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August 19, 2014

Vda. De Catindig vs. Heirs of Roque

Facts:
  • The subject property in this case is a fishpond which was part of the Malolos Cadastre and has an area of more than thirteen hectares. As shown in Original Certificate of Title, it is co-owned or registered in the names of the different persons. (note: there are 16/16 shares)
  • The co-owners of the fishpond leased it to Mrs. Catindig for a term of ten years counted from October 1, 1941 for a total rental of six thousand pesos.
  • After the termination of the lease on September 30, 1951, Mrs. Catindig remained in possession of the fishpond because she was negotiating with the co-owners for the purchase thereof. She wanted to buy it for P52,000.
  • On October 18, 1960 German Ramirez, one of the co-owners, executed a deed wherein he sold his 2/16 share to Mrs. Catindig for P6,500  The sale was annotated on the title on October 19, 1960. 
  • Two weeks later, Pedro Villanueva, one of the co-owners, learned of the sale executed by German Ramirez. That sale retroacted to April 13, 1950.
  • In 1960 the respondents filed this action against Mrs. Catindig to compel her to allow them to redeem the portion sold by German Ramirez. 
  • The respondents amended their complaint by including  a prayer for the recovery of the possession of the fishpond.
  • The RTC declared void certain documents of sale regarding portions of the fishpond in litigation. It ordered Mrs. Catindig to deliver to the respondents (except German Ramirez) the possession of the said fishpond and to allow the respondents to redeem from Mrs. Catindig the 2/16 portion of the fishpond which German Ramirez had sold to her.
  • CA affirmed in toto the RTC ruling. CA said that Mrs. Catindig did not pay P52,000 (the projected sale) and that it the contract was simulated. Hence, this appeal. 



Issue: WON the sale by German Ramizer to Mrs. Catindig was null and void. 

Held: YES

The alleged sales were null and void 
The conclusive factual finding of the Appellate Court that the alleged sales on April 13 or 14, 1950 of respondents' shares are simulated and void ab initio renders untenable appellant Catindig's contentions that the remedies available to the respondents, such as an action for annulment, rescission or reformation, are barred by prescription or laches.

The alleged sales were absolutely simulated, fictitious or inexistent contracts (Arts. 1346 and 1409(2)). "The action or defense for the declaration of the inexistence of a contract does not prescribe" (Art. 1410). Mere lapse of time cannot give efficacy to a void contract.

The CA’s finding that the price was not paid or that the statement in the supposed contracts of sale as to the payment of the price was simulated fortifies the view that the alleged sales were void. "If the price is simulated, the sale is void..." (Art. 1471, Civil Code).

A contract of sale with no consideration is void
A contract of sale is void and produces no effect whatsoever where the price, which appears thereon as paid, has in fact never been paid by the purchaser to the vendor. Such a sale is non-existent or cannot be considered consummated.

Mrs. Catindig cannot demand
Mrs. Catindig is not entitled to demand the execution of a notarized deed of sale for the 14/16 pro indiviso portion of the fishpond. She is not entitled because, as already held, the alleged sales in her favor are void.

Reasonable value of the use and occupation of the fishpond should be limited
We hold that, as a matter of fairness and equity or to avoid unjust enrichment, the liability of Mrs. Catindig for the reasonable value of the use and occupation of the fishpond should be limited to the period from October 1, 1951 up to the time in January, 1964 when she turned over the fishpond to the receiver, namely, the deputy clerk of court of the Court of First Instance of Bulacan, Malolos Branch I.

From the compensation of P6,000 per annum which Mrs. Catindig is obligated to pay to the respondents, should be deducted the 2/16 portion of said compensation, corresponding to the share of German Ramirez, from October 1, 1951 to January, 1964. Thereafter, Mrs. Catindig is entitled to demand the 2/16 share in the net fruits or earnings of the fishpond from the receiver until the said share is redeemed by the respondents.

Ruling by the Supreme Court:
- The receiver (not Asuncion Meneses Vda. de Catindig) should deliver the possession of the fishpond to the respondents or their duly authorized representative, together with 14/16 of the net earnings of the fishpond from January 15, 1964 up to the time the possession is delivered to the respondents.
- The receiver should deliver to Mrs. Catindig a 2/16 share of the net earnings of the fishpond, corresponding to the share of German Ramirez, from January 15, 1964 up to the time the said share is redeemed from her.

REFERENCE:
G.R. No. L-25777 November 26, 1976
ASUNCION MENESES VDA. DE CATINDIG, petitioner-appellant, vs. The Heirs of CATALINA ROQUE, namely, ESCOLASTICO CERVANTES, LEONCIA CERVANTES and EMERENCIANA CERVANTES, represented by her guardian ad litem, DAMASO SANTOS; CARLOS KATIPUNAN; Heirs of JORGE KATIPUNAN; Heirs of ROBERTO ROQUE, namely, MAGDALENA, GORGONIA and ELISA, all surnamed ROQUE; INES ROQUE; Heirs of BARBARA ROQUE VILLANUEVA, namely, MERCEDES VILLANUEVA FAJARDO, VENANCIA VILLANUEVA, LIGAYA VILLANUEVA, PEDRO VILLANUEVA, PABLO VILLANUEVA, LEONILA VILLANUEVA, MARCIAL VILLANUEVA; Heirs of APOLONIO ROQUE, namely, DOLORES, AURELIA, CONSTANCIO, GUILLERMO, JOSEFINA, all surnamed ROQUE, DEMETRIA RAMIREZ; ENCARNACION CAMINGAL, as guardian ad litem of RENATO and ERNESTO, both surnamed ROQUE; Heirs of IRENE BOLORAN, namely, HERMOGENA, CIRIACO, VICENTE and DOMINADOR, all surnamed TOLENTINO; Heirs of LEONILA DE GUZMAN, namely, PETRONILA, MARCELINA and PEÑAFRANCIA, (all surnamed SANTIAGO, CIPRIANA) and PASTORA, both surnamed SANTIAGO, both minors, represented by PETRONILA SANTIAGO, as guardian ad litem; GERMAN RAMIREZ; Heirs of CONCORDIA ROQUE, namely, BELEN and GUILLERMO, both surnamed PAGSANJAN, respondents-appellees.

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