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Barsobia v.

Cuenco Po and that she signed the document of sale merely to evidence her
April 16, 1982 | Melencio-Herrera, J. | Void – Contrary to Law indebtedness
PETITIONER: Epifania Sarrosa Vda. De Barsobia and Pacita Vallar 5. Cuenco instituted before the Court of First Instance of Misamis
RESPONDENTS: Victoriano T. Cuenco Oriental a Complaint for recovery of possession and ownership of
SUMMARY: A parcel of coconut land was sold in 1936 by its Filipino the litigated land, against Epifania and Pacita Vallar
owner, petitioner Barsobia, to Ong King Po, a Chinese, and by the latter to 6. Petitioners insist that the sale to Ong King Po was void ab initio
respondent Cuenco, a naturalized Filipino, who took immediate possession because of his nationality and that it was just an evidence of
of the land and harvested the fruits therefrom. Petitioner Barsobia later Epifania’s debt to OngKing Po.
unilaterally repudiated the sale in favor of Ong and resold the land in 1962
Issue: Whether the sale to Ong King Po is valid and who is the owner?
to petitioner Vallar, a Filipino. On December 27, 1966, respondent instituted
an action for recovery of possession and ownership against the petitioners.
Petitioners, in their answer, averred that the sale made in favor of Ong was
in existent and that the deed of sale in his favor was merely an evidence of Ratio: No, the sale to Ong King Po is void but because Epifania did not
indebtedness. The Trial Court dismissed the complaint and declared assert her claim, she is barred now and Cuenco should be th rightful owner.
petitioner Vallar the lawful owner of the land. On appeal, the Court of
Appeals reversed the decision and declared respondent Cuenco as the As the facts stand, a parcel of coconut land was sold by its Filipino owner,
absolute owner. Hence, the present petition. On review, the Supreme Court petitioner Epifania, to a Chinese, Ong King Po, and by the latter to a
held that although the sale of the land to a Chinese was void ab initio and naturalized Filipino, respondent herein. In the meantime, the Filipino owner
the vendee had no rights of ownership to transmit, the vendor is barred from had unilaterally repudiated the sale she had made to the Chinese and had
asserting her claim on the land because she is guilty of laches and the resold the property to another Filipino.
disputed land is already in the hands of a qualified person. Hence,
respondent should be declared the rightful owner of the property in the sale of the land in question in 1936 by Epifania to Ong King Po was
question. inexistent and void from the beginning (Art. 1409. Void if against law)
DOCTRINE: because it was a contract executed against the mandatory provision of the
1935 Constitution, which is an expression of public policy to conserve lands
for the Filipinos.
Facts:
1. The entire land was owned by a certain Leocadia Balisado, who The litigated property is now in the hands of a naturalized Filipino. It is no
had sold it to the spouses Patricio Barsobia (now deceased) and longer owned by a disqualified vendee. Cuenco, as a naturalized citizen,
Epifania Sarsosa, one of the petitioners. They are Filipino citizens was constitutionally qualified to own the subject property. There would be
2. Epifania Sarsosa, sold the land in controversy to a Chinese, Ong no more public policy to be served in allowing petitioner Epifania to
King Po, for the sum of P1,050.00 (Exhibit "B"). Ong King Po recover the land as it is already in the hands of a qualified person.
took actual possession and enjoyed the fruits
3. Ong King Po sold the litigated property to Victoriano T. Cuenco While, strictly speaking, Ong King Po, private respondent's vendor, had no
rights of ownership to transmit, it is likewise inescapable that petitioner
(respondent herein), a naturalized Filipino, for the sum of
Epifania had slept on her rights for 26 years. By her long inaction or
P5,000.00
inexcusable neglect, she should be held barred from asserting her claim to
4. Epifania "usurped" the property, and Epifania (through daughter
Emeteria Barsobia), sold a one-half (1/2) portion of the land in the litigated property.
question to Pacita W. Vallar, the other petitioner herein. Epifania
claimed that it was not her intention to sell the land to Ong King
Respondent, therefore, must be declared to be the rightful owner of the PETITIONER: Epifania Sarrosa Vda. De Barsobia and Pacita Vallar
property RESPONDENTS: Victoriano T. Cuenco
SUMMARY: A parcel of coconut land was sold in 1936 by its Filipino
Addtl: Pacita Vallar, should not be held also liable for actual damages to
owner, petitioner Barsobia, to Ong King Po, a Chinese, and by the
