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Prof. Joselito Guianan Chan's The Labor Code of the Philippines, Annotated Labor Standards & Social Legislation Volume I of a 3-Volume Series 2019 Edition (3rd Revised Edition)
 

 
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UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

 
PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

   
July-1997 Jurisprudence                 

  • G.R. No. 96649-50 July 1, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LYNDON V. MACOY

  • G.R. No. 109660 July 1, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROMEO NELL

  • G.R. No. 124914 July 2, 1997 - JESUS UGADDAN v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123074 July 4, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FERNANDO M. FERNANDEZ

  • Adm. Matter No. MTJ-94-1017 July 7, 1997 - OSCAR B. LAMBINO v. AMADO A. DE VERA

  • Adm. Matter No. P-97-1245 July 7, 1997 - BENIGNO G. GAVIOLA v. NOEL NAVARETTE

  • G.R. No. 105760 July 7, 1997 - PNB v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 107193 July 7, 1997 - EUGENIO TENEBRO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 112006 July 7, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROBERTO S. DE VERA

  • G.R. No. 114275 July 7, 1997 - IÑIGO F. CARLET v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116962 July 7, 1997 - MARIA SOCORRO CACA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 118940-41 & 119407 July 7, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. GREGORIO MEJIA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119872 July 7, 1997 - REMEDIOS NAVOA RAMOS v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 122206 July 7, 1997 - RAFAEL ARCEGA, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 105284 July 8, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. IGNACIO ZUMIL

  • G.R. No. 106099 July 8, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. AGUSTIN SOTTO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 109814 July 8, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FERNANDO MAALAT

  • G.R. No. 112797 July 8, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. NIDA ALEGRO

  • G.R. No. 114265 July 8, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. GREGORIO MAGALLANES

  • G.R. No. 115307 July 8, 1997 - MANUEL LAO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 115703 July 8, 1997 - EPIFANIO L. CASOLITA, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117501 July 8, 1997 - SOLID HOMES, INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 122308 July 8, 1997 - PURITA S. MAPA, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. SC-96-1 July 10, 1997 - DAMASO S. FLORES v. BERNARDO P. ABESAMIS

  • Adm. Matter No. P-97-1236 July 11, 1997 - MADONNA MACALUA v. DOMINGO TIU, JR.

  • Adm. Matter No. P-97-1249 July 11, 1997 - PACITA SY TORRES v. FROILAN S. CABLING

  • G.R. No. 104865 July 11, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. VICTORIANO PONTILAR, JR.

  • G.R. Nos. 113511-12 July 11, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DANILO SINOC

  • G.R. No. 115033 July 11, 1997 - PONCIANO T. MATANGUIHAN, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123204 July 11, 1997 - NATIONWIDE SECURITY AND ALLIED SERVICES, INC. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. P-95-1158 July 14, 1997 - EUFEMIA BERCASIO v. HERBERTO BENITO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 106153 July 14, 1997 - FLORENCIO G. BERNARDO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 108838 July 14, 1997 - PAGCOR v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 116528-31 July 14, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MARIETO ADORA

  • G.R. No. 108492 July 15, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. NOEL BANIEL, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118078 July 15, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. OSCAR VILLANUEVA

  • G.R. No. 123379 July 15, 1997 - BAROTAC SUGAR MILLS, INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 115439-41 July 16, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. SANDIGANBAYAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 120437-41 July 16, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ARMANDO ALVARIO

  • Adm. Matter No. RTJ-97-1382 July 17, 1997 - REXEL M. PACURIBOT v. RODRIGO F. LIM, JR.

  • G.R. No. 105002 July 17, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DIARANGAN DANSAL

  • G.R. No. 108634 July 17, 1997 - ANTONIO P. TAN v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 111165 July 17, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROGELIO MERCADO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 113257 July 17, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JOHNNY LASCOTA

  • G.R. No. 114742 July 17, 1997 - CARLITOS E. SILVA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118860 July 17, 1997 - ROLINDA B. PONO v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 120262 July 17, 1997 - PAL, INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 125195 July 17, 1997 - SAMAHAN NG MGA MANGGAGAWA SA BANDOLINO, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. RTJ-96-1362 July 18, 1997 - DSWD, ET AL. v. ANTONIO M. BELEN, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. RTJ-95-1283 July 21, 1997 - DAVID C. NAVAL, ET AL. v. JOSE R. PANDAY, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 108488 July 21, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RODENCIO NARCA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 111002 July 21, 1997 - PACIFIC MARITIME SERVICES, INC., ET AL. v. NICANOR RANAY, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117402 July 21, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROLLIE L. ALVARADO

  • G.R. No. 119184 July 21, 1997 - HEIRS OF FELICIDAD CANQUE v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121768 July 21, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DOMINGO CASTILLO, JR.

  • G.R. Nos. 122250 & 122258 July 21, 1997 - EDGARDO C. NOLASCO v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 124347 July 21, 1997 - CMS STOCK BROKERAGE, INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 125510 July 21, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RENATO LISING

  • G.R. No. 111933 July 23, 1997 - PLDT v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 112429-30 July 23, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RODOLFO P. CAYETANO

  • G.R. Nos. 118736-37 July 23, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. TANG WAI LAN

  • Adm. Matter No. P-96-1205 July 24, 1997 - OSCAR P. DE LOS REYES v. ESTEBAN H. ERISPE, JR.

