426 Phil. 263
DE LEON, JR., J.:
Basilisa and her said children likewise executed another notarized document denominated as “Kasulatan” which is attached to the deed of donation. The said document states that:KASULATANG SA KALOOBPALA
TALASTASIN NG LAHAT AT SINUMAN:
Na ako, si BASELISA COMERCIANTE, may sapat na gulang, Filipina, balo, at naninirahan sa blg. 809 L. Javier Bagong Pook, San Antonio, Lungsod ng Kabite, Filipinas, sa pamamagitan ng kasulatang ito’yNAGSASALAYSAY
Na alang-alang sa mabuting paglilingkod at pagtingin na iniukol sa akin ng apat kong mga tunay na anak na sila:
ROSARIO AUSTRIA, Filipina, may sapat na gulang, balo, naninirahan sa 809 L. Javier, Bagong Pook, San Antonio, Lungsod ng Kabite;
CONSOLACION AUSTRIA, Filipina, may sapat na gulang, balo naninirahan sa 809 L. Javier, Bagong Pook, San Antonio, Lungsod ng Kabite;
APOLINARIA AUSTRIA, Filipina, may sapat na gulang, may asawa, naninirahan sa Pasong Kawayan, Hen. Trias, Kabite;
FLORENTINO LUMUBOS, Filipino, may sapat na gulang, asawa ni Encarnacion Magsino, at naninirahan din sa 809 L. Javier, Bagong Pook, San Antonio, Lungsod ng Kabite; ay
Kusang loob na ibinibigay ko at ipinagkakaloob ng ganap at hindi na mababawi sa naulit ng apat na anak ko at sa kanilang mga tagamagmana (sic), ang aking isang lupang residential o tirahan sampu ng aking bahay nahan ng nakatirik doon na nasa Bagong Pook din, San Antonio, Lungsod ng Kabite, at nakikilala bilang Lote no. 7, Block no.1, of Subdivision Plan Psd-12247; known as Cavite Beach Subdivision, being a portion of Lot No. 1055, of the Cadastral survey of Cavite, GLRO Cadastral Rec. no. 9539; may sukat na 150 metros cuadrados, at nakatala sa pangalan ko sa Titulo Torrens bilang TCT-T-3268 (RT-4036) ng Lungsod ng Kabite;
Na ang Kaloob palang ito ay magkakabisa lamang simula sa araw na ako’y pumanaw sa mundo, at sa ilalim ng kondision na:
Magbubuhat o babawasin sa halaga ng nasabing lupa at bahay ang anumang magugul o gastos sa aking libing at nicho at ang anumang matitira ay hahatiin ng APAT na parte, parepareho isang parte sa bawat anak kong nasasabi sa itaas nito upang maliwanang (sic) at walang makakalamang sinoman sa kanila;
At kaming apat na anak na nakalagda o nakadiit sa kasulatang ito ay TINATANGGAP NAMIN ang kaloob-palang ito ng aming magulang na si Basilisa Comerciante, at tuloy pinasasalamatan namin siya ng taos sa (sic) puso dahil sa kagandahan look (sic) niyang ito sa amin.
SA KATUNAYAN, ay nilagdaan o diniitan namin ito sa Nobeleta, Kabite, ngayong ika-17 ng Disyembre taong 1975.
HER MARK HER MARK
BASELISA COMERCIANTE ROSARIO AUSTRIA
(Sgd.) APOLINARIA AUSTRIA HER MARK
Tagatanggap-pala CONSOLACION AUSTRIA
(Acknowledgment signed by Notary Public C.T. Viniegra is omitted).
