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GR NO. L-23302
SEPTEMBER 25, 1968
Ponente: FERIA, J.





o Plaintiff had failed to establish any violation by the defendants of
the terms of the lease.
#16 RAS v SUA o They also content that if the case were for annulment, then plaintiff
GR NO. L-23302 has no personality to bring the action, the property being the RP.
SEPTEMBER 25, 1968 o Plaintiff may no longer recover the land from defendants under the
By: GUZMAN pari delicto doctrine.
Topic: VOID CONTRACTS  LOWER COURT: Judgment was rendered for the plaintiff, the lower court
Petitioners: ALEJANDRO RAS, plaintiff ruling not only that there had been violation of the contract, by defendants'
Respondents: ESTELA SUA and RAMON SUA failure to pay the taxes on the land, but also that the lease of the property was
Ponente: REYES, JBL. prohibited under Section 8 of Republic Act 477. Consequently, the contracts
executed on 29 July 1960 (Exhibit F) and 26 January 1962 (Exhibit G) were
declared annulled, and defendants were ordered to pay to plaintiff the sum of
RECIT-READY: Plaintiff filed a complaint against the defendant to recover the
P110.00 a month from 2 April 1964 until possession of the land is restored to
possession of a parcel of land. The land was leased by the defendant. It was
the latter. On the other hand, said plaintiff was ordered to return to the
contended that the defendant violated conditions under the lease, such as payment
defendants the sum of P1,200.00, the consideration of the two invalidated
of taxes. However, the defendant denied such contentions. Defendant said that the
contracts, with legal interest thereon until the amount shall have been paid.
plaintiff is barred from filing such action on the ground that the action is already
prescribed and the plaintiff has no personality to file such action. The lower court
ruled in favor of the plaintiff, annulling the contract. The SC ruled that the plaintiff is
(1) WON the cause of action of plaintiff is barred by prescription.
not barred from filing such action to the court because such contract is annulled and
(2) WON the plaintiff has personality to bring the action, since the property is
hence, it’s imprescriptible. Furthermore, the plaintiff has personality, because he still
under the government.
has the rights over the property, and it cannot be presumed that the government
already repossessed said property.
(1) NO. SC ruled that the contentions of the defendants are untenable.
DOCTRINE: o The contracts, Exhibits D, E, F and G did not just modify the original
(1) The right to seek the declaration of the inexistence of a contract, for being in lease by extending the period originally agreed upon. By
violation of law, is imprescriptible. themselves, they constitute individual contracts, distinct from the
(2) The interest of the individual out weights the interest of the public, thus, in this agreement of 25 February 1958, each to be effective within the
case, the plaintiff can recover what he has paid or delivered. period specifically mentioned therein.
o Thus, the lifetime of Exhibit D was only from 2 April 1961 to 2 April
FACTS 1963; Exhibit E, from 2 April 1963 to 2 April 1964; Exhibit F, from 2
 PLAINTIFF CONTENTIONS: April 1964 to 2 April 1966; and Exhibit G, from 2 April 1966 to 2
o Plaintiff Ras filed a complaint against the defendant, to recover the April 1968.
possession of a parcel of land which was leased by the defendant. o It follows, therefore, that even where the action filed on 6 May 1963
o Plaintiff is in need of money and unaware of the RA 477, so he be treated as one for rescission, insofar as Exhibits F and G are
allowed to leased to the defendants the land, he acquired from the concerned, the cause of action still subsists.
National Abaca and Others Fibers Corp. o It is for this reason that the lower court annulled only these two
o The lease was extended to a total of 10 years. contracts yet unenforced.
o Defendants failed to pay the taxes of the land and installments due o Of course, there is stronger ground for affirming the ruling of the
to the NAFCO. court below if the action were considered as one for annulment of
o As agreed, Defendants refused to pay such dues to the the agreement as one prohibited by law.
government. o The right to seek the declaration of the inexistence of a contract,
o Plaintiff asked to the defendant to return the land. for being in violation of law, is imprescriptible.
 DEFENDANT’S ANSWER TO THE COMPLAINT: (2) YES. SC ruled in favor the plaintiff, stating the contentions of the
o Denied that they violated any condition of the lease. defendant is without merit.
o They contested the jurisdiction of the court to order the return of the o The court said that the presumption of the defendant that upon the
land to plaintiff, as well as, the require possession. plaintiff’s violation of RA 477, he automatically loses his rights over
o They moved for the dismissal of the case, on the ground that the the land and said rights immediately revert to the State. This is not
cause of action has prescribed. correct per se.
o It was their contention that plaintiff’s action, which is for rescission
of contract under Art. 1191, prescribes in 4 yrs.
o RA 477 is silent as to the consequence of the alienation or
encumbering of the land after the execution of the contract of sale,
but within 10 yrs from the issuance of the certificate of title.
o In this case, the interest of the individual outweights the interest of
the public, strict construction of a penal provision is justified.
o ART. 1416 provides: “When the agreement is not illegal per se but
merely prohibited and the prohibition by the law is designed for the
protection of the plaintiff, he may, if public policy is thereby
enhanced, recover what he has paid or delivered.
o In the case of Catalina de los Santos v Roman Catholic Church of
Midsayap, it was ruled that the pari delicto doctrine may not be
invoked in a case of this kind since it would turn counter to an
avowed fundamental policy of the State that the forfeiture of the
homestead is a matter between the State and the grantee or his
heirs, and that until the State has taken steps to annul the grant
and asserts title of the homestead, the purchaser is, as against the
vendor or his heirs, no more entitled to keep the land than any