Spouses Eduardo vs. Hon. Court of Appeals

G.R. No. 164740. July 31, 2006.*



In 1993, Private respondent Dr. Victoria Ong granted a P1,000,000.00 loan to Dolores Ledesma and as a security for said loan, the latter issued a check and executed a deed of real estate mortgage over her house and lot. Thereafter, Ledesma sold the said house and lot to Versola spouses for P2,500,000.00. The petitioner spouses paid P1,000,000 as down payment however, they were only able to pay P50,000 for the remaining amount. To raise the full amount, petitioners spouses applied for a loan with Asiatrust Bank, Inc. The parties convened at a scheme wherein petitioner spouses will pay for obligation of Ledesma to Dr. Ong. However, when Asia­trust tried to register the Real Estate Mortgage there was an existing obligation to a certain Miladay’s Jewels, Inc., in the amount of P214,284.00 that caused the refusal to release the loan.

Dr.Ong filed a Complaint for Sum of Money against Ledesma, petitioners, and Asiatrust  which rendered a favorable verdict and no appeal having been filed, the foregoing Decision attained finality. In 2000, the sheriff set the sale of the property at public auction and later sold. In 2002, Veloso spouses filed an opposition on the ground that the property is a family home and shall be exempt for execution.


Whether or not the property shall be exempt for execution


NO. The petitioner remained silent and failed to seek relief from the Sheriff or the court until after almost one year from the date of the auction sale when he filed his motion to declare the property exempt from execution. But even in the said motion, petitioner did not present evidence that the property was a family home.

The settled rule is that the right to exemption or forced sale under Article 153 of the Family Code is a personal privilege granted to the judgment debtor and as such, it must be claimed not by the sheriff, but by the debtor himself before the sale of the property at public auction. It is not sufficient that the person claiming exemption merely alleges that such property is a family home. This claim for exemption must be set up and proved to the Sheriff. Failure to do so would estop the party from later claiming the exception.

The petitioners’ assertion for exemption is a mere afterthought, a sheer artifice to deprive private respondent of the fruits of the verdict of her case.