case digest - civil law

GR # 138964 Aug 9, 2001

Respondents were lessees of a panel of land owned by Marta Reyes located at San Pascual St., Malate, Manila. After the demise of Marta, Victor Reyes, her son, inherited the land. Victor informed the respondents that they would have a right of first refusal to buy the land. In 1989, without the knowledge of respondents, the land was sold to petitioner Cynthia Ortega who was able to ultimately secure title to the property in her name.
On May 25, 1989, Cynthia Ortega filed petition for condemnation of the structures on the land. The office of building Official issued a resolution ordering the demolition of the houses of respondents on November 27, 1989. Copies were received by respondents on December 7, 1989 and on December 12, the day respondents filed an appeal contesting the order, petitioners proceeded with the demolition of the house.
Respondents filed case before Manila RTC which was dismissed. On appeal, CA reversed the decision and ordered petitioners to pay respondents for moral and exemplary damages and attorney’s fees.

Whether the CA ruling in favor of respondents tenable.

The court rules for affirmance of the assailed decision.
A right to power, privilege or immunity guaranteed under a constitution, statute or decisional law or recognized as a result of long usage constitute of a legally enforceable claim of one person against another.
The decision of CA was MODIFIED by reducing the awards for exemplary and moral damages to P20,000 to each respondent. The decision of the appellate court is affirmed.

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