  • Adm. Matter No. RTJ-97-1383 July 24, 1997 - JOSE LAGATIC v. JOSE PEÑAS, JR., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 104663 July 24, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DAVID SALVATIERRA

  • G.R. No. 105004 July 24, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DIONISIO MAROLLANO

  • G.R. No. 107723 July 24, 1997 - EMS MANPOWER & PLACEMENT SERVICES v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 111211 July 24, 1997 - ABS-CBN EMPLOYEES UNION, ET AL., v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 113235 July 24, 1997 - VICTORINA MEDINA, ET AL. v. CITY SHERIFF, MANILA, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 113366-68 July 24, 1997 - GREGORIO ISABELO, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116635 July 24, 1997 - CONCHITA NOOL, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116736 July 24, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. BENJAMIN ORTEGA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118458 July 24, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RICKY DELA CRUZ

  • G.R. No. 120276 July 24, 1997 - SINGA SHIP MANAGEMENT PHILS., INC. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121075 July 24, 1997 - DELTA MOTORS CORP. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121867 July 24, 1997 - SMITH KLINE & FRENCH LAB., LTD. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 127262 July 24, 1997 - HUBERT WEBB, ET AL. v. PEOPLE OF THE PHIL., ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter Nos. 95-6-55-MTC & P-96-1173 July 28, 1997 - REPORT ON AUDIT IN THE MTC OF PEÑARANDA, NUEVA ECIJA

  • G.R. No. 102858 July 28, 1997 - DIRECTOR OF LANDS v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 103209 July 28, 1997 - APOLONIO BONDOC, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 110823 July 28, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROCHEL TRAVERO

  • G.R. No. 112323 July 28, 1997 - HELPMATE, INC. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 113344 July 28, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ATANACIO LUTO

  • G.R. No. 116668 July 28, 1997 - ERLINDA A. AGAPAY v. CARLINA V. PALANG, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116726 July 28, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LEONARDO P. DE LA CRUZ

  • G.R. No. 118822 July 28, 1997 - G.O.A.L., INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119000 July 28, 1997 - ROSA UY v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119649 July 28, 1997 - RICKY GALICIA, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119868 July 28, 1997 - PAL, INC. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 120072 July 28, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FLORENTINO I. MESA

  • G.R. No. 123361 July 28, 1997 - TEOFILO CACHO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 126556 July 28, 1997 - NELSON C. DAVID v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117742 July 29, 1997 - GEORGE M. TABERRAH v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • SBC Case No. 519 July 31, 1997 - PATRICIA FIGUEROA v. SIMEON BARRANCO, JR.

  • G.R. No. 97369 July 31, 1997 - P.I. MANPOWER PLACEMENTS, INC. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 99030 July 31, 1997 - PLDT v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 106582 July 31, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RUPERTO BALDERAS

  • G.R. No. 107802 July 31, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JASON NAREDO

  • G.R. No. 108399 July 31, 1997 - RAFAEL M. ALUNAN III, ET AL. v. ROBERT MIRASOL, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 108619 July 31, 1997 - EPIFANIO LALICAN v. FILOMENO A. VERGARA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 113689 July 31, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FELIPE SANGIL, SR.

  • G.R. No. 113958 July 31, 1997 - BANANA GROWERS COLLECTIVE, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116060 July 31, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. CLEMENTE DE LA PEÑA

  • G.R. No. 116292 July 31, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JIMMY PEÑERO

  • G.R. No. 119068 July 31, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DANTE CASTRO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121027 July 31, 1997 - CORAZON DEZOLLER TISON, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121157 July 31, 1997 - HEIRS OF SEGUNDA MANINGDING, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123561 July 31, 1997 - DELIA R. NERVES v. CSC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 124678 July 31, 1997 - DELIA BANGALISAN, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  •  





     
     

    G.R. No. 116635   July 24, 1997 - CONCHITA NOOL, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

     
    PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

    THIRD DIVISION

    [G.R. No. 116635. July 24, 1997.]

    CONCHITA NOOL and GAUDENCIO ALMOJERA, Petitioner, v. COURT OF APPEALS, ANACLETO NOOL and EMILIA NEBRE, Respondent.

    Godofredo P. Melegrito, for Petitioners.

    Dionisio E. Bala, Jr. for Private Respondents.

    SYNOPSIS


    Two parcels of land were mortgaged by herein petitioners to DBP to secure a loan. The subject properties were foreclosed by the bank for failure of the private petitioners to pay their loan. After DBP became the absolute owner of the two parcels of land Anacleto, a younger brother of Conchita, negotiated with DBP and succeeded in buying the lands. New titles were issued in name private respondents. Petitioners seek recovery of the aforementioned parcels of land from the respondents on the strength of two private documents. The first, an agreement which appeared to have sold to respondents the two parcels of land and the second, in which there was an agreement that Conchita can repurchase the said lands when she has the money. The trial court voided both contracts and decided in favor of the respondents. The Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the lower court, hence, this petition for review on certioari.

    The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Court of Appeals and that of the trial court. The principal contract of sale contained in Exhibit C" and the auxiliary contract of Repurchase in Exhibit "D" are both void. It is clear that the seller had no longer had any title to the parcels of land at the time the Contract of Sale was drawn.


