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Alino v Heirs of Angelica Lorenzo

A 1,745 sq m. of land in Sinsuat Avenue, Rosary Heights Cotabato

City a TCT was registered in the name of Lucia.
Angelica Lorenzo (Lucia's daughter) bought the loat for P10,000
under a Deed of Absolute Sale. The TCT in the name of Lucia was
cancelled and was issued in Angelica's name. The lot was declared
for taxation purposes in Angelica's name
Although the tax declaration was in Angelica's name, Lucia
continued to pay, under her name the real estate taxes from 19801987. Lucia then designated Vivian as caretaker of the lot and Vivian
even built a house on the lot and resided.
Angelica died leaving her husband and children. They executed an
Extra-Judicial Settlement of her estate and the subject lot was
adjudicated to Angelica's minor children and a TCT was issued in
their name.
Lucia executed a document authorizing Bautista to look for a buyer
for her lots. Lucia offered to Central Bank of the Philippines
including the lot which was registered in Angelica's name. Lucia
wrote to the husband (Servillano, Sr) to return the lot but he refused.
Angelica filed for the declaration of nullity of Deed of Absolute Sale.
During the pendency of the case, Lucia died and was substituted by
her heirs (petitioner's in this case

Petitioner's contend that the sale was simulated and there was
absence on the part of Angelica or her husband to assert dominical
rights over the property, Lucia remained in continuous possession of
the lot and even paid for the real property taxed due.
Respondent heirs contend that the sale was not simulated and Lucia
did not take any concrete steps to recover the subject lot.
RTC & CA held that the sale was simulated
ISSUE: Is the Deed of Absolute Sale executed by Lucia in favor of her
daughter Angelica, valid and binding upon the parties? NO
The intention of the parties shall be accorded primordial
consideration, which is determined from the express terms of the
agreement as well as their contemporaneous and subsequent acts.

In this case, Angelica and her husband did not attempt to exercise
any act of dominion over the lot from the sale was made until the
institution of the complaint by Lucia. They did not enter the subject
property not occupy the premises and even the respondent heirs did
not take possession of the lot.

Actual possession of land consists in the manifestation of acts of

dominion over it in a way that a person would naturally exercise
over his own property. It is not necessary that the owner of a parcel
of land should himself occupy the property because someone in his
name may perform the act.

In this case, Lucia was in actual possession of the property and she
designated Vivian as a caretaker of the subject lot and Vivian even
constructed a house on the lot and has been residing since then.

Notes connected to the topic:

In this case, Lucia religiously paid the realty taxes on the lot from 19801987. Although they are not incontrovertible evidence, they are good
indicia of possession in the concept of owner, for no one in his right mind
would be paying taxes for a property that is not in his actual or at least
constructive possession
An action for reconveyance prescribes in 10 years from the date of
registration of deed or issuance of certificate of title. BUT if the person
claiming to be the owner is in actual possession, the right to seek
reconveyance does not prescribe. Because one who is in actual possession
of the a piece of land claiming to be the owner may wait until his possession
is disturbed before taking steps to vindicate his right. In this case, Lucia
continuously possessed the subject lot, her right to institute a suit to clear
the cloud over her title cannot be barred by statute of limitations
As for the issue on simulated contracts, the Court held that inadequacy or
non-payment of price is irreconcilable with the concept of simulation; if
there exists an actual consideration (in this case, only P10k). No matter how
inadequate it may be, the transaction could not a "simulated sale".
As to filial relationship, A sale between a mother and daughter cannot be
considered an indication of simulation absent an indication of the absence of
intent to be bound by the contract which was shown by the subsequent acts
of the parties in this case.

WHEREFORE, The Deed of Absolute Sale is null and void ab initio. And the
respondents are ordered to reconvey the subject lot to the petitioners.