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BPI as successor-in-interest of BPI Investment Corp.vs ALS Management &dev’l Corp.

GR 151821 Facts: On July 29 1985 Pet BPI investment corp filed a complaint for a sum of money against ALS Management, alleging that on July 22 1983 they executed a DOS of 1 unfurnished condominium unit of the twin tower condominium located at ayala avenue Makati (unit E-4A) 271 sqm w/ parking G022 & G-63. The condominium cot was issued. Pet advanced 26,300 for the expenses In causing the issuance and regis of the CCOT. That under the penultimate par of DOS that it is the vendee (res) shall pay the preparation &regis of DOS and that demands made and still failed/ refused by res. Respondent avered why he refused on the ground of direct contravention of Sec 25 PD957 that, ‘No fee except those required for the registration of the deed of sale in the Registry of Deeds shall be coll ected for the issuance of such title’, that pet has jackup the amount for advances. That pet made and disseminated brochures before May 1980, which made warranties as to the facilities, improvements, infrastructures or other formsWhich he relied upon and agreed to buy at 2,048,900 considering not yet built. And later has defects(e.g walkway at balcony not sufficient, cracks, misaligned, no tile in toilet, leaks, etc.) Res prayed to order pet to correct the defects. TC: (1)Order Res to pay pet26k for regis.(2) Order pet to correct the defects(pg569-570).(3) order pet to pay res 40k for reimbursement of materials/labor, 136k for unearned income for 5 months and 27k per month for unearned income (may 1985 - jan 1987). CA: sustained the TC findings. Issue: Whether TC has jurisdiction over respondents counterclaim? Held: Promulgated on July 12, 1976, PD No. 957“The Subdivision and Condominium Buyers’ Protective Decree” provides that the National Housing Authority (NHA) shall have “exclusive authority to regulate t he real estate trade and business.later on April 2, 1978, was PD No. 1344“Empowering the NHAto Issue Writs of Execution in the Enforcement of Its Decisions Under PD. 957. February 7, 1981, by virtue of EO. 648, the regulatory functions of the NHA were transferred to the Human Settlements Regulatory Commission (HSRC). Executive Order No. 90 dated December 17, 1986, the functions of the HSRC were transferred to the HLURB. then, respondent’s counterclaim being one for specific performance (correction of defect s/deficiencies in the condominium unit) and damages falls under the jurisdiction of the HLURB as provided by Section 1 of PD No. 1344. However, The general rule is that any decision rendered without jurisdiction is a total nullity and may be struck down at any time, even on appeal before this Court. Indeed, the question of jurisdiction may be raised at any time, provided that such action would not result in the mockery of the tenets of fair play. As an exception to the rule, the issue may not be raised if the party is barred by estoppel. In the present case, petitioner proceeded with the trial, and only after a judgment unfavorable to it did it raise the issue of jurisdiction. Thus, it may no longer deny the trial court’s jurisdiction, for estoppel bars i t from doing so. This Court cannot countenance the inconsistent petitioner has adopted by attacking the jurisdiction of the regular court to which it has voluntarily submitted. We also find petitioner guilty of estoppel by laches for failing to raise the question of jurisdiction earlier. From the time that respondent filed its counterclaim on November 8, 1985, the former could have raised such issue, but failed or neglected to do so. It was only upon filing its appellant’s brief with the CA on May 27, 19 91, that petitioner raised the issue of jurisdiction for the first time. April 14, 2004