    SYLLABUS


    1. CIVIL LAW; OBLIGATIONS AND CONTRACTS; SALE WITH RIGHT OF REPURCHASE; SALE BY PERSON WITHOUT TITLE, VOID; CONTRACT OF REPURCHASE BASED ON INVALID SALE, ALSO VOID; CASE AT BAR. — Article 1370 of the Civil Code is applicable only to valid and enforceable contracts. The Regional Trial Court and the Court of Appeals ruled that the principal contract of sale contained in Exhibit C and the auxiliary contracts of repurchase in Exhibit D are both void. This conclusion of the two lower courts appears to find support in Dignos v. Court of Appeals, where the Court held: "Be that as it may, it is evident that when petitioners sold said land to the Cabigas spouses, they were no longer owners of the same and the sale is null and void." In the present case, it is clear that the sellers no longer had any title to the parcels of land at the time of sale. Since Exhibit D, the alleged contract of repurchase, was dependent on the validity of Exhibit C, it is itself void. A void contract cannot give rise to a valid one. Verily, Article 1422 of the Civil Code provides that" (a) contract which is the direct result of a previous illegal contract, is also void and inexistent."cralaw virtua1aw library

    2. ID.; ID.; ID.; CONTRACT INOPERATIVE WHERE THE BUYERS THEMSELVES HAVE ALREADY ACQUIRED TITLE AND DELIVERY THEREOF FROM THE RIGHTFUL OWNER. — We should however add that Dignos did not cite its basis for ruling that a "sale is null and void" where the sellers "were no longer the owners" of the property. Such a situation (where the sellers were no longer owners) does not appear to be one of the void contracts enumerated in Article 1409 of the Civil Code. Moreover, the Civil Code itself recognizes a sale where the goods are to be "acquired . . . by the seller after the perfection of the contract of sale," clearly implying that a sale is possible even if the seller was not the owner at the time of sale, provided he acquires title to the property later on. In the present case however, it is likewise clear that the sellers can no longer deliver the object of the sale to the buyers, as the buyers themselves have already acquired title and delivery thereof from the rightful owner, the DBP. Thus, such contact may be deemed to be inoperative and may thus fall, by analogy, under item no. 5 of Article 1409 of the Civil Code: "Those which contemplate an impossible service." Article 1459 of the Civil Code provides that "the vendor must have a right to transfer the ownership thereof [object of the sale] at the time it is delivered." Here, delivery of ownership is no longer possible. It has become impossible.

    3. ID.; ID.; ID.; A BUYER CAN AS A CONSEQUENCE ACQUIRE NO MORE THAN WHAT THE SELLER CAN LEGALLY TRANSFER. — Article 1505 of the Civil Code provides that "where goods are sold by a person who is not the owner thereof, and who does not sell them under authority or with consent of the owner, the buyer acquires no better title to the goods than the seller had, unless the owner of the goods is by his conduct precluded from denying the seller’s authority to sell." Here, there is no allegation at all that petitioners were authorized by DBP to sell the property to the private respondents. Jurisprudence, on the other hand, teaches us that "a person can sell only what he owns or is authorized to sell; the buyer can as a consequence acquire no more than what the seller can legally transfer." No one can give what he does not have — neno dat quod non habet. On the other hand, Exhibit D presupposes that petitioners could repurchase the property that they "sold" to private respondents. As petitioners "sold" nothing, it follows that they can also "repurchase" nothing. Nothing sold, nothing to repurchase. In this light, the contract of repurchase is also inoperative — and by the same analogy, void.

    4. ID.; ID.; ID.; RIGHT OF REPURCHASE, ANCILLARY AND INCIDENTAL TO CONTRACT OF SALE; BECOMES A UNILATERAL PROMISE TO SELL WHERE CONTRACT TO SELL IS NULL AND VOID. — Assuming arguendo that Exhibit D is separate and distinct from Exhibit C and is not affected by the nullity of the latter, still petitioners do not thereby acquire a right to repurchase the property. In that scenario, Exhibit D ceases to be a "right to repurchase" ancillary and incidental to the contract of sale; rather, it becomes an accepted unilateral promise to sell. Article 1479 of the Civil Code, however, provides that "an accepted unilateral promise to buy or sell a determinate thing for a price certain is binding upon the promissor if the promise is supported by a consideration distinct from the price." In the present case, the alleged written contract of repurchase contained in Exhibit D is bereft of any consideration distinct from the price. Accordingly, as an independent contract, it cannot bind private respondents. The ruling in Diamante v. CA supports this.

    5. ID.; PUBLIC LAND ACT; REPURCHASE OF FREE PATENT OR HOMESTEAD; MAY BE MADE BY APPLICANT, HIS WIDOW OR LEGAL HEIRS; REPURCHASE OF ONE LEGAL HEIR PRECLUDES THE OTHERS. — The Court notes that Victorino Nool and Francisco Nool mortgaged the land to DBP. The brothers, together with Conchita Nool and Anacleto Nool, were all siblings and heirs qualified to repurchase the two parcels of land under Sec. 119 of the Public Land Act which provides that" (e)very conveyance of land acquired under the free patent or homestead provisions, when proper, shall be subject to repurchase by the applicant, his widow or legal heirs, within a period of five years from the date of conveyance." Assuming the applicability of this statutory provision to the case at bar, it is indisputable that Private Respondent Anacleto Nool already repurchased from DBP the contested properties. Hence, there was no more right of repurchase that his sister Conchita or brothers Victorino and Francisco could exercise. The properties were already owned by an heir of the homestead grantee and the rationale of the provision to keep homestead lands within the family of the grantee was thus fulfilled.

