Etcuban vs. Court of Appeals, and Songalia
148 SCRA 507
Petitioner Dominico Etcuban (petitioner) inherited a piece of land together with his co-heirs (the spouse of the deceased, Demetria Initan, and Pedro, Vicente, Felicitas, Anastacio, Froilan, Alfonso. Advincula, Anunciacion, Jesus, Aguinaldo, all surnamed Etcuban) from their deceased father. Said piece of land was declared in their names as the heirs of Eleuterio Etcuban under Tax Declaration No. 06837. Thereafter the eleven co-heirs executed in favor of Jesus C. Songalia and Guadalupe S. Songalia (private respondents Songalia) eleven deeds of sale of their respective shares in the co-ownership for the total sum of P26,340.00. The earliest of the eleven deeds of sale was made on December 9, 1963 and the last one in December 1967.
In his complaint before the trial court, petitioner alleged that his coowners leased and / or sold their respective shares without giving due notice to him as a co-owner notwithstanding his intimations to them that he was willing to buy all their respective shares. Private respondents Songalia, in denying the material allegations of the complaint, argued that petitioner came to know of the sale of the subject property to them in August 1968 or sometime earlier; that acting on this knowledge, petitioner thru his lawyers wrote private respondents Songalia on August 15, 1968 about the matter; that Jesus Songalia personally went to the office of Atty. Vicente Faelner or counsel for petitioner to inform him of the sale of the subject property; that petitioner took no action despite the information he received from private respondents Songalia thru his counsel; and that, consequently, petitioner lost his right to redeem under Art. 1623 of the new Civil Code because the right of redemption may be exercised only within 30 days from notice of sale and petitioner was definitely notified of the sale years ago as shown by the records.
The trial court allowed petitioner his right of redemption over the subject property and ordered the private respondents Songalia to accept the redemption price of P26,340.00. The Court of Appeals, on the other hand, ruled that petitioner is barred from redeeming the subject property for his failure to make a valid tender of the sale price of the land paid by the defendants within the period fixed by Art. 1623 of the Civil Code.
Who has the right of redemption over the subject property?
The Supreme Court dismissed herein petition and affirmed the decision of the appellate court. Petitioner contends that vendors (his co-heirs) should be the ones to give him written notice and not the vendees (defendants or private respondent herein). However, while it is true that written notice is required by the law (Art. 1623), it is equally true that the same Art. 1623 does not prescribe any particular form of notice, nor any distinctive method for notifying the redemptioner. So long therefore, as the latter is informed in writing of the sale and the particulars thereof, the 30 days for redemption start running, and the redemptioner has no real cause to complain.
In the case at bar, where the vendors or co-owners of petitioner stated under oath in the deeds of sale that notice of sale had been given to prospective redemptioners in accordance with Article 1623 of the Civil Code. "A sworn statement or clause in a deed of sale to the effect that a written notice of sale was given to possible redemptioners or co-owners might be used to determine whether an offer to redeem was made on or out of time, or whether there was substantial compliance with the requirement of said Art. 1623."