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THIRD DIVISION

HEIRS OF ARTURO
REYES, represented by
Evelyn R. San
Buenaventura,
Petitioners,

- versus -

G . R. No. 1 76 47 4
Present:
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.
,Chairperson,
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ,
CHICO-NAZARIO,
NACHURA, and
REYES, JJ.
Promulgated:

ELENA SOCCONovember 27, 2008
BELTRAN,
Re sp on d en t .
x------------------------------------------------x
DECISION

Reyes, filed their protest to respondents petition before
the DAR on the ground that the subject property was sold
by respondents brother, Miguel R. Socco, in favor of their
father, Arturo Reyes, as evidenced by the Contract to
Sell, dated 5 September 1954, stipulating that:[6]
That I am one of the co-heirs of
the
Estate
of
the
deceased Constancia Socco; and that I
am to inherit as such a portion of her lot
consisting of Four Hundred Square
Meters (400) more or less located on the
(sic)
Zamora
St.,
Municipality
of Dinalupihan,
Province
of Bataan,
bounded as follows:
xxxx
That for or in consideration of the sum of
FIVE PESOS (P5.00) per square meter,
hereby sell, convey and transfer by way
of
this conditional
sale the
said
400 sq.m. more or less unto Atty. Arturo
C. Reyes, his heirs, administrator and
assigns x x x. (Emphasis supplied.)

CHICO-NAZARIO, J.:
Petitioners averred that they took physical possession of
the subject property in 1954 and had been uninterrupted
This is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of in their possession of the said property since then.
the Rules of Court, assailing the Decision[1] dated 31
January 2006 rendered by the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R.
Legal
Officer Brigida Pinlac of
the
SP No. 87066, which affirmed the Decision[2] dated 30 DAR Bataan Provincial
Agrarian
Reform
Office
June 2003 of the Office of the President, in O.P. Case No. conducted an investigation, the results of which were
02-A-007, approving the application of respondent contained in her Report/ Recommendation dated 15 April
Elena Socco-Beltran to purchase the subject property.
1999. Other than recounting the afore-mentioned facts,
Legal Officer Pinlac also made the following findings in
The subject property in this case is a parcel of land her Report/Recommendation:[7]
originally identified as Lot No. 6-B, situated in Zamora
Street, Dinalupihan, Bataan, with a total area of 360
Further
investigation
was
square meters. It was originally part of a larger parcel of
conducted by the undersigned and
land, measuring 1,022 square meters, allocated to the
based on the documentary evidence
Spouses
presented by both parties, the following
Marcelo Laquian and Constancia Socco (Spouses Laquian
facts were gathered: that the house of
), who paid for the same with Japanese money. When
[the] Reyes family is adjacent to the
Marcelo died, the property was left to his
landholding in question and portion of
wife Constancia. Upon Constancias subsequent
death,
the subject property consisting of about
she left the original parcel of land, along with her other
15 meters [were] occupied by the heirs
property,
with
her
heirs
her
siblings,
of Arturo Reyes were a kitchen and
namely: Filomena Eliza Socco, Isabel Socco de Hipolito,
bathroom [were] constructed therein; on
Miguel R. Socco, and Elena Socco-Beltran.[3] Pursuant to
the remaining portion a skeletal form
anunnotarized document entitled Extrajudicial Settlement
made of hollow block[s] is erected and
of the Estate of the Deceased Constancia R. Socco,
according to the heirs of late Arturo
executed by Constancias heirs sometime in 1965, the
Reyes, this was constructed since the
parcel of land was partitioned into three lotsLot No. 6-A,
year (sic) 70s at their expense; that
Lot No. 6-B, and Lot No. 6-C.[4] The subject property, Lot
construction of the said skeletal building
No. 6-B, was adjudicated to respondent, but no title had
was not continued and left unfinished
been issued in her name.
which according to the affidavit of
On 25 June 1998, respondent Elena SoccoBeltran filed an application for the purchase of Lot No. 6-B
before the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), alleging
that it was adjudicated in her favor in the extra-judicial
settlement of Constancia Soccos estate.[5]
Petitioners herein, the heirs of the late Arturo

Patricia Hipolito the Reyes family where
(sic) prevented by Elena Socco in their
attempt of occupancy of the subject
landholding;
(affidavit
of
Patricia Hipolito is hereto attached as
Annex F); that Elena Socco cannot
physically and personally occupy the

subject property because of the skeletal
building made by the Reyes family who
have been requesting that they be paid for
the cost of the construction and the same
be demolished at the expense of
Elena Socco;
that
according
to
Elena Socco, [she] is willing to waive her
right on the portion where [the] kitchen and
bathroom is (sic) constructed but not the
whole of Lot [No.] 6-B adjudicated to her;
that the Reyes family included the subject
property to the sworn statement of value of
real properties filed before the municipality
of Dinalupihan,Bataan, copies of the
documents are hereto attached as
Annexes G and H; that likewise
Elena Socco has been continuously and
religiously paying the realty tax due on the
said property.

1999.[12]
Respondent then appealed to the Office of the
DAR Secretary. In an Order, dated 9 November 2001, the
DAR Secretary reversed the Decision of DAR Regional
Director Acosta after finding that neither petitioners
predecessor-in-interest, Arturo Reyes, nor respondent
was an actual occupant of the subject property. However,
since it was respondent who applied to purchase the
subject property, she was better qualified to own said
property as opposed to petitioners, who did not at all
apply to purchase the same.Petitioners were further
disqualified from purchasing the subject property
because they were not landless. Finally, during the
investigation of Legal Officer Pinlac, petitioners
requested that respondent pay them the cost of the
construction of the skeletal house they built on the
subject property. This was construed by the DAR
Secretary as a waiver by petitioners of their right over the
subject property.[13] In the said Order, the DAR
Secretary ordered that:

In the end, Legal Officer Pinlac recommended the
approval of respondents petition for issuance of title over
the subject property, ruling that respondent was qualified to
own the subject property pursuant to Article 1091 of the
New Civil Code.[8] Provincial Agrarian Reform Officer
(PARO) Raynor Taroy concurred
in
the
said
recommendation in his Indorsement dated 22 April 1999.
[9]

WHEREFORE, premises
considered, the September 15, 1999
Order is hereby SET ASIDE and a new
Order is hereby issued APPROVING the
application to purchase Lot [No.] 6-B of
Elena Socco-Beltran.[14]

In an Order dated 15 September 1999, DAR
Regional Director Nestor R. Acosta, however, dismissed
respondents petition for issuance of title over the subject
property on the ground that respondent was not an actual
tiller and had abandoned the said property for 40 years;
hence, she had already renounced her right to recover the
same.[10] Thedispositive part of the Order reads:

Petitioners sought remedy from the Office of the
President by appealing the 9 November 2001 Decision of
the DAR Secretary. Their appeal was docketed as O.P.
Case No. 02-A-007. On 30 June 2003, the Office of the
President rendered its Decision denying petitioners
appeal and affirming the DAR Secretarys Decision.
[15] The fallo of the Decision reads:

1. DISMISSING the claims of
Elena Socco-Beltran, duly represented by
Myrna Socco for lack of merit;

WHEREFORE,
premises
considered, judgment appealed from
is AFFIRMED and
the
instant
appeal DISMISSED.[16]

2. ALLOCATING Lot No. 6-B
under Psd-003-008565 with an area of
360 square meters, more or less,
situated Zamora
Street, Dinalupihan, Bataan, in favor of the
heirs of Arturo Reyes.
3. ORDERING the complainant to
refrain from any act tending to disturb the
peaceful
possession
of
herein
respondents.
4. DIRECTING
the
MARO
of Dinalupihan, Bataan to process the
pertinent documents for the issuance of
CLOA in favor of the heirs of Arturo Reyes.
[11]

Petitioners Motion for Reconsideration was
likewise denied by the Office of the President in a
Resolution dated 30 September 2004.[17] In the said
Resolution, the Office of the President noted that
petitioners failed to allege in their motion the date when
they received the Decision dated 30 June 2003. Such
date was material considering that the petitioners Motion
for Reconsideration was filed only on 14 April 2004, or
almost nine months after the promulgation of the decision
sought to be reconsidered. Thus, it ruled that petitioners
Motion for Reconsideration, filed beyond fifteen days
from receipt of the decision to be reconsidered, rendered
the said decision final and executory.

Consequently, petitioners filed an appeal before
the Court of Appeals, docketed as CA-G.R. SP No.
87066. Pending the resolution of this case, the DAR
Respondent filed a Motion for Reconsideration of already issued on8 July 2005 a Certificate of Land
the foregoing Order, which was denied by DAR Regional Ownership Award (CLOA) over the subject property in
Director Acosta in another Order dated 15 September favor of the respondents niece and representative,
Myrna Socco-Beltran.[18]Respondent
passed
away

on 21 March 2001,[19] but the records do not ascertain the
identity of her legal heirs and her legatees.
Acting on CA-G.R. SP No. 87066, the Court of
Appeals subsequently promulgated its Decision, dated 31
January 2006, affirming the Decision dated 30 June
2003 of the Office of the President. It held that petitioners
could not have been actual occupants of the subject
property, since actual occupancy requires the positive act
of occupying and tilling the land, not just the introduction of
an unfinished skeletal structure thereon. The Contract to
Sell on which petitioners based their claim over the subject
property was executed by Miguel Socco, who was not the
owner of the said property and, therefore, had no right to
transfer the same. Accordingly, the Court of Appeals
affirmed respondents right over the subject property, which
was derived form
the
original allocatees thereof.
[20] The fallo of the said Decision reads:
WHEREFORE,
premises
considered, the instant PETITION FOR
REVIEW is DISMISSED. Accordingly, the
Decision dated 30 June 2003 and the
Resolution dated 30 December 2004 both
issued by the Office of the President are
hereby AFFIRMED in toto.[21]

APPEALS ERRED IN HOLDING THAT
WHATEVER RESERVATION WE HAVE
OVER THE RIGHT OF MYRNA SOCCO
TO
SUCCEED
WAS
ALREADY
SETTLED WHEN NO LESS THAN
MIGUEL SOCCO (PREDECESSOR-IN
INTEREST OF HEREIN PETITIONERS)
EXECUTED HIS WAIVER OF RIGHT
DATED APRIL 19, 2005 OVER THE
SUBJECT PROPERTY IN FAVOR OF
MYRNA SOCCO.
IV
WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF
APPEALS ERRED WHEN IT DENIED
PETITIONERS MOTION FOR NEW
TRIAL THEREBY BRUSHING ASIDE
THE FACT THAT MYRNA V. SOCCOARIZO GROSSLY MISREPRESENTED
IN HER INFORMATION SHEET OF
BENEFICIARIES AND APPLICATION
TO
PURCHASE LOT IN
LANDED
ESTATES THAT SHE IS A FILIPINO
CITIZEN, WHEN IN TRUTH AND IN
FACT,
SHE
IS
ALREADY
AN
AMERICAN NATIONAL.[23]

The main issue in this case is whether or not
The Court of Appeals denied petitioners Motion for
Reconsideration of its Decision in a Resolution dated 16 petitioners have a better right to the subject property over
the respondent. Petitioners claim over the subject
August 2006.[22]
property is anchored on the Contract to Sell executed
Miguel Socco and
Arturo
Reyes
on 5
Hence, the present Petition, wherein petitioners between
September
1954.
Petitioners
additionally
allege
that
they
raise the following issues:
and their predecessor-in-interest, Arturo Reyes, have
been in possession of the subject lot since 1954 for an
I
uninterrupted period of more than 40 years.
WHETHER OR NOT THE HONORABLE
COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN
The Court is unconvinced.
AFFIRMING THE FINDINGS OF THE
OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT THAT THE
Petitioners cannot derive title to the subject
SUBJECT LOT IS VACANT AND THAT
property
by virtue of the Contract to Sell. It was
PETITIONERS ARE NOT ACTUAL
unmistakably
stated in the Contract and made clear to
OCCUPANTS THEREOF BY DENYING
both
parties
thereto
that the vendor, Miguel R. Socco,
THE LATTERS CLAIM THAT THEY HAVE
was
not
yet
the
owner
of the subject property and was
BEEN
IN
OPEN,
CONTINUOUS,
merely
expecting
to
inherit
the same as his share as a
EXCLUSIVE, NOTORIOUS AND
co-heir of Constancias estate.[24] It was also declared in
AVDERSE POSSESSION THEREOF
the Contract itself that Miguel R. Soccos conveyance of
SINCE 1954 OR FOR MORE THAN
the subject to the buyer, Arturo Reyes, was a conditional
THIRTY (30) YEARS.
sale. It is, therefore, apparent that the sale of the subject
property in favor of Arturo Reyes was conditioned upon
the event that Miguel Socco would actually inherit and
II
become the owner of the said property. Absent such
occurrence, Miguel R. Socco never acquired ownership
WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF
of the subject property which he could validly transfer to
APPEALS ERRED WHEN IT HELD THAT
Arturo Reyes.
PETITIONERS
CANNOT
LEGALLY
ACQUIRE THE SUBJECT PROPERTY AS
Under Article 1459 of the Civil Code on contracts
THEY
ARE
NOT
CONSIDERED
of sale, The thing must be licit and the vendor must have
LANDLESS AS EVIDENCED BY A TAX
a right to transfer ownership thereof at the time it is
DECLARATION.
delivered.The law specifically requires that the vendor
III
WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF

must have ownership of the property at the time it is
delivered. Petitioners claim that the property was
constructively delivered to them in 1954 by virtue of the
Contract to Sell. However, as already pointed out by this

consisting of the testimonies of several witnesses and proof that fences were constructed around the property.Socco was not yet the owner of the property and was only expecting to inherit it. certifying that Arturo Reyes was the occupant of the subject property since peace time and at present. thus. nevertheless. and notorious possession and occupation of the same in good faith and under claim of ownership for more than ten years. Records show that the DAR affirmed that respondents predecessors-in-interest. such quantum of proof being necessary to avoid the erroneous validation of actual fictitious claims of possession over the property that is being claimed. and continuous possession of the property since 1954. the Court reiterated the rule that the open. the spouses Laquian. Apart from their identified as the original allocatee. After evaluating the evidence presented. as a private document. Arturo Reyes. dated9 November 2001. petitioners therein sought the enforcement of Section 54. exclusive. is flawed and may be assailed in the proper proceedings. Such findings disprove petitioners claims that their predecessor-in-interest. or more than 30 years ago. the only proof offered to support their claim was a general statement made in the letter[30] dated 4 February 2002 of Barangay Captain Carlos Gapero. cannot prevail over Legal Officer Pinlacs more particular findings in her Report/Recommendation. petitioners herein.the open. paragraph 6 of Act No. it was explicit in the Contract itself that. if supported by evidence. Hence. nor was its legality impugned. Arturo Reyes had already died and was already represented by his heirs. petitioners predecessor-in-interest who claimed to have occupied the land before selling it to the petitioner were considered insufficient to satisfy the quantum of proof required to establish the claim of possession required for acquiring alienable public land. served to strengthen her claim over the property. i.[29] subject property.The document entitled Extra-judicial Settlement of the Estate of the Deceased Constancia Socco was not notarized and. In the present case. Court of Appeals. which granted the petitioners right to purchase the property. and the Court of Appeals.[33] Respondent has continuously paid for the realty tax due on the subject property. [27] In San Miguel Corporation. they gained ownership of the property through acquisitive prescription. and peaceful possession of the whole land. exclusive. of matters within her expertise which were later affirmed by the DAR Secretary. can only bind the parties thereto. herein petitioners. 926. Without acquiring ownership of the subject property. however. the certification given by Barangay Captain Gapero that Arturo Reyes occupied the premises for an unspecified period of time.for the issuance of a certificate of title to agricultural public lands -. Petitioners. that the occupation of the land for 30 years must be conclusivelyestablished. that the structure was left unfinished because respondent prevented petitioners from occupying the subject property. it is only proper that respondents claim over the subject property be upheld. The adverted findings were the result of Legal Officer Pinlacs investigation in the course of her official duties. and undisputed possession of alienable public land for the period prescribed by law creates the legal fiction whereby land ceases to be public land and is. receipts. have been identified as the original allocatees who have fully paid for the subject property. the evidence presented by the Marcelo Laquian and Constancia Socco. and had caused it to be enclosed to the exclusion of other persons.[34] From the foregoing. its authenticity was never put into question. Legal Officer Pinlac reported that petitioners admitted that it was only in the 1970s that they built the skeletal structure found on the subject property. note that the Order of the DAR Secretary. citing Sandoval v. have fully paid for the self-serving statement that they took possession of the subject property as provided under an agreement to . otherwise known as the Land Registration Act. private property.[31] dated 26 February 1999. executed in 1965 by the heirs of Constancia Socco. having been petitioners falls short of being conclusive. the Office of the President. [26] In Sandoval. It was underscored in San Miguel Corporation that the open. The factual findings of such administrative officer.e. Arturo Reyes also could not have conveyed the same to his heirs. Miguel R. exclusive.[32] In contrast. there was no valid sale from which ownership of the subject property could have transferred from Miguel Socco to Arturo Reyes. This Court must. Her predecessors-in-interest. had been in open. a fact which. though not conclusive. continuous. Insular Government [25] and San Miguel Corporation v. It further decreed that whoever claims such possession shall exercise acts of dominion and ownership which cannot be mistaken for the momentary and accidental enjoyment of the property. the Court in the afore-stated case denied the petition on the ground that petitioners failed to prove that they exercised acts of ownership or were in open.However. are entitled to great respect. petitioners herein were unable to prove actual possession of the subject property for the period required by law. respondents claim over the subject property is backed by sufficient evidence. exclusive. The subject property was allocated to respondent in the extrajudicial settlement by the heirs of Constancias estate. continuous.. therefore. insist that they physically occupied the subject lot for more than 30 years and. She also referred to the averments made by Patricia Hipolito in an Affidavit. it is an ancient document which appears to be genuine on its face and therefore its authenticity must be upheld. The statement is rendered doubtful by the fact that as early as 1997. since peace time until the present. and the sole testimony of the applicant for registration. which required -. however.[28] As in the two aforecited cases. at the time it was executed. It stressed.Court. when respondent filed her petition for issuance of title before the DAR. Moreover. and notorious occupation of property for more than 30 years must be no less than conclusive. Thus. continuous. the evidence offered by petitioner therein tax declarations. Moreover.

and that she had already sold one parcel before the deed was executed. 2008 ROGELIA DACLAG and ADELINO DACLAG (deceased) Substituted by RODEL M. Thus. Respondent only authorized Myrna Socco-Arizo. Ignacio and Tarcela were also both deceased but were survived by three children each. This Court withholds the confirmation of the validity of title over the subject property in the name of Myrna SoccoArizopending determination of respondents legal heirs in appropriate proceedings. through a Special Power of Attorney[37] dated 10 March 1999. Aklan. namely: Dionesio. On March 18. over the subject property. all located in Numancia. No costs. The heirs of Eusebio Macahilig are the herein respondents. The assailed Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. who got the one half northern portion. despite the application for the purchase of the property erroneously filed by respondent. who was given the one half southern portion of the land. ownership of the subject land should be conferred upon the allocatee. Respondents. On July 17. SO ORDERED. respondents only nephew. executed a waiver of his right to inherit from respondent. LORENZA HABER and BENITA DEL ROSARIO. 2003 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA G. No. Maxima's husband. J. which was considered as her advance share. The Deed was notarized by Municipal Judge Francisco M. 644 which was denominated as "Parcel One. Ureta in his capacity as ex-officio notary public. Mario and Eusebio Macahilig. it is not clear to this Court why the DAR issued on 8 July 2005 a CLOA[36] over the subject property in favor of Myrna Socco-Arizo. renounced and relinquished all her rights to the land adjudicated to all her co-heirs in the deed. Ignacio. and Adela Macahilig for the heirs of Eusebio Macahilig. also affixed his signature to the Statement of Conformity. and absent any showing that the allocatee violated the conditions of the agreement.sell. 2001 and the Resolution2 dated August 7. now that she is deceased. does not automatically mean that the subject property will go to Myrna Socco-Arizo. 1982. DACLAG and ADRIAN M.: Before us is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court seeking to annul and set aside the Decision1 dated October 17. Numancia. One of the properties partitioned in the Deed was a parcel of irrigated riceland located at Poblacion. The same deed stated that Dionesio was already deceased but was survived by his daughter. There is nothing in the Special Power of Attorney to the effect that Myrna Socco-Arizo can take over the subject property as owner thereof upon respondents death. Respondents death does not automatically transmit her rights to the property to Myrna Socco-Beltran. the son of the late Miguel R. with an area of 1. 1982.R. 48498. to represent her in the present case and to administer the subject property for her benefit. Eusebio. Emeliano was out of the country. ELINO MACAHILIG. Tarcela and Maxima. The only act which remains to be performed is the issuance of a title in the name of her legal heirs. The antecedent facts: During their lifetime. Mario. P-138736 was issued in the . By the nature of a contract or agreement to sell. Upon the full payment of the purchase price. CV No. DECISION AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ. the spouses Candido and Gregoria Macahilig were the owners of seven parcels of land. promulgated on 31 January 2006. Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila THIRD DIVISION G. She also attested that five parcels of land in the deed were declared in her name for taxation purposes. Moreover. which may be assailed in appropriate proceedings. Maxima. Socco. the instant Petition is DENIED. OCT No. absent any proof that there is no other qualified heir to respondents estate. Thus. On March 19. over the seven parcels of land. 87066. Maxima sold Parcel One to spouses Adelino and Rogelia Daclag (petitioners) as evidenced by a Deed of Sale5. ADELA MACAHILIG CONRADO MACAHILIG. Myrna Socco-Arizo. the Court notes that the records have not clearly established the right of respondents representative. the title over the subject property is transferred to the vendee upon the full payment of the stipulated consideration. and Myrna SoccoArizosbrother. Susana Briones.R. They had seven children. is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION. this Decision does not in any way confirm the issuance of the CLOA in favor of Myrna Socco-Arizo. On May 23. vs. 159578 July 28. Socco. Maxima executed a Statement of Conformity4 in which she confirmed the execution of the Deed of Extra-judicial Partition and conformed to the manner of partition and adjudication made therein. a daughter of Candido and Gregoria entered into a Deed of Extra-judicial Partition3with the heirs of her deceased brothers. Petitioners. there is clearly no need for the respondent to purchase the subject property. that she waived. 1984. SP No.896 square meters declared in the name of Maxima under Tax Declaration No. although said lands were actually the property of her deceased parents Candido and Gregoria Macahilig. IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING.R. Emeliano." This Parcel One was divided between Vicenta Macahilig Galvez for the heirs of Mario Macahilig. Pedro Divison. 1984. DACLAG. That Miguel V.[35] Since the extrajudicial partition transferring Constancia Soccos interest in the subject land to the respondent is valid. Aklan.