On February 6, 1979, Basilisa executed a Deed of Absolute Sale of the subject house and lot in favor of herein petitioner Apolinaria Austria-Magat for Five Thousand Pesos (P5,000.00). As the result of the registration of that sale, Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT for brevity) No. RT-4036 in the name of the donor was cancelled and in lieu thereof TCT No. T-10434 was issued by the Register of Deeds of Cavite City in favor of petitioner Apolinaria Austria-Magat on February 8, 1979.KASULATAN
TALASTASIN NG MADLA:
Na kaming mga nakalagda o nakadiit sa labak nito – sila Basilisa Comerciante at ang kanyang mga anak na sila:
Rosario Austria, Consolacion Austria, Apolonio Austria, at Florentino Lumubos, pawang may mga sapat na gulang, na lumagda o dumiit sa kasulatang kaloob pala, na sinangayunan namin sa harap ng Notario Publico, Carlos T. Viniegra, ay nagpapahayag ng sumusunod:
Na ang titulo numero TCT-T-2260 (RT-4036) ng Lungsod ng Kabite, bahay sa loteng tirahan ng Bagong Pook na nababanggit sa nasabing kasulatan, ay mananatili sa poder o possession ng Ina, na si Basilisa Comerciante habang siya ay nabubuhay at
Gayon din ang nasabing Titulo ay hindi mapapasangla o maipagbibili ang lupa habang maybuhay ang nasabing Basilisa Comerciante.
Sa katunayan ang nagsilagda kaming lahat sa labak nito sa harap ng abogado Carlos T. Viniegra at dalawang saksi.
Nobeleta, Kabite. Ika-17 ng Disyembre, 1975.
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, this Court hereby renders judgment for defendant dismissing this case and ordering plaintiffs to pay the amount of P3,000.00 as attorney’s fees and the costs of suit.According to the trial court, the donation is a donation mortis causa pursuant to Article 728 of the New Civil Code inasmuch as the same expressly provides that it would take effect upon the death of the donor; that the provision stating that the donor reserved the right to revoke the donation is a feature of a donation mortis causa which must comply with the formalities of a will; and that inasmuch as the donation did not follow the formalities pertaining to wills, the same is void and produced no effect whatsoever. Hence, the sale by the donor of the said property was valid since she remained to be the absolute owner thereof during the time of the said transaction.
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the appealed decision is hereby SET ASIDE and a new one rendered:The appellate court declared in its decision that: pauleen
No pronouncement as to costs.
- declaring null and void the Deed of Sale of Registered Land (Annex B) and Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-10434 of the Registry of Deeds of Cavite City (Annex E) and ordering the cancellation thereof; and
- declaring appellants and appellee co-owners of the house and lot in question in accordance with the deed of donation executed by Basilisa Comerciante on December 17, 1975.
In the case at bar, the decisive proof that the deed is a donation inter vivos is in the provision that :Hence this appeal grounded on the following assignment of errors:Ibinibigay ko at ipinagkakaloob ng ganap at hindi mababawi sa naulit na apat na anak ko at sa kanilang mga tagapagmana, ang aking lupang residential o tirahan sampu ng aking bahay nakatirik doon xxx. (emphasis supplied)This is a clear expression of the irrevocability of the conveyance. The irrevocability of the donation is a characteristic of a donation inter vivos. By the words “hindi mababawi”, the donor expressly renounced the right to freely dispose of the house and lot in question. The right to dispose of a property is a right essential to full ownership. Hence, ownership of the house and lot was already with the donees even during the donor’s lifetime. xxxxxx xxx xxx
In the attached document to the deed of donation, the donor and her children stipulated that:Gayon din ang nasabing titulo ay hindi mapapasangla o maipagbibili ang lupa habang may buhay ang nasabing Basilisa Comerciante.”The stipulation is a reiteration of the irrevocability of the dispossession on the part of the donor. On the other hand, the prohibition to encumber, alienate or sell the property during the lifetime of the donor is a recognition of the ownership over the house and lot in issue of the donees for only in the concept of an owner can one encumber or dispose a property.
Anent the first assignment of error, the petitioner argues that the Court of Appeals erred in ruling that the donation was a donation inter vivos. She claims that in interpreting a document, the other relevant provisions therein must be read in conjunction with the rest. While the document indeed stated that the donation was irrevocable, that must be interpreted in the light of the provisions providing that the donation cannot be encumbered, alienated or sold by anyone, that the property donated shall remain in the possession of the donor while she is alive, and that the donation shall take effect only when she dies. Also, the petitioner claims that the donation is mortis causa for the reason that the contemporaneous and subsequent acts of the donor, Basilisa Comerciante, showed such intention. Petitioner cites the testimony of Atty. Viniegra, who notarized the deed of donation, that it was the intent of the donor to maintain control over the property while she was alive; that such intent was shown when she actually sold the lot to herein petitioner.I
THE RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS, WITH DUE RESPECT, IGNORED THE RULES OF INTERPRETATION OF CONTRACTS WHEN IT CONSIDERED THE DONATION IN QUESTION AS INTER VIVOS.II
THE RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS, AGAIN WITH DUE RESPECT, ERRED IN NOT HOLDING THAT THE PRESENT ACTION HAS PRESCRIBED UNDER THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS.
