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Republic of the Philippines

Office of the President


HOUSING AND LAND USE REGULATORY BOARD
Quezon City
Sps. Joey & Aleli Capillar, et. al.,
Complainants,
- versus - HLURB Case No. 112615-15849

DMCI Project Developers, Inc.,


Represented by Mr. Alfredo R. Austria,
Respondents.
X------------------------------------- X
Araceli Daria Sagario Abad, et. al.,
Complainants,
- Versus HLURB Case No. 111115-15838

DMCI Project Developers, Inc.,


Represented by Mr. Alfredo R. Austria,
Respondents.
X------------------------------------- X

APPEAL MEMORANDUM

Complainants-Appellants (hereinafter referred to as Buyers-residents

of Sorrel Residences) respectfully appeal from the Decision of the Housing

Arbiter, Atty. Joel M. Clamor dated January 18, 2017, a copy of which was

received by undersigned counsel on January 31, 2017, and in support thereof

states:

PREFATORY STATEMENT

It is a general rule that agreements against public policy are illegal and

void. Under the principles relating to the doctrine of public policy, as

applied to the law of contracts, courts of justice will not recognize or uphold

any transaction which, in its object operation, or tendency, is calculated to be

prejudicial to the public welfare, to sound morality, or to civic honesty. The

test is whether the parties have stipulated for something inhibited by the law

or inimical to, or inconsistent with, the public welfare.


Page 02.

TIMELINESS OF THE APPEAL

A copy of the Decision of Labor Arbiter JOEL M. CLAMOR dated

January 18, 2017 was received by undersigned counsel on January 31, 2017.

Under Rule 14 Section 50 of the 2011 Revised Rules of Procedure of the

Housing Land Use and Regulatory Board which took effect of July 26, 2011,

the Complainants-Appellants have fifteen (15) days from receipt thereof, or

until February 15, 2017, within which to file an appeal. Appeal Fee was

paid to perfect this Appeal, a copy of which is hereto attached as Annex

A.

An excerpt of the pertinent provision on the law is hereto reproduced

verbatim as follows:

Rule 14. Section 50. Appeal Memorandum. - An appeal may


be taken from the decision of the Arbiter on any legal ground
and upon payment of the appeal fee, by filing with the Regional
Field Office a verified appeal memorandum in three (3) copies
within fifteen (15) days from receipt of the assailed decision.

THE PERTINENT FACTS & INCIDENTS

All the complainants-appellant herein are buyer-residents of a Sorrel

Residences, a condominium, located at Sociego Street, Manila and owned

and developed by respondent-appellees, DMCI- Property Developers, Inc.

(Developer, for brevity), herein represented by its President as stated in the

Master Deed of the Condominium of Sorrel Residences.

Each of the afore-named complainants occupied their respective

condominium units in 2015 as stated in the Complaint.


Page 03.

Sorrel Residences is a newly-constructed condominium residence. It

opened for occupancy only in 2015. At the time of the filing of the

complaint before the HLURB, the residents have not yet been issued their

respective Condominium Certificate of Title (CCT) since it would take a

year or in 2016 before their Condominium Certificate of Title will be issued.

Complainants filed this complaint before the Housing Arbiter on four


(4) causes of action, viz:

01. Complainants were charged by the Developer for reimbursement


of Real Property Taxes, it paid for 2015, (pro-rated) which is their
first year of occupancy, in violation of Section 26 of Presidential
Decree No. 957, otherwise known as the as the Condominium and
Subdivision Buyers Protection Act.

02.Complainants were also being charged exorbitant amount for Real


Property Taxes for the year 2016 and there was no clear showing
of the basis for the computation of the real property taxes billed to
each complainant.

03.The third cause of action is Illegal Exaction. This is predicated


upon the charges being imposed upon each complainant by the
Developer thru its Property Management Office of monthly dues
and billings, when there is yet no legitimate Sorrel Residences
Condominium Corporation (SRCC).

04.Finally, complainants are suing on its Fourth Cause of Action,


which is, substandard facilities and faulty structures on account of
the several instances when the elevators malfunctioned, poor
drainage pipes which resulted in backflows on some units as well
as the bursting of pipes and aqueducts where waste water flows.
Page 04.

Respondent developer filed its Answer to the Complaint; whereupon


mediation proceedings were conducted but to no avail. Parties were then
directed to submit their respective Position Paper.

It took more than a year for the Arbiter to promulgate the Decision as
the undersigned law firm-counsel for the complainants received the copy of
the Decision only this January 31, 2017.

The Decision rendered was unfavorable to the complainants as it


dismissed the petition. Pertinent highlights of the Decision reads as
follows:

This Office holds the view that the present case is premature. It
fails to appreciate any invasion of right on the part of the complainants.
Notwithstanding the absence of any justifiable controversy, this Office
opted to resolve the complaint, to avoid a re-litigation of the issues. In
accordance with Section 26 of PD 957, it is provided that:

Section 26. Realty Tax. Real estate tax and assessment on a lot or
unit shall be paid by the owner or developer without recourse to
the buyer for as long as the title has not passed the buyer;
Provided, however, that if the buyer has actually taken
possession of and occupied the lot or unit, he shall be liable to
the owner or developer for such tax and assessment effective the
year following such taking of possession and occupancy.

The complainants own admission stated that they started occupying the
subject acquired units on various dates in the year 2015. Pursuant to the
above cited provision, they are now liable to pay for real property taxes
accruing to their purchased units for the year 2015.

Furthermore, under the

As to the Second Cause of Action, which is the payment of 2016 property tax, this has
been rendered moot by the fact that the complainants paid their respective 2016 taxes in
accordance with the tax amount imposed by the City of Manila.

On the Third Cause of Action,

As to the fourth Cause of Action.

STATEMENT OF ISSUES

WHETHER OR NOT THE PROVISION OF THE CONTRACT TO


SELL TAKE PRECEDENCE OVER THE EXPLICIT PROVISION OF
THE LAW
WHETHER OR NOT THE COMPLAINT AS REGARDS ILLEGAL
EXACTIONS IS AN INTRA-CORPORATE SUIT

ARGUMENTS

Section 26. Realty Tax. Real estate tax and assessment on a lot or unit shall be
paid by the owner or developer without recourse to the buyer for as long as the
title has not passed the buyer; Provided, however, that if the buyer has actually
taken possession of and occupied the lot or unit, he shall be liable to the owner
or developer for such tax and assessment effective the year following such taking
of possession and occupancy.

The proscription against the owner-developer NOT TO CLAIM


REIMBURSMENT to the buyer is very clear or explicit and needs no
further explanation. Even if the complainants signed an undertaking to pay
under the Contract to Sell of their real property taxes the Developer will
charge them, we believe that the terms and conditions of a contract should
not contravene a clear provision of the law.
This is especially underscored by the law under Section 33 of PD 957,
which states that . any provision in the contract of sale which waives
compliance with any provision of the Decree shall be void.

Section 33. Nullity of waivers. Any condition, stipulation, or provision in


contract of sale whereby any person waives compliance with any
provision of this Decree or of any rule or regulation issued thereunder
shall be void.

The import of Section 33 is that the undertaking in the Contract to


Sell providing for reimbursement in contravention of the law is therefore
void or without legal effect.