3. respondents were barred by laches for the unreasonable delay in filing the case. Conrado Macahilig. that a person who acquired property from one who was not the owner and had no right to dispose of the same. their land was possessed by their first cousin. finding preponderance of evidence in favor of plaintiffs [respondents]. obtained the property . and they prayed that Maxima be ordered to pay them damages for the fraud and misrepresentation committed against them. 137. 1991. VII. 1994.000. the CA dismissed the appeal and affirmed the RTC decision. 2001.800. Book No. No. Maxima's daughter. Lorenza Haber and Benita del Rosario (respondents) filed with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Kalibo. to pay the plaintiffs reasonable attorney’s fees in the amount of P3. 1984. to pay the plaintiffs ten (10) cavans of palay per annum beginning the second cropping of 1984 until the time the possession of the land in question is restored to the plaintiffs. and 6. which had an area of 1178 sq. 30.00 in the Deed of Sale to avoid paying taxes to the BIR should be condemned for defrauding the government and thus should not be given protection from the courts. and asked for the reconveyence of the one half northern portion of the land covered by such title. her title had become incontrovertible after one year from its issuance. Page No. Series of 1984 is declared NULL and VOID. as they never acquired ownership of the land since the sale to them by Maxima was void.name of petitioner Rogelia M. They also filed a cross-claim against Maxima for whatever charges. Penicula allowed Maxima to farm the land. petitioners filed their appeal with the CA. Maxima had no right to sell that land as it did not belong to her. upon learning that petitioners were issued OCT No. The defendants are ordered. The plaintiffs are hereby declared the true and lawful owners and entitled to the possession of the northern one-half (1/2) portion of the land described under paragraph 2 of the amended complaint and designated as Exhibit "F-1" in the commissioners’ sketch with an area of 1. 1984.178 square meters. 1991. reconveyance to respondents of the 1. nothing was conveyed to petitioners. that the respondents were entitled to a share in the harvest at two croppings per year after deducting the share of the tenant. The defendants are ordered. Sualog as the one half northern portion. 1984. In their Answer with Cross-Claim. The Report and the sketch were approved by the RTC on June 22. Respondents alleged that they were the lawful owners and previous possessors of the one half northern portion of Parcel One by virtue of a Deed of Extra-judicial Partition. On October 17. petitioners contended that: petitioner Rogelia had been the registered owner of the entire riceland since 1984 as evidenced by OCT No. judgment is hereby rendered as follows: 1. Daclag by virtue of her free patent application. meters. executed by Maxima Divison in favor of Adelino Daclag and Rogelia Daclag before Notary Public Edgar R. who are now in possession of the land. The defendants are ordered to execute a deed of reconveyance in favor of the plaintiffs over the land described in paragraph 2 hereof. that since they were all residents of Caloocan City. Maxima illegally sold on May 23. depriving respondents of its annual produce valued at P4. 4. as tenant thereon. Respondents subsequently filed an Amended Complaint. Pedro. 2. with the former getting the one half southern portion and the latter the one half northern portion embodied in a Deed of Extra-judicial partition. On December 16. The RTC further ruled that since petitioners were able to obtain a free patent on the whole land in petitioner Rogelia's name. Elino Macahilig. Adela Macahilig. The defendants-spouses Adelino and Rogelia Daclag [petitioners] are hereby ordered and directed to vacate the land described in the preceding paragraph and restore and deliver the possession thereof to the plaintiffs. upon request of Maxima and out of pity for her as she had no share in the produce of the land. and that petitioners' act of reflecting only the price of P5. that without their knowledge. The CA ruled that since Maxima had no right to sell the land as she was not the rightful owner thereof. the RTC ruled that petitioners could not even be considered purchasers. that since Maxima died in October 1993. that Maxima also executed a duly notarized Statement of Conformity dated March 19. 4334. Aklan a complaint for recovery of possession and ownership. Aggrieved.178 sq.000. The land in question was delimited in the Commissioner's Report and sketch submitted by Bernardo G. whatever charges and claims petitioners may recover from her expired with her. penalties and damages that respondents may demand from them. The RTC concluded that when Maxima executed the Deed of Sale in favor of petitioners on May 23. that nobody questioned the Deed's validity. meter northern portion of the land was just and proper. docketed as Civil Case No. cancellation of documents and damages against Maxima and petitioners. After trial. the RTC rendered its Decision7 dated November 18. 13873 by virtue of their free patent application. the dispositive portion of which reads: WHEREFORE. jointly and severally. and that the deed of sale should be declared null and void. that sometime in 1983. In disposing the issue of whether petitioners could be considered innocent purchasers for value. For failure of Maxima to file an answer. which bore Maxima's thumbmarks.00. 5.8 The RTC found that respondents were able to establish that Parcel One was divided between the heirs of Mario and the heirs of Eusebio. and no evidence was presented to prove that the document was not validly and regularly executed. jointly and severally. as she was also in possession of the one half southern portion as tenant of the heirs of Mario Macahilig. 1982 with the conformity of her husband. Peralta and docketed in his notarial register as Doc. The deed of sale dated May 23.00 plus cost of the suit. the RTC declared her in default both in the complaint and cross-claim against her. they purchased the subject land in good faith and for value from co-defendant Maxima who was in actual physical possession of the property and who delivered and conveyed the same to them. P13873. Penicula Divison Quijano. the entire riceland to petitioners. they were now in possession and usufruct of the land since then up to the present. that she conveyed nothing to petitioners.

and should they disagree. Maxima.10 While jurisprudence has recognized several exceptions in which factual issues may be resolved by this Court.11none of these exceptions has been shown to apply to the present case and. which included respondents' one half northern portion. now covered by OCT No. at the time of the execution of the Deed of Sale over this parcel of land in favor of petitioner on May 23. B.9 The issues for resolution are (1) whether Maxima was the previous owner of Parcel One. which were declared in her name under different tax declarations. as her possession was not in the concept of an owner. . but no extrajudicial settlement shall be binding upon any person who has not participated therein or had no notice thereof. herein petition on the following grounds: A. this Court may not review the findings of fact made by the lower courts. thus. that the possession by Maxima of the subject land did not vest ownership in her. One of these lands was the irrigated riceland with an area of 1. The CA found that since respondents were unaware of the sale. and (11) when the CA manifestly overlooked certain relevant facts not disputed by the parties. (10) when the findings of fact are premised on the supposed absence of evidence and contradicted by the evidence on record. and (3) whether reconveyance is the proper remedy. the Court is not a trier of facts and does not normally undertake the re-examination of the evidence presented by the contending parties during the trial of the case. while the latter got the one half northern portion. She attested to the fact that the five parcels of land subject of the Deed of Extrajudicial Partition. they may do so in an ordinary action for partition. (3) when there is grave abuse of discretion. the parties may. we would like to state the inescapable fact that the Extra-judicial partition of the estate of Candido Macahilig involving the seven parcels of land was made only between Maxima and the heirs of her two deceased brothers Mario and Eusebio. (8) when the findings are conclusions without citation of specific evidence on which they are based. or its findings are contrary to the admissions of both the appellant and the appellee. divide the estate among themselves as they see fit by means of a public instrument filed in the office of the register of deeds. It is a settled rule that in the exercise of the Supreme Court's power of review. had no right to sell the same as she was not the owner thereof. was divided between the heirs of Mario and Eusebio.without right of title. Preliminarily. and that petitioners were not purchasers in good faith. equity demanded that respondents be given what rightfully belonged to them under the principle that a person cannot enrich himself at the expense of another. (4) when the judgment is based on a misapprehension of facts. Hence. and that she waived all her rights over . Extrajudicial settlement by agreement between heirs. 1984. Maxima affixed her thumbmark to the Deed. namely: Mario and Eusebio. that Maxima had no right to dispose of the land and. (9) when the facts set forth in the petition as well as in the petitioner's main and reply briefs are not disputed by the respondent. surmises or conjectures. Records do not show that there has been any case filed by the other heirs who had not participated in the Deed of Extra-judicial Partition and were questioning the validity of such partition. were actually properties of her deceased parents. To repeat. without securing letters of administration. We find no cogent reason to depart from the findings of both the trial court and the CA that Maxima was not the owner of the land she sold to petitioners. and thus.If the decedent left no will and no debts and the heirs are all of age. Section 1 of Rule 74 of the Rules of Court provides: Section 1. However. In fact. This parcel of riceland was sold by Maxima to petitioners. records show that Maxima entered into a Deed of Extra-judicial Partition with the heirs of her two deceased brothers. per the Deed of Partition. that respondents as true owners of the subject land were deprived of their property when Maxima illegally sold it to petitioners. The first two issues raised for resolution are factual. (2) when the inference made is manifestly mistaken.896 sq. with the conformity of her husband Pedro. it was not a surprise that they did not question petitioners' application for a free patent on the subject land. which. P-13873. could justify a different conclusion. Thus. (5) when the findings of facts are conflicting. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED A SERIOUS ERROR WHEN IT DECLARED THAT HEREIN PETITIONERS HAD NO VALID TITLE OVER THE LAND IN QUESTION. and that the one half northern portion of such land was owned by the respondents. namely: (1) when the findings are grounded entirely on speculation. x x x The fact of the extrajudicial settlement or administration shall be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the manner provided in the next succeeding section. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN HOLDING THAT PETITIONERS ARE NOT PURCHASERS OR BUYERS IN GOOD FAITH. and the real owner may recover the same from him. meters which. in which she affirmed the execution of the Deed of Extrajudicial Partition and conformed to the manner of the partition of shares therein. had even executed a Statement of Conformity. (6) when in making its findings the CA went beyond the issues of the case. absurd or impossible. hence. and the former got the one half southern portion. C. considering that the findings of facts of the CA are conclusive and binding on the Court. It also found that the right to enjoy included the right to receive the produce of the thing. (7) when the findings are contrary to those of the trial court. she had no right to convey the same. over seven parcels of land owned by Candido and Gregoria Macahilig. 2) whether petitioners could validly invoke the defense of purchasers in good faith. if properly considered. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED WHEN IT AFFIRMED THE DECISION OF THE LOWER COURT IN ORDERING THE DEFENDANTS-PETITIONERS JOINTLY AND SEVERALLY TO PAY PER ANNUM BEGINNING THE SECOND CROPPING OF 1984 UNTIL THE TIME THE POSSESSION OF THE LAND IN QUESTION IS RESTORED TO THE PLAINTIFFS [respondents]. the resolution of the present case concerns only the issues between the parties before us and will not in any way affect the rights of the other heirs who have not participated in the partition. or the minors are represented by their judicial or legal representatives duly authorized for the purpose. Maxima.

It is an established principle that no one can give what one does not have -. wherein she categorically declared that the land was actually owned by her deceased parents. While the land was declared in Maxima's name for taxation purposes.19 Petitioners' reliance on Maxima's tax declaration in assuming that she owned Parcel One is an erroneous assumption that should not prejudice the rights of the real owners.13 Also. the registered owner may still be compelled to reconvey the registered property to its true owners. she failed to file an answer and was declared in default. and for this purpose.16 one of herein respondents. Maxima's execution of the Deed of Sale selling Parcel One.21 In Naval v. We have held that a tax declaration. when the instant complaint was filed by respondents against Maxima and petitioners in 1991. was not valid and did not transfer ownership of the land to petitioners. and. in which respondents claimed as basis of their ownership of the one half northern portion of the riceland was the Deed of Extra-judicial Partition. thus establishing respondents' ownership of the subject land. neither does it permit one to enrich himself at the expense of others. In an action for reconveyance. It cannot be used to protect a usurper from the true owner. the decree of registration is respected as incontrovertible. to its rightful owner or to one with a better right. that there was no evidence showing that they were in bad faith when they purchased the . As already stated. who was installed by respondents as tenant after the execution of the Deed of Extra-judicial Partition.18 Because it does not by itself give title. Maxima's non-ownership of Parcel One was clearly established by the Deed of Extra-judicial Partition and the Statement of Conformity. Maxima. as Maxima had no title or interest to transfer. Accordingly. What is sought instead is the transfer of the property or its title which has been wrongfully or erroneously registered in another person's name. Notably. to which Penicula acceded out of pity. Our land registration laws do not give the holder any better title than what he actually has. A certificate of title is merely an evidence of ownership or title over the particular property described therein. and that Maxima even mortgaged the land to a bank.20 While petitioners were able to secure a certificate of title covering Parcel One in petitioner Rogelia's name. that it was declared in her name for taxation purposes. The fact that a mortgage was constituted on the land while the same was in Maxima's name would not make Maxima the owner thereof. evidence of title may be introduced. the principal obligation of a seller is to transfer the ownership of the property sold. What is sought is the transfer of the property. the issue involved is one of ownership. Maxima's possession of the land was not in the concept of an owner. Petitioners claim that they were innocent buyers in good faith and for value. it is of little value in proving one's ownership.24 Respondents have specifically prayed that petitioners be ordered to restore and reconvey to them the subject land.the lands or portions thereof adjudicated to all her co-heirs. Penicula as tenant was able to farm the subject land for one cropping year before she allowed her mother Maxima to farm the land thereafter. while still living at that time. that throughout the time that Maxima and her children were in possession of the property. Respondents had sufficiently established that Parcel One. at that time. In an action for reconveyance. to which she separately affixed her thumbmarks. by itself. part of which is respondents' one half northern portion. Maxima's possession of the subject land was by reason of her request to her daughter Penicula. x x x notwithstanding the indefeasibility of the Torrens title. as she died in 1993. which has been wrongfully or erroneously registered in another person's name. or to the one with a better right. Both documents showed declarations against her interest in the land. the instant complaint for reconveyance was filed by the respondents in 1991. nor can it be used as a shield for the commission of fraud. Article 1459 of the Civil Code provides that the thing must be licit and the vendor must have a right to transfer the ownership thereof at the time it is delivered. An action for reconveyance prescribes in 10 years.15 It was also established that after the execution of the Deed of Extra-judicial Partition. Court of Appeals.25 Records show that while the land was registered in the name of petitioner Rogelia in 1984. The rationale for the rule is that reconveyance does not set aside or re-subject to review the findings of fact of the Bureau of Lands. Its issuance in favor of a particular person does not foreclose the possibility that the real property may be co-owned with persons not named in the certificate. covered by OCT No.22 we held: Registration of a piece of land under the Torrens System does not create or vest title. was not owned by Maxima at the time she sold the land to petitioners. A declaration against interest is the best evidence which affords the greatest certainty of the facts in dispute. The essence of an action for reconveyance is that the free patent and certificate of title are respected as incontrovertible. never denied the same. it did not establish Maxima's ownership of the same. is not considered conclusive evidence of ownership.14 Petitioners insist that Maxima owned the subject land as shown by her actual and continuous possession of the same. Penicula gave the corresponding share of the produce of that one crop year to Adela. one can sell only what one owns or is authorized to sell. or that it may be held in trust for another person by the registered owner.23 We find that reconveyance of the subject land to respondents is proper. because it is not a mode of acquiring ownership.nemo dat quod non habet. their possession of a certificate of title alone does not necessarily make them the true owners of the property described therein. to its rightful or legal owner. We are not persuaded. Neither Maxima nor any of her heirs ever questioned the validity of these two above-mentioned documents to which she affixed her thumbmarks. she never gave any share of the produce to respondents. of which respondents' northern one half portion formed a part. P-13873. We have earlier discussed the evidence presented by respondents establishing that Maxima had no claim of ownership over the land sold by her to petitioners. In a contract of sale. as Maxima wanted to farm the land so that she could have a share in the produce. it is essential that the seller is the owner of the property he is selling. Evidently.17 It is merely an indicium of a claim of ownership. and the buyer can acquire no more than what the seller can transfer legally. the point of reference being the date of registration of the deed or the date of issuance of the certificate of title over the property. and was thus still within the tenyear prescriptive period.12 Under Article 1458 of the Civil Code.

that Article 526 of the Civil Code provides that he is deemed a possessor in good faith who is not aware that there exists in his title or mode of acquisition any flaw which invalidates it.500. petitioners bought the property when it was still an unregistered land. and 5. until the said two hectares shall have been delivered to the defendants. that their seller did not own the property at the time of the sale. The Decision dated October 17. we find no error committed by the CA in affirming the RTC's order for petitioners to pay respondents their corresponding share in the produce of the subject land from the time they were deprived thereof until the possession is restored to them. The right to enjoy included the right to receive the produce of the thing. not binding and considered validly withdrawn by the defendants for want of consideration.000. Ordering the plaintiffs to return to the defendants the sum of P30. remains incontrovertible in favor of petitioner. Well-settled is the rule that issues not raised and/or ventilated in the trial court cannot be raised for the first time on appeal and cannot be considered for review — to consider questions belatedly raised tramples on the basic principles of fair play. To pay the costs. affirming the decision[3] of the trial court[4] which disposed as follows: [5] WHEREFORE.: A contract of repurchase arising out of a contract of sale where the seller did not have any title to the property sold is not valid. As aptly stated by the CA. The Antecedent Facts The facts. Ordering the plaintiffs to pay reasonable rents on said two hectares at P5. Since nothing was sold. Declaring the private writing. Ordering the plaintiffs to deliver peaceful possession of the two hectares mentioned in paragraph 7 of the complaint and in paragraph 31 of defendants answer (counterclaim). J. we held: Finally. petitioners' claim of good faith does not lie too as it is irrelevant: [T]he issue of good faith or bad faith of the buyer is relevant only where the subject of the sale is registered land and the purchaser is buying the same from the registered owner whose title to the land is clean x x x in such case the purchaser who relies on the clean title of the registered owner is protected if he is a purchaser in good faith for value. vs.R.29 Finally. i. SO ORDERED. As such. July 24. CV No. COURT OF APPEALS.00 per annum or at P2. Olasiman27 in which a claim of good faith was raised by petitioner who bought an unregistered land. Notably.e. the petition for review is DENIED. DECISION PANGANIBAN. Since the properties in question are unregistered lands. 1997] CONCHITA NOOL and GAUDENCIO ALMOJERA. would not protect them if it turns out. that the presumption that the subject land was formerly part of the mass of alienable lands of public domain under the Regalian doctrine. and that good faith is always presumed. thus: It is said that one of the attributes of ownership is the right to enjoy and dispose of the the thing owned. 1993 Decision[1] of Respondent Court of Appeals[2] in CA-G. The plaintiffs-appellees.. Statement of the Case This postulate is explained by this Court as it resolves this petition for review on certiorari assailing the January 20. that respondents did not present any evidence to prove that the subject land was already a private land prior to their acquisition and the issuance of a free patent title to them. are narrated by the Court of Appeals as follows: Two (2) parcels of land are in dispute and litigated upon here. Costs against petitioners. 28 Petitioners claim that the subject land is a public land. then there is also nothing to repurchase. ANACLETO NOOL and EMILIA NEBRE. The defense of having purchased the property in good faith may be availed of only where registered land is involved and the buyer had relied in good faith on the clear title of the registered owner.1avvphi1 This issue was only raised for the first time in petitioners' Memorandum filed with us.subject land. 3. Their claim of having bought the land in good faith. =========================================== THIRD DIVISION [G. respondents. 116635. and that petitioners were issued title over this land in 1984. and was regularly granted to petitioners by way of free patent and certificate of title. and upon him who alleges bad faith on the part of a possessor rests the burden of proof. 2001 and Resolution dated August 7. 4. justice and due process. 2.26 In Ong v.000. WHEREFORE. No.00 plus interest thereon at the legal rate.00 per cropping from the time of judicial demand mentioned in paragraph 2 of the dispositive portion of this decision. and hereby: 1. as true owners of the subject land were deprived of their property when Maxima Divison illegally sold it to spouses Daclags. to be an option to sell. without notice that some other person has a right to or interest in the property. as it actually did in this case. 2003 of the Court of Appeals are AFFIRMED.R. judgment is hereby rendered dismissing the complaint for no cause of action. 36473. The first has an area of 1 . equtiy demands that the plaintiff-appeellees be given what rightfully belonged to them under the time honored principle that a person cannot enrich himself at the expense of another. petitioners as subsequent buyers thereof did so at their peril. from the time of filing of defendants counterclaim until the same is fully paid. petitioner. which appear undisputed by the parties. Exhibit C.

