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Republic of the Philippines 680 to Maria, and her "remaining properties" including Lot
SUPREME COURT No. 674 to respondent.
Manila
Matilde died on January 25, 1994, while Maria died on
SECOND DIVISION September 24 of the same year.7

G.R. No. 176943 October 17, 2008 On August 21, 1995, Marias heirs-herein petitioners filed
before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Roxas City a
DANILO ALUAD, LEONORA ALUAD, DIVINA ALUAD, Complaint,8 for declaration and recovery of ownership and
PROSPERO ALUAD, and CONNIE ALUAD, petitioners, possession of Lot Nos. 674 and 676, and damages against
vs. respondent, alleging:
ZENAIDO ALUAD, respondent.
That in 1978, plaintiff[s] possessed the two (2) parcels of
DECISION land above-described until January 1991 when defendant
entered and possessed the two (2) parcels of land claiming
as the adopted son of Crispin Aluad who refused to give back
CARPIO MORALES, J.:
possession until Matilde Aluad died in [1994] and then
retained the possession thereof up to and until the present
Petitioners mother, Maria Aluad (Maria), and respondent time, thus, depriving the plaintiffs of the enjoyment of said
Zenaido Aluad were raised by the childless spouses Matilde parcels of land x x x;
Aluad (Matilde) and Crispin Aluad (Crispin).
That after the death of Matilde R. Aluad, the plaintiffs
Crispin was the owner of six lots identified as Lot Nos. 674, succeeded by inheritance by right of representation from
675, 676, 677, 680, and 682 of the Pilar Cadastre, Capiz. their deceased mother, Maria Aluad who is the sole and only
After Crispin died, his wife Matilde adjudicated the lots to daughter of Matilde Aluad[.]9
herself.1
To the complaint respondent alleged in his Answer.10
On November 14, 1981, Matilde executed a document
entitled "Deed of Donation of Real Property Inter Vivos" 2
That Lot 674 is owned by the defendant as this lot was
(Deed of Donation) in favor of petitioners mother Maria3
adjudicated to him in the Last Will and Testament of Matilde
covering all the six lots which Matilde inherited from her
Aluad x x x while Lot 676 was purchased by him from Matilde
husband Crispin. The Deed of Donation provided:
Aluad. These two lots are in his possession as true owners
thereof.11 (Underscoring supplied)
That, for and in consideration of the love and affection of the
DONOR [Matilde] for the DONEE [Maria], the latter being
Petitioners later filed a Motion for Leave to Amend Complaint
adopted and hav[ing] been brought up by the former the
Already Filed to Conform to Evidence12 to which it annexed
DONOR, by these presents, transfer and convey, BY WAY OF
an Amended Complaint13 which cited the donation of the six
DONATION, unto the DONEE the property above-described,
lots via Deed of Donation in favor of their mother Maria.
to become effective upon the death of the DONOR,
Branch 15 of the RTC granted the motion and admitted the
but in the event that the DONEE should die before the
Amended Complaint.14
DONOR, the present donation shall be deemed
rescinded and [of] no further force and effect; Provided,
however, that anytime during the lifetime of the DONOR or Respondent filed an Amended Answer15 contending, inter
anyone of them who should survive, they could use[,] alia, that the Deed of Donation is forged and falsified and
encumber or even dispose of any or even all of the parcels petitioners change of theory showed that "said document
of land herein donated.4 (Emphasis and underscoring was not existing at the time they filed their complaint and
supplied) was concocted by them after realizing that their false claim
that their mother was the only daughter of Matild[e] Aluad
cannot in anyway be established by them";16 and that if ever
On September 30, 1986, Original Certificates of Title over Lot
said document does exist, the same was already revoked by
Nos. 674 and 676 were issued in Matildes name.
Matilde "when [she] exercised all acts of dominion over said
properties until she sold Lot 676 to defendant and until her
On August 26, 1991, Matilde sold Lot No. 676 to respondent death with respect to the other lots without any opposition
by a Deed of Absolute Sale of Real Property.5 from Maria Aluad."17

Subsequently or on January 14, 1992, Matilde executed a The trial court, by Decision18 of September 20, 1996, held
last will and testament,6 devising Lot Nos. 675, 677, 682, and that Matilde could not have transmitted any right over Lot
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Nos. 674 and 676 to respondent, she having previously The testator or the person requested by him to write his
alienated them to Maria via the Deed of Donation. Thus it name and the instrumental witnesses of the will shall, also
disposed: sign, as aforesaid, each and every page thereof, except the
last on the left margin and all the pages shall be numbered
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, judgment is hereby correlatively in letters placed on the upper part of each page.
rendered:
The attestation shall state the number of pages used upon
1. Declaring the plaintiffs as the rightful owners of the which the will is written, and the fact that that testator signed
subject Lots Nos. 674 and 676, Pilar Cadastre; the will and every page thereof, or caused some other person
to write his name, under his express direction, in the
presence of the instrumental witnesses, and that the latter
2. Ordering the defendant to deliver the possession of the
witnessed and signed the will and all the pages thereof in
subject lots to the plaintiffs;
the presence of the testator, and of one another.

3. Ordering the defendant to pay the plaintiffs:


If the attestation clause is in a language not known to the
witnesses, it shall be interpreted to them.
a. Thirty thousand pesos (P30,000.00) as attorneys fees;
While the appellate court declared respondent as the rightful
b. Twenty thousand pesos (P20,000.00), representing the owner of Lot No. 676, it did not so declare with respect to
income from subject Lot 676, a year from 1991 up to the Lot No. 674, as Matildes last will and testament had not yet
time said lot is delivered to the plaintiffs, together with the been probated. Thus the Court of Appeals disposed:
interest thereof at the legal rate until fully paid;
WHEREFORE, finding the instant petition worthy of merit,
c. Ten thousand pesos (P10,000.00), representing the the same is hereby GRANTED and the Decision of the
income from the subject Lot No. 674, a year from 1991 up Regional Trial Court of Roxas City, Branch 15, dated 20
to the time said lot is delivered to the plaintiffs, plus legal September 1996, in Civil Case No. V-6686 for declaration of
interest thereof at the legal rate until fully paid; and ownership, recovery of ownership and possession, and
damages is REVERSED and SET ASIDE.
d. The costs of the suit.
A new one is entered in its stead declaring defendant-
Defendants counterclaim is ordered dismissed for lack of appellant as the lawful owner of Lot [No.] 676 of the Pilar
merit. Cadastre. Accordingly, plaintiffs-appellees are directed to
return the possession of the said lot to the defendant-
SO ORDERED.19 appellant.

On petitioners motion, the trial court directed the issuance Moreover, plaintiffs-appellees are ordered to pay P40,000.00
of a writ of execution pending appeal.20 Possession of the to defendant-appellant as attorneys fees and litigation
subject lots appears to have in fact been taken by expenses.
petitioners.
Costs against plaintiffs-appellees.
By Decision of August 10, 2006, the Court of Appeals
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reversed the trial courts decision, it holding that the Deed of SO ORDERED.22 (Emphasis in the original; underscoring
Donation was actually a donation mortis causa, not inter supplied)
vivos, and as such it had to, but did not, comply with the
formalities of a will. Thus, it found that the Deed of Donation Their Motion for Reconsideration23 having been denied,24
was witnessed by only two witnesses and had no attestation petitioners filed the present Petition for Review,25 contending
clause which is not in accordance with Article 805 of the Civil that the Court of Appeals erred
Code, reading:
I
Art. 805. Every will, other than a holographic will, must be
subscribed at the end thereof by the testator himself or by
X X X WHEN IT REVERSED THE DECISION OF THE COURT
the testators name written by some other person in his
BELOW (RTC, Branch 15, Roxas City) HOLDING THAT THE
presence, and by his express direction, and attested and
DEED OF DONATION INTER VIVOS IN FAVOR OF
subscribed by three or more credible witnesses in the
PETITIONERS MOTHER IS IN FACT A DONATION MORTIS
presence of the testator and of one another.
CAUSA.
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II those established by law is an attribute of ownership.30 The


phrase in the Deed of Donation "or anyone of them who
X X X WHEN IT RULED THAT RESPONDENT IS THE should survive" is of course out of sync. For the Deed of
RIGHTFUL OWNER OF LOT NO. 676 AS LOT BUYER ON THE Donation clearly stated that it would take effect upon the
BASIS OF A DEED OF SALE EXECUTED BY THE DONOR WHO death of the donor, hence, said phrase could only have
HAD NO MORE RIGHT TO SELL THE SAME. referred to the donor Matilde. Petitioners themselves
concede that such phrase does not refer to the donee, thus:
III
x x x [I]t is well to point out that the last provision (sentence)
in the disputed paragraph should only refer to Matilde Aluad,
X X X WHEN IT FAILED TO DECLARE PETITIONERS THE
the donor, because she was the only surviving spouse at the
RIGHTFUL OWNER OF LOT NO. 674 AFTER HAVING RULED
time the donation was executed on 14 November 1981, as
WHEN IT HELD THAT RESPONDENT CANNOT BE DECLARED
her husband Crispin Aluad [] had long been dead as early
OWNER THEREOF.
as 1975.31

