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G.R. No. 165025. August 31, 2011.

FEDMAN DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, petitioner,


vs. FEDERICO AGCAOILI, respondent.

Actions; Jurisdiction; Docket Fees; The filing of the complaint or


other initiatory pleading and the payment of the prescribed docket
fee are the acts that vest a trial court with jurisdiction over the
claim; The prevailing rule is that if the correct amount of docket fees
are not paid at the time of filing, the trial court still acquires
jurisdiction upon full payment of the fees within a reasonable time
as the court may grant, barring prescription; The „prescriptive
period‰ that bars the payment of the docket fees refers to the period
in which a specific action must be filed.·The filing of the complaint
or other initiatory pleading and the payment of the prescribed
docket fee are the acts that vest a trial court with jurisdiction over
the claim. In an action where the reliefs sought are purely for sums
of money and damages, the docket fees are assessed on the basis of
the aggregate amount being claimed. Ideally, therefore, the
complaint or similar pleading must specify the sums of money to be
recovered and the damages being sought in order that the clerk of
court may be put in a position to compute the correct amount of
docket fees. If the amount of docket fees paid is insufficient in
relation to the amounts being sought, the clerk of court or his duly
authorized deputy has the responsibility of making a deficiency
assessment, and the plaintiff will be required to pay the deficiency.
The non-specification of the amounts of damages does not
immediately divest the trial court of its jurisdiction over the case,
provided there is no bad faith or intent to defraud the Government
on the part of the plaintiff. The prevailing rule is that if the correct
amount of docket fees are not paid at the time of filing, the trial
court still acquires jurisdiction upon full payment of the fees within
a reasonable time as the court may grant, barring prescription. The
„prescriptive period‰ that bars the payment of the docket fees refers
to the period in which a specific action must be filed, so that in
every case the docket fees must be paid before the lapse of the
prescriptive period, as provided in the applicable laws, particularly
Chapter 3, Title V, Book III, of the Civil Code, the principal law on
prescription of actions.
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* FIRST DIVISION.

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Fedman Development Corporation vs. Agcaoili

Same; Same; Same; Estoppel; The principle of estoppel, which is


based on equity and public policy, dictates that a partyÊs active
participation in both Regional Trial Court (RTC) proceedings and its
seeking therein affirmative reliefs now precluded it from denying the
RTCÊs jurisdiction; The Court abhors the practice of any litigant of
submitting a case for decision in the trial court, and then accepting
the judgment only if favorable, but attacking the judgment for lack
of jurisdiction if it is not.·FDC invoked HLURBÊs authority only on
September 10, 1990, or more than five years from the time the prior
case was commenced on February 28, 1985, and after the RTC
granted AgcaoiliÊs motion to enjoin FDC from cancelling the
contract to sell. The principle of estoppel, which is based on equity
and public policy, dictates that FDCÊs active participation in both
RTC proceedings and its seeking therein affirmative reliefs now
precluded it from denying the RTCÊs jurisdiction. Its
acknowledgment of the RTCÊs jurisdiction and its subsequent denial
of such jurisdiction only after an unfavorable judgment were
inappropriate and intolerable. The Court abhors the practice of any
litigant of submitting a case for decision in the trial court, and then
accepting the judgment only if favorable, but attacking the
judgment for lack of jurisdiction if it is not.
Condominiums; The failure of the condominium developer and
owner to comply with its obligations to the unit owners or
purchasers, such as providing a centralized air-conditioning unit,
lighting, electricity, and water, as well as maintaining adequate fire
exit, elevators, and cleanliness in each floor of the common areas,
may justify a purchaser in suspending the payment of his monthly
amortizations and condominium dues.·Among the obligations of
FDC and FSCC to the unit owners or purchasers of FSBÊs units was
the duty to provide a centralized air-conditioning unit, lighting,
electricity, and water; and to maintain adequate fire exit, elevators,
and cleanliness in each floor of the common areas of FSB. But FDC
and FSCC failed to repair the centralized air-conditioning unit of
the fourth floor of FSB despite repeated demands from Agcaoili. To
alleviate the physical discomfort and adverse effects on his work as
a practicing attorney brought about by the breakdown of the air-
conditioning unit, he installed two window-type air-conditioners at
his own expense. Also, FDC and FSCC failed to provide water
supply to the comfort room and to clean the corridors. The fire exit
and elevator were also defective. These defects, among other
circumstances, rightly compelled

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356 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED

Fedman Development Corporation vs. Agcaoili

Agcaoili to suspend the payment of his monthly amortizations and


condominium dues. Instead of addressing his valid complaints, FDC
disconnected the electric supply of his Unit 411 and unilaterally
increased the interest rate without justification.