1983 by the Registry of Deeds for the Province of Isabela. Isabela. It was formerly owned by Victorino Nool and covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. the appealed Judgment is hereby AFFIRMED in toto.00. 1982 up to March 15. Victorino Nool and Francisco Nool.00 therefor.000. No pronouncement as to costs. certified that the one-year redemption period was from March 16. which the latter did. as aptly observed below.00) as shown in Exhibit D. On this crucial issue. Second Division has misapplied the legal import or meaning of Exhibit C in a way contrary to law and existing jurisprudence in stating that it has no binding effect between the parties and considered validly withdrawn by defendants-appellees for want of consideration. which document has not been denied by the defendants. and were misled by plaintiffs when defendant Anacleto Nool signed the private writing agreeing to return subject lands when plaintiffs have the money to redeem the same. DBP became the absolute owner of said parcels of land for which it was issued new certificates of title. more or less upon payment of one hundred thousand pesos (P100. and they bought the same from Conchitas other brothers. After DBP became the absolute owner of the two parcels of land. the latter was issued new certificates of title on February 8. which were still registered in the names of Victorino Nool and Francisco Nool. There is no quibble over the fact that the two (2) parcels of land in dispute were mortgaged to the Development Bank of the Philippines.000.000. Second Division has miserably failed to give legal significance to the actual possession and cultivation and appropriating exclusively the palay harvest of the two (2) hectares land pending the payment of the remaining balance of fourteen thousand pesos (P14. The Honorable Court of Appeals. and for the failure of plaintiffs to pay the said loan. The pivot of inquiry here.000. T74950. In their answer defendants-appellees theorized that they acquired the lands in question from the Development Bank of the Philippines. finding no reversible error infirming it.000. the mortgage was foreclosed. that as part of their arrangement or understanding. For the non-payment of said loan. In their complaint.00) by defendants-appellees as indicated in Exhibit C. totaling P56.00. another covenant[7] was entered into by the parties.000. that as plaintiffs were in dire need of money. Mallorca. on April 1. whereby defendants agreed to return to plaintiffs the lands in question. The Honorable Court of Appeals has seriously erred in affirming the decision of the lower court by awarding the payment of rents per annum and the return of P30. Ilagan. plaintiffs were to regain possession of the two (2) hectares of land. 1988. the titles of the two (2) parcels of land in question were transferred to Anacleto Nool.[9] Hence. at the time. that his sister. DBP entered into a Deed of Conditional Sale[11] involving the same parcels of land with Private Respondent Anacleto Nool as vendee. Anacleto Nool. as defendants even averred in their Answer that they gave an advance payment of P30.0880 hectares. now the appellees. including interest and surcharges. defendants negotiated with DBP and succeeded in buying the same. authorized officer of DBP. plaintiff-appellants alleged inter alia that they are the owners of subject parcels of land. and as a result.hectare .00. that within the period of redemption. Conchita Nool and Gaudencio Almojera. the titles of DBP were cancelled and corresponding Transfer Certificates of Title (Annexes C and D to the complaint) issued to the dependants.00 to complete their payment. then. and decided the case in the manner abovementioned. through negotiated sale. defendant Anacleto having been made to believe. defendants refused to return the said parcels of land to plaintiffs. both entered on May 23. Isabela.[12] The Court of Appeals ruled:[13] WHEREFORE. seek recovery of the aforementioned parcels of land from the defendants. Isabela. 1985.000. a younger brother of Conchita. ownership of the mortgaged lands was consolidated in DBP (Exhibits 3 and 4 for defendants). and acknowledged that they had a balance of P14.00 of which price was paid to Conchita. to secure a loan obtained by plaintiffs from DBP (Ilagan Branch).[14] . thereby impelling them (plaintiffs) to come to court for relief. and the same day the said arrangement[6] was made. 2. P30.00 and not allowing the plaintiffs-appellants to reacquire the four (4) hectares. that plaintiffs asked the defendants to return the same but despite the intervention of the Barangay Captain of their place. plaintiffs contacted defendant Anacleto Nool for the latter to redeem the foreclosed properties from DBP. T100945. they obtained a loan from the Iligan Branch of the Development Bank of the Philippines. Conchita. The Honorable Court of Appeals. the other parcel was previously owned by Francisco Nool under Transfer Certificate of Title No.With an area of 3. the mortgage was foreclosed and in the process. the lower court adjudged the said private writing (Exhibit D) as an option to sell not binding upon and considered the same validly withdrawn by defendants for want of consideration. and Emilia Nebre. now the appellants. is the nature and significance of the private document.[8] It should be stressed that Manuel S. at anytime the latter have the necessary amount. Subsequently. Anacleto Nool agreed to buy from the plaintiff Conchita Nool the two (2) parcels of land under controversy. The Issues Petitioners impute to Respondent Court the following alleged errors: 1.[10] About two years thereafter. By virtue of such sale by DBP in favor of defendants. marked Exhibit D for plaintiffs. The plaintiff spouses. 3. 1983 and that the Mortgagors right of redemption was not exercised within this period. in Ilagan. for a total price of P100. secured by a real estate mortgage on said parcels of land. which amounts defendants failed to pay. still had the right to redeem the said properties. and upon payment of the balance of P14. Both parcels are situated in San Manuel.000.000.

Exhibit D. it is evident that when petitioners sold said land to the Cabigas spouses. We should however add that Dignos did not cite its basis for ruling that a sale is null and void where the sellers were no longer the owners of the property. they were no longer owners of the same and the sale is null and void.[16] where the Court held: Be that as it may. the petitioners appear to have sold to private respondents the parcels of land in controversy covered by TCT No. however. This conclusion of the two lower courts appears to find support in Dignos vs. which was a private handwritten document labeled by the parties as Resibo ti Katulagan or Receipt of Agreement.000.) in the value of One Hundred Thousand (100. the DBP. 1984. the alleged contract of repurchase. San Manuel. Isabela. Furthermore. Jurisprudence. claim that they can exercise their alleged right to repurchase the property. after private respondents had acquired the same from DBP. In other words. Court of Appeals. petitioners contend that the Court of Appeals erred in affirming the trial courts finding and conclusion that said Exhibits C and D were not merely voidable but utterly void and inexistent. Here. It has become impossible. Exhibit D reads: WRITING Nov. nothing to repurchase. A void contract cannot give rise to a valid one. In Exhibit C. [Underscoring supplied] As proof of this agreement we sign as brother and sister this written document this day of Nov. there is no allegation at all that petitioners were authorized by DBP to sell the property to the private respondents. clearly implying that a sale is possible even if the seller was not the owner at the time of sale. In this light. it follows that they can also repurchase nothing. void. Here. Contract of Repurchase Dependent on Validity of Sale As borne out by the evidence on record. 1984. 30. Nothing sold. the buyer acquires no better title to the goods than the seller had. First Issue: Are Exhibits C and D Valid and Enforceable? The petitioner-spouses plead for the enforcement of their agreement with private respondents as contained in Exhibits C and D. the contract of repurchase is also inoperative and by the same analogy. Conchita (joined by her co-petitionerhusband) invokes Article 1370 of the Civil Code which mandates that (i)f the terms of a contract are clear and leave no doubt upon the intention of the contracting parties. On the other hand. Article 1422 of the Civil Code provides that (a) contract which is the direct result of a previous illegal contract. the private respondents bought the two parcels of land directly from DBP on April 1. Since Exhibit D. Such a situation (where the sellers were no longer owners) does not appear to be one of the void contracts enumerated in Article 1409 of the Civil Code. provided he acquires title to the property later on. Sgd ANACLETO NOOL Anacleto Nool Sgd Emilio Paron Witness Sgd Conchita Nool Conchita Nool[23] One repurchases only what one has previously sold. [17] Verily. Article 1505 of the Civil Code provides that where goods are sold by a person who is not the owner thereof. As petitioners sold nothing. In the present case however. [21] No one can give what he does not have neno dat quod non habet. teaches us that a person can sell only what he owns or is authorized to sell. the literal meaning of its stipulation shall control. Article 1370 of the Civil Code is applicable only to valid and enforceable contracts. was dependent on the validity of Exhibit C. private respondents acquired title to the property from DBP.[18] Moreover. In the present case. 30. it is clear that the sellers no longer had any title to the parcels of land at the time of sale. On the other hand. is also void and inexistent. and who does not sell them under authority or with consent of the owner. T100945. under item no.[15] In seeking to enforce her alleged right to repurchase the parcels of land. and not from the petitioners.[22] We cannot accede to this. such contract may be deemed to be inoperative[20] and may thus fall. T-74950 and TCT No. at District 4. Hence. 1985 after discovering that petitioners did not own said property. which was also a private handwritten document in Ilocano and labeled as Kasuratan. by analogy. on the other hand. Petitioners. The Regional Trial Court and the Court of Appeals ruled that the principal contract of sale contained in Exhibit C and the auxilliary contract of repurchase in Exhibit D are both void. We cannot sustain petitioners view. as the buyers themselves have already acquired title and delivery thereof from the rightful owner. the buyer can as a consequence acquire no more than what the seller can legally transfer. 5 of Article 1409 of the Civil Code:Those which contemplate an impossible service. the right to repurchase presupposes a valid contract of sale between the same parties. Thus. Anacleto Nool have bought from my sister Conchita Nool a land an area of four hectares (4 has. the Civil Code[19] itself recognizes a sale where the goods are to be acquired x x x by the seller after the perfection of the contract of sale. It is our agreement as brother and sister that she can acquire back or repurchase later on said land when she has the money. unless the owner of the goods is by his conduct precluded from denying the sellers authority to sell. for it clearly contravenes the intention of the parties and the nature of their agreement. and seek damages for the latters alleged breach thereof. Exhibit D presupposes that petitioners could repurchase the property that they sold to private respondents. Undisputedly. Article 1459 of the Civil Code provides that the vendor must have a right to transfer the ownership thereof [object of the sale] at the time it is delivered. Assuming arguendo that Exhibit D is separate and . delivery of ownership is no longer possible. the subject of Exhibits C and D executed on November 30.The Courts Ruling The petition is bereft of merit.00) Pesos. private respondents agreed that Conchita Nool can acquire back or repurchase later on said land when she has the money. it is itself void. 1984 That I. it is likewise clear that the sellers can no longer deliver the object of the sale to the buyers.

and any right thereafter granted the vendor by the vendee in a separate instrument cannot be a right of repurchase but some other right like the option to buy in the instant case. more or less. et al. as absolute owner already of the object. together with Conchita Nool and Anacleto Nool. rather. Davide. et al. Justice Hilario G. but is a right reserved by the vendor in the same instrument of sale as one of the stipulations of the contract. interpreting the above Article. In that case the vendor has nor reserved to himself the right to repurchase. with the obligation to comply with the provisions of article 1616 and other stipulations which may have been agreed upon. Exhibit D ceases to be a right to repurchase ancillary and incidental to the contract of sale. this Court had already ruled that an agreement to repurchase becomes a promise to sell when made after the sale. 119 of the Public Land Act which provides that (e)very conveyance of land acquired under the free patent or homestead provisions. 119 of the Public Land Act[25] and (2) an implied trust relation as brother and sister. In that scenario. Icasiano. A promise to buy and sell a determinate thing for a price certain is reciprocally demandable. when proper. Hence. this Court found another occasion to apply the foregoing principle. the purchaser acquires the thing sold absolutely. provides that an accepted unilateral promise to buy or sell a determinate thing for a price certain is binding upon the promissor if the promise is supported by a consideration distinct from the price. explained: Article 1601 of the Civil Code provides: Conventional redemption shall take place when the vendor reserves the right to repurchase the thing sold. it is indisputable that Private Respondent Anacleto Nool already repurchased from DBP the contested properties. Article 1479 of the Civil Code. specially in this case where they acted in good faith. decided in 1927. CA[24] supports this.distinct from Exhibit C and is not affected by the nullity of the latter. it becomes an accepted unilateral promise to sell. Assuming the applicability of this statutory provision to the case at bar. the alleged written contract of repurchase contained in Exhibit D is bereft of any consideration distinct from the price. Carriaga.[28] We disagree. In the earlier case of Ramos. The brothers. and let the other two hectares to be occupied and cultivated by plaintiffs-appellants. et al. as previously mentioned. vs. which as discussed earlier was void. does not prove the existence of an implied trust in favor of petitioners. petitioners bought it for themselves. Anacleto Nool cannot later on disclaim the terms or contions (sic) agreed upon and his actuation is within the ambit of estoppel x x x. There is no evidence at all in the records that they bought the land in trust for private respondents. the Court through Mr. decided on 29 November 1968. The ruling in Diamante vs. Accordingly. et al. vs. . An accepted unilateral promise to buy or to sell a determinate thing for a price certain is binding upon the promissor if the promise is supported by a consideration distinct from the price. In Villarica. held: The right of repurchase is not a right granted the vendor by the vendee in a subsequent instrument.[26] The Court notes that Victorino Nool and Francisco Nool mortgaged the land to DBP. The private respondents cannot be estopped from raising the defense of nullity of contract. the Option to Repurchase executed by private respondent in the present case. in fact bought the land from DBP upon realization that the latter could not validly sell the same. was merely a promise to sell. The former. Jr. still petitioners do not thereby acquire a right to repurchase the property.. The fact that Anacleto Nool was the younger brother of Conchita Nool and that they signed a contract of repurchase. Second Issue: No Estoppel in Impugning the Validity of Void Contracts Petitioners argue that when Anacleto Nool took the possession of the two hectares. It is wellsettled doctrine that as between parties to a contract. or barely seven (7) days before the respondent Court promulgated its decisions in this case. Once the instrument of absolute sale is executed. De Cruzo. and if he afterwards grants the vendor the right to repurchase. which must be governed by Article 1479 of the Civil Code which reads as follows: Art. Court of Appeals. x x x.[27] The claim of a trust relation is likewise without merit. Right to Repurchase Based on Homestead or Trust Non-Existent Petitioners also base their alleged right to repurchase on (1) Sec. In Vda. this Court. shall be subject to repurchase by the applicant. because when the sale is made without such an agreement. Vs. were all siblings and heirs qualified to repurchase the two parcels of land under Sec. et al. 1479. In that case. Hence. The properties were already owned by an heir of the homestead grantee and the rationale of the of the provision to keep homestead lands within the family of the grantee was thus fulfilled. within a period of five years from the date of conveyance. In the present case.. et al. it cannot bind private respondents. it is a new contract entered into by the purchaser. The records show that private respondents did not purchase the contested properties from DBP in trust for petitioners. Obviously. as an independent contract. however. believing that indeed petitioners could sell the two parcels of land in question. his widow or legal heirs.Article 1410 of the Civil Code mandates that (t)he action or defense for the declaration of the inexistence of a contract does not prescribe. the vendor can not longer reserve the right to repurchase. there was no more right of repurchase that his sister Conchita or brothers Victorino and Francisco could exercise.

the petition is DENIED and the assailed Decision of the Court of Appeals affirming that of the trial court is hereby AFFIRMED. WHEREFORE. Abecia. in her present affidavit.[34] In the same vein.00 under the void contract of sale may not be enforced. Mrs. It is not within the competence of any citizen to barter away what public policy by law seeks to preserve. Jr. for the sum ofP1. Complainant Daroy claimed that respondent Abecia forged his signature in a deed of absolute sale. By means of the forged deed of sale.00 with Interest and Payment of Rent Petitioners further argue that it would be a miscarriage of justice to order them (1) to return the sum of P30. but his request was apparently denied sub silencio as the Commission continued the hearings in Pasig. J. Daroy submitted in evidence a report of the National Bureau of Investigation. He asked for their transfer to Cagayan de Oro on the ground that he did not have the means to travel. No. The facts of the instant case are as follows: Respondent Abecia was counsel of complainant Daroy in a case for forcible entry before the Municipal Trial Court of Opol.[31] We are not persuaded. if a void contract has already been performed. [33] Corollarily and as aptly ordered by respondent appellate court. Misamis Oriental.[7] As respondent reiterated his request for the transfer of venue. Narvasa. its ownership was consolidated in complainant Daroy. 1971 a parcel of land belonging to one of the defendants to complainant Daroy as highest bidder for P1.[5] Accordingly. shall return the same. attorneys fees. DECISION MENDOZA. both of whom are her brothers-inlaw. dismissed the same. Hence.000. Since they cannot legally give title to what they sold. although Conchita Daroy and Regalado Daroy are not married but lived together in a common-law relationship. they cannot keep the money paid for the object of the sale.: This refers to the complaint for malpractice filed by Regalado Daroy (now deceased) against Esteban Abecia. C. she stated that she had bought the land in question from Regalado Daroy and then sold it to her sister Nena Abecia. with the Regional Trial Court of Misamis Oriental. executed on August 10. Complainant Daroy accused respondent Abecia of having forged his signature in a deed of absolute sale by means of which the latter was able to transfer a parcel of land in Opol.00 to private respondents when allegedly it was Private Respondent Anacleto Nool who owed the former a balance of P14. petitioners possession and cultivation of the two hectares are anchored on private respondents tolerance. ESTEBAN ABECIA. Misamis Oriental. Waga filed an information for falsification of public document. wife of Jose Gangay. ============================================ SECOND DIVISION [A.000.[4] On appeal. the balance of P14.) A complaint for falsification of public document was also filed against respondent Abecia in the Office of the City Prosecutor of Cagayan de Oro which. Nena Abecia are sisters. and Mrs. 1989 that respondents answer.. . SO ORDERED. first in the name of Gangay and then in that of Mrs. Daroy presented the affidavit. wife of respondent Abecia. a member of the Bar. transferring the subject parcel of land to Jose Gangay purportedly for the sum ofP1. from the Registry of Deeds of Misamis Oriental.We stress that a contract void at inception cannot be validated by ratification or prescription and certainly cannot be binding on or enforceable against private respondents. Conchita Daroy. believing in good faith that the same was valid.[1] Judgment was rendered in favor of complainant as plaintiff in the ejectment case.[3] Daroy claimed he discovered the fraud only in 1984. JJ. T-315) to Abecia as his counsel and allowed him to take possession of the land upon the latters request. dated March 31.[6] Respondent Abecia was unable to attend the hearings. showing that Daroys signature in the deed of sale had been written by a different hand. the sheriff sold at public auction on March 25. and Francisco. their right to possess and cultivate the land ipso facto ceased. and the costs of the suit.[30] Third Issue: Return of P30..validity cannot be given to it by estoppel if it is prohibited by law or it is against public policy (19 Am. it was agreed at the hearing of January 30. ATTY. of Anita Gangay. however.[29] Thus. Anita Gangay. Davide.250. 3046. vs. It is basic that (e)very person who through an act of performance by another.250. dated August 3. To satisfy the judgment. As a result only his counsel was present at the hearings. which had examined the deed of sale in favor of Jose Gangay.00 and (2) to order petitioners to pay rent when they were allowed to cultivate the said two hectares. then Undersecretary of Justice Silvestre H. 1988. the restoration of what has been given is in order. in which she retracted an earlier affidavit executed on June 5.C. Abecia was able to obtain new transfer certificates of title. respondent.00. October 26. interest thereon will run only from the time of private respondents demand for the return of this amount in their counterclaim. it was made to appear that Gangay in turn conveyed the land to Nena Abecia.000. Petitioners are the ones who have an obligation to return what they unduly and improperly received by reason of the invalid contract of sale. Melo. the latters tolerance ceased upon their counterclaim and demand on the former to vacate. Jur. concur.J. dated April 17. 1987. dated June 30. acquires or comes into possession of something at the expense of the latter without just or legal ground. complainant. or any other means.00 and that in a fictitious deed of absolute sale. 1985. 1988 the findings of the City Prosecutor of Cagayan de Oro and consequently ordered the filing of the corresponding information in court. (It appears that Mrs. wife of respondent Esteban. In addition. it is stated that she did not buy the land from Daroy nor later sell it to Nena Abecia and that she really did not know anything about the controversy between Regalado Daroy and Esteban Abecia. (Chairman). Bello III reversed on May 6. Metro Manila. 1971. Upon failure of the defendants to redeem the land. Now. 1988. [32] Thus.000. 1971. Based on the previous discussion.. first to Jose Gangay and eventually to his (respondents) wife Nena Abecia. 802).00. 1998] REGALADO DAROY.[2] Complainant alleged that he entrusted the title to the land (TCT No. Clearly. City Prosecutor Rodolfo R. ordering the defendants to pay damages.350. In the first affidavit. it is immaterial that private respondents initially acted to implement the contract of sale.

