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(20) Loyola v.

CA
GR No. 115734 (February 23, 2000) Issue:
Topic: Undue Influence (Article 1337) WON Gaudencia was under the undue influence of the private respondents

Facts: Held: No.


A parcel of land in Biñan, Laguna was originally owned in common by siblings
Mariano and Gaudencia Zarraga who inherited it from their father. The parcel is For undue influence to be established to justify the cancellation of an
covered by a Transfer Certificate of Title. Mariano predeceased his sister who instrument, 3 elements must be present:
died single, without offspring, at the age of 97. (1.) A person who can be influenced
(2.) The fact that improper influence was exerted
Victorina Zarraga vda. de Loyola and Cecilia Zarraga are sisters of Mariano and (3.) Submission to the overwhelming effect of such unlawful conduct
Gaudencia. Victorina died while the dispute was pending with the trial court
and Cecilia died a year after, unmarried and childless. They were substituted by In the absence of a confidential or fiduciary relationship between the parties,
the Loyolas as plaintiffs. the law does not presume that one person exercised undue influence upon the
other. A confidential or fiduciary relationship may include any relation between
The private respondents are the children of Mariano and the heirs of Jose persons which allows one to dominate the other, with the opportunity to use
Zarraga who were denominated as first cousins once removed of the petitioners that superiority to the other’s advantage. Included are those of attorney and
(Loyolas). client, physician and patient, nurse and invalid, parent and child, guardian and
ward, member of the church or sect and spiritual adviser, a person and his
The property was subjected in a previous civil case between Romualdo Zarraga confidential adviser, or whenever a confidential relationship exists as a fact.
(now one of the private respondents) and his siblings with Gaudencia. The trial
court decided the case in favor of the defendants and Gaudencia was adjudged That Romana looked after Gaudencia in her old age is not sufficient to show that
owner of ½ portion of the lot. Romualdo elevated the case to the CA and later the relationship was confidential. To prove a confidential relationship from
the SC. It was denied. which undue influence may arise, the relationship must reflect a dominant,
overmastering influence which controls over the dependent person.
The present controversy began nearly 3 years before the death of Gaudencia.
While the case was still pending, Gaudencia allegedly sold to the private In this case, the petitioners failed to show that Romana used her aunt’s reliance
respondents her share of the lot for P34K. The sale was evidenced by a upon her to take advantage or dominate her and dictate that she sell her land.
notarized document as Bilihang Tuluyan ng Kalahati ng Isang Lahay ng Lupa. Undue influence is not to be inferred from age, sickness, or debility of body if
Romualdo was among the vendees. sufficient intelligence remains. The petitioners never rebutted the testimony
that Gaudencia was observed to remain still alert and sharp.
When the decision the civil case became final, the private respondents filed a
motion for execution. The sheriff executed the corresponding deed of
reconveyance to Gaudencia, however, the Register of Deeds of Laguna issued in
favor of the private respondents on the basis of the sale by Gaudencia to them.

Victorina and Cecilia filed a complaint for the purpose of annulling the sale and
the TCT. The trial court rendered judgement in their favor. On appeal, the
judgement was reversed.

The petitioners claim that the CA is at fault for not considering that at the time
of sale in 1980, Gaudencia was already 94 years old and that she was already
weak, living with private respondent Romana and was dependent upon her for
her daily needs. Under these circunstances, the petitioners allege that fraud or
undue influence was exercised by Romana to obtain Gaudencia’s consent to the
sale.