November 2012 Philippine Supreme Court Decisions on Civil Law

Posted on December 14, 2012 by Rose Marie M. King-Dominguez • Posted in Civil Law, Philippines - Cases, Philippines - Law • Tagged co-ownership, contract, damages, filiation, laches, land registration, lease, marriage, mortgage, sale, succession, will • Here are select November 2012 rulings of the Supreme Court of the Philippines on civil law:

Civil Code

1. Co-ownership; validity of partition contracts. Contrary to the finding of the Court of Appeals, the subdivision agreements forged by Mendoza and her alleged co-owners were not for the partition of pro-indiviso shares of co-owners of Lot 733 but were actually conveyances, disguised as partitions, of portions of Lot 733 specifically Lots 733-A and 733-B, and portions of the subsequent subdivision of Lot 733-C. It cannot be overemphasized enough that the two deeds of absolute sale over portions of substantially the same parcel of land antedated the subdivision agreements in question and their execution acknowledged too before a notary public. Rupeta Cano Vda. De Viray and Jesus Carlo Gerard Viray v. Spouses Jose Usi and Amelita Usi, G.R.No.192486. November 21,2012.  Sales; Art 1544; elements of double sale. A double sale situation, which would call, if necessary, the application of Art. 1544 of the Civil Code, arises when, as jurisprudence teaches, the following requisites concur: (a) The two (or more) sales transactions must constitute valid sales; (b) The two (or more) sales transactions must pertain to exactly the 
same subject matter; (c) The two (or more) buyers at odds over the rightful ownership of 
the subject matter must each represent conflicting interests; and (d) The two (or more) buyers at odds over the rightful ownership of the subject matter must each have bought from the very same 
seller. Rupeta Cano Vda. De Viray and Jesus Carlo Gerard Viray v. Spouses Jose Usi and Amelita Usi, G.R.No.192486. November 21,2012.

2. Constructive delivery; execution of public instrument only prima facie presumption of delivery. Article 1477 of the Civil Code recognizes that the “ownership of the thing sold shall be transferred to the vendee upon the actual or constructive delivery thereof.” Related to this article is Article 1497 which provides that “*t+he thing sold shall be understood as delivered, when it is placed in the control and possession of the vendee.” With respect to incorporeal property, Article 1498 of the Civil Code lays down the general rule: the execution of a public

G. No.instrument “shall be equivalent to the delivery of the thing which is the object of the contract. 183026. Nestor violated the New Civil Code prescriptions concerning the privacy of one’s residence and he cannot hide behind the cloak of his supposed benevolent intentions to justify the invasion. However. November 26. Sr. et al.” However. Vs. Erosto Santiago and Nelsi Santiago v. Nestor reiterates that he did so sans bad faith or malice. G.R. the buyer cannot be said to be in good faith and cannot have any right over the property. Nestor’s surreptitious acts negate his allegation of good faith. November 26. that is not the issue in the case at bar. Filiation. November 12. which is negated by the failure of the vendee to take actual possession of the land sold. Laviña. no constructive delivery of the land transpired upon the execution of the deed of sale since it was not the spouses Villamor. Sps. if from the deed the contrary does not appear or cannot clearly be inferred. the purchaser must be wary and must investigate the rights of the actual possessor.R. The presumption of constructive delivery is inapplicable and must yield to the reality that the petitioners were not placed in possession and control of the land. inviolability of diplomatic residence. Mancer Villamor. A purchaser in good faith is one who buys property without notice that some other person has a right to or interest in such property and pays its fair price before he has notice of the adverse claims and interest of another person in the same property. However. G. Antonio Perla v. 3. No. 4. Padalhin. where the land sold is in the possession of a person other than the vendor.2012. 2012.R. Time and again. without such inquiry. Perla. purchasers in good faith. the award of damages and attorney’s fees in Lavina’s favor is proper. No. Nestor himself admitted that he caused the taking of the pictures of Lavina’s residence without the latter’s knowledge and consent. An order for support may create an unwholesome situation or may be an irritant to the family or the lives of the parties so that it must be issued only if paternity or filiation is established by clear and convincing evidence. As already exhaustively discussed by both the RTC and the CA. 172471. this Court has ruled that a high standard of proof is required to establish paternity and filiation. Damages for violation of right to privacy. then.R. “*A+ person who does not have actual possession of the thing sold cannot transfer constructive possession by the execution and delivery of a public instrument. 168499.” In this case. clear and convincing proof of filiation. the execution of a public instrument gives rise only to a prima facie presumption of delivery.. et al. Sps. November 14. If it were true that Lavina kept ivories in his diplomatic residence. However. but the respondents who had actual possession of the land. Erosto Santiago and Nelsi Santiago v. 168499. . contract of sale.2012  Sales. Hence.2012. Nestor N. support. G.. Mirasol Baring and Randy B. Mancer Villamor. Nelson D. No. et al. his behavior deserves condemnation. entitlement.