PETITION for review on certiorari of a decision of the


Court of Appeals.
The facts are stated in the opinion of the Court.
E.G. Ferry Law Offices for petitioner.
K.V. & Associates for respondent.

BERSAMIN, J.:
The non-payment of the prescribed filing fees at the time
of the filing of the complaint or other initiatory pleading
fails to vest jurisdiction over the case in the trial court. Yet,
where the plaintiff has paid the amount of filing fees
assessed by the clerk of court, and the amount paid turns
out to be deficient, the trial court still acquires jurisdiction
over the case, subject to the payment by the plaintiff of the
deficiency assessment.
Fedman Development Corporation (FDC) appeals the
decision promulgated on August 20, 2004,1 whereby the
Court of Appeals (CA) affirmed the judgment rendered on
August 28, 1998 by the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch
150, Makati City, in favor of the respondent.2

Antecedents

FDC was the owner and developer of a condominium


project known as Fedman Suites Building (FSB) located on
Salcedo Street, Legazpi Village, Makati City. On June 18,
1975,
_______________
1 Rollo, pp. 31-41; penned by Associate Justice Eloy R. Bello, Jr.
(retired) and concurred in by Associate Justice Regalado E. Maambong
(retired and already deceased) and Associate Justice Lucenito N. Tagle
(retired).
2 Original records, Volume II, pp. 1116-1128.

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Fedman Development Corporation vs. Agcaoili

Interchem Laboratories Incorporated (Interchem)


purchased FSBÊs Unit 411 under a contract to sell. On
March 31, 1977, FDC executed a Master Deed with
Declaration of Restrictions,3 and formed the Fedman Suite
Condominium Corporation (FSCC) to manage FSB and
hold title over its common areas.4
On October 10, 1980, Interchem, with FDCÊs consent,
transferred all its rights in Unit 411 to respondent Federico
Agcaoili (Agcaoili), a practicing attorney who was then also
a member of the Provincial Board of Quezon Province.5 As
consideration for the transfer, Agcaoili agreed: (a) to pay
Interchem P150,000.00 upon signing of the deed of
transfer; (b) to update the account by paying to FDC the
amount of P15,473.17 through a 90 day-postdated check;
and (c) to deliver to FDC the balance of P137,286.83 in 135
equal monthly installments of P1,857.24 effective October
1980, inclusive of 12% interest per annum on the
diminishing balance. The obligations Agcaoili assumed
totaled P302,760.00.6
In December 1983, the centralized air-conditioning unit
of FSBÊs fourth floor broke down.7 On January 3, 1984,
Agcaoili, being thereby adversely affected, wrote to
Eduardo X. Genato (Genato), vice-president and board
member of FSCC, demanding the repair of the air-
conditioning unit.8 Not getting any immediate response,
Agcaoili sent follow-up letters to FSCC reiterating the
demand, but the letters went unheeded. He then informed
FDC and FSCC that he was suspending the payment of his
condominium dues and monthly amortizations.9

_______________
3 Id., pp. 12-31.
4 Id., p. 21.
5 Id., pp. 9-11.
6 Id., p. 10.
7 Id., pp. 2-3 and 63.
8 Id., p. 32.
9 Id., pp. 33-45.

