FILINVEST DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, Petitioner, versus NILO DEL ROSARIO, Respondent; G.R. No. 253115
Filinvest was the owner of a parcel of land located at Lot No. 18, Block No. 6 PCS-13-001193, Brgy. Silangan, Capitol, Quezon City, covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. N375865 . Filinvest was delinquent in paying the subject land’s real estate taxes. Hence, a public auction was held on October 3, 2013, wherein the subject property was awarded to respondent as the highest bidder for the amount of ₱23,602.53. On November 18, 2013, the Office of the City Treasurer issued a Certificate of Sale of Delinquent Property to Purchaser. After the lapse of one-year, Filinvest failed to redeem the subject property. A Final Bill of Sale was issued on March 24, 2015.
For failure of Filinvest to surrender the TCT to respondent, the latter filed a petition for confirmation of final bill of sale and entry of new certificate of title, invoking the provisions of Section 75 of Presidential Decree No. 1529 and Republic Act No. (R.A.) 7160.
On November 29, 2016, the Regional Trial Court (RTC) issued a Decision granting the petition.
Filinvest filed an appeal to the Court of Appeals (CA).
In its Decision dated January 27, 2020, the CA denied the appeal and affirmed the Decision of the RTC. The CA ruled that Filinvest’s arguments as to the lack of notice of the tax delinquency and inadequacy of the price in the auction sale cannot be entertained by the CA due to non-compliance by Filinvest with Section 267 of R.A. 7160, otherwise known as the “Local Government Code” (LGC) requiring Filinvest to institute an action assailing the validity of sale at public auction or that the latter paid the required deposit under Section 267 of the LGC. For failure to fulfill these requirements, Filinvest does not have the legal right to question the validity of the sale at public auction.
Whether or not Filinvest needs to comply with the deposit requirement under Section 267 of the Local Government Code before the issue on the validity of the tax auction sale can be taken cognizance by the Court.
In the case of Sps. Plaza v. Lustiva, the Court clarified that the deposit requirement applies only to initiatory actions assailing the validity of tax sales, as the section makes use of term “entertain” and “institution.” The deposit is a jurisdictional requirement which must be satisfied before the court can entertain any action assailing the validity of the public auction sale.
In the case at bar, it was respondent who filed a petition for confirmation of final bill of sale and entry of new certificate of title. The issue as to the nullity of the public auction sale was raised by Filinvest merely as a defense and in no way converted the action for annulment of a tax sale. Hence, Filinvest need not make a deposit to the court before the latter can question the validity of the tax sale.