CASE DIGEST: Vda. de Cabalu vs. Tabu

G.R. No. 188417 : September 24, 2012

SPS. RENATO DOLORES TABU and LAXAMANA, Municipal Trial Court in Cities, Tarlac City, Branch II,Respondents.



Faustina Maslum (Faustina) was the original owner of a parcel of land covered by TCT No. 16776. The land had a total area of 140,211 square meters. On December 8, 1941, Faustina died without any children. She left a holographic will, assigning and distributing her property to her nephews and nieces. The said holographic will, however, was not probated.

Benjamin Laxamana was one of Faustinas heirs. He died in 1960. He had two heirs: his wife and his son, Domingo Laxamana (Domingo). On March 5, 1975, Domingo executed a Deed of Sale in favor of Laureano Cabalu covering 9,000 square meters of the land inherited by his father from Faustina.

On August 1, 1994, the legitimate heirs of Faustina executed a Deed of Extra-Judicial Succession with Partition. The said deed imparted 9,000 square meters of the land covered by TCT No. 16776 to Domingo.

Thereafter, Domingo sold 4,500 square meters of the 9,000 square meters of the land to his nephew, Eleazar Tabamo. The remaining portion was registered in Domingos name under TCT No. 281353.

On August 4, 1996, Domingo died. On October 8, 1996, or two (2) months after Domingos death, Domingo purportedly executed a Deed of Sale of TCT No. 281353 in favor of Renato Tabu (Tabu). Tabu and his wife Dolores Laxamana subdivided the lot into two which resulted to TCT Nos. 291338 and 291339.

Consequently, petitioners Milagros de Belen Vda. De Cabalu, Meliton Cabalu, Spouses Angela Cabalu and Rodolfo Talavera, and Patricio Abus filed a complaint before the RTC seeking to declare TCT Nos. 291338 and 291339 as null and void. They averred that they were the lawful owners of the subject property because it was sold to their father, Laureano Cabalu, by Domingo, through a Deed of Absolute Sale, dated March 5, 1975.

The RTC declared the deeds dated March 5, 1975 and October 8, 1996 null and void. On appeal, the CA partially granted the petition and deleted the RTCs decision declaring the October 8, 1996 null and void.
I. Whether or not the Deed of Sale of Undivided Parcel of Land covering the 9,000 square meter property executed by Domingo in favor of Laureano Cabalu on March 5, 1975, is valid? 
II. Whether or not the Deed of Sale dated October 8, 1996, covering the 4,500 square meter portion of the 9,000 square meter property, executed by Domingo in favor of Renato Tabu, is null and void?
HELD: Petition is partially granted.

CIVIL LAW: future inheritance; contractual capacity


The CA did not err in declaring the March 5, 1975 Deed of Sale null and void.

Thus, and as correctly found by the RTC, even if Benjamin died sometime in 1960, Domingo in 1975 could not yet validly dispose of the whole or even a portion thereof for the reason that he was not the sole heir of Benjamin, as his mother only died sometime in 1980. Besides, under Article 1347 of the Civil Code, "No contract may be entered into upon future inheritance except in cases expressly authorized by law." Paragraph 2 of Article 1347, characterizes a contract entered into upon future inheritance as void. The law applies when the following requisites concur: (1) the succession has not yet been opened; (2) the object of the contract forms part of the inheritance; and (3) the promissor has, with respect to the object, an expectancy of a right which is purely hereditary in nature.

In this case, at the time the deed was executed, Faustinas will was not yet probated; the object of the contract, the 9,000 square meter property, still formed part of the inheritance of his father from the estate of Faustina; and Domingo had a mere inchoate hereditary right therein.

Domingo became the owner of the said property only on August 1, 1994, the time of execution of the Deed of Extrajudicial Succession with Partition by the heirs of Faustina, when the 9,000 square meter lot was adjudicated to him.


The CA erred in deleting that portion in the RTC decision declaring the Deed of Absolute Sale, dated October 8, 1996, null and void.

Regarding the deed of sale covering the remaining 4,500 square meters of the subject property executed in favor of Renato Tabu, it is evidently null and void.The document itself, the Deed of Absolute Sale, dated October 8, 1996, readily shows that it was executed on August 4, 1996 more than two months after the death of Domingo. Contracting parties must be juristic entities at the time of the consummation of the contract. Stated otherwise, to form a valid and legal agreement it is necessary that there be a party capable of contracting and a party capable of being contracted with. Hence, if any one party to a supposed contract was already dead at the time of its execution, such contract is undoubtedly simulated and false and, therefore, null and void by reason of its having been made after the death of the party who appears as one of the contracting parties therein. The death of a person terminates contractual capacity.

The contract being null and void, the sale to Renato Tabu produced no legal effects and transmitted no rights whatsoever. Consequently, TCT No. 286484 issued to Tabu by virtue of the October 8, 1996 Deed of Sale, as well as its derivative titles, TCT Nos. 291338 and 291339, both registered in the name of Rena to Tabu, married to Dolores Laxamana, are likewise void.