    6. ID.; OBLIGATIONS AND CONTRACTS; TRUST; IMPLIED TRUST, NOT PROVED IN CASE AT BAR. — The claim of a trust relation is likewise without merit. The records show that private respondents did not purchase the contested properties from DBP in trust of petitioners. The former, as previously mentioned, in fact bought the land from DBP upon realization that the latter could not validly sell the same. Obviously, petitioners bought it for themselves. There is no evidence at all in the records that they bought the land in trust for Private Respondents. The fact that Anacleto Nool was the younger brother of Conchita Nool and that they signed a contract of repurchase, which as discussed earlier was void, does not prove the existence of an implied trust in favor of petitioners.

    7. REMEDIAL LAW; ACTIONS; ESTOPPEL; ACTION OR DEFENSE FOR DECLARATION OF THE INEXISTENCE OF CONTRACT DOES NOT PRESCRIBED. — Petitioners argue that "when Anacleto Nool took the possession of the two hectares, more or less, and let the other two hectares to be occupied and cultivated by plaintiffs-appellants, Anacleto Nool cannot later on disclaim the terms or contions (sic) agreed upon and his actuation is within the ambit of estoppel . . ." We disagree. The private respondents cannot be estopped from raising the defense of nullity of contract, specially in this case where they acted in good faith, believing that indeed petitioners could sell the two parcels of land in question. Article 1410 of the Civil Code mandates that" (t)he action or defense for the declaration of the inexistence of a contract does not prescribe." It is a well-settled doctrine that "as between parties to a contract validity cannot be given to it by estoppel if it is prohibited by law or it is against public policy (19 Am. Jur. 802). It is not within the competence of any citizen to barter away what public policy by law seeks to preserve." Thus, it is immaterial that private respondents initially acted to implement the contract of sale, believing in good faith that the same was valid. We stress that a contract void at inception cannot be validated by ratification or prescription and certainly cannot be binding on or enforceable against private respondents.

    8. CIVIL LAW; HUMAN RELATIONS; EVERY PERSON WHO THROUGH AN ACT OF PERFORMANCE OF ANOTHER ACQUIRES POSSESSION OF SOMETHING AT THE EXPENSE OF LATTER WITHOUT JUST CAUSE SHALL RETURN THE SAME; CASE AT BAR. — The balance of P14,000.00 under the void contract of sale may not be enforced. Petitioners are the ones who have an obligation to return what they unduly and improperly received by reason of the invalid contract of sale. Since they cannot legally give title to what they "sold," they cannot keep the money paid for the object of the sale. It is basic that" (e)very person who through an act of performance by another, or any other means, acquires or comes into possession of something at the expense of the latter without just or legal ground, shall return the same." Thus, if a void contract has already "been performed, the restoration of what has been given is in order." Corollarily and as aptly ordered by respondent appellate court, interest thereon will run only from the time of private respondents’ demand for the return of this amount in their counterclaim. In the same vein, petitioners’ possession and cultivation of the two hectares are anchored on private respondents’ tolerance. Clearly, the latter’s tolerance ceased upon their counterclaim and demand on the former to vacate. Hence, their right to possess and cultivate the land ipso facto ceased.


    D E C I S I O N


    PANGANIBAN, J.:


    A contract of repurchase arising out of a contract of sale where the seller did not have any title to the property "sold" is not valid. Since nothing was sold, then there is also nothing to repurchase.

    Statement of the Case

    This postulate is explained by this Court as it resolves this petition fore review on certiorari assailing the January 20, 1993 Decision 1 of Respondent Court of Appeals 2 in CA G.R. CV No. 36473, affirming the decision 3 of the trial court 4 which disposed as follows: 5

    "WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered dismissing the complaint for no cause of action, and hereby:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    1. Declaring the private writing, Exhibit ‘C’, to be an option to sell, not binding and considered validly withdrawn by the defendants for want of consideration;

    2. Ordering the plaintiffs to return to the defendants the sum of P30,000.00 plus interest thereon at the legal rate, from the time of filing of defendants’ counterclaim until the same is fully paid;

    3. Ordering the plaintiffs to deliver peaceful possession of the two hectares mentioned in paragraph 7 of the complaint and in paragraph 31 of defendants’ answer (counterclaim);

    4. Ordering the plaintiffs to pay reasonable rents on said two hectares at P5,000.00 per annum or at P2,500.00 per cropping from the time of judicial demand mentioned in paragraph 2 of the dispositive portion of this decision, until the said two hectares shall have been delivered to the defendants; and

    5. To pay the costs.

    SO ORDERED"

    The Antecedent Facts

    The facts, which appear undisputed by the parties, are narrated by the Court of Appeals as follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "Two (2) parcels of land are in dispute and litigated upon here. The first has an area of 1 hectare. It was formerly owned by Victorino Nool and covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-74950. With an area of 3.0880 hectares, the other parcel was previously owned by Francisco Nool under Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-100945. Both parcel’s are situated in San Manuel, Isabela. The plaintiff spouses, Conchita Nool and Gaudencio Almojera, now the appellants, seek recovery of the aforementioned parcels of land from the defendants, Anacleto Nool, a younger brother of Conchita, and Emilia Nebre, now the appellees.