among which is Civil Case No. Nena Abecia and Atty. . who dismissed the complaint for grave coercion and malicious mischief filed by Gertrudes De Bajuyo. . As a matter of fact the parcel of land is already in the name of Nena Abecia per Transfer Certificate of Title No. . Page No. T-15924 (TCT No. Likewise.[12] approved the report but reduced the penalty to indefinite suspension. . Series of 1971. Complainant very well knew of the execution of the deed of sale as shown in the Sheriffs Return of Service (Respondents Annex 9) dated August 6. a document entitled Deed of Sale dated March 31. The Commission has no alternative but to recommend his disbarment. Nena Abecia. Felix Abejuela. T-15926 was issued in the name of Nena Abecia. Nena Abecia. against Regalado Daroy and Nena Abecia for the demolition of her house. In an unclear manner. 1989). one of the defendants in the ejectment case.. 1973. No. the respondent handled several cases in behalf of the complainant Regalado Daroy. then asserted their ownership of the parcel of land by making use of the improvements found on the land such as the young coconuts and bananas. 1993 Regalado Daroy and his assignee Nena Abecia were . and the Police Sgt. (Underscoring Ours). Atty. the respondent. T-15924.. he contends that:[13] . Salazar. . was executed by the Provincial Sheriffs way back in April 11..[10] On July 15. In the year 1971. Misamis Oriental. Nena Abecia. Book No. Commissioner Plaridel C.. where he declared that he was accompanied by the complainant and his assignee. dated August 6. 88-443 before the Regional Trial Court of Misamis Oriental. the said Jose Gangay executed a Deed of Sale of the same property in favor of Mrs. married to Anita Basmayor. 1993. Regalado Daroy and his assignee. 1. were then formally placed in actual and physical possession of the parcel of land subject matter of the Deed of Conveyance and Possession. Esteban Abecia. Such allegation. 3. 1974. The significant fact is that the herein respondent was instrumental and responsible for falsifying the signature of his client. . . the wife of the respondent. . in implementing the Deed of Conveyance and Possession on August 4. in Office File No. The Board of Governors of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines in Resolution No. The Commission on Bar Discipline erred when it held that complainant had no knowledge of the execution of the Deed of Absolute Sale on March 31. T-15926 entered in the Register of Deeds of Cagayan de Oro City on June 18. in Criminal Case No. 1971. respondent Esteban Abecia maintained that on March 31. Damasing as Doc. The foregoing evidence sufficiently proved respondents acts complained of in the present case . Esteban Abecia. without the knowledge of the complainant. 419-74 of the Office of the Provincial Fiscal (Respondents Annex 10) dated April 18. by virtue of which TCT No. complainant Daroy. The Deputy Sheriff even went as far as declaring that the land was already in the name of complainants assignee.M. T15925 was issued in the name of Jose Gangay. and the latter in turn sold the land to Nena Abecia on April 17. 1973 at 1:00 P. wherein a parcel of land located at Opol. married to Atty. Misamis Oriental covered by TCT No. 88-443 before Branch 25 of the RTC of Misamis Oriental. T-315) was the subject of litigation. wherein complainant Regalado Daroy was the accused. thereby conveying the said property in favor of a certain Jose Gangay. It is likewise recommended that the National Labor Relations Commission be furnished with these findings for its guidance and appropriate action. which appears to have been signed by complainant Regalado Daroy. then 4th Asst. respondent tried to justify his act by alleging that the transfer of his clients property to his wife was proper because he allegedly was not paid for his professional services. The undersigned then proceeded to the parcel of land which is the subject matter of the Deed of Conveyance and Possession together with purchaser Regalado Daroy. 1971. precisely on the basis of the right of Mrs. He cited the sheriffs return. 1973. 3288.. XI-94-072. P. for which he is at present criminally charged in Criminal Case No. Regalado Daroy sold the land in question to Jose Gangay. his assignee Nena Abecia.M. p.[8] In his answer. . in the deed of conveyance in favor of Jose Gangay. 1971 before Notary Public Erasmo G. Paragraph 2 of the said Sheriffs Return of Service is herein quoted verbatim: 2. the complainant discovered that his said property was already in the name of Mrs. dated March 26 1994. Among other things. . . Commissioner Jose stated:[11] . complainant testified in open court that he came to know of the Deed of Absolute Sale (Exhibit A) when the sheriff awarded the land to him (TSN. as assignee to do whatever she wants to do of the things she owns. Damasing. Oct. however. Nena Abecia. 1972. Sometime in the year 1984. the complainant entrusted to the respondent the pertinent documents necessary in the said case which included his said TCT No. Esteban Abecia. Two weeks thereafter. 4.and the affidavits of his witnesses as well as his own would be considered as their direct testimonies. Respondent Abecia filed a Motion for Reconsideration and/or Appeal. placed in actual possession of the parcel of land subject matter of the Deed of Conveyance and Possession. In the course of handling the same. . What is saddening is the fact that he is presently an incumbent labor arbiter of the National Labor Relations Commission with the delicate responsibility of administering justice to the parties before him. 1971. even if true. Jose rendered a report finding respondent Abecia guilty of malpractice and recommending his disbarment. Regalado Daroy and his assignee. . . would not exculpate him from liability. 1973. In the course of his law practice. in which it was stated that on August 4. Rola referred to Nena Abecia as the owner of the subject property by virtue of her being the assignee and/or transferee of the rights of Regalado Daroy. . Fiscal Alejo G. of Opol. 68. The Sheriffs Deed of Conveyance and Possession. In his report. Furthermore. under date of April 17. 16. . . VIII.. by virtue of which TCT No.[9] He also referred to the resolution of the Assistant Provincial Fiscal of Misamis Oriental. Nena Abecia . A lawyer who executed with his client a deed transferring ownership over a parcel of land involved in a pending litigation as his attorneys fees violates the rule prohibiting the purchase of property in litigation by a lawyer from his client. Ex-LTC Registrar Clemente Quiblat. 1971 was executed and notarized by Notary Public Erasmo G.

As a matter of fact the parcel of land is already in the name of Nena Abecia per Transfer Certificate of Title No. 1989. but also the latters assignee. and the Police Sgt. Indeed. Nena Abecia in her capacity as an assignee to do whatever she wants to do of the thing she owns. 1974.long before the complaint in this case was filed on May 25. of Opol. with grave coercion/malicious mischief in the Office of the Provincial Fiscal of Misamis Oriental. The undersigned is however of the considered opinion that the house occupied by complainant Gertrudes de Bajuyo was demolished by respondents. who is known for his unquestioned integrity. Nor does it appear that the transfer was made without his knowledge and consent. Castillo stated that when he finally transferred the land to the buyer. Regalado Daroy. Castillo. because the other witnesses for the complainant namely. Felix Abejuela. 3. At about 2:00 P. The land was owned by Gertrudes de Bajuyo. Like the sheriffs return made in 1973. the references to Mrs. the positive identification must prevail especially since the questioned signature of complainant has as many strokes as the sample signatures in the documents submitted for comparison. line and sinker? 2. wife of one of the defendants in the action for forcible entry. then the incumbent vicemayor. Nena Abecia. his assignee Nena Abecia. Abalos at the time despite the fact that these two (2) aforenamed witnesses. dismissing the charges. Nena Abecia. the Notary Public. Regalado Daroy and his assignee. this resolution of the Assistant Provincial Fiscal rendered the following year (1974) belies complainants allegation that the land in question was transferred to Mrs. Abecia as Daroys assignee. Ex-LTC Registrar Clemente Quiblat. Salazar went to the house of Restituto Bajuyo at Mulugan. were present at the time and on the date Josefina Jaraula was around.M. Between the Notary Public and the complainant. Rola stated. 1973 . 1973 Daroy already knew that title to the land had already been transferred in the name of respondents wife. P. 1987 Deputy Sheriff Eufrosino P. honesty and probity. Complainants claim that he came to know of such transfer only in 1984 is thus belied. And between the positive identification of the complainant as the person who executed the instrument by the Notary Public (and the instrumental witnesses) and the assertion of the alleged handwriting expert.How indeed can complainant now have the temerity to claim that he discovered that the subject property was transferred only in 1984? And how could the Commission on Bar Discipline have overlooked the above evidence and believed the complainant hook. Assistant Provincial Fiscal Alejo G.M. In his resolution. Respondents motion is well taken. in whose name the title to the land had in fact been transferred. Or. Abalos.M. Furthermore. among other things:[15] The undersigned despite the declaration of complainant Gertrudes de Bajuyo corroborated by the testimony of Josefina Jaraula that she was intimidated by a PC soldier. the undersigned accompanied with police Sgt. Hence. However. Mis. As already stated. the land in question was purchased by complainant at the sheriffs sale held on March 25. Notary Public Erasmo G. T-15926 entered in the Register of Deeds at Cagayan de Oro City on June 18. Atty. corroborated by the other witness Josefina Jaraula is insufficient to offset the presumption of regularity of performance of an official duty by a public officer. the allegation of complainant regarding the intimidation made against her by the PC Sgt. despite the parties agreement made at the hearing held on January 30. therefore. apart from the fact that the testimony of Gertrudes Bajuyo and Josefina Jaraula are of dubious credibility. Opol. Salazar. It would appear. what appears to have happened in this case . complainant and Mrs. Upon the lapse of one year and the failure of the owner to redeem the land. of the same day. dated April 18. went on to become the congressman of Cagayan de Oro City. August 4. its ownership was consolidated in the name of complainant Regalado Daroy.In his sheriffs Return of Service issued on August 6. He was warned that any violation will be contrary to law and will subject him to court punishment. Esteban Abecia. The undersigned explained to Restituto Bajuyo that Regalado Daroy and his assignee Nena Abecia were already placed in actual and physical possession of the parcel of land subject matter of the Deed of Conveyance and Possession and admonished him not to molest Regalado Daroy and his assignee or anybody appointed by them to take care of the aforecited parcel of land. 1973 at 1:00 P. Abecia without his knowledge and consent and that he came to know about it only in 1984. The Deputy Sheriff said in his report:[14] 2. Regalado Daroy and his assignee. The aforementioned documents were attached to the answer of respondent Esteban Abecia. To the contrary. 1973. he placed in possession of the land not only the buyer.M. but such an act is a right of Mrs. the sheriffs return suggests that Daroy had agreed to such transfer. then asserted their ownership of the parcel of land by making use of the improvements found in the land such as the young coconuts and bananas. Abecia were charged. It appears further that as a consequence of the demolition of the former owners house. they were not even mentioned in the report of the Commissioner who investigated the case. In fact. Nena Abecia. were then formally place in actual and physical possession of the parcel of land subject of the Deed of Conveyance and Possession. Felex Abejuela of Opol Police Department and P. Damasing. that as early as August 4. Misamis Oriental. The undersigned then proceeded to the parcel of land which is the subject matter of the Deed of Conveyance and Possession together with purchaser Regalado Daroy. that the said documents would be considered the evidence of respondent Abecia. is of the opinion that such evidence is insufficient to warrant a belief that such an act was in fact done by Sgt. Lito Ejina and Jose Jaime never mentioned that there was such intimidation employed by Sgt. together with Deputy Sheriff Eufrosino P. The Commission on Bar Discipline erred in not giving credence and weight to the testimony/sworn statement of the Notary Public (Respondents Annex 4) and the instrumental witnesses to the execution of the questioned Deed of Absolute Sale (Respondents Annexes 5 and 6). is more believable. 1971.

to his attorney as long as the property was not the subject of the litigation.00) na iyong ang halaga sa lupa. void. Wilfredo Linaac tinanong ako kong aking pirma iyong sa sa documento. SO ORDERED.Ipakita ko sa iyo itong documento ng pagbili at may takda ng petsa na Abril 17. JJ. Pahina 48. 333.Sinabihan ako ni Atty. of the IBP Board of Governors is RECONSIDERED and the complaint against respondent Esteban Abecia is DISMISSED. this prohibition includes the act of acquiring by assignment and shall apply to lawyers. 1994... concur. si Regalado Daroy at si Atty. (5) Justices. ano mang ang kaugnayan nito sa documento ng pagbili? S . the resolution dated March 26. Calalang.350. 8. and others connected with the administration of justice are prohibited from acquiring property or rights in litigation or levied upon in execution. The following persons cannot acquire by purchase. But Erasmo Damasing. judges.Binayaran ba kayo ni Nena Abecia at ni Atty. WHEREFORE. clerks of superior and inferior courts. 1971 and. therefore. we held that the prohibition in Art. prosecuting attorneys.[16] Of course. Nor was the NBI writing expert ever called to testify on his finding that the signature of Daroy in the deed of sale appeared to have been signed by a different hand. Daroy had the burden of proving that contrary to the recital in the jurat he and his wife never appeared before the notary public and acknowledged the deed to be their voluntary act. dahil laban raw sa kanilang batas sa mga abogado. For indeed.Wala. as follows: ART. with respect to the property and rights which may be the object of any litigation in which they may take part by virtue of their profession. Nena Abecia. pumayag ako dahil silang dalawa. in his presence. It is true that the NBI found the signature of Regalado Daroy on the deed of sale made in favor of Jose Gangay to have been forged. acquired by a client to satisfy a judgment in his favor.. Aklat No. VI. the notary public who notarized the deed. 1491 of the Civil Code which provides. 5. while judges. and Martinez.Opo. sapagkat siya raw ang abogado sa lupang pinagkaguluhan. at dahil doon.Ang lahat na mga papiles sa sinasabi ninyo ay wala akong nalalaman. taon series sa 1971. the parties were mistaken in thinking that respondent could not validly acquire the land. 6. the property and rights in litigation or levied upon an execution before the court within whose jurisdiction or territory they exercise their respective functions.Ano ba ang iyong masasabi tungkol sa nangyari? S .[20] Daroy never denied these claims of the notary public and a witness to the execution of the deed of sale. Esteban Abecia. prosecuting attorneys. Esteban Abecia? S . T . S . 1971 notariadad ni Atty.Sumagot ka ba sa hiling ni Atty. Wilfredo Linaac. and then Gangay would sell the land to Mrs. either in person or through the mediation of another: . The finding that the deed of sale was forged was simply implied from the report of the NBI writing expert. Esteban Abecia ay aking mga bilas. sapagkat ang isat-isa naming mga asawa ay magkakapatid. 1985:[18] 4.. but that complainant Regalado Daroy intended to convey the land ultimately to respondent Esteban Abecia appears to be the case. Wilfredo Linaac Signes sa Doc. (Acting Chairman). affirmed that Daroy and his wife appeared before him on March 31. The sale of the land to Gangay may be fictitious and. As complainant. In Guevara v. . ay kanya ng ilipat sa pangalan sa documento at tituto hanggang sa pangalan ng kanyang asawa na si Nena Abecia.is that the parties thought that because the land had been acquired by complainant at a public sale held in order to satisfy a judgment in his favor in a case in which respondent was complainants counsel. ay pumunta si Atty. Melo. 1986 that she was a witness to the execution of the deed of sale and that she saw Daroy signing the deed of sale. Esteban Abecia na maari bang gamitin niya ang pangalan ko na ako raw ang nakabili sa lupa ni Regalado Daroy at paglipas raw ng isang taon. T . Esteban Abecia sa amin at sinama niya ako doon kay Atty. 1491. Abecia.Isang araw. the prohibition with respect to attorneys in the case extends only to property and rights which may be the object of any litigation in which they may take part by virtue of their profession. The point is.T . Esteban Abecia sa oficina ni Atty. the latter could not acquire the land.[19] Daisy Felicilda likewise stated in an affidavit executed on February 17. signed the document in question. Wilfredo Linaac upang ipa tunayan ang aking pangalan doon sa documento sa pagbili. even at a public or judicial auction. the parties in this case thought the transfer of the land to respondent Abecia was prohibited and so they contrived a way whereby the land would be sold to Jose Gangay.[17] on facts similar to those in this case. in pertinent parts. Puno. iyong documento sa pabili ay na notariohan ni Atty. The parties apparently had in mind Art. As Jose Gangay stated in his affidavit of March 6. kaya sinabihan ako ni Atty. hindi maari na siya ang nakalagay na nagbili ng upa sa kanyang cliente na si Regalado Daroy. No. T . whose wife Anita is the sister of Mrs. 1491 does not apply to the sale of a parcel of land. 7. ang nalaman ko lang noon akoy dinala ni Atty. Esteban Abecia sa pera na naghaga ng isang libo tatlong daan at limang[pung] pesos (P1. T .Ano man ang nangyari pagkatapos noon? S . and other officers and employees connected with the administration of justice.

July 5. ATTY. 1996. Pangasinan Chapter. 98-7c dated 6 July 1998 issued by the IBP. was noted in the Court’s Resolution dated March 14.C. On January 4. His appeal.18 reiterating therein his apologies to the Court and promising that should he be given back his license to practice law.5 In the same Resolution. strongly indorsing respondent’s plea for judicial clemency and reinstatement. Pangasinan. 13021. and the past National President of the IBP.14 reiterating his earlier plea for the lifting of his disbarment. DECISION LEONARDO-DE CASTRO. VALENCIA. respondent filed a Petition dated December 8. respondent filed an Appeal dated July 8. respectability and competency as a lawyer and as an elected Board Member in Pangasinan. Subsequently. 2.17 The following year. all attesting to his honesty.21 wherein he pointed out that more than seven (7) years had elapsed from the time of his disbarment and that others who were likewise disbarred but for a shorter duration. in a Manifestation dated September 17. 1993. 15433 June 30.7 the Court denied respondent’s plea in the aforesaid Manifestation. 1994. 1997. he will live up to the exacting standards of the legal profession and abide by the Code of Professional Ethics and the Lawyer’s Oath.C. A Letter dated February 1. 1997. Arsenio Fer Cabanting SUSPENDED from the practice of law for six months from finality of this judgment. 199510 which was sent to the Court by Bishop Jesus C. judgment is hereby rendered declaring: 1. Administrative Case No. vs. and the letter dated June 18.D. 1996. and Administrative Case No. the dispositive portion of which reads: WHEREFORE. J. 1998. The foregoing plea was merely noted by the Court on October 14. Resolution/Letters. the Provincial Prosecutor’s Association of Pangasinan.M.15 On September 1. pending his submission of proof showing that he is again worthy of membership in the Bar. Bishop Galang withdrew his letter dated July 10. the Court also held with respect to respondent’s plea for mercy and compassion that: x x x the same is merely NOTED until such time as he would have been able to satisfactorily show contrition and proof of his being again worthy of membership in the legal profession. The record shows that respondent was disbarred and his name stricken off the Roll of Attorneys on April 26. of the Diocese of Urdaneta. 1993. 1991 in a consolidated Decision4 of this Court. ANTINIW.C. 1999. The plea was also denied on January 28. 13912. and 3. was denied by the Resolution dated April 23. respondents. 1996. 1391 against Atty. D. In a Resolution dated October 19. In the aforesaid consolidated Decision. Thereafter. and his name is ordered stricken off from the roll of attorneys. 19938 praying for leave to submit proof of his being again worthy to be re-admitted to the legal profession. 2008 CONSTANCIA L. respondent again filed a Plea for Judicial Clemency and Reinstatement to the Bar dated August 30. No. respondent filed a Plea for ReAdmission dated December 8. pleading for respondent’s reinstatement. of the Diocese of Urdaneta. Attached to the Petition were testimonials. Antiniw. Numeriano G. No. Benjamin Grecia and Benjamin Dacanay. A. Eduardo Jovellanos and additional charges therein. 1993.16 submitting in support thereof the favorable indorsements. worthiness. In a Resolution dated January 27. Tanopo Jr.12 declaring that since his disbarment. 1993.13 On December 17. No. A. In a Resolution dated February 9. complainant. he had embarked on and actively participated in civic and humanitarian activities in the Fifth District of Pangasinan where he was again elected for the third time as a Provincial Board Member and for which activities he received Plaques of Appreciation and Recognition.6 respondent proffered his apologies to the Court for his shortcomings as a legal practitioner asserting that if there was an offense or oversight committed against the legal profession. the Executive Judges of the Regional Trial Courts at Lingayen and Urdaneta. 1996. affidavits and sworn certifications of known and outstanding members of his community at Urdaneta. the Provincial Board of Pangasinan. Pangasinan. Dionisio Antiniw DISBARRED from the practice of law. it was due to his sincere belief that he was doing it honestly to protect the interest of his client. respondent filed a Manifestation and Motion dated December 22. respondent was found guilty of malpractice in falsifying a notarized deed of sale and subsequently introducing the same as evidence for his client in court.22 had already been reinstated to the law profession. 1998. as well as manifestos and resolutions of groups and associations representing various sectors thereat. Pangasinan. he be permitted to continue with his notarial work. Among the written proofs appended to his appeal was the Letter dated June 18. 1998. 199819 from Bishop Galang. 1998 from Bishop Galang supporting his reinstatement to the Bar.9 the Court denied said petition. Atty. 1998 recommending respondent’s reinstatement for being misled into signing the same. namely Attys.11 Respondent filed an Appeal for Reinstatement dated March 8. all showing that he is worthy to once again practice the legal profession. Awards and Commendations from local government officials of Pangasinan and different groups and associations in the province.23 the Court . Among the attachments to respondent’s Manifestation was Resolution No.] =========================================== Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC A. 199820 received by this Court on July 23. Pangasinan. He pleaded that.[A. 1997. Respondent’s motion for reconsideration of the consolidated decision disbarring him was denied by the Resolution of August 26. Eastern Pangasinan Lawyer’s League. 1543 DISMISSED. Galang. wherein he reiterated his earlier plea for respondent’s reinstatement. letters and resolutions from the Pangasinan Chapter of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP). 1995. 1994. No. 1997. In a Letter dated July 13. Rotary Club of Urdaneta. MTJ-92-673. however.: This is an appeal for reinstatement to the Bar of respondent Dionisio C. DIONISIO C.

