63 SCRA 397


At a meeting with the Cabinet, the President of the Philippines approved in principle the acquisition by the People’s Homesite and Housing Corporation of the unoccupied portion of the Sapang Palay Estate in Sta. Maria, Bulacan for relocating the squatters who desire to settle north of Manila, and of another area either in Las Piñas or Parañaque, Rizal, or Bacoor, Cavite for those who desire to settle south of Manila.

The Board of Directors of the PHHC passed a resolution authorizing the purchase of the unoccupied portion of the Sapang Palay Estate at P0.45 per square meter. After an exchange of communications, Petitioner Philippine Suburban Development Corporation, as owner of the unoccupied portion of the Sapang Palay Estate and the People’s Homesite and Housing Corporation, entered into a contract embodied in a public instrument entitled “Deed of Absolute Sale” whereby the former conveyed unto the latter two parcels of land.

The above document was not registered in the Office of the Register of Deeds until March 14, 1961, due to the fact, petitioner claims, that the PHHC could not at once advance the money needed for registration expenses. It appears that as early as the first week of June, 1960, prior to the signing of the deed by the parties, the PHHC acquired possession of the property, with the consent of petitioner, to enable the said PHHC to proceed immediately with the construction of roads in the new settlement and to resettle the squatters and flood victims in Manila who were rendered homeless by the floods or ejected from the lots which they were then occupying.

It is now claimed in this appeal that the Auditor General erred in disallowing the refund of the real estate tax in the amount of P30,460.90 because aside from the presumptive delivery of the property by the execution of the deed of sale on December 29, 1960, the possession of the property was actually delivered to the vendee prior to the sale, and, therefore, by the transmission of ownership to the vendee, petitioner has ceased to be the owner of the property involved, and, consequently, under no obligation to pay the real property tax for the year 1961.


WON there was already a valid transfer of ownership between the parties.


Yes. Under the civil law, delivery (tradition) as a mode of transmission of ownership maybe actual (real tradition) or constructive (constructive tradition). When the sale of real property is made in a public instrument, the execution thereof is equivalent to the delivery of the thing object of the contract, if from the deed the contrary does not appear or cannot clearly be inferred.

In other words, there is symbolic delivery of the property subject of the sale by the execution of the public instrument, unless from the express terms of the instrument, or by clear inference therefrom, this was not the intention of the parties.

In the case at bar, there is no question that the vendor had actually placed the vendee in possession and control over the thing sold, even before the date of the sale. The condition that petitioner should first register the deed of sale and secure a new title in the name of the vendee before the latter shall pay the balance of the purchase price, did not preclude the transmission of ownership.

In the absence of an express stipulation to the contrary, the payment of the purchase price of the good is not a condition, precedent to the transfer of title to the buyer, but title passes by the delivery of the goods.

*Case digest by Stephanie C. Castillo, JD-IV, Andres Bonifacio College, SY: 2019-2020