    In their complaint, plaintiff-appellants alleged inter alia that they are the owners of subject parcels of land, and they bought the same from Conchita’s other brothers, Victorino Nool and Francisco Nool; that as plaintiffs were in dire need of money, they obtained a loan from the Ilagan Branch of the Development Bank of the Philippines, in Ilagan, Isabela, secured by a real estate mortgage on said parcels of land, which were still registered in the names of Victorino Nool and Francisco Nool, at the time, and for the failure of plaintiffs to pay the said loan, including interest and surcharges, totaling P56,000.00, the mortgage was foreclosed; that within the period of redemption, plaintiffs contacted defendant Anacleto Nool for the latter to redeem the foreclosed properties from DBP, which the latter did; and as a result, the titles of the two (2) parcels of land in question were transferred to Anacleto Nool; that as part of their arrangement or understanding, Anacleto Nool agreed to buy from plaintiff Conchita Nool the two (2) parcels of land under controversy, for a total price of P100,000.00, P30,000.00 of which price was paid to Conchita, and upon payment of the balance of P14,000.00, plaintiffs were to regain possession of the two (2) hectares of land, which amounts defendants failed to pay, and the same day the said arrangement 6 was made; another covenant 7 was entered into by the parties, whereby defendants agreed to return to plaintiffs the lands in question, at anytime the latter have the necessary amount; that plaintiffs asked the defendants to return the same but despite the intervention of the Barangay Captain of their place, defendants refused to return the said parcels of land to plaintiffs; thereby impelling them (plaintiffs) to come to court for relief.

    In their Answer, defendants-appellees theorized that they acquired the lands in question from the Development Bank of the Philippines, through negotiated sale, and were misled by plaintiffs when defendant Anacleto Nool signed the private writing, agreeing to return subject lands when plaintiffs have the money to redeem the same; defendant Anacleto having been made to believe, then, that his sister, Conchita, still had the right to redeem the said properties.

    The pivot of inquiry here, as aptly observed below, is the nature and significance of the private document, marked Exhibit ‘D’ for plaintiffs, which document has not been denied by the defendants, as defendants even averred in their Answer that they gave an advance payment of P30,000.00 therefor, and acknowledged that they had a balance of P14,000.00 to complete their payment. On this crucial issue, the lower court adjudged the said private writing (Exhibit ‘D’) as an option to sell not binding upon and considered the same validly withdrawn by defendants for want of consideration; and decided the case in the manner above mentioned.

    There is no quibble over the fact that the two (2) parcels of land in dispute were mortgaged to the Development Bank of the Philippines, to secure a loan obtained by plaintiffs from DBP (Ilagan Branch), Ilagan, Isabela. For the non-payment of said loan, the mortgage was foreclosed and in the process, ownership of the mortgaged lands was consolidated in DBP (Exhibits 3 and 4 for defendants). After DBP became the absolute owner of the two parcels of land, defendants negotiated with DBP and succeeded in buying the same. By virtue of such sale by DBP in favor of defendants, the titles of DBP were cancelled and the corresponding Transfer Certificates of Title (Annexes ‘C’ and ‘D’ to the Complaint) issued to the defendants." 8

    It should be stressed that Manuel S. Mallorca, authorized officer of DBP, certified that the one-year redemption period was from March 16, 1982 up to March 15, 1983 and that the mortgagors’ right of redemption was not exercised within this period. 9 Hence, DBP became the absolute owner of said parcels of land for which it was issued new certificates of title, both entered on May 23, 1983 by the Registry of Deeds for the Province of Isabela. 10 About two years thereafter, on April 1, 1985, DBP entered into a Deed of Conditional Sale 11 involving the same parcels of land with Private Respondent Anacleto Nool as vendee. Subsequently, the latter was issued new certificates of title on February 8, 1988. 12

    The Court of Appeals ruled: 13

    "WHEREFORE, finding no reversible error infirming it, the appealed Judgment is hereby AFFIRMED in toto. No pronouncement as to costs."cralaw virtua1aw library

    The Issues


    Petitioners impute to Respondent Court the following alleged "errors" :jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "1. The Honorable Court of Appeals, Second Division has misapplied the legal import or meaning of Exhibit ‘C’ in a way contrary to law and existing jurisprudence in stating that it has no binding effect between the parties and considered validly withdrawn by defendants-appellees for want of consideration.

    2. The Honorable Court of Appeals, Second Division has miserably failed to give legal significance to the actual possession and cultivation and appropriating exclusively the palay harvest of the two (2) hectares land pending the payment of the remaining balance of fourteen thousand pesos (P14,000.00) by defendants-appellees as indicated in Exhibit ‘C’.

    3. The Honorable Court of Appeals has seriously erred in affirming the decision of the lower court by awarding the payment of rents per annum and the return of P30,000.00 and not allowing the plaintiffs-appellants to re-acquire the four (4) hectares, more or less upon payment of one hundred thousand pesos (P100,000.00) as shown in Exhibit ‘D’." 14

    The Court’s Ruling


    The petition is bereft of merit.

    First Issue: Are Exhibits "C" and "D"

    Valid and Enforceable?

