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CASE DIGEST: Borromeo vs Descallar

G.R. No. 159310 February 24, 2009




Wilhelm Jambrich, an Austrian, met respondent Antonietta Opalla-Descallar. They fell in

love and live together. They bought a house and lot and an Absolute Deed of Sale was
issued in their names. However, when the Deed of Absolute Sale was presented for
registration, it was refused on the ground that Jambrich was an alien and could not acquire
alienable lands of the public domain. Consequently, his name was erased but his signature
remained and the property was issued on the name of the Respondent alone. However their
relationship did not last long and they found new love.

Jambrich met the petitioner who was engaged in business. Jambrich indebted the petitioner
for a sum of money and to pay his debt, he sold some of his properties to the petitioner and
a Deed of Absolute Sale/Assignment was issued in his favor. However, when the Petitioner
sought to register the deed of assignment it found out that said land was registered in the
name of Respondent. Petitioner filed a complaint against respondent for recovery of real


1. Whether or not Jambrich has no title to the properties in question and may not transfer
and assign any rights and interest in favor of the petitioner?

2. Whether or not the registration of the properties in the name of respondents make his the
owner thereof.


1. The evidence clearly shows that as between respondent and Jambrich, it was Jambrich
who possesses the financial capacity to acquire the properties in dispute. At the time of the
acquisition of the properties, Jamrich was the source of funds used to purchase the three
parcels of land, and to construct the house. Jambrich was the owner of the properties in
question, but his name was deleted in the Deed of Absolute Sale because of legal
constraints. Nevertheless, his signature remained in the deed of sale where he signed as a
buyer. Thus, Jambrich has all authority to transfer all his rights, interest and participation
over the subject properties to petitioner by virtue of Deed of Assignment. Furthermore, the
fact that the disputed properties were acquired during the couples cohabitation does not
help the respondent. The rule of co-ownership applies to a man and a woman living
exclusively with each other as husband and wife without the benefit of marriage, but
otherwise capacitated to marry each other does not apply. At the case at bar, respondent
was still legally married to another when she and Jambrich lived together. In such an
adulterous relationship and no co-ownership exists between the parties. It is necessary for
each of the partners to prove his or her actual contribution to the acquisition of property in
order to able to lay claim to any portion of it.

2. It is settled rule that registration is not a mode of acquiring ownership. It is only a means
of confirming the existence with notice to the world at large. The mere possession of a title
does not make one the true owner of the property. Thus, the mere fact that respondent has
the titles of the disputed properties in her name does not necessarily, conclusively and
absolutely make her the owner.]