IV
The trial court, in holding that the donation was inter vivos,
reasoned:
X X X WHEN IT HELD THAT THE ISSUANCE OF A WRIT OF
EXECUTION PENDING APPEAL IS IN VIOLATION OF
x x x The donation in question is subject to a resolutory term
PARAGRAPH (a) SECTION 2, RULE 39, OF THE RULES OF
or period when the donor provides in the aforequoted
COURT (AND ORDERING PETITIONERS TO RETURN
provisions, "but in the event that the DONEE should die
POSSESSION OF LOT 676 TO RESPONDENT) AND
before the DONOR, the present donation shall be deemed
ORDERING PETITIONERS TO PAY ATTORNEYS FEES AND
rescinded and [of] no further force and effect". When the
COST[S] OF SUIT.26
donor provides that should the "DONEE" xxx die before the
DONOR, the present donation shall be deemed rescinded
As did the appellate court, the Court finds the donation to and [of] no further force and effect" the logical construction
petitioners mother one of mortis causa, it having the thereof is that after the execution of the subject donation,
following characteristics: the same became effective immediately and shall be
"deemed rescinded and [of] no further force and effect"
(1) It conveys no title or ownership to the transferee before upon the arrival of a resolutory term or period, i.e., the death
the death of the transferor; or what amounts to the same of the donee which shall occur before that of the donor.
thing, that the transferor should retain the ownership (full or Understandably, the arrival of this resolutory term or period
naked) and control of the property while alive; cannot rescind and render of no further force and effect a
donation which has never become effective, because,
(2) That before the death of the transferor, the transfer certainly what donation is there to be rescinded and
should be revocable by the transferor at will, ad nutum; but rendered of no further force and effect upon the arrival of
revocability may be provided for indirectly by means of a said resolutory term or period if there was no donation which
reserved power in the donor to dispose of the properties was already effective at the time when the donee died?32
conveyed; and (Underscoring supplied)

(3) That the transfer should be void if the transferor should A similar ratio in a case had been brushed aside by this Court,
survive the transferee.27 (Emphasis and underscoring however, thus:
supplied)
x x x [P]etitioners contend that the stipulation on rescission
The phrase in the earlier-quoted Deed of Donation "to in case petitioners [donee] die ahead of [donor] Cabatingan
become effective upon the death of the DONOR" admits of is a resolutory condition that confirms the nature of the
no other interpretation than to mean that Matilde did not donation as inter vivos.
intend to transfer the ownership of the six lots to petitioners
mother during her (Matildes) lifetime.28 Petitioners arguments are bereft of merit.33

The statement in the Deed of Donation reading "anytime xxxx


during the lifetime of the DONOR or anyone of them
who should survive, they could use, encumber or even x x x The herein subject deeds expressly provide that the
dispose of any or even all the parcels of land herein donation shall be rescinded in case [donees] the petitioners
donated"29 means that Matilde retained ownership of the predecease [the donor] Conchita Cabatingan. As stated in
lots and reserved in her the right to dispose them. For the Reyes v. Mosqueda, one of the decisive characteristics of a
right to dispose of a thing without other limitations than donation mortis causa is that the transfer should be
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considered void if the donor should survive the donee. This Furthermore, the witnesses did not acknowledge the will
is exactly what Cabatingan provided for in her donations. If before the notary public,40 which is not in accordance with
she really intended that the donation should take effect the requirement of Article 806 of the Civil Code that every
during her lifetime and that the ownership of the properties will must be acknowledged before a notary public by the
donated to the donee or independently of, and not by reason testator and the witnesses.
of her death, she would not have expressed such proviso in
the subject deeds.34 (Underscoring supplied) More. The requirement that all the pages of the will must be
numbered correlatively in letters placed on the upper part of
As the Court of Appeals observed, "x x x [t]hat the donation each page was not also followed.41
is mortis causa is fortified by Matildes acts of possession as
she continued to pay the taxes for the said properties which The Deed of Donation which is, as already discussed, one of
remained under her name; appropriated the produce; and mortis causa, not having followed the formalities of a will, it
applied for free patents for which OCTs were issued under is void and transmitted no right to petitioners mother. But
her name."35 even assuming arguendo that the formalities were observed,
since it was not probated, no right to Lot Nos. 674 and 676
The donation being then mortis causa, the formalities of a was transmitted to Maria.42 Matilde thus validly disposed of
will should have been observed36 but they were not, as it was Lot No. 674 to respondent by her last will and testament,
witnessed by only two, not three or more witnesses following subject of course to the qualification that her (Matildes) will
Article 805 of the Civil Code.37 must be probated. With respect to Lot No. 676, the same
had, as mentioned earlier, been sold by Matilde to
Further, the witnesses did not even sign the attestation respondent on August 26, 1991.
clause38 the execution of which clause is a requirement
separate from the subscription of the will and the affixing of Petitioners nevertheless argue that assuming that the
signatures on the left-hand margins of the pages of the will. donation of Lot No. 674 in favor of their mother is indeed
So the Court has emphasized: mortis causa, hence, Matilde could devise it to respondent,
the lot should nevertheless have been awarded to them
x x x Article 805 particularly segregates the requirement that because they had acquired it by acquisitive prescription, they
the instrumental witnesses sign each page of the will from having been in continuous, uninterrupted, adverse, open,
the requisite that the will be "attested and subscribed by [the and public possession of it in good faith and in the concept
instrumental witnesses]. The respective intents behind these of an owner since 1978.43
two classes of signature[s] are distinct from each other. The
signatures on the left-hand corner of every page signify, Petitioners failed to raise the issue of acquisitive prescription
among others, that the witnesses are aware that the page before the lower courts, however, they having laid their claim
they are signing forms part of the will. On the other hand, on the basis of inheritance from their mother. As a general
the signatures to the attestation clause establish that the rule, points of law, theories, and issues not brought to the
witnesses are referring to the statements contained in the attention of the trial court cannot be raised for the first time
attestation clause itself. Indeed, the attestation clause is on appeal.44 For a contrary rule would be unfair to the
separate and apart from the disposition of the will. An adverse party who would have no opportunity to present
unsigned attestation clause results in an unattested further evidence material to the new theory, which it could
will. Even if the instrumental witnesses signed the left-hand have done had it been aware of it at the time of the hearing
margin of the page containing the unsigned attestation before the trial court.45 WHEREFORE, the petition is
clause, such signatures cannot demonstrate these witnesses DENIED.
undertakings in the clause, since the signatures that do
appear on the page were directed towards a wholly different
avowal.
DIGEST: ALUAD VS ALUAD
x x x It is the witnesses, and not the testator, who are
required under Article 805 to state the number of pages used G.R. No. 176943, October 17, 2008
upon which the will is written; the fact that the testator had
signed the will and every page thereof; and that they FACTS:
witnessed and signed the will and all the pages thereof in
the presence of the testator and of one another. The only Petitioners mother, Maria Aluad (Maria), and
proof in the will that the witnesses have stated these respondent Zenaido Aluad were raised by the childless
elemental facts would be their signatures on the attestation spouses Matilde Aluad (Matilde) and Crispin Aluad
clause.39 (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) (Crispin).Crispin was the owner of six lots identified as Lot
Nos. 674, 675, 676, 677, 680, and 682 of the Pilar Cadastre,
Capiz. After Crispin died, his wife Matilde adjudicated the lots
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to herself.On November 14, 1981, Matilde executed a Republic of the Philippines


document entitled Deed of Donation of Real Property Inter SUPREME COURT
Vivos (Deed of Donation) in favor of petitioners mother Manila
Maria covering all the six lots which Matilde inherited from
her husband Crispin. EN BANC