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358 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


Fedman Development Corporation vs. Agcaoili

On August 30, 1984, FDC cancelled the contract to sell


involving Unit 411 and cut off the electric supply to the
unit. Agcaoili was thus prompted to sue FDC and FSCC in
the RTC, Makati City, Branch 144 for injunction and
damages.10 The parties later executed a compromise
agreement that the RTC approved through its decision of
August 26, 1985. As stipulated in the compromise
agreement, Agcaoili paid FDC the sum of P39,002.04 as
amortizations for the period from November 1983 to July
1985; and also paid FSCC an amount of P17,858.37 for
accrued condominium dues, realty taxes, electric bills, and
surcharges as of March 1985. As a result, FDC reinstated
the contract to sell and allowed Agcaoili to temporarily
install two window-type air-conditioners in Unit 411.11
On April 22, 1986, FDC again disconnected the electric
supply of Unit 411.12 Agcaoili thus moved for the execution
of the RTC decision dated August 26, 1985.13 On July 17,
1986, the RTC issued an order temporarily allowing
Agcaoili to obtain his electric supply from the other units in
the fourth floor of FSB until the main meter was restored.14
On March 6, 1987, Agcaoili lodged a complaint for
damages against FDC and FSCC in the RTC, which was
raffled to Branch 150 in Makati City. He alleged that the
disconnection of the electric supply of Unit 411 on April 22,
1986 had unjustly deprived him of the use and enjoyment
of the unit; that the disconnection had seriously affected
his law practice and had caused him sufferings,
inconvenience and embarrassment; that FDC and FSCC
violated the compromise agreement; that he was entitled to
actual damages amounting to P21,626.60, as well as to
moral and exemplary damages, and attorneyÊs fees as
might be proven during the trial; that the
_______________
10 Id., pp. 4-5 and 63-64.
11 Id., pp. 46-48.
12 Id., pp. 6 and 64.
13 Id., pp. 6 and 64.
14 Id., p. 51.

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Fedman Development Corporation vs. Agcaoili

payment of interest sought by FDC and FSCC under the


contract to sell was illegal; and that FDC and FSCC were
one and the same corporation. He also prayed that FDC
and FSCC be directed to return the excessive amounts
collected for real estate taxes.15
In its answer, FDC contended that it had a personality
separate from that of FSCC; that it had no obligation or
liability in favor of Agcaoili; that FSCC, being the manager
of FSB and the title-holder over its common areas, was in
charge of maintaining all central and appurtenant
equipment and installations for utility services (like air-
conditioning unit, elevator, light and others); that Agcaoili
failed to comply with the terms of the contract to sell; that
despite demands, Agcaoili did not pay the amortizations
due from November 1983 to March 1985 and the
surcharges, the total amount of which was P376,539.09;
that due to the non-payment, FDC cancelled the contract to
sell and forfeited the amount of P219,063.97 paid by
Agcaoili, applying the amount to the payment of liquidated
damages, agentÊs commission, and interest; that it
demanded that Agcaoili vacate Unit 411, but its demand
was not heeded; that Agcaoili did not pay his monthly
amortizations of P1,883.84 from October 1985 to May 1986,
resulting in FSCC being unable to pay the electric bills on
time to the Manila Electric Company resulting in the
disconnection of the electric supply of FSB; that it allowed
Agcaoili to obtain electric supply from other units because
Agcaoili promised to settle his accounts but he reneged on
his promise; that AgcaoiliÊs total obligation was P55,106.40;
that AgcaoiliÊs complaint for damages was baseless and was
intended to cover up his delinquencies; that the interest
increase from 12% to 24% per annum was authorized under
the contract to sell in view of the adverse economic
conditions then prevailing in the country; and that the
complaint for damages was barred by the principle of res
judicata because

_______________
15 Id., pp. 1-8.

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360 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


Fedman Development Corporation vs. Agcaoili

the issues raised therein were covered by the RTC decision


dated August 26, 1985.
As compulsory counterclaim, FDC prayed for an award
of moral and exemplary damages each amounting to
P1,000,000.00, attorneyÊs fees amounting to P100,000.00
and costs of suit.16
On its part, FSCC filed an answer, admitting that the
electric supply of Unit 411 was disconnected for the second
time on April 22, 1986, but averring that the disconnection
was justified because of AgcaoiliÊs failure to pay the
monthly amortizations and condominium dues despite
repeated demands. It averred that it did not repair the air-
conditioning unit because of dwindling collections caused
by the failure of some unit holders to pay their obligations
on time; that the unit holders were notified of the
electricity disconnection; and that the electric supply of
Unit 411 could not be restored until Agcaoili paid his
condominium dues totaling P14,701.16 as of April 1987.17
By way of counterclaim, FSCC sought moral damages
and attorneyÊs fees of P100,000.00 and P50,000.00,
respectively, and cost of suit.18
On August 28, 1998, the RTC rendered judgment in
favor of Agcaoili, holding that his complaint for damages
was not barred by res judicata; that he was justified in
suspending the payment of his monthly amortizations; that
FDCÊs cancellation of the contract to sell was improper;
that FDC and FSCC had no separate personalities; and
that Agcaoili was entitled to damages. The RTC disposed
thuswise:

„WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the


plaintiff and as against both defendants, declaring the increased
rates sought by defendants to be illegal, and ordering defendant
_______________
16 Id., pp. 63-70.
17 Id., pp. 78-80.
18 Id., pp. 78-80.

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Fedman Development Corporation vs. Agcaoili

FDC/FSCC to reinstate the contract to sell, as well as to


provide/restore the air-conditioning services/electric supply to
plaintiff Ês unit. Both defendants are likewise ordered to pay
plaintiff:
a. The amount of P21,626.60 as actual damages;
b. P500,000.00 as moral damages;
c. P50,000.00 as exemplary damages; and
d. P50,000.00 as and for attorneyÊs fees.
and to return to plaintiff the excess amount collected from him
for real estate taxes.
SO ORDERED.‰19

FDC appealed, but the CA affirmed the RTC.20 Hence,


FDC comes to us on further appeal.21
Issues
FDC claims that there was a failure to pay the correct
amount of docket fee herein because the complaint did not
specify the amounts of moral damages, exemplary
damages, and attorneyÊs fees; that the payment of the
prescribed docket fee by Agcaoili was necessary for the
RTC to acquire jurisdiction over the case; and that,
consequently, the RTC did not acquire jurisdiction over this
case.
FDC also claims that the proceedings in the RTC were
void because the jurisdiction over the subject matter of the
action pertained to the Housing and Land Use Regulatory
Board (HLURB); and that both the RTC and the CA erred
in ruling: (a) that Agcaoili had the right to suspend
payment of his monthly amortizations; (b) that FDC had no
right to cancel the contract to sell; and (c) that FDC and
FSCC were one and

_______________
19 RTC records, Volume II, pp. 1116-1128.
20 Rollo, pp. 31-41.
21 Id., pp. 6-29.

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362 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


Fedman Development Corporation vs. Agcaoili

same corporation, and as such were solidarily liable to


Agcaoili for damages.22

Ruling

The petition has no merit.

The filing of the complaint or other initiatory pleading


and the payment of the prescribed docket fee are the acts
that vest a trial court with jurisdiction over the claim.23 In
an action where the reliefs sought are purely for sums of
money and damages, the docket fees are assessed on the
basis of the aggregate amount being claimed.24 Ideally,
therefore, the complaint or similar pleading must specify
the sums of money to be recovered and the damages being
sought in order that the clerk of court may be put in a
position to compute the correct amount of docket fees.
If the amount of docket fees paid is insufficient in
relation to the amounts being sought, the clerk of court or
his duly authorized deputy has the responsibility of making
a deficiency assessment, and the plaintiff will be required
to pay the deficiency.25 The non-specification of the
amounts of damages does not immediately divest the trial
court of its jurisdiction over the case, provided there is no
bad faith or intent to defraud the Government on the part
of the plaintiff.26

_______________
22 Id., p. 13.
23 Sun Insurance Office, Ltd. (SIOL) vs. Asuncion, G.R. Nos. 79937-
38, February 13, 1989, 170 SCRA 274, 285.
24 Tacay vs. Regional Trial Court of Tagum, Davao Del Norte, G.R.
Nos. 88075-77, December 20, 1989, 180 SCRA 433, 443.
25 Rivera vs. Del Rosario, G.R. No. 144934, January 15, 2004, 419
SCRA 626, 635.
26 Lu vs. Lu Ym, Sr. et al., G.R. No. 153690, February 15, 2011, 643
SCRA 23; Intercontinental Broadcasting Corporation vs. Alonzo-Legasto,
G.R. No. 169108, April 18, 2006, 487 SCRA 339, 350.

