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[ G R No. L-11914, Sep 19, 1957 ]



G. R. No. L-11914

[ G. R. No. L-11914, September 19, 1957 ]




This  is a petition for  certiorari seeking a modification of   the order of respondent   judge dated.  January   14, 1957 in the sense  of allowing, petitioner an extension of forty-five   (45)  days  to exercise her option to purchase the  "Legarda-Tambunting Subdivision" and  other persons who may enter the bid for the sale thereof in order to obtain  the best  price possible for the benefit  of   the estate and of   all  the   heirs  of   the deceased.

Dña.   Clara Tambunting died  on April  2,  1950 in  the City  of Manila leaving a will which was  probated   in  due time (Special Proceedings No.  10808).    Her husband Don Vicente L.   Legarda was appointed special administrator and among the properties  he included in  the inventory submitted to  the  court as part of   the conjugal property is the   "LegardaTambunting Subdivision" located at  RizaI Avenue Extension,  City of Manila,   containing an approximate area of  80,000 square meters  and described in  Transfer Certificates  Of   Title Nos.   59585,  29578,   62042,   45149 said 40957  or  the land records  of said.  city.

On February  24,   1956,  Don Vicente  L.   Legarda also died  in   the   City of Manila leaving likewise a will which in  due time was  also duly probated   (Special Proceeding No.   29062).  In  that will,   the  surviving widow,  herein petitioner, was  given one-half (1/2) of the  entire estate.  As a result,   the heirs  of  the estate of the late  Clara Tambunting which was still pending distribution became as follows:  the  minor   Clara  Tambunting, Conchita S.  Vda.  de  Legarda,  herein petitioner; and  the nephews of Dña. Clara Tambunting,  namely,  Augusto,   Benjamin,  Romeo and Julieta,   all  surnamed  Tambuuting.

On November 21,  1951,  the probate court; authorised the  sale   of  the "Lesarda-Tambunting Subdivision"  at a price of  P30 to P50 per square meter upon petition of the then judicial administrator Vicente L.  Lecarda.  As  no purchaser has  been  found,   the probate  court  on July 31, 1956 again ordered   the administrator Philippine Trust Company to  sell   "as  is" the  property  at   the best  obtainable price.     It was  not   until   the early part  of January, 1957,  or on January 5,   1957,   to be exact,  that Dr.  Gregorio Venturanza offered to purchase the property  for P650,000 under certain terms  and  conditions.    No action  was  taken thereon until  January 10,  1957 when on open bidding was held before the probate   court at which two more bids were submitted," one  by Manotok Realty Company and the other by A.  U.   Valencia Realty Company.   Upon agreement of  the bidders and the heirs,  action,  on the bids was postponed to  January 14,  1957,     On  the latter date,   the courts again  postponed action to January 25,  1957,  in an order wherein it  provided,  among other things, that  "any or all  of the hears may have a preferential  option to purchase  the   property for themselves  under the same  terms  and conditions as   those  considered most favorable by  the  Court   of all  the  offers,  provided that the offer to buy  is  submitted not later than 12:00 o'clock noon on January 35, 1957."

On January 22,   1957,  counsel for petitioner filed an urgent motion for reconsideration praying,  among other things,   that an extension of forty-five   (45)  days be  given within which  the heirs may exercise  their preferential option  considering  that  the time  given by  the  court for  them to do so was short;   praying at  the same time for such additional and reasonable time as   the  judge may  deem proper to allow outsiders  to take part in  the bid so  as  to obtain the  best  price for  the property  considering that   the three bids already submitted  offered a  price  of not more  than P10 per square meter which was   considered  low  taking  into account  that  the property  is  located  in a semi-commercial place.     In the morning   of January 25,   1957,   the land Tenur Office  likewise filed an urgent petition seeking for an opportunity to take part  in  the bid emphasizing therein that  if   the government  is allowed to acquire  the property it would resell   the same to bonafide  tenants  or occupants and  in  that way  "long protracted  litigations may  be avoided,"    Both motions having been  denied,   petitioner interposed the present petition for certiorari.

