What is suspensive condition?

Article 1181 of the Civil Code of the Philippines provides:
ART. 1181. In conditional obligations, the acquisition of rights, as well as the extinguishment or loss of those already acquired, shall depend upon the happening of the event which constitutes the condition. (1114) 
The happening of a suspensive condition gives rise to an obligation. In Gaite vs. Fonacier,[1] the Supreme Court discussed the concept of suspensive condition, to wit:
What characterizes a conditional obligation is the fact that its efficacy or obligatory force (as distinguished from its demandability) is subordinated to the happening of a future and uncertain event; so that if the suspensive condition does not take place, the parties would stand as if the conditional obligation had never existed. (Emphasis supplied)

Moreover, before the fulfillment of a suspensive condition, the demandability and acquisition/ effectivity of the rights arising from the obligation is suspended, but the creditor may bring the appropriate actions for the preservation of his right.[2] After the fulfillment of a suspensive condition, the obligation arises or becomes effective. The obligor can be compelled to comply with what is incumbent upon him.

Now, let's discuss the doctrine of constructive fulfillment of suspensive conditions. The condition shall be deemed fulfilled when the obligor voluntarily prevents its fulfillment.[3] The suspensive condition is deemed fulfilled when: a) obligor intends to prevent obligee from complying with the condition; and b) obligor actually prevents obligee from complying with the condition. These two requisites must concur. Mere intention of the debtor to prevent the happening of the condition, or to place ineffective obstacles to its compliance, without actually preventing the fulfillment, is insufficient.[4]

Furthermore, the effects of the happening of suspensive condition in obligations to give are: a) if reciprocal, the fruits and interests shall be deemed to have been mutually compensated a matter of justice and convenience[5]; and b) if unilateral, the debtor shall appropriate the fruits and interests received, unless from the nature and circumstance it should be inferred that the intention of the persons constituting the same was different.[6] On the other hand, the effects of the happening of suspensive condition in obligations to do or not to do are: a) the court shall determine the retroactive effect of the condition that has been complied with[7]; and b) the power of the court includes the determination of whether or not there will be any retroactive effect. This rule shall likewise apply in obligations with a resolutory condition.[8]


[1] G.R. No. L-11827, July 31, 1961.

[2] Article 1188, Civil Code.

[3] Article 1186, Civil Code.

[4] International Hotel Corporation v. Joaquin, G.R. No. 158361 (2013).

[5] Paragraph 1, Article 1187, Civil Code.

[6] Id.

[7] Paragraph 2, Article 1187, Civil Code.

[8] Paragraph 3, Article 1190, Civil Code.

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