G.R. No. 159310, February 24, 2009
Petitioner appealed the reversal by the CA of the trial court’s ruling in his favor which declared the titles of respondent as null and void.
Wilhelm Jambrich, an Austrian, and respondent fell in love and decided to live together. Eventually, however, they went their separate ways as respondent found a new boyfriend while Jambrich began to live with another woman. Jambrich met petitioner who was engaged in the real estate business and built and repaired speedboats as a hobby. Jambrich purchased an engine and some accessories for his boat from petitioner, for which he became indebted to the latter. To pay for his debt, he sold his rights and interests in the Agro-Macro properties to petitioner as evidenced by a “Deed of Absolute Sale/Assignment.” When petitioner sought to register the deed of assignment, he discovered that titles to the three lots have been transferred in the name of the respondent and that the subject property has already been mortgaged.
Petitioner imputes error on the judgment of the CA for holding that Jambrich has no title to the titles in question and may not, therefore, transfer and assign any rights or interests in favor of the petitioner.
Having found that the true buyer of the disputed house and lots was the Austrian Wilhelm Jambrich, what now is the effect of registration of the properties in the name of respondent?
In the instant case, the transfer of land from Agro-Macro Development Corporation to Jambrich, who is an Austrian, would have been declared invalid if challenged, had not Jambrich conveyed the properties to the petitioner who is a Filipino citizen. While the acquisition and the purchase by Wilhelm Jambrich of the properties under litigation were void ab initio since they were contrary to the Constitution of the Philippines, the acquisition of these properties by plaintiff who is a Filipino citizen from him, has cured the flaw in the original transaction and the title of the transferee is valid. As the property in dispute is already in the hands of a qualified person, a Filipino citizen, there would be no more public policy to be protected. The objective of the constitutional provision to keep our lands in Filipino hands has been achieved.