Petitioner contends  that respondent  judge acted with grave abuse of discretion in denying her motion   for extension of   the period within which the heirs may exercise their preferential option to purchase the property considering that  the period so given was  so short  that  it becomes  useless  having in mind  the enormous value of the property which is  located  in a semi-commercial place and  the fact  that  the three bids  so far submitted only  offered a price of P12.00 per square meter which could be greatly improved if mores time  is  allowed to the heirs a no to  other interested persons.     Petitioner further contends that as a rule the sale of a property of a decessed perse is authorized when necessary to pay the debts  and   charges against  the estate and when beneficial to the heirs (Buenaventura v.  Ramos,  43 Phil.,   704),  and here such situation does not obtain because  the judicial administrator has  in its possession more than one million pesos (P1,000,000) representing the proceeds  of  other properties which is more  than sufficient  to pay the obligations and   charges of   the estates   and so there  is no reason for the undue hurry in 'the sale of   the property in question. The claim of petitioner does not find support  in the record.     It appears   that as early as November 21, 1951,  the probate   court had already authorized the sale of  the property at a price of P30 to P50 per square meter upon petition, of the former administrator.  As no offer was forthcoming,   the probate  court on July 31,   1958 again directed  the new administrator,   Philippine Trust Company,   to sell it at   the best  obtainable price.     To implement this  order, the Philippine Trust  Company contacted several  brokers  in  the city,  advertised the property in several newspapers,   offered it  to the Philippine American Life  Insurance Company and the Insular  Life Assurance  Company,  Ltd.,   and even tried to interest   the Land Tenure Administration considering that there were many squatters on the land.  Notwithstanding these efforts, no bid come forth until January 5,  1957,  or after a lapse of almost six years, when Dr.   Gregorio A.  Venturanza made an offer of P650,000.     On January 10,  1957,  an open, bidding was held before  the probate  court  in  the  presence  of all  the heirs and other interested parties  but  on that occasion only two more bids were submitted,   and  the best offer only reached as high as P12.00 per square meter. During all this time,  any  of  the heirs,   including  the petitioner,  who  was  given preferential option,   could have taken part  in   the bid,  or looked for a  buyer who  could offer a satisfactory price,   but they failed to do so and only  in  the last minute did they make a hasty move for additional  time in a frantic effort  to improve  the bids. Considering the foregoing circumstances,   it  is doubtful   if petitioner could accomplish her  purpose even if her request is acceded.   We are not therefore prepared to conclude in the circumstances that respondent  judge committed an abuse  of discretion in denying her mot ion. There are several  reasons why apparently a  better offer cannot be obtained for the property.

They are:   (1) the property is largely occupied by  squatters;   (2)  there is  no  up-to-date subdivision plan;   (3)  there is no definite  information as  to   the  exact  salable area of  the subdivision;  and. (4)  there is  need for a resurvey and relocation  of  the subdivision.

It is true tint the Land Tenure Administration has also intervened in as effort  to   acquire   the land for  the benefit   of   the actual occupants,   but at   the hearing, held on January 25,   1957,  it was   revealed   that  said  office did not  have the money with which to buy  the  land.    Moreover ,  it  appears  that this  land had been offered  to  said office by  the Philippine  Trust  Company as  early as May 8,  1956 but since then that  office  did not  take any action.    At any rate,  even if   this property were sold now, the government may still intervene  if  necessary to protect   the interest  of   the  occupants.

Petition is denied, without pronouncement as to costs. The injunction issued by this Court is hereby dissolved.

Paras,  C. J., Bengzon Padilla, Montemayor, Reyes,  A., Labrador, Concepcion, Reyes,   J.B.L., Endencia,  and Felix,   JJ., concur.