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PERSONS CASE Digests: SYSTEM OF ABSOLUTE COMMUNITY

CASE Title Willem BEUMER vs Philip MATTHEWS vs In RE: Petition for


Avelina AMORES, Benjamin A. TAYLOR and Separation of Property of
G.R. 195670, Joselyn C. TAYLOR Elena Buenaventura
December 3, 2012 G.R. 164584 MULLER vs Helmut
June 22, 2009 MULLER
G.R. 149615
August 29, 2006
Facts Petitioner Beumer, a Dutch In 1988, respondent In 1989 petitioner Elena
national and Respondent Benjamin Taylor, is a British and Helmut were married
Amores, a Filipina were national who is married in Germany. In 1992 they
once married to each respondent Joselyn Taylor, moved to the Philippines
other. Their marriage a Filipina who was still 18 and settled permanently.
however was declared null years old at that time.
and void on the basis of It was during this time that
petitioners psychological In 1989, while their respondent Muller
incapacity. marriage was subsisting, inherited the house where
Joselyn using the money of he and Elena lived in
Petitioner then filed a Benjamin bought from a Germany. He eventually
dissolution of conjugal certain Diosa Martin a sold the said properly and
partnership and prayed for 1,294 sq.m. lot in Manoc- used the proceeds to buy a
the distribution of their Manoc, Boracay island in parcel of land in Antipolo,
properties which claimed the amount of Rizal in the consideration
to have been acquired P129,000.00. At the same of P528,000, and with the
during the subsistence of time the wife using the construction of the house
their marriage 4 lots, by husbands money amounting to
way of purchase and 2 lots, constructed improvements P2,300,000.00
by way of inheritance. on the said lot and
eventually converted the The Antipolo property was
Respondent on her part property into a vacation registered in the ROD of
claimed that with and tourist resort known as Marikina, Manila under the
exception to their 2 Admiral Ben Bow Inn. All name of petitioner Elena.
residential houses in Lots 1 papers required for the
and 2142, she and operation of the resort The marriage between the
petitioner did not acquire were obtained under the spouses did not last long.
They eventually separated
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PERSONS CASE Digests: SYSTEM OF ABSOLUTE COMMUNITY
any conjugal properties name of Ginna Celestino, which prompted the
during their marriage. Joselyns sister. respondent to file for an
action for separation of
That as a matter of fact Joselyn and Benjamins properties.
using her own personal marriage did not last long.
funds (she obtained by While being separated The RTC of Quezon City
selling jewelry, Avon, Joselyn executed on June rendered a decision which
Triumph and Tupperware 8, 1992 a special power of terminated the regime of
products) she purchased attorney assigning absolute community of
Lots 1, 2142 (and its Benjamin to maintain, property between the
improvements), 5845 and lease, sell, sub-lease and Mullers.
4; and have inherited Lots otherwise enter into
2055-A and 2055-I. contract with third parties Among other it decreed
with respect to their the separation of
Respondent wanted to Boracay property. properties between them
dismiss the petition of and ordered the equal
Willem Beumer among By July 20, 1992 an partition of personal
others. Agreement of Lease was properties located within
entered into by Joselyn the country, with exclusion
While on the other hand, (lessor) and Philip of those acquired by
Beumer alleged that while Matthews (lessee) with the gratuitous title during the
Lots 1, 2142, 5845 and 4 Boracay property as the marriage.
were registered under her subject in the
name these properties consideration of The Antipolo property was
accordingly were acquired P12,000.00 annual rental regarded as one acquired
with the money he receives for a period of 25 years. It using the personal funds of
from the Dutch was signed by both parties the respondent but the
government as his and the instrument RTC as well ruled that he
disability benefit. He executed was notarized. cannot recover any
claimed that respondent After which Matthews took imbursement since it was
does not have the over the management of acquired in violation of
sufficient income to pay for the Boracay property. Section 7, Article XII of the
the acquisition of these 1987 Constitution.
properties. Benjamin now is claiming
that entered contract Pursuant to Article 92 of
between Joselyn and the Family Code the
Matthews is void absent of property inherited by
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PERSONS CASE Digests: SYSTEM OF ABSOLUTE COMMUNITY
his consent. He filed an Helmut from his parents as
action to annul the said well as its proceeds of its
agreement of lease. He sale belongs exclusively to
further claimed that the him. But the part of the
funds used to buy the proceeds used to buy the
property and made its Antipolo property cannot
improvements were from be recovered by him
his own funds. He further pursuant to the
averred that since he is still constitutional ban.
Joselyns husband, any
transaction involving said
property requires his
consent.