Caberoy of the Civil Service Commission (CSC) requesting comment on the contention of respondent that the disbarment of a lawyer only prevents him from practicing his profession and does not operate to divest him of his earned eligibility by passing the Bar examination. 1998 within ten days from notice. should be determined by the CSC.24 on Bishop Galang’s letter dated July 13. 2002. the Court required the IBP to Comment on the aforesaid respondent’s Plea through its Resolution dated July 23. 2002. Respondent was also required to comment on Bishop Galang’s letter dated July 13. 1998 of Bishop Galang but acknowledged the existence of the letter dated June 18. 2001. Attached to the letter of respondent’s wife was a sworn testimonial of one of the complainants in the consolidated administrative cases. were noted by the Court’s Resolution dated November 20. In the event his disbarment is lifted. 199926 was filed by the respondent on September 21. in relation to the position of City Administrator. 2001. 2001 of respondent were merely noted.25 the Court noted the aforesaid Comments with Motion of respondent An Appeal Reiterating Earlier Petition. 1998 both filed by respondent. it is recommended that he be allowed to again practice the legal profession. recommended the following: Considering that the respondent has shown that he has been repentant of what he had done which was a gross violation of his lawyer’s oath and of the Canon of Professional Ethics and that he has been completely reformed and is therefore worthy to be reinstated in the Roll of Attorney’s as evidenced by Certifications of different religious and civic groups. through its Commission on Bar Discipline. and (c) his efficient government service.27 the Court noted said appeal and denied for lack of merit respondent’s prayer that his Plea for Judicial Clemency and Reinstatement dated September 1. 1999. 1998 and July 13. 1998 letter.37 the Court held that it could only resolve actual controversies brought before it and would thus. The Court. Thereafter. of CSC Assistant Commissioner and respondent. Appeal. he even lost his chance to be permanently appointed as City Administrator of Urdaneta City and/or as City Legal Officer. respondent’s wife.30 therein asserting that the long period of his disbarment gave him sufficient time to soul-search and reflect on his professional conduct. the letters were referred to the Office of the Bar Confidant (OBC) for evaluation.35Likewise in said Resolution. Nevertheless.28asking for clemency in behalf of her husband and affirming therein that her husband had for eight (8) years continuously pleaded for his reinstatement and that he had submitted proof by way of testimonials of (a) his character and standing prior to his disbarment.40 In its Comment of September 9.grade eligibility by passing the Bar. 2001 of Assistant Commissioner Caberoy and Letter dated September 20. (b) Appeal dated July 8. and respondent be advised to institute the corresponding legal remedy before the proper court. 1998 and Manifestation and Motion dated December 22. In its Report and Recommendation dated January 25. 2001. 1999. Subsequently. Respondent averred that if the Bishop was indeed referring to the June 18. Manuela A. he never misled or had any intention to mislead the bishop into signing the same. 1998. redeem himself. In a Resolution dated February 12. 1999. respectively. If during the period of one year. respondent denied the existence of a letter dated July 10. 2001.31 denied the aforesaid plea. It is. that he realized the gravity of his mistakes. sent to the Court a Letter of Appeal dated February 7. and that because of such disbarment. meaning that the reinstatement should only be temporary and that he be placed under observation for one year. however recommended that he be placed on probation. 2001. Pleas and Motion for Reinstatement to the Bar dated August 28. the OBC recommended that the CSC. In a Letter dated September 20. 1998 be approved and given due course. 2001. the Letter dated August 24. By its Indorsement dated September 10. Antiniw.42 The aforesaid comment was noted and referred to the IBP Board of Governors for comment and recommendation by the Resolution dated December 3. 2002. 2001 and September 20. in its Resolution of June 26. he had deeply regretted having violated his obligations as a lawyer. 1997 and Manifestation and Motion for Reinstatement dated December 22. The aforesaid Letters dated August 24. 2000. In a Resolution dated April 23. Attached to his Plea for Reinstatement to the Bar were certifications from various civic and religious groups attesting to his good moral character and to his worthiness to be a member of the legal profession.noted (a) the letters dated June 18. Respondent then filed a Plea for Reinstatement to the Bar dated February 28. and prove once more that he would be able to practice law and at the same time uphold the dignity of the legal profession. he proves that he has completely lived up to the high standards of the legal profession.32 the Office of the Chief Justice referred to the Bar Confidant the letter dated August 24. after his stint as a Provincial Board Member in Pangasinan for three (3) consecutive terms. Accordingly. refrain from rendering advisory opinions. Thus.34 respondent cited pertinent provisions of the Omnibus Rules Implementing Book V of Executive Order No. 1999. By its Resolution dated June 22. by then it will be recommended that his reinstatement as a member of the Bar be made permanent.39 the Court noted the aforesaid Plea.38 stating therein that for the past ten (10) years since he was disbarred. through Assistant Commissioner Caberoy. respondent then promised never to cause dishonor again to the legal profession and to abide by the ideals and canons thereof. 200133 of Assistant Commissioner Jesse J. .29 Respondent filed a Plea for Judicial Clemency and Reinstatement dated March 19. 2002.36 the OBC opined that the eligibility vested in a successful bar candidate would not be prejudiced or forfeited by his disbarment and the matter of enjoying first. 2002. 1998 of Bishop Galang. Lydia Bernal. the OBC was of the view that the controversy between the CSC and respondent could not be considered as already ripe for judicial determination. In a Resolution dated November 16. (b) his conduct subsequent to his disbarment.41 the IBP. 292 and other pertinent Civil Service Laws in support of his aforementioned stand. The aforesaid letter was noted by the Court in a Resolution dated 28 February 2000. 2002. report and recommendation. 1998. attesting to the respondent’s character reformation. In his Comments with Motion dated March 23.

he promises the Court that should he be reinstated to practice the legal profession. public officials and members of the judiciary. it is well-settled that the objective of a disciplinary case is not so much to punish the individual attorney as to protect the dispensation of justice by sheltering the judiciary and the public from the misconduct or inefficiency of officers of the court. the Court finds that it is now time to lift herein respondent’s disbarment and reinstate him to the august halls of the legal profession. La Bu. 199148which pertinently reads. (Halili vs. is not meant as a punishment depriving him of a source of livelihood but is rather intended to protect the administration of justice by requiring that those who exercise this function should be competent. he has been persistent in reiterating his apologies and pleas for reinstatement to the practice of law and unrelenting in his efforts to show that he has regained his worthiness to practice law. This authority to discipline its members is not only a right but a bounden duty as well x x x. the record shows that the long period of respondent’s disbarment gave him the chance to purge himself of his misconduct. Antiniw committed falsification of a deed of sale. 2006. (Cosmos Foundry Shopworkers Union vs.52 Guided by this doctrine and considering the evidence submitted by respondent satisfactorily showing his contrition and his being again worthy of membership in the legal profession.49 However. (Noriega vs. 84 SCRA 622) but not at the expense of truth. respondent is enjoined to keep in mind that: . by his civic and humanitarian activities and unblemished record as an elected public servant. the Court issued a Resolution45 referring the case to the Office of the Bar Confidant (OBC) for study and recommendation. In Adez Realty. 2007. 93 SCRA 87). has ultimate disciplinary power over attorneys. His conduct ought to and must always be scrupulously observant of law and ethics. Gordalla. maintenance of the highest degree of morality and faithful compliance with the rules of the legal profession are the conditions required for remaining a member of good standing of the bar and for enjoying the privilege to practice law.50 the disbarment of a lawyer was lifted for the reasons quoted hereunder: The disbarment of movant Benjamin M. 102 SCRA 722). ANTINIW from the practice of law be LIFTED and he be allowed to resume the practice of law. the OBC submitted its Report and Recommendation. 115 SCRA 459) To that end. Dichoso.51 Moreover. While a lawyer must advocate his client’s cause in utmost earnestness and with the maximum skill he can marshall. not retribution. dated March 12. v. Publico. redeem himself and prove once more that he is worthy to practice law and be capable of upholding the dignity of the legal profession. as follows: There is a clear preponderant evidence that Atty. Disbarment. Dionisio C. the most important of them is mindfulness that a lawyer is an officer of the court. During respondent’s disbarment for more than fifteen (15) years to date for his professional infraction. (Lubiano vs. and its subsequent introduction in court prejudices his prime duty in the administration of justice as an officer of the court. honorable and reliable in order that courts and the public may rightly repose confidence in them. therefore. government institutions. 63 SCRA 313). he is not at liberty to resort to illegal means for his client’s interest.43 The IBP Board of Governors issued its Resolution No. The Supreme Court. Inc. Atty. 47 We agree with the foregoing recommendations of the Office of the Bar Confidant and the IBP Commission on Bar Discipline as affirmed by the IBP Board of Governors. Antiniw failed to live up to the high standards of the law profession. as guardian of the legal profession. 136 SCRA 112). but with the following reminder: [T]he practice of law is a privilege burdened with conditions. xxx In the light of the foregoing. he will faithfully abide by the ideals. is our goal in disciplinary proceedings. canons and ethics of the legal profession and by his oath as a lawyer. (Santos vs. On March 23. as attested to by numerous civic and professional organizations. It is the duty of an attorney to employ. Respondent was disbarred from the practice of law pursuant to the Decision promulgated on April 26. That is why respect and fidelity to the Court is demanded of its members. By far. and to demonstrate his willingness and capacity to live up once again to the exacting standards of conduct demanded of every member of the bar and officer of the court. Membership in the Bar is a privilege burdened with conditions. given him sufficient time and occasion to soul-search and reflect on his professional conduct. Dacanay for three (3) years has. Antiniw as member of the bar immediately. quite apparently. Adherence to the rigid standards of mental fitness. A lawyer owes entire devotion to the interest of his client.2002. it is respectfully submitted that the disbarment of respondent DIONISIO C. The first duty of a lawyer is not to his client but to the administration of justice. Court of Appeals. 2005 44 resolving as follows: xxx to approve respondent’s Plea for Reinstatement and recommend the reinstatement of Atty. In all candor. to show his remorse and repentance. for the purpose of maintaining the causes confided to him.53 Likewise.46 to wit: Indeed the high standards of the Bar require an impeccable record but our findings show that respondent has been sufficiently punished for the last fifteen (15) years of his disbarment and he has sufficiently reformed to be a worthy member of the Bar. CIR. This Court may suspend or disbar a lawyer whose acts show his unfitness to continue as a member of the Bar. (In re: Ivan T. such means as are consistent with truth and honor. XVI2005-99. Sison 125 SCRA 293). His admission of guilt and repeated pleas for compassion and reinstatement show that he is ready once more to meet the exacting standards the legal profession demands from its practitioners. Restorative justice. (Pangan vs Ramos. his client’s success is wholly subordinate. On June 6.

Leyte.R. Fabillo: cases the sum equivalent to FORTY I have instructed my stenographer to prepare PER CENTUM (40%) of whatever the complaint and file the same on benefit I may derive from such Wednesday if you are ready with the filing fee casesto be implemented as follows: and sheriffs fee of not less than P86. Leyte. of legal allowed to resume the practice of law upon payment age. Cristeta paragraph one (1) of the last will and F. and the same is sold. finally awarded to me or a part of the Considering that Atty. petitioners the Court of First Instance of Leyte. ALFREDO M. 1991 dated June 2. C. On June 2. Pugahanay. a only in Social Proceedings No. in the two cases. was the Petitioner in Special Proceedings No. ALFREDO M. Babol). 19335. 1 After Justina's death. Agcaoili and Charito M. Gregorio D.: docketed as Civil Case No. case. case. 1962. in-fact to sell and convey the contigent (sic) fee in case of a success. and to her under the following terms and husband. was denied altho the will was THE HONORABLE INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE probated and allowed by the Court. seek the reversal of the appellate court's decision That I have retained and engaged interpreting in favor of lawyer Alfredo M. When said house and lot and he shall be I come back I shall prepare the contract of given as his compensation for his services for your signature." which was FERNAN. as he is their Cordially yours. Soro for private respondent.) Alfredo M. Alfredo M. Murillo. with residence and postal address at In her last will and testament dated August 16. 3532 of In the instant petition for review on certiorari. I trust that you will gladly give me 40% Atty. heirs. Murillo the the services of Atty. I Alfredo M. Leyte which but also in Civil Case No. services as counsel and as attorney- . 9. Brioso. Manila That by reason of the Order of the THIRD DIVISION Court of First Instance of Leyte G. is hereby constituted as of the money value of the house and lot as a Atty. sworn servant. No. Palo." 2 That for and in consideration for his Two years later. clients. MURILLO (substituted by his heirs Fiamita M. L-68838 March 11. Florencio. Roman Fabillo. Montilla lost this case same by virtue of an amicable and the present action is a revival of a lost settlement. and for him.J. Brioso. MURILLO. entitled "Florencio Fabillo vs. Tan for petitioners. contract of services entered into between him and his MURILLO. Murillo to repudiate and override the laws. Murillo. my claim for the FLORENCIO FABILLO and JOSEFA TANA (substituted house and lot mentioned in by their heirs Gregorio Fabillo. testament of the late Justina Fabillo. a piece of land in conditions. Maglinte and Antonio Fabillo). Gregorio D. the lawyer is most Thank you. Florencio That he will represent me and my filed a petition for the probate of said will. the preparation and filing of another Francisco A. sacredly bound to uphold the laws. Thirteen days later. Palo. I have cause(d) Flor M. Florencio sought the assistance of lawyer legal services. in the following handwritten letter: case of success in any or both Dear Mr. the disbarment of DIONISIO C. FLORENCIO FABILLO. entitled "In the Matter of the Testate Estate of the late Justina Fabillo. (Sgd. Murillo. Von Kaiser P. married and of legal age. residence and postal address at ========================================= Palo. Santa Fe. Filipino citizen and with SO ORDERED. from the practice of law is LIFTED and he is therefore married to JOSEFA TANA. 1964 3 under foot and to ignore the very bonds of society. 3532 was covered by tax declaration No. be litigated and determined in a separate proceedings. Florencio and Murillo entered into the argues recreancy to his position and office and following contract: sets a pernicious example to the insubordinate and CONTRACT OF SERVICES dangerous elements of the body politic. 843 house and lot in San Salvador Street. ANTINIW That I. Murillo in recovering the San Salvador property.54 KNOW ALL MEN BY THESE PRESENTS: WHEREFORE. hereby promise and bind myself to Acquiescing to render his services. 19335 and the house erected thereon settled to my entire satisfaction. 843. COURT (Third Civil Case Division) and ALFREDO That acting upon the counsel of Atty. to trample them Aug. Petitioner" of the SUPREME COURT Court of First Instance of Leyte.respondents. Murillo wrote Florencio pay Atty. 1962.00 If the house and lot in question is including transportation expenses. of all men in the world.Of all classes and professions. in case of my demise in the the probate court approved the project of partition "with the two cases until their successful reservation that the ownership of the land declared under conclusion or until the case is Tax Declaration No. Republic of the Philippines Florencio Fabillo. 1957. Leyte to be my lawyer not Justina Fabillo bequeathed to her brother. vs. spouses Florencio Fabillo and Josefa Taña. petitioners.

MURILLO. IN WITNESS HEREOF. the court declared Murillo to be the lawful owner of 40% of both the San Salvador and Pugahanay properties and the improvements thereon. maintenance. Alfredo M. The case was terminated on October 29.) ROMAN T. Murillo proceeded to implement the contract of services between him and Florencio Fabillo by taking possession and exercising rights of ownership over 40% of said properties. 6 Murillo prayed that he be declared the lawful owner of forty per cent of the two properties. that the Pugahanay property which was not the subject of either Special Proceedings No. The spouses themselves were old but literate and physically fit. Sometime in 1966. that Murillo misled them into believing that Special Proceedings No. that Murillo be ordered to vacate the portion of the San Salvador property which he had occupied. If the house and lot or a portion thereof is just occupied by the undersigned or his heirs. If the house and lot is leased to any person.000 rental of the San Salvador property which he withdrew from the court and for the produce of the Pugahanay property from 1965 to 1966. the court upheld Murillo's claim for "contingent attorney's fees of 40% of the value of recoverable properties." However. that defendants be directed to pay him jointly and severally P900. In its decision of December 2. unfair and unconscionable considering the nature of the case. Atty. 7 the lower court ruled that there was insufficient evidence to prove that the Fabillo spouses' consent to the contract was vitiated. the efforts exerted by Murillo. that Murillo's fee be fixed at 10% of the assessed value of P7. Murillo shall also be given as part of his compensation for legal services in the two cases FORTY PER CENTUM of whatever damages. Murillo filed for Florencio Fabillo Civil Case No. taxes and insurance premiums shall be for the account of myself or my heirs and Attorney Murillo. 5 Inasmuch as his demands for his share of the produce of the Pugahanay property were unheeded. FABILLO MAGLINTE (Witness) (Witness) 4 Pursuant to said contract. the length of time spent for it. He installed a tenant in the Pugahanay property. FABILLO WITH MY CONFORMITY: (Sgd. the costs of repairs. which the undersigned can collect in either or both cases. MURILLO (Sgd. the full amount of attorney's fees shall be given to the said Atty. They prayed that the contract of services be declared null and void. 1964 when the court. That in the event the house and lot is (sic) not sold and the same is maintained by the undersigned or his heirs. in proportion to our rights and interest thereunder that is forty per cent shall be for the account of Atty. provided. If the same house and lot is just mortgage(d) to any person. the lower court ruled that the complaint being one "to recover real property from the defendant spouses and their heirs or to enforce a lien thereon. It directed the defendants to pay jointly and severally to Murillo the amount of P1.) CRISTETA F. 1975. 843 or Civil Case No. declared Florencio Fabillo as the lawful owner not only of the San Salvador property but also the Pugahanay parcel of land. It noted that the contract was witnessed by two of their children who appeared to be highly educated. the defendants stated that the consent to the contract of services of the Fabillo spouses was vitiated by old age and ailment.780 of the San Salvador property. 843 on the probate of Justina's will was already terminated when actually it was still pending resolution. upon the parties' joint motion in the nature of a compromise agreement.000 as consequential damages and P1. Murillo shall be entitled to receive an amount equivalent to 40% (FORTY PER CENTUM) of the rentals of the house and lot." the case could be decided independent of the probate proceedings.000 as attorney's fees.) ALFREDO M. 3532 against Gregorio D. Atty.00 per annum from 1966 until he would be given his share of the produce of the land plus P5. or a part thereof. Atty. and that the contingent fee of 40% of the value of the San Salvador property was excessive. Ruling that the contract of services did not violate Article 1491 of the Civil Code as said contract stipulated a contingent fee. Brioso to recover the San Salvador property. Florencio Fabillo claimed exclusive right over the two properties and refused to give Murillo his share of their produce. and that defendants be ordered to pay moral and exemplary damages in such amounts as the court might deem just and reasonable. and that Murillo be ordered to pay moral damages and the total amount of P1. (Sgd. and his professional standing. In claiming jurisdiction over the case. Atty. (Sgd. In their answer. Murillo filed on March 23. Murillo and sixty per cent shall be for my account or my heirs. Maglinte. 1970 in the then Court of First Instance of Leyte a complaint captioned "ownership of a parcel of land. 3532 be declared as the exclusive property of Florencio Fabillo. and their children Ramon (sic) Fabillo and Cristeta F. I hereby set unto my signature below this 22nd day of August 1964 at Tacloban City. Consequently. Murillo shall have the option of either occupying or leasing to any interested party FORTY PER CENT of the house and lot. that Murillo be ordered to account for the P1.) FLORENCIO FABILLO (Sgd.200 representing 40% of the net produce . Murillo shall be given the sum equivalent to forty per centum (40%) of the proceeds of the mortgage.000 representing expenses of litigation and attorney's fees. his wife Josefa Taña.) JOSEFA T. damages and appointment of a receiver" against Florencio Fabillo.in-fact the sum equivalent to forty per centum of the purchase price of the house and lot. that in case I am awarded attorney's fees. ALFREDO M.

14 Rightly so because of the inequality in situation between an attorney who knows the technicalities of the law on the one hand and a client who usually is ignorant of the vagaries of the law on the other hand. entitled Murillo to 40% of the 1974 and 1975 income of the Pugahanay property which was on deposit with a bank. or leased. designated receiver of the property. we disagree with the courts below that the contingent fee stipulated between the Fabillo spouses and Murillo is forty percent of the properties subject of the litigation for which Murillo appeared for the Fabillos. contingent fees were impliedly sanctioned by No.00) as attorney's fees. specifically paragraph 5 thereof. The said prohibition. Pedro Elona. Article 1491 of the Civil Code. deposited by Mr. This is borne out by the stipulation that "in case of success of any or both cases. In fact. Both parties filed motions for the reconsideration of said decision: Fabillo. 9 Hence.450. said appellate court affirmed in toto the decision of the lower court.00) representing 40% of the net produce of the Pugahanay property from 1967 to 1973." or "rentals. their children. 19335 and 6229 described in Paragraph 5 of the complaint. the length of time and effort exerted on it by Murillo. 11 Moreover." The contract is vague. however. 15 Considering the nature of the case. The same stipulation was earlier embodied by Murillo in his letter of August 9. under the 1988 Code of Professional Responsibility. Tacloban City. 1984. SO ORDERED. Murillo shall be entitled respectively to 40% of the "purchase price. however." Had the parties intended that Murillo should become the lawful owner of 40% of the properties. it would have been clearly and unequivocally stipulated in the contract considering that the Fabillos would part with actual portions of their properties and cede the same to Murillo. (c) Declaring the plaintiff entitled to 40% of the 1974 and 1975 income of said riceland now on deposit with the Prudential Bank. 10 As long as the lawyer does not exert undue influence on his client. in construing a contract of professional services between a lawyer and his client. a contract for contingent fee is valid and enforceable. applies only if the sale or assignment of the property takes place during the pendency of the litigation involving the client's property. In view of the death of both Florencio and Justina Fabillo during the pendency of the case in the lower court. we uphold "the time-honored legal maxim that a lawyer shall at all times uphold the integrity and dignity of the legal profession so that his basic ideal becomes one of rendering service and securing justice. the lower court resolved the motions and modified its decision thus: ACCORDINGLY." 16 WHEREFORE. or that the compensation is clearly not excessive as to amount to extortion. Worth noting are the provisions of the contract which clearly states that in case the properties are sold.200 for the produce of the properties from 1967 to 1973. that no fraud is committed or imposition applied. A careful scrutiny of the contract shows that the parties intended forty percent of the value of the properties as Murillo's contingent fee. prohibits lawyers from acquiring by purchase even at a public or judicial auction. The Fabillos herein question the appellate court's interpretation of the contract of services and contend that it is in violation of Article 1491 of the Civil Code. who substituted them as parties to the case. On March 27. the value of the properties subject matter thereof. a lawyer may have a lien over funds and property of his client and may apply so much thereof as may be necessary to satisfy his lawful fees and disbursements. the judgment heretofore rendered is modified to read as follows: (a) Declaring the plaintiff as entitled to and the true and lawful owner of forty percent (40%) of the parcels of land and improvements thereon covered by Tax Declaration Nos. (b) Directing all the defendants to pay jointly and severally to the plaintiff the sum of Two Thousand Four Hundred Fifty Pesos (P2. 1964 aforequoted.000. not money-making. mortgaged. and (e) Ordering the defendants to pay the costs of this suit. mortgaged or leased because Murillo is allowed "to have the option of occupying or leasing to any interested party forty per cent of the house and lot. we hold that Murillo is entitled to the amount of Three Thousand Pesos (P3. appealed the decision of the lower court to the then Intermediate Appellate Court." Murillo shall be paid "the sum equivalent to forty per centum of whatever benefit" Fabillo would derive from favorable judgments. 13 This is in consonance with the rule of interpretation that." "proceeds of the mortgage. 1976. 12 However. 8 The instant petition for review on certiorari which was interposed by the Fabillo children. such construction as would be more favorable to the client should be adopted even if it would work prejudice to the lawyer.00) as reasonable attorney's fees for services rendered in the case which ended on a compromise agreement. properties and rights which are the objects of litigation in which they may take part by virtue of their profession. should be resolved against Murillo as it was he himself who drafted the contract. however. For the worst scenario that can ever happen to a client is to lose the litigated property to his lawyer in whom all trust and confidence were bestowed at the very inception of the legal controversy. The ambiguity of said provision. His heirs likewise substituted him in this case. and ordered defendants to pay the costs of the suit. In so ruling. insofar as the lower court awarded 40% of the properties to Murillo and the latter insofar as it granted only P1. On January 29.of the Pugahanay property from 1967 to 1973. with respect to a situation wherein the properties are neither sold. the decision of the then Intermediate . 13 of the Canons of Professional Ethics which governed lawyer-client relationships when the contract of services was entered into between the Fabillo spouses and Murillo. was filed shortly after Murillo himself died. (d) Ordering the defendants to pay the plaintiff the sum of Three Hundred Pesos (P 300. The contract of services did not violate said provision of law. a contract between a lawyer and his client stipulating a contingent fee is not covered by said prohibition under Article 1491 (5) of the Civil Code because the payment of said fee is not made during the pendency of the litigation but only after judgment has been rendered in the case handled by the lawyer.

