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September 15, 2014

Torrecampo vs. Alindogan

Facts:
May 24, 1997: spouses Jose and Lina Belmes executed a deed of sale in favor of respondent-spouses Dennis and Heide Alindogan over a house and lot located in Legazpi city.
July 4, 1997: Lina Belmes wrote spouses Alindogan wherein she delivered the constructive possession of the house and lot to them. However, on July 5, 1997, before they could take actual possession of the property, spouses Gil and Brenda Torrecampo, petitioners, and spouses Jonathan Lozares and Jocelyn Torrecampo, entered and occupied the premises.
Despite spouses Alindogan’s repeated demands, spouses Torrecampo failed and refused to vacate the property. 
The spouses Alindogan filed a Complaint for Recovery of Ownership, Possession and Damages against spouses Torrecampo.
Spouses Torrecampo alleged that:
o On March 25, 1997, Belmes received from them P73,000.00 as advance payment for the sale of the house and lot. 
o On April 8, 1997, they executed a "Contract to Buy and Sell."
o That to complete the agreed partial payment of P220,000.00, spouses Torrecampo paid spouses Belmes P130,000.00, but the latter refused to accept the amount. Thus, on July 7, 1997, spouses Torrecampo filed with RTC a Complaint for Specific Performance against spouses Belmes.
The RTC ruled in favor of spouses Alindogan. It ruled that the contract between Belmes and Torrecampo was a mere contract to sell and thus, the ownership of the property was not transferred to spouses Torrecampo. CA affirmed in toto RTC’s ruling.
Spouses Torrecampo contended that when spouses Alindogan bought the property, they already knew that the same property was previously sold to them and being buyers in bad faith, ownership of the property must pertain to spouses Torrecampo who, in good faith, were first in possession.


Issue:  WON spouses Torrecampo has a better right over spouses Alindogan. NO

Held: 

Article 1544 is not applicable in the case at bar
The above provision does not apply to the instant case considering that the transaction between petitioners and spouses Belmes is a mere contract to sell, not a contract of sale.
(note: This is the only ruling related to double sales in this case. Article 1544 was cited.)

The tenor of the contract entered into by spouses Belmes and spouses Torrecampo clearly confirms that what was executed was merely a contract to sell and not a contract of sale
The Contract to Buy and Sell reads:
"That whereas, the vendor agreed to sell and the vendee agreed to buy the above-described parcel of land, together with improvements therein, for the sum of Three Hundred Fifty Thousand Pesos (P350, 000.00), Philippine currency, under the following terms and conditions xxx"1awphi1.net
Indeed, the true agreement between petitioners and spouses Belmes is a contract to sell. Not only did the parties denominate their contract as "Contract to Buy and Sell," but also specified therein that the balance of the purchase price in the amount of P130,000.00 is to be paid by petitioners upon the issuance of a certificate of title. That spouses Belmes have in their possession the certificate of title indicates that ownership of the subject property did not pass to petitioners.

The obligation of Belmes to transfer ownership and delivery the lot to spouses Torrecampo did not arise since there was no full payment of the purchase price
Indeed, in contracts to sell the obligation of the seller to sell becomes demandable only upon the happening of the suspensive condition, that is, the full payment of the purchase price by the buyer. It is only upon the existence of the contract of sale that the seller becomes obligated to transfer the ownership of the thing sold to the buyer. Prior to the existence of the contract of sale, the seller is not obligated to transfer the ownership to the buyer, even if there is a contract to sell between them.

Reference:
G.R. No. 156405 February 28, 2007 SPS. GIL TORRECAMPO and BRENDA TORRECAMPO, Petitioners vs. DENNIS ALINDOGAN, SR. and HEIDE DE GUZMAN ALINDOGAN, Respondents.

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