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Fedman Development Corporation vs. Agcaoili

The prevailing rule is that if the correct amount of


docket fees are not paid at the time of filing, the trial court
still acquires jurisdiction upon full payment of the fees
within a reasonable time as the court may grant, barring
prescription.27 The „prescriptive period‰ that bars the
payment of the docket fees refers to the period in which a
specific action must be filed, so that in every case the
docket fees must be paid before the lapse of the prescriptive
period, as provided in the applicable laws, particularly
Chapter 3, Title V, Book III, of the Civil Code, the principal
law on prescription of actions.28
In Rivera v. Del Rosario,29 the Court, resolving the issue
of the failure to pay the correct amount of docket fees due
to the inadequate assessment by the clerk of court, ruled
that jurisdiction over the complaint was still validly
acquired upon the full payment of the docket fees assessed
by the Clerk of Court. Relying on Sun Insurance Office,
Ltd., (SIOL) v. Asuncion,30 the Court opined that the filing
of the complaint or appropriate initiatory pleading and the
payment of the prescribed docket fees vested a trial court
with jurisdiction over the claim, and although the docket
fees paid were insufficient in relation to the amount of the
claim, the clerk of court or his duly authorized deputy
retained the responsibility of making a deficiency
assessment, and the party filing the action could be
required to pay the deficiency, without jurisdiction being
automatically lost.

_______________
27 Ballatan v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 125683, March 2, 1999, 304
SCRA 34; citing Tacay v. RTC of Tagum, Davao del Norte, G.R. Nos.
88075-77, December 20, 1989, 180 SCRA 433, 444; Sun Insurance Office,
Ltd. (SIOL) v. Asuncion, G.R. Nos. 79937-38, February 13, 1989, 170
SCRA 274, 285.
28 Central Bank of the Philippines v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No.
88353, May 8, 1992, 208 SCRA 652; Pantranco North Express, Inc. v.
Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 105180, July 5, 1993, 224 SCRA 477.
29 G.R. No. 144934, January 15, 2004, 419 SCRA 626, 634-635.
30 G.R. Nos. 79937-38, February 13, 1989, 170 SCRA 274.

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364 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


Fedman Development Corporation vs. Agcaoili

Even where the clerk of court fails to make a deficiency


assessment, and the deficiency is not paid as a result, the
trial court nonetheless continues to have jurisdiction over
the complaint, unless the party liable is guilty of a fraud in
that regard, considering that the deficiency will be collected
as a fee in lien within the contemplation of Section 2,31
Rule 141 (as revised by A.M. No. 00-2-01-SC).32 The reason
is that to penalize the party for the omission of the clerk of
court is not fair if the party has acted in good faith.
Herein, the docket fees paid by Agcaoili were insufficient
considering that the complaint did not specify the amounts
of moral damages, exemplary damages and attorneyÊs fees.
Nonetheless, it is not disputed that Agcaoili paid the
assessed docket fees. Such payment negated bad faith or
intent to defraud the Government.33 Nonetheless, Agcaoili
must remit any docket fee deficiency to the RTCÊs clerk of
court.

II

FDC is now barred from asserting that the HLURB, not


the RTC, had jurisdiction over the case. As already stated,
Agcaoili filed a complaint against FDC in the RTC on
February 28, 1985 after FDC disconnected the electric
supply of Unit 411. Agcaoili and FDC executed a
compromise agreement on August 16, 1985. The RTC
approved the compromise agreement through its decision of
August 26, 1985. In all that time, FDC never challenged
the RTCÊs jurisdiction nor in-

_______________
31 Section 2. Fees in lien.·Where the court in its final judgment
awards a claim not alleged, or a relief different from, or more than that
claimed in the pleading, the party concerned shall pay the additional fees
which shall constitute a lien on the judgment in satisfaction of said lien.
The clerk of court shall assess and collect the corresponding fees. (n)
32 Resolution Amending Rule 141 (Legal Fees) of the Rules of Court;
effective March 1, 2000.
33 Intercontinental Broadcasting Corporation vs. Alonzo-Legasto, G.R.
No. 169108, April 18, 2006, 487 SCRA 339, 350.

