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Ching v Goyanko

G.R. No. 165879 - November 10, 2006


Justice Carpio-Morales
Petitioner: Maria B. Ching
Respondents: Joseph (Jr.), Evelyn, Jerry, Imelda, Julius, Mary Ellen, &
Jess Goyanko (7 children of Joseph Goyanko Sr. and Epifania dela Cruz)

FACTS
In 1961, respondents’ parents acquired a 661 sq. m. property in Cebu City. It was first
registered in the name of the respondents’ aunt, and then transferred to their father, Joseph
Goyanko Sr. He then executed a deed of sale in favor of his common-law wife, the petitioner.
Respondents only knew of the sale upon their father’s death, and when they had the document
verified by the PNP Crime Laboratory, they found out that the signature was merely forged.
Thus, they filed a complaint for recovery and damages against petitioner.
In her defense, petitioner claimed that she is the actual owner because she provided for
the actual price. She also claimed that the signature was not forged and presented the notary
public who was present when Goyanko signed.
RTC of Cebu dismissed the respondents’ complaint and stated that there was no valid
and sufficient ground to declare the Sale null and void. CA reversed RTC’s ruling stating that the
property is the conjugal property of respondents’ parents. Hence this petition.

ISSUES/HELD/RATIO

1. W/N the property was part of the conjugal property of Joseph Goyanko Sr. and Epifania dela
Cruz – YES.
- The subject property was part of the conjugal property of the spouses since it was
acquired during the existence of a valid marriage between them.
- Also, there was no decree of dissolution of marriage nor dissolution of their conjugal
partnership.

2. W/N the Deed of Absolute Sale in favor of petitioner is void and inexistent – YES.
- Court held that the contract of sale was null & void for being contrary to morals and
public policy (Art. 1352 & 1409), as the sale was made by a husband in favor of a
concubine.
- Also, even if they are claimed to be in a common-law relationship, the sale of the
property to the petitioner also falls under the prohibition of 1490 (which applies to
common-law relationships).
o To rule otherwise would mean that, “the condition of those who incurred guilt
would turn out to be better than those in legal union.”

JUDGMENT
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED for lack of merit. Costs against petitioner.
NOTES:
(important provisions)

ART. 1352. Contracts without cause, or with unlawful cause, produce no effect whatever. The
cause is unlawful if it is contrary to law, morals, good customs, public order or public policy.

ART. 1409. The following contracts are inexistent and void from the beginning:
(1) Those whose cause, object or purpose is contrary to law, morals, good customs, public order
or public policy;
(2) Those which are absolutely simulated or fictitious;
(3) Those whose cause or object did not exist at the time of the transaction;
(4) Those whose object is outside the commerce of men;
(5) Those which contemplate an impossible service;
(6) Those where the intention of the parties relative to the principal object of the contract
cannot be ascertained;
(7) Those expressly prohibited or declared void by law.
These contracts cannot be ratified. Neither can the right to set up the defense of illegality be
waived.

ARTICLE 1490. The husband and wife cannot sell property to each other, except:
(1) When a separation of property was agreed upon in the marriage settlements; or
(2) When there has been a judicial separation of property under Article 191.