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September 11, 2014

Danguilan vs. IAC

  • A parcel of lot owned by Domingo Melad was being claimed by petitioner Felix Danguilan and respondent Apolonia Melad. 
  • Apolonia Melad contends that she acquired the property when Dominggo Melad sold it to her when she was just 3 years old in which her mother paid the consideration. (Evidence: Deed of sale dated December 4, 1943 with a sum consideration of P80.00.)
  • Apolonia contended that she just moved out of the farm only in 1946 when Felix Danguilan approached her and asked permission to cultivate the land and to stay therein. 
  • Dangguilan, on the other hand, presented for his part 2 documents executed in September 14, 1941 and December 18, 1943, to prove his claim that the properties were given to him by Dominggo Melad through an onerous donation. The onerous part of the donation includes the taking care of the farm and the arrangement of the burial of Dominggo. 
  • RTC ruled in favor of Danguilan. CA reversed RTC’s ruling. It ruled that there was a donation, which was void for failing to comply with the formalities.

1. Who has the better right between parties? Petitioner Danguilan. 
2. WON there was delivery in favor of respondent for the alleged sale? NO.


Domingo Melad intended to donate the property to petitioner Danguilan
It is our view, considering the language of the two instruments, that Domingo Melad did intend to donate the properties to the petitioner Danguilan. We do not think, however, that the donee was moved by pure liberality. While truly donations, the conveyances were onerous donations as the properties were given to petitioner Danguilan in exchange for his obligation to take care of the donee for the rest of his life and provide for his burial. 

Hence, it was not covered by the rule in Article 749 of the Civil Code requiring donations of real properties to be effected through a public instrument, and the 2 private documents remain valid. 

Assuming there was a valid deed of sale, PR Melad failed to show that it was consummated (no actual delivery + no possession)
At any rate, even assuming the validity of the deed of sale, the record shows that Apolonia Melad did not take possession of the disputed properties and indeed waited until 1962 to file this action for recovery of the lands from petitioner Danguilan. If she did have possession, she transferred the same to Danguilan in 1946, by her own sworn admission, and moved out to another lot belonging to her step-brother. 

Her claim that the petitioner was her tenant (later changed to administrator) was disbelieved by the trial court, and properly so, for its inconsistency. In short, she failed to show that she consummated the contract of sale by actual delivery of the properties to her and her actual possession thereof in concept of purchaser-owner. 

No constructive delivery allowed if property is in actual and adverse possession of a third person
In our jurisdiction, it is a fundamental and elementary principle that ownership does not pass be mere stipulation but only by delivery and the execution of a public document does not constitute sufficient delivery where the property involved is in the actual and adverse possession of third persons. 

Therefore, in our Civil Code it is a fundamental principle in all matters of contracts and a well- known doctrine of law that "non mudis pactis sed traditione dominia rerum transferuntur". 

In conformity with said doctrine as established in paragraph 2 of article 609 of said code, that "the ownership and other property rights are acquired and transmitted by law, by gift, by testate or intestate succession, and, in consequence of certain contracts, by tradition". 

In accordance with such disposition and provisions the delivery of a thing constitutes a necessary and indispensable requisite for the purpose of acquiring the ownership of the same by virtue of a contract. 

One who is in possession is presumed to be the owner
In this case, there no dispute that it is Danguilan and not Melad who is in actual possession of the litigated properties. And even if the claim of petitioner and respondent are weak, judgment must be in favor of the Danguilan for one who is in possession is presumed to be the owner, and cannot be obliged to show or prove a better right.

Read the full text here:
(168 SCRA 22, G.R. No. 69970, November 28, 1988) 


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