G.R. No. L-59266, 29 February 1988, 158 SCRA 375


The Dignos spouses were owners of a parcel of land, known as Lot No. 3453. On June 7, 1965, petitioners Dignos spouses sold the said parcel of land to respondent Atilano J. Jabil for the sum of P28,000.00, payable in two installments, with an assumption of indebtedness with the First Insular Bank of Cebu in the sum of P12,000.00, which was paid and acknowledged by the vendors in the deed of sale executed in favor of plaintiff-appellant, and the next installment in the sum of P4,000.00 to be paid on or before September 15, 1965.

On November 25, 1965, the Dignos spouses sold the same land in favor of defendants spouses, Luciano Cabigas and Jovita L. De Cabigas, who were then U.S. citizens, for the price of P35,000.00. A deed of absolute sale was executed by the Dignos spouses in favor of the Cabigas spouses, and which was registered in the Office of the Register of Deeds pursuant to the provisions of Act No. 3344. As the Dignos spouses refused to accept from plaintiff-appellant the balance of the purchase price of the land, and as plaintiff- appellant discovered the second sale made by defendants-appellants to the Cabigas spouses, plaintiff-appellant brought the present suit.

The trial court ruled that the deed of sale in favor of Cabigas was null and void while the deed of sale with private respondent was not rescinded. Public respondent Court of Appeals affirmed with modification hence, the instant petition. The spouses Dignos contested that the contract between them and Jabil was merely a contract to sell and not a deed of sale.


Whether the contract is a contract to sell.


No. it has been held that a deed of sale is absolute in nature although denominated as a “Deed of Conditional Sale” where nowhere in the contract in question is a proviso or stipulation to the effect that title to the property sold is reserved in the vendor until full payment of the purchase price, nor is there a stipulation giving the vendor the right to unilaterally rescind the contract the moment the vendee fails to pay within a fixed period.

A careful examination of the contract shows that there is no such stipulation reserving the title of the property on the vendors nor does it give them the right to unilaterally rescind the contract upon non-payment of the balance thereof within a fixed period.

On the contrary, all the elements of a valid contract of sale under Article 1458 of the Civil Code, are present, such as:

(1) consent or meeting of the minds;
(2) determinate subject matter; and
(3) price certain in money or its equivalent.

In addition, Article 1477 of the same Code provides that “The ownership of the thing sold shall be transferred to the vendee upon actual or constructive delivery thereof.” this Court held that in the absence of stipulation to the contrary, the ownership of the thing sold passes to the vendee upon actual or constructive delivery thereof.

*Case digest by Paul Jason G. Acasio, JD-IV, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2019-2020