A parcel of land in owned by late Pantaleon Jomoc was fictitiously sold to third persons in which the last transferee are the spouses Mariano and Maria So. Maria Vda de Jomoc filed suit to recover the property and won. While pending appeal, Vda de Jomoc executed executed a Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement and Sale of Land with private respondent for P300,000.00. The document was not yet signed by all the parties nor notarized but in the meantime, Maura So had made partial payments amounting to P49,000.00.
So demanded from the heirs of Jomoc for the execution of final deed of conveyance but the latter did no comply. As such, So filed a civil case and a notice of lis pendens were placed in the title of the land.On the same date, the heirs of Jomoc executed another extra-judicial settlement with absolute sale in favor of intervenors Lim Leong Kang and Lim Pue claiming that they believe that So already backed-out from the agreement.
W/N the private respondent Maura So backed out from the agreement for the purchase of a lot belonging to the heirs of Pantaleon Jomoc, so that the subsequent sale to petitioner spouses Lim is null and void.
Article 1544 of the Civil Code provides:
“..Should it be immovable property, the ownership shall belong to the person acquiring it who in good faith first recorded it in the Registry of Property..”
In view of this provision, the two courts below correctly ruled that the spouses Lim do not have a better right. They purchased the land with full knowledge of a previous sale to private respondent and without requiring from the vendors-heirs any proof’ of the prior vendee’s revocation of her purchase. They should have exercised extra caution in their purchase especially if at the time of the sale, the land was still covered by TCT No. 19648 bearing the name of Mariano So and was not yet registered in the name of petitioners- heirs of Pantaleon Jomoc (Original Records, p. 80), although it had been reconveyed to said heirs. Not having done this, petitioners spouses Lim cannot be said to be buyers in good faith. When they registered the sale on April 27, 1983 after having been charged with notice of lis pendens annotated as early as February 28, 1983 (the same date of their purchase), they did so in bad faith or on the belief that a registration may improve their position being subsequent buyers of the same lot. Under Article 1544, mere registration is not enough to acquire new title. Good faith must concur.
Arellano University School of Law