On September 30, 1986, Original Certificates of Title G.R. No. L-6600 July 30, 1954
over Lot Nos. 674 and 676 were issued in Matildes name.
On August 26, 1991, Matilde sold Lot No. 676 to respondent HEIRS OF JUAN BONSATO and FELIPE BONSATO,
by a Deed of Absolute Sale of Real Property. Subsequently or petitioners,
on January 14, 1992, Matilde executed a last will and vs.
COURT OF APPEALS and JOSEFA UTEA, ET AL.,
testament,devising Lot Nos. 675, 677, 682, and 680 to Maria,
respondents.
and her remaining properties including Lot No. 674 to
respondent. Matilde died on January 25, 1994, while Maria Benedict C. Balderrama for petitioners.
died on September 24 of the same year. On August 21, 1995, Inocencio Rosete for respondents.
Marias heirs-herein petitioners filed before the Regional Trial
Court (RTC) of Roxas City a Complaint, for declaration and REYES, J.B.L., J.:
recovery of ownership and possession of Lot
Nos. 674 and 676, and damages against respondent. The trial This is a petition for review of a decision of the Court of
court, by Decision of September 20, 1996, held that Matilde Appeals holding two deeds of donation executed on the first
could not have transmitted any right over Lot day of December, 1939 by the late Domingo Bonsato in favor
Nos. 674 and 676 to respondent, she having previously of his brother Juan Bonsato and of his nephew Felipe
Bonsato, to be void for being donations mortis causa
alienated them to Maria via the Deed of Donation.
accomplished without the formalities required by law for
testamentary dispositions.
By Decision of August 10, 2006, the Court of
Appeals reversed the trial courts decision, it holding that the The case was initiated in the Court of First Instance of
Deed of Donation was actually a donation mortis causa, not Pangasinan (Case No. 8892) on June 27, 1945, by
inter vivos, and as such it had to, but did not, comply with respondents Josefa Utea and other heirs of Domingo Bonsato
the formalities of a will. Thus, it found that the Deed of and his wife Andrea Nacario, both deceased. Their complaint
Donation was witnessed by only two witnesses and had no (for annulment and damages) charged that on the first day
of December, 1949, Domingo Bonsato, then already a
attestation clause which is not in accordance with Article 805
widower, had been induced and deceived into signing two
of the Civil Code. notarial deeds of donations (Exhibits 1 and 2) in favor of his
brother Juan Bonsato and of his nephew Felipe Bonsato,
ISSUE:
respectively, transferring to them several parcels of land
Whether or not the Deed of Donation is a donation covered by Tax Declaration Nos. 5652, 12049, and 12052,
situated in the municipalities of Mabini and Burgos, Province
mortis causa and have complied with the formalities of a will.
of Pangasinan, both donations having been duly accepted in
RULING: the same act and documents. Plaintiffs likewise charged that
the donations were mortis causa and void for lack of the
The Deed of Donation which is one of mortis causa. requisite formalities. The defendants, Juan Bonsato and
The donation being then mortis causa, the formalities of a Felipe Bonsato, answered averring that the donations made
in their favor were voluntarily executed in consideration of
will should have been observedbut they were not, as it was
past services rendered by them to the late Domingo Bonsato;
witnessed by only two, not three or more witnesses following that the same were executed freely without the use of force
Article 805 of the Civil Code.Further, the witnesses did not and violence, misrepresentation or intimidation; and prayed
even sign the attestation clausethe execution of which clause for the dismissal of the case and for damages in the sum of
is a requirement separate from the subscription of the will P2,000.
and the affixing of signatures on the left-hand margins of the
pages of the will. After trial, the Court of First Instance rendered its decision
on November 13, 1949, finding that the deeds of donation
were executed by the donor while the latter was of sound
mind, without pressure or intimidation; that the deeds were
of donation inter vivos without any condition making their
validity or efficacy dependent upon the death of the donor;
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but as the properties donated were presumptively conjugal, Que en este de 1939 el donante Domingo Bonsato
having been acquired during the coverture of Domingo ha entregado a Felipe Bonsato dichos terrenos
Bonsato and his wife Andrea Nacario, the donations were donados y arriba citados pero de los productos
only valid as to an undivided one-half share in the three mientras vive el donante tomara la parte que
parcels of land described therein. corresponde como dueo y la parte como inquilino
tomara Felipe Bonsato.
Thereupon the plaintiffs duly appealed to the Court of
Appeals, assigning as primary error the holding of the court Que en vista de la vejez del donante, el donatorio
below that the donations are inter vivos; appellants Felipe Bonsato tomara posesion inmediatamente de
contending that they were mortis causa donations, and dichos terrenos a su favor.
invalid because they had not been executed with the
formalities required for testamentary disposition. Que despues de la muerte del donante entrara en
vigor dicha donancion y el donatario Felipe Bonsato
A division of five of the Court of Appeals took the case under tendra todos los derechos de dichos terrenos en
consideration, and on January 12, 1953, the majority concepto de dueo absoluto de la propiedad libre de
rendered judgment holding the aforesaid donations to be null toda responsibilidad y gravamen y pueda ejercitar
and void, because they were donations mortis causa and su derecho que crea conveniente.
were executed without the testamentary formalities
prescribed by law, and ordered the defendants-appellees En Testimonio de todo lo Cual, signo la presente en
Bonsato to surrender the possession of the properties in Agno, Pangasinan, I.F., hoy dia 1.0 de Diciembre,
litigation to the plaintiffs-appellants. Two Justices dissented, 1939.
claiming that the said donations should be considered as
donations inter vivos and voted for the affirmance of the
decision of the Court of First Instance. The donees then Domingo (His thumbmark) Bonsato
sought a review by this Court.

The sole issue submitted to this Court, therefore, is the Yo, Felipe Bonsato, mayor de edad, casado, Vecino
juridical nature of the donations in question. Both deeds de Mabini, Pangasinan, I.F., declaro por la presente
(Exhs. 1 and 2) are couched in identical terms, with the que acepto la donacion anterior otorgado por
exception of the names of the donees and the number and Domingo Bonsato a mi favor.
description of the properties donated. The principal
provisions are the following. (Sgd.) Felipe Bonsato

ESCRITURA DE DONATION
SIGNADO Y FIRMADO EN PRESENCIA DE:
Yo, Domingo Bonsato, viudo de Andrea Nacario,
mayor de edad, vencino y residente del municipio
(Sgd.) Illegible (Sgd.) Illegibl
de Agno, Pangasinan, I.F., por la presente declaro
lo siguiente:
The majority of the special divisions of five of the Court of
Que mi osbrino Felipe Bonsato, casado, tambien Appeals that took cognizance of this case relied primarily on
mayor de edad, vecino de Agno, Pangasinan, I.F., the last paragraph, stressing the passage:
en consideracion de su largo servicio a Domingo
Bonsato, por la presente hagor y otorgo una Que despues de la muerte del donante entrara en
donacion perfecta e irrevocable consumada a favor vigor dicha donacion . . .
del citado Felipe Bonsato de dos parcelas de terreno
palayero como se describe mas abajo. while the minority opinion lay emphasis on the second
paragraph, wherein the donor states that he makes "perfect,
(Description omitted) irrevocable, and consummated donation" of the properties to
the respective donees, petitioners herein.
Que durante su menor de edad de mi citado sobrino
Felipe Bonsato hasta en estos dias, siempre me ha Strictly speaking, the issue is whether the documents in
apreciado y estimado como uno de mis hijos y question embody valid donations, or else legacies void for
siempre ha cumplido todas mis ordenes, y por esta failure to observe the formalities of wills (testaments).
razon bajo su pobriza sea movido mi sentimiento Despite the widespread use of the term "donations mortis
para dar una recompensa de sus trabajos y aprecios causa," it is well-established at present that the Civil Code of
a mi favor. 1889, in its Art. 620, broke away from the Roman Law
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tradition, and followed the French doctrine that no one may We have insisted on this phase of the legal theory in order
both donate and retain ("donner at retenir ne vaut"), by to emphasize that the term "donations mortis causa" as
merging the erstwhile donations mortis causa with the commonly employed is merely a convenient name to
testamentary dispositions, thus suppressing said donations designate those dispositions of property that are void when
as an independent legal concept. made in the form of donations.

ART. 620. Donations which are to become effective Did the late Domingo Bonsato make donations inter vivos or
upon the death of the donor partake of the nature dispositions post mortem in favor of the petitioners herein?
of disposals of property by will and shall be If the latter, then the documents should reveal any or all of
governed by the rules established for testamentary the following characteristics:
successions.
(1) Convey no title or ownership to the transferee before the
Commenting on this article, Mucius Scaevola (Codigo Civl, death of the transferor; or, what amounts to the same thing,
Vol. XI, 2 parte, pp. 573, 575 says: that the transferor should retain the ownership (full or
naked) and control of the property while alive (Vidal vs.
No ha mucho formulabamos esta pregunta: Posadas, 58 Phil., 108; Guzman vs. Ibea, 67 Phil., 633);
Subsisten las donaciones mortis causa como
institucion independiente, con propia autonomia y (2) That before his death, the transfer should be revocable
propio compo jurisdiccional? La respuesta debe ser by the transferor at will, ad nutum; but revocability may be
negativa. provided for indirectly by means of a reserved power in the
donor to dispose of the properties conveyed (Bautista vs.
xxx xxx xxx Sabiniano, G. R.
L-4326, November 18, 1952);
Las donaciones mortis causa se consevan en el
Codigo como se conserva un cuerpo fosil en las (3) That the transfer should be void if the transferor should
vitrinas de un Museo. La asimilacion entre las survive the transferee.
donaciones por causa de muerte y las
transmissiones por testamento es perfecta. None of these characteristics is discernible in the deeds of
donation, Exhibits 1 and 2, executed by the late Domingo
Manresa, in his Commentaries (5th ed.), Vol. V. p. 83, Bonsato. The donor only reserved for himself, during his
expresses the same opinion: lifetime, the owner's share of the fruits or produce ("de los
productos mientras viva el donante tomara la parte que
corresponde como dueo"), a reservation that would be
"La disposicion del articulo 620 significa, por lo
unnecessary if the ownership of the donated property
tanto: 1..o, que han desaparecido las llamas antes
remained with the donor. Most significant is the absence of
donaciones mortis causa por lo que el Codigo no se
stipulation that the donor could revoke the donations; on the
ocupa de ellas en absoluto; 2.o, que toda
contrary, the deeds expressly declare them to be
disposicion de bienes para despues de la muerte
"irrevocable", a quality absolutely incompatible with the idea
sigue las reglas establecidas para la sucesion
of conveyances mortis causa where revocability is of the
testamentaria.
essence of the act, to the extent that a testator can not
lawfully waive or restrict his right of revocation (Old Civil
And Castan, in his Derecho Civil, Vol. IV (7th Ed., 1953), p. Code, Art. 737; New Civil Code, Art. 828).
176, reiterates:
It is true that the last paragraph in each donation contains
(b) Subsisten hoy en nuestro derecho las the phrase "that after the death of the donor the aforesaid
donaciones mortis causa? De lo que acabamos de donation shall become effective" (que despues de la muerte
decir se desprende que las donaciones mortis causa del donante entrara en vigor dicha donacion"). However,
han perdido en el Codigo Civil su caracter distintivo said expression must be construed together with the rest of
y su naturaleza y hay que considerarlos hoy como the paragraph, and thus taken, its meaning clearly appears
una institucion suprimida, refundida en el legado ... to be that after the donor's death, the donation will take
. Las tesis de la desaparcion de las donaciones effect so as to make the donees the absolute owners of the
mortis causa en nuestro Codigo Civil, acusada ya donated property, free from all liens and encumbrances; for
precedentemente por el pryecto de 1851 puede it must be remembered that the donor reserved for himself
decirse que constituye una communis opinion entre a share of the fruits of the land donated. Such reservation
nuestros expositores, incluso los mas recientes. constituted a charge or encumbrance that would disappear
upon the donor's death, when full title would become vested
in the donees.
8