On the other hand,


through CAs order
petitioner was allowed to
file his answer wherein he
claimed good faith in
transacting with Joselyn.
He said that since Joselyn
appeared to be the owner
of the property in Boracay
he finds it unnecessary to
get Benjamins consent. He
also made claim that
Benjamin knew the
transaction since his
signature appeared in the
agreement as a witness.
ISSUE WON reimbursement is WON the property belongs WON respondent Helmut
proper. to the community of is entitled to
spouses Taylor reimbursement.
necessitating the consent
of the husband in the
contested lease of
contract.
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RULING/DECISION Petition lacks merit. Petition is with merit. Petition has merit.

DISCUSSION: The Agreement of Lease DISCUSSION:


A. entered into between
Joselyn and petitioner A.
In Muller vs Muller, as Matthews CANNOT BE
cited by the court in this NULLIFIED on the grounds Aliens, whether individuals
case, the Court held that advanced by Benjamin. or corporations, are
respondent Muller cannot Thus the Court uphold its disqualified from acquiring
seek reimbursement on validity. lands of the public domain.
the ground of equity where Hence they are also
IT IS CLEAR THAT HE DISCUSSION: qualified from acquiring
WILLINGLY and A. Who is the real owner of private lands.
KNOWINGLY BOUGHT the the property?
property despite the The primary purpose of
prohibition against foreign Benjamin raises two issues the constitutional
ownership of Philippine in his petition for the provision is the
land enshrined in Section nullification of the contract conservation of the
7, Article XII of the 1987 concerning the lease of the national patrimony.
Philippine Constitution. Boracay property:
The CA erred in holding
Undeniably, petitioner 1. That he was the that an implied trust was
openly admitted that he is actual owner of created and resulted by
well aware of the the property since operation of law in view of
constitutional prohibition. it was bought using the petitioners marriage
his personal funds; to respondent.
On the basis of such and
admission, the Court finds 2. That Joselyn Respondents
no reason why it should cannot enter into a disqualification from
not apply the Muller ruling valid contract owning lands in the
and accordingly, deny involving the Philippines is ABSOLUTE
petitioners claim for property without (save for hereditary
reimbursement. his consent. successions).

As also explained in Muller, The Court finds Benjamin Not even an ownership in
the time-honored principle to no right to nullify the trust is allowed.
is that he who seeks equity Agreement of Lease
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must do equity, and he between Joselyn and the Besides, where the
who comes into equity petitioner. purchase is made in
must come with clean violation of an existing
hands. Benjamin is not the owner statute and in evasion of
of the property but Joselyn. its express provision, NO
Conversely stated, he who This is so because he is TRUST CAN RESULT IN
has done inequity shall not barred to own said FAVOR OF THE PARTY WHO
be accorded equity. property because of the IS GUILTY OF THE FRAUD.
constitutional ban that is
Thus, a litigant may be the Constitution absolutely To hold otherwise would
denied relief by a court of prohibited from acquiring allow the circumvention of
equity on the ground that any public or private the constitutional
his conduct has been domain any land of the prohibition.
inequitable, unfair and Philippines.
dishonest, or fraudulent, or B.
deceitful. Considering that Joselyn
appeared to be the Invoking the principle that
B. designated vendee in a court is not only a court
the Deed of Sale of said of law but also a court of
The Court cannot as well property, she acquired equity, is likewise
even on the grounds of sole ownership thereto. misplaced.
equity, grant
reimbursement to This is true even if we It has been held that equity
petitioner given that he sustain Benjamins claim as a rule will follow the
acquired no right that he provided the funds law and will not permit
whatsoever over the for the acquisition of such that to be done indirectly
subject properties by property. By entering into which, because of public
virtue of its such contract knowing that policy, cannot be done
unconstitutional purchase. it was illegal, no implied directly.
trust was created in his
It is well established that favor; no reimbursement HE WHO SEEK EQUITY
equity as a rule will follow for his expenses can be MUUST COME WITH
the law and will not permit allowed; and no CLEAN HANDS.
that to be done indirectly declaration can be made
which, because of public that the subject property HE WHO HAS DONE
policy, cannot be done was part of the INEQUITY SHALL NOT HAVE
directly. EQUITY.
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conjugal/community In the instant case,
A contract that violates the property of the spouses. respondent cannot seek
Constitution and the law IS reimbursement on the
NULL and VOID, VESTS NO In any event, he has no ground of equity where it is
RIGHTS, CREATES NO capacity or personality to clear that he willingly and
OBLIGATIONS, and question the subsequent knowingly bought the
PRODUCES NO LEGAL lease of the Boracay property despite the
EFFECT AT ALL. property by his wife on the constitutional prohibition.
theory that in so doing, he
Under ARTICLE 1412 of the was merely exercising the C.
Civil Code, petitioner prerogative of a husband in
cannot have the subject respect of conjugal The distinction made
properties deeded to him property. between transfer of
or allow him to recover the To sustain such a theory ownership as opposed to
money he had spent for would countenance recovery of funds is a futile
the purchase thereof. indirect controversion of exercise on respondents
the constitutional part.
The law will not aid either prohibition.
party to an illegal contract To allow reimbursement
or agreement; IT LEAVES B. What is the effect if the would in effect permit
THE PARTIES WHERE IT property is to be declared respondent to enjoy the
FINDS THEM. conjugal? fruits of a property which
he is not allowed to own.
One CANNOT SALVAGE If the property were to be
ANY RIGHTS FROM AN declared conjugal, this
UNCONSTITUTIONAL would accord the alien
TRANSACTION husband a substantial
KNOWINGLY ENTERED interest and right over the
INTO. land, as he would then
have a decisive vote as to
C. its transfer or disposition.

