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THE ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF MANILA, THE ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF IMUS, and the SPOUSES FLORENCIO IGNAO

and SOLEDAD C. IGNAO, petitioners, vs. HON. COURT OF APPEALS, THE ESTATE OF DECEASED SPOUSES EUSEBIO DE CASTRO and MARTINA RIETA, represented by MARINA RIETA GRANADOS and THERESA RIETA TOLENTINO, respondents. G.R. No. 77450 June 19, 1991 THE ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF MANILA, THE ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF IMUS, and the SPOUSES FLORENCIO IGNAO and SOLEDAD C. IGNAO, petitioners, vs. HON. COURT OF APPEALS, THE ESTATE OF DECEASED SPOUSES EUSEBIO DE CASTRO and MARTINA RIETA, represented by MARINA RIETA GRANADOS and THERESA RIETA TOLENTINO, respondents. Severino C. Dominguez for petitioner Roman Catholic Bishop of Imus, Cavite. Dolorfino and Dominguez Law Offices for Sps. Ignao. Joselito R. Enriquez for private respondents.

violation of such condition would render ipso facto null and void the deed of donation and the property would revert to the estate of the donors. It is further alleged that on or about June 30, 1980, and while still within the prohibitive period to dispose of the property, petitioner Roman Catholic Bishop of Imus, in whose administration all properties within the province of Cavite owned by the Archdiocese of Manila was allegedly transferred on April 26, 1962, executed a deed of absolute sale of the property subject of the donation in favor of petitioners Florencio and Soledad C. Ignao in consideration of the sum of P114,000. 00. As a consequence of the sale, Transfer Certificate of Title No. 115990 was issued by the Register of Deeds of Cavite on November 15, 1980 in the name of said petitioner spouses. What transpired thereafter is narrated by respondent court in its assailed decision. 4 On December 17, 1984, petitioners Florencio Ignao and Soledad C. Ignao filed a motion to dismiss based on the grounds that (1) herein private respondents, as plaintiffs therein, have no legal capacity to sue; and (2) the complaint states no cause of action. On December 19, 1984, petitioner Roman Catholic Bishop of Imus also filed a motion to dismiss on three (3) grounds, the first two (2) grounds of which were identical to that of the motion to dismiss filed by the Ignao spouses, and the third ground being that the cause of action has prescribed. On January 9, 1985, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Manila likewise filed a motion to dismiss on the ground that he is not a real party in interest and, therefore, the complaint does not state a cause of action against him. After private respondents had filed their oppositions to the said motions to dismiss and the petitioners had countered with their respective replies, with rejoinders thereto by private respondents, the trial court issued an order dated January 31, 1985, dismissing the complaint on the ground that the cause of action has prescribed. 5 Private respondents thereafter appealed to the Court of Appeals raising the issues on (a) whether or not the action for rescission of contracts (deed of donation and deed of sale) has prescribed; and (b) whether or not the dismissal of the action for rescission of contracts (deed of donation and deed of sale) on the ground of prescription carries with it the dismissal of the main action for reconveyance of real property. 6 On December 23, 1986, respondent Court of Appeals, holding that the action has not yet prescibed, rendered a decision in favor of private respondents, with the following dispositive portion: WHEREFORE, the Order of January 31, 1985 dismissing appellants' complaint is SET ASIDE and Civil Case No. 095-84 is hereby ordered REINSTATED and REMANDED to the lower court for further proceedings. No Costs. 7 Petitioners Ignao and the Roman Catholic Bishop of Imus then filed their separate motions for reconsideration which were denied by respondent Court of Appeals in its resolution dated February 6, 1987, 8 hence, the filing of these appeals by certiorari.

REGALADO, J.:p These two petitions for review on certiorari 1 seek to overturn the decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 05456 2 which reversed and set aside the order of the Regional Trial Court of Imus, Cavite dismissing Civil Case No. 095-84, as well as the order of said respondent court denying petitioner's motions for the reconsideration of its aforesaid decision. On November 29, 1984, private respondents as plaintiffs, filed a complaint for nullification of deed of donation, rescission of contract and reconveyance of real property with damages against petitioners Florencio and Soledad C. Ignao and the Roman Catholic Bishop of Imus, Cavite, together with the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Manila, before the Regional Trial Court, Branch XX, Imus, Cavite and which was docketed as Civil Case No. 095-84 therein. 3 In their complaint, private respondents alleged that on August 23, 1930, the spouses Eusebio de Castro and Martina Rieta, now both deceased, executed a deed of donation in favor of therein defendant Roman Catholic Archbishop of Manila covering a parcel of land (Lot No. 626, Cadastral Survey of Kawit), located at Kawit, Cavite, containing an area of 964 square meters, more or less. The deed of donation allegedly provides that the donee shall not dispose or sell the property within a period of one hundred (100) years from the execution of the deed of donation, otherwise a

It is the contention of petitioners that the cause of action of herein private respondents has already prescribed, invoking Article 764 of the Civil Code which provides that "(t)he donation shall be revoked at the instance of the donor, when the donee fails to comply with any of the conditions which the former imposed upon the latter," and that "(t)his action shall prescribe after four years from the non-compliance with the condition, may be transmitted to the heirs of the donor, and may be exercised against the donee's heirs. We do not agree. Although it is true that under Article 764 of the Civil Code an action for the revocation of a donation must be brought within four (4) years from the non-compliance of the conditions of the donation, the same is not applicable in the case at bar. The deed of donation involved herein expressly provides for automatic reversion of the property donated in case of violation of the condition therein, hence a judicial declaration revoking the same is not necessary, As aptly stated by the Court of Appeals: By the very express provision in the deed of donation itself that the violation of the condition thereof would render ipso facto null and void the deed of donation, WE are of the opinion that there would be no legal necessity anymore to have the donation judicially declared null and void for the reason that the very deed of donation itself declares it so. For where (sic) it otherwise and that the donors and the donee contemplated a court action during the execution of the deed of donation to have the donation judicially rescinded or declared null and void should the condition be violated, then the phrase reading "would render ipso facto null and void"would not appear in the deed of donation. 9 In support of its aforesaid position, respondent court relied on the rule that a judicial action for rescission of a contract is not necessary where the contract provides that it may be revoked and cancelled for violation of any of its terms and conditions. 10 It called attention to the holding that there is nothing in the law that prohibits the parties from entering into an agreement that a violation of the terms of the contract would cause its cancellation even without court intervention, and that it is not always necessary for the injured party to resort to court for rescission of the contract. 11 It reiterated the doctrine that a judicial action is proper only when there is absence of a special provision granting the power of cancellation. 12 It is true that the aforesaid rules were applied to the contracts involved therein, but we see no reason why the same should not apply to the donation in the present case. Article 732 of the Civil Code provides that donationsinter vivos shall be governed by the general provisions on contracts and obligations in all that is not determined in Title III, Book III on donations. Now, said Title III does not have an explicit provision on the matter of a donation with a resolutory condition and which is subject to an express provision that the same shall be considered ipso factorevoked upon the breach of said resolutory condition imposed in the deed therefor, as is the case of the deed presently in question. The suppletory application of the foregoing doctrinal rulings to the present controversy is consequently justified. The validity of such a stipulation in the deed of donation providing for the automatic reversion of the donated property to the donor upon non-compliance of the condition was upheld in the recent

