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Ques: When does ownership of improvements made

on the separate property of the spouses at the
expenses of the partnership or the original ownerspouse, as the case may be?
Ans: The 3rd paragraph of Art. 120 of the FC provides
that the ownership of the entire property shall be
vested upon the reimbursement of the cost of
improvement to the conjugal partnership or of the
value of the property to the owner-spouse w/c shall
be made at the time of the liquidation of the conjugal
partnership. In the case of Maramba vs Lozano (20
SCRA 474), it was declared that the construction of
a house at conjugal expense on the exclusive
property of a spouse does not automatically make it
conjugal. It is true that, in the meantime, the
conjugal partnership may use the land & building,
but it does not as owner, but as usufructuary. The
ownership of the land remains the same until the
value thereof is paid. This payment can only be
demanded on the liquidation of the partnership.
Ques: Is the doctrine enunciated in the case of
Maramba vs Lozano the same doctrine enunciated in
the case of Vda. de Padilla vs Paterno (113 Phil 656)?
Ans: No. In the case of Vda de Padilla vs Paterno, w/
the factual background stated in question No. 44(b),
the effects of the fulfillment of the suspensive
condition (that the value of the lots are reimbursed
to the widow at the of the liquidation of the conjugal
partnership properties) should be deemed to retroact
to the date of the constitution of the obligation (Art.
1187, NCC). In other words, their conversion from
paraphernal to conjugal property should be deemed
to retroact to the time the buildings were first
constructed thereon, or at the very latest, to the time
immediately before the death of the husband. That
would be the only logical conclusion, because, if we
say that they become conjugal only at the time when

the reimbursement is made, that would be

equivalent to saying that a conjugal partnership w/c
no longer existed would still be able to acquire
ownership over such properties. Certainly, that would
be juridically impossible.
Exponents of the doctrine enunciated in the
Vda de Padilla vs Paterno case adhere to the said
view for the ff reasons:
(1) The mode by w/c the right of ownership
over the land is transmitted to the conjugal
partnership is not the payment of the value
of the land but the law itself. To say that
such transmission is effected by the
payment would be creating another mode of
acquiring ownership w/c is not recognized
by law. (Art. 712, NCC)
(2) The payment of the value of the land is
merely a suspensive condition imposed by
the law in order that said land shall become
conjugal in character. That it could not be
effected during the marriage is clear &
logical because of the bar against transfers
(whether by donation or by sale) during
marriage. (Art. 1490, NCC). Hence, it can
only be effected or fulfilled after said
marriage has been dissolved & the conjugal
partnership is liquidated.
(3) Between the construction of the building &
the payment of the value of the land during
the liquidation of the conjugal partnership,
said partnership is not only the usufructuary
but also the conditional owner; in other
words, it has already acquired a hope or
expectancy over the land w/c is protected
by law. (Arts. 1181, 1187, 1188, NCC.)

(4) To say that the land becomes conjugal upon

payment is juridically not possible because
by then, the conjugal partnership has
already been dissolved.