    The petitioner-spouses plead for the enforcement of their agreement with private respondents as contained in Exhibits "C" and "D," and seek damages for the latter’s alleged breach thereof. In Exhibit C, which was a private handwritten document labeled by the parties as Resibo ti Katulagan or Receipt of Agreement, the petitioners appear to have "sold" to private respondent the parcels of land in controversy covered by TCT No. T-74950 and TCT No. T-100945. On the other hand, Exhibit D, which was also a private handwritten document in Ilocano and labeled as Kasuratan, private respondents agreed that Conchita Nool "can acquire back or repurchase later on said land when she has the money." 15

    In seeking to enforce her alleged right to repurchase the parcels of lands, Conchita (joined by her co-petitioner-husband) invokes Article 1370 of the Civil Code which mandates that" (i)f the terms of a contract are clear and leave no doubt upon the intention of the contracting parties, the literal meaning of its stipulations shall control." Hence, petitioners contend that the Court of Appeals erred in affirming the trial court’s finding and conclusion that said Exhibits C and D were "not merely voidable but utterly void and inexistent." cralawnad

    We cannot sustain petitioners’ view. Article 1370 of the Civil Code is applicable only to valid and enforceable contracts. The Regional Trial Court and the Court of Appeals ruled that the principal contract of sale contained in Exhibit C and the auxiliary contract of repurchase in Exhibit D are both void. This conclusion of the two lower courts appears to find support in Dignos v. Court of Appeals, 16 where the Court held:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "Be that as it may, it is evident that when petitioners sold said land to the Cabigas spouses, they were no longer owners of the same and the sale is null and void."cralaw virtua1aw library

    In the present case, it is clear that the sellers no longer had any title to the parcels of land at the time of sale. Since Exhibit D, the alleged contract of repurchase, was dependent on the validity of Exhibit C, it is itself void. A void contract cannot give rise to a valid one. 17 Verily, Article 1422 of the Civil Code provides that" (a) contract which is the direct result of a previous illegal contract, is also void and inexistent."cralaw virtua1aw library

    We should however add that Dignos did not cite its basis for ruling that a "sale is null and void" where the sellers "were no longer the owners" of the property. Such a situation (where the sellers were no longer owners) does not appear to be one of the void contracts enumerated in Article 1409 of the Civil Code. 18 Moreover, the Civil Code 19 itself recognizes a sale where the goods are to be "acquired . . . by the seller after the perfection of the contract of sale," clearly implying that a sale is possible even if the seller was not the owner at the time of sale, provided he acquires title to the property later on.

    In the present case however, it is likewise clear that the sellers can no longer deliver the object of the sale to the buyers, as the buyers themselves have already acquired title and delivery thereof from the rightful owner, the DBP. Thus, such contract may be deemed to be inoperative 20 and may thus fall, by analogy, under item no. 5 of Article 1409 of the Civil Code: "Those which contemplate an impossible service." Article 1459 of the Civil Code provides that "the vendor must have a right to transfer the ownership thereof [object of the sale] at the time it is delivered." Here, delivery of ownership is no longer possible. It has become impossible.

    Furthermore, Article 1505 of the Civil Code provides that "where goods are sold by a person who is not the owner thereof, and who does not sell them under authority or with consent of the owner, the buyer acquires no better title to the goods than the seller had, unless the owner of the goods is by his conduct precluded from denying the seller’s authority to sell." Here, there is no allegation at all that petitioners were authorized by DBP to sell the property to the private respondents. Jurisprudence, on the other hand, teaches us that "a person can sell only what he owns or is authorized to sell; the buyer can as a consequence acquire no more than what the seller can legally transfer." 21 No one can give what he does not have — nono dat quod non habet. On the other hand, Exhibit D presupposes that petitioners could repurchase the property that they "sold" to private respondents. As petitioners "sold" nothing, it follows that they can also "repurchase" nothing. Nothing sold, nothing to repurchase. In this light, the contract of repurchase is also inoperative and by the same analogy, void.

    Contract of Repurchase

    Dependent on Validity of Sale

    As borne out by the evidence on record, the private respondents bought the two parcels of land directly from DBP on April 1, 1985 after discovering that petitioners did not own said property, the subject of Exhibits C and D executed on November 30, 1984. Petitioners, however, claim that they can exercise their alleged right to "repurchase" the property, after private respondents had acquired the same from DBP. 22 We cannot accede to this, for it clearly contravenes the intention of the parties and the nature of their agreement. Exhibit D reads:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "WRITING

    Nov. 30, 1984

    That I, Anacleto Nool have bought from my sister Conchita Nool a land an area of four hectares (4 has.) in the value of One Hundred Thousand (100,000.00) Pesos. It is our agreement as brother and sister that she can acquire back or repurchase later on said land when she has the money. [Emphasis supplied]

    As proof of this agreement we sign as brother and sister this written document this day of Nov. 30, 1984, at District 4, San Manuel, Isabela.

    Sgd. ANACLETO NOOL

    Anacleto Nool

    Sgd. Emilio Paron

    Witness

    Sgd. Conchita Nool

    Conchita Nool 23

    One "repurchases" only what one has previously sold. In other words, the right to repurchase presupposes a valid contract of sale between the same parties. Undisputedly, private respondents acquired title to the property from DBP, and not from petitioners.

    Assuming arguendo that Exhibit D is separate and distinct from Exhibit C and is not affected by the nullity of the latter, still petitioners do not thereby acquire a right to repurchase the property. In that scenario, Exhibit D ceases to be a "right to repurchase" ancillary and incidental to the contract of sale; rather, it becomes an accepted unilateral promise to sell. Article 1479 of the Civil Code, however, provides that "an accepted unilateral promise to buy or sell a determinate thing for a price certain is binding upon the promissor if the promise is supported by a consideration distinct from the price." In the present case, the alleged written contract of repurchase contained in Exhibit D is bereft of any consideration distinct from the price. Accordingly, as an independent contract, it cannot bind private respondents. The ruling in Diamante v. CA 24 supports this. In that case, the Court through Mr. Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr. explained:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "Article 1601 of the Civil Code provides:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    ‘Conventional redemption shall take place when the vendor reserves the right to repurchase the thing sold, with the obligation to comply with the provisions of Article 1616 and other stipulations which may have been agreed upon.’"