case of De Luna, et al. vs.Abrigo, et al. 13 It was held therein that said stipulation is in the nature of an agreement granting a party the right to rescind a contract unilaterally in case of breach, without need of going to court, and that, upon the happening of the resolutory condition or non-compliance with the conditions of the contract, the donation is automatically revoked without need of a judicial declaration to that effect. While what was the subject of that case was an onerous donation which, under Article 733 of the Civil Code is governed by the rules on contracts, since the donation in the case at bar is also subject to the same rules because of its provision on automatic revocation upon the violation of a resolutory condition, from parity of reasons said pronouncements in De Luna pertinently apply. The rationale for the foregoing is that in contracts providing for automatic revocation, judicial intervention is necessary not for purposes of obtaining a judicial declaration rescinding a contract already deemed rescinded by virtue of an agreement providing for rescission even without judicial intervention, but in order to determine whether or not the rescission was proper. 14 When a deed of donation, as in this case, expressly provides for automatic revocation and reversion of the property donated, the rules on contract and the general rules on prescription should apply, and not Article 764 of the Civil Code. Since Article 1306 of said Code authorizes the parties to a contract to establish such stipulations, clauses, terms and conditions not contrary to law, morals, good customs, public order or public policy, we are of the opinion that, at the very least, that stipulation of the parties providing for automatic revocation of the deed of donation, without prior judicial action for that purpose, is valid subject to the determination of the propriety of the rescission sought. Where such propriety is sustained, the decision of the court will be merely declaratory of the revocation, but it is not in itself the revocatory act. On the foregoing ratiocinations, the Court of Appeals committed no error in holding that the cause of action of herein private respondents has not yet prescribed since an action to enforce a written contract prescribes in ten (10) years. 15 It is our view that Article 764 was intended to provide a judicial remedy in case of non-fulfillment or contravention of conditions specified in the deed of donation if and when the parties have not agreed on the automatic revocation of such donation upon the occurrence of the contingency contemplated therein. That is not the situation in the case at bar. Nonetheless, we find that although the action filed by private respondents may not be dismissed by reason of prescription, the same should be dismissed on the ground that private respondents have no cause of action against petitioners. The cause of action of private respondents is based on the alleged breach by petitioners of the resolutory condition in the deed of donation that the property donated should not be sold within a period of one hundred (100) years from the date of execution of the deed of donation. Said condition, in our opinion, constitutes an undue restriction on the rights arising from ownership of petitioners and is, therefore, contrary to public policy. Donation, as a mode of acquiring ownership, results in an effective transfer of title over the property from the donor to the donee. Once a donation is accepted, the donee becomes the absolute owner of the property donated. Although the donor may impose certain conditions in the deed of donation, the same must not be contrary to law, morals, good customs, public order and public policy. The

condition imposed in the deed of donation in the case before us constitutes a patently unreasonable and undue restriction on the right of the donee to dispose of the property donated, which right is an indispensable attribute of ownership. Such a prohibition against alienation, in order to be valid, must not be perpetual or for an unreasonable period of time. Certain provisions of the Civil Code illustrative of the aforesaid policy may be considered applicable by analogy. Under the third paragraph of Article 494, a donor or testator may prohibit partition for a period which shall not exceed twenty (20) years. Article 870, on its part, declares that the dispositions of the testator declaring all or part of the estate inalienable for more than twenty (20) years are void. It is significant that the provisions therein regarding a testator also necessarily involve, in the main, the devolution of property by gratuitous title hence, as is generally the case of donations, being an act of liberality, the imposition of an unreasonable period of prohibition to alienate the property should be deemed anathema to the basic and actual intent of either the donor or testator. For that reason, the regulatory arm of the law is or must be interposed to prevent an unreasonable departure from the normative policy expressed in the aforesaid Articles 494 and 870 of the Code. In the case at bar, we hold that the prohibition in the deed of donation against the alienation of the property for an entire century, being an unreasonable emasculation and denial of an integral attribute of ownership, should be declared as an illegal or impossible condition within the contemplation of Article 727 of the Civil Code. Consequently, as specifically stated in said statutory provision, such condition shall be considered as not imposed. No reliance may accordingly be placed on said prohibitory paragraph in the deed of donation. The net result is that, absent said proscription, the deed of sale supposedly constitutive of the cause of action for the nullification of the deed of donation is not in truth violative of the latter hence, for lack of cause of action, the case for private respondents must fail. It may be argued that the validity of such prohibitory provision in the deed of donation was not specifically put in issue in the pleadings of the parties. That may be true, but such oversight or inaction does not prevent this Court from passing upon and resolving the same. It will readily be noted that the provision in the deed of donation against alienation of the land for one hundred (100) years was the very basis for the action to nullify the deed of d donation. At the same time, it was likewise the controverted fundament of the motion to dismiss the case a quo, which motion was sustained by the trial court and set aside by respondent court, both on the issue of prescription. That ruling of respondent court interpreting said provision was assigned as an error in the present petition. While the issue of the validity of the same provision was not squarely raised, it is ineluctably related to petitioner's aforesaid assignment of error since both issues are grounded on and refer to the very same provision. This Court is clothed with ample authority to review matters, even if they are not assigned as errors on appeal, if it finds that their consideration is necessary in arriving at a just decision of the case: 16 Thus, we have held that an unassigned error closely related to an error properly assigned, 17 or upon which the determination of the question properly assigned is dependent, will be considered by the appellate court notwithstanding the failure to assign it as error. 18

