Civil Law,  Legally Yours

Nobleza v. Nuega

Nobleza v. Nuega

Josefina Nobleza v. Shirley Nuega
G.R. No. 193038, March 11, 2015
Villarama, Jr., J.

FACTS:

Respondent Shirley B. Nuega (Shirley) was married to Rogelio A. Nuega (Rogelio) on September 1, 1990. Upon the request of Rogelio, Shirley sent him money for the purchase of a residential lot in Marikina where they had planned to eventually build their home. The following year, or on September 13, 1989, Rogelio purchased the subject house and lot for One Hundred Two Thousand Pesos (P102,000.00) from Rodeanna Realty Corporation. Shirley claims that upon her arrival in the Philippines sometime in 1989, she settled the balance for the equity over the subject property with the developer through SSS8 financing. She likewise paid for the succeeding monthly amortizations.

On September 1, 1990, Shirley and Rogelio got married and lived in the subject property. The following year, Shirley returned to Israel for work. While overseas, she received information that Rogelio had brought home another woman, Monica Escobar, into the family home. She also learned and was able to confirm upon her return to the Philippines in May 1992, that Rogelio had been introducing Escobar as his wife.

In June 1992, Shirley filed two cases against Rogelio: one for Concubinage before the Provincial Prosecution Office of Rizal, and another for Legal Separation and Liquidation of Property before the RTC of Pasig City. In between the filing of these cases, Shirley learned that Rogelio had the intention of selling the subject property. Shirley then advised the interested buyers one of whom was their neighbor and petitioner Josefina V. Nobleza (petitioner) – of the existence of the cases that she had filed against Rogelio and cautioned them against buying the subject property until the cases are closed and terminated. Nonetheless, under a Deed of Absolute Sale dated December 29, 1992, Rogelio sold the subject property to petitioner without Shirley’s consent in the amount of Three Hundred Eighty Thousand Pesos (P380,000.00), including petitioner’s undertaking to assume the existing mortgage on the property with the National Home Mortgage Finance Corporation and to pay the real property taxes due thereon.

ISSUE:

Is the Deed of Sale null and void for lack of the consent of the wife?

HELD:

Yes. The petitioner is not a buyer in good faith. A buyer cannot claim to be an innocent purchaser for value by merely relying on the TCT of the seller while ignoring all the other surrounding circumstances relevant to the sale.

The nullity of the sale made by Rogelio is not premised on proof of respondent’s financial contribution in the purchase of the subject property. Actual contribution is not relevant in determining whether a piece of property is community property for the law itself defines what constitutes community property.
Article 91 of the Family Code thus provides:
Art. 91. Unless otherwise provided in this Chapter or in the marriage settlements, the community property shall consist of all the property owned by the spouses at the time of the celebration of the marriage or acquired thereafter.

The only exceptions from the above rule are: (1) those excluded from the absolute community by the Family Code; and (2) those excluded by the marriage settlement.

Under the first exception are properties enumerated in Article 92 of the Family Code, which states:

Art. 92. The following shall be excluded from the community property:
(1) Property acquired during the marriage by gratuitous title by either spouse and the fruits as well as the income thereof, if any, unless it is expressly provided by the donor, testator or grantor that they shall form part of the community property;
(2) Property for personal and exclusive use of either spouse; however, jewelry shall form part of the community property;
(3) Property acquired before the marriage by either spouse who has legitimate descendants by a former marriage, and the fruits as well as the income, if any, of such property.

Since the subject property does not fall under any of the exclusions provided in Article 92, it, therefore, forms part of the absolute community property of Shirley and Rogelio. Regardless of their respective contribution to its acquisition before their marriage, and despite the fact that only Rogelio’s name appears in the TCT as owner, the property is owned jointly by the spouses Shirley and Rogelio.

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