Respondent. Feliciano. 1228. 1982.. Jose Villegas. On the basis of the pleadings submitted by the parties. under iniquitous terms and conditions. ========================================== THIRD DIVISION [A. Villegas with gross misconduct or malpractice committed while acting as counsel of record of one Felix Leong in the latter’s capacity as administrator of the Testate Estate of the late Felomina Zerna in Special Proceedings No. the Solicitor General recommended that respondent be suspended from the practice of law for a period of THREE (3) months with a warning that future misconduct on respondent’s part will be more severely dealt with [Report and Recommendation of the Solicitor General.com : virtual law library As gleaned from the record of the case and the report and recommendation of the Solicitor General. with the understanding That. Rollo. i. one of the heirs of the late Felomina Zerna. J. ATTY. 460 before then Court of First Instance of Negros Occidental. who was appointed as administrator of the Testate Estate of the Felomina Zerna in Special Proceedings No. 1961. of 5/6 of all said of land" . Thereafter.e. JJ. 1-3. In compliance with a resolution of this Court. days.C. Murillo or his heirs the amount of P3. Complaint of the Solicitor General. 2221. Alfredo M. 1963 was executed between Felix Leong and the "Heirs of Jose Villegas" represented by respondent’s brother-in-law Marcelo Pastrano involving. In compliance. Jr. 2430. Respondent agreed.: In a verified complaint for disbarment dated July 5. pp. and other pertinent records of the investigation. The complainant was appointed special administrator after Felix Leong died. respondent was retained as counsel of record for Felix Leong. Geminiano M. both parties submitted their parcels respective position papers. the Solicitor General opined that there was no sufficient evidence to warrant a finding that respondent had allowed the properties to be leased in favor of his family partnership at a very low rental or in violation of Articles 1491 and 1646 of the new Civil Code. the Solicitor General submitted his report dated February 21. respondent filed his comment to the complaint on January 20. Gutierrez. Also. covering several parcels That.chanrobles. with Marcelo Pastrano signing once again as representative .Appellate Court is hereby reversed and set aside and a new one entered (a) ordering the petitioners to pay Atty. counsel for the complainant proposed that the case be considered on the That Felix Leong was designated therein as administrator basis of position papers and memoranda to be submitted and "owner. RESOLUTION CORTES. complainant alleges that over a period of 20 years.00 as his contingent fee with legal interest from October 29. 3532 was terminated until the amount is fully paid less any and all amounts which Murillo might have received out of the produce or rentals of the Pugahanay and San Salvador properties. 1964 when Civil Case No. the lifetime of the lease contract was FOUR (4) that with or without the memoranda. 37-46. 3942 and 3957 of the Tanjay Cadastre. of land of the estate. That. and (b) ordering the receiver of said properties to render a complete report and accounting of his receivership to the court below within fifteen (15) days from the finality of this decision. VILLEGAS. pp. on April 20. 1228. 1990. 1965. 1124. 1-10. Moreover. 2402.. the case was deemed That. MANANQUIL. Complainant. of which respondent was a member. 2221. respondent allowed lease contracts to be executed between his client Felix Leong and a partnership HIJOS DE JOSE VILLEGAS. 3942 and 3957 of the Tanjay Cadastre. Thus. Thus. After complainant filed his reply. Bidin and Davide. SO ORDERED. Eleccion for complainant. Mauro P. 4749]. 1985 by the 2402. the formal partnership of HIJOS DE JOSE VILLEGAS was formed amongst the heirs of submitted. on October 18. with a yearly rental of TEN PERCENT deemed submitted for resolution after the expiration of 30 (10%) of the value of the sugar produced from the leased of land. investigating officer assigned to the case. 1990. Mananquil charged respondent Atty. In a hearing conducted on May 15. the investigating parcels officer required the parties to submit their respective position papers and memoranda. of which respondent is one of the partners. sugar lands of the estate designated as Lot Nos. the following facts are uncontroverted:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library That as early as March 21. August 30. report and recommendation. Lots Nos.. containing basically the same terms and conditions as the first contract. but no memorandum was filed by either party. 1983.000. 1961. Costs against the private respondent. Rollo. 3939. However. finding that respondent committed a breach in the performance of his duties as counsel of administrator Felix Leong when he allowed the renewal of contracts of lease for properties involved in the testate proceedings to be undertaken in favor of HIJOS DE JOSE VILLEGAS without notifying and securing the approval of the probate court. Jr. 3939. No. pp. complainant charges that these contracts were made without the approval of the probate court and in violation of Articles 1491 and 1646 of the new Civil Code. another lease contract was executed between Felix Leong and the partnership HIJOS DE JOSE VILLEGAS. among others. 1965. the Court resolved to refer the case to the Solicitor General for investigation. In the pleadings submitted before the Court and the Office of the Solicitor General. by the parties. pp. a lease contract dated August 13. the case will be sugar crop years. 1124. by testamentary disposition. Crisostomo C. 460 on May 22. concur. CRISOSTOMO C.] MAURO P. v.

51 SCRA 120. with estate under administration.com. Villegas as manager of the family administration of which has been intrusted to them. involved herein and to secure its judicial approval thereto. participated in the execution in 1975 prohibition against any acquisition or lease by a lawyer of and 1978 of renewals of the lease agreement involving properties involved in litigation in which he takes part. a judicial executor or administrator has the right to which they may take part by virtue of their profession. (4) Public officers and employees. may have been intrusted to them. Thus. L-19265. whether directly or indirectly.chanrobles virtualawlibrary territory they exercise their respective functions. For instance. or the peculiar control exercised by these individuals over the properties or Thus. 1975 and on December 4. the Court finds sufficient evidence to hold and the partnership HIJOS DE JOSE VILLEGAS. unless the consent of the principal have been given.com:chanrobles. prosecuting attorneys. 1986. even if the parties designated as lessees in the Nevertheless. Special Proceedings No. the property of the State or of any subdivision thereof. and the Solicitor (5) Justices. respondent. the partner. Emphasis supplied. G. the persons the Court cannot ignore the obvious implication that referred to in Article 1491 are prohibited from leasing. v. That. renewals of the lease contract were executed between Felix Leong and HIJOS DE JOSE VILLEGAS on (3) Executors and administrators. as respondent signed merely as an agent of the latter. Pasig. San Diego. this partnership. 1989. and respondent subject to disciplinary sanction for having. respondent signing therein as representative of the lessee. October 5.of the lessee. and. That. cannot be taken to task for failing Judicial Region.R. July 9. for the payment of the debts and the expenses of x x x administration. Under the above circumstances. G. Maharlika Publishing seek prior authority from the probate court in order to Corporation v. respondent was appointed manager of HIJOS (2) Agents.R. Jocson de Hilado v. 460. piercing through the legal fiction of separate juridical personality. 65 Phil. clerks of General’s finding. 1988. exercise acts of administration without special authority from the court having jurisdiction of the estate.ph prohibition includes the act of acquiring by assignment and shall apply to lawyers. that respondent committed acts of superior and inferior courts. contrary to the opinion of the Solicitor assailed lease contracts were the "Heirs of Jose Villegas" General. Rodas. The Branch 164. To properties of the estate in favor of the partnership HIJOS rule otherwise would be to lend a stamp of judicial DE JOSE VILLEGAS. No. No. (1) The guardian. to notify the probate court of the various lease contracts 166 SCRA 281 and January 24.R into by them. May 29. it has long [Article 1491 of the new Civil Code.R. the property whose administration or sale DE JOSE VILLEGAS by the majority of partners. 11 SCRA 165]. No. the counsel of record for the administrator in Special Court rules that the lease contracts are covered by the Proceedings No. this chanrobles. the property of the person or persons who may be under his guardianship. in any manner whatsoever. 142 validly lease real properties of the estate. 65594. of which respondent is a member approval on an arrangement which. 169 SCRA 351]. G. 1968. judges. therefore. For. 69 Phil. and other officers and misconduct in failing to secure the approval of the court in employees connected with the administration of justice. 1973. in view of the No. Hombre. G. with respect to the property Pursuant to Section 3 of Rule 84 of the Revised Rules of and rights which may be the object of any litigation in Court. required under the law and prevailing jurisprudence to May 29. as SCRA 553. Sr. in effect. fiduciary relationship involved. 732 (1938). provision shall apply to judges and government experts who. in the later part of 1980. circumvents and in 1968 was appointed managing partner. later manager of. the possession and management of the real as well as the personal estate of the deceased so long as it is necessary (6) Any others specially disqualified by law. . on March 14. to stands to benefit from the contractual relationship wit:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library created between his client Felix Leong and his family x x x partnership over properties involved in the ongoing testate proceedings. By virtue of Article 1646 of the new Civil Code. the his nephew Geronimo H. 1964. take part in the sale. respondent was replaced by owned or controlled corporation. 460 to the various lease the property or rights in litigation or levied upon on contracts executed between Felix Leong and respondent’s execution before the court within whose jurisdiction or family partnership. L-35702. in HIJOS DE JOSE VILLEGAS properties or things mentioned in that article. considerations which disallow the transactions entered Nava. RTC Fourth counsel of Felix Leong. the Court finds absolutely no merit to complainant’s charge.] been settled that an administrator has the power to enter into lease contracts involving the properties of the estate The above disqualification imposed on public and judicial even without prior judicial authority and approval [See officers and lawyers is grounded on public policy Ferraris v. respondent as one of the heirs of Jose Villegas and either in person or through the mediation of another. that which is directly prohibited by law. after the demise of Marcelo Pastrano. or of any government That. or institution. Tagle. considering that administrator Felix Leong was not rights covered [See Rubias v. He may. Batiller. 1978. 72306. Fornilda v. the property of the January 13. 1 (1939).

as far as Manila lawyers are concerned. 1976. BAUTISTA. complainant submitted an amended complaint for disbarment. Villegas committed acts of gross misconduct. 428 (1951)] the renewal contracts do not fall within the prohibition of Articles 1491 and 1646 since he signed the same as a mere agent of the partnership. for a contingent virtue of his profession. it of his receipt of this Resolution. Nestor of sale or lease where the vendee or lessee is a Fortunado and Editha Fortunado [hereinafter partnership. the Court granted respondent's motion and client [See In re Ruste.Also. supra]. No. respondent. Adm. namely. In a resolution dated June 28. 1976. RAMON A. 1978 guidance. the ANGEL L. VILLEGAS. He further contends that pursuant to the ruling of the Court in Tuason v. by signing on behalf of the lessee HIJOS DE JOSE Villegas. 70 Phil 243 (1940). Samson. the Court must reiterate the rule that a motion for a bill of particulars asking this Court to order the claim of good faith is no defense to a lawyer who has complainant to amend his complaint by making his failed to adhere faithfully to the legal disqualifications charges more definite. In fact. 1975 and December 4. which was then represented by his brother-in-law Marcelo Pastrano. alleging that respondent Neither is there merit in respondent’s reliance on the case committed the following acts: of Tuason v. Tuason [supra. respondent claims that he was neither aware of. L-16917. finding that respondent Atty. designed to protect the interests of his 1976. charges against him. of which a lawyer is a member. law makes the prohibition absolute and permanent [Rubias vs. Gonzales was charged professional ethics on the part of the lawyer for which with malpractice. Batiller. Alfaro Fortunado. with a warning that future cannot be denied that respondent himself had knowledge misconduct on respondent’s part will be more severely of and allowed the subsequent renewals of the lease dealt with. Moreover. Accordingly. deceit. are not covered by the prohibition fee of fifty percent (50%) of the value of the under Articles 1491 and 1646. he argues that he acted in good faith considering that the heirs of Filomena Zerna consented or acquiesced to the terms and conditions stipulated in the original lease contract. the claim that the heirs of Filomena Zerna have ========================================== acquiesced and consented to the assailed lease contracts does not militate against respondent’s liability under the Republic of the Philippines rules of professional ethics.In his defense.] It cannot be inferred from the 1. February 12. 5 SCRA 733]. Gonzalez. 1962. Severino. over a referred to as the Fortunados] to pay all property involved in a litigation in which he takes part by expenses. No. the any knowledge in the execution of the original lease Court Resolved to SUSPEND respondent from the contract between his client and his family partnership practice of law for four (4) months effective from the date represented by his brother-in-law. the execution of the original lease contract entered into between his client and his family partnership. 460 to determine whether or not the agreed rental payments made by respondent’s family partnership is reasonable compensation for the use and occupancy of the estate properties. Accepting a case wherein he agreed with his statements made by the Court in that case that contracts clients.chanrobles lawlibrary : rednad SO ORDERED. On v. A. However. 44 Phil. respondent filed on June 19. Bautista on May new Civil Code has been held to constitute breach of 19. Be that as it may. 1625. And although he admits that he participated in the execution of subsequent renewals of the lease contract as managing partner of HIJOS DE JOSE VILLEGAS. and spread in the personal record of Atty. v. gross misconduct and violation disciplinary action may be brought against him [See of lawyer's oath. imposed upon him. 1976 1990]. GONZALES. he actively participated in the lease all courts of the country for their information and contracts dated January 13. Severino required complainant to file an amended complaint. 1990 G. . escape disciplinary action from this Court. July 31. of Professional Responsibility and Sections 8 & 27 of Rule 138 of the Revised Rules of Court. 1625 February 12. Let copies of this Resolution be circulated to contract. Matter No. and the facts and circumstances of the case.R. is intended to curtail any undue EN BANC influence of the lawyer upon his client on account of his fiduciary and confidential association [Sotto v. Required by this Court to answer the Bautista v. And in view of Canon 1 of the new Code ATTY. Thus. the Court finds sufficient grounds to suspend respondent from the practice of law Respondent’s contentions do not provide sufficient basis to for a period of three (3) months. Crisostomo It taxes this Court’s imagination that respondent disclaims C. complainant. participation in the execution of the prohibited contracts PER CURIAM: such as those referred to in Articles 1491 and 1646 of the In a verified complaint filed by Angel L.M. Tuason [88 Phil. nor participated in. WHEREFORE. property in litigation. At any rate. Considering thus the nature of the acts of misconduct committed by respondent. The prohibition referred to in SUPREME COURT Articles 1491 and 1646 of the new Civil Code. respondent Ramon A. the Court sustains the Solicitor General’s holding that there is no sufficient evidence on record to warrant a finding that respondent allowed the properties of the estate of Filomena Zerna involved herein to be leased to his family partnership at very low rental payments. whereby lawyers are RESOLUTION duty-bound to obey and uphold the laws of the land. including court fees. it is a matter for the court presiding over Special Proceedings No. July 15. 343 (1923)].

5. on November 27." Respondent filed an answer on September 29. 7512936. On April 11. 17-18. wherein Eusebio Lopez. Submitting to the Court of First Instance of Quezon City falsified documents purporting to be true copies of "Addendum to the Land Development Agreement dated August 30. reference to the IBP of complaints against lawyers is not mandatory upon the Court [Zaldivar v. 1988. containing additional arguments to bolster his contentions in his previous pleadings. report and recommendation. p. while respondent appeared both as witness and counsel and submitted Exhibits "1" to "11". Q-15143. G. 8. pp. he does not tell the truth either. respondent filed a supplemental motion to refer this case to the IBP. Q-15490. October 7. In the first place. Rollo. 1989 a motion to refer the case to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for investigation and disposition pursuant to Rule 139-B of the Revised Rules of Court. 8. concealing from complainant the fact that the property subject of their land development agreement had already been sold at a public auction prior to the execution of said agreement. 1988. Sandiganbayan. who was his former client. 1976 and an amended answer on November 18. without said case being terminated. misleading the court by submitting alleged true copies of a document where two signatories who had not signed the original (or even the xerox copy) were made to appear as having fixed their signatures [Report and Recommendation of the Solicitor General. while the case was still pending 4. the Court referred the case to the Office of the Solicitor General for investigation. 1971" and submitting the same document to the Fiscal's Office of Quezon City.R. 1971 for the development into a residential subdivision of the land involved in Civil Case No. 6. Nos. 7. which properties are the subject of the litigation in Civil Case No. T-1929. 5. 365]. 1988 respondent filed a motion to dismiss the complaint against him. Harassing the complainant by filing several complaints without legal basis before the Court of First Instance and the Fiscal's Office of Quezon City. claiming that he acquired fifty percent (50%) interest thereof as attorney's fees from the Fortunados. in connection with the complaint for estafa filed by respondent against complainant designated as I. covered by TCT No. 1989. Jr. Deliberately misleading the Court of First Instance and the Fiscal's Office by making false assertion of facts in his pleadings. 2. transferring to himself one-half of the properties of his clients during the pendency of the case where the properties were involved. On May 16. Complainant filed a reply to respondent's answer on December 29. 79690-707. 1977 respondent filed a rejoinder. G. Filing petitions "cleverly prepared (so) that while he does not intentionally tell a he. complainant presented himself as a witness and submitted Exhibits "A" to "PP". pp. the Court will dispose of the procedural issue raised by respondent. 3. The parties were required to submit their respective memoranda. Finally. 80578. Upon order of the Court. 403-404]. 1976. 1976 and on March 24. Record. in Civil Case No. 9. Respondent claims that the case should be referred to the IBP since Section 20 of Rule 139-B provides that: This Rule shall take effect on June 1.2. I. Reference of complaints to the IBP is not an exclusive procedure under the terms of Rule 139- . Ramon A. and c. by the Provincial Sheriff of Lanao del Norte and registered with the Register of Deeds of Iligan City.R. p. Jr. Inducing complainant. Acting as counsel for the Fortunados in Civil Case No. Respondent manifested that he intends to submit more evidence before the IBP. Gonzales. 7. Zaldivar v. the Solicitor General submitted his report with the recommendation that Atty. Respondent then filed on April 14. Gonzales be suspended for six (6) months. while knowing fully well that the said property was already sold at a public auction on June 30. b. Respondent filed a reply to the Solicitor General's comment on October 26. 9. the Solicitor General filed a comment to the motion to dismiss on August 8. is one of the defendants and. 1989. 3. 1971." [Comment of the Solicitor General. No.S. No. 4. explaining that the delay in the investigation of the case was due to the numerous requests for postponement of scheduled hearings filed by both parties and the motions for extension of time to file their respective memoranda. 1989 the Court required the Solicitor General to submit his report and recommendation within thirty (30) days from notice. acting as counsel for Eusebio Lopez. Q-15143. Q-15143. The Solicitor General found that respondent committed the following acts of misconduct: a. 1988]. contrary to respondent's claim. claiming that the long delay in the resolution of the complaint against him constitutes a violation of his constitutional right to due process and speedy disposition of cases. In the investigation conducted by the Solicitor General. Preliminarily. denying the accusations against him. 6. In a resolution dated March 16. All cases pending investigation by the Office of the Solicitor General shall be transferred to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines Board of Governors for investigation and disposition as provided in this Rule except those cases where the investigation has been substantially completed. 1988 and shall supersede the present Rule 139 entitled DISBARMENT OR SUSPENSION OF ATTORNEYS. Committing acts of treachery and disloyalty to complainant who was his client. Transferring to himself one-half of the properties of the Fortunados. 1983. to enter into a contract with him on August 30. 2. The above contention of respondent is untenable. In a resolution dated January 16. It is respondent's contention that the preliminary investigation conducted by the Solicitor General was limited to the determination of whether or not there is sufficient ground to proceed with the case and that under Rule 139 the Solicitor General still has to file an administrative complaint against him.