Additionally, we have laid down the rule that the remand of the case to the lower court for further reception of evidence is not necessary where the Court is in a position to resolve the dispute based on the records before it. On many occasions, the Court, in the public interest and for the expeditious administration of justice, has resolved actions on the merits instead of remanding them to the trial court for further proceedings, such as where the ends of justice, would not be subserved by the remand of the case. 19 The aforestated considerations obtain in and apply to the present case with respect to the matter of the validity of the resolutory condition in question. WHEREFORE, the judgment of respondent court is SET ASIDE and another judgment is hereby rendered DISMISSING Civil Case No. 095-84 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch XX, Imus, Cavite. SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. L-69970 November 28, 1988 FELIX DANGUILAN, petitioner, vs. INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT, APOLONIA MELAD, assisted by her husband, JOSE TAGACAY,respondents. Pedro R. Perez, Jr. for petitioner. Teodoro B. Mallonga for private respondent.

Isidra and had remained in possession thereof after Domingo Melad's death in 1945. Two of said witnesses declared that neither the plaintiff nor her mother lived in the land with Domingo Melad. 8 The decision of the trial court was based mainly on the issue of possession. Weighing the evidence presented by the parties, the judge 9 held that the defendant was more believable and that the plaintiff's evidence was "unpersuasive and unconvincing." It was held that the plaintiff's own declaration that she moved out of the property in 1946 and left it in the possession of the defendant was contradictory to her claim of ownership. She was also inconsistent when she testified first that the defendant was her tenant and later in rebuttal that he was her administrator. The decision concluded that where there was doubt as to the ownership of the property, the presumption was in favor of the one actually occupying the same, which in this case was the defendant. 10 The review by the respondent court 11 of this decision was manifestly less than thorough. For the most part it merely affirmed the factual findings of the trial court except for an irrelevant modification, and it was only toward the end that it went to and resolved what it considered the lone decisive issue. The respondent court held that Exhibits 2-b and 3-a, by virtue of which Domingo Melad had conveyed the two parcels of land to the petitioner, were null and void. The reason was that they were donations of real property and as such should have been effected through a public instrument. It then set aside the appealed decision and declared the respondents the true and lawful owners of the disputed property. The said exhibits read as follows: EXHIBIT 2-b is quoted as follows: 12 I, DOMINGO MELAD, of legal age, married, do hereby declare in this receipt the truth of my giving to Felix Danguilan, my agricultural land located at Barrio Fugu-Macusi, Penablanca, Province of Cagayan, Philippine Islands; that this land is registered under my name; that I hereby declare and bind myself that there is no one to whom I will deliver this land except to him as he will be the one responsible for me in the event that I will die and also for all other things needed and necessary for me, he will be responsible because of this land I am giving to him; that it is true that I have nieces and nephews but they are not living with us and there is no one to whom I will give my land except to Felix Danguilan for he lives with me and this is the length 175 m. and the width is 150 m. IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I hereby sign my name below and also those present in the execution of this receipt this 14th day of September 1941. Penablanca Cagayan, September 14, 1941. (SGD.) DOMINGO MELAD WITNESSES: 1. (T.M.) ISIDRO MELAD

CRUZ, J.: The subject of this dispute is the two lots owned by Domingo Melad which is claimed by both the petitioner and the respondent. The trial court believed the petitioner but the respondent court, on appeal, upheld the respondent. The case is now before us for a resolution of the issues once and for all. On January 29, 1962, the respondent filed a complaint against the petitioner in the then Court of First Instance of Cagayan for recovery of a farm lot and a residential lot which she claimed she had purchased from Domingo Melad in 1943 and were now being unlawfully withheld by the defendant. 1 In his answer, the petitioner denied the allegation and averred that he was the owner of the said lots of which he had been in open, continuous and adverse possession, having acquired them from Domingo Melad in 1941 and 1943. 2 The case was dismissed for failure to prosecute but was refiled in 1967. 3 At the trial, the plaintiff presented a deed of sale dated December 4, 1943, purportedly signed by Domingo Melad and duly notarized, which conveyed the said properties to her for the sum of P80.00. 4 She said the amount was earned by her mother as a worker at the Tabacalera factory. She claimed to be the illegitimate daughter of Domingo Melad, with whom she and her mother were living when he died in 1945. She moved out of the farm only when in 1946 Felix Danguilan approached her and asked permission to cultivate the land and to stay therein. She had agreed on condition that he would deliver part of the harvest from the farm to her, which he did from that year to 1958. The deliveries having stopped, she then consulted the municipal judge who advised her to file the complaint against Danguilan. The plaintiff 's mother, her only other witness, corroborated this testimony. 5 For his part, the defendant testified that he was the husband of Isidra Melad, Domingo's niece, whom he and his wife Juana Malupang had taken into their home as their ward as they had no children of their own. He and his wife lived with the couple in their house on the residential lot and helped Domingo with the cultivation of the farm. Domingo Melad signed in 1941 a private instrument in which he gave the defendant the farm and in 1943 another private instrument in which he also gave him the residential lot, on the understanding that the latter would take care of the grantor and would bury him upon his death. 6 Danguilan presented three other witnesses 7 to corroborate his statements and to prove that he had been living in the land since his marriage to

