Civil Law

Lagrimas Boy vs Court of Appeals

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G.R. No. 125088 – 427 SCRA 196 – Civil Law – Law on Sales – Constructive Delivery; Signing of the Deed of Sale

In 1984, Lagrimas Boy needed money for her brother’s placement fee to go abroad. She then borrowed P15k from spouses Isagani and Erlinda Ramos. In 1986, Lagrimas executed a Deed of Absolute Sale with the Ramoses. Subject of the sale was Lagrimas’ 55.75 sq. m. land and the house erected thereon. Price agreed upon was P31k. Allegedly, Lagrimas’ debt is to be deducted, so the Ramoses were just to pay P16k. Lagrimas stayed within the property as the Ramoses were not yet in immediate need thereof.

In 1988, Lagrimas went to Erlinda asking that they execute a Kasunduan. The Kasunduan states that the Ramoses still owe P16k to Lagrimas; that interest is to be deducted in favor of the Ramoses so that would leave a balance of P8.5k. The Kasunduan was notarized but upon signing, Erlinda changed her mind. She said she realized that they were actually able to pay P31k to Lagrimas when the Deed of Sale was executed. She advised the lawyer to change what she just signed. The lawyer said that the parties need to talk to each other first. Lagrimas promised the lawyer that she will be scrapping the Kasunduan.

Later, the need for the Ramoses to occupy the land arose. They demanded Lagrimas to vacate the property. Lagrimas refused to do so. She invoked the Kasunduan.

ISSUE: Whether or not the Kasunduan prevails over the Deed of Absolute Sale.

HELD: No. A review of the Deed of Sale shows no indication that there was a balance left to be paid to Lagrimas. The contract is absolute. It has been established that Lagrimas sold the subject property to the spouses Ramos for the price of P31k, as evidenced by the Deed of Absolute Sale, the due execution of which was not controverted by Lagrimas. The   contract is absolute in nature, without any provision that title to the property is reserved in Lagrimas until full payment of the purchase price. By the contract of sale, Lagrimas (as vendor), obligated herself to transfer the ownership of, and to deliver, the subject property to the Ramoses (as vendees) after they paid the price of P31k.  Under Article 1477 of the Civil Code, the ownership of the thing sold shall be transferred to the vendee upon the actual or constructive delivery thereof.

In addition, Article 1498 of the Civil Code provides that when the sale is made through a public instrument, as in this case, the execution thereof shall be equivalent to the delivery of the thing which is the object of the contract, if from the deed the contrary does not appear or cannot clearly be inferred.  In this case, the Deed of Absolute Sale does not contain any stipulation against the constructive delivery of the property to private respondents. In the absence of stipulation to the contrary, the ownership of the property sold passes to the vendee upon the actual or constructive delivery thereof. The Deed of Absolute Sale, therefore, supports the Ramoses’ right of material possession over the subject property.

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