Action for specific performance

The crux of the controversy would have been the existence or non-existence of the alleged oral contract from which would flow respondent’s alleged right to compel petitioners to execute deeds of conveyance, the action is a personal action for specific performance. (Specified Contractors & Dev’t., Inc. vs. Pobocan, G.R. No. 212472, Jan. 11, 2018)

As the Supreme Court ascertained in this case, the action is essentially for specific performance - a personal action - over which the court a quo had jurisdiction, it was therefore erroneous for it to have treated the complaint as a real action which prescribes after 30 years under Article 1141 of the New Civil Code. In a personal action, the plaintiff seeks the recovery of personal property, the enforcement of a contract, or the recovery of damages. Real actions, on the other hand, are those affecting title to or possession of real property, or interest therein. (Marcos-Araneta, et al., v. Court of Appeals, et al., 585 Phil. 58, 2008)

As a personal action based upon an oral contract, Article 1145 providing a prescriptive period of six years applies in this case instead. The shorter period provided by law to institute an action based on an oral contract is due to the frailty of human memory. Nothing prevented the parties from reducing the alleged oral agreement into writing, stipulating the same in a contract of employment or partnership, or even mentioning the same in an office memorandum early on. (Specified Contractors & Dev’t., Inc. vs. Pobocan, G.R. No. 212472, Jan. 11, 2018)

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