There can never be This is a right that the


reimbursement on the Constitution does not
basis of unjust enrichment. permit him to have.
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PERSONS CASE Digests: SYSTEM OF ABSOLUTE COMMUNITY
As held in Frenzel vs Catito,
a case involving a foreigner
seeking monetary
reimbursement for money
spent on purchase of
Philippine land, the
provision does not apply if
the action is PROSCRIBED
BY THE CONSTITUTION.

Memo cum alterius deter


detremento protest (No
person should unjustly
enrich himself at the
expense of another. Article
22, NCC)

An action for recovery of


what has been paid
without just cause has
been designated as an
accion in rem verso. THIS
PROVISION DOES NOT
APPLY IF THE ACTION IS
PROSCRIBED BY THE
CONSTITUTION or by the
application of the PARI
DELICTO DOCTRINE.

It may be unfair and unjust


to bar petitioner from filing
an accion in rem verso over
the subject properties, or
from recovering the money
he paid for the said
properties, BUT, as Lord
Mansfield stated in the
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early case of Holman vs
Johnson:
The objection that a
contract is immoral or
illegal as between the
plaintiff and the
defendant, sounds at all
times very ill in the mouth
of the defendant. IT IS NOT
FOR HIS SAKE, however,
that objection is ever
allowed; BUT IT IS
FOUNDED IN GENERAL
PRINCIPLES OF POLICY,
which the defendant has
the advantage of, contrary
to the real justice, as
between him and the
plaintiff.

NOR WOULD THE DENIAL


OF HIS CLAIM AMOUNT TO
AN INJUSTICE BASED ON
HIS FOREIGN CITIZENSHIP.

Precisely, it is the
Constitution itself which
demarcates the rights of
citizens and non-citizens in
owning Philippine land.

The constitutional ban


against foreigners applies
only to ownership of
Philippine land and NOT TO
THE IMPROVEMENTS
BUILT THEREON, such as
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PERSONS CASE Digests: SYSTEM OF ABSOLUTE COMMUNITY
the two houses standing on
Lots 1 and 2142 which
were properly declared.
PRINCIPLE/DOCTRINE/ a. Prohibition of aliens to a. Prohibition of aliens to
Article in the FC own real property (lands) own real property (lands)
in the Philippines. in the Philippines.

b. The principle of he who b. Land property of a


seeks equity must do Filipino wife obtained
equity, and he who comes during her marriage with
into equity must come with an alien husband cannot be
clean hands. part of the
conjugal/community
property of the spouses.
Similarities to other CasesProhibition of aliens to Prohibition of aliens to own
own real property (lands) real property (lands) in the
in the Philippines. Philippines.
Peculiarities to Other The principle of he who Land property of a Filipino
Cases seeks equity must do wife obtained during her
equity, and he who comes marriage with an alien
into equity must come with husband cannot be part of
clean hands. the conjugal/community
property of the spouses.