Property rules

A father’s change of heart

Ada is the only daughter of spouses Greg and Carla, who are now both deceased. Gina and Zeny, on the other hand, are daughters of Greg with his common-law wife, Julie.

On his death bed, Greg confided with Ada that the certificate of title of his property is in the possession of Gina and Zeny. After burying their father, Ada inquired about the certificate of title from her illegitimate sisters. Gina and Zeny informed her that their father had sold the land to them before he died.


After verification, Ada found out that their father Greg executed a “Kasulatan sa Ganap na Bilihan”, in which he, he sold his parcel of land to Gina and Zeny. By virtue of the sale, a new certificate of title was issued to Gina and Zeny.

Ada could hear her late father’s voice: “The certificate of title of my property is in the possession of your sisters, Gina and Zeny.” This made her restless. In her heart, she knew the purported sale is a simulated one. She knew that her father had her interest at heart when he whispered to her where to look for the title of his property.


Q: What must she prove in order to establish that the sale is a simulated sale?

A: She must prove there was no consideration for the contract of sale.

It would be good for her to show that Zeny and Gina did not have any source of income when they allegedly bought the property, or if they did, their income was insufficient to be able for them to buy the land.

Q: What good will it do to her if she were able to show that the sale is a simulated one?

A:If Ada can show that there was no cause or consideration for the sale, then the sale is a simulated one, and hence, null and void. Thus, the law provides provides that “(t)he following contracts are inexistent and void from the beginning: (2) Those which are absolutely simulated or fictitious xxx”.

Q: What if Ada cannot prove that the sale is a simulated one, does it mean that the sale is valid?

A:In this case, no.


Even if the kasulatan was not simulated, it still violated the Civil Code provisions insofar as the transaction affected Ada’s legitime.

The sale was Greg’s way to transfer the property to his illegitimate daughters at the expense of his legitimate daughter. The sale was executed to prevent Ada from claiming her legitime and rightful share in said property.

Before his death, Gregorio had a change of heart and informed his daughter about the titles to the property.

Grego did not own any other property. If indeed the parcel of land involved was the only property left by their father, the sale in fact would deprive Ada of her legitime in her father’s estate.

Q: What is legitime?

A: Legitime is that part of the testator’s property which he cannot dispose of because the law has reserved it for certain heirs who are, therefore, called compulsory heirs.

Q: What is the legitime of Ada who is a legitimate child?

A: The legitime of Ada consists of one-half of the hereditary estate of the father and of the mother.

It must be borne in mind that the legal heirs of the late Greg must be determined in proper testate or intestate proceedings for settlement of the estate. His compulsory heir cannot be deprived of her share in the estate save by disinheritance as prescribed by law.

(Sources: Art. 886, 887, 888 and 1409 (2), Civil Code; Pascual vs. Alfonso, G. R. No. 138774, March 8, 2001)

Ma. Soledad Deriquito-Mawis is currently the Dean for the Lyceum of the Philippines University; president of the Philippines Association of Law Schools; and Senior Partner, Gatchalian Castro & Mawis Law Office

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