Que despues de la muerte del donante entrara en for the Court of Appeals to declare that Exhibits 1 and 2 were
vigor dicha donacion y el donatario Felipe Bonsato invalid because the formalities of testaments were not
tendra todos derechos de dichos terrenos en observed. Being donations inter vivos, the solemnities
concepto de dueo absoluto de la propiedad libre de required for them were those prescribed by Article 633 of the
toda responsibilidad y gravamen y puede ejercitar Civil Code of 1889 (reproduced in Art. 749 of the new Code,
su derecho que crea conveniente. and it is undisputed that these were duly complied with. As
the properties involved were conjugal, the Court of First
Any other interpretation of this paragraph would cause it to Instance correctly decided that the donations could not
conflict with the irrevocability of the donation and its affect the half interest inherited by the respondents Josefa
consummated character, as expressed in the first part of the Utea, et al. from the predeceased wife of the donor.
deeds of donation, a conflict that should be avoided (Civ.
Code of 1889, Art. 1285; New Civil Code, Art. 1374; Rule The decision of the Court of Appeals is reversed, and that
123, sec. 59, Rules of Court). of the Court of First Instance is revived and given effect.
Costs against respondents.
Que mi sobrino FILIPINO BONSATO, casado, tambien mayor
de edad, vecino de Agno, Pangasinan, I. F., en consideracion
de su largo servicio a Domingo Bonsato, por la presente hago Republic of the Philippines
y otorgo una donacion perfecta e irrevocable consumada a SUPREME COURT
favor del citado Felipe Bonsato de dos parcelas de terreno Manila
palayero como se describe mas abajo.
SECOND DIVISION
In the cases held by this Court to be transfers mortis causa
and declared invalid for not having been executed with the G.R. No. L-33849 August 18, 1977
formalities of testaments, the circumstances clearly indicated
the transferor's intention to defer the passing of title until
TEODORICO ALEJANDRO, IRENEO POLICARPIO,
after his death. Thus, in Cario vs. Abaya, 70 Phil., 182, not
VIRGINIA ALEJANDRO, MARIA ALEJANDRO, SALUD
only were the properties not to be given until thirty days after
ALEJANDRO, EMILIA ALEJANDRO, FLORENCIO
the death of the last of the donors, but the deed also referred
ALEJANDRO and DIONISIA ALEJANDRO, petitioners,
to the donees as "those who had been mentioned to inherit
vs.
from us", the verb "to inherit" clearly implying the acquisition
HON. AMBROSIO M. GERALDEZ, Presiding Judge,
of property only from and after the death of the alleged
Court of First Instance of Bulacan, Branch V, Sta.
donors. In Bautista vs. Sabiniano, 49 Off. Gaz., 549; 92 Phil.,
Maria, ANDREA DIAZ and ANGEL DIAZ, respondents.
244, the alleged donor expressly reserved the right to
dispose of the properties conveyed at any time before his
death, and limited the donation "to whatever property or G.R. No. L-33968 August 18, 1977
properties left undisposed by me during my lifetime", thus
clearly retaining their ownership until his death. While in ANDREA DIAZ, petitioner,
David vs. Sison, 42 Off. Gaz. (Dec, 1946) 3155, the donor
not only reserved for herself all the fruits of the property vs.
allegedly conveyed, but what is even more important,
specially provided that "without the knowledge and consent HON. AMBROSIO M. GERALDEZ, in his capacity as
of the donor, the donated properties could not be disposed Presiding Judge of the Court of First Instance of
of in any way", thereby denying to the transferees the most Bulacan, Branch V, TEODORICO ALEJANDRO,
essential attribute of ownership, the power to dispose of the IRENEO POLICARPIO, VIRGINIA ALEJANDRO,
properties. No similar restrictions are found in the deeds of MARIA ALEJANDRO, EMILIA ALEJANDRO,
donation involved in this appeal. FLORENCIO ALEJANDRO and DIONISIA
ALEJANDRO, respondents.
That the conveyance was due to the affection of the donor
for the donees and the services rendered by the latter, is of AQUINO. J.
no particular significance in determining whether the deeds
Exhibits 1 and 2 constitute transfers inter vivos or not,
This is a case about donations inter vivos and mortis causa .
because a legacy may have identical motivation.
The bone of contention is Lot No. 2502 of the Lolomboy Friar
Nevertheless, the existence of such consideration
Lands Estate with an area of 5,678 square meters, situated
corroborates the express irrevocability of the transfers and
in Sta. Maria, Bulacan and covered by Transfer Certificate of
the absence of any reservation by the donor of title to, or
Title No. 7336. The facts are as follows: On January 20, 1949
control over, the properties donated, and reinforces the
the spouses Gabino (Gavino) Diaz and Severa Mendoza, their
conclusion that the act was inter vivos. Hence, it was error
daughter-in-law Regina Fernando and their three children,
9

Olimpia Diaz, Angel Diaz and Andrea Diaz, executed a deed sa pamamagitan ng kasulatang ito ng pagkakaloob
of donation covering eight lots of the Lolomboy Friar Lands (Donation) ay buong pusong inililipat at lubos na ibinibigay
Estate, owned by the Diaz spouses, located at Barrio Parada, sa nasabing pinagkakalooban ang lupang binabanggit at
Sta. Maria, Bulacan. The deed reads as follows: makikilala sa unahan nito, laya sa ano mang sagutin at
pagkakautang, katulad nito:
KASULATAN NG PAGKAKALOOB (A DEED OF DONATION)
(a) Na ang lupang sinasaysay sa Lote No. 2502 o Titulo
ALAMIN NG LAHAT NG MAKATUTUNGHAY No. 7336, (No. 1) sa unahan nito ay hinati sa dalawang
NITO: parte ang unang parte (1/2) na nasa bandang Kanluran
(West) ay ipinagkakaloob ng mag-asawang Gabino Diaz at
Severa Mendoza sa kanilang anak na si Angel Diaz, kasal
Ang pagkakaloob (donation) na ito, ginawa at pinagtibay
kay Catalina Marcelo; at ang ikalawang parte (1/2) na nasa
dito sa municipio ng Sta. Maria, lalawigan ng Bulacan,
'bandang silangan (East) ay ipinagkakaloob ng mag-
Pilipinas, ngayong ika 20 ng Enero, 1949, ng mag-asawang
asawang Gabino Diaz at Severa Mendoza sa kanilang anak
GABINO DIAZ at SEVERA MENDOZA, filipinos, may mga
na si Andrea Diaz, kasal kay Perfecto Marcelo."
sapat na gulang, naninirahan sa nayon ng Parada, Sta.
Maria, Bulacan na dito'y kinikilalang NAGKALOOB
(DONORS), sa kapakanan nila REGINA FERNANDO, (Note Some dispositions are not reproduced verbatim
filipina, may sapat na gulang, viuda; OLIMPIA DIAZ, but are merely summarized because they are not
filipina, may sapat na gulang, kasal kay Teodorico involved in this case. Paragraph (a) above is the one
Alejandro, ANGEL DIAZ, filipino, may sapat na gulang, involved herein).
kasal kay Catalina Marcelo, at ANDREA DIAZ, filipina, may
sapat na gulang, kasal kay Perfecto Marcelo, mga (b) Lot No. 2485, TCT No.10998, to Regina Fernando
naninirahan sa nayon ng Parada, Sta. Maria, Bulacan, na (daughter- in-law of the donors and widow of their
dito'y kinikilalang PINAGKALOOBAN (DONEES). deceased son, Miguel Diaz) and Olimpia Diaz in equal
shares.
PAGPAPATUNAY:
(c) Lot No. 2377, TCT No. 10840, 1/3 to Angel Diaz,
Na ang Nagkaloob (DONORS) ay siyang mayari, at 1/3 to Andrea Diaz, and 1/3 "ay inilalaan o inihahanda
kamayari at namomosision sa kasalukuyan ng mga ng mag-asawang Gabino Diaz at Severa Mendoza sa
parcelang lupa kasama ang mga kagalingan na nasa lugar kanilang sariling kapakanan o mga gastos nila.
ng Parada, Sta. Maria, Bulacan, mapagkikilala sa paraang
mga sumusunod (description and statements as to (d) Lot No. 2448, TCT No. 10997 to Olimpia Diaz sa
registration are omitted): condicion na pagkakalooban ni Olimpia Diaz si Crisanta
de la Cruz, asawa ni Alejandro - - - - - (sic) sakaling si
1. TCT No. 7336, Lot No. 2502, 5,678 square meters. Crisanta ay mamatay ng halagang isang daang piso
(P100), bilang gastos sa libing."
2. TCT No. 10998, Lot No. 2485, 640 square meters.
(e) Na ang lupang-solar na sinasaysay sa Lote No.
4168 o Titulo No. 2051 (No. 5); lupang-bukid na
3. TCT No. 10840, Lot No. 2377,16,600 square meters.
sinasaysay sa Lote No. 25?2 o Titulo No. 17960 (No. 6);
at lupang-bukid na sinasaysay sa Lote No. 2521 o Titulo
4. TCT No. 10997, Lot No. 2448,12,478 square meters. No. 17961 (No. 7) sa unahan nito ay inilalaan o
inihahanda ng mag-asawang Gabino Diaz at Severa
5. TCT No. 2051, Lot No. 4168, 1,522 square meters. Mendoza sa kanilang sariling kapakanan o mga gastos
nila.
6. TCT No. 17960, Lot No. 2522, 3,418 square meters.
(f) Lot No. 2643, TCT No. 21453, to Regina Fernando
7. TCT No. 17961, Lot No. 2521, 715 square meters. and her children with the deceased Miguel Diaz in whose
name the said Lot was already registered.
8. TCT No. 21453, Lot No. 2634, 8,162 square meters.
Na kaming mga pinagkakalooban (DONEES) na sila
Na dahil at alang-alang sa pagmamahal at masuyong Regina Fernando, Olimpia Diaz, Angel Diaz at Andrea
pagtingin na taglay ng NAGKAKALOOB (DONORS) sa Diaz ay tinatanggap namin ng buong kasiyahang loob
Pinagkakalooban (DONEES) gayun din sa tapat at ang pagkakaloob (Donation.) na ito, at sa pamamagitan
mahalagang paglilingkod noong mga lumipas na panahon nito ay kinikilala, pinahahalagahan, at lubos na
na ginawa ng huli sa una, ang nabanggit na nagkakaloob pinasasalamatan namin ang kagandahang loob at
10