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Fedman Development Corporation vs. Agcaoili

voked the HLURBÊs authority. On the contrary, FDC


apparently recognized the RTCÊs jurisdiction by its
voluntary submission of the compromise agreement to the
RTC for approval. Also, FDC did not assert the HLURBÊs
jurisdiction in its answer to AgcaoiliÊs second complaint
(filed on March 6, 1987). Instead, it even averred in that
answer that the decision of August 26, 1985 approving the
compromise agreement already barred Agcaoili from filing
the second complaint under the doctrine of res judicata.
FDC also thereby sought affirmative relief from the RTC
through its counterclaim.
FDC invoked HLURBÊs authority only on September 10,
1990,34 or more than five years from the time the prior case
was commenced on February 28, 1985, and after the RTC
granted AgcaoiliÊs motion to enjoin FDC from cancelling the
contract to sell.35
The principle of estoppel, which is based on equity and
public policy,36 dictates that FDCÊs active participation in
both RTC proceedings and its seeking therein affirmative
reliefs now precluded it from denying the RTCÊs
jurisdiction. Its acknowledgment of the RTCÊs jurisdiction
and its subsequent denial of such jurisdiction only after an
unfavorable judgment were inappropriate and intolerable.
The Court abhors the practice of any litigant of submitting
a case for decision in the trial court, and then accepting the
judgment only if favorable, but attacking the judgment for
lack of jurisdiction if it is not.37

_______________
34 Original records, Volume I, pp. 367-369.
35 Id., pp. 308-311.
36 P.J. Lhuillier, Inc. v. National Labor Relations Commission, G.R.
No. 158758, April 29, 2005, 457 SCRA 784, 793.
37 Bank of the Philippine Islands v. ALS Management & Development
Corporation, G.R. No. 151821, April 14, 2004, 427 SCRA 564, 575.

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366 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


Fedman Development Corporation vs. Agcaoili

III
In upholding AgcaoiliÊs right to suspend the payment of
his monthly amortizations due to the increased interest
rates imposed by FDC, and because he found FDCÊs
cancellation of the contract to sell as improper, the CA
found and ruled as follows:

„It is the contention of the appellee that he has the right to


suspend payments since the increase in interest rate imposed by
defendant-appellant FDC is not valid and therefore cannot be given
legal effect. Although Section II, paragraph d of the Contract to Sell
entered into by the parties states that, „should there be an increase
in bank interest rate for loans and/or other financial
accommodations, the rate of interest provided for in this contract
shall be automatically amended to equal the said increased bank
interest rate, the date of said amendment to coincide with the date
of said increase in interest rate,‰ the said increase still needs to [be]
accompanied by valid proofs and not one of the parties must
unilaterally alter what was originally agreed upon. However, FDC
failed to substantiate the alleged increase with sufficient proof, thus
we quote with approval the findings of the lower court, to wit:
„In the instant case, defendant FDC failed to show by
evidence that it incurred loans and /or other financial
accommodations to pay interest for its loans in developing the
property. Thus, the increased interest rates said defendant is
imposing on plaintiff is not justified, and to allow the same is
tantamount to unilaterally altering the terms of the contract
which the law proscribes. Article 1308 of the Civil Code
provides:
Art. 1308 – The contract must bind both contracting
parties; its validity or compliance cannot be left to the
will of one of them.‰
For this reason, the court sees no valid reason for
defendant FDC to cancel the contract to sell on ground of
default or non-payment of monthly amortizations.‰ (RTC
Rollo, pp. 79-80)
It was also grave error on the part of the FDC to cancel the
contract to sell for non-payment of the monthly amortizations
without taking into consideration Republic Act 6552, otherwise
known as

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Fedman Development Corporation vs. Agcaoili

the Maceda Law. The policy of law, as embodied in its title, is „to
provide protection to buyers of real estate on installment
payments.‰ As clearly specified in Section 3, the declared public
policy espoused by Republic Act No. 6552 is „to protect buyers of
real estate on installment payments against onerous and oppressive
conditions.‰ Thus, in order for FDC to have validly cancelled the
existing contract to sell, it must have first complied with Section 3
(b) of RA 6552. FDC should have refund the appellee the cash
surrender value of the payments on the property equivalent to fifty
percent of the total payments made. At this point, we, find no error
on the part of the lower court when it ruled that:
„There is nothing in the record to show that the
aforementioned requisites for a valid cancellation of a
contract where complied with by defendant FDC. Hence, the
contract to sell which defendant FDC cancelled as per its
letter dated August 17, 1987 remains valid and subsisting.
Defendant FDC cannot by its own forfeit the payments
already made by the plaintiff which as of the same date
amounts to P263,637.73.‰ (RTC Rollo, p. 81)38

