Cenido v. Sps. Amadeo

G.R. No. 132474, 19 November 1999

FACTS:

On its face, the document Pagpapatunay attests to the fact that Bonifacio Aparato was the owner of the house and lot in Layunan, Rizal; that because the Apacionado spouses took care of him until the time of his death, Bonifacio sold said property to them for the sum of P10,000.00; that he was signing the same document with a clear mind and with full knowledge of its contents; and as proof thereof, he was affixing his signature on said document on the tenth day of December 1981 in Layunan, Binangonan, Rizal. Bonifacio affixed his thumbmark on the space above his name; and this was witnessed by Virgilio O. Cenido and Carlos Inabayan.

Petitioner Cenido disputes the authenticity and validity of the Pagpapatunay. He claims that it is not a valid contract of sale and its genuineness is highly doubtful because: (1) it was not notarized and is merely a private instrument; (2) it was not signed by the vendor, Bonifacio; (3) it was improbable for Bonifacio to have executed the document and dictated the words lumagda ako ng aking pangalan at apelyido because he was paralyzed and could no longer sign his name at that time; and (4) the phrase ang nag-alaga sa akin hanggang sa ako’y tuluyang kunin ng Dakilang Maykapal speaks of an already departed Bonifacio and could have been made only by persons other than the dead man himself.

ISSUE:

  1. Is the contract of sale valid?
  2. Is the conveyance also valid despite that the contract of sale is merely a private document?

RULING:

  • To determine whether the Pagpapatunay is a valid contract of sale, it must contain the essential requisites of contracts, viz: (1) consent of the contracting parties; (2) object certain which is the subject matter of the contract; and (3) cause of the obligation which is established.

The object of the Pagpapatunay is the house and lot. The consideration is P10,000.00 for the services rendered to Aparato by respondent spouses. Neither has petitioner claimed, at the very least, that the consent of Bonifacio to the contract was vitiated by mistake, violence, intimidation, undue influence or fraud…. There must be clear and convincing evidence of what specific acts of undue influence or fraud were employed by respondent spouses that gave rise to said defects. Absent such proof, Bonifacio’s presumed consent to the Pagpapatunay remains.

The Pagpapatunay, therefore, contains all the essential requisites of a contract. Its authenticity and due execution have not been disproved either.

  • The Pagpapatunay is undisputably a private document. And this fact does not detract from its validity. The Civil Code, in Article 1356 provides:

 Art1356. Contracts shall be obligatory, in whatever form they may have been entered into, provided all the essential requisites for their validity are present. However, when the law requires that a contract be in some form in order that it may be valid or enforceable or that a contract be proved in a certain way, that requirement is absolute and indispensable. In such cases, the right of the parties stated in the following article cannot be exercised.

Generally, contracts are obligatory, in whatever form such contracts may have been entered into, provided all the essential requisites for their validity are present. When, however, the law requires that a contract be in some form for it to be valid or enforceable, that requirement must be complied with.

Formalities intended for greater efficacy or convenience or to bind third persons, if not done, would not adversely affect the validity or enforceability of the contract between the contracting parties themselves.

Art. 1358. The following must appear in a public document:

(1) Acts and contracts which have for their object the creation, transmission, modification or extinguishment of real rights over immovable property; sales of real property or of an interest therein are governed by Articles 1403, No. 2 and 1405;

Art. 1403. The following contracts are unenforceable unless they are ratified:

(2) Those that do not comply with the Statute of Frauds as set forth in this number. In the following cases an agreement hereafter made shall be unenforceable by action, unless the same, or some note or memorandum thereof, be in writing, and subscribed and by the party charged, or by his agent; evidence, therefore, of the agreement cannot be received without the writing, or a secondary evidence of its contents:

(e) An agreement for the leasing for a longer period than one year, or for the sale of real property or of an interest therein;

The sale of real property should be in writing and subscribed by the party charged for it to be enforceable. The Pagpapatunay is in writing and subscribed by Bonifacio Aparato, the vendor; hence, it is enforceable under the Statute of Frauds. Not having been subscribed and sworn to before a notary public, however, the Pagpapatunay is not a public document, and therefore does not comply with Article 1358, paragraph 1 of the Civil Code.

The requirement of a public document in Article 1358 is not for the validity of the instrument but for its efficacy. Although a conveyance of land is not made in a public document, it does not affect the validity of such conveyance. Article 1358 does not require the accomplishment of the acts or contracts in a public instrument in order to validate the act or contract but only to ensure its efficacy so that after the existence of said contract has been admitted, the party bound may be compelled to execute the proper document. This is clear from Article 1357, viz:

Art. 1357. If the law requires a document or other special form, as in the acts and contracts enumerated in the following article [Article 1358], the contracting parties may compel each other to observe that form, once the contract has been perfected. This right may be exercised simultaneously with the action upon the contract.

The private conveyance of the house and lot is therefore valid between Bonifacio Aparato and respondent spouses. The question of whether the Pagpapatunay is sufficient to transfer and convey title to the land for purposes of original registration or the issuance of a real estate tax declaration in respondent spouses’ names, as prayed for by respondent spouses, is another matter altogether. For greater efficacy of the contract, convenience of the parties and to bind third persons, respondent spouses have the right to compel the vendor or his heirs to execute the necessary document to properly convey the property.

* Case digest by Cherry Mae Aguilla-Granada, LLB-1, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2017-2018

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