G.R. No. 75364. November 23, 1988 (Case Brief / Digest)

### Title:
Antonio Layug vs. Intermediate Appellate Court and Rodrigo Gabuya: An Analysis of Contractual Breach in Installment Sales Governed by Republic Act No. 6552

### Facts:
On October 4, 1978, Antonio Layug entered into a contract to purchase twelve lots from Rodrigo Gabuya in Barrio Bara-as, Iligan City, for P120,000.00, to be paid in three annual installments. Following the agreement, Layug paid the first two installments but failed to complete the last payment due on October 5, 1980. After informal and formal demands for payment failed, Gabuya initiated a complaint in the Court of First Instance of Lanao del Norte, seeking to annul the contract and to recover damages. The Trial Court ruled in favor of Gabuya, a decision later affirmed by the Court of Appeals, leading to Layug’s appeal to the Supreme Court.

### Issues:
1. Whether the contractual stipulation regarding the automatic cancellation and forfeiture of installments paid upon default by the vendee is enforceable.
2. Whether Layug is entitled to equity relief, allowing for partial conveyance of lots equivalent to the payments made.
3. The applicability and implications of Republic Act No. 6552 (The Realty Installment Buyer Protection Act) in the case at hand.

### Court’s Decision:
The Supreme Court affirmed the cancellation of the contract and the forfeiture of payments made, in line with the contract’s stipulations and the findings of the lower courts. However, the Court made a significant distinction by invoking Republic Act No. 6552, dictating that Layug was entitled to a refund of 50% of the total payments made, recognized as the “cash surrender value.”

### Doctrine:
1. **Automatic Cancellation in Installment Sales:** The Supreme Court reinforced the enforceability of contractual stipulations allowing for the automatic cancellation of the contract and forfeiture of previous payments in case of default by the vendee.
2. **Republic Act No. 6552:** The ruling highlighted the protective mechanism for buyers in real estate installment transactions, providing a safety net through a right to a refund – albeit partial – under specific conditions.

### Class Notes:
– **Key Concepts:**
– Contractual obligations and the enforcement of automatic cancellation clauses.
– The significance of adherence to stipulated payment schedules in installment contracts.
– The application and implications of Republic Act No. 6552 in protecting installment buyers upon default.
– **Statutory Provisions:**
– Republic Act No. 6552, providing that buyers who have paid at least two years of installments are entitled to specific protective measures including a refund of a portion of the total payments made in case of default.

### Historical Background:
This case is situated against the backdrop of real estate transactions in the Philippines, underscoring the balance between contractual freedom and statutory protections offered to buyers. It exemplifies the legal system’s evolution towards protecting consumers in installment sales through legislation like Republic Act No. 6552, enacted due to the recognition of the precarious position of buyers who might default after making significant payments.


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