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1 Third Division composed of Justices Arturo B. Buena, ponente and chairman; and Ma. Alicia Austria-Martinez and Bernardo Ll. Salas, members.

2 Entitled Heirs of Petra Unating et al. v. Jessie Pisuena.

3 Written by Judge David A. Alfeche Jr.

4 Initially, it was Dolores Bautista who, on November 9, 1987, filed a case for recovery of possession with a prayer for preliminary injunction or receivership against Pisuea and Upod. During the pretrial conference presided by Judge David A. Alfeche, the original Complaint was amended, with the heirs of Petra Unating and Aquilino Villar, represented by Dolores Bautista and Salvador Upod, as plaintiffs; and Jessie Pisuea as defendant.

5 CA Decision, pp. 2-6; rollo, pp. 36-40. See also RTC Decision, pp. 1-4; rollo, pp. 58-61.

6 The case was deemed submitted on April 29, 1999, upon receipt by the Court of the Memorandum of Dolores Bautista. The Court received Petitioner Pisueas Memorandum on April 17, 1999, and Salvador Upods Memorandum on April 13, 1999.

7 CA Decision, p. 10; rollo, p. 44.

8 Section 11 of Act 2259 states that, except when it otherwise provides, all the provisions of Act 496 as amended (now PD 1529) are applicable to cadastral proceedings.

9 Moreno, Philippine Law Dictionary, 2nd ed., p. 422.

10 See Director of Lands v. Aba, 68 Phil. 85, May 12, 1939; Director of Lands v. Roman Catholic Archbishop of Manila, 41 Phil. 120, October 27, 1920.

11 Art. 1381 of the old Civil Code defined paraphernal property as. xxx that which the wife brings in marriage without including it in the dowry and that which she may acquire after its constitution without adding it to the dowry. In Alvaran v. Marquez, 11 Phil. 263, property which the wife inherited from her mother during the marriage was considered as paraphernal. See also Veloso v. Avila, 60 Phil. 208, June 23, 1934; Osorio v. Posadas, 56 Phil. 748, December 3, 1949; Ramos v. Castelo, 36 Phil. 876, September 20, 1917; Javier v. Osmea, 34 Phil. 336, March 23, 1916; and Veloso v. Martinez, 28 Phil. 255, October 4, 1914.

12 See Magallon v. Montejo, 146 SCRA 282, December 16, 1986; Stuart v. Yatco, 4 SCRA 1143, April 27, 1962; Litam v. Espiritu, 100 Phil. 364, November 27, 1956.

13 CA Decision, p. 11; rollo, p. 45.

14 It provides that an action upon a written contract must be filed within ten years from the time the cause of action accrues.

15 Art. 807, Old Civil Code. The following are forced heirs:

1. Legitimate children and descendants, with respect to their legitimate parents and ascendants.

2. In default of the foregoing, legitimate parents and ascendants, with respect to their legitimate children and descendants.

3. The widower or widow, natural children legally acknowledged, and the father or the mother of the latter, in the manner, and to the extent established by Articles 834, 835, 836, 837, 841, 842 and 846.

16 Art. 808, Old Civil Code. The legitime of legitimate children and descendants consist of two-thirds of the hereditary estate of the father or of the mother. Nevertheless, the latter may dispose of one of the two thirds forming the legitime in order to apply it as a betterment to their legitimate children or descendants. They may freely dispose of the remaining third.

17 Art. 834, Old Civil Code. Any widower or widow who, on the death of his or her spouse, is not divorced or should be so at the fault of the deceased, shall be entitled to a portion in usufruct equal to that corresponding by way of legitime to each of the legitimate children or descendants who have not received any betterment. xxx.

18 12 PHIL 328, December 23, 1908. In this case, the plaintiff alleged that the defendant could not have acquired title over the disputed property at the time he allegedly bought the same from plaintiffs father in 1877, as the latter had obtained his title to it only in 1881. The Court said: Granting, however, that he did not obtain a portion of the land until some years after he had sold such land to Antonio Muoz, his subsequent acquisition of the land would have the effect of making his conveyance of the same to Muoz valid.

19 24 SCRA 59, July 15, 1968. In this case, the Court held: While on the date of the sale to Estoque said contract may have been ineffective, for lack of power in the vendor to sell the specific portion described in the deed, the transaction was validated and became fully effective when the next day, October 29, 1951, the vendor, Crispina Perez, became the sole owner of Lot No. 802 of the Rosario Cadastral Survey, Article 1434 of the new Civil Code applied.

20 55 SCRA 499, January 31, 1974. The Court said: Although at the time said petitioner paid P1,000 as part payment of the purchase price on January 19, 1946, private respondents were not yet the owner of the lot; they became such owners on January 24, 1947, when a deed of sale was executed in their favor by the Villarin spouses. In the premises, Article 1434 of the Civil Code, which provides that when a person who is not the owner of the thing sells or alienates title thereto, such title passes by operation of law to the buyer or grantee, is applicable."

21 GR No. 109767, December 4, 1998. In this case, Quijada, we upheld the validity of the sale made by Trinidad Quijada, petitioners predecessor-in-interest, in favor of the private respondents, even if the object of the sale was property donated by the former, reasoning that she had retained an inchoate interest by virtue of the reversion clause in the Deed of Donation. Worth repeating is the Courts disquisition on the matter, viz:

The donor may have an inchoate interest in the donated property during the time that ownership of the land has not reverted to her. Such inchoate interest may be the subject of contracts, including a contract of sale. xxx

xxx xxx xxx

Be that as it may, there is one thing that militates against the claim of petitioners. Sale, being a consensual contract, is perfected by mere consent, which is manifested the moment there is a meeting of the minds as to the offer and acceptance thereof on three elements: subject matter, price and terms of payment of the price. Ownership by the seller of the thing sold at the time of the perfection of the contract of sale is not an element for its perfection. What the law requires is that [the] seller has the right to transfer ownership at the time the thing sold is delivered Perfection per se does not transfer ownership which occurs upon the actual or constructive delivery of the thing sold. A perfected contract of sale cannot be challenged on the ground of non-ownership on the part of the seller at the time of its perfection; hence the sale is still valid.

The consummation, however, of the perfected contract is another matter. It occurs upon the constructive or actual delivery of the subject matter to the buyer when the seller or her successors-in-interest subsequently acquires ownership thereof. Such circumstance happened in this case, when petitioners -- who are Trinidad Quijadas heirs and successors-in-interest -- became the owners of the subject property upon the reversion of the ownership of the land to them. Consequently, ownership is transferred to respondent Mondejar and those who claim their right from him. Article 1434 of the New Civil Code supports the ruling that the sellers title passes by operation of law to the buyer. This rule applies not only when the subject matter of the contract of sale is goods, but also to other kinds of property, including real property.

22 Although the Escritura was executed before the effectivity of the new Civil Code, the Court nonetheless ruled in Llacer (supra) that a deed of sale executed before 1950 conveyed the property, even if at the time the sale was perfected, the seller had no title, provided that he subsequently acquired it.

23 Rollo, p. 73.

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