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University Physicians Services, Inc. v. Marian Clinics, Inc.

[629 SCRA 535, 2010]


Obligations and Contracts
Doctrine: Under the principle of the parties freedom of contract, the contracting parties may establish
such stipulations, clauses, terms and conditions as they may deem convenient provided they are not
contrary to law. In a contract of lease, wherein personal properties are included and wherein there is a
judgment on a suit for unlawful detainer ejecting the lessees from the subject property, the judgment
carries with it the return of the personal properties included in the lease. If some of the personal
properties are lost, destroyed, the ejected lessees are ordered to pay for the value.
Facts: University Physicians Services, Inc (UPSI) and Marian, the owner of Marian Clinics, Inc. (MCI)
entered into a Contract of Lease wherein Marian leased to UPSI the Marian General Hospital (MGH)
and 4 schools for a period of ten years. In the contract, personal properties were included such as the
facilities, fixtures and equipment. MCI filed a case of unlawful detainer against UPSI for failing to pay
the rent stipulated in the contract. Subsequently, the Intermediate Appellate Court (IAC) rendered a
decision ordering UPSI to vacate the lease properties, including the fixtures, supplies and equipment.
During the execution, the RTC acting on MCIs Motion for Delivery of Leased Equipment or Payment of
the their Value if Defendant cannot Deliver Them, issued a decision directing UPSI to replace the leased
equipment or pay for their value if it cannot be replaced. UPSI appealed claiming the decision of the RTC
varies the term of the IAC judgment arguing that judgment did not order the replacement of the leased
personal properties or pay their value.
ISSUE: WON UPSI has the obligation to return/replace the leased personal properties such as the
equipment, fixtures and supplies? YES
HELD:
It was stipulated in the Contract of Lease that upon the termination of the Contract of Lease, UPSI shall
surrender to MCI all the leased assets and in case of any loss or deterioration, it shall be replaced by the
UPSI in the same quantity and quality in which they were received by the lessee (UPSI).
Under the principle of parties freedom of contract, the contracting parties may establish such
stipulations provided they are not contrary to law, morals, good customs, public order or public policy.
Obligations arising from contracts have the force of law between the parties. The provisions in the lease
contract clearly show the parties binding obligation that upon the termination of the lease, certain types
of movable properties subject of the lease will not simply be returned but replaced in the same
quantity/quality in case of loss or deterioration.
The basis for the obligation of UPSI to return/replace or pay the value of the equipment is both law and
contract:
Art 1665 of Civil Code provides that The lessee shall return the thing leased upon the termination of
the lease, just as he received it, save what has been lost or impaired by the lapse of time, or by
ordinary wear and tear, or from an inevitable cause.
Art 1667 likewise states, The lessee is responsible for the deterioration or loss of the thing leased,
unless he proves that it took place without his fault.
In other words, by law, a lessee is obliged to return the thing(s) leased and be responsible for any
deterioration or loss of the properties, except for those that were not his fault.
IACs judgment ordering UPSI to vacate the leased properties was in effect a judicial determination of
the termination of the lease contract. Upon the termination of the contract, UPSIs obligation to return/
replace the leased properties arose. The return/replacement of the leased properties being a necessary
consequence of the termination of the lease, the Order of the execution court did not vary the IAC
judgment, which ordered the restitution of the leased assets.