respondent. In the absence of contrary proof, she, too, must be considered
latter to respondent Cuenco, a naturalized Filipino, who took
as a vendee in good faith of petitioner Epifania
immediate possession of the land and harvested the fruits therefrom.
Petitioner Barsobia later unilaterally repudiated the sale in favor of
Ong and resold the land in 1962 to petitioner Vallar, a Filipino. On
December 27, 1966, respondent instituted an action for recovery of
possession and ownership against the petitioners. Petitioners, in their
answer, averred that the sale made in favor of Ong was in existent and
that the deed of sale in his favor was merely an evidence of
indebtedness. The Trial Court dismissed the complaint and declared
petitioner Vallar the lawful owner of the land. On appeal, the Court of
Appeals reversed the decision and declared respondent Cuenco as the
absolute owner. Hence, the present petition. On review, the Supreme
Court held that although the sale of the land to a Chinese was void ab
initio and the vendee had no rights of ownership to transmit, the
8. Barsobia v. Cuenco vendor is barred from asserting her claim on the land because she is
April 16, 1982 | Melencio-Herrera, J. | Void – Contrary to Law guilty of laches and the disputed land is already in the hands of a
qualified person. Hence, respondent should be declared the rightful
owner of the property in question.
DOCTRINE:
If it is “expressly prohibited or declared void by law, the contract is
void ab initio (Art. 1409 (7)) but because Epifania did not act on it and
it was sold to a Filipino after, it became valid since the issue on the
previous owner being Chinese is not present anymore.
Facts:
1. The entire land was owned by a certain Leocadia Balisado,
who had sold it to the spouses Patricio Barsobia (now
deceased) and Epifania Sarsosa, one of the petitioners. They
are Filipino citizens
2. Epifania Sarsosa, sold the land in controversy to a Chinese,
Ong King Po, for the sum of P1,050.00 (Exhibit "B"). Ong
King Po took actual possession and enjoyed the fruits
3. Ong King Po sold the litigated property to Victoriano T.
Cuenco (respondent herein), a naturalized Filipino, for the sum
of P5,000.00
4. Epifania "usurped" the property, and Epifania (through
daughter Emeteria Barsobia), sold a one-half (1/2) portion of
the land in question to Pacita W. Vallar, the other petitioner inaction or inexcusable neglect, she should be held barred from
herein. Epifania claimed that it was not her intention to sell the asserting her claim to the litigated property.
land to Ong King Po and that she signed the document of sale
merely to evidence her indebtedness Respondent, therefore, must be declared to be the rightful owner of the
5. Cuenco instituted before the Court of First Instance of property
Misamis Oriental a Complaint for recovery of possession and
ownership of the litigated land, against Epifania and Pacita Addtl: Pacita Vallar, should not be held also liable for actual damages
Vallar to respondent. In the absence of contrary proof, she, too, must be
6. Petitioners insist that the sale to Ong King Po was void ab considered as a vendee in good faith of petitioner Epifania.
initio because of his nationality and that it was just an evidence
of Epifania’s debt to OngKing Po.

Issue: Whether the sale to Ong King Po is valid and who is the owner?

Ratio: No, the sale to Ong King Po is void but because Epifania did not
assert her claim, she is barred now and Cuenco should be th rightful
owner.

As the facts stand, a parcel of coconut land was sold by its Filipino
owner, petitioner Epifania, to a Chinese, Ong King Po, and by the
latter to a naturalized Filipino, respondent herein. In the meantime, the
Filipino owner had unilaterally repudiated the sale she had made to the
Chinese and had resold the property to another Filipino.

The sale of the land in question in 1936 by Epifania to Ong King Po was
inexistent and void from the beginning (Art. 1409. Void if against law)
because it was a contract executed against the mandatory provision of
the 1935 Constitution, which is an expression of public policy to
conserve lands for the Filipinos.

The litigated property is now in the hands of a naturalized Filipino. It is


no longer owned by a disqualified vendee. Cuenco, as a naturalized
citizen, was constitutionally qualified to own the subject property.
There would be no more public policy to be served in allowing
petitioner Epifania to recover the land as it is already in the hands of a
qualified person.

While, strictly speaking, Ong King Po, private respondent's vendor,


had no rights of ownership to transmit, it is likewise inescapable that
petitioner Epifania had slept on her rights for 26 years. By her long