MOISES JOCSON, petitioner vs. COURT OF APPEALS, AGUSTINA JOCSON-VASQUEZ, ERNESTO VASQUEZ, respondents
Petition for Certiorari to review CA decision [February 16, 1989]
Spouses Emilio Jocson & Alejandra Poblete had 2 children: Moises Jocson & Agustina Jocson-Vasquez. Agustina is married to Ernesto Vasquez. Alejandradied intestate.
April 1, 1972 – Emilio died intestate.
June 20, 1973: Moises filed complaint, assailing validity of 3 documentsexecuted by Emilio during his lifetime. He prays that the following be declarednull & void and that the properties involved be partitioned bet him & his sister:1.Deed of Sale executed July 27, 1968 wherein Emilio sold to Agustina 6parcels of land in Naic, Cavite for P10,000.00. Deed included Emilio’smanifestation that the lands was sold at a low price because it was hisloving, helpful & thoughtful daughter who bought the property. He says hisson possesses such qualities too. He further claims that the sale did notviolate any law & that he did not touch his wife’s properties. Heacknowledged receipt of payment.2.Deed of Sale executed July 27, 1968, selling 2 rice mills & a camalig inNaic, Cavite to Agustina for P5,000.00. Emilio acknowledged receipt too.3.Deed of Extrajudicial Partition & Adjudication w/Sale executed March 9,1969 wherein Emilio & Agustina, excluding Moises, extrajudiciallypartitioned unsettled estate of Alejandra dividing such into 3. Emilio soldhis share to Agustina.
All documents were executed before a notary public. Nos. 1 & 2 were registeredw/the Register of Deeds. Old certificates were cancelled & new certificatesissued in the name of Agustina.
Moises allegations:1.#1 is null & void because his father’s consent was obtained by fraud,deceit, undue pressure, influence & other illegal machinations. He alsoalleges that property was sold for a simulated price considering that hissister had no work or livelihood of her own. Also, he claims that thecontract is fictitious, simulated & fabricated.2.Same allegations re #2 & #3 with additional allegation that he wasdeliberately excluded & they intended to defraud him of his legitimateshare. He also claims that defendants were employed in their parents’ business & they must have used business earnings or simulatedconsideration in order to purchase the properties.3.No real sale between dad & daughter living under same roof.4.Dad didn’t need money since sold properties were all income-producitng.5.#1 & #2 are unliquidated conjugal properties that Emilio can’t validly sell.6.#3: he only questions sale of dad’s share to sister but not extrajudicialpartition.
RTC: decided in favor of petitioner. Documents were simulated & fictitiousbecause: 1) no proof that Agustina did pay for the properties, 2) prices weregrossly inadequate tantamount to lack of consideration at all, 3) improbabilityof sale considering circumstances. Designed to exclude Moises.
Declared #1 & #2 properties as conjugal by virtue of registration papers w/cdeclared: “Emilio Jocson, married to Alejandra Poblete.”
Orderedregistration of prop to 2 children.
CA: reversed. Nos. 1 & 2 barred by prescription because annulment of contractbased on fraud must be filed 4 yrs from discovery of such w/c begins on thedate of the registration w/the Register of Deeds. All documents actually & intended to be binding & effective against Emilio. Proof of such: issuance of newtitles. Partition w/sale in #3 is valid since it was done in accordance w/New CCArt. 996 on intestate succession & Moises’ 1/3 has not been prejudiced.
ISSUES & RATIO:1. WON suit is solely based on fraud and as such is barred by prescription
NO. Contract tainted by vitiated consent such as when consent’s obtained by fraudis voidable (CC Art. 1330) & action for annulment must be filed w/in 4 yrs from timeof discovery of fraud (CC Art. 1391 par.4). Discovery means the time when contractwas registered w/Register of Deeds (Gerona vs. De Guzman).If this was the only consideration, then it is barred by prescription. But he furtherassailed that sale was w/o consideration since amount paid were merely simulated.Contracts w/o cause or consideration produce no effect whatsoever (CC Art. 1352).A sale w/simulated price is void (CC Art. 1471 & 1409) and action for declarationof its nullity does not prescribe (CC Art. 1410).
2. WON sales were w/o consideration.
NO. Since Moises alleges such, it is incumbent upon him to prove his allegations,especially since documents show that his dad (vendor) acknowledged receipt of price & they are notarized. He failed to do so and thus he was not able to overcomethe presumption that a contract is with consideration (CC Art. 1354). Even his ownwitness contradicted his claim that his sister & her husband had no source of income. Witness Bagnas said that Agustina & Ernesto were into buy & sell of palay & rice. Even he himself said that he didn’t know if his sister had other businesses.Agustina testified that she was into buy & sell even prior to her marriage.
3. WON prices were simulated
NO. No proof of inadequacy of price. In fact, purchase price was higher thanassessed value (#1: P10k vs. P8920.00, #2 P5k vs. P3,500, and #3 P8k vs.P24,840.00). Besides difference bet market value & purchase price isunderstandable considering father’s filial love for his daughter. Gross inadequacy of price alone does not affect the contract except perhaps an indication of defect inconsent (CC Art. 1470). No proof of defective consent.
4. WON sale is improbable.
NO. Improbability of sale is purely speculative. Not relevant considering that allessential requirements for contract are clearly present: consent, object & cause.
5. WON properties in #1 & #2 were conjugal properties of Emilio & wife.
NO. CC Art. 160 provides that all property of marriage is presumed to belong to CPunless proven otherwise. Condition sine qua non (main thing) would be for partywho invokes this to prove that properties were indeed acquired during the marriage(Cobb-Perez vs. Lantin). Thus, Moises has to present proof that properties inquestion were indeed obtained during the marriage of their parents before he caninvoke the presumption. However, titles used by RTC in declaring properties as CP(see RTC decision in bold letters) are insufficient proof. Doesn’t say when propertieswere obtained. Acquisition of title (actual owning of land) is different fromregistration. Possible that Emilio acquired properties when he was still a bachelor & only registered such after marriage. “Married to” phrase is a mere description of Emilio’s civil status at the time of registration (Litam v Rivera). It should be interpreted as Emilo is the owner,property registered in his name alone & that he is married. Consistent w/principlethat registration of property in name of only one spouse doesn’t negate possibility of it being conjugal (Bucoy vs. Paulino). Both require sufficient, clear & convincing