G.R. No. L-10462, 16 March 1916


Petitioner Andrea Dumasug alleged that respondent Felix Modelo persuaded her to sign a document by falsely and maliciously making her believe that it contained an engagement on petitioner`s obligation to pay a certain sum of money. Such obligation pertains to the advances and expenses incurred by the respondent in protecting and aiding her in the proceeding of her case wherein the petitioner was the plaintiff. Petitioner does not know how to write, hence, she only affixed her mark as her signature believing in good faith that respondent herein was telling her the truth.

Three months after the execution of such document, the respondent took possession of a carabao and of two parcels of land owned by the petitioner on the ground that the latter had conveyed such properties to him by an Absolute Sale in consideration to the expenses he incurred in aiding the petitioner on the proceedings of her case. Petitioner herein seeks for the recovery of the above properties. 


Whether or not the instrument of purchase and sale of two parcels of land and a plow carabao is null and void.


Yes.In the case at bar, it was inconceivable that respondent herein incurs such big amount as he allegedly spent in the proceedings of the lawsuit involving petitioner. The evidence discloses that the only great expense which Andrea Dumasug could have incurred was the sum that as fees she had to pay the attorney Andres Jayme for filing a demurrer in the Court of First Instance. Said attorney testified that he received from Andrea Dumasug only P80 or P90, the only large sum which the latter had to expend.

The lower court held that the statements of Andrea Dumasug were well worthy of credence, and, taking into consideration the merits of the case, reached the conclusion that the sole document which plaintiff signed which she acknowledged she was owing to Felix Modelo, and not to the sale of all her properties. The record shows plaintiff to have stated that she received an offer to sell her carabao, but that she did not wish to sell the animal as she only rented it and it is her only means of livelihood.

It is, then, perfectly evident that the document, by means of which defendant made himself the owner of the properties in question is not the instrument of debt which Andrea Dumasug had signed, and if it is the same one its contents were not duly and faithfully explained to plaintiff in the act of its execution. In either case, the consent said to have been given by Andrea Dumasug in said document is null and void, as it was given by mistake. This error invalidates the contract, because it goes to the very substance of the thing which was the subject matter of said contract, for, had the maker thereof truly understood the contents of said document, she would neither have accepted nor authenticated it by her mark.

The consent given by plaintiff being null and void, the document is consequently also null, void, and of no value or effect. Article 1303 of the Civil Code is therefore, applicable, which prescribes that: “When the nullity of an obligation has been declared, the contracting parties shall restore to each other the things which have been the object of the contract with their fruits, and the value with its interest.”

For the foregoing reasons, whereby the errors assigned to the judgment appealed from are deemed to have been refuted, petition granted.

 * Case digest by Frilin Lomosad, LLB-1, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2017-2018