paglingap na ipinakita at ginawa ng nagkakaloob It should be noted that the other one-half share in Lot 2377-
(Donors). A or Lot No. 2377-A-2 was previously adjudicated to Angel
Diaz because he defrayed the funeral expenses on the
AT SA WAKAS, ang pagkakaloob na ito (DONATION), ay occasion of the death of Gabino Diaz.
sumasailalim sa paraang mga sumusunod:
On May 12, 1970 Andrea Diaz sued her brother, Angel Diaz,
1. Ang mga Pinagkakalooban (Donatarios) na sila Regina in the Court of First Instance of Bulacan, Sta. Maria Branch
Fernando, Olimpia Diaz, Angel Diaz, at Andrea Diaz, V for the partition of Lots Nos. 2377-A and 2502 (Civil Case
siyang nakaaalam sa mga gastos sa pagkakasakit at sa No. SM-357). Teodorico Alejandro, the surviving spouse of
libing ng NAGKALOOB (DONANTE); Olimpia Diaz, and their children intervened in the said case.
They claimed one-third of Lot No. 2502. Angel Diaz alleged
in his answer that he had. been occupying his share of Lot
2. Na ang mga Pinagkalooban (DONATARIOS) ay hindi
No. 2502 "for more than twenty years". The intervenors
maaaring makapagbili sa pangatlong tao ng nasabing
claimed that the 1949 donation was a void mortis causa
mga pagaari samantalang ang nagkaloob (Donante) ay
disposition.
buhay Datapwa't kung ang pagbibiling gagawin ay
upang malunasan ang mga gastos at menitencion ng
Nagkaloob (Donante) samakatuwid ang nasabing On March 15, 1971 the lower court rendered a partial
pagbibili ay matuwid; decision with respect to Lot No. 2377-A. The case was
continued with respect to Lot No. 2502 which is item No. 1
or (a) in the 1949 deed of donation. The record does not
3. Gayun din, samantalang kaming mag-asawang
show what happened to the other six lots mentioned in the
Gabino Diaz at Severa Mendoza ay buhay, patuloy ang
deed of donation.
aming pamamahala, karapatan, at pagkamay-ari sa mga
nasabing pagaari na sinasaysay sa unahan nito na pag-
aari namin; ngunit sakaling kami ay bawian ng buhay ng The trial court in its decision of June 30, 1971 held that the
Panginoong Dios at mamatay na ang mga karapatan at said deed of donation was a donation mortis causa because
pagkamay-ari ng bawa't Pinagkalooban (Donatarios) sa the ownership of the properties donated did not pass to the
bawa't pag-aari na nauukol sa bawa't isa ay may lubos donees during the donors' lifetime but was transmitted to the
na kapangyarihan." donees only "upon the death of the donors".

SA KATUNAYAN NG LAHAT, linagdaan namin ang However, it sustained the division of Lot No. 2502 into two
kasulatang ito, dito sa Sta. Maria, Bulacan, ngayon ika equal parts between Angel Diaz and Andrea Diaz on the
20 ng Enero, 1949, sa patibay ng dalawang sacsing theory that the said deed of donation was effective "as an
kaharap. Signature Thumbmark Signature GABINO DIAZ extra-judicial partition among the parents and their children.
SEVERA MENDOZA REGINA FERNANDO Thumbmark Consequently, the Alejandro intervenors were not given any
Signature Signature OLIMPIA DIAZ ANGEL DIAZ share in Lot No. 2502. Angel Diaz and the intervenors were
ANDREA DIAZ ordered to pay Andrea Diaz "attorney's fees of P1,000 each
or a total of P2,000".
(Acknowledgment signed by Notary Celedonio Reyes is
omitted) The Alejandro intervenors filed a motion for reconsideration,
On July 16, 1971 the trial court denied that motion but
eliminated the attorney's fees.
Gabino Diaz died in 1962. On October 20, 1964 Severa
Mendoza and her two children, Andrea Diaz and Angel Diaz,
executed a deed of donation denominated as "Kasulatan ng Andrea Diaz and the Alejandro intervenors filed separate
Pagbibigay na Magkakabisa Pagkamatay (Donation Mortis appeals to this Court under Republic Act No. 5440. Andrea
causa )" over one-half of Lot No. 2377-A, which is a portion Diaz contends that the 1949 deed of donation is a valid
of Lot No. 2377 of the Lolomboy Friar Lands Estate (which in donation inter vivos and that the trial court erred in deleting
turn is item 3 or [c] in the 1949 deed of donation already the award for attorney's fees. The Alejandro intervenors
mentioned). contend that the said donation is mortis causa ; that they are
entitled to a one-third share in Lot No, 2502, and that the
trial court erred in characterizing the deed as a valid
In that deed of donation, Severa Mendoza donated to Andrea
partition. In the ultimate analysis, the appeal involves the
Diaz her one-half share in Lot 2377-A, which one-half share
issue of whether the Alejandro intervenors should be
is Identified as Lot 2377-A-1, on condition that Andrea Diaz
awarded one-third of Lot No. 2502, or 1,892 square meters
would bear the funeral expenses to be incurred after the
thereof, as intestate heirs of the Diaz spouses.
donor's death. She died in 1964.

To resolve that issue, it is necessary to determine whether


the deed of donation is inter vivos or mortis causa. A brief
11

exposition on the nature of donation inter vivos and mortis This Court advised notaries to apprise donors of the
causa may facilitate the resolution of that issue. Many legal necessity of clearly specifying whether, notwithstanding the
battles have been fought on the question of whether a donation, they wish to retain the right to control and dispose
particular deed is an inter vivos or mortis causa donation. at will of the property before their death, without the consent
The copious jurisprudence on that point sheds light on that or intervention of the beneficiary, since the reservation of
vexed question. The Civil Code provides: such right would be a conclusive indication that the transfer'
would be effective only at the donor's death, and, therefore,
ART. 728. Donations which are to take effect upon the the formalities of testaments should be observed; while, a
death of the donor partake of the nature of converso, the express waiver of the right of free disposition
testamentary provisions, and shall be governed by the would place the inter vivos character of the donation beyond
rules established in the Title on Succession. (620). dispute (Cuevas vs. Cuevas, 98 Phil. 68,72).

ART. 729. When the donor intends that the donation From the aforequoted articles 728 to 732, it is evident that it
shall take effect during the lifetime of the donor, is the time of effectivity (aside from the form) which
though the property shall not be delivered till after the distinguishes a donation inter vivos from a donation mortis
donor's death, this shall be a donation inter vivos. The causa . And the effectivity is determined by the time when
fruits of the property from the time of the acceptance the full or naked ownership (dominum plenum or dominium
of the donation, shall pertain to the donee, unless the directum) of the donated properties is transmitted to the
donor provides otherwise. (n) donees. (See Lopez vs. Olbes, 15 Phil. 540; Gonzales and
Fuster Fabra vs. Gonzales Mondragon, 35 Phil. 105). The
execution of a public instrument is a mode of delivery or
ART. 730. The fixing of an event or the imposition of
tradition (Ortiz vs. Court of Appeals, 97 Phil. 46).
a suspensive condition, which may take place beyond
the natural expectation of life of the donor, does not
destroy the nature of the act as a donation inter vivos If the donation is made in contemplation of the donor's
unless a contrary intention appears. (n) death, meaning that the full or naked ownership of the
donated properties will pass to the donee only because of
the donor's death, then it is at that time that the donation
ART. 731. When a person donates something subject
takes effect, and it is a donation mortis causa which should
to the resolutory condition of the donor's survival,
be embodied in a last will and testament (Bonsato vs. Court
there is a donation inter vivos. (n)
of Appeals, 95 Phil. 481).

ART. 732. Donations which are to take effect inter


But if the donation takes effect during the donor's lifetime or
vivos shall be governed by the general provisions on
independently of the donor's death, meaning that the full or
contracts and obligations in all that is not determined
naked ownership (nuda proprietas) ) of the donated
in this Title. (621)."
properties passes to the donee during the donor's lifetime,
not by reason of his death but because of the deed of
Nature of donations inter vivos and mortis causa transfers. donation, then the donation is inter vivos (Castro vs. Court
Before tackling the issues raised in this appeal, it is of Appeals, L-20122, April 28, 1969, 27 SCRA 1076).
necessary to have some familiarization with the distinctions
between donations inter vivos and mortis causa because the
The effectivity of the donation should be ascertained from
Code prescribes different formalities for the two kinds of
the deed of donation and the circumstances surrounding its
donations. An utter vivos donation of real property must be
execution. Where, for example, it is apparent from the
evidenced by a public document and should be accepted by
document of trust that the donee's acquisition of the
the donee in the same deed of donation or in a separate
property or right accrued immediately upon the effectivity of
instrument. In the latter case, the donor should be notified
the instrument and not upon the donor's death, the donation
of the acceptance in an authentic form and that step should
is inter vivos (Kiene vs. Collector of Internal Revenue, 97 Phil.
be noted in both instruments. (Art. 749, Civil Code. As to
352).
inter vivos donation of personal property, see art. 748).

