G.R. No. 109410, 28 August 1996


Aurelio Roque filed a complaint for partition against his children Corazon, Feliciano, Severa and Osmundo Roque, and Alberto de los Santos before the CFI. 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 April 1980, Aurelio sold his 6/10 share in TCT 135671 to respondent spouses Repuyan who caused the annotation of her affidavit of adverse claim, “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.” Aurelio filed a complaint for “Rescission of Contract” against spouses Repuyan grounded on spouses Repuyan’s failure to pay the balance of P45,000.00 of the purchase price.

In the meantime, the trial court issued an order in Civil Case 109032 (Partition case), 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 between Aurelio, Corazon, Feliciano, Severa and Osmundo Roque and petitioner Clara Balatbat, married to Alejandro Balatbat. Clara filed a motion for the issuance of a writ of possession which was granted, 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. Clara filed a motion to intervene but 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.

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. 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 CA which rendered decision, affirming the judgment appealed.


1. Whether the alleged sale to the private respondents was merely executory and not a consummated transaction?
2. Whether there was a double sale as contemplated under art. 1544 of the civil code?


1. 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, we find the sale as consummated, hence, valid and enforceable.

Devoid of any stipulation that “ownership in the thing shall not pass to the purchaser until he has fully paid the price”, ownership in the thing shall pass from the vendor to the vendee upon actual or constructive delivery of the thing sold even if the purchase price has not yet been fully paid. The failure of the buyer to make good the price does not, in law, cause the ownership to revest to the seller unless the bilateral contract of sale is first rescinded or resolved pursuant to Article 1191 of the New Civil Code. Non-payment only creates a right to demand the fulfillment of the obligation or to rescind the contract.

With respect to the non-delivery of the possession of the subject property to the private respondent, suffice it to say that ownership of the thing sold is acquired only from the time of delivery thereof, either actual or constructive.

Article 1498 of the Civil Code provides that — when the sale is made through a public instrument, the execution thereof shall be equivalent to the delivery of the thing which is the object of the contract, if from the deed the contrary does not appear or cannot be inferred.

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. It is not necessary that vendee be physically present at every square inch of the land bought by him, possession of the public instrument of the land is sufficient to accord him the rights of ownership.

Thus, delivery of a parcel of land may be done by placing the vendee in control and possession of the land (real) or by embodying the sale in a public instrument (constructive). 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.

2. Yes, this is an instance of a double sale of an immovable property. 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 in TCT No. 135671 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.

Hence, the ownership shall vests in the person acquiring it who in good faith first recorded it in the Registry of Property. Evidently, private respondents Repuyan’s caused the annotation of an adverse claim on the title of the subject property denominated as Entry No. 5627/T-135671 on July 21, 1980. 35 The annotation of the adverse claim on TCT No. 135671 in the Registry of Property is sufficient compliance as mandated by law and serves notice to the whole world.

*Case digest by Nikki P. Ebillo, JD-4, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2019-2020