CASE DIGEST: Bacalso v. Aca-ac et al. (G.R. No. 172919)

G.R. NO. 172919 JANUARY 13, 2016: TIMOTEO BACALSO and DIOSDADA BACALSO, Petitioners, 

GREGORIA ACA-AC, EUTIQUIA AGUILA, JULIAN BACUS and EVELYN SYCHANGCO, Respondents.

Facts: The Bacus siblings were the registered owners of a parcel of land which they inherited from their Mother, Matea. In 1987, they sold this land to their cousin, Timoteo, at P8,000. However, in 1988, Timoteo, together with his sisters Lucena and Victoria and some of his cousins filed a complaint against the Bacus siblings and four other persons before the RTC of Cebu City to declare null the documents and certificate of title and to reconvey the land, plus damages. They claim that they are the co-owners of the three-fourths portion of land because Matea bought it for and on behalf of his brother Alejandro (father of Timoteo) and others all surnamed Bacalso. In 1989, the RTC ruled Matea as the sole owner of the parcel of land, affirming the validity of conveyances to her children; same decision by the CA which became final.

In another case, Timoteo filed a complaint against the Bacus siblings for declaration of nullity of sale contract, certificates of title, reconveyances and damages. They claimed that the Bacus siblings failed to have a new TCT issued in Timoteo’s name. After subdividing the property, the Bacus siblings sold one lot to Evelyn Sychangco and that a TCT was transferred to her name without Timoteo’s knowledge, which were denied by the Bacus siblings, saying that sale did not proceed due to failure to pay purchase price. Sychangco claimed purchase in good faith, relying on lack of annotation in the TCT. The purchase was only established via the testimony of witnesses but not established at the time of sale between Timoteo and the Bacus siblings.

In 2000, the RTC decided that the sale was void for want of consideration, petitioners having failed to pay the price. Moreover, the RTC held no rescission of sale can be made due to Sychangco’s good faith. CA denied the appeal and the motion for reconsideration.

Issue: Is the sale between Timoteo and the Bacus siblings void for lack of consideration, in view of the failure to pay purchase price?

Held: Yes, the sale is void because, at the time of sale, there was no consideration agreed upon, which is an element of a contract, absent which it is void.

Article 1352 of the Civil Code is explicit in providing that “contracts without cause produce no effect whatsoever.” 

Here, when Timoteo and the Bacus siblings were negotiating the sale of the land, there was no absolute and definite agreement as to how much it is, which cannot be established later on by testimony in court. Hence, the sale is void for lack of one of its essential elements.

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