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Philippines Free Press, Inc. vs. Court of Appeals (473 SCRA 639)

FACTS:

Petitioner, thru Teodoro Locsin, Sr., filed a case of Annulment of Sale of its building, lot and printing machineries during the regime of Martial Law to private respondent then represented by late B/Gen. Menzi on February 26, 1987. Petitioner contends that there was vitiated consent and gross inadequacy of purchase price during its sale on October 23, 1973. The trial court dismissed petitioner’s complaint and granted private respondent’s counterclaim. It was elevated to the Court of Appeals but was also dismissed for lack of merit.

ISSUE:

Whether or not the action for annulment has already prescribed.

RULING:

YES. Article 391 of the Civil Code pertinently reads “The action for annulment shall be brought within four years. This period shall begin: In cases of intimidation, violence or undue influence, from the time the defect of consent ceases x x x”.

[The Supreme Court] can not accept the petitioners’ contention that the period during which authoritarian rule was in force had interrupted prescription and that the same began to run only on February 25, 1986, when the Aquino government took power.  It is true that under Article 1154 [of the Civil Code] xxx fortuitous events have the effect of tolling the period of prescription.  However, [the Supreme Court] can not say, as a universal rule, that the period from September 21, 1972 through February 25, 1986 involves a force majeure.  Plainly, [the Supreme Court] can not box in the “dictatorial” period within the term without distinction, and without, by necessity, suspending all liabilities, however demandable, incurred during that period, including perhaps those ordered by this Court to be paid.

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Posted by on December 10, 2012 in Case Digests, Civil Law

 

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