HEIRS OF THE LATE APOLINARIO CABURNAY, VS. HEIRS OF TEODULO SISON, G.R. No. 230934, December 02, 2020

Facts:
Teodulo Sison, was married to Perpetua Sison during the effectivity of the Civil Code. Perpetua Sison died in 1989, no liquidation of the Conjugal Property of Perpetua was effected. Teodulo married in 1992 his second wife, Perla (Perla) Sison.

September 23, 1994, Teodulo Sison sold a parcel of land to Apolinario Caburnay. However, Perla Sison did not give her consent in the sale.

The parties agreed that Apolinario would pay P40,000.00 as initial payment of the total purchase price of P150,000.00, the rest of which was to be paid in installments. The receipt of the initial payment was acknowledged by Teodulo in a handwritten receipt, also dated September 23, 1994. Consequently, Apolinario’s family occupied the property.

The second installment in the amount of P40,000.00 was paid by Apolinario on August 14, 1996 and, another handwritten receipt was executed by Teodulo. The third installment was made on October 20, 1999 in the amount of P40,000.00, as reflected in the handwritten receipt which also stated that Teodulo would start processing the transfer of the title upon payment of the remaining balance of P30,000.00.

However, Teodulo passed away [on December 22, 20007 before the balance of the purchase price could be paid. Consequently, Apolinario informed Teodulo’s heirs, herein [respondents], about the sale and payment of his remaining balance. [Respondent] Jesus Sison [(Jesus)] told Apolinario that they could not locate the certificate of title and they agreed to settle the amount once the TCT was found.

Due to Apolinario’s advanced age and failing memory, no follow­up was made thus, the purchase price remained unpaid until his death in April 2005.

Upon Apolinario’s death, his heirs tried to pay the balance of the purchase price but Jesus rejected the payment. [Petitioners] later discovered that [respondents] had executed an Extrajudicial Settlement of [the] Estate[s] of Teodulo and his wife Perpetua and the same included the subject property which was given to Jesus.

Petitioner when to the RTC and prayed that the document captioned Extrajudicial Settlement of Estate be declared null and void and consequently, nullify TCT in the name of Jesus. They also asked that Jesus be compelled to execute a Deed of Absolute Sale in their favor upon payment of the remaining balance of P30,000.

The RTC rendered that the sale in favor of Apolinario was null and void because the property is presumed to be conjugal and there was no evidence of the consent to the sale by Teodulo’s wife, Perpetua. Petitioner appealed the Decision to the CA.

CA denied the petitioners’ appeal and with respondents that the property regime governing the marriage between Perla and Teodulo is an absolute community, having been contracted during the effectivity of the Family Code. There is no showing that [respondent] Perla gave her consent to the sale of Teodulo’s share of the subject property. Accordingly, the sale is void in its entirety, contrary to the claim of the petitioners. Petitioners filed a Motion for Reconsideration which the CA also denied.

Issue:
1. Whether the contract to sell entered by Teodulo Sison of his conjugal property with his deceased first wife is entirely void for failure to effect liquidation.
2. Whether Teodulo Sison was barred to dispose of his share on the Conjugal Property absent the liquidation thereof.
3. Whether the consent of the 2nd Wife is necessary to dispose of the Conjugal Property of the First wife.

Held:
1. No, In many instances, the surviving spouse and the heirs of the deceased spouse do not liquidate the conjugal properties and they keep them undivided. In such case, a co-ownership is deemed established for the management, control and enjoyment of the common property. Since the conjugal partnership no longer subsists, the fruits of the common property are divided according to the law on co-ownership; that is, in proportion to the share or interest of each party.37 That share or part of the co-heir in the co-ownership prior to partition is pro indiviso, undivided or abstract, not specific, delineated or demarcated by metes and bounds.

Hence, Each co-owner shall have the full ownership of his part and of the fruits and benefits pertaining thereto, and he may therefore alienate, assign or mortgage it, and even substitute another person in its enjoyment, except when personal rights are involved. But the effect of the alienation or the mortgage, with respect to the co-owners, shall be limited to the portion which may be allotted to him in the division upon the termination of the co-ownership.

2. No, co-owner is entitled to sell his undivided share, a sale of the entire property by one co-owner without the consent of the other co-owners is not null and void. However, only the rights of the co-owner-seller are transferred, thereby making the buyer a co-owner of the property.

3. No, Article 130 of the Family Code provides that a mandatory regime of complete separation of property shall govern the property relations of the subsequent marriage should the surviving spouse contract a subsequent marriage without liquidating the conjugal partnership property. Should the surviving spouse contract a subsequent marriage without compliance with the foregoing requirements, a mandatory regime of complete separation of property shall govern the property relations of the subsequent marriage.

When a complete or total separation of property governs the property relations, no portion of the properties of the marriage will be common, and the fruits of the properties of either spouse, as well as his or her earnings from any profession, work or industry, will belong to him or her as exclusive property.

Given that complete separation of property governed the subsequent marriage of Teodulo and Perla, the 9/16 undivided share or interest in the subject property of Teodulo belonged to him and remained with him as his separate property when he married Perla. Thus, he could have disposed of this without need of consent from Perla.

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