“The trial and appellate courts both focused on the property relations of petitioner and respondent in light of the Civil Code and Family Code provisions. They, however, failed to observe the applicable constitutional principles, which, in fact, are the more decisive.
Section 7, Article XII of the 1987 Constitution states:
Section 7. Save in cases of hereditary succession, no private lands shall be transferred or conveyed except to individuals, corporations, or associations qualified to acquire or hold lands of the public domain.
Aliens, whether individuals or corporations, have been disqualified from acquiring lands of the public domain. Hence, by virtue of the aforecited constitutional provision, they are also disqualified from acquiring private lands. The primary purpose of this constitutional provision is the conservation of the national patrimony. Our fundamental law cannot be any clearer. The right to acquire lands of the public domain is reserved only to Filipino citizens or corporations at least sixty percent of the capital of which is owned by Filipinos.”
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“In light of the foregoing jurisprudence, we find and so hold that Benjamin has no right to nullify the Agreement of Lease between Joselyn and petitioner. Benjamin, being an alien, is absolutely prohibited from acquiring private and public lands in the Philippines. Considering that Joselyn appeared to be the designated “vendee” in the Deed of Sale of said property, she acquired sole ownership thereto. This is true even if we sustain Benjamin’s claim that he provided the funds for such acquisition. By entering into such contract knowing that it was illegal, no implied trust was created in his favor; no reimbursement for his expenses can be allowed; and no declaration can be made that the subject property was part of the conjugal/community property of the spouses. In any event, he had and has no capacity or personality to question the subsequent lease of the Boracay property by his wife on the theory that in so doing, he was merely exercising the prerogative of a husband in respect of conjugal property. To sustain such a theory would countenance indirect controversion of the constitutional prohibition. If the property were to be declared conjugal, this would accord the alien husband a substantial interest and right over the land, as he would then have a decisive vote as to its transfer or disposition. This is a right that the Constitution does not permit him to have.”