There used to be a prevailing notion, spawned by a study of


On the other hand, a transfer mortis causa should be
Roman Law, that the Civil Code recognizes a donation mortis
embodied in a last will and testament (Art. 728, supra). It
as a juridical act in contraposition to a donation inter vivos.
should not be called donation mortis causa . It is in reality a
That impression persisted because the implications of article
legacy (5 Manresa, Codigo Civil, 6th Ed., p. 107). If not
620 of the Spanish Civil Code, now article 728, that "las
embodied in a valid will, the donation is void (Narag vs.
donaciones que hayan de producir sus efectos pro muerte
Cecilio, 109 Phil. 299; Aznar vs. Sucilla 102 Phil. 902; Tuazon
del donante participan de la naturaleza de las disposiciones
vs. Posadas, 54 Phil. 289; Serrano vs. Solomon, 105 Phil.
de ultima voluntad, y se regiran por las reglas establecidas
998, 1002).
en el capitulo de la sucesion testamentaria" had not been
12

fully expounded in the law schools. Notaries assumed that proprietas) (Vidal vs. Posadas, 58 Phil. 108; De Guzman vs.
the donation mortis causa of the Roman Law was Ibea, 67 Phil. 633; (2) the transfer is revocable before the
incorporated into the Civil Code. transferor's death and revocabllity may be provided for
indirectly by means of a reserved power in the donor to
As explained by Justice J. B. L. Reyes in the Bonsato case, dispose of the properties conveyed (Bautista vs. Sabiniano,
supra, article 620 broke away from the Roman Law tradition 92 Phil. 244), and (3) the transfer would be void if the
and followed the French doctrine that no one may both transferor survived the transferee.
donate and retain. Article 620 merged donations mortis
causa with testamentary dispositions and thus suppressed In other words, in a donation mortis causa it is the donor's
the said donations as an independent legal concept. Castan death that determines that acquisition of, or the right to, the
Tobenas says: property donated, and the donation is revocable at the
donor's will, Where the donation took effect immediately
(b) Subsisten hoy en nuestro Derecho las donaciones upon the donee's acceptance thereof and it was subject to
mortis causa ? De lo que acabamos de decir se the resolutory condition that the donation would be revoked
desprende que las donaciones mortis causa han perdido if the donee did not give the donor a certain quantity of rice
en el Codigo civil su caracter distintivo y su naturaleza, or a sum of money, the donation is inter vivos (Zapanta vs.
y hay que considerarlas hoy como una institucion Posadas, Jr., 52 Phil. 557).
suspirimida, refundida en la del legado. ...
Justice Reyes in the subsequent cast of Puig vs. Penaflorida,
La tesis de la desaparicion de las donaciones mortis L-15939, November 29, 1965, 15 SCRA 276, synthesized the
causa en nuestro Codigo Civil, acusada ya rules as follows:
precedentemente por el projecto de 1851, puede decirse
que constituye una communis opinio entre nuestros 1. That the Civil Code recognizes only gratuitous transfers
expositores, incluso los mas recientes. ... of property which are effected by means of donations inter
vivos or by last will and testament executed with the
Garcia Goyena, comentando dicho proyecto, decia que requisite legal formalities.
la Comision se habia adherido al acuerdo de suprimir las
donaciones mortis causa , seguido por casi todos los 2. That in inter vivos donations the act is immediately
Codigos modernos. Las donaciones mortis causa operative even if the material or physical deliver (execution)
a;adia-eran una especie de montsruo entre los of the property may be deferred until the donor's death,
contratos y ultimas voluntades; las algarabia del whereas, in a testamentary disposition, nothing is conveyed
Derecho romano y patrio sobre los puntos de to the grantee and nothing is acquired by him until the
semenjanza y disparidad de estas donaciones con los death of the grantortestator. The disposition is ambulatory
pactos y legados no podia producir sino dudas, and not final.
confusion y pleitos en los rarisimos casos que ocurriesen
por la dificuldad de apreciar y fijar sus verdaderos 3. That in a mortis causa disposition the conveyance or
caracteres' "(4 Derecho Civil Espanol, Comun y Foral, 8th alienation should be (expressly or by necessary implication)
Ed., 1956, pp. 182-3). revocable ad nutum or at the discretion of the grantor or so
called donor if he changes his mind (Bautista vs. Saniniano,
Manresa is more explicit. He says that "la disposicion del 92 Phil. 244).
articulo 620 significa, por lo tanto: (1) que han desaperacido
las llamadas antes donaciones mortis causa , por lo que el 4. That, consequently, the specification in the deed of the
Codigo no se ocupa de ellas en absoluto; (2) que toda cases whereby the act may be revoked by the donor
disposicion de bienes para despues de la muerte sigue las indicates that the donation is inter vivos and not a mortis
reglas establecidas para la sucesion testamentaria" (5 causa disposition (Zapanta vs. Posadas, 52 Phil. 557).
Comentarios al Codigo Civil Espanol, 6th Ed., p.107). Note
that the Civil Code does not use the term donation mortis
5. That the designation of the donation as mortis causa , or
causa . ( Section 1536 of the Revised Administrative Code in
a provision in the deed to the effect the donation "is to take
imposing the inheritance tax uses the term "gift mortis causa
effect at the death of the donor", is not a controlling
").lwphl@it
criterion because those statements are to be construed
together with the rest of the instrument in order to give
What are the distinguishing characteristics of a donation effect to the real intent of the transferor (Laureta vs. Mata
mortis causa? Justice Reyes in the Bonsato case says that in and Mango, 44 Phil. 668; Concepcion vs. Concepcion, 91
a disposition post mortem (1) the transfer conveys no title Phil. 823; Cuevas vs. Cuevas, 98 Phil. 68).
or ownership to the transferee before the death of the
tansferor, or the transferor (meaning testator) retains the
6. That a conveyance for an onerous
ownership, full or naked (domino absoluto or nuda
consideration is governed by the rules of
13

contracts and not by those of donations or from the donor's death, the grant was made in the future
testaments (Carlos vs. Ramil, 20 Phil. 183; tense, and the word "inherit" was used (Carino vs. Abaya, 70
Manalo vs. De Mesa, 29 Phil. 495). Phil. 182).

7. That in case of doubt the conveyance (c) Where the donor has the right to dispose of all the
should be deemed a donation inter vivos donated properties and the products thereof. Such
rather than mortis causa , in order to avoid reservation is tantamount to a reservation of the right to
uncertainty as to the ownership of the revoke the donation (Bautista vs. Sabiniano 92 Phil. 244).
property subject of the deed.
(d) Where the circumstances surrounding the execution of
It may be added that the fact that the donation is given in the deed of donation reveal that the donation could not have
consideration of love and affection or past or future services taken effect before the donor's death and the rights to
is not a characteristic of donations inter vivos because dispose of the donated properties and to enjoy the fruits
transfers mortis causa may be made also for those reasons. remained with the donor during her lifetime (David vs. Sison,
There is difficulty in applying the distinctions to controversial 76 Phil. 418).
cases because it is not easy sometimes to ascertain when
the donation takes effect or when the full or naked title But if the deed of donation makes an actual conveyance of
passes to the transferee. As Manresa observes, "when the the property to the donee, subject to a life estate in the
time fixed for the commencement of the enjoyment of the donors, the donation is is inter vivos (Guarin vs. De Vera,
property donated be at the death of the donor, or when the 100 Phil. 1100).
suspensive condition is related to his death, confusion might
arise" (5 Codigo Civil, 6th Ed., p. 108).
Articles 729, 730 and 731 have to some extent dissipated the
confusion surrounding the two kinds of donation. The rule in
The existence in the deed of donation of conflicting article 729 is a crystallization of the doctrine announced in
stipulations as to its effectivity may generate doubt as to the decided cases.
donor's intention and as to the nature of the donation
(Concepcion vs. Concepcion, 91 Phil. 823).
A clear instance where the donor made an inter vivos
donation is found in De Guzman vs. Ibea 67 Phil. 633. In that
Where the donor declared in the deed that the conveyance case, it was provided in the deed that the donor donated to
was mortis causa and forbade the registration of the deed the donee certain properties so that the donee "may hold the
before her death, the clear inference is that the conveyance same as her own and always" and that the donee would
was not intended to produce any definitive effect nor to pass administer the lands donated and deliver the fruits thereof
any interest to the grantee except after her death. In such a to the donor, as long as the donor was alive, but upon the
case, the grantor's reservation of the right to dispose of the donor's death the said fruits would belong to the donee. It
property during her lifetime means that the transfer is not was held that the naked ownership was conveyed to the
binding on her until she dies. It does not mean that the title donee upon the execution of the deed of donation and,
passed to the grantee during her lifetime. (Ubalde Puig vs. therefore, the donation became effective during the donor's
Magbanua Penaflorida, L-15939, Resolution of January 31, lifetime.
1966, 16 SCRA 136).
In Sambaan vs. Villanueva, 71 Phil. 303, the deed of
In the following cases, the conveyance was considered a void donation, as in Balaqui vs. Dongso, 53 Phil. 673, contained
mortis causa transfer because it was not cast in the form of conflicting provision. It was provided in the deed that the
a last will and testament as required in article 728, formerly donation was made "en consideracion al afecto y carino" of
article 620: the donor for the donee but that the donation "surtira efectos
despues de ocurrida mi muerte (donor's death).
(a) Where it was stated in the deed of donation that the
donor wanted to give the donee something "to take effect That donation was held to be inter vivos because death was
after his death" and that "this donation shall produce effect not the consideration for the donation but rather the donor's
only by and because of the death of the donor, the property love and affection for the donee. The stipulation that the
herein donated to pass title after the donor's death" (Howard properties would be delivered only after the donor's death
vs. Padilla, 96 Phil. 983). In the Padilla case the donation was was regarded as a mere modality of the contract which did
regarded as mortis causa although the donated property was not change its inter vivos character. The donor had stated in
delivered to the donee upon the execution of the deed and the deed that he was donating, ceding and transferring the
although the donation was accepted in the same deed. donated properties to the donee. (See Joya vs. Tiongco, 71
Phil. 379).
(b) Where it was provided that the donated properties would
be given to the donees after the expiration of thirty days
14

