G.R. No. 109410 August 28, 1996
CLARA M. BALATBAT, petitioner,
COURT OF APPEALS and Spouses JOSE REPUYAN and AURORA REPUYAN, respondents.
Aurelio Roque field a complaint for partition against his children Corazon, Feliciano, Severa and Osmundo Roque, and Alberto de los Santos before the CFI. The Roque children were declared in default and Aurelio presented evidence ex-parte. Eventually, the trial court rendered a decision in favor of Aurelio; holding that Aurelio and his wife Maria Mesina acquired the lot (TCT 51330) during their conjugal union, as well as the house that was constructed thereon; that when Maria Mesina died, leaving no debt, Aurelio (as surviving spouse) was entitled to ½ share pro-indiviso of the conjugal property (i.e. house and lot) and that Aurelio and his 4 children were entitled to 1/5 share pro-indiviso each of the ½ share pro-indiviso forming the estate of Maria Mesina; ordering the partition of the properties;
On 5 October 1979, the Register of Deeds of Manila issued TCT 135671 (with Aurelio Roque having 6/10 share; and the Roque children with 1/10 share each). On 1 April 1980, Aurelio sold his 6/10 share in TCT 135671 to respondent spouses Repuyan. Repuyan caused the annotation of her affidavit of adverse claim on the TCT 135671, “claiming that she bought 6/10 portion of the property from Aurelio Roque for the amount of P50,000.00 with a downpayment of P5,000.00 and the balance of P45,000.00 to be paid after the partition and subdivision of the property.”
On 20 August 1980, Aurelio Roque filed a complaint for “Rescission of Contract” against spouses Repuyan before the then CFI Manila (Branch IV, Civil Case 134131). The complaint is grounded on spouses Repuyan’s failure to pay the balance of P45,000.00 of the purchase price. On 5 September 1980, spouses Repuyan filed their answer with counterclaim.
In the meantime, the trial court issued an order in Civil Case 109032 (Partition case) dated 2 February 1982,ordering the Deputy Clerk of the court to sign the deed of absolute sale for and in behalf of Roque children, in order to effect the partition of the property involved in the case. A deed of absolute sale was executed on 4 February 1982 between Aurelio, Corazon, Feliciano, Severa and Osmundo Roque and petitioner Clara Balatbat, married to Alejandro Balatbat. On 14 April 1982, Clara Balatbat filed a motion for the issuance of a writ of possession which was granted by the trial court on 14 September 1982, subject, however, to valid rights and interest of third persons over the same portion thereof, other than vendor or any other person or persons privy to or claiming any rights or interest under it. The corresponding writ of possession was issued on 20 September 1982.
On 20 May 1982, Clara Balatbat filed a motion to intervene in Civil Case 134131 which was granted as per court’s resolution of 21 October 1982. However, Clara Balatbat failed to file her complaint in intervention.
On 15 April 1986, the trial court rendered a decision dismissing the complaint, and declaring the Deed of Absolute Sale dated 1 April 1980 as valid and enforceable and Aurelio is, as he is hereby ordered, to partition and subdivide the land covered by TCT 135671, and to aggregate therefrom a portion equivalent to 6/10 thereof, and cause the same to be titled in the name of spouses Repuyan, and after which, the latter to pay Aurelio the sum of P45,000.00.
On 9 December 1988, Balatbat and her husband filed a complaint for delivery of the owners duplicate copy of TCT 135671 before the RTC against Jose and Aurora Repuyan. On 27 January 1989, spouses Repuyan filed their answer with affirmative defenses and compulsory counterclaim. On 2 August 1990, the RTC Manila rendered a decision dismissing the complaint, finding that the Balatbats were not able to establish their cause of action against the Repuyans and have no right to the reliefs demanded in the complaint.
Dissatisfied, Balatbat filed an appeal before the Court of Appeals (CA-GR CV 29994) which rendered decision on 12 August 1992, affirming the judgment appealed.
(1) Whether the alleged sale to private respondents was merely executory and not a consummated transaction.
(2) Whether there was double sale as contemplated under Art. 1544 of CC.
(3) Whether petitioner was a buyer in good faith and for value.
(1) NO. Contrary to petitioner’s contention that the sale dated April 1, 1980 in favor of private respondents Repuyan was merely executory for the reason that there was no delivery of the subject property and that consideration/price was not fully paid, SC find the sale as consummated, hence, valid and enforceable. The Court dismissed vendor’s Aurelio Roque complaint for rescission of the deed of sale and declared that the Sale dated April 1, 1980, as valid and enforceable. No appeal having been made, the decision became final and executory.
The execution of the public instrument, without actual delivery of the thing, transfers the ownership from the vendor to the vendee, who may thereafter exercise the rights of an owner over the same. In the instant case, vendor Roque delivered the owner’s certificate of title to herein private respondent. The provision of Article 1358 on the necessity of a public document is only for convenience, not for validity or enforceability. It is not a requirement for the validity of a contract of sale of a parcel of land that this be embodied in a public instrument. A contract of sale being consensual, it is perfected by the mere consent of the parties. Delivery of the thing bought or payment of the price is not necessary for the perfection of the contract; and failure of the vendee to pay the price after the execution of the contract does not make the sale null and void for lack of consideration but results at most in default on the part of the vendee, for which the vendor may exercise his legal remedies.
(2) Article 1544 of the Civil Code provides that in case of double sale of an immovable property, ownership shall be transferred (1) to the person acquiring it who in good faith first recorded it in the Registry of Property; (2) in default thereof, to the person who in good faith was first in possession; and (3) in default thereof, to the person who presents the oldest title, provided there is good faith.
In the case at bar, vendor Aurelio Roque sold 6/10 portion of his share to private respondents Repuyan on April 1, 1980. Subsequently, the same lot was sold again by vendor Aurelio Roque (6/10) and his children (4/10), represented by the Clerk of Court pursuant to Section 10, Rule 39 of the Rules of Court, on February 4, 1982. Undoubtedly, this is a case of double sale contemplated under Article 1544 of the New Civil Code.
Evidently, private respondents Repuyan’s caused the annotation of an adverse claim on the title of the subject property on July 21, 1980. The annotation of the adverse claim in the Registry of Property is sufficient compliance as mandated by law and serves notice to the whole world. On the other hand, petitioner filed a notice of lis pendens only on February 2, 1982. Accordingly, private respondents who first caused the annotation of the adverse claim in good faith shall have a better right over herein petitioner. As between two purchasers, the one who has registered the sale in his favor, has a preferred right over the other who has not registered his title even if the latter is in actual possession of the immovable property. Further, even in default of the first registrant or first in possession, private respondents have presented the oldest title. Thus, private respondents who acquired the subject property in good faith and for valuable consideration established a superior right as against the petitioner.
(3) Petitioner cannot be considered as a buyer in good faith. If petitioner did investigate before buying the land on February 4, 1982, she should have known that there was a pending case and an annotation of adverse claim was made in the title of the property before the Register of Deeds and she could have discovered that the subject property was already sold to the private respondents. It is incumbent upon the vendee of the property to ask for the delivery of the owner’s duplicate copy of the title from the vendor. One who purchases real estate with knowledge of a defect or lack of title in his vendor cannot claim that he has acquired title thereto in good faith as against the true owner of the land or of an interest therein; and the same rule must be applied to one who has knowledge of facts which should have put him upon such inquiry and investigation as might be necessary to acquaint him with the defects in the title of his vendor. Good faith, or the want of it is not a visible, tangible fact that can be seen or touched, but rather a state or condition of mind which can only be judged of by actual or fancied tokens or signs.