giving rise to the situation of which complaint is made for which the complaint seeks a remedy. 5. November 12. To emphasize. Filiation. Just like in a birth certificate.” Antonio Perla v. the lack of participation of the supposed father in the preparation of a baptismal certificate renders this document incompetent to prove paternity. Such acts must be of such a nature that they reveal not only the conviction of paternity. Laches. the complainant having had . the application of laches is addressed to the sound discretion of the court as its application is controlled by equitable considerations. The elements of laches must be proven positively. baptismal certificates are per se inadmissible in evidence as proof of filiation and they cannot be admitted indirectly as circumstantial evidence to prove the same. “*t+he father’s conduct towards his son must be spontaneous and uninterrupted for this ground to exist. by continuous and clear manifestations of parental affection and care. 2012. each case is to be determined according to the particular circumstances. elements. No. Thus. or of one under whom he claims. but continuously.R. G. November 12. it can only serve as evidence of the administration of the sacrament on the date specified but not the veracity of the entries with respect to the child’s paternity. To prove open and continuous possession of the status of an illegitimate child. per se not a competent proof of filiation or circumstantial evidence to prove filiation. open and continuous possession of status. not accidentally.” Here. 172471. G.” Antonio Perla v. Certificate of Live Birth. Mirasol Baring and Randy B. not competent proof of paternity when putative father had no hand in preparation. but also the apparent desire to have and treat the child as such in all relations in society and in life. And “while a baptismal certificate may be considered a public document. Mirasol Baring and Randy B. (2) delay in asserting the complainant’s rights. Laches is evidentiary in nature. The following elements must be present in order to constitute laches: (1) conduct on the part of the defendant. Perla. a fact that cannot be established by mere allegations in the pleadings.  Laches is not concerned only with the mere lapse of time. proof. Perla. Baptismal Certificate. the single instance that Antonio allegedly hugged Randy and promised to support him cannot be considered as proof of continuous possession of the status of a child. 172471.R. Evidence is of utmost importance in establishing the existence of laches because there is no absolute rule as to what constitutes laches or staleness of demand.  Filiation. No. which cannot be attributed to pure charity. there must be evidence of the manifestation of the permanent intention of the supposed father to consider the child as his. 2012. Verily.

157649. 7. No.R. A lease contract is a reciprocal contract. the Resolution explicitly required the OSG to actively participate in all stages of the proceedings. three basic requirements. November 12. petition for nullity of marriage.2012 6. No. the actual medical examination was to be dispensed with only if the totality of evidence presented was enough to support a finding of his psychological incapacity. The aggrieved party is given the option to the aggrieved party to ask for: (1) the rescission of the contract.R. Arabelle Mendoza v. Republic of the Philippines and Dominic Mendoza. No. (BIDECO). AM No. November 12.  Marriage. G. like here. rescission is statutorily recognized in a contract of lease. rescission in reciprocal obligation. 167880 November 14. and (4) injury or prejudice to the defendant in the event the relief is accorded to the complainant. or (3) only indemnification for damages. 2012.” But where. we should emphasize herein. totality of evidence proving incapacity required. gravity and incurability of the alleged . in case one of the obligors should not comply with what is incumbent upon him. the lessor grants possession over his/her property to the lessee for a period of time in exchange for rental payment. Indeed. allowing the contract to remain in force.R. By signing the lease agreement. To entitle petitioner spouse to a declaration of the nullity of his or her marriage. incurable and existing prior to the time of the marriage. Jack Arroyo v.knowledge or notice. Socrates Sy and Cely Sy v. Republic of the Philippines and Dominic Mendoza. psychological incapacity. was the “presence of evidence that can adequately establish the party’s psychological condition. This did not mean that the presentation of any form of medical or psychological evidence to show the psychological incapacity would have automatically ensured the granting of petition for declaration of nullity of marriage. psychological incapacity. 157649. No.  Marriage. Andok’s Litson Corporation. Lease. 2012. Sps. Bocago Inland Dev’t Corp. Article 1191 of the Civil Code provides that the power to rescind obligations is implied in reciprocal ones. 2012. the totality of the evidence must sufficiently prove that respondent spouse’s psychological incapacity was grave. G. Arabelle Mendoza v. The Resolution nowhere stated that appeals by the OSG were no longer required. G. On the contrary. November 21. 02-11-10. of the defendant’s conduct and having been afforded an opportunity to institute a suit. the parties had full opportunity to present the professional and expert opinions of psychiatrists tracing the root cause. (3) lack of knowledge or notice on the part of the defendant that the complaint would assert the right on which he bases his suit. or the suit is not held to be barred. Marriage. (2) rescission and indemnification for damages. What was essential. Even if the expert opinions of psychologists are not conditions sine qua non in the granting of petitions for declaration of nullity of marriage.R. 192108. appearance by the Office of the Solicitor General still required. G.

