the Land Reform Code or RA 3844 is available to leasehold tenants only but not to share tenants. It provides that:
Lessee’s Right of Redemption—In case the landholding is sold to a third person without the knowledge of agricultural lessee, the latter shall have the right to redeem the same at a reasonable price and consideration.; Provided: further, that where there are two or more agricultural lessees, each shall be entitled to said right of redemption only to the extent of the area actually cultivated by him. The right of redemption under this Section may be exercised within two years from the registration of the sale, and shall have the priority over any right of legal redemption. No 90-day notice of intention to sell the lands for the exercise of the pre-emption prescribed by Sex11 of the Agricultural Land Reform was given ISSUE: WON the right of redemption granted by Sec12 of RA 3844 is applicable to share tenants also. Or, WON the plaintiffs, as share tenants are entitled to redeem the parcel of land they are working from the purchasers thereof where no notice was previously given to them by the vendor, who was their landholder, of the latter’s intention to sell their property and where the vendor did not execute the affidavit required by Sec13 of RA 3844 before the registration of the deed of sale. RATIO: The agrarian court erred in dismissing the petition on the basis of its conclusion that the right of redemption granted by Sec12 of Land Reform Code is available to “leasehold tenants” only and not “shares tenants” and that their respective rights and obligations are not coextensive or coequal.
The very essence of Agricultural Land Reform Code is the abolition of agricultural share tenancy. It
was error of the agrarian court to state that “the systems of agricultural tenancy recognized in this jurisdiction are share tenancy and leasehold tenancy” even after the enactment of the Land Reform Code.
The difference between share and leasehold tenancy as premised in the agrarian court’s decision refers to the contractual relationship between the tenant and the landowner, but the Land Reform Code forges by operation of law a vinculum juris (civil obligation)—whether for a leasehold tenant or temporarily a share tenant. Juridical consequences coming from thus are security of tenure of the tenant and the tenant’s right to continue in possession of the land he works despite the expiration of the contract or the sale or transfer of the land to third persons, and the farmer’s preemptive right to buy the land he cultivates as well as the right to redeem the land if sold to a third person without his knowledge.
The Code did not mention tenants, whether leaseholds or share tenants, because it outlaws share
tenancy and envisions the agricultural leasehold system as its replacement, and the agrarian court’s literal construction would wreak havoc on and defeat the proclaimed and announced legislative intent and policy of the State of establishing owner-cultivatorship for the farmers who invariable were all share tenants before the enactment of the Code and whom the Code would now uplift to the status of the lessees.
Where the true intent of the law is clear, such intent or spirit must prevail over the letter thereof. Whatever is within the spirit of a statue is within the statute, since adherence to the letter would result in absurdity, injustice, and contradictions and would defeat the plain and vital purpose of the statute.
Basbas v Entena is not applicable, as there, the tenant-redemptioner was shown by the evidence to have no funds and had merely applied for them to the Land Authority which was not yet operating in the locality and hence, the Court held that no part of the Code “indicates or even hints that the 2-year redemption period will not commence to run until the tenant obtains financing from the Land Bank, or “stops the tenant from securing redemption funds from some other source.” In the present case, the sole legal issue is the right of redemption being available to the redemption of the share tenants. The historical background for the enactment of the Code’s provisions on pre-emption and redemption further strengthens the Court’s opinion RULING: Decisions appealed are REVERSED, petitions to redeem the subject landholdings are GRANTED.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY FRANCISCO V BOISER GR No. 137677; May 31, 2000 J. Mendoza, ponente PETITION for review on certiorari of a CA decision
DOCTRINE: To construe the intent of a provision, effect must be given to the change in statutory language
FACTS: Petitioner Adalia Francisco and three of her sisters who were co-owners of four parcels of lands sold 1/5 of their undivided share to their mother Adela Blas for P 10, 000.00, making the latter a coowner of said real property. Without the knowledge of the co-owner, Blas sold her share to respondent Zenaida Boiser, a sister of the petitioners, for P 10, 000.00. 6 years after the sale, petitioner received summons with a copy of the civil case complaint by the respondent demanding her share in the rentals collected by petitioner from the tenants of the building.
Petitioner then informed respondent that she was exercising her right of redemption as a co-owner of the subject property, and thus deposited P 10, 000.00 as redemption price with the Clerk of Court. Dismissed, permissive counterclaim also dismissed. Petitioner filed in the Caloocan City RTC a civil case claiming that the 30-day period for redemption under Art 1623of the Civil Code had not begun to run against her since the vendor Blas never informed her and other owners about the sale to respondent, as she learned about the sale only after she received the summons. Respondent contended that petitioner knew of the sale, as evident in the letters the petitioner wrote to the tenants of the building and by the letter sent to the petitioner from the respondent herself, which the former later admitted to have received.
Trial Court dismissed petitioner’s complaint for legal redemption on the basis that Art 1623 does not prescribe any particular form of co-owners about a sale of property owned in common to enable them to exercise their right of legal redemption.
ISSUE: Whether the letter sent by respondent to petitioner notifying her of the sale of Blas’ 1/5 share of the property to respondent, containing a copy of the deed evidencing such sale can be considered sufficient as compliance with the notice requirement of Art 1623 for the purpose of legal redemption.
The ruling in Butte v Manuel Uy and Sons Inc. is sound. Art 1623 of the Civil Code is clear in requiring that the written notification should come from the vendor or prospective vendor, not from any other person, leaving no room for construction. This present construction differs from the previous construction of Civil Code in Art 1524 in that the latter does not specify that the notice must be given by the vendor. Effect must be given in the change of statutory construction.
As explained in Butte, the vendor’s notification of the sale and not anybody else’s can clear suspicions as to the facts of the sale, making sense to the Art1623 requirement. By not immediately notifying the co-owner, a vendor can delay or effectively prevent the meaningful exercise of the right of redemption. In the case, the sale took place in 1986 but it was kept secret until 1992
It is therefore unjust when the sale has already been established before the lower courts, to further delay petitioner’s exercise of her right of legal redemption by requiring that notice be given by the vendor before petitioner can exercise her right. Thus, Court rules that the summons received by the petitioner constitutes the actual knowledge on which she may exercise her right of redemption within 30 days from finality of this decision.
Ruling has precedence in Alonzo v Intermediate Appellate Court in which the court ruled that the right of redemption commenced not from the date of sales but when the first complaint for redemption was actually filed, in which the right has already been extinguished for having the period expire.
RULING: Petition is GRANTED, the decision of CA is REVERSED and Caloocan RTC is ordered to effect petitioner’s exercise of her right of legal redemption.