In Laureta vs. Mata and Magno, 44 Phil. 668 the deed of enjoyment, of the fruits of the properties donated' should
donation provided that the donor was donating mortis causa take effect only after the donor's death and not before".
certain properties as a reward for the donee's services to the
donor and as a token of the donor's affection for him. The Resolution of the instant case. The donation in the instant
donation was made under the condition that "the donee case is inter vivos because it took effect during the lifetime
cannot take possession of the properties donated before the of the donors. It was already effective during the donors'
death of the donor"; that the ' donee should cause to be held lifetime, or immediately after the execution of the deed, as
annually masses for the repose of the donor's soul, and that shown by the granting, habendum and warranty clause of
he should defray the expenses for the donor's funeral. the deed (quoted below).

It was held that the said donation was inter vivos despite the In that clause it is stated that, in consideration of the
statement in the deed that it was mortis causa . The donation affection and esteem of the donors for the donees and the
was construed as a conveyance in praesenti ("a present valuable services rendered by the donees to the donors, the
grant of a future interest") because it conveyed to the donee latter, by means of the deed of donation, wholeheartedly
the title to the properties donated "subject only to the life transfer and unconditionally give to the donees the lots
estate of the donor" and because the conveyance took effect mentioned and described in the early part of the deed, free
upon the making and delivery of the deed. The acceptance from any kind of liens and debts:
of the donation was a circumstance which was taken into
account in characterizing the donation as inter vivos.
Na dahil at alang-alang sa pagmamahal at masuyong
pagtingin na taglay ng NAGKAKALOOB (DONORS) sa
In Balacui vs. Dongso, supra, the deed of donation involved Pinagkakalooban (DONEES) gayun din sa tapat at
was more confusing than that found in the Laureta case. In mahalagang paglilingkod noong mga lumipas na
the Balaqui case, it was provided in the deed that the panahon na ginawa ng huli sa una ang nabanggit na
donation was made in consideration of the services rendered nagkakaloob sa pamagitan ng kasulatang ito ng
to the donor by the donee; that "title" to the donated pagkakaloob (Donation) ay buong pusong inililipat at
properties would not pass to the donee during the donor's lubos na ibinibigay sa nasabing pinagkakalooban ang
lifetime, and that it would be only upon the donor's death lupang binabanggit at makikilala sa unahan nito, laya sa
that the donee would become the "true owner" of the ano mang sagutin at pagkakautang, katulad nito:
donated properties. However, there was the stipulation that
the donor bound herself to answer to the donee for the
Following the above-ousted granting, habendum and
property donated and that she warranted that nobody would
warranty clause is the donors' declaration that they donate
disturb or question the donee's right.
(ipinagkakaloob) Lot No. 2502, the property in litigation, in
equal shares to their children Angel Diaz and Andrea Diaz,
Notwithstanding the provision in the deed that it was only the western part to Angel and the eastern part to Andrea.
after the donor's death when the 'title' to the donated
properties would pass to the donee and when the donee
The acceptance clause is another indication that the
would become the owner thereof, it was held in the Balaqui
donation is inter vivos. Donations mortis causa , being in the
case that the donation was inter vivos.
form of a will, are never accepted by the donees during the
donors' lifetime. Acceptance is a requirement for donations
It was noted in that case that the donor, in making a inter vivos.
warranty, implied that the title had already been conveyed
to the donee upon the execution of the deed and that the
In the acceptance clause herein, the donees declare that
donor merely reserved to herself the "possesion and
they accept the donation to their entire satisfaction and, by
usufruct" of the donated properties.
means of the deed, they acknowledge and give importance
to the generosity and solicitude shown by the donors and
In Concepcion vs. Concepcion, 91 Phil. 823, it was provided sincerely thank them.
in the deed of donation, which was also styled as mortis
causa , that the donation was made in consideration of the
In the reddendum or reservation clause of the deed of
services rendered by the donee to the donor and of the
donation, it is stipulated that the donees would shoulder the
donor's affection for the donee; that the donor had reserved
expenses for the illness and the funeral of the donors and
what was necessary for his maintenance, and that the
that the donees cannot sell to a third person the donated
donation "ha de producir efectos solamente por muerte de
properties during the donors' lifetime but if the sale is
la donante".
necessary to defray the expenses and support of the donors,
then the sale is valid.
It was ruled that the donation was inter vivos because the
stipulation that the donation would take effect only after the
The limited right to dispose of the donated lots, which the
donor's death "simply meant that the possession and
deed gives to the donees, implies that ownership had passed
15

to them by means of' the donation and that, therefore, the donation, as shown in the habendum clause, was already
donation was already effective during the donors' lifetime. effective during their lifetime and was not made in
That is a characteristic of a donation inter vivos. contemplation of their death because the deed transferred
to the donees the naked ownership of the donated
However, paragraph 3 of the reddendum in or reservation properties.
clause provides that "also, while we, the spouses Gabino Diaz
and Severa Mendoza, are alive, our administration, right, and That conclusion is further supported by the fact that in the
ownership of the lots mentioned earlier as our properties deed of donation, out of the eight lots owned by the donors,
shall continue but, upon our death, the right and ownership only five were donated. Three lots, Lots Nos. 4168, 2522 and
of the donees to each of the properties allocated to each of 2521 were superflously reserved for the spouses or donors
them shall be fully effective." The foregoing is the translation in addition to one- third of Lot No. 2377. If the deed of
of the last paragraph of the deed of donation which reads: donation in question was intended to be a mortis causa
disposition, then all the eight lots would have been donated
(3) Gayun din samantalang kaming mag- or devised to the three children and daughter-in-law of the
asawang Gabino Diaz at Severa Mendoza donors.
ay buhay, patuloy and aming pamamahala,
karapatan, at pagkamayari sa mga The trial court's conclusion that the said deed of donation,
nasabing pagaari na sinasaysay sa unahan although void as a donation inter vivos is valid "as an
nito na pagaari namin; ngunit sakaling kami extrajudicial partition among the parents and their children"
ay bawian ng buhay ng Panginoong Dios at is not well-taken. Article 1080 of the Civil Code provides that
mamatay na, ang mga karapatan at 46 should a person make a partition of his estate by an act
pagkamayari ng bawa't pinagkalooban inter vivos or by will, such partition shall be respected,
(Donatorios) sa bawa't pagaari nauukol sa insofar as it does not prejudice the legitime of the
bawa't isa ay may lubos na kapangyarihan. compulsory heirs."

Evidently, the draftsman of the deed did not realize the We have already observed that the said donation was not a
discordant and ambivalent provisions thereof. The partition of the entire estate of the Diaz spouses since,
habendum clause indicates the transfer of the ownership actually, only five of the eight lots, constituting their estate,
over the donated properties to the donees upon the were partitioned. Hence, that partition is not the one
execution of the deed. But the reddendum clause seems to contemplated in article 1080.
imply that the ownership was retained by the donors and
would be transferred to the donees only after their death. There is another circumstance which strengthens ' the view
that the 1949 deed of donation in question took effect during
We have reflected on the meaning of the said contradictory the donors' lifetime. It may he noted that in that deed Lot
clauses. All the provisions of the deed, like those of a statute No. 2377 (items 3 and [c]) was divided into three equal
and testament, should be construed together in order to parts: one-third was donated to Andrea Diaz and one-third
ascertain the intention of the parties. That task would have to Angel Diaz. The remaining one-third was reserved and
been rendered easier if the record shows the conduct of the retained by the donors, the spouses Gabino Diaz and Severo
donors and the donees after the execution of the deed of Mendoza, for their support. That reserved one-third portion
donation. came to be known as Lot No. 2377-A.

