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Eleizegui v.

The Manila Lawn Tennis Club


G.R. No. 967 May 19, 1903
Facts:
A contract of lease was executed on January 25, 1980 over a piece of land owned by the plaintiffs
Eleizegui (Lessor) to the Manila Lawn Tennis Club, an English association (represented by Mr.
Williamson) for a fixed consideration of P25 per month and accordingly, to last at the will of the
lessee. Under the contract, the lessee can make improvements deemed desirable for the comfort and
amusement of its members. It appeared that the plaintiffs terminated the lease right on the first
month. The defendant is in the belief that there can be no other mode of terminating the lease than by
its own will, as what they believe has been stipulated.
As a result the plaintiff filed a case for unlawful detainer for the restitution of the land claiming
that article 1569 of the Civil Code provided that a lessor may judicially dispossess the lessee upon
the expiration of the conventional term or of the legal term; the conventional term that is, the one
agreed upon by the parties; the legal term, in defect of the conventional, fixed for leases by articles
1577 and 1581. The Plaintiffs argued that the duration of the lease depends upon the will of the
lessor on the basis of Art. 1581 which provides that, "When the term has not been fixed for the lease,
it is understood to be for years when an annual rental has been fixed, for months when the rent
is monthly. . . ." The second clause of the contract provides as follows: "The rent of the said land is
fixed at 25 pesos per month."
The lower court ruled in favor of the Plaintiffs on the basis of Article 1581 of the Civil Code, the law
which was in force at the time the contract was entered into. It is of the opinion that the contract of
lease was terminated by the notice given by the plaintiff. The judgment was entered upon the theory
of the expiration of a legal term which does not exist, as the case requires that a term be fixed by the
courts under the provisions of article 1128 with respect to obligations which, as is the present, are
terminable at the will of the obligee.
ISSUE: a) Whether or not the parties have agreed upon the duration of the lease
b) Whether or not the lease depends upon the will of the lessee
RULING:
a)

YES, the parties have agreed upon a term hence Art. 1581 is inapplicable.

The legal term cannot be applied under Art 1581 as it appears that there was actually an agreement
between the parties as to the duration of the lease, albeit implied that the lease is to be dependent
upon the will of the lessee. It would be absurd to accept the argument of the plaintiff that the contract
was terminated at its notice, given this implication.
Interestingly, the contract should not be understood as one stipulated as a life tenancy, and still less
as a perpetual lease since the terms of the contract express nothing to this effect, even if they implied
this idea. If the lease could last during such time as the lessee might see fit, because it has been so
stipulated by the lessor, it would last, first, as long as the will of the lessee that is, all his life;
second, during all the time that he may have succession, inasmuch as he who contracts does so for
himself and his heirs. (Art. 1257 of the Civil Code.) The lease in question does not fall within any of
the cases in which the rights and obligations arising from a contract can not be transmitted to heirs,
either by its nature, by agreement, or by provision of law. Moreover, being a lease, then it must be for
a determinate period. (Art. 1543.) By its very nature it must be temporary, just as by reason of its
nature, an emphyteusis must be perpetual, or for an unlimited period. (Art. 1608.)

B) The duration of the lease does not depend solely upon the will of the Lessee (defendant).
It cannot be concluded that the termination of the contract is to be left completely at the will of the
lessee simply because it has been stipulated that its duration is to be left to his will.
The Civil Code has made provision for such a case in all kinds of obligations. In speaking in general
of obligations with a term it has supplied the deficiency of the former law with respect to the "duration
of the term when it has been left to the will of the debtor," and provides that in this case the term shall
be fixed by the courts. (Art. 1128, sec. 2.) In every contract, as laid down by the authorities, there is
always a creditor who is entitled to demand the performance, and a debtor upon whom rests the
obligation to perform the undertaking. In bilateral contracts the contracting parties are mutually
creditors and debtors. Thus, in this contract of lease, the lessee is the creditor with respect to the
rights enumerated in article 1554, and is the debtor with respect to the obligations imposed by articles
1555 and 1561. The term within which performance of the latter obligation is due is what has been left
to the will of the debtor. This term it is which must be fixed by the courts.
The only action which can be maintained under the terms of the contract is that by which it is sought
to obtain from the judge the determination of this period, and not the unlawful detainer action which
has been brought an action which presupposes the expiration of the term and makes it the duty of
the judge to simply decree an eviction. To maintain the latter action it is sufficient to show the
expiration of the term of the contract, whether conventional or legal; in order to decree the relief to be
granted in the former action it is necessary for the judge to look into the character and conditions of
the mutual undertakings with a view to supplying the lacking element of a time at which the lease is to
expire.
The lower courts judgement is erroneous and therefore reversed and the case was remanded with
directions to enter a judgment of dismissal of the action in favor of the defendant, the Manila Lawn
Tennis Club.

CHAVES VS. GONZALES


32 SCRA 547
FACTS:
Plaintiff Chaves delivered to defendant Gonzales a typewriter for routine cleaning and servicing. The
defendant was not able to finish the job after some time despite repeated reminders by plaintiff.
Eventually, Chaves took back his typewriter which was returned to him in shambles with some parts
missing. Chaves had the typewriter fixed by someone else which cost him a total of Php 89.85.
Subsequently, Chaves filed a case before the CFI demanding Php 90 as actual damages among
others. The CFI found for the plaintiff but ruled that the total
cost of Php 89.85 should not be fully charged against the defendant and that only the total value of
the missing parts at Php 31.10 should be paid by Gonzales to Chaves.
Chaves appealed to the Supreme Court with the contention that under Article 1167 defendant should
pay him the whole cost of labor and materials that went into the repair of the machine. Gonzales, on
the other hand, contended that he is not liable at all for anything because his contract with Chaves did
not contain a period and that Chaves should have first filed a petition for the court to fix the period
under 1167 of the Civil Code.
ISSUE:Does the contract contain a period?
RULING:
Yes. Based on the facts it was clear that both parties had a perfected contract for cleaning and
servicing a typewriter; that they intended that the defendant was to finish it at some future time
although such time was not specified; and that such time had passed without the work having been
accomplished. The time for compliance having evidently expired, and there being a breach of contract
by non-performance, it was academic for plaintiff to have first petitioned the court to fix a period.
Defendant cannot invoke Article 1197 of the Civil Code for he virtually admitted non-performance by
returning the typewriter that he was obliged to repair in a non-working condition with essential parts
missing. For such contravention, Gonzales is liable under Article 1167 of the Civil Code which makes
him liable for the cost of executing the obligation in a proper manner. In addition, he is likewise liable
under Article 1170 of the Code for cost of the missing parts, in the amount of Php 31.10 for in his
obligation to repair the typewriter he was bound, but failed or neglected to return it in the same
condition it was when he received it.