Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence


Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence > Year 1940 > January 1940 Decisions > G.R. No. 46322 January 20, 1940 - ANSELMO RACELIS, ET AL. v. CRISPULO DEALO, ET AL.

069 Phil 351:




PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

EN BANC

[G.R. No. 46322. January 20, 1940.]

ANSELMO RACELIS, ET AL., Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. CRISPULO DEALO, VITALLANO NAÑAGAS and VENANCIO RACELIS, Defendants-Appellees.

Azada & Veluz and Jose E. Tolentino for the appellants.

Gabriel N. Trinidad and Godofredo Reyes for the appellee Crispulo Dealo.

SYLLABUS


1. DONATIONS; CONSTRUCTION OF. — We note that sometime in 1930, owing to the failure of crops and the attack of leaf-miners upon coconut plantations, the donee was unable to make a yearly payment of the amount of P2,000, and for this reason proposed to G. V. and L. G., the representatives appointed by the donor in her power of attorney, and to the beneficiaries of the trust fund who were represented by the parish priest of the Roman Catholic Church of Lukban, to agree to the suspension of the payment of the full amount and to the acceptance in the meantime of 25 per cent of whatever was produced out of the properties. The proposal was accepted by the donor’s representatives and beneficiaries of the trust until the year 1937 when payment of the full amount was resumed. We do not consider the arrangement thus reached as constituting a violation of the condition of the donations.

2. ID.; ID.; TRUSTS. — There is a growing appreciation of the need of upholding dispositions of property, made through the medium of trust, instead of searching for reasons for avoiding them, or dealing with them with any degree of disfavor. In construing trust instruments or instruments affected or charged with trusts for charitable or wholesome purposes, the courts will, whenever possible, favor that construction which will uphold the validity of the trust. And this rule, under the common law, has its counterpart in the fidei-comissum under the civil law. The revocation of the donations would result in the annulment of the trust and of the consequent deprivation of the beneficiaries of the benefits of the trust intended for them by the donor which could be secured only from the continued life of the trust.


D E C I S I O N


LAUREL, J.:


On February 1, 1923, Benita Palmeda, a widow without any forced heirs, executed two public instruments of donation by which she gave to Crispulo Dealo personal and real properties in the municipalities of Lukban and Tayabas, Province of Tayabas. By the first instrument, Exhibit A, nineteen parcels of land with all their improvements, valued at P40,000 were donated; the second instrument, Exhibit B, included three parcels of land and improvements thereon, together with personal properties, all valued at P20,000. The donations were subject to the following conditions: (1) that Crispulo Dealo shall take care of and cultivate the lands donated; (2) that Crispulo Dealo shall deliver to the donor or her representatives at the end of each calendar year beginning February 1, 1923 the sum of two thousand pesos (P2,000) Philippine currency, for a period of thirty years, for the support and maintenance of the donor for the rest of her life and for the payment of certain items mentioned in a power of attorney to be executed by her in due time and which she did in fact execute; (3) that Crispulo Dealo shall be obligated to defray the expenses for illness and funeral expenses of the donor; and (4) that should Crispulo Dealo fail to comply with any of the conditions thus imposed, the donations shall be revoked without right to devolution of the sums he might have delivered to the donor or her representatives. Crispulo accepted the donations in his favor and bound himself to comply with all the conditions therein mentioned.

Beginning 1923, the year of the execution of the two instruments of donation until the year 1930, the donee made punctual delivery of the amount of P2,000 to Benita Palmeda and after her death in April 16, 1923, to her representatives, Geminiano Villegas and Leopoldo Gaela. Beginning the year 1931, however, the donee delivered only a certain percentage of the produce of the land in accordance with an agreement had with Villegas and Gaela and the beneficiaries of a kind of trust fund provided in the power of attorney hereinabove referred to. Subsequently, or on January 27, 1933, the donee, for and in consideration of the sum of P5,000, sold to Vitaliano Nañagas, codefendant herein, five of the twenty-two parcels of land included in the two instruments of donation (Exhibit C).

By reason of an alleged violation of one of the conditions of the donations, consisting in the failure of the donee to deliver yearly the full amount of P2,000, beginning the year 1931 up to 1937 when full payment was resumed, Anselmo, Victoria and Jose, surnamed Racelis, Mariano Villasenor, and Abelardo, Rodolfo, Encarnacion, Imelda and Rosario, surnamed Cajigal, as collateral heirs of Benita Palmeda in intestacy, on August 14, 1936, brought an action in the Court of First Instance of Tayabas, against Crispulo Dealo and Vitaliano Nañagas, praying:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"(a) Declarando revocadas de hecho las dos escrituras de donacion de la finada Benita Palmeda a favor del demandado Crispulo Dealo y nula la escritura de venta a favor del demandado Vitaliano Nañagas, y, consiguientemente dueños absolutos los demandantes de los bienes muebles e inmuebles descritos en esta demanda, y ordenandose a los demandados la entrega de los mismos a los demandantes;

"(b) Condenando a los demandados Crispulo Dealo y Vitaliano Nanagas al pago del importe de los productos percibidos de los mencionados bienes en su poder, desde el año 1931 y 1933, respectivamente, en concepto de danos y peljuicios, hasta la entrega de los mismos a los demandantes;