It has been held that whether the donation is inter vivos or mortis causa depends on whether the donor intended to transfer ownership over the properties upon the execution of the deed. In Bonsato v. Court of Appeals, this Court enumerated the characteristics of a donation mortis causa, to wit:xxx xxx xxx
xxx(I)binibigay ko at ipinagkakaloob ng ganap at hindi mababawi sa naulit na apat na anak ko at sa kanilang mga tagapagmana, ang aking lupang residential o tirahan sampu ng aking bahay nakatirik doon na nasa Bagong Pook din, San Antonio, Lungsod ng Kabitexxx xxx xxx
Na ang Kaloob palang ito ay magkakabisa lamang simula sa araw na ako’y pumanaw sa mundo, xxx.xxx xxx xxx
Na ang titulo numero TCT-T-2260 (RT-4036) ng Lungsod ng Kabite, bahay sa loteng tirahan ng Bagong Pook na nababanggit sa nasabing kasulatan, ay mananatili sa poder o possesion ng Ina, na si Basilisa Comerciante habang siya ay nabubuhay at
Gayon din ang nasabing Titulo ay hindi mapapasangla o maipagbibili ang lupa habang maybuhay ang nasabing Basilisa Comerciante xxx.
Significant to the resolution of this issue is the irrevocable character of the donation in the case at bar. In Cuevas v. Cuevas, we ruled that when the deed of donation provides that the donor will not dispose or take away the property donated (thus making the donation irrevocable), he in effect is making a donation inter vivos. He parts away with his naked title but maintains beneficial ownership while he lives. It remains to be a donation inter vivos despite an express provision that the donor continues to be in possession and enjoyment of the donated property while he is alive. In the Bonsato case, we held that:
(1) It conveys no title or ownership to the transferee before the death of the transferor; or, what amounts to the same thing, that the transferor should retain the ownership (full or naked) and control of the property while alive; (2) That before his death, the transfer should be revocable by the transferor at will, ad nutum; but revocability may be provided for indirectly by means of a reserved power in the donor to dispose of the properties conveyed; (3) That the transfer should be void if the transferor should survive the transferee.
(W)hat is most significant [in determining the type of donation] is the absence of stipulation that the donor could revoke the donations; on the contrary, the deeds expressly declare them to be “irrevocable”, a quality absolutely incompatible with the idea of conveyances mortis causa where revocability is of the essence of the act, to the extent that a testator can not lawfully waive or restrict his right of revocation (Old Civil Code, Art.737; New Civil Code, Art. 828).Construing together the provisions of the deed of donation, we find and so hold that in the case at bar the donation is inter vivos. The express irrevocability of the same (“hindi na mababawi”) is the distinctive standard that identifies that document as a donation inter vivos. The other provisions therein which seemingly make the donation mortis causa do not go against the irrevocable character of the subject donation. According to the petitioner, the provisions which state that the same will only take effect upon the death of the donor and that there is a prohibition to alienate, encumber, dispose, or sell the same, are proofs that the donation is mortis causa. We disagree. The said provisions should be harmonized with its express irrevocability. In Bonsato where the donation per the deed of donation would also take effect upon the death of the donor with reservation for the donor to enjoy the fruits of the land, the Court held that the said statements only mean that “after the donor’s death, the donation will take effect so as to make the donees the absolute owners of the donated property, free from all liens and encumbrances; for it must be remembered that the donor reserved for himself a share of the fruits of the land donated.”
Art. 1144. The following actions must be brought within ten years from the time the right of action accrues:Thus, an action for reconveyance of the title to the rightful owner prescribes in ten (10) years from the issuance of the title. It is only when fraud has been committed that the action will be barred after four (4) years.
(1) Upon a written contract;
(2) Upon an obligation created by law;
(3) Upon a judgment. (n)