and is not merely the difficulty. and (c) the inability must be tantamount to a psychological abnormality. the community of life and love. elements. psychological incapacity. 8. severe and incurable presence of psychological incapacity.. 159594. The expert evidence presented in cases of declaration of nullity of marriage based on psychological incapacity presupposes a thorough and in-depth assessment of the parties by the psychologist or expert to make a conclusive diagnosis of a grave. had difficulty in complying with his marital obligations. November 12. G. It consists of: (a) a true inability to commit oneself to the essentials of marriage. refusal. it is essential that he or she must be shown to be incapable of doing so due to some psychological illness. November 12. expert evidence..R. G. 2012. Psychological incapacity under Article 36 of the Family Code contemplates an incapacity or inability to take cognizance of and to assume basic marital obligations. G. Proof of a natal or supervening disabling factor – an adverse integral element in the respondent’s personality structure that effectively incapacitated him from complying with his essential marital obligations – must be shown. psychological incapacity. alleged to be psychologically incapacitated. Court of Appeals and Eduardo de Quintos. 159594. Jr. 2012. as in all other cases they try. the conjugal act. psychological incapacity. (b) the inability must refer to the essential obligations of marriage. It bears repeating that the trial courts. Arabelle Mendoza v. or was unwilling to perform these obligations. thorough and in-depth assessment required. Republic of the Philippines and Dominic Mendoza. Proving that a spouse failed to meet his or her responsibility and duty as a married person is not enough. the rendering of mutual help. then the opinions should be represented and be weighed by the trial courts in order to determine and decide whether or not to declare the nullity of the marriages. No.R. Court of Appeals and Eduardo de Quintos. Republic v. 2012. G. must always base their judgments not solely on the expert opinions presented by the parties but on the totality of evidence adduced in the course of their proceedings. Republic v.  Marriage. No. and the procreation and education of offspring. Court of Appeals and Eduardo de Quintos. Jr. proof of natal or disabling supervening factor required. . Jr.R.  Marriage. 157649. No. November 12.psychological incapacity. No. It is not enough that the respondent. or neglect in the performance of marital obligations or ill will. Marriage. November 12. Republic v.R. 2012. that is.. 159594.

