Civil Law

Perpetua Vda. De Ape vs Court of Appeals

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G.R. No. 133638 – 456 SCRA 193 – Civil Law – Law on Sales – Elements of a Contract of Sale – Consent Vitiated

Cleopas Ape died in 1950 and left a parcel of land (Lot 2319) to his 11 children. The children never formally divided the property amongst themselves except through hantal-hantal whereby each just occupied a certain portion and developed each.

On the other hand, the spouses Lumayno were interested in the land so they started buying the portion of land that each of the heirs occupied. On 11 April 1973, one of the children, Fortunato Ape, entered into a contract of sale with Lumayno. In exchange of his lot, Lumayno agreed to pay P5,000.00. She paid in advance P30.00. Fortunato was given a receipt prepared by Lumayno’s son-in-law (Andres Flores).  Flores also acted as witness. Lumayno also executed sales transactions with Fortunato’s siblings separately.

In 1973, Lumayno compelled Fortunato to make the the delivery to her of the registrable deed of sale over Fortunato’s portion of the Lot No. 2319. Fortunato assailed the validity of the contract of sale. He also invoked his right to redeem (as a co-owner) the portions of land sold by his siblings to Lumayno. Fortunato died during the pendency of the case. He was survived by Perpetua.

ISSUE: Whether or not there was a valid contract of sale?

HELD: No. Fortunato was a “no read no write” person. It was incumbent for the the other party to prove that details of the contract was fully explained to Fortunato before Fortunato signed the receipt.

A contract of sale is a consensual contract, thus, it is perfected by mere consent of the parties.  It is born from the moment there is a meeting of minds upon the thing which is the object of the sale and upon the price. Upon its perfection, the parties may reciprocally demand performance, that is, the vendee may compel the transfer of the ownership and to deliver the object of the sale while the vendor may demand the vendee to pay the thing sold. For there to be a perfected contract of sale, however, the following elements must be present: consent, object, and price in money or its equivalent.

For consent to be valid, it must meet the following requisites:

(a) it should be intelligent, or with an exact notion of the matter to which it refers;

(b) it should be free and

(c) it should be spontaneous.  Intelligence in consent is vitiated by error; freedom by violence, intimidation or undue influence; spontaneity by fraud.

Lumayno claimed that she explained fully the receipt to Fortunato, but Flores’ testimony belies it. Flores said there was another witness but the other was a maid who also lacked education. Further, Flores himself was not aware that the receipt was to transfer the ownership of Fortunato’s land to her mom-in-law. It merely occurred to him to explain the details of the receipt but he never did.

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