    In Villarica, Et. Al. v. Court of Appeals, Et Al., decided on 29 November 1968, or barely seven (7) days before the respondent Court promulgated its decisions in this case, this Court, interpreting the above Article, held:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "The right of repurchase is not a right granted the vendor by the vendee is a subsequent instrument, but is a right reserved by the vendor in the same instrument of sale as one of the stipulations of the contract. Once the instrument of absolute sale is executed, the vendor can no longer reserve the right to repurchase, and any right thereafter granted the vendor by the vendee in a separate instrument cannot be a right of repurchase but some other right like the option to buy in the instant case. . . ."cralaw virtua1aw library

    In the earlier case of Ramos, Et. Al. v. Icasiano, Et Al., decided in 1927, this Court had already ruled that "an agreement to repurchase becomes a promise to sell when made after the sale, because when the sale is made without such an agreement, the purchaser acquires the thing sold absolutely. and if he afterwards grants the vendor the right to repurchase, it is a new contract entered into by the purchaser, as absolute owner already of the object. In that case the vendor has not reserved to himself the right to repurchase.

    In Vda. De Cruzo, Et. Al. v. Carriaga, Et. Al. this Court found another occasion to apply the foregoing principle.

    Hence, the Option to Repurchase executed by private respondent in the present case, was merely a promise to sell, which must be governed by Article 1479 of the Civil Code which reads as follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "Art. 1479. — A promise to buy and sell a determinate thing for a price certain is reciprocally demandable.

    ‘An accepted unilateral promise to buy or to sell a determinate thing for a price certain is binding upon the promissor if the promise is supported by a consideration distinct from the price.’"

    Right to Repurchase Based on

    Homestead or Trust Non-Existent

    Petitioners also base their alleged right to repurchase on (1) Sec. 119 of the Public Land Act 25 and (2) an implied trust relation as ‘brother and sister.’ 26

    The Court notes that Victorino Nool and Francisco Nool mortgaged the land to DBP. The brothers, together with Conchita Nool and Anacleto Nool, were all siblings and heirs qualified to repurchase the two parcels of land under Sec. 119 of the Public Land Act which provides that" (e)very conveyance of land acquired under the free patent or homestead provisions, when proper, shall be subject to repurchase by the applicant, his widow or legal heirs, within a period of five years from the date of conveyance." Assuming the applicability of this statutory provision to the case at bar, it is indisputable that Private Respondent Anacleto Nool already repurchased from DBP the contested properties. Hence, there was no more right of repurchase that his sister Conchita or brothers Victorino and Francisco could exercise. The properties were already owned by an heir of the homestead grantee and the rationale of the provision to keep homestead lands within the family of the grantee was thus fulfilled. 27

    The claim of a trust relation is likewise without merit. The records show that private respondents did not purchase the contested properties from DBP in trust for petitioners. The former, as previously mentioned, in fact bought the land from DBP upon realization that the latter could not validly sell the same.

    Obviously, petitioners bought it for themselves. There is no evidence at all in the records that they bought the land in trust for Private Respondents. The fact that Anacleto Nool was the younger brother of Conchita Nool and that they signed a contract of repurchase, which as discussed earlier was void, does not prove the existence of an implied trust in favor of petitioners.

    Second Issue: No Estoppel in Impugning

    the Validity of Void Contracts

    Petitioners argue that "when Anacleto Nool took the possession of the two hectares, more or less, and let the other two hectares to be occupied and cultivated by plaintiffs-appellants, Anacleto Nool cannot later on disclaim the terms or contions (sic) agreed upon and his actuation is within the ambit of estoppel . . . ." 28 We disagree. The private respondents cannot be estopped from raising the defense of nullity of contract, specially in this case where they acted in good faith, believing that indeed petitioners could sell the two parcels of land in question. Article 1410 of the Civil Code mandates that" (t)he action or defense for the declaration of the inexistence of a contract does not prescribe." It is a well-settled doctrine that "as between parties to a contract, validity cannot be given to it by estoppel if it is prohibited by law or it is against public policy (19 Am. Jur. 802). It is not within the competence of any citizen to barter away what public policy by law seeks to preserve." 29 Thus, it is immaterial that private respondents initially acted to implement the contract of sale, believing in good faith that the same was valid. We stress that a contract void at inception cannot be validated by ratification or prescription and certainly cannot be binding on or enforceable against private respondents. 30

    Third Issue: Return of P30,000.00 with

    Interest and Payment of Rent

    Petitioners further argue that it would be a "miscarriage of justice" to order them (1) to return the sum of P30,000.00 to private respondents when allegedly it was Private Respondent Anacleto Nool who owed the former a balance of P14,000.00 and (2) to order petitioners to pay rent when they "were allowed to cultivate the said two hectares." 31

    We are not persuaded. Based on the previous discussion, the balance of P14,000.00 under the void contract of sale may not be enforced. Petitioners are the ones who have an obligation to return what they unduly and improperly received by reason of the invalid contract of sale. Since they cannot legally give title to what they "sold," they cannot keep the money paid for the object of the sale. It is basic that" (e)very person who through an act of performance by another, or any other means, acquires or comes into possession of something at the expense of the latter without just or legal ground, shall return the same." 32 Thus, if a void contract has already "been performed, the restoration of what has been given is in order." 33

    Corollarily and as aptly ordered by respondent appellate court, interest thereon will run only from the time of private respondents’ demand for the return of this amount in their counterclaim. 34 In the same vein, petitioners’ possession and cultivation of the two hectares are anchored on private respondents’ tolerance. Clearly, the latter’s tolerance ceased upon their counterclaim and demand on the former to vacate. Hence, their right to posses and cultivate the land ipso facto ceased.

    WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED and the assailed Decision of the Court of Appeals affirming that of the trial court is hereby AFFIRMED.

    SO ORDERED.

    Narvasa, C.J., Davide, Jr., Melo and Francisco, JJ., concur.

    Endnotes:



    1. Rollo, pp. 20-25.

    2. Second Division, composed of J. Fidel P. Purisima, ponente and Chairman, and JJ. Asaali S. Isnani and Corona Ibay Somera, concurring.

    3. In Civil Case No. Br. 23-242.

    4. Regional Trial Court of Roxas, Isabela, Second Judicial Region, Branch 23, presided by Judge Teodulo E. Mirasol.

    5. Decision of the Regional Trial Court, p. 5; Record of the Regional Trial Court, p. 180.

    6. Exhibit C, executed in the parties’ native dialect, Ilocano, dated November 30, 1984, Record of the Regional Trial Court, p. 95.

    7. Exhibit D, executed in the parties’ native dialect, Ilocano, dated November 30, 1984, Record of the Regional Trial Court, p. 97.

    8. Decision of the Court of Appeals, pp. 2-3; rollo, pp. 21-22.

    9. Affidavit of Non-Redemption, p. 1; Record of the Regional Trial Court, p. 27.

    10. DBP Transfer Certificates of Title, Record of the Regional Trial Court, pp. 28-29.

    11. Record of the Regional Trial Court, pp. 30-32.

    12. Anacleto Nool’s Transfer Certificates of Title, Record of the Regional Trial Court, pp. 33-34.

    13. Ibid., p. 5; rollo, p. 24.

    14. Petition, pp. 7-8; rollo, pp. 8-9.

    15. Exhibit D-1, English translation of the document marked as Exhibit D; records, p. 98.

    16. 158 SCRA 375, 383, February 29, 1988.

    17. Ibid., p. 732.

    18. Article 1409 of the Civil Code provides.

    ART. 1409. The following contracts are inexistent and void from the beginning:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    (1) Those whose case, object or purpose is contrary to law, morals, good customs, public order or public policy;

    (2) Those which are absolutely simulated or fictitious;

    (3) Those whose case or object did not exist at the time of the transaction;

    (4) Those whose object is outside the commerce of men;

    (5) Those which contemplate an impossible service;

    (6) Those where the intention of the parties relative to the principal object of the contract cannot be ascertained;

    (7) Those expressly prohibited or declared void by law.

    These contracts cannot be ratified. Neither can the right to set up the defense of illegality be waived."cralaw virtua1aw library

    19. Article 1402, Civil Code.

    20. Cf. Vitug, Compendium of Civil Law and Jurisprudence (1993), p. 547.

    21. Segura v. Segura, 165 SCRA 368, 374, September 19, 1988.

    22. Petitioners’ Memorandum, pp. 14-15; rollo, pp. 58-59.

    23. Records, p. 98. The original document in Ilocano reads as follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "Kasuratan

    Nov. 30, 1984

    Siak ni Anacleto Nool adda ginatang ko keni kabsat ko nga ni Conchita Nool nga daga nga uppat nga hectarya (4 has.) nga aggatad iti One Hundred Thousand (100,000.00) pesos. Ket nagtulagan mi nga agkabsat nga mabalin nanto nga pasublien wenno repurchase nanto to nasao nga daga no maadaan iti kuwarta.

    Kas pammaneknek iti daytoy nga katulagan agpirma kami nga agkabsat iti daytoy nga kasuratan ita nga aldaw Nov. 30, 1984 ditoy Dist. No. 4 San Manuel, Isabela.

    (Sgd.) Emilio Padron

    Testigo

    (Sgd.) Anacleto Nool

    (Sgd.) Conchita Nool"

    (Records p. 97)

    24. 206 SCRA 52, 60-61, February 7, 1992.

    25. Memorandum p. 12; rollo, p. 56.

    26. Ibid., p. 14; rollo, p. 58.

    27. See Ferrer v. Mangente, 50 SCRA 424, April 13, 1973.

    28. Petition, pp. 12-13; rollo, pp. 13-14.

    29. Prudential Bank v. Panis, 153 SCRA 390, 398, August 31, 1987; citing Arsenal v. IAC, 143 SCRA 54, (1986) and Gonzalo Puyat & Sons, Inc. v. De los Amas and Alino, supra.

    30. Tolentino, Arturo A., Commentaries and Jurisprudence on the Civil Code of the Philippines, p. 633, Vol, IV, (1991).

    31. Memorandum, p. 13; rollo, p. 57.

    32. Article 22, Civil Code of the Philippines.

    33. Tolentino, supra, p. 632; citing Perez Gonzales & Alguer; 1-I Ennecerus, Kipp & Wolff 364-366; 3 Von Tuhr 311; 3 Fabres 231.

    34. Answer with Counterclaim, p. 7; Record of the Regional Trial Court, p. 22.

    G.R. No. 116635   July 24, 1997 - CONCHITA NOOL, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.


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