We sustain the aforequoted findings and ruling of the


CA, which were supported by the records and relevant
laws, and were consistent with the findings and ruling of
the RTC. Factual findings and rulings of the CA are
binding and conclusive upon this Court if they are
supported by the records and coincided with those made by
the trial court.39
FDCÊs claim that it was distinct in personality from
FSCC is unworthy of consideration due to its being a
question of fact that cannot be reviewed under Rule 45.40
Among the obligations of FDC and FSCC to the unit
owners or purchasers of FSBÊs units was the duty to
provide a

_______________
38 Rollo, pp. 37-38.
39 W-Red Construction and Development Corp. vs. Court of Appeals,
G.R. No. 122648, August 17, 2000, 338 SCRA 341, 345.
40 Durano vs. Uy, G.R. No. 136456, October 24, 2000, 344 SCRA 238;
Mirasol vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 128448, February 1, 2001, 351
SCRA 44.

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368 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


Fedman Development Corporation vs. Agcaoili

centralized air-conditioning unit, lighting, electricity, and


water; and to maintain adequate fire exit, elevators, and
cleanliness in each floor of the common areas of FSB.41 But
FDC and FSCC failed to repair the centralized air-
conditioning unit of the fourth floor of FSB despite
repeated demands from Agcaoili.42 To alleviate the physical
discomfort and adverse effects on his work as a practicing
attorney brought about by the breakdown of the air-
conditioning unit, he installed two window-type air-
conditioners at his own expense.43 Also, FDC and FSCC
failed to provide water supply to the comfort room and to
clean the corridors.44 The fire exit and elevator were also
defective.45 These defects, among other circumstances,
rightly compelled Agcaoili to suspend the payment of his
monthly amortizations and condominium dues. Instead of
addressing his valid complaints, FDC disconnected the
electric supply of his Unit 411 and unilaterally increased
the interest rate without justification.46
Clearly, FDC was liable for damages. Article 1171 of the
Civil Code provides that those who in the performance of
their obligations are guilty of fraud, negligence, or delay,
and those who in any manner contravene the tenor thereof
are liable for damages.
WHEREFORE, we DENY the petition for review;
AFFIRM the decision of the Court of Appeals; and DIRECT
the Clerk of Court of the Regional Trial Court, Makati City,
Branch 150, or his duly authorized deputy to assess and
collect the additional docket fees from the respondent as
fees in lien in accordance with Section 2, Rule 141 of the
Rules of Court.

_______________
41 TSN, September 5, 1994, pp. 6-8.
42 Original records, Volume I, pp. 32-45.
43 TSN, September 5, 1994, pp. 10 and 21.
44 TSN, November 4, 1994, p. 24.
45 TSN, February 15, 1995, p. 10.
46 Original records, Volume I, pp. 4-6 and 63-70.

369

VOL. 656, AUGUST 31, 2011 369


Fedman Development Corporation vs. Agcaoili

SO ORDERED.

Corona (C.J., Chairperson), Leonardo-De Castro, Del


Castillo and Villarama, Jr., JJ., concur.

Petition denied, judgment affirmed.

Notes.·Where the complaint filed with the trial court


was in the nature of a real action although ostensibly
denominated as one for specific performance, the basis for
determining the correct docket fees shall be the assessed
value of the property, or the estimated value thereof as
alleged by the claimant. (Gochan vs. Gochan, 372 SCRA
256 [2001])
Estoppel cannot be sustained by mere argument or
doubtful inference·it must be clearly proved in all its
essential elements by clear, convincing and satisfactory
evidence. (Insular Life Assurance Company, Ltd. vs. Asset
Builders Corporation, 422 SCRA 148 [2004])
··o0o··

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