1988] the investigation conducted by the Office of the Solicitor General had been substantially completed. Nowhere is it provided . as well as with the client. Moreover. the investigation of which has not been substantially completed by the Office of the Solicitor General." On the other hand. 1491 of the Civil Code. Respondent's next contention that the transfer of the properties was not really implemented. it should be noted that the persons mentioned in Art. And it cannot be claimed that the new Code of Professional Responsibility has failed to emphasize the nature and consequences of such relationship. Villanueva. Canon 16 provides that "a lawyer shall hold in trust all moneys and properties of his client that may come into his possession.650 sq. a lawyer may be suspended or disbarred by the Supreme Court [Rule 138. Revised Rules of Court]. 3 of the Revised Rules of Court requires every lawyer to take an oath to 44 obey the laws [of the Republic of the Philippines] as well as the legal orders of the duly constituted authorities therein. In such a case. He therefore concludes that while a purchase by a lawyer of property in litigation is void under Art. The record shows that respondent prepared a document entitled "Transfer of Rights" which was signed by the Fortunados on August 31. notwithstanding the absence of a specific provision on the matter in the new Code. for and in consideration of his legal services to the latter. 1491 of the Civil Code. To refer the case to the IBP. In executing the document transferring one-half (1/2) of the subject properties to himself. Respondent's assertion that he still has some evidence to present does not warrant the referral of the case to the IBP. T-1929. there is no need to refer the case to the IBP since at the time of the effectivity of Rule 139-B [June 1. Canon 17 states that "a lawyer owes fidelity to the cause of his client and he shall be mindful of the trust and confidence reposed in him. The very first Canon of the new Code states that "a lawyer shall uphold the Constitution. 248 (1940)]. In this case the investigation by the Solicitor General was terminated even before the effectivity of Rule 139-B. The Court will now address the substantive issue of whether or not respondent committed the acts of misconduct alleged by complainant Bautista. shall be transferred to the IBP. as prayed for by the respondent. The document assigned to respondent one-half (1/2) of the properties of the Fortunados covered by TCT No. Record.B of the Revised Rules of Court [Ibid]. Secondly. 1986. II. considering the abovequoted provisions of the new Code in relation to Art. the date when respondent submitted his reply memorandum [Motion to Dismiss.. the report and recommendation of the investigating official shall be reviewed directly by the Supreme Court. because the land development agreement on which the transfer depended was later rescinded. 774 (1920). obey the laws of the land and promote respect for law and legal process" (Emphasis supplied). Sec. There was therefore no denial of procedural due process. 1491 of the Civil Code are prohibited from purchasing the property mentioned therein because of their existing trust relationship with the latter." Hence. 12. the Court finds that respondent committed acts of misconduct which warrant the exercise by this Court of its disciplinary power. Rollo. respondent notes that Canon 10 of the old Canons of Professional Ethics. This contention is without merit. respondent. In the instant case. as well as the prevailing jurisprudence. The transgression of any provision of law by a lawyer is a repulsive and reprehensible act which the Court will not countenance. his failure to adduce additional evidence is entirely his own fault. is untenable. p. 70 Phil. This Court has held that the purchase by a lawyer of his client's property or interest in litigation is a breach of professional ethics and constitutes malpractice [Hernandez v. mm." And for any violation of this oath. respondent violated the law expressly prohibiting a lawyer from acquiring his client's property or interest involved in any litigation in which he may take part by virtue of his profession [Article 1491. Go Beltran v. and TCT No. p. However. T-3041. Parenthetically. respondent knew that the abovementioned properties were the subject of a civil case [Civil Case No. with an area of 72. p. Thirdly. At the time the document was executed. holds that the purchase by a lawyer of his client's property in litigation constitutes a breach of professional ethics for which a disciplinary action may be brought against him. having violated Art. He was also allowed to cross-examine the complainant who appeared as a witness against him. 1491 of the Civil Code. Respondent himself admitted in his motion to dismiss that the Solicitor General terminated the investigation on November 26. the Court. Considering that in the investigation conducted by the Solicitor General respondent was given ample opportunity to present evidence. m. The Court shall base its final action on the case on the report and recommendation submitted by the investigating official and the evidence presented by the parties during the investigation. Fernandez. must be held accountable both to his client and to society. Sec. Q-15143] pending before the Court of First Instance of Quezon City since he was acting as counsel for the Fortunados in said case [See Annex "B" of Original Complaint. will result not only in duplication of the proceedings conducted by the Solicitor General but also to further delay in the disposition of the present case which has lasted for more than thirteen (13) years. 353]. 16]. with an area of 239. 27. Under Sections 13 and 14 of Rule 139-B. All of these underscore the role of the lawyer as the vanguard of our legal system. such purchase is no longer a ground for disciplinary action under the new Code of Professional Responsibility. 1. which states that "[t]he lawyer should not purchase any interests in the subject matter of the litigation which he is conducting. 40 Phil. p. The record shows that respondent appeared as witness for himself and presented no less than eleven (11) documents to support his contentions. A lawyer is disqualified from acquiring by purchase the property and rights in litigation because of his fiduciary relationship with such property and rights. Section 20 of Rule 139-B provides that only pending cases. 1971.907 sq. there is no need for further investigation since the Office of the Solicitor General already made a thorough and comprehensive investigation of the case. Rule 138.. After a careful review of the record of the case and the report and recommendation of the Solicitor General. New Civil Code]." does not appear anymore in the new Code of Professional Responsibility. the Supreme Court may conduct disciplinary proceedings without the intervention of the IBP by referring cases for investigation to the Solicitor General or to any officer of the Supreme Court or judge of a lower court.

serves as constructive notice to complainant so that there was no concealment on his part. 1977 while the public auction was held on June 30. It is clear from the foregoing that the parties intended the transfer of the properties to respondent to be absolute and unconditional. advance the expenses of litigation. as indicated by the letters (SGD. Adm. Gonzales [signed] [Annex A to the Complaint. Fortunado [signed]CONFORME • Ramon A. 394]. finds that the agreement between the respondent and the Fortunados. the alleged true copy of the addendum as of May 23. and Angel L. Thus. Based on evidence submitted by the parties. T-1929. we hereby. T-1929 and this. Rollo. February 22. 1973. 1973 as Annex "A" of his Manifestation filed with the Court of First Instance of Quezon City. p. The last paragraph of the Transfer of Rights provides that: . Fortunado. he had no duty to warn complainant of the fact that the land involved in their land development agreement had been sold at a public auction.Alfaro T. Rule 138. that the land covered by TCT No. Even assuming that the certificate of sale was annotated at the back of TCT No. Quezon City. Respondent claims that since complainant was not his client. 1972. Case No. The fact that complainant was not a former client of respondent does not exempt respondent from his duty to inform complainant of an important fact pertaining to the land which is subject of their negotiation. Record. 1971. the Solicitor General found that in the document filed by respondent with the Court of First Instance of Quezon City. 4-6. Alfaro T. he knowingly misled the Court into believing that the original addendum was signed by Edith Fortunado and Nestor Fortunado. [See also Rule 16. Complainant also charges respondent with submitting to the court falsified documents purporting to be true copies of an addendum to the land development agreement. 166 F. Editha T. and assigns. Ramon A. rendered to our entire satisfaction. v. This Court has held that a lawyer should observe honesty and fairness even in his private dealings and failure to do so is a ground for disciplinary action against him [Custodio v. the fact remains that respondent failed to inform the complainant of the sale of the land to Samauna during the negotiations for the land development agreement. one-half (1/2) of our rights and interests in the abovedescribed property. Revised Rules of Court. the same should be subject to reimbursement. Code of Professional Responsibility]. for and in consideration of the legal services of ATTY. is contrary to Canon 42 of the Canons of Professional Ethics which provides that a lawyer may not properly agree with a client to pay or bear the expenses of litigation. asking them to sign the said xerox copyattached to the letter and to send it back to him after signing [Rejoinder to Complainant's Reply. Fortunado. 324 (1958)]. The above contentions are unmeritorious. GONZALES. claiming that his appearance for the complainant in an anti-graft case filed by the latter against a certain Gilbert Teodoro was upon the request of complainant and was understood to be only provisional. the sale was duly annotated at the back of TCT No. Supp. Anent the first charge of complainant. 1978. married to Lilia Yusay. Since he was a party to the land development agreement. 16]. which provides in part that: We the [Fortunados] agree on the 50% contingent fee. Gonzales. Such agreements are against public policy especially where. the Solicitor General found that no impropriety was committed by respondent in entering into a contingent fee contract with the Fortunados [Report and Recommendation. 327-329]. However.S. when respondent submitted the alleged true copy of the addendum on May 23.) before each of their names. In so doing. 2) and the two other parties. pp. Code of Professional Responsibility]. Rule 10. Such conduct constitutes willful disregard of his solemn duty as a lawyer to act at all times in a manner consistent with the truth. p. at the time the land development agreement was entered into.. U.04. A lawyer should never seek to mislead the court by an artifice or false statement of fact or law [Section 20 (d). for the suit. Fortunado. 2-A) after respondent wrote them on May 24. 1113. 4]. by these presents. do transfer and convey to the said ATTY.. An agreement whereby an attorney agrees to pay expenses of proceedings to enforce the client's rights is champertous [JBP Holding Corp. however. provided. p. Fortunado [signed]Nestor T. Canon 10. Bautista—were made to appear as having signed the original document on December 9. his heirs. Esto. Edith Fortunado and Nestor Fortunado. 81 SCRA 517]. GONZALES.01. 28. and a resident of 23 Sunrise Hill. respondent should have warned the complainant of the sale of the land at a public auction so that the latter could make a proper assessment of the viability of the project they were jointly undertaking. together with all the improvements found therein [Annex D of the Complaint. Filipino.in the Transfer of Rights that the assignment of the properties of the Fortunados to respondent was subject to the implementation of the land development agreement. successor. pp. Fortunado [signed] Editha T. respondent argues. Canon 22. RAMON A. but had not actually signed. The agreement between respondent and the Fortunados. respondent acknowledged that Edith and Nestor Fortunado had merely agreed by phone to sign. 1973 [Respondent's Supplemental Motion to Refer this Case to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines. Another misconduct committed by respondent was his failure to disclose to complainant. you [respondent Ramon Gonzales] defray all expenses. p. it was only respondent Alfaro Fortunado and complainant who signed the original and duplicate original (Exh. never did. Even respondent himself admitted that Edith and Nestor Fortunado only signed the xerox copy (Exh. p. Moreover. Canons of Professional Ethics. 8. including court fees. as in this . Record. Nestor T. Although a lawyer may in good faith. Moreover. Respondent denies that complainant was his former client. T-1929 had already been sold at a public auction. The Court. however. the signatories to the addendum to the land development agreement namely. RAMON A. The land development agreement was executed on August 31. Emphasis supplied]. New Manila. respondent failed to live up to the rigorous standards of ethics of the law profession which place a premium on honesty and condemn duplicitous conduct. Record. and irrespective of whether or not the land development agreement was implemented. does not provide for reimbursement to respondent of litigation expenses paid by him.

case. in Civil Case No. Grounds 6. Complainant also claims that respondent filed several complaints against him before the Court of First Instance and the Fiscal's Office of Quezon City for the sole purpose of harassing him. for which the former must incur administrative sanctions.. WHEREFORE. Let copies of this Resolution be circulated to all courts of the country for their information and guidance. In a Memorandum dated February 20. The Solicitor General next concludes that respondent cannot be held liable for acting as counsel for Eusebio Lopez. et al. Code of Professional Responsibility]. 1996. JJ. Adm. 255 F. July 29. Jr. No. after considering the record. Gutierrez. dated June 23. respondent lawyer should be suspended from the practice of law for a period of six (6) months. Gonzales committed serious misconduct. The affidavit executed by the Fortunados on June 23.. C. 647]. 198]. Padilla. Sworn to assist in the administration of justice and to uphold the rule of law. 1997. As to Civil Case No. provided the foreign courts action is by reason of an act or omission constituting deceit. Civil Case No. Jr. Paras. The determination of the validity of the complaint in Civil Case No. Canon 15. 242 (1918)]. Canons of Professional Ethics. July 30. 2004] IN RE: SUSPENSION FROM THE PRACTICE OF LAW IN THE TERRITORY OF GUAM OF ATTY. pp. The Solicitor General found no basis for holding that the complaints for libel and perjury were used by respondent to harass complainant. considering that it was still pending resolution. respectively [Report and Recommendation. Sarmiento.M.[2] a disciplinary case filed by the Guam Bar Ethics Committee against Maquera. finding that respondent Attorney Ramon A. Q-15143. 793. One of the recognized exceptions to the rule against representation of conflicting interests is where the clients knowingly consent to the dual representation after full disclosure of the facts by counsel [Canon 6. grossly immoral conduct. while the complaints for libel (I. Erlinda C. Gonzales.[5] the Bar . 163 SCRA 638.[1] the District Court of Guam informed this Court of the suspension of Atty. The Court. MAQUERA RESOLUTION TINGA. Rollo. Q-18060. 76-5912) and perjury (I. 8 and 9 alleged in the complaint need not be discussed separately since the above discussion on the other grounds sufficiently cover these remaining grounds. The Court finds clearly established in this case that on four counts the respondent violated the law and the rules governing the conduct of a member of the legal profession. Up to this juncture. Motion Pictures Patents Co. considering the nature of the offenses committed by respondent and the facts and circumstances of the case. Narvasa. Feliciano.03.[3] Under Section 27. then Bar Confidant Atty. No.S. Bidin and Cortes.." [Artiaga v.S.[4] Pursuant to this Courts directive in its Resolution dated March 18. The record shows that at the time of the Solicitor General's investigation of this case. Maquera (Maquera) from the practice of law in Guam for two (2) years pursuant to the Decision rendered by the Superior Court of Guam on May 7. [Affidavit of Fortunados. in Civil Case No.. 5913) were already dismissed by the City Fiscal for insufficiency of evidence and lack of interest. Jr. Medialdea. where he has also been admitted as an attorney. Cruz. the attorney has agreed to carry on the action at his own expense in consideration of some bargain to have part of the thing in dispute [See Sampliner v. Q-15490 while acting as counsel for the Fortunados against the same Eusebio Lopez. Q-18060 was left to the Court of First Instance of Quezon City where the case was pending resolution. pp.J. 1996. and accordingly holds that there is no basis for holding that the respondent's sole purpose in filing the aforementioned cases was to harass complainant. 402-403].. Q15490 was with the knowledge and consent of the Fortunados. malpractice or other gross misconduct. No. he has "miserably failed to live up to the standards expected of a member of the Bar. concur. is also a ground for his disbarment or suspension in this realm. took no part. its reach and breadth have not undergone the test of an unsettled case. The Court agrees with the Solicitor General that. Regalado. Fernan.. Villanueva. and spread in the personal record of Atty. Jr. 1996 in Special Proceedings Case No. 1976. Matter No. or a violation of the lawyers oath. The Court referred the matter of Maqueras suspension in Guam to the Bar Confidant for comment in its Resolution dated November 19. Rule 15. p. Melencio-Herrera. Griño-Aquino.: May a member of the Philippine Bar who was disbarred or suspended from the practice of law in a foreign jurisdiction where he has also been admitted as an attorney be meted the same sanction as a member of the Philippine Bar for the same infraction committed in the foreign jurisdiction? There is a Rule of Court provision covering this cases central issue. Leon G. 1892. Rule 138 of the Revised Rules of Court. The evidence presented by respondent shows that his acceptance of Civil Case No. the Solicitor General made no finding on complainants claim that it was a mere ploy by respondent to harass him. ========================================== EN BANC [B. the disbarment or suspension of a member of the Philippine Bar in a foreign jurisdiction. 1988. J. LEON G. Verzosa recommended that the Court obtain copies of the record of Maqueras case since the documents transmitted by the Guam District Court do not contain the factual and legal bases for Maqueras suspension and are thus insufficient to enable her to determine whether Maqueras acts or omissions which resulted in his suspension in Guam are likewise violative of his oath as a member of the Philippine Bar. In a Letter dated August 20. JJ. Rollo. agrees with the Solicitor General's findings on the matter. The Court agrees with the above findings of the Solicitor General. 1997. Q-18060 was still pending before the Court of First Instance of Quezon City. SO ORDERED. The execution of these contracts violates the fiduciary relationship between the lawyer and his client. 1976 clearly states that they gave their consent when respondent accepted the case of Eusebio Lopez. Gancayco. the Court Resolved to SUSPEND respondent from the practice of law for SIX (6) months effective from the date of his receipt of this Resolution. SP007594. 16-17.

The court also ordered him to take the MPRE upon his admission during the hearings of his case that he was aware of the requirements of the Model Rules regarding business transactions between an attorney and his client in a very general sort of way. (2) ordered to return to Castro the difference between the sale price of the property to the Changs and the amount due him for legal services rendered to Castro.8(a)[20] of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct (Model Rules) in force in Guam. [15] On January 8. [13] At the auction sale. the Committee filed a Petition in the Superior Court of Guam praying that Maquera be sanctioned for violations of Rules 1. Maquera had the title to the property transferred in his name. 1997. 1988. Chang and C.[14] On December 21.[18] Subsequently. 2003. Castros property subject of the case. On October 18.Confidant sent a letter dated November 13. and understood by the client and reduced in writing. entered into an oral agreement with Maquera and assigned his right of redemption in favor of the latter. the IBP still resolved to suspend him indefinitely for his failure to pay his annual dues as a member of the IBP since 1977.000. and are fully disclosed to.S. It also held that Maquera profited too much from the eventual transfer of Castros property to him since he was able to sell the same to the Changs with more than US$200. he contended that the transaction was made three days following the alleged termination of the attorney-client relationship between them. XVI-2003-110. The Committee further alleged that Maquera himself admitted his failure to comply with the requirement in Rule 1. however. 1987.[8] The IBP sent Maquera a Notice of Hearing requiring him to appear before the IBPs Commission on Bar Discipline on July 28. The right of redemption could be exercised by paying the amount of the judgment debt within the aforesaid period. which states: . The court found that the attorney-client relationship between Maquera and Castro was not yet completely terminated when they entered into the oral agreement to transfer Castros right of redemption to Maquera on December 21.[17] On January 15.S.S.00. he was admitted to the practice of law in the territory of Guam.00). Thereafter.[7] Thereafter. 1997 to the District Court of Guam requesting for certified copies of the record of the disciplinary case against Maquera and of the rules violated by him.[9] However. 1988. the Committee claimed that Maquera obtained an unreasonably high fee for his services. Rule 139-A of the Revised Rules of Court. 1992.00 in satisfaction of the judgment debt.00).[23] On May 7.000. which failure is. the Superior Court of Guam rendered its Decision[24] suspending Maquera from the practice of law in Guam for a period of two (2) years and ordering him to take the Multi-State Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) within that period. It also recommended that other jurisdictions be informed that Maquera has been subject to disciplinary action by the Superior Court of Guam.[26] However.[22] Maquera did not deny that Castro executed a quitclaim deed to the property in his favor as compensation for past legal services and that the transaction. was to be sold at a public auction in satisfaction of his obligation to Benavente. obtained a judgment against Castro in a civil case. 1996. except for the deed itself.5[19] and 1. as he acquired his clients property as payment for his legal services. Maquera exercised Castros right of redemption by paying Benavente US$525. the creditor of a certain Castro. with all but thirty (30) days of the period of suspension deferred. 1987. Maqueras case was referred by the Court to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for investigation report and recommendation within sixty (60) days from the IBPs receipt of the case records. Guam and did not leave any forwarding address. was oral and was not made pursuant to a prior written agreement. Dollars (US$500. In its Petition.[25] On the basis of the Decision of the Superior Court of Guam. However. the IBP submitted to the Court its Report and Recommendation and its Resolution No. a ground for removal of the name of the delinquent member from the Roll of Attorneys under Section 10. (3) required to pay the costs of the disciplinary proceedings. Edward Benavente.C. 1994.Maquera served as Castros counsel in said case. He was suspended from the practice of law in Guam for misconduct. Benavente purchased Castros property for Five Hundred U.[11] The IBP found that Maquera was admitted to the Philippine Bar on February 28.000. the amount which Castro was adjudged to pay him. then sold it and as a consequence obtained an unreasonably high fee for handling his clients case.[16] On December 31. the Superior Court of Guam stated that on August 6. Chang for Three Hundred Twenty Thousand U.[21] The Committee recommended that Maquera be: (1) suspended from the practice of law in Guam for a period of two [2] years. 1974. the notice was returned unserved because Maquera had already moved from his last known address in Agana. whereas his legal fees for services rendered to Castro amounted only to US$45. as amended by Supreme Court Resolution dated February 13. indefinitely suspending Maquera from the practice of law within the Philippines until and unless he updates and pays his IBP membership dues in full. 1998. and (4) publicly reprimanded.Castro. Castro. a parcel of land. 1987. however. retained the right of redemption over the property for one year.8 (a) of the Model Rules that a lawyer shall not enter into a business transaction with a client or knowingly acquire a pecuniary interest adverse to a client unless the transaction and the terms governing the lawyers acquisition of such interest are fair and reasonable to the client. Dollars (US$320. the Guam Bar Ethics Committee (Committee) conducted hearings regarding Maqueras alleged misconduct. 1958.[10] On October 9. in consideration of Maqueras legal services in the civil case involving Benavente.[12] In its Decision. Rule 138 of the Revised Rules of Court. the IBP concluded that although the said court found Maquera liable for misconduct.00 in profit. and that the property did not constitute an exorbitant fee for his legal services to Castro. in turn. Maquera sold the property to C. there is no evidence to establish that [Maquera] committed a breach of ethics in the Philippines.[6] The Court received certified copies of the record of Maqueras case from the District Court of Guam on December 8.[27] The power of the Court to disbar or suspend a lawyer for acts or omissions committed in a foreign jurisdiction is found in Section 27.

