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He ain’t got the power

business / Columnists
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Property rules

He ain’t got the power

Isko mortgaged his exclusive property, a land situated in Cagayan, in favor of the bank.

Then the inevitable happened. His land was foreclosed and sold at public auction to the highest bidder. A certificate of sheriff’s sale was issued and, thereafter, was registered with the Register of Deeds.

By virtue of a general power of attorney executed by Isko’s wife, Mari, in favor of her mother, Glori, the latter redeemed the property from the purchaser. Glori, by virtue of the same power of attorney, executed a Deed of Sale in favor of Vic.

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Isko was incensed when he found out that the property was sold to Vic. He claimed that:

(a) the power of attorney his wife executed in favor of his mother created a principal-agent relationship only between them;

(b) that the general power of attorney only authorized Glori to administer the properties of Mari;

(c) he never authorized Glori to administer his properties, particularly, the Cagayan subject property; and that

(d) Glori had no authority to execute the Deed of Absolute Sale in favor of Vic, since from the very wordings of the power of attorney, she had no special authority to sell or convey any specific real property.

Q: Can Mari, as wife of the Isko, may validly redeem the property in question?

A: Yes. Section 6 of Act No. 3135, in conjunction with Section 27 of Rule 39 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, the wife of the debtor is considered as his successor-in-interest who may redeem the same at any time within the term of one year from and after the date of sale.

The successor-in-interest of the judgment debtor referred to in the above provision includes a person who succeeds to his property by operation of law, or a person with a joint interest in the property, or his spouse or heirs. (Villegas vs. Lingan, G.R. No. 153839, June 29, 2007)

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Q: What should Isko have done after Mari redeemed his property?

A: Pursuant to Section 33, Rule 39 of the 1997 Rules of Court, Isko should have redeemed his property from the last redemptioner, his wife. (Villegas vs. Lingan, G.R. No. 153839, June 29, 2007)

Q: What was the legal consequence of Isko’s failure to redeem the property?

A: Mari, as the last redemptioner, acquired ownership of the subject property. All rights and title of the judgment obligor are transferred upon the expiration of the right of redemption.

And where the redemption is made under a property regime governed by the conjugal partnership of gains, Article 109 of the Family Code provides that property acquired by right of redemption is the exclusive property of the spouses redeeming the property.

Clearly, therefore, Mari, as owner, had the right to sell the property to another. (Villegas vs. Lingan, G.R. No. 153839, June 29, 2007)

Q: Does Isko have the right to question the sale of the Cagayan property?

A: He has no right whatsoever. Divested of all interest over the property, Isko has ceased to be the proper party who may challenge the validity of the sale. Moreover, since, as a rule, the agency, as a contract, is binding only between the contracting parties then only the parties, as well as the third person who transacts with the parties themselves, may question the validity of the agency or the violation of the terms and conditions found therein.

In other words, if Glori indeed exceeded the authority that was granted to her under the said power of attorney, it is only Mari who is the proper party who can assail said act. (Villegas vs. Lingan, G.R. No. 153839, June 29, 2007)

Ma. Soledad Deriquito-Mawis is currently the Dean of College of Law, Lyceum of the Philippines University;   and President of Philippine Association of Law Schools

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