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now deceased and substituted by JIMMY LOCQUIAO, TOMASA MARA and the REGISTRAR OF DEEDS
OF PANGASINAN, respondents.

[G.R. No. 122134. October 3, 2003.]


An action for annulment of title was filed by Constancia against respondent, alleging that the issuance of
the transfer certificate of title was fraudulent; that the Inventario Ti Sagut is spurious; that the notary
public who notarized the document had no authority to do so, and; that the donation proper nuptias
executed by deceased Herminigildo and Raymunda in favor of Benito, did not observe the form required
by law as there was no written acceptance on the document itself or in a separate public instrument.

Likewise an action for ejection was filed by respondent against petitioner. Finding that the question of
ownership was the central issue in both cases, the court issued an order suspending the proceedings in
the ejectment case until it shall have decided the ownership issue in the title annulment case.

RTC dismissed the complaint for annulment of title on the grounds of prescription and laches. It likewise
ruled that the Inventario Ti Sagut is a valid public document which transmitted ownership over the subject
land to the respondents.

The appellate court upheld the RTC's conclusion that the petitioners' cause of action had already
prescribed, considering that the complaint for annulment of title was filed more than fifteen (15) years
after the issuance of the title, or beyond the ten (10) year prescriptive period for actions for

It likewise rejected the petitioners' assertion that the donation propter nuptias is null and void for want
of acceptance by the donee, positing that the implied acceptance flowing from the very fact of marriage
between the respondents, coupled with the registration of the fact of marriage at the back of OCT
No.18383, constitutes substantial compliance with the requirements of the law.

ISSUE: whether the donation propter nuptias is authentic and in what form should the acceptance

HELD: Yes,

When petitioner rely on the Certification of the Records Management and Archives Office and that there
was no notarial record and that therefore a copy of the document was not available.

The certification is not sufficient to prove the alleged inexistence or spuriousness of the challenged
document. The appellate court is correct in pointing out that the mere absence of the notarial record does
not prove that the notary public does not have a valid notarial commission and neither does the absence
of a file copy of the document with the archives effect evidence of the falsification of the document.

Likewise, it is settled that only laws existing at the time of the execution of a contract are applicable
thereto and not later statutes, unless the latter are specifically intended to have retroactive effect.
Consequently, it is the Old Civil Code which applies in this case since the donation propter nuptias was
executed in 1944 and the New Civil Code took effect only on August 30, 1950.
The fact that in 1944 the Philippines was still under Japanese occupation is of no consequence. It is a well-
known rule of the Law of Nations that municipal laws, as contra-distinguished from laws of political nature,
are not abrogated by a change of sovereignty. This Court specifically held that during the Japanese
occupation period, the Old Civil Code was in force. As a consequence, applying Article 1330 of the Old
Civil Code in the determination of the validity of the questioned donation, it does not matter whether or
not the donees had accepted the donation. The validity of the donation is unaffected in either case.

With the genuineness of the donation propter nuptias and compliance with the applicable mandatory
form requirements fully established, petitioners' hypothesis that their action is imprescriptible cannot
take off.

**** Note: Unlike ordinary donations, donations propter nuptias or donations by reason of marriage are
those "made before its celebration, in consideration of the same and in favor of one or both of the future
spouses." The distinction is crucial because the two classes of donations are not governed by exactly the
same rules, especially as regards the formal essential requisites.

Under the Old Civil Code, donations propter nuptias must be made in a public instrument in which the
property donated must be specifically described. However, Article 1330 of the same Code provides that
"acceptance is not necessary to the validity of such gifts". In other words, the celebration of the marriage
between the beneficiary couple, in tandem with compliance with the prescribed form, was enough to
effectuate the donation propter nuptias under the Old Civil Code.

Under the New Civil Code, the rules are different. Article 127 thereof provides that the form of donations
propter nuptias are regulated by the Statute of Frauds. Article 1403, paragraph 2, which contains the
Statute of Frauds requires that the contracts mentioned thereunder need be in writing only to be
enforceable. However, as provided in Article 129, express acceptance "is not necessary for the validity of
these donations." Thus, implied acceptance is sufficient.

[G.R. No. 146683. November 22, 2001.]


Having no children to take care of him after his retirement, Francisco Comille, then a widower, asked his
niece Leticia Bellosillo, the latter's cousin, Luzviminda Paghacian, and petitioner Cirila Arcaba to take care
of his house, as well as the store inside. A few months before his death, Francisco executed an instrument
denominated "Deed of Donation Inter Vivos," in which he ceded a portion of his lot consisting of 150
square meters, together with his house, to Cirila, who accepted the donation in the same instrument.