at that only if the basis of the foreign courts action includes any of the grounds for disbarment or suspension in this jurisdiction.[32] The Superior Court of Guam also hinted that Maqueras acquisition of Castros right of redemption. specifically. The disbarment or suspension of a member of the Philippine Bar by a competent court or other disciplinatory agency in a foreign jurisdiction where he has also been admitted as an attorney is a ground for his disbarment or suspension if the basis of such action includes any of the acts hereinabove enumerated. In that case. or for any violation of the oath which he is required to take before admission to practice. [29] the prohibition extends to sales in legal redemption. or at the latters behest. as it is not certain that he did receive the Notice of Hearing earlier sent by the IBPs Commission on Bar Discipline. Canon 17 which states that [a] lawyer owes fidelity to the cause of his client and shall be mindful the trust and confidence reposed in him. The Superior Court of Guam found that Maquera acquired his clients property by exercising the right of redemption previously assigned to him by the client in payment of his legal services. The court held that since the assignment of the right of redemption to Maquera was in payment for his legal services. may be sent to him.000. and Rule 1. violate Philippine law or the standards of ethical behavior for members of the Philippine Bar and thus constitute grounds for his suspension or disbarment in this jurisdiction. and of the rights of both. Said rule mandates that a respondent lawyer must in all cases be notified of the charges against him. which must necessarily exist between attorney and client.Section 27. The practice of soliciting cases at law for the purpose of gain. or by reason of his conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude. and. subsequently selling the property for a huge profit. this time specifically informing him of the charges against him and requiring him to explain why he should not be suspended or disbarred on those grounds (through this Resolution). by virtue of his office. exercising the right of redemption. constitutes malpractice. malpractice. the acts which led to his suspension in Guam are mere grounds for disbarment or suspension in this jurisdiction. The Court ruled that the lawyers acquisition of the property of his clients under the circumstances obtaining therein rendered him liable for malpractice. he is liable for misconduct for accepting payment for his legal services way beyond his actual fees which amounted only to US$45. Nevertheless. the attorney acquired his clients property subject of a case where he was acting as counsel pursuant to a deed of sale executed by his clients in his favor. there is a need to ascertain Maqueras current and correct address in Guam in order that another notice.00 as of December 21. He contended that the sale was made at the instance of his clients because they had no money to pay him for his services.[35] Likewise. namely: acquiring by assignment Castros right of redemption over the property subject of the civil case where Maquera appeared as counsel for him. Under Section 27. Such acts are violative of a lawyers sworn duty to act with fidelity toward his clients. either personally or through paid agents or brokers.220. The judgment. Maqueras acts in Guam which resulted in his two (2)-year suspension from the practice of law in that jurisdiction are also valid grounds for his suspension from the practice of law in the Philippines. an attorney may easily take advantage of the credulity and ignorance of his client[30] and unduly enrich himself at the expense of his client. Thus. or other gross misconduct in such office. and his act of selling the redeemed property for huge profits were tainted with deceit and bad faith when it concluded that Maquera charged Castro an exorbitant fee for his legal services.[37] The Court notes that Maquera has not yet been able to adduce evidence on his behalf regarding the charges of unethical behavior in Guam against him. his subsequent exercise of said right. The case of In re: Ruste[31] illustrates the significance of the aforementioned prohibition. resolution or order of the foreign court or disciplinary agency shall be prima facie evidence of the ground for disbarment or suspension (Emphasis supplied). and since the property redeemed by him had a market value of US$248. Paragraph 5 of Article 1491[28] prohibits the lawyers acquisition by assignment of the clients property which is the subject of the litigation handled by the lawyer. [33] It bears stressing that the Guam Superior Courts judgment ordering Maqueras suspension from the practice of law in Guam does not automatically result in his suspension or disbarment in the Philippines. They are also violative of the Code of Professional Responsibility.00.01 which prohibits lawyers from engaging in unlawful. It is only after reasonable notice and failure on the part of the respondent lawyer to appear during the scheduled investigation that an investigation may be conducted ex parte. Under Article 1492. The prohibition ordained in paragraph 5 of Article 1491 and Article 1492 is founded on public policy because. or for a willful disobedience appearing as attorney for a party to a case without authority to do so. In either case an attorney occupies a vantage position to press upon or dictate his terms to a harassed client. as contended by the complainant. [36] More fundamentally. dishonest. is of no moment. the Court agrees with the IBP that Maquera should be suspended from the practice of law . grounds therefor. as contended by the respondent. The requirement of good moral character is not only a condition precedent to admission to the Philippine Bar but is also a continuing requirement to maintain ones goods standing in the legal profession. The Court must therefore determine whether Maqueras acts. 1987 (the date when the right of redemption was assigned to him). Disbarment or suspension of attorneys by Supreme Court. due process demands that he be given the opportunity to defend himself and to present testimonial and documentary evidence on the matter in an investigation to be conducted in accordance with Rule 139-B of the Revised Rules of Court. in breach of the rule so amply protective of the confidential relations. Such transaction falls squarely under Article 1492 in relation to Article 1491.[34] Rule 138 of the Revised Rules of Court. paragraph 5 of the Civil Code of the Philippines. grossly immoral conduct. the judgment of the Superior Court of Guam only constitutes prima facie evidence of Maqueras unethical acts as a lawyer. immoral or deceitful conduct.A member of the bar may be disbarred or suspended from his office as attorney by the Supreme Court for any deceit. The Court held: Whether the deed of sale in question was executed at the instance of the spouses driven by financial necessity.

Id. Corona. Carpio-Morales. QUESADA. Quisumbing. Maquera in Guam and to serve upon him a copy of this Resolution. CV No. Let a copy of this Resolution be attached to Atty. and default in such payment for one year shall be ground for removal of the name of the delinquent member from the Roll of Attorneys. the client consents in writing thereto. Id.. the client is given a reasonable opportunity too seek the advice of independent counsel in the transaction. Maquera is SUSPENDED from the practice of law for ONE (1) YEAR or until he shall have paid his membership dues.J. Puno. HEIRS OF RUFINA MORALES. 1961. security or other pecuniary interest adverse to a client unless: 1. possessory.concur. p. In compliance with the req[1]uirements for the admissibility of public documents issued by a foreign jurisdiction under Sections 24 and 25 in relation to Section 19(a). 1998. Id.R. [5] In said Resolution. 53632. JJ. and 3. [13] Decision of the Superior Court of Guam dated May 7. at 14-15. 1. Court directed the Bar Confidant to obtain copies of the entire record of Maqueras case from the appropriate authorities in Guam.. 1996. andReyes. In the meantime. [15] Id.[38]Under Section 10. [7] Report of the Bar Confidant dated January 21. Atty. 1998. Panganiban..R. J. The Bar Confidant is directed to locate the current and correct address of Atty. Atty. [16] Id. Azcuna. Leon G.for non-payment of his IBP membership dues from 1977 up to the present. SO ORDERED. Carpio. Austria-Martinez. C. Id. (Chairperson). Rule 139-A of the Revised Rules of Court. Branch 6. ERLINDA V.5 prohibits a lawyer from obtaining an unreasonably high fee for his services (Rollo. 2005 in CA-G. 2008 x --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------. 170115 Petitioner. Respondents. JJ. and ChicoNazario. Ynares-Santiago. at 50. A lawyer shall not enter into a business transaction with a client or knowingly acquire an ownership. the transaction and terms on which the lawyer acquires the interest are fair and reasonable to the client and are fully disclosed and transmitted in writing to the client in a manner which can reasonably be understood by the client. Rollo. p. non-payment of membership dues for six (6) months shall warrant suspension of membership in the IBP. [8] En Banc Resolution dated February 10.[39] WHEREFORE. p. Maqueras personal record in the Office of the Bar Confidant and copies be furnished to all chapters of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and to all courts in the land. [11] Id. v. G. within fifteen (15) days from receipt of this Resolution. 11. in Civil Case No. [9] Notice of Hearing dated June 24. 1998. PANOPIO. Maquera. Sandoval-Gutierrez. at 65. [10] IBP Report and Recommendation. Jr. 52). at 20 and 33). [4] Id. NAMELY: FELOMINA V. [2] Guam Bar Ethics Committee. why he should not be suspended or disbarred for his acts which gave rise to the disciplinary proceedings against him in the Superior Court of Guam and his subsequent suspension in said jurisdiction. 2. 2005 denying the motion for reconsideration.* Nachura. petitioner. Id. .5 of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct but the Decision of the Guam Superior Court states that Rule 1. [6] Rollo. [20] Rule 1.Corona. [12] Id.versus . at 69-70. on leave. [18] Id [19] The record of the case does not contain a copy of the text of Rule 1. at 40. petitioner Province of Cebu leased[4] in favor of Rufina Morales a 210-square meter . On September 27.. NENITA VILLANUEVA. p. ADRIANO and CATALINA V. Maquera is required to SHOW CAUSE..8 (a). 16. respondent. Callejo. Leon G. J.. whichever comes later. Davide. J. [3] Rollo.: This is a petition for review on certiorari of the Decision[1] of the Court of Appeals dated March 29. Sr. No. at 39. the Deputy Clerk of Court of the District Court of Guam certified that the documents comprising the record of Maqueras case transmitted to this Court are true copies of the original on file with the District Court of Guam (See Id. Present: Ynares-Santiago. Also assailed is the Resolution[3] datedAugust 31. [14] Ibid. (Ibid) ========================================== THIRD DIVISION PROVINCE OF CEBU. at 72. AustriaMartinez. Rule 132 of the Revised Rules of Court. Promulgated: February 19.x DECISION YNARES-SANTIAGO. which affirmed in toto the Decision[2] of the Regional Trial Court of Cebu City. [17] Id. CEB-11140 for specific performance and reconveyance of property.

it was deemed to have waived its right to present evidence. 646-A which the City of Cebu divided into sub-lots. agreed downpayment. and this could be the into by the City of Cebu and that the lot was inadvertently reason why the lot in question was returned to petitioner under the compromise judgment in among those reverted to the Province. 104310 in the name of petitioner be cancelled.[15] right to ask for the conveyance of the property to them.[18] provided for the return of the donated lots to petitioner except those that have already been utilized by the City of Cebu.[7] to the plaintiffs as heirs of Rufina Morales. the city sold Lot No. of said case due to confusion as to whom and where payment should be made. for which Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. On May 7. she was not able to make any by Rufina Morales with her bid and was other payments on the balance of the purchase price for granted the award for which she paid the the lot. The area occupied by Morales was thereafter denominated as Lot No. Civil Case No. Panopio.[14] plaintiffs being the heirs or successorsin-interest of Rufina Morales.[10] Apart from the that public auction sale. Adriano. petitioner filed an action for reversion of execute the necessary deed in favor of donation against the City of Cebu docketed as Civil Case said plaintiffs. 104310. which was docketed as Civil Case No. It has respondent Catalina V.[9] [T]he Court is convinced that there was already a consummated sale between the City of Cebu and Rufina Morales died on February 20. and in this connection.[11] This was followed by another letter of the No. of Cebu. the trial court held thus: to petitioner and registered in its name under TCT No. It cannot be gainsaid that at that time the owner of On March 11. There was the offer to sell in pendency of Civil Case No. 1969 during the Morales.Hence. one of the nieces of Morales.Subsequently or sometime in 1964.[16] Petitioner filed its answer but failed to present evidence despite several opportunities given thus. Lot No. It was accepted deposit and down payment. 646-A-3 was returned In ruling for the respondents. the defendant is well as Morales sister. the defendant Province of Cebu.00 defendant must respect. hereby [6] Morales thus paid the required deposit and partial directing the latter to convey Lot 646-A-3 payment for the lot. No. They alleged that they could not the sellers obligation under the contract pay the balance of the purchase price during the pendency . 1996. Rufina Morales representing the balance of the purchase price which had a vested right over the property. They thus prayed that judgment be rendered ordering petitioner to execute a final deed of absolute sale in their favor. Quesada. 30883[5] was issued in favor of the City of Cebu.[8] The agreement SO ORDERED. 238-BC. Rama. 646-A-3 was Hever Bascon but Morales was WHEREFORE. 1974. the dispositive part of which reads: money for infrastructure projects. petitioner donated several parcels of land to the City of Cebu. The compromise same tenor datedOctober 10. Gullas asking for the formal that public auction sale. Defendant did not against petitioner. have the Panopio died shortly after the complaint was filed. it the Regional Trial Court of Cebu City. the property was the City of Cebu. the sales or disposition made by the City together with the other nieces of Morales namely. 238-BC. Pursuant thereto. Quesada. 1986 addressed to Governor agreement between the parties therein Osmundo G. 646-A-3 to Morales surviving heirs. The donation by conveyance of Lot No. 1965. filed an action bound by the contract lawfully entered for specific performance and reconveyance of property into by the former. of Cebu entered into a compromise agreement which the court approved on July 17.lot which formed part of Lot No. While it may be true that the title of the property still remained Respondents averred that the award at public auction of in the name of the City of Cebu until full the lot to Morales was a valid and binding contract entered payment is made.[12] on the basis of which judgment was rendered did not provide nullification of The requests remained unheeded thus. The petitioner allegedly refused to accept. 646-A of the Banilad Estate. 238-BC before Branch 7 of the then Court of First Instance of Cebu. petitioner and the City No pronouncement as to costs. and that TCT No. Being virtually successor-inrespondents Nenita Villanueva and Erlinda V. 646-A3.[13] They also stands as a perfectly valid contract which consigned with the court the amount of P13. judgment is rendered in allowed to match the highest bid since she had a favor of the plaintiffs and against preferential right to the lot as actual occupant thereof. 1983. initiate any move to invalidate the sale CEB-11140 before Branch 6 of for one reason or another. 646-A-3 as well as On March 6. the trial court rendered the other donated lots at public auction in order to raise judgment. Among those donated was Lot No. as interest of City of Cebu. the defendant Province of Cebu to Cebu in accordance with the award earlier made by the City City was not voided in that Civil Case of Cebu.450. 1974. wrote to then Cebu the absolute right to dispose of it thru Governor Eduardo R. 238-BC.[17] On July 19. Felomina V. The highest bidder for Lot No. to In the meantime.

The latter had paid the deposit and downpayment for the lot in accordance with the terms of the bid award. As correctly found by the appellate court. was qualified and had the right to match the highest bid is a foregone matter that could have been questioned when the award was made. petitioner erroneously contends that the pertaining to Lot No. petitioner filed the instant A sale by public auction is perfected when the petition under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. transferred to. HAVE merely stepped into the shoes of the highest bidder. AS HER HEIRS. She first occupied the property as a lessee in 1961. 646-A-3. On petitioner under the compromise judgment. and (3) price certain in money or its AGAINST RESPONDENTS. the contract of sale between the City of Cebu and Morales was also partially consummated. who later became its price is evidence that there was really no contract of sale owner before the same was erroneously returned to over the lot between Morales and the City of Cebu. PETITIONERS. The elements of a valid contract of sale under Article 1458 of the Civil Code are: FINDING THAT LACHES AND/OR (1) consent or meeting of the minds. and assumed by. as perfected regardless of the absence of a formal deed successor-in-interest of the City of Cebu. Subject to the provisions of the Statute of Frauds. built a house thereon and was continuously in possession of the lot as its owner . it is safe to assume. AND THAT THE price.[23] All these elements were present in the transaction between the City of Cebu and Morales. The contract of FINDING THAT RUFINA MORALES AND sale was nevertheless perfected as to Morales. This is true notwithstanding the vendor to either demand specific performance or failure of Morales and respondents to pay the balance of rescission of the contract of sale. Contract of Purchase and Sale was ever executed by the parties. governing the form of contracts. THE SALE WAS IN at the moment there is a meeting of minds upon the thing EFFECT CLOSED FOR ALL LEGAL which is the object of the contract and upon the PURPOSES. for all legal purposes. alleging that auctioneer announces its perfection by the fall of the the appellate court erred in: hammer or in other customary manner. It is then bound by such contract.[24] For as long as the essential elements of a contract of sale are proved to The petition lacks merit. is bound to evidencing the same. the defendant Province of Cebu. the purchase price. Consequently. Thus. since she RESPONDENTS. such that each party could reciprocally FINDING THAT WITH THE DEPOSIT demand performance of the contract from the other. respect the contract of sale entered into by the latter Similarly. the fact that there was an agreed price for tantamount to a perfected contract of sale between the lot proves that a contract of sale was indeed Morales and the City of Cebu. that all requirements for a valid public auction Petitioner appealed to the Court of Appeals which affirmed sale were complied with. The award is the contrary. Whether Morales. exist in a given transaction. Morales. (2) determinate PRESCRIPTION ARE NOT APPLICABLE subject matter.[22] A AND PARTIAL PAYMENT MADE BY contract of sale is a consensual contract and is perfected RUFINA MORALES. Petitioner can no longer assail the award of the lot to Morales on the ground that she had no right to match the highest bid during the public auction. while partial payment of the perfected between the parties.was. When the City of Cebu awarded the lot to Morales. equivalent. but merely gave rise to a right in favor of the of the lot to the latter. The subject lot was auctioned in 1965 or more than four decades ago and was never questioned. THE RIGHT TO EQUAL THE BID OF THE HIGHEST BIDDER OF THE SUBJECT PROPERTY AS LESSEES THEREOF. as actual occupant and/or lessee of the lot. Upon denial of its motion for reconsideration.[21] It does not matter that Morales merely matched the bid of the highest bidder at the said auction sale. as the appellate court did. Failure to pay the balance purchase price and actual occupation of the property by of the purchase price did not render the sale inexistent or Morales and respondents effectively transferred ownership invalid.[25] It did not abolish the contract of sale or result in its automatic invalidation. There is no merit in petitioners assertion that PLAINTIFFS WERE NOT ABLE TO PAY there was no perfected contract of sale because no THE AGREED INSTALLMENTS. As previously stated. [19] it is assumed that she met all qualifications to match the highest bid. FINDING THAT DUE TO THE PENDENCY OF CIVIL CASE NO. the parties may reciprocally TRANSACTION WAS PERFECTED AND demand performance subject to the provisions of the law CONSUMMATED. From that moment. a contract of sale is a AFFIRMING THE DECISION OF THE consensual contract that is perfected upon a meeting of TRIAL COURT IN FAVOR OF THE minds as to the object of the contract and its RESPONDENTS AND AGAINST THE price. the decision of the trial court in toto. The City of Cebu was the owner of the lot when it awarded the same to respondents failure of Morales to pay the balance of the purchase predecessor-in-interest. the contract is deemed The appellate court correctly ruled that petitioner. there was a meeting of minds between the City of Cebu and Morales as to the lot sold and its price.[20] a formal document is not necessary for the sale transaction to acquire binding effect. 238-BC.

(Underscoring supplied) contract of sale. in view of the foregoing.[30] The consignation of the agreement in Civil Case No. however. 238-BC. On October 10. At that time. at least as far back as 1983. however. Respondents. Contrary to 238-BC. It is basic that and petitioner had refused to accept payment by virtue of defenses and issues not raised below cannot be the injunction. Incidentally. after the expiration of the period.until her death in 1969. The City of Cebu was no longer the owner of Lot 646-A-3 when it ceded the same to petitioner under the compromise agreement in Civil Case No. even contract to the time the contract is perfected. petitioner could only acquire rights that its predecessor had over the lot. and (3) consummation. . As successor-in-interest of the city. likewise occupied the property during the latters lifetime and continue to Article 1592. WHEREFORE. CV No. [27] In this case. the vendee may pay. petitioner did not avail of any rightful recourse to resolve the matter. According made no findings on the issue because petitioner never to respondents. on the other hand. and laches at this stage of the proceedings. even though it may have been stipulated that upon failure to pay the The stages of a contract of sale are as follows: price at the time agreed upon the (1) negotiation. as long (2) perfection. 1986. Rama reiterating her previous request. 1983. Despite this knowledge. 53632 are AFFIRMED.This means that petitioner had known. she was not able to act. SO ORDERED.[29] In this regard.[28] It appears that the parties simply considered on appeal. covering the period from the time the rescission of the contract shall of right prospective contracting parties indicate interest in the take place. culminating in the extinguishment thereof. Article 1592 the lot in question when it was included as among those allows the vendee to pay as long as no demand for returned to petitioner pursuant to the compromise rescission has been made. issued a writ of preliminary injunction enjoining petitioners assignment of errors. it is equally true that petitioner or its predecessor did not take any Thus. consign the balance of the purchase price. respondents to pay the balance on the purchase price and the non-execution of a formal agreement was sufficiently Finally. the appellate court the city from further disposing the donated lots. These rights include the right to seek rescission or fulfillment of the terms of the contract and the right to damages in either case. the court may not grant him a the parties perform their respective undertakings under the new term. city. the records show that respondent Quesada wrote to then Cebu Governor Eduardo R. she again wrote to Governor Osmundo G. In the sale of immovable reside on the property to this day. in Civil Case No. petitioner cannot plead mistook Lot 646-A-3 as among those not yet sold by the the matter for the first time before this Court. that the city sold the lot to respondents predecessor and that the latter had paid the deposit and the required down payment. Article 1592 of the Civil Code pertinently provides: who are all surviving heirs of Morales. petitioner cannot raise the issue of prescription explained by the fact that the trial court. asking for the formal conveyance of Lot646-A-3 pursuant to the award and sale earlier made by the City of Cebu. 238-BC. either judicially or through notarial price. After the upon the price.R.[31] Thus. Gullas on March 11. the City of Cebu could no longer dispose of action to have the contract of sale rescinded. While it is true that it took a long time for complete the payments due to legal complications respondents to bring suit for specific performance and between petitioner and the city. the failure of contract of sale. the petition is hereby DENIED and the decision and resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. The City of Cebu had balance of the purchase price before the trial court thus sold the property to Morales even though there remained a operated as full payment. respondents predecessor had Thus. respondents could still tender payment of the full undoubtedly commenced performing her obligation by purchase price as no demand for rescission had been making a down payment on the purchase made upon them. which takes place upon the concurrence of as no demand for rescission of the the essential elements of the sale which are the meeting of contract has been made upon him either the minds of the parties as to the object of the contract and judicially or by notarial act. the city merely retained rights as an unpaid seller but had effectively transferred ownership of the lot to Morales. which begins when demand. Unfortunately.[26] property. there was confusion as to the raised the matter of prescription and laches either before circumstances of payment considering that both the city the trial court or Court of Appeals. which resulted in the balance on the purchase price and a formal contract of extinguishment of respondents obligation under the sale had yet to be executed.