"(c) Condenando a los demandados al pago de las costas del juicio; y

"(d) Concediendo, ademas, a los demandantes cualquier otro remedio justo y equitativo que en derecho hubiere lugar."cralaw virtua1aw library

Both Crispulo Dealo and Vitaliano Nanagas demurred to the plaintiffs’ complaint, but the trial court overruled their demurrer. On October 7, 1936, Crispulo Dealo filed his answer denying generally and specifically the allegations of the complaint and setting up special defenses. Vitaliano Nañagas, on the other hand, filed an amended answer and cross-complaint, alleging, among other things, that he was a purchaser in good faith of the five parcels of land from his codefendant Crispulo Dealo and that he had already introduced thereon improvements amounting to the sum of P500. He, therefore, prayed that in the alternative that the complaint be decided in favor of the plaintiffs revoking the donations that his codefendant Crispulo Dealo be sentenced to return to him the sum of P5,000, which was the purchase price of the five parcels of land, with legal interest thereon.

On April 11, 1938, the trial court rendered a decision which, while admitting the violation of one of the conditions of the donations, nevertheless dismissed the complaint, on the ground that the complainants had no legal personality to sue. Said the trial court:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"De los hechos arriba expuestos surgen las siguientes cuestiones: Ha habido o no infraccion de las condiciones de la donacion? Tienen o no los demandantes alguna personalidad legal para pedir la revocacion de esta donacion? Procede revocar la venta hecha por el demandado Crispulo Dealo a Vitaliano Nañagas?

"En cuanto a la primera cuestion, no puede caber duda de que el demandado Crispulo Dealo no ha cumplido con exactitud el pago de los P2,000 a que se habia obligado anualmente desde el 1931 hasta esta fecha, infringiendo, por consiguiente, las condiciones de la donacion. Como de los terminos de la escritura esta donacion es onerosa e intervivos, segun el articulo 622 del Codigo Civil.’Las donaciones con causa onerosa se regiran por las reglas de los contratos’, y evidentemente es de aplicacion el parrafo 2. del articulo 1257 del Codigo Civil que dice:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"‘Si el contrato contuviese alguna estipulacion en favor de un tercero, este podra exigir su cumplimiento, siempre que hubiese hecho saber su aceptacion al obligado antes de que haya sido aquella revocada.’ "No siendo los demandantes los apoderados legales ni los beneficiarios de la donante no cabe duda alguna que carecen de personalidad para entablar la presente accion.

"Tambien el Juzgado es de opinion que el demandado Crispulo Dealo no esta autorizado a vender dichas cinco (5) parcelas de terreno, no obstante ser dueno, en vista de que existe la clausula de que la falta de cumplimiento de dicho donatario de cualquiera de las condiciones de dicha donacion, se entenderan revocadas de hecho sin que el donatario tenga derecho a la devolucion de las cantidades que llubiere entregado a la donante."cralaw virtua1aw library

From this judgment plaintiffs have appealed, and, in their brief, make various assignments of errors. We do not deem it necessary to enter upon a discussion of all the errors assigned by the appellants in their brief, for the reason that, in our opinion, the main question which we are called upon to resolve in this appeal is, whether or not upon the admitted or established facts there was such a violation of one of the conditions of the donations as to warrant avoidance of the donations, with the resulting intestacy in favor of the plaintiffs-appellants with reference to the donated properties. We note that sometime in 1930. owing to the failure of crops and the attack of leaf-miners upon coconut plantations, the donee was unable to make a yearly payment of the amount of P2,000, and for this reason proposed to Geminiano Villegas and Leopoldo Gaela, the representatives appointed by the donor in her power of attorney, and to the beneficiaries of the trust fund who were represented by the parish priest of the Roman Catholic Church of Lukban, to agree to the suspension of the payment of the full amount and to the acceptance in the meantime of 25 per cent of whatever was produced out of the properties. The proposal was accepted by the donor’s representatives and beneficiaries of the trust until the year 1937 when payment of the full amount was resumed. We do not consider the arrangement thus reached as constituting a violation of the condition of the donations. There is a growing appreciation of the need of upholding dispositions of property, made through the medium of trust, instead of searching for reasons for avoiding them, or dealing with them with any degree of disfavor. In construing trust instruments or instruments affected or charged with trusts for charitable or wholesome purposes, the courts will, whenever possible, favor that construction which will uphold the validity of the trust. And this rule, under the common law, has its counterpart in the fidei-comissun under the civil law. The revocation of the donations would result in the annulment of the trust and of the consequent deprivation of the beneficiaries of the benefits of the trust intended for them by the donor which could be secured only from the continued life of the trust.

The alienation by the donor, Crispulo Dealo, of the five parcels of land affected with the trust is inconsistent with the continuance of the trust, and the judgment of the lower court in this respect, is affirmed.

For the reasons hereinabove stated, the judgment of the lower court is hereby affirmed, with costs against the appellants. So ordered.

Avanceña, C.J., Villa-Real, Imperial, Diaz and Concepcion, JJ., concur.




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