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TALUSAN VS.

TAYAG & HERNANDEZ (2001)

G.R. No. 133698

FACTS: The case involves auction sale of a condominium unit, covered by


Condominium Certificate of Title No. 651 and located in Building IV, Europa
Condominium Villas, Baguio City.
Elias imperial, the former owner, sold his condominium unit to Antonio Talusan
and Celia Talusan, as evidenced by an Absolute Deed of Sale.
Juan Hernandez, the City Treasurer of Baguio City, wrote a letter to Imperial
informing him that the property would be sold at public auction if Imperial failed to satisfy
the delinquent real estate taxes, penalties and cost of sale, amounting to Php4,039.80.
Unbeknownst to Hernandez, Imperial and his family had already migrated to Australia.
The property was sold through auction sale to Hermenegildo Tayag for
Php4,400.00 and a final bill of sale was issued in his favor.
The Talusans, who were still in possession of the property, offered to pay the
same to Tayag were rejected. They filed for writ of preliminary injunction.
RTC of Baguio, Branch 6, ruled in favor of Tayag, finding that Tayag is not bound
to the Deed of Sale between Imperial and the Talusans because such was never
registered with the Register of Deeds.
The Talusans sought for the annulment of the auction sale, but the legality of the
sale was upheld. The CA affirmed.

ISSUE: Whether the auction sale was not valid because of non-publication of delinquent
real estate taxes.

HELD: The SC ruled in favor of the respondents.


Cases involving an auction sale of land for the collection of delinquent taxes are
in personam, unlike land registration proceedings. Thus, notice by publication, though
sufficient in proceedings in rem, does not as a rule satisfy the requirement of
proceedings in personam. Mere publication of the notice of delinquency would not
suffice, considering that the procedure in tax sales is in personam. It was, therefore, still
incumbent upon the city treasurer to send the notice of tax delinquency directly to the
taxpayer in order to protect the interests of the latter.
In the present case, the notice of delinquency was sent by registered mail to the
permanent address of the registered owner in Manila. In that notice, the city treasurer of
Baguio City directed him to settle the charges immediately and to protect his interest in
the property. Under the circumstances, we hold that the notice sent by registered mail
adequately protected the rights of the taxpayer, who was the registered owner of the
condominium unit.
For purposes of the real property tax, the registered owner of the property is
deemed the taxpayer. Hence, only the registered owner is entitled to a notice of tax
delinquency and other proceedings relative to the tax sale. Not being registered owners
of the property, petitioners cannot claim to have been deprived of such notice. In fact,
they were not entitled to it.