G.R. No. 137650, 12 April 2000
Mario and Lourdes Fernandez were plaintiffs in an action for ejectment filed against Guillerma, Gina and Toto Tumlos. In the complaint, spouses Fernandez alleged that they are the absolute owners of an apartment building that through their tolerance they allowed the Tumlos’ to occupy the apartment for the last 7 years without payment of any rent. It was agreed that Guillerma will pay 1,600 a month while the other defendants promised to pay 1,000 a month which was not complied with. Demand was made several times for the defendants to vacate the premises as they are in need of the property for the construction of a new building.
Defendants appealed to RTC that Mario and Guillerma had an amorous relationship and that they acquired the property in question as their love nest. It was likewise alleged that they lived together in the said apartment building with their 2 children for about 10 years and that Gullerma administered the property by collecting rentals from the lessees until she discovered that Mario deceived her as to the annulment of their marriage.
Whether or not Guillerma is a co-owner of the said apartment under Article 148.
No. It is well settled that Mario is still validly married with Lourdes and actual contribution needs to be proven.
Under Article 148 of the Family Code, a man and a woman who is not legally capacitated to marry each other, but who nonetheless lives together conjugally, may be deemed co-owners of a property acquired during the cohabitation only upon proof that each made an actual contribution to its acquisition. Hence, mere cohabitation without proof of contribution will not result in a co-ownership.
SC rejected the claim that Guillerma and Mario were co-owners of the subject property. The claim was not satisfactorily proven by Guillerma since there was no other evidence presented to validate it except for the said affidavit. Even if the allegations of having cohabited with Mario and that she bore him two children were true, the claim of co-ownership still cannot be accepted. Mario is validly married with Lourdes hence Guillerma and Mario are not capacitated to marry each other. The property relation governing their supposed cohabitation is under Article 148 of the Family Code. Actual contribution is required by the said provision in contrast to Art 147 which states that efforts in the care and maintenance of the family and household are regarded as contributions to the acquisitions of common property by one who has no salary, income, work or industry. Such is not included in Art 148. If actual contribution is not proven then there can be no co-ownership and no presumption of equal shares.
* Case digest by Desmarc G. Malate, LLB-1, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2017-2018