I bought a 5 door apartment in Makati and signed a contract totalling P4.5 million for the renovation and construction in the property. The contract was for 120 days of work only however the work lasted for almost 1 year. As of 75% completion of the work, I have already made full payment of the contract price to the contractor. After 1 month of 95% completion and the recent typhoons, we discovered inferior plumbing and drainage works performed which caused floodings inside the apartment units coming from underground, ceilings and from every part of the structure. Almost the whole project work done was inferior and caused huge damages to the tenants and moral damages for me. Leasees of two units already informed me that they will pre terminate their lease contract because of the flooding from undergound and the leaks.
1. Can this be a case for estafa?
Unless you can prove the elements of estafa like deceit on the part of your contractor, at most the case is breach of contract.
2. Is this a civil case rather than criminal for breach?
The circumstances of your case give rise to a civil suit for breach of contract rather than criminal. Remember that the contract is partly executed and in fact in full completion except that there are provisions of your contract that were not fully adhered to.
3. If the apartment is in Makati and I am a resident of Manila and contractor is Manila resident also, can I file the case in the courts of Manila?
If you intend to file a civil case for breach of contract, this is considered a personal action hence, under the Rules of Court, it should be commenced and tried where the plaintiff or any of the principal plaintiffs reside or where the defendant or any of the principal defendants reside.
The Rules of Court is created for the convenience of the plaintiff. Hence, you can also file the case in the City of Manila being your resident.
4. What are the liabilities of the contractor?
Liabilities are set forth in your contract you entered into with your contractor. While there is a general law that governs the conract, under the principle of autonomy of contract, whatever provisions agreed upon by parties to a contract are the law between them and will govern their relations.
5. What are the remdeies for me especially when the repairs and corrections required are emergency in nature?
Firstly, demand that repairs and corrections be done at the expense of the contractor. If it cannot await reply, you can undertake the same and charge the expenses to the contractor or set off against its receivables.
Please help me.[i]