Tuesday 13 November, 2018
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SC grants Colegio Medico-Farmaceutico bid to evict tenant school

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The Supreme Court (SC) has granted the petition of Colegio Medico-Farmaceutico de Filipinas, Inc. to evict a tenant school from its premises for failure to pay rent.

In a recent 12-page decision, the SC 1st Division ordered Lily Lim, president of St. John Berchman School of Manila Foundation, to vacate the leased unit at Building C of the Colegio compound along R. Papa Street, Sampaloc, Manila.

The SC also ordered Lim to pay the Colegio P604,936.35 in unpaid utility bills as of February 2008, and the amount of P55,000 per month from March 2008 until the possession of the property is restored to the Colegio, on top of attorney’s fees.

A legal interest of 12% per annum from March 5, 2008 to June 30, 2013, and 6% per annum from July 1, 2013 onwards would also be imposed.

This ruling reinstated the May 13, 2010 decision of the Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 11 in favor of the Colegio, and reversed its subsequent loss at the hands of the Court of Appeals (CA) through a June 13, 2013 decision.

The SC said the CA erred in dismissing the Colegio’s unlawful detainer case against Lim on a technicality.

The CA had cited the failure of the Colegio to attach a copy of the May 13, 2008 board resolution that ratified the March 5, 2008 demand letter of then-president Virgilio del Castillo.

But, the SC said a corporation’s president is allowed to sign the verification and certification of non-forum shopping even without the board resolution.

Going to the merits of the case, the SC said the Colegio showed that Lim continued to possess the property despite the termination of the contract of lease on the grounds of nonpayment of rent.

Lim argued the case should not have prospered because Del Castillo lacked the authorization to demand that St. John vacate the premises. She harped on the fact that the board only ratified the demand letter after two months.

Again, the SC stressed that the president has the authority to make his actions binding on the corporation under “the power to perform acts within the scope of his or her usual duties.”

The SC said Del Castillo’s demand letter was valid because it was his duty to “manage the affairs of [the Colegio], which included the collection of receivables.”

Even if Del Castillo acted beyond the scope of his authority, the SC said this issue was cured by the board’s belated ratification of the demand letter.

The decision was penned by Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo.

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