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CAMILO BORROMEO v ANTONIETTA DESCALLAR February 24, 2009 Property regime of unions without marriage unions under FC 148

8 of FC 50 in relation to FC 49 (2) and FC 50, 37, 38 and 44 Property relations of mixed marriages FACTS In 1984 in Cebu, Wilhelm Jambrich (Austrian), met Antonietta OpallaDescallar, a separated (BUT NOTE: STILL LEGALLY MARRIED) mother of two boys and waitress at a hotel at that time. They fell in love and lived together. Later, they bought a house and lots in AgroMacro Subd, Mandaue City. In the Contracts to Sell, both of them were referred to as the buyers of the Agro-Macro properties (1985 and 1986). A Deed of Sale was executed in their favor (1987). However, the Register of Deeds refused to register the Deed on the ground that Jambrich was an alien and could not acquire alienable lands of the public domain. Jambrichs name was erased from the document, though his signature remained on the left hand margin of page 1 beside Antoniettas as buyer. The TCTs were issued in Antoniettas name alone. They broke up in 1991. In 1989, Jambrich purchased an engine and some accessories for his boat from petitioner Camilo Borromeo. He became indebted to the latter for P150,000.00. To pay for the debt, he sold his rights and interests in the Agro-Macro properties to the petitioner thru a Deed of Absolute Sale/Assignment for P250,000.00. However, in 1991, when Camilo sought to register the Deed, he discovered that the titles to the three lots were transferred to Antonietta, and that the property has already been mortgaged. Petitioner filed a complaint against respondent for recovery of property before the RTC. He claimed that the Deed of Absolute Sale over the properties do not reflect the true agreement of the parties since Antonietta was not in fact the buyer, but Jambrich alone. Respondent claimed, on the contrary, that she solely and exclusively used her own personal funds for the purchase, and that Jambrich, as an

alien, was prohibited under the Constitution from acquiring such properties. RTC ruled in favor of petitioner. It held that it is highly improbable that respondent could acquire the properties (which accordingly are worth more than P700,000.00) while she was still working as a waitress earning P1,000/mo salary as she could not even provide for the daily needs of her family. It also held that the only probable reason why her name appeared in the contracts to sell was because as observed by the Court, she being a scheming and exploitative woman, she has taken advantage of the goodness of Jambrich who at that time was still bewitched by her beauty, sweetness, and good attitude shown by her to him xxx CA ruled in favor of respondent. It held that respondent was the owner as the title of the property is in her name, not Jambrichs. ISSUES 1.) Who is the owner of the properties? JAMBRICH 2.) Was the transfer to petitioner valid despite Jambrichs foreign citizenship? YES

RULING 1. Jambrich was the owner of the properties, since evidence clearly shows that it was he who had the financial capacity at the time to acquire said properties, not respondent. Jambrichs monthly salary at the time of the acquisition of the properties was at P50,000.00. It then increased to P90,000.00 when he was assigned to Syria for almost a year. On the other hand, respondents salary as a waitress was not more than P1,000.00. Other than being financially distressed, other evidence also disclosed that she affirmed, under oath that Jambrich was the owner of the properties but that his name was subsequently deleted because of legal constraints, and that the money used for payment was in postdated checks issued by Jambrich. Thus, Jambrich has all authority to transfer all his rights, interests and participation over the subject properties to petitioner Borromeo.

The fact that the disputed properties were acquired during the couples cohabitation also does not help respondent. The rule that coownership applies to a man and a woman living exclusively with each other as husband and wife without the benefit of marriage, but are otherwise capacitated to marry each other, does not apply. Here, respondent was still legally married to another when she and Jambrich lived together. In such an adulterous relationship, 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 be able to lay claim to any portion of it. Presumptions of coownership and equal contribution do not apply. The fact that the properties were registered in respondents name also does not conclusively make her the owner. Registration is not a mode of acquiring ownership. A certificate of title implies that the title is quiet, and that it is perfect, absolute and indefeasible. However, there are exceptions to this rule, as when the transferee is not a holder in good faith and did not acquire the subject properties for a valuable consideration (as in this case). Respondent did not contribute a single centavo in the acquisition of the properties. She had no income of her own at that time, nor did she have any savings. 2. Transfer of land to petitioner valid, despite foreign citizenship of Jambrich. The transfer of land from Agro-Macro Development Corp to Jambrich, an Austrian would have been declared invalid, had Jambrich not conveyed the properties to petitioner who is a Filipino citizen. As held in United Church Board for World Ministries, if land is invalidly transferred to an alien who subsequently becomes a Filipino citizen or transfers it to a Filipino, the flaw in the original transaction is considered cured and the title of the transferee is rendered valid. Since the ban on aliens is intended to preserve the nations land for future generations of Filipinos, that aim is achieved by making lawful the acquisition of real estate by aliens who became Filipino citizens by naturalization or those transfers made by aliens to Filipino citizens. As the property in dispute is already in the hands of a qualified person, a Filipino citizen, there would be no more public policy to be protected.

The objective of the constitutional provision to keep our lands in Filipino hands has been achieved.

PETITION GRANTED.