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In the language of a similar English case, "plaintiff made an offer of his own and he thereby rejected the offer previously made by the defendant. It was not afterward competent for him to revive the proposal of the defendant, by tendering an acceptance of it. As such, the right to hold the defendant to the proposed terms by a word of assent was gone, and after that, the plaintiff could only make an offer in his turn.
In December 1911, a letter containing an offer to plaintiff purchaser Mr. W. Borck, a real estate agent, to purchase the property owned by Mr. Benito Legarda, known as Nagtahan Hacienda, the offer was good for three months. The letter also stated that the property was located in Sampaloc, Manila and the offer was for the price of 307,000 pesos, which was its assessed government valuation. The letter was sent by B. Valdes and there was no dispute In January 1912, plaintiff wrote back stating that he would purchase the property for 307, 000 pesos payable on the first day of May 1912 or before and with delivery of a Torrens title free of all encumbrances as taxes and other debts. However, no answer was given. Hence, plaintiff sent another letter, and before the last letter was written Valdes indicated that he regarded compliance as an open question saying that he wished to communicate with the owner. Subsequently, conveyance was refused. Plaintiff, represented by Beaumont as assignee of Borck, brought an action against the defendant, represented by Prieto et al., as administrators of Legarda et al., for specific performance. The trial court entered judgment in favor of the plaintiff and ordered the defendant to sell the land to the former. Defendant appealed and the decision was reversed finding that defendant was absolved from specific performance to sell land. Plaintiff challenged the decision.
Was there a contract to sell the land?
The court found that plaintiff had not accepted the offer presented by the defendant seller because the former presented a counteroffer when he presented a letter that departed from the terms the seller had originally provided. The court ruled that plaintiff could not later accept the original letter that was presented by the defendant since the right to hold the defendant to the originally proposed terms was gone when plaintiff made the counteroffer. Accordingly, the judgment that found the seller was absolved from specific performance to sell land was affirmed.