But the record is silent on that point, except for the allegation In 1964 or after the death of Gabino Diaz, his surviving
of Angel Diaz in his answer (already mentioned) that he spouse Severa Mendoza executed a donation mortis causa
received his share of the disputed lot long before the donors' wherein she conveyed to her daughter, Andrea Diaz
death and that he had been "openly and adversely (plaintiff-appellant herein), her one-half share in Lot No.
occupying" his share "for more than twenty years". (Andrea 2377-A, which one-half share is known as Lot No. 2377-A-1,
Diaz on page 17 of her brief in L-33849 states that the the other half or Lot No. 2377-A-2 having been already
donees took possession of their respective shares as conveyed to Angel Diaz.
stipulated in the deed of donation. Pages 3,4,18 and 19, tsn
March, 1971). That disposition of Lot No. 2377-A-2 clearly implies that the
conveyance in the 1949 deed of donation as to Lot No. 2377
Our conclusion is that the aforequoted paragraph 3 of the took effect during the lifetime of the donors, Gabino Diaz and
reddendum or reservation clause refers to the beneficial Severa Mendoza, and proves that the 1949 donation was
ownership (dominium utile) and not to the naked title and inter vivos.
that what the donors reserved to themselves, by means of
that clause, was the management of the donated lots and The instant case has a close similarity to the pre-war cases
the fruits thereof. But, notwithstanding that reservation, the already cited and to three post-liberation cases. In the
16

Bonsato case, the deed of donation also contained was repeated in another clause of the deed "que lacesion y
contradictory dispositions which rendered the deed transferencia aqui provista surtira efecto al fallecer la
susceptible of being construed as a donation inter vivos or Donante".
as a donation causa.
It was further stipulated that the donee would defray the
It was stated in one part of the deed that the donor was medical and funeral expen of the donor unless the donor had
executing "una donacion perfects e irrevocable consumada" funds in the bank or "haya cosecho levantada or recogida en
in favor of the donee in consideration of his past services to cual caso dichos recursos responderan portales gastos a
the donor; that at the time of the execution of the deed, the disposicion y direccion de la donataria". Another provision of
donor "ha entregado" to the donee "dichos terrenos the deed was that it would be registered only after the
donados'; that while the donor was alive, he would receive donor's death. In the same deed the donee accepted the
the share of the fruits corresponding to the owner; and "que donation.
en vista de la vejez del donante, el donatario Felipe Bonsato
tomara posesion inmediatamente de dichos terrenos a su In the Puig case the donor in another deed entitled Escritura
favor". These provisions indicate that the donation in de Donacion mortis causa " dated December 28, 1949
question was inter vivos donated to the same donee, Estela Magbanua Penaflorida
three parcels of land en concepto de una donacion mortis
However, in the last clause of the deed in the Bonsato case causa " in consideration of past services. It was provided in
(as in the instant case), it was provided 'que despues de la the deed "que antes de su nuerte la donante, podra enajenar
muerte del donante entrara en vigor dicha donacion y el vender traspasar o hipotecar a cualesquiera persona o
donatario Felipe Bonsato tendra todos log derechos de entidades los bienes aqui donados a favor de la donataria en
dichos terrernos en concepto de dueno absolute de la concepto de una donacion mortis causa ". The donee
propriedad libre de toda responsabilidad y gravemen y pueda accepted the donation in the same deed.
ejercitar su derecho que crea conveniente". These provisions
would seem to show that the donation was mortis causa . After the donor's death both deeds were recorded in the
registry of deeds. In the donor's will dated March 26, 1951,
Nevertheless, it was held in the Bonsato case that the which was duly probated, the donation of a parcel of land in
donation was inter vivos because (1) the ownership of the the second deed of donation was confirmed.
things donated passed to the donee; (2) it was not provided
that the transfer was revocable before the donor's death, Under these facts, it was held that the 1948 deed of donation
and (3) it was not stated that the transfer would be void if mortis causa was inter vivos in character in spite of repeated
the transferor should survive the transferee. expressions therein that it was a mortis causa donation and
that it would take effect only upon the donor's death. Those
It was further held in the Bonsato case that the stipulation expressions were not regarded as controlling because they
"que despues de la muerte del donante entrara en vigor were contradicted by the provisions that the donee would
dicha donacion", should be interpreted together with the defray the donor's expenses even if not connected with her
prior provision regarding its irrevocable and consummated illness and that the donee's husband would assume her
character, and that would mean that the charge or condition obligations under the deed, should the donee predecease the
as to the donor's share of the fruits would be terminated donor. Moreover, the donor did not reserve in the deed the
upon the donor's death. absolute right to revoke the donation.

The Puig case, supra, is even more doubtful and But the 1949 deed of donation was declared void because it
controversial than the instant case. In the Puig case, the was a true conveyance mortis causa which was not
donor, Carmen Ubalde Vda. de Parcon, in a deed entitled embodied in a last will and testament. The mortis causa
"Donacion Mortis causa dated November 24, 1948 cede y character of the disposition is shown by the donor's
transfiere en concepto de donacion mortis causa to the reservation of the right to alienate or encumber the donated
donee, Estela Magbanua Penaflorida three parcels of land in properties to any person or entity.
consideration of the donee's past services and the donor's
love and affection for the latter. In the Cuevas case, supra, one Antonina Cuevas executed
on September 18, 1950 a notarial conveyance styled as
It was stipulated in the deed that the donor could alienate or "Donacion Mortis causa " where she ceded to her nephew
mortgage the donated properties "cuando y si necesita Crispulo Cuevas a parcel of unregistered land. Crispulo
fondos para satisfacer sus proprias necesidades sin que para accepted the donation in the same instrument.
ello tega que intervener la Donataria, pues su Subsequently, or on May 26, 1952, the donor revoked the
consentimiento se sobre entiende aqui parte de que la donation.
donacion que aqui se hace es mortis causa , es decir que la
donacion surtira sus efectos a la muerte de la donante". It
17

The deed of donation in the Cuevas case contained the The decision is affirmed insofar as it does not require the
following provisions which, as in similar cases, are Alejandro intervenors to pay attorney's fees to Andrea Diaz.
susceptible of being construed as making the conveyance an No costs. SO ORDERED.
inter vivos or a mortis causa transfer:
Fernando (Chairman), Barredo, Concepcion, Jr. and Santos,
"Dapat maalaman ni Crispulo Cuevas na samantalang ako ay JJ., concur.
nabubuhay, ang lupa na ipinagkakaloob ko sa kaniya ay ako
pa rin ang patuloy na mamomosecion, makapagpapatrabajo, ALEJANDRO V. GERALDEZ- Donation Mortis Causa
makikinabang at ang iba pang karapatan sa pagmamayari ay
sa akin pa rin hanggang hindi ako binabawian ng buhay ng
Maykapal at ito naman ay hindi ko nga iyaalis pagkat kung
ako ay mamatay na ay inilalaan ko sa kaniya."
All provisions of a deed of donation should be construed
together in case of conflicting statements in order to
Translation
determine whether it is inter vivos or mortis causa.

"Crispulo Cuevas should know that while I am alive, the land


which I donated to him will still be under my continued
possession; I will be the one to have it cultivated; I will enjoy
its fruits and all the other rights of ownership until Providence FACTS:
deprives me of life and I cannot take away the property from
him because when I die I reserve the property for him." (sic) Sps. Gavino Diaz and Severa Mendoza executed a Deed of
Donation in favor of their children, Olimpia, Angel and
It was held that the donation was inter vivos because the Andrea Diaz. In the deed of donation, the Sps. Donated 8
phrase "hindi ko nga iyaalis (I will not take away the lots, with reservations on certain lots, to their children and
property") meant that the donor expressly renounced the daughters-in-law and with conditions that they are not
right to freely dispose of the property in favor of another allowed to alienate the same to 3rd persons while the couple
person and thereby manifested the irrevocability of the are still alive and that they shall continue to administer the
conveyance of the naked title to the donee. The donor same until their death. The donees manifested their
retained the beneficial ownership or dominium utile Being an acceptance in the same deed of donation. When Gavino died,
inter vivos donation, it could be revoked by the donor only Severa executed a deed of donation in favor of Angel and
on the grounds specified by law. No such grounds existed. Andrea, giving the siblings each a portion of Lot 2377-A.
The donee was not guilty of ingratitude. The other point to When Severa died, Andrea sued Angel to have the lots 2377-
be disposed of is the matter of the claim for attorney's fees A and 2502 partitioned. Teodorico Alejandro, the surviving
of Andrea Diaz against the Alejandro intervenors. spouse of Olimpia, moved to intervene claiming 1/3 portion
of Lot 2502.
The other point to be disposed of is the matter of the claim
for attorney's fees of Andrea Diaz against the Alejandro
intervenors. The CFI ruled that the donation was a donation mortis causa
because the ownership of the properties donated did not
pass to the donees during the donors lifetime but was
After a careful consideration of the facts and circumstances
transmitted to the donees only upon the death of the
of the case, particularly the apparent good faith of the
donors. It, however, sustained the partition of Lot 2502
Alejandro intervenors in asserting a one-third interest in the
since it was an extrajudicial partition. Both parties appealed
disputed lot and their close relationship to Andrea Diaz, we
to the SC, Andrea contending that it is a donation inter vivos
find that it is not proper to require them to pay attorney's
while Alejandro contending it to be mortis causa.
fees (Salao vs. Salao, L-26699, March 16, 1976, 70 SCRA
65). (Andrea Diaz did not implead Angel Diaz as a respondent
in her petition for review.)

WHEREFORE, the trial court's amended decision is reversed ISSUE: Whether or not the donation is a donation
insofar as it pronounces that the deed of donation is void. inter vivos or mortis causa
That donation is declared valid as a donation inter vivos.

The disputed lot should be partitioned in accordance with


that deed between Andrea Diaz and Angel Diaz. RULING: Donation inter vivos
18

The donation is a donation inter vivos because it took effect


during the lifetime of the donors as provided in Art. 729. It
was stipulated in the deed that out of love and affection by
the donors to the donees, the latter are donating
wholeheartedly and unconditionally free from any kind of lien
and debt. Likewise, it was accepted by the donees which is
a requirement for donations inter vivos. Donations mortis
causa are never accepted during the donors lifetime.

The reservation clause which provides that the donees


cannot sell the lots to 3rd persons while the couple is still
alive implies that the ownership already passed.

Although there was a stipulation where the couple reserved


to themselves the administration, ownership and rights over
the properties mentioned, this should not be construed as to
mean that ownership will pass only after their death. This
refers to the beneficial ownership and not the naked title and
what the donors reserved to themselves by means of that
clause was the management of the donated lots and the
fruits thereof.