Indeed. et al. however. Arturo Dy. unless a law vests the ownership in some other person. This is in deference to the public interest in upholding the indefeasibility of a certificate of title as evidence of lawful ownership of the land or of any encumbrance thereon. November 14. Property. Thus. accretion. Property. 159594. Article 448 of the Civil Code applies when the builder believes that he is the owner of the land or that by some title he has the right to build thereon. builder in good faith. 2012 10. elements.R. But the Court has declared the existence or absence of the psychological incapacity based strictly on the facts of each case and not on a priori assumptions. The pronouncements in Santos and Molina have remained as the precedential guides in deciding cases grounded on the psychological incapacity of a spouse. the incapacity should be established by the totality of evidence presented during trial. No. he has a claim of title thereto. G. Republic v. The apparent purpose of an ocular inspection is to protect the “true owner” of the property as well as innocent third parties with a right. failing which renders the mortgagees in bad faith. 9. Mortgage. Primarily. G. making it incumbent upon the petitioner to sufficiently prove the existence of the psychological incapacity. 183774.R. builder in good faith. Hence. Court of Appeals and Eduardo de Quintos. or that. not to the riparian owner. By law. landowner’s options. Republic of the Philippines v.. 160453. November 12.R. Arcadio Ivan Santos III and Arcadio Santos. Marriage. The drying up of the river is not accretion. interest or claim thereon from a usurper who may have acquired a fraudulent certificate of title thereto. No. before approving a loan application. Philippine Banking Corporation v. No. Santos and Molina guidelines. G. November 12. the dried-up riverbed belongs to the State as property of public dominion. Jr. In Tuatis. 2012. greater care and due diligence are required since they are imbued with public interest. it bears noting that the doctrine of “mortgagee in good faith” is based on the rule that all persons dealing with property covered by a Torrens Certificate of Title are not required to go beyond what appears on the face of the title. not limited to those claiming ownership over property. accretion – the gradual and imperceptible deposit made through the effects if the current of the water – belongs to the owner if the land adjacent to the banks of rivers where it forms. we ruled that the seller (the owner of the land) has two options under Article 448: (1) he may appropriate the improvements for himself after . predilections or generalizations. 2012 11.. In the case of banks and other financial institutions. Jr. mortgagee in good faith relying on Torrens Certificate of Title. at least. Indefeasibility. psychological incapacity. it is a standard operating practice for these institutions to conduct an ocular inspection of the property offered for mortgage and to verify the genuineness of the title to determine the real owner(s) thereof.

et al. But “for an action to quiet title to prosper. Inc. 2012.” Joaquin G. or (2) he may sell the land to the buyer. claim. Succession. 179754. 14. Quieting of title. November 20.R. November 14. v.R. Stated differently.R. 180076. No. to use.The law is clear that the attestation must state the number of pages used upon which the will is written. 13. November 21. Arsenio (deceased) and Angeles Nanol. The purpose of the law is to safeguard against possible interpolation or omission of one or some of its pages and prevent any increase or decrease in the pages. attestation clause. and even to abuse the property as he deems best. to make the one who has no rights to said immovable respect and not disturb the other. Chung.. 2012. so that he who has the right would see every cloud of doubt over the property dissipated. will. unless its value is considerably more than that of the improvements. et al. Sps. and (2) the deed.. statement of number of pages. et al. The statement in the Acknowledgment portion of the subject last will and testament that it “consists of 7 pages including the page on which the ratification and acknowledgment are written” cannot be deemed substantial compliance. Communities Cagayan. but also for the benefit of both. No. or proceeding claimed to be casting cloud on his title must be shown to be in fact invalid or inoperative despite its prima facie appearance of validity or legal efficacy. and (2) that the deed. not only to place things in their proper place. Vs. Jr. The will actually consists of 8 pages . legal or equitable title in quieting of title. G. and that some deed or proceeding beclouds its validity or efficacy. namely: (1) the plaintiff or complainant has a legal or an equitable title to or interest in the real property subject of the action. Quieting of title. The competent court is tasked to determine the respective rights of the complainant and other claimants. G. substantial compliance only when evidence aliunde is not necessary. The issues in a case for quieting of title are fairly simple. namely: “(1) the plaintiff or complainant has a legal or an equitable title to or interest in the real property subject of the action. 2012 12. encumbrance. An action for quieting of title is essentially a common law remedy grounded on equity. G. Jack Daniel Mondragon. Richard likewise failed in this respect. the plaintiff must show that he has a legal or at least an equitable title over the real property in dispute. 176791. the plaintiff need to prove only two things. While Article 809 allows substantial compliance for defects in the form of the attestation clause.reimbursing the buyer (the builder in good faith) the necessary and useful expenses under Articles 546 and 548 of the Civil Code. et al. claim.” Dionisio Mananquil. v. Roberto Moico. and he could afterwards without fear introduce the improvements he may desire. in which case. the buyer shall pay reasonable rent. two indispensable requisites must concur. No. encumbrance or proceeding claimed to be casting a cloud on his title must be shown to be in fact invalid or inoperative despite its prima facie appearance of validity or legal efficacy. mandatory requirement.

Richard B. et al. 2012. Diana Jeanne Lopez..R. . 189984. G. Lopez v. November 12.including its acknowledgment which discrepancy cannot be explained by mere examination of the will itself but through the presentation of evidence. No.