2. (SGD.) FELIX DANGUILAN 3. (T.M.) ILLEGIBLE EXHIBIT 3-a is quoted as follows: 13 I, DOMINGO MELAD, a resident of Centro, Penablanca, Province of Cagayan, do hereby swear and declare the truth that I have delivered my residential lot at Centro, Penablanca, Cagayan, to Felix Danguilan, my son-inlaw because I have no child; that I have thought of giving him my land because he will be the one to take care of SHELTERING me or bury me when I die and this is why I have thought of executing this document; that the boundaries of this lot ison the east, Cresencio Danguilan; on the north, Arellano Street; on the south by Pastor Lagundi and on the west, Pablo Pelagio and the area of this lot is 35 meters going south; width and length beginning west to east is 40 meters. IN WITNESS HEREOF, I hereby sign this receipt this 18th day of December 1943. (SGD.) DOMINGO MELAD WITNESSES: (SGD.) (SGD.) DANIEL ARAO ILLEGIBLE

through a public instrument and not mere private writings. However, no evidence has been adduced to support her contention that the values exchanged were disproportionate or unequal. On the other hand, both the trial court and the respondent court have affirmed the factual allegation that the petitioner did take care of Domingo Melad and later arranged for his burial in accordance with the condition imposed by the donor. It is alleged and not denied that he died when he was almost one hundred years old, 15which would mean that the petitioner farmed the land practically by himself and so provided for the donee (and his wife) during the latter part of Domingo Melad's life. We may assume that there was a fair exchange between the donor and the donee that made the transaction an onerous donation. Regarding the private respondent's claim that she had purchased the properties by virtue of a deed of sale, the respondent court had only the following to say: "Exhibit 'E' taken together with the documentary and oral evidence shows that the preponderance of evidence is in favor of the appellants." This was, we think, a rather superficial way of resolving such a basic and important issue. The deed of sale was allegedly executed when the respondent was only three years old and the consideration was supposedly paid by her mother, Maria Yedan from her earnings as a wage worker in a factory. 16 This was itself a suspicious circumstance, one may well wonder why the transfer was not made to the mother herself, who was after all the one paying for the lands. The sale was made out in favor of Apolonia Melad although she had been using the surname Yedan her mother's surname, before that instrument was signed and in fact even after she got married. 17 The averment was also made that the contract was simulated and prepared after Domingo Melad's death in 1945. 18 It was also alleged that even after the supposed execution of the said contract, the respondent considered Domingo Melad the owner of the properties and that she had never occupied the same. 19 Considering these serious challenges, the appellate court could have devoted a little more time to examining Exhibit "E" and the circumstances surrounding its execution before pronouncing its validity in the manner described above. While it is true that the due execution of a public instrument is presumed, the presumption is disputable and will yield to contradictory evidence, which in this case was not refuted. At any rate, even assuming the validity of the deed of sale, the record shows that the private respondent did not take possession of the disputed properties and indeed waited until 1962 to file this action for recovery of the lands from the petitioner. If she did have possession, she transferred the same to the petitioner in 1946, by her own sworn admission, and moved out to another lot belonging to her step-brother. 20 Her claim that the petitioner was her tenant (later changed to administrator) was disbelieved by the trial court, and properly so, for its inconsistency. In short, she failed to show that she consummated the contract of sale by actual delivery of the properties to her and her actual possession thereof in concept of purchaser-owner. As was held in Garchitorena v. Almeda: 21 Since in this jurisdiction it is a fundamental and elementary principle that ownership does not pass by mere stipulation but only by delivery (Civil Code, Art. 1095; Fidelity and Surety Co. v. Wilson, 8 Phil. 51), and the execution of a public document does not constitute sufficient delivery where the property

It is our view, considering the language of the two instruments, that Domingo Melad did intend to donate the properties to the petitioner, as the private respondent contends. We do not think, however, that the donee was moved by pure liberality. While truly donations, the conveyances were onerous donations as the properties were given to the petitioner in exchange for his obligation to take care of the donee for the rest of his life and provide for his burial. Hence, it was not covered by the rule in Article 749 of the Civil Code requiring donations of real properties to be effected through a public instrument. The case at bar comes squarely under the doctrine laid down in Manalo v. De Mesa, 14 where the Court held: There can be no doubt that the donation in question was made for a valuable consideration, since the donors made it conditional upon the donees' bearing the expenses that might be occasioned by the death and burial of the donor Placida Manalo, a condition and obligation which the donee Gregorio de Mesa carried out in his own behalf and for his wife Leoncia Manalo; therefore, in order to determine whether or not said donation is valid and effective it should be sufficient to demonstrate that, as a contract, it embraces the conditions the law requires and is valid and effective, although not recorded in a public instrument. The private respondent argues that as there was no equivalence between the value of the lands donated and the services for which they were being exchanged, the two transactions should be considered pure or gratuitous donations of real rights, hence, they should have been effected

involved is in the actual and adverse possession of third persons (Addison vs. Felix, 38 Phil. 404; Masallo vs. Cesar, 39 Phil. 134), it becomes incontestable that even if included in the contract, the ownership of the property in dispute did not pass thereby to Mariano Garchitorena. Not having become the owner for lack of delivery, Mariano Garchitorena cannot presume to recover the property from its present possessors. His action, therefore, is not one of revindicacion, but one against his vendor for specific performance of the sale to him. In the aforecited case of Fidelity and Deposit Co. v. Wilson, 22 Justice Mapa declared for the Court: Therefore, in our Civil Code it is a fundamental principle in all matters of contracts and a well- known doctrine of law that "non mudis pactis sed traditione dominia rerum transferuntur". In conformity with said doctrine as established in paragraph 2 of article 609 of said code, that "the ownership and other property rights are acquired and transmitted by law, by gift, by testate or intestate succession, and, in consequence of certain contracts, by tradition". And as the logical application of this disposition article 1095 prescribes the following: "A creditor has the rights to the fruits of a thing from the time the obligation to deliver it arises. However, he shall not acquire a real right" (and the ownership is surely such) "until the property has been delivered to him." In accordance with such disposition and provisions the delivery of a thing constitutes a necessary and indispensable requisite for the purpose of acquiring the ownership of the same by virtue of a contract. As Manresa states in his Commentaries on the Civil Code, volume 10, pages 339 and 340: "Our law does not admit the doctrine of the transfer of property by mere consent but limits the effect of the agreement to the due execution of the contract. ... The ownership, the property right, is only derived from the delivery of a thing ... " As for the argument that symbolic delivery was effected through the deed of sale, which was a public instrument, the Court has held: The Code imposes upon the vendor the obligation to deliver the thing sold. The thing is considered to be delivered when it is placed "in the hands and possession of the vendee." (Civil Code, art. 1462). It is true that the same article declares that the execution of a public instrument is equivalent to the delivery of the thing which is the object of the contract, but, in order that this symbolic delivery may produce the effect of tradition, it is necessary that the vendor shall have had such control over the thing sold that, at the moment of the sale, its material delivery could have been made. It is not enough to confer upon the purchaser the ownership and theright of possession. The thing sold must be placed in his control. When there is no impediment whatever to prevent the thing sold passing into the tenancy of the purchaser by the sole will of the vendor, symbolic delivery through the execution of a public instrument is sufficient. But if, notwithstanding the execution of the instrument, the purchaser cannot have the enjoyment and material tenancy of the thing and make use of it himself or through another in his name, because such tenancy and enjoyment are opposed by the interposition of another will, then fiction yields to realitythe delivery has not been effected. 23

