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ARMY AND NAVY CLUB OF MANILA, INC., petitioner, vs. HONORABL

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by

James Carlson

on 3 October 2013

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Transcript of ARMY AND NAVY CLUB OF MANILA, INC., petitioner, vs. HONORABL

ARMY AND NAVY CLUB OF MANILA, INC., petitioner, vs. HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS
Issue:
Whether or not the RESPONDENT COURTS GRAVELY ERRED IN UPHOLDING THE OUSTER OF HEREIN PETITIONER FROM THE DISPUTED PREMISES WHICH IS A CLEAR TRANSGRESSION OF THE FORMAL DECLARATION OF THE SITE OF HEREIN PETITIONER AS A HISTORICAL LANDMARK.

Whether or not AS AN INCIDENT TO THE MAIN ISSUE, THE PROPERTY, SUBJECT MATTER OF THIS CASE, IS OF PUBLIC DOMAIN AND THEREFORE, THE CONTRACT OF LEASE EXECUTED BY THE CITY OF MANILA IN FAVOR OF PETITIONER IS VOID.
Facts:
On November 29, 1989 the City of Manila filed an action against herein petitioner with the MTC for ejectment. The complaint alleged that:

1. That plaintiff is a municipal corporation duly organized and existing by virtue of Rep. Act No. 409, as amended, with offices at City Hall Building, Manila, represented in this action by its incumbent City Mayor, Hon. Gemiliano C. Lopez, Jr., with the same address as plaintiff;
Defendant is likewise a corporation organized under the laws of the Philippines with offices at the Army and Navy Club Building, Luneta, Manila, where it may be served with summons;

2. That plaintiff is the owner of a parcel of land with an area of 12,705.30 sq. m. located at South Boulevard corner Manila Bay, Manila, covered by TCT No. 156868/1059 of the Register of Deeds of Manila, together with the improvements thereon known as the Army and Navy of Manila;

3. That Petitioner is occupying the above-described land and the Army and Navy Club Building by virtue of a Contract of Lease executed between plaintiff and defendant in January 1983

4. That the petitioner and the defendant agreed to all the that is stipulated in the contract

5. That the Petitioner herein invokes and capitalizes on the fact that the Army and Navy Club has been declared a national historical landmark by the National Historical Commission on June 29, 1992 which the lower courts allegedly never gave due consideration. Thus, its existence should not in any way be undermined by the simple ejectment suit filed against it. Petitioner contends that all parties are enjoined by law to preserve its existence and site.

To support its claim, petitioner presented the Certificate of Transfer and Acceptance of the Historical Marker granted to it pursuant to R.A. 4846, as amended by PD 374 which provides that it shall be "the policy of the State to preserve and protect the important cultural properties and National Cultural Treasures of the nation and to safeguard their intrinsic value.

Ruling:
In the case at bar, there is clearly no substantial triable issue. In the Answer filed on December 29, 1989, petitioner does not deny the existence of the lease contract executed with the City of Manila in January 1983. It admitted that it failed to pay the rents and real estate taxes and construction of a multi-storey building.

It put up the defense that it was unable to fulfill its obligations of the contract due to economic recession in 1984 as an aftermath of the Ninoy Aquino assassination. Considering that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact, a summary judgment is proper. The argument that it was declared a historical landmark, is not a substantial issue of fact which does not, in any way, alter or affect the merit of the ejectment suit.

Likewise, we find no error much less any abuse of authority on the part of the lower court in not admitting the Amended Answer. Aside from the fact that it was filed one (1) year after the original answer was filed, it put up defenses which are entirely in contradiction to its original answer. This is in contravention of the rules of procedure. Having admitted in the original answer that the City of Manila is the registered owner of the property and that it leased the property from it, petitioner can not now deny such claim of ownership. The Court of Appeals correctly observed on this point:

Be that as it may, at this last stage, after herein petitioner has dealt with the private respondent as the owner of the leased premises and obtained benefits from said acknowledgment of such ownership for almost half a century, herein petitioner cannot be permitted to assume an inconsistent position by denying said private respondent's ownership of the leased premises when the situation calls for it. Herein petitioner cannot be allowed to double deal, recognizing herein private respondent's title over the leased premises and entering into a lease contract and other covenants, and thereafter after failing to comply with its obligation provided for in the lease agreement attempt to repudiate the ownership of private respondent of the subject property.

WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED. The instant petition is DENIED, for lack of merit.

SO ORDERED.
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