Respondents filed a complaint against petitioner for declaration of nullity of a deed of donation inter
vivos, recovery of possession, and damages. Respondents, who are Francisco's nephews and nieces and
his heirs by intestate succession, alleged that Cirila was the common-law wife of Francisco, and the
donation inter vivos made by Francisco in her favor is void under Article 87 of the Family Code. Conflicting
testimonies were offered as to the nature of the relationship between Cirila and Francisco. Leticia
Bellosillo said Francisco and Cirila were lovers since they slept in the same room, while Erlinda Tabancura,
another niece of Francisco, claimed that the latter had told her that Cirila was his mistress. On the other
hand, Cirila said she was a mere helper who could enter the master's bedroom only when the old man
asked her to and that Francisco in any case was too old for her. She denied they ever had sexual
intercourse. The trial court rendered judgment in favor of respondents, holding the donation void under
the provision of the Family Code. On appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the trial court.

ISSUE: whether or not, the donation inter vivos in favor of Cirila is valid


The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Court of Appeals. According to the Court, human reason
would lead to the conclusion that Cirila was Francisco's common-law spouse. Cirila admitted that she and
Francisco resided under one roof for a long time and the possibility that the two consummated their
relationship could be established from Leticia Bellosillo's testimony that Cirila and Francisco slept in the
same bedroom.

The Court also considered the fact that Cirila signed some documents using Francisco's surname clearly
indicating that she saw herself as Francisco's common-law wife, otherwise, she would not have used his
last name. Also, the fact that Cirila did not demand from Francisco a regular cash wage is an indication
that she was not simply a caregiver employee, but Francisco's common law spouse. She was, after all,
entitled to a regular cash wage under the law and it is difficult to believe that she stayed with Francisco
and served him out of pure beneficence. Their public conduct, therefore, indicated that theirs was not
just a relationship of caregiver and patient, but that of exclusive partners akin to husband and wife.

Respondents having proven by a preponderance of evidence that Cirila and Francisco lived together as
husband and wife without a valid marriage, the inescapable conclusion is that the donation made by
Francisco in favor of Cirila is void under Art. 87 of the Family Code.
*** Note: Cohabitation is the public assumption by a man and a woman of the marital relation, and
dwelling together as man and wife, thereby holding themselves out to the public as such.

[G.R. No. 116668. July 28, 1997.]


Miguel Palang married Carlina on July 16, 1949. It was his first marriage. Their only child, Herminia, was
born on May 12, 1950.

On July 15, 1973, Miguel, then 63 years old, contracted his second marriage with Erlinda Agapay, 19,
herein petitioner. Two months earlier, Miguel and Erlinda purchased a piece of riceland. Transfer
Certificate of Title No. 101736 was issued in their names.

On September 23, 1975, a house and lot was purchased allegedly by Erlinda as the sole vendee. TCT No.
143120 was later issued in her name.

Miguel and Erlinda's cohabitation produced a son, Kristoper A. Palang, born on December 6, 1977. In
1979, Miguel and Erlinda were convicted of concubinage upon Carlina' s complaint. Two years later,
Miguel died.

On July 11, 1981, Carlina Palang and her daughter Herminia Palang de la Cruz, herein private
respondents, instituted an action for recovery of ownership and possession with damages against
petitioner. Private respondents sought to get back the riceland and the house and lot allegedly
purchased by Miguel during his cohabitation with petitioner. Erlinda answered that the house and lot
covered by
TCT No. 143120 is her sole property, having bought the same with her own money.

After trial on the merits, the lower court dismissed the complaint declaring that there was little evidence
to prove that the subject properties pertained to the conjugal property of Carlina and Miguel Palang. On
appeal, the Court of Appeals reversed the trial court's decision.

ISSUE: Whether the Court of Appeals erred in not sustaining the validity deeds of absolute sale
covering the house and lot in favor of Erlinda Agapay


With respect to the house and lot, Erlinda allegedly bought the same for P20,000.00 on September 23,
1975 when she was only 22 years old.

The testimony of the notary public who prepared the deed of conveyance for the property reveals the
falsehood of this claim. Atty. Constantino Sagun testified that Miguel Palang provided the money for the
purchase price and directed that Erlinda's name alone be placed as the vendee.

The transaction was properly a donation made by Miguel to Erlinda, but one which was clearly void and
inexistent by express provision of law because it was made between persons guilty of adultery or
concubinage at the time of the donation, under Article 739 of the Civil Code. Moreover, Article 87 of the
Family Code expressly provides that the prohibition against donations between spouses now applies to
donations between persons living together as husband and wife without a valid marriage, for otherwise,
the condition of those who incurred guilt would turn out to be better than those in legal union.

The decision of the Court of Appeals is affirmed.