There is no dispute that it is the petitioner and not the private respondent who is in actual possession of the litigated properties. Even if the respective claims of the parties were both to be discarded as being inherently weak, the decision should still incline in favor of the petitioner pursuant to the doctrine announced in Santos & Espinosa v. Estejada 24 where the Court announced: If the claim of both the plaintiff and the defendant are weak, judgment must be for the defendant, for the latter being in possession is presumed to be the owner, and cannot be obliged to show or prove a better right. WHEREFORE, the decision of the respondent court is SET ASIDE and that of the trial court REINSTATED, with costs against the private respondent. It is so ordered. Narvasa (Chairman), Gancayco, Grio-Aquino and Medialdea, JJ., concur.

G.R. No. 112127 July 17, 1995 CENTRAL PHILIPPINE UNIVERSITY, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS, REMEDIOS FRANCO, FRANCISCO N. LOPEZ, CECILIA P. VDA. DE LOPEZ, REDAN LOPEZ AND REMARENE LOPEZ, respondents.

On 31 May 1991, the trial court held that petitioner failed to comply with the conditions of the donation and declared it null and void. The court a quo further directed petitioner to execute a deed of the reconveyance of the property in favor of the heirs of the donor, namely, private respondents herein. Petitioner appealed to the Court of Appeals which on 18 June 1993 ruled that the annotations at the back of petitioner's certificate of title were resolutory conditions breach of which should terminate the rights of the donee thus making the donation revocable. The appellate court also found that while the first condition mandated petitioner to utilize the donated property for the establishment of a medical school, the donor did not fix a period within which the condition must be fulfilled, hence, until a period was fixed for the fulfillment of the condition, petitioner could not be considered as having failed to comply with its part of the bargain. Thus, the appellate court rendered its decision reversing the appealed decision and remanding the case to the court of origin for the determination of the time within which petitioner should comply with the first condition annotated in the certificate of title. Petitioner now alleges that the Court of Appeals erred: (a) in holding that the quoted annotations in the certificate of title of petitioner are onerous obligations and resolutory conditions of the donation which must be fulfilled non-compliance of which would render the donation revocable; (b) in holding that the issue of prescription does not deserve "disquisition;" and, (c) in remanding the case to the trial court for the fixing of the period within which petitioner would establish a medical college. 2 We find it difficult to sustain the petition. A clear perusal of the conditions set forth in the deed of donation executed by Don Ramon Lopez, Sr., gives us no alternative but to conclude that his donation was onerous, one executed for a valuable consideration which is considered the equivalent of the donation itself, e.g., when a donation imposes a burden equivalent to the value of the donation. A gift of land to the City of Manila requiring the latter to erect schools, construct a children's playground and open streets on the land was considered an onerous donation. 3 Similarly, where Don Ramon Lopez donated the subject parcel of land to petitioner but imposed an obligation upon the latter to establish a medical college thereon, the donation must be for an onerous consideration. Under Art. 1181 of the Civil Code, on conditional obligations, the acquisition of rights, as well as the extinguishment or loss of those already acquired, shall depend upon the happening of the event which constitutes the condition. Thus, when a person donates land to another on the condition that the latter would build upon the land a school, the condition imposed was not a condition precedent or a suspensive condition but a resolutory one. 4 It is not correct to say that the schoolhouse had to be constructed before the donation became effective, that is, before the donee could become the owner of the land, otherwise, it would be invading the property rights of the donor. The donation had to be valid before the fulfillment of the condition. 5 If there was no fulfillment or compliance with the condition, such as what obtains in the instant case, the donation may now be revoked and all rights which the donee may have acquired under it shall be deemed lost and extinguished. The claim of petitioner that prescription bars the instant action of private respondents is unavailing.

BELLOSILLO, J.: CENTRAL PHILIPPINE UNIVERSITY filed this petition for review on certiorari of the decision of the Court of Appeals which reversed that of the Regional Trial Court of Iloilo City directing petitioner to reconvey to private respondents the property donated to it by their predecessor-ininterest. Sometime in 1939, the late Don Ramon Lopez, Sr., who was then a member of the Board of Trustees of the Central Philippine College (now Central Philippine University [CPU]), executed a deed of donation in favor of the latter of a parcel of land identified as Lot No. 3174-B-1 of the subdivision plan Psd-1144, then a portion of Lot No. 3174-B, for which Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-3910-A was issued in the name of the donee CPU with the following annotations copied from the deed of donation 1. The land described shall be utilized by the CPU exclusively for the establishment and use of a medical college with all its buildings as part of the curriculum; 2. The said college shall not sell, transfer or convey to any third party nor in any way encumber said land; 3. The said land shall be called "RAMON LOPEZ CAMPUS", and the said college shall be under obligation to erect a cornerstone bearing that name. Any net income from the land or any of its parks shall be put in a fund to be known as the "RAMON LOPEZ CAMPUS FUND" to be used for improvements of said campus and erection of a building thereon. 1 On 31 May 1989, private respondents, who are the heirs of Don Ramon Lopez, Sr., filed an action for annulment of donation, reconveyance and damages against CPU alleging that since 1939 up to the time the action was filed the latter had not complied with the conditions of the donation. Private respondents also argued that petitioner had in fact negotiated with the National Housing Authority (NHA) to exchange the donated property with another land owned by the latter. In its answer petitioner alleged that the right of private respondents to file the action had prescribed; that it did not violate any of the conditions in the deed of donation because it never used the donated property for any other purpose than that for which it was intended; and, that it did not sell, transfer or convey it to any third party.

