By Rey Panaligan
The Supreme Court (SC) has affirmed a Court of Appeals (CA) decision that ordered Sunvar Realty Development Corporation to return to the heirs of the original owner a condominium unit in Muntinlupa City.
In a resolution released on Wednesday (May 15), the SC dismissed Sunvar’s petition which sought a reversal of the CA’s decision issued in March last year.
It ruled that the CA was correct in ordering the return of the condominium unit at the Corinthian Villas Condominium to the heirs of the late Ma. Elena Posadas.
The condominium, denominated as Unit 12, was foreclosed and auctioned by the Muntinlupa City government due to tax delinquency.
It was Sunvar, owned by the Rufino and Prieto families, which won in the auction.
In its resolution, the SC’s first division said the CA was correct in its ruling that the auction of Posadas’ condominium unit was invalid for lack of prior notice to the registered owner by the Muntinlupa City government.
The SC said: “A tax delinquency sale is void if no actual notice is given to the registered owner. Considering that no notice was sent to Ma. Elena M. Posadas prior to the scheduled public auction, the certificate of sale and deed of sale in favor of Sunvar Realty Development Corporation are deemed null and void.”
Posadas’ condominium unit was put up on public auction in 2004 for failure to pay real property taxes. Posadas bought the unit from Sunvar in 1995.
One year after Sunvar won the auction, the city government executed a final deed of sale in favor of the firm.
It was only in 2007 when the Posadas family learned about the auction when Sunvar demanded the occupants to leave the condominium unit.
Earlier in 2017, the Makati City regional trial court (RTC) had ordered Sunvar to vacate the government’s Mile Long prime property for unpaid rentals amounting to more than P1.6 million.
The trial court order was issued after the CA directed the execution of the 2015 decision of the Makati Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC) for Sunvar to vacate the property.
Sunvar occupied the Mile Long property in Makati City in 1982 through a lease agreement.
Solicitor General Jose C. Calida said that since 2003 Sunvar had been squatting and illegally occupying the Mile Long property despite notices to vacate.
He also said Sunvar continued to collect rentals from the tenants.