GMA newshen wins suit vs condo developer that refused her to live with pet dog

GMA newshen wins suit vs condo developer
that refused her to live with pet dog

Merilea Llamoso with her pet Shi Tzu dogs


By BERTENI “TOTO” CATALUÑA CAUSING
Author of the book entitled “Simplied Libel Law in the Philippines”


            Can you bring in your pet dog inside a condominium unit?

To educate, this author reports that he won their law firm’s suit against a developer that refused a GMA 7 Kapuso executive producer to live in the condominium unit she purchased on installments just because she insisted to bring her Shi Tzu pet dog.

           Docketed HLURB Case No. REM-A-120411-01643 ((REM-061610-14296), the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) ruled for newshen Merilea Llamoso on the ground that developer Aal-La Integrated and Development Corp. breached the reservation agreement and the contract to sell particularly on the obligation to allow the buyer to move in after paying a certain minimum amount of downpayment and regular installments.

            HLURB ruled that there was breach on the part of the developer not to allow Llamoso to live in the condo unit she bought just because she insisted to bring along her dog.  

The housing quasi-judicial court reasoned out that there is no provision in the reservation agreement and in the contract to sell that the buyer is prohibited from bringing in any animal pet.

 The HLURB ordered the developer to return all the monies paid by Llamoso in the amount of P1,204,199.20 and pay her additional amounts of 6% per annum in interest from the date of demand to return the installment payments on January 15, 2010 until it is fully paid.

Additionally, the HLURB’s Expanded NCR Field Office ordered the developer to pay Llamoso moral damages in the amount of P10,000, exemplary damage in the amount of P10,000, and attorney’s fee of P10,000.

Al-La filed a motion for reconsideration and the same was denied after the author insisted that it is not allowed under the rules of the HLURB.

The developer went to the HLURB board and the same trashed the appeal.

Al-La appealed to the Office of the President where the appeal is still pending.


HOW IT ALL BEGAN

            To understand the facts of the case, the author, who is also the editor-in-chief of Dyaryo Magdalo, deemed it best to restate the story he wrote in 2010 and it is as what follows here.

“It’s contemptuous to my dog! My canine is a specially-trained Shi Tzu! They should have allowed my pet to sleep with me on bed!”

This was uttered to Dyaryo Magdaloby Merilea Llamoso, a journalist of GMA 7 Kapuso Network, as she expressed her disgust over the refusal of the real estate corporation to allow her to use her condominium because she wanted to live in that condo unit with her pet.

Feeling helpless, Llamoso marched to Housing Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) to file a complaint against Al-La Integrated and Development Corporation where she demanded for the return of all the monies she paid.

She labeled the action of the developer as “inhuman” and contemptuous discrimination against the dog.
Llamoso said in her complaint that she already paid P1,204,199.20 to Al-La and has never been in default in paying for her monthly installments.

She also demanded for the payment of 25 per cent of the total amount for moral and exemplary damages, in addition to the attorney’s fee.

Acting on the complaint, the HLURB set two preliminary conferences hoping to have a settlement but the developer snubbed these settings.

With the failure of the conciliation and mediation efforts, the case is expected to go on full trial.

Llamoso said that long before the construction of the condominium started, she entered into a reservation agreement with Al-La, paying P10,000 for a unit at Francesca Royale Condominium located on Old Sauyo, Barangay Sauyo, Bagbag, Quezon City.

She took note that there was nothing in the said reservation agreement that prohibits her from bringing in her dog as a member of her domestic home.

The unit she contracted to buy is located at the 7th floor, having an area of 48.76 square meters for the “Regular Contract Price” of P2,057,672.

It was stipulated in the said agreement that she had to pay P23,036.31 every month for 24 months to complete the P552,871.44 down payment equivalent to 30 per cent of the total contract price (TCP).
She completed paying all the down payment installments through post-dated checks.

Thereafter, she was issued another schedule of payments for the main monthly amortizations. After paying the due for 30 November 2009, Llamoso went to the condominium on 22 December 2009 to inspect her unit in preparation of her move-in.

She was accompanied by Al-La’s engineer during that inspection. After that, the property officer of the condominium in the name of Susan Dimapilis handed her a copy of house rules.

Upon reading the house rules for the first time, she saw the provision prohibiting entry of pets. She immediately inquired if her pet dog, a Shih Tzu breed, is allowed because it is an extraordinary dog sleeping with her in bed every night.

Dimapilis bluntly told her that dogs are not allowed into the condominium for canines make noise and leave feces on hallways.

She insisted she was not informed about the prohibition when she signed the reservation agreement.
On the same day, Llamoso wrote marketing manager Cesar T. Comia to complain about the prohibition against dogs, stating that if this prohibition stays she wanted her money back with interests. The handwritten note to Comia did not give any answer.

This led Renta Pe & Associates, acting as the legal counsel of Llamoso, to send two letters to Al-La, dated January 15, 2010 and February 23, 2010, reiterating the request to allow her and her dog to occupy the unit and if this request is denied all her payments be refunded.

On March 5, 2008, the counsel of Al-La and Alarilla, Jose T. Capco Jr., of Capco & Campanilla Law Office, countered that Llamoso was in default in the total amount of P148,609.24 and insisted that the prohibition against animals has been included in the Master Deed that is in turn annotated at the back of the Torrens title for the parcels of land where the condominium stands.

Renta Pe and Associates replied that it was capricious and whimsical for Al-La to disregard her rightful claims, stressing that she has been updated in her payments.

“How can I be of default in payment when all my post-dated checks have been with them and they did not deposit the checks scheduled after the said inspection?” Llamoso countered.

The counsel further claimed that the complainant suffered anxieties, sleepless nights, fears and besmirched reputation thinking about the huge amount of money she could not recover despite the fact that this amount is a fortune being an ordinary journalist-employee of GMA 7.

Additionally, the complainant’s heart bled so much for her dog, an extraordinary canine of Shih Tzu breed, one of the most lovable domestic animals.
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