Reconveyance based on void contract; prescription


The Court resolves to GRANT petitioner's Motion for Extension of Time of thirty (30) days from the expiration of the reglementary period on March 2, 2018 within which to file his petition for review on certiorari.

After a judicious review of petitioner's arguments and assertions, the Court further resolves to DENY the present Petition for review on Certiorari for failure of the petitioner to show reversible error on the part of the Court of Appeals (CA) in rendering the assailed Decision[1] and Resolution dated August 25, 2017 and January 9, 2018, respectively, in CA G.R. CV No. 107917.

Before this Court, petitioner maintains that respondent failed to establish forgery as the latter did not present the alleged spurious Deed of Sale in court.

The question of whether or not respondent sufficiently proved forgery is a factual one. In Rule 45 Petitions, only questions of law nay be raised since this Court is not a trier of facts.

At any rate, the Court finds no cogent reason to reverse the findings of the CA. Firstly, respondent's husband died in 1996; yet his signature appeared in a Deed of Sale purporting to have been executed in 2000 or 4 years after his death. Secondly, when respondent learned that her title was transferred in the name of Mario Balucero (Mario), she acted at once and had her adverse claim annotated on Mario's title. Thirdly, petitioner could hardly be considered an innocent purchaser for value as there was an adverse claim annotated on the title he bought. The said fact, as the CA correctly held, should have triggered petitioner to inquire into the validity of the title. Lastly, petitioner insists that respondent's cause of action had prescribed because actions based on fraud should be brought to court within 4 years from discovery. However, the Court agrees with the CA that following Article 1410 of the Civil Code, respondent's action is imprescriptible. So much so, that even if respondent's complaint were to be taken as one for reconveyance, given that it was based on an alleged void contract, it is just the same as imprescriptible.[2] To repeat, an action for reconveyance based on a void contract is imprescriptible.[3] The Court, in Santos v. Heirs of Dominga Lustre,[4] applied the doctrine that the action for reconveyance on the ground that the certificate of title was obtained by means of a fictitious deed of sale is virtually an action for the declaration of its nullity, which does not prescribe. In the said case, the complaint also alleged that the deed of sale was simulated by forging the signature of the original registered owner. The Court thus rules, as it did then, in favor of imprescriptibility.

ACCORDINGLY, the Court resolves to AFFIRM the assailed Decision and Resolution dated August 25, 2017 and January 19, 2018, respectively, in CA G.R. CV No. 107917.

SO ORDERED. Leonardo-De Castro, J., designated as Acting Chairperson of the First Division per Special Order No. 2559 dated May 11, 2018; Tijam, J., on official leave; Gesmundo, J., designated as Acting Member per Special Order No. 2560 dated May 11, 2018. 

[1]Penned by Associate Justice Rodil V. Zalameda and concurred in by Associate Justices Mariflor P. Punzalan Castillo and Ma. Luisa Quijano-Padilla,

[2]Bautista-Borja v. Bautista, 594 Phil. 35, 43 (2008).

[3]Daclag v. Macahilig, (Resolution), 599 Phil. 28, 33 (2009).

[4]G.R. No. 151016, August 6, 2008, 561 SCRA 120, 133.