The condition imposed by the donor, i.e., the building of a medical school upon the land donated, depended upon the exclusive will of the donee as to when this condition shall be fulfilled. When petitioner accepted the donation, it bound itself to comply with the condition thereof. Since the time within which the condition should be fulfilled depended upon the exclusive will of the petitioner, it has been held that its absolute acceptance and the acknowledgment of its obligation provided in the deed of donation were sufficient to prevent the statute of limitations from barring the action of private respondents upon the original contract which was the deed of donation. 6 Moreover, the time from which the cause of action accrued for the revocation of the donation and recovery of the property donated cannot be specifically determined in the instant case. A cause of action arises when that which should have been done is not done, or that which should not have been done is done. 7 In cases where there is no special provision for such computation, recourse must be had to the rule that the period must be counted from the day on which the corresponding action could have been instituted. It is the legal possibility of bringing the action which determines the starting point for the computation of the period. In this case, the starting point begins with the expiration of a reasonable period and opportunity for petitioner to fulfill what has been charged upon it by the donor. The period of time for the establishment of a medical college and the necessary buildings and improvements on the property cannot be quantified in a specific number of years because of the presence of several factors and circumstances involved in the erection of an educational institution, such as government laws and regulations pertaining to education, building requirements and property restrictions which are beyond the control of the donee. Thus, when the obligation does not fix a period but from its nature and circumstances it can be inferred that a period was intended, the general rule provided in Art. 1197 of the Civil Code applies, which provides that the courts may fix the duration thereof because the fulfillment of the obligation itself cannot be demanded until after the court has fixed the period for compliance therewith and such period has arrived. 8 This general rule however cannot be applied considering the different set of circumstances existing in the instant case. More than a reasonable period of fifty (50) years has already been allowed petitioner to avail of the opportunity to comply with the condition even if it be burdensome, to make the donation in its favor forever valid. But, unfortunately, it failed to do so. Hence, there is no more need to fix the duration of a term of the obligation when such procedure would be a mere technicality and formality and would serve no purpose than to delay or lead to an unnecessary and expensive multiplication of suits. 9 Moreover, under Art. 1191 of the Civil Code, when one of the obligors cannot comply with what is incumbent upon him, the obligee may seek rescission and the court shall decree the same unless there is just cause authorizing the fixing of a period. In the absence of any just cause for the court to determine the period of the compliance, there is no more obstacle for the court to decree the rescission claimed. Finally, since the questioned deed of donation herein is basically a gratuitous one, doubts referring to incidental circumstances of a gratuitous contract should be resolved in favor of the least transmission of rights and interests.10 Records are clear and facts are undisputed that since the execution of the deed of donation up to the time of filing of the instant action, petitioner has failed

to comply with its obligation as donee. Petitioner has slept on its obligation for an unreasonable length of time. Hence, it is only just and equitable now to declare the subject donation already ineffective and, for all purposes, revoked so that petitioner as donee should now return the donated property to the heirs of the donor, private respondents herein, by means of reconveyance. WHEREFORE, the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Iloilo, Br. 34, of 31 May 1991 is REINSTATED and AFFIRMED, and the decision of the Court of Appeals of 18 June 1993 is accordingly MODIFIED. Consequently, petitioner is directed to reconvey to private respondents Lot No. 3174-B-1 of the subdivision plan Psd-1144 covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. T3910-A within thirty (30) days from the finality of this judgment. Costs against petitioner. SO ORDERED. Quiason and Kapunan, JJ., concur.

Separate Opinions

DAVIDE, JR., J., dissenting: I agree with the view in the majority opinion that the donation in question is onerous considering the conditions imposed by the donor on the donee which created reciprocal obligations upon both parties. Beyond that, I beg to disagree. First of all, may I point out an inconsistency in the majority opinion's description of the donation in question. In one part, it says that the donation in question is onerous. Thus, on page 4 it states: We find it difficult to sustain the petition. A clear perusal of the conditions set forth in the deed of donation executed by Don Ramon Lopez, Sr., give us no alternative but to conclude that his donation was onerous, one executed for a valuable consideration which is considered the equivalent of the donation itself, e.g., when a donation imposes a burden equivalent to the value of the donation . . . . (emphasis supplied) Yet, in the last paragraph of page 8 it states that the donation is basically a gratuitous one. The pertinent portion thereof reads:

Finally, since the questioned deed of donation herein is basically a gratuitous one, doubts referring to incidental circumstances of a gratuitous contract should be resolved in favor of the least transmission of rights and interest . . . (emphasis supplied) Second, the discussion on conditional obligations is unnecessary. There is no conditional obligation to speak of in this case. It seems that the "conditions" imposed by the donor and as the word is used in the law of donations is confused with "conditions" as used in the law of obligations. In his annotation of Article 764 of the Civil Code on Donations, Arturo M. Tolentino, citing the wellknown civilists such as Castan, Perez Gonzalez and Alguer, and Colin & Capitant, states clearly the context within which the term "conditions" is used in the law of donations, to wit: The word "conditions" in this article does not refer to uncertain events on which the birth or extinguishment of a juridical relation depends, but is used in the vulgar sense of obligations or charges imposed by the donor on the donee. It is used, not in its technical or strict legal sense, but in its broadest sense. 1 (emphasis supplied) Clearly then, when the law and the deed of donation speaks of "conditions" of a donation, what are referred to are actually the obligations, charges or burdens imposed by the donor upon the donee and which would characterize the donation as onerous. In the present case, the donation is, quite obviously, onerous, but it is more properly called a "modal donation." A modal donation is one in which the donor imposes a prestation upon the donee. The establishment of the medical college as the condition of the donation in the present case is one such prestation. The conditions imposed by the donor Don Ramon Lopez determines neither the existence nor the extinguishment of the obligations of the donor and the donee with respect to the donation. In fact, the conditions imposed by Don Ramon Lopez upon the donee are the very obligations of the donation to build the medical college and use the property for the purposes specified in the deed of donation. It is very clear that those obligations are unconditional, the fulfillment, performance, existence or extinguishment of which is not dependent on any future or uncertain event or past and unknown event, as the Civil Code would define a conditional obligation. 2 Reliance on the case of Parks vs. Province of Tarlac 3 as cited on page 5 of the majority opinion is erroneous in so far as the latter stated that the condition in Parks is a resolutory one and applied this to the present case. A more careful reading of this Court's decision would reveal that nowhere did we say, whether explicitly or impliedly, that the donation in that case, which also has a condition imposed to build a school and a public park upon the property donated, is a resolutory condition. 4 It is incorrect to say that the "conditions" of the donation there or in the present case are resolutory conditions because, applying Article 1181 of the Civil Code, that would mean that upon fulfillment of the conditions, the rights already acquired will be extinguished. Obviously, that could not have been the intention of the parties. What the majority opinion probably had in mind was that the conditions are resolutory because if they are notcomplied with, the rights of the donee as such will be extinguished and the donation will be revoked. To my mind, though, it is more accurate to state that the conditions here are not resolutory conditions but, for the reasons stated above, are the obligations imposed by the donor.

