G.R. No. 77425, June 19, 1991, 198 SCRA 300


The administrators of the estate of deceased spouses Eusebioand Martina De Castro filed a complaint to nullify the deed of donation, rescission of contract, and reconveyance of the property against spouses Florencio and Soledad Ignao, Roman Catholic Bishop of Imus, and Roman Catholic Archbishop of Manila. The administrators alleged that in 1930 the De Castros executed the deed of donation over their Cavite property to the Archbishop, said deed allegedly providing that the latter cannot disposeor sell the property within 100 years from execution. The administration of the said properties was transferred to the Bishop of Imus in 1962. And in 1980, the Bishop of Imus sold the property to thespouses Ignao. The Ignaos were then able to transfer the TCT undertheir names. The lower court ruled that the action had already prescribed and dismissed the complaint. This was reversed by the CA.The Ignaos and the Bishops contend that the cause of actionhad already prescribed, relying on Art. 764 which provides that “(t)hedonation shall be revoked at the instance of the donor, when the donee fails to comply with any of the conditions which the former imposed uponthe latter,” and that “(t)his action shall prescribe after four years fromthe non-compliance with the condition, may be transmitted to the heirs of the donor, and may be exercised against the donee’s heirs


WON the action has already prescribed.


Action has already prescribed. Art. 764 is not applicable in this case. The deed of donation involved expressly provided for automatic reversion of the property donated in case of violation of the, as was correctly recognized by the CA.A judicial action for rescission of a contract is not necessary where the contract provides that it may be revoked and cancelled for violation of any of its terms and conditions. This cancellation can be applied in the case at bar. Art. 732 of the Civil Code provides that donations inter vivos shall be governed by the general provisions on contracts and obligations in all that is not determined by the law on donations. In contracts providing for automatic revocation, judicial intervention is necessary not for purposes of obtaining a judicial declaration rescinding a contract already deemed rescinded, but in order to determine whether or not the rescission was proper.

While the action may not be dismissed by reason of prescription, the same should be dismissed on the ground that the estates of the De Castros have. No cause of action against the Ignaos and other petitioners. The cause of action of the De Castros is based on the alleged breach of the resolutory condition that the property donated should not be sold within the prohibited period. Said condition, however, constitutes an undue restriction on the rights arising from ownership and is, therefore, contrary to public policy and should be declared as an illegal or impossible condition. The Ignaos won. The CA decision is reversed


There is no need for prescription to be applied in cases where there is stipulation for automatic reversion. Nonetheless, the stipulation is against public policy and thus, is void.

 * Case digest by Lady Rubyge Denura, LLB-1, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2017-2018