Subsequently or on december 5 1988 respondent paid

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Subsequently or on December 5, 1988, respondent paid petitioner a reservation fee of P50,000.00 for the purchase of a 46-square meter condominium unit (Unit 703) valued at P860,922.00. On January 16, 1989, respondent paid 90% of the purchase price in the sum of P729,830.00. Consequently, petitioner, through its President, Mr. Antonio G. Puyat, executed a Contract to Sell in favor of the respondent. The contract expressly states that the subject condominium unit “shall substantially be completed and delivered” to the respondent “within fifteen (15) months” from February 8, 1989 or on May 8, 1990, and that “(S)hould there be no substantial completion and fail(ure) to deliver the unit on the date specified, a penalty of 1% of the total amount paid (by respondent) shall be charged against (petitioner)”. Considering that the stipulated 15-month period was at hand, respondent returned to the Philippines sometime in April, 1990. On October 5, 1990, respondent returned to the Philippines only to find that his condominium unit was still unlivable. Exasperated, he was constrained to send petitioner a letter dated November 21, 1990 demanding payment for the damages he sustained. But petitioner ignored such demand, prompting respondent to file with the Regional Trial Court, Branch 150, Makati City, a complaint against the former for specific performance and damages, docketed as Civil Case No. 90-3440. On December 18, 1992, the trial court rendered a Decision[3] finding the petitioner liable for payment of damages due to the delay in the performance of its obligation to the respondent. The dispositive portion reads: “WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of plaintiff and against defendant, ordering Manila Bankers Life Insurance Corporation to pay plaintiff Eddy Ng Kok Wei the following: 1. One percent (1%) of the total amount plaintiff paid defendant; 2. P100,000.00 as moral damages; 3. P50,000.00 as exemplary damages; 4. P25,000.00 by way of attorney’s fees; and Cost of suit. “SO ORDERED.” On appeal, the Court of Appeals, in a Decision dated March 26, 1999, affirmed in toto the trial court’s award of damages in favor of the respondent. Unsatisfied, petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration but was denied by the Appellate Court in a Resolution dated August 5, 1999. Hence, this petition for review on certiorari. Petitioner contends that the trial court has no jurisdiction over the instant case. On petitioner’s contention that the trial court has no jurisdiction over the instant case, Section 1 (c) of Presidential Decree No. 1344, as amended, provides: “SECTION 1. – In the exercise of its functions to regulate the real estate trade and business and in addition to its powers provided for in Presidential Decree No. 957, the National Housing Authority [now Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB)][4]shall have exclusive jurisdiction to hear and decide cases of the following nature: x x x “C. Cases involving specific performance of contractual and statutory obligations filed by buyers of subdivision lots or condominium units against the owner, developer, dealer, broker or salesman.

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