Third, I cannot subscribe to the view that the provisions of Article 1197 cannot be applied here. The conditions/obligations imposed by the donor herein are subject to a period. I draw this conclusion based on our previous ruling which, although made almost 90 years ago, still finds application in the present case. In Barretto vs. City of Manila, 5 we said that when the contract of donation, as the one involved therein, has no fixed period in which the condition should be fulfilled, the provisions of what is now Article 1197 (then Article 1128) are applicable and it is the duty of the court to fix a suitable time for its fulfillment. Indeed, from the nature and circumstances of the conditions/obligations of the present donation, it can be inferred that a period was contemplated by the donor. Don Ramon Lopez could not have intended his property to remain idle for a long period of time when in fact, he specifically burdened the donee with the obligation to set up a medical college therein and thus put his property to good use. There is a need to fix the duration of the time within which the conditions imposed are to be fulfilled. It is also important to fix the duration or period for the performance of the conditions/obligations in the donation in resolving the petitioner's claim that prescription has already barred the present action. I disagree once more with the ruling of the majority that the action of the petitioners is not barred by the statute of limitations. There is misplaced reliance again on a previous decision of this Court in Osmea vs. Rama. 6 That case does not speak of a deed of donation as erroneously quoted and cited by the majority opinion. It speaks of a contract for a sum of money where the debtor herself imposed a condition which will determine when she will fulfill her obligation to pay the creditor, thus, making the fulfillment of her obligation dependent upon her will. What we have here, however, is not a contract for a sum of money but a donation where the donee has not imposed any conditions on the fulfillment of its obligations. Although it is admitted that the fulfillment of the conditions/obligations of the present donation may be dependent on the will of the donee as to when it will comply therewith, this did not arise out of a condition which the donee itself imposed. It is believed that the donee was not meant to and does not have absolute control over the time within which it will perform its obligations. It must still do so within a reasonable time. What that reasonable time is, under the circumstances, for the courts to determine. Thus, the mere fact that there is no time fixed as to when the conditions of the donation are to be fulfilled does not ipso facto mean that the statute of limitations will not apply anymore and the action to revoke the donation becomes imprescriptible. Admittedly, the donation now in question is an onerous donation and is governed by the law on contracts (Article 733) and the case of Osmea, being one involving a contract, may apply. But we must not lose sight of the fact that it is still a donation for which this Court itself applied the pertinent law to resolve situations such as this. That the action to revoke the donation can still prescribe has been the pronouncement of this Court as early as 1926 in the case of Parks which, on this point, finds relevance in this case. There, this Court said, [that] this action [for the revocation of the donation] is prescriptible, there is no doubt. There is no legal provision which excludes this class of action from the statute of limitations. And not only this, the law itself recognizes the prescriptibility of the action for the revocation of a donation, providing a special period of [four] years for the revocation by the subsequent birth of children [Art. 646, now Art. 763], and . . . by reason of ingratitude. If no special period is provided for the prescription of the action for revocation for noncompliance of the conditions of the donation [Art. 647, now Art.

764], it is because in this respect the donation is considered onerous and is governed by the law of contracts and the general rules of prescription. 7 More recently, in De Luna v. Abrigo, 8 this Court reiterated the ruling in Parks and said that: It is true that under Article 764 of the New Civil Code, actions for the revocation of a donation must be brought within four (4) years from the non-compliance of the conditions of the donation. However, it is Our opinion that said article does not apply to onerous donations in view of the specific provision of Article 733 providing that onerous donations are governed by the rules on contracts. In the light of the above, the rules on contracts and the general rules on prescription and not the rules on donations are applicable in the case at bar. The law applied in both cases is Article 1144(1). It refers to the prescription of an action upon a written contract, which is what the deed of an onerous donation is. The prescriptive period is ten years from the time the cause of action accrues, and that is, from the expiration of the time within which the donee must comply with the conditions/obligations of the donation. As to when this exactly is remains to be determined, and that is for the courts to do as reposed upon them by Article 1197. For the reasons expressed above, I register my dissent. Accordingly, the decision of the Court of Appeals must be upheld, except its ruling that the conditions of the donation are resolutory. Padilla, J., dissents

Finally, since the questioned deed of donation herein is basically a gratuitous one, doubts referring to incidental circumstances of a gratuitous contract should be resolved in favor of the least transmission of rights and interest . . . (emphasis supplied) Second, the discussion on conditional obligations is unnecessary. There is no conditional obligation to speak of in this case. It seems that the "conditions" imposed by the donor and as the word is used in the law of donations is confused with "conditions" as used in the law of obligations. In his annotation of Article 764 of the Civil Code on Donations, Arturo M. Tolentino, citing the wellknown civilists such as Castan, Perez Gonzalez and Alguer, and Colin & Capitant, states clearly the context within which the term "conditions" is used in the law of donations, to wit: The word "conditions" in this article does not refer to uncertain events on which the birth or extinguishment of a juridical relation depends, but is used in the vulgar sense of obligations or charges imposed by the donor on the donee. It is used, not in its technical or strict legal sense, but in its broadest sense. 1 (emphasis supplied) Clearly then, when the law and the deed of donation speaks of "conditions" of a donation, what are referred to are actually the obligations, charges or burdens imposed by the donor upon the donee and which would characterize the donation as onerous. In the present case, the donation is, quite obviously, onerous, but it is more properly called a "modal donation." A modal donation is one in which the donor imposes a prestation upon the donee. The establishment of the medical college as the condition of the donation in the present case is one such prestation. The conditions imposed by the donor Don Ramon Lopez determines neither the existence nor the extinguishment of the obligations of the donor and the donee with respect to the donation. In fact, the conditions imposed by Don Ramon Lopez upon the donee are the very obligations of the donation to build the medical college and use the property for the purposes specified in the deed of donation. It is very clear that those obligations are unconditional, the fulfillment, performance, existence or extinguishment of which is not dependent on any future or uncertain event or past and unknown event, as the Civil Code would define a conditional obligation. 2 Reliance on the case of Parks vs. Province of Tarlac 3 as cited on page 5 of the majority opinion is erroneous in so far as the latter stated that the condition in Parks is a resolutory one and applied this to the present case. A more careful reading of this Court's decision would reveal that nowhere did we say, whether explicitly or impliedly, that the donation in that case, which also has a condition imposed to build a school and a public park upon the property donated, is a resolutory condition. 4 It is incorrect to say that the "conditions" of the donation there or in the present case are resolutory conditions because, applying Article 1181 of the Civil Code, that would mean that upon fulfillment of the conditions, the rights already acquired will be extinguished. Obviously, that could not have been the intention of the parties. What the majority opinion probably had in mind was that the conditions are resolutory because if they are notcomplied with, the rights of the donee as such will be extinguished and the donation will be revoked. To my mind, though, it is more accurate to state that the conditions here are not resolutory conditions but, for the reasons stated above, are the obligations imposed by the donor.

