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Digest: Sarmiento vs. Agana

Digest:Sarmiento vs. Agana
GR NO. L-57288, Apr 30, 1984



Petition for certiorari questions a March 29, 1979 Decision rendered by the then CFI of Pasay City in an Ejectment suit instituted by herein petitioner Leonila SARMIENTO against private respondents, the spouses ERNESTO Valentino and Rebecca Lorenzo.

When private respondent Ernesto was still courting his wife, the latter’s (wife) mother told him that the couple could build a residential house on a lot of 145 sq, m. whom Ernesto constructed a residential house on the said land at a cost of P8,000 to P10, 000. It was assumed that the wife's mother was the owner of the land and eventually would be transferred to the spouses. But, it turned out that the land had been titled in the name of Mr. and Mrs. Santo who sold the land to Petitioner Sarmiento.

Later on, petitioner filed an Ejectment suit against them. During the hearing before the Municipal Court, petitioner submitted the Deed of Sale of the Land which showed its price of P15, 000. On the other hand, private respondent Ernesto testified that the cost of the residential house was from P30,000 to P40,000.


The MTC ordered spouses to vacate the land after Sarmiento has paid them the sum of P20, 000, the value of the house according to Ernesto.


However, this case was the elevated to CFI of Pasay and pursuant to Article 448 of the CC, the Court ordered petitioner, within 60 days, to exercise the option to reimburse Ernesto and wife the sum of 40,000.00 as the value of the residential house, or the option to allow them to purchase the land for P25,000.00.

Sarmiento did not exercise any of the two options within the indicated period, and Ernesto was then allowed to deposit the sum of P25,000.00 with the Court as the purchase price for the land.



1.     W/N private respondent Ernesto was in good faith in building the residential house


2.     W/N petitioner Sarmiento could exercise both refusal to pay the spouses and give option to purchase




1.     The Municipal Court found that private respondents had built the RESIDENTIAL HOUSE in good faith. As far as they knew, the land was owned by Ernesto’s mother-in-law who, having stated that they could build a residential house on the land, could reasonably be expected to give them the land in the future.


In regards to builders in GOOD FAITH, Article 448 of the Code provides:


The owner of the land on which anything has been built, sown or planted in good faith, shall have the right to appropriate as his own the works, sowing or planting, after payment of the indemnity provided for in articles 546 and 548, or to oblige the one who built or planted to pay the price of the land, and the one who sowed, the proper rent.


However, the builder or planter cannot be obliged to buy the land if its value is considerably more than that of the building or trees. In such case, he shall pay reasonable rent, if the owner of the land does not choose to appropriate the building or trees after proper indemnity. The parties shall agree upon the terms of the lease and in case of disagreement, the court shall fix the terms thereof. (Paragraphing supplied)

2.     No. The owner of the building erected in good faith on a land owned by another, is entitled to retain the possession of the land until he is paid the value of his building, under article 453 (now Article 546). The owner of the land upon, the other hand, has the option, under article 361 (now Article 448), either to pay for the building or to sell his land to the owner of the building.

But he cannot, as respondents here did, refuse both to pay for the building and to sell the land and compel the owner of the building to remove it from the land where it is erected. He is entitled to such remotion only when, after having chosen to sell his land, the other party fails to pay for the same.

We hold, therefore, that the order of Judge Natividad compelling defendants-petitioners to remove their buildings from the land belonging to plaintiffs-respondents only because the latter chose neither to pay for such buildings nor to sell the land, is null and void, for it amends substantially the judgment sought to be executed and is, furthermore, offensive to articles 361 (now Article 448) and 453 (now Article 546) of the Civil Code. (Ignacio vs. Hilario, 76 Phil. 605, 608 [1946]).


WHEREFORE, the Petition for Certiorari is hereby ordered dismissed, without pronouncement as to costs.

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