Case Digest: Carabeo vs. Spouses Dingco

G.R. No. 190823 : April 4, 2011




On July 10, 1990, Domingo Carabeo (petitioner) entered into a contract denominated as “Kasunduan sa Bilihan ng Karapatan sa Lupa” (kasunduan) with Spouses Norberto and Susan Dingco (respondents) whereby petitioner agreed to sell his rights over a 648 square meter parcel of unregistered land situated in Purok III, Tugatog, Orani, Bataan to respondents for P38,000.

Upon the signing of the contract, the respondents paid an initial amount of P10,000 and the remaining balance would be paid on September 1990. However, when the respondents were about to pay the balance, the petitioner refused to accept the amount due to an on-going dispute over the land. Nevertheless, the respondents occasionally gave the petitioner small sums of money which totaled P9,100. These amounts were allegedly given due to the request of the petitioner.

Despite the respondents insistence of paying the remaining balance of P19,800, the petitioner remained firm in his refusal. He reasoned that he would register the land first. However, when the dispute was finally settled and the registration of the land was made, the petitioner still declined to accept the payment. Thus, forcing the respondents to file a complaint before the Katarungan Pambarangay. Nevertheless, the parties were not able to reach a settlement. Hence, the filing of a complaint for specific performance before the RTC.

In the petitioner’s answer in the complaint, he alleged that the sale was void for lack of object certain. The kasunduannot having specified the metes and bounds of the land. In addition to that, he alleged that assuming that the validity of the kasunduan is upheld, the respondent failed to comply with their reciprocal obligation in paying the balance of the P28,000 on September 1900. Thus, forcing him to accept the installment payments.

After the case was submitted for decision, the petitioner passed away. However, the records do not show that petitioner’s counsel informed the lower court of his death and that proper substitution was effected. The RTC ruled in favor of the respondents ordering them to sell their rights over the land and to pay the costs of suit. The CA affirmed the decision of the lower court.


Whether or not the elements of a valid contract are present in this case.
Whether or not there is a valid contract despite the absence of spousal consent
Whether or not the death of the petitioner causes dismissal of the action filed by the respondents.


Petition is denied

CIVIL LAW : Contracts

FIRST ISSUE : The elements of a valid contract are present in this case.

Even though the kasunduan did not specify the technical boundaries of the property, it does not render the sale a nullity. The requirement that a sale must have for its object a determinate thing is satisfied as long as, at the time the contract is entered into, the object of the sale is capable of being made determinate without the necessity of a new or further agreement between the parties.


SECOND ISSUE: An issue raised only on appeal will not be considered by the courts.

The issue as to whether or not there is a valid contract despite the absence of spousal consent was raised only on appeal, hence, will not be considered, in the present case, in the interest of fair play, justice and due process.

REMEDIAL LAW: Cause of Action

THIRD ISSUE: When the wrong complained of affects property rights, the death of the petitioner does not cause the dismissal of the case

The death of the petitioner would not cause the dismissal of the action. In Bonilla v. Barcena, it was held that,

The question as to whether an action survives or not depends on the nature of the action and the damage sued for. In the causes of action which survive, the wrong complained [of] affects primarily and principally property and property rights, the injuries to the person being merely incidental, while in the causes of action which do not survive, the injury complained of is to the person, the property and rights of property affected being incidental. (emphasis and underscoring supplied)

Thus, in the present case, the respondents are pursuing a property right arising from the kasunduan, whereas petitioner is invoking nullity of the kasunduan to protect his proprietary interest. Since the action involves property rights, it survives. Assuming arguendo, however, that the kasunduan is deemed void, there is a corollary obligation of petitioner to return the money paid by respondents.

It bears noting that trial on the merits was already concluded before petitioner died. Since the trial court was not informed of petitioner’s death, it may not be faulted for proceeding to render judgment without ordering his substitution. Its judgment is thus valid and binding upon petitioner’s legal representatives or successors-in-interest, insofar as his interest in the property subject of the action is concerned.

Therefore, the petition is denied.