Separate Opinions DAVIDE, JR., J., dissenting: I agree with the view in the majority opinion that the donation in question is onerous considering the conditions imposed by the donor on the donee which created reciprocal obligations upon both parties. Beyond that, I beg to disagree. First of all, may I point out an inconsistency in the majority opinion's description of the donation in question. In one part, it says that the donation in question is onerous. Thus, on page 4 it states: We find it difficult to sustain the petition. A clear perusal of the conditions set forth in the deed of donation executed by Don Ramon Lopez, Sr., give us no alternative but to conclude that his donation was onerous, one executed for a valuable consideration which is considered the equivalent of the donation itself, e.g., when a donation imposes a burden equivalent to the value of the donation . . . . (emphasis supplied) Yet, in the last paragraph of page 8 it states that the donation is basically a gratuitous one. The pertinent portion thereof reads:

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Third, I cannot subscribe to the view that the provisions of Article 1197 cannot be applied here. The conditions/obligations imposed by the donor herein are subject to a period. I draw this conclusion based on our previous ruling which, although made almost 90 years ago, still finds application in the present case. In Barretto vs. City of Manila, 5 we said that when the contract of donation, as the one involved therein, has no fixed period in which the condition should be fulfilled, the provisions of what is now Article 1197 (then Article 1128) are applicable and it is the duty of the court to fix a suitable time for its fulfillment. Indeed, from the nature and circumstances of the conditions/obligations of the present donation, it can be inferred that a period was contemplated by the donor. Don Ramon Lopez could not have intended his property to remain idle for a long period of time when in fact, he specifically burdened the donee with the obligation to set up a medical college therein and thus put his property to good use. There is a need to fix the duration of the time within which the conditions imposed are to be fulfilled. It is also important to fix the duration or period for the performance of the conditions/obligations in the donation in resolving the petitioner's claim that prescription has already barred the present action. I disagree once more with the ruling of the majority that the action of the petitioners is not barred by the statute of limitations. There is misplaced reliance again on a previous decision of this Court in Osmea vs. Rama. 6 That case does not speak of a deed of donation as erroneously quoted and cited by the majority opinion. It speaks of a contract for a sum of money where the debtor herself imposed a condition which will determine when she will fulfill her obligation to pay the creditor, thus, making the fulfillment of her obligation dependent upon her will. What we have here, however, is not a contract for a sum of money but a donation where the donee has not imposed any conditions on the fulfillment of its obligations. Although it is admitted that the fulfillment of the conditions/obligations of the present donation may be dependent on the will of the donee as to when it will comply therewith, this did not arise out of a condition which the donee itself imposed. It is believed that the donee was not meant to and does not have absolute control over the time within which it will perform its obligations. It must still do so within a reasonable time. What that reasonable time is, under the circumstances, for the courts to determine. Thus, the mere fact that there is no time fixed as to when the conditions of the donation are to be fulfilled does not ipso facto mean that the statute of limitations will not apply anymore and the action to revoke the donation becomes imprescriptible. Admittedly, the donation now in question is an onerous donation and is governed by the law on contracts (Article 733) and the case of Osmea, being one involving a contract, may apply. But we must not lose sight of the fact that it is still a donation for which this Court itself applied the pertinent law to resolve situations such as this. That the action to revoke the donation can still prescribe has been the pronouncement of this Court as early as 1926 in the case of Parks which, on this point, finds relevance in this case. There, this Court said, [that] this action [for the revocation of the donation] is prescriptible, there is no doubt. There is no legal provision which excludes this class of action from the statute of limitations. And not only this, the law itself recognizes the prescriptibility of the action for the revocation of a donation, providing a special period of [four] years for the revocation by the subsequent birth of children [Art. 646, now Art. 763], and . . . by reason of ingratitude. If no special period is provided for the prescription of the action for revocation for noncompliance of the conditions of the donation [Art. 647, now Art.

764], it is because in this respect the donation is considered onerous and is governed by the law of contracts and the general rules of prescription. 7 More recently, in De Luna v. Abrigo, 8 this Court reiterated the ruling in Parks and said that: It is true that under Article 764 of the New Civil Code, actions for the revocation of a donation must be brought within four (4) years from the non-compliance of the conditions of the donation. However, it is Our opinion that said article does not apply to onerous donations in view of the specific provision of Article 733 providing that onerous donations are governed by the rules on contracts. In the light of the above, the rules on contracts and the general rules on prescription and not the rules on donations are applicable in the case at bar. The law applied in both cases is Article 1144(1). It refers to the prescription of an action upon a written contract, which is what the deed of an onerous donation is. The prescriptive period is ten years from the time the cause of action accrues, and that is, from the expiration of the time within which the donee must comply with the conditions/obligations of the donation. As to when this exactly is remains to be determined, and that is for the courts to do as reposed upon them by Article 1197. For the reasons expressed above, I register my dissent. Accordingly, the decision of the Court of Appeals must be upheld, except its ruling that the conditions of the donation are resolutory. Padilla, J., dissents

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