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Implied trust

FELOMINA ABELLANA vs. SPOUSES ROMEO PONCE and LUCILA PONCE


and the REGISTER OF DEEDS of BUTUAN CITY
G.R. No. 160488

September 3, 2004

YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:
FACTS: Felomina Abellana is the aunt of respondent Lucila Ponce; on 15 July 1981,
Felomina bought a parcel of agricultural land which she intended to give to her
niece, Lucila. Because of this, the deed of sale showed that it was Lucila who
bought the land. However, Felomina remained in possession and developed the
same land and continued paying real property taxes relative to it. Meanwhile the
relationship of the aunt and niece turned sour, as the latter even threatened
Felomina physically and has become disrespectful. Because of this development,
Felomina filed a case for revocation of implied trust to recover the property and its
legal title over it. On August 28, 2000, the trial court rendered a decision holding
that an implied trust existed between Felomina and Lucila, such that the latter is
merely holding the lot for the benefit of the former. It thus ordered the
conveyance of the subject lot in favor of Felomina. On appeal, the Court reversed
the lower courts decision and said that Felomina wasnt able to prove an implied
trust.
ISSUE: Whether or not there was implied trust in the case at bar.
HELD: The Supreme Court ruled that it was Felomina and not Lucila who truly
owned the parcel of land. The lone testimony of Felomina is sufficient to prove
her claim if it is credible. The presentation of the brother of the seller who
witnessed Felomina as the real buyer and paid the purchase price, debunks the
claim of Lucila.
In the instant case, a donation of an immovable was effected NOT on a
public instrument as required by law. Because it was only an oral donation, it is
thus void. Unlike ordinary contracts (which are perfected by the concurrence of
the requisites of consent, object and cause pursuant to Article 1318 of the Civil
Code), solemn contracts like donations are perfected only upon compliance with
the legal formalities under Articles 748 and 749. Otherwise stated, absent the
solemnity requirements for validity, the mere intention of the parties does not
give rise to a contract. Hence, Felomina can still recover title from Lucila.
Dispensation of such solemnities would give rise to anomalous situations where
the formalities of a donation and a will in donations inter vivos , and donations
mortis causa respectively, would be done away with when the transfer of the
property is made in favor of a child or one to whom the donor stands in loco
parentis . Such a scenario is clearly repugnant to the mandatory nature of the law
on donation.

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