THOMAS C. CHEESMAN vs. INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT and ESTELITA PADILLA, G.R. No. 74833, January 21, 1991
“x x x.
Finally, the fundamental law prohibits the sale to aliens of residential land. Section 14, Article XIV of the 1973 Constitution ordains that, "Save in cases of hereditary succession, no private land shall be transferred or conveyed except to individuals, corporations, or associations qualified to acquire or hold lands of the public domain." 30Petitioner Thomas Cheesman was, of course, charged with knowledge of this prohibition. Thus, assuming that it was his intention that the lot in question be purchased by him and his wife, he acquired no right whatever over the property by virtue of that purchase; and in attempting to acquire a right or interest in land, vicariously and clandestinely, he knowingly violated the Constitution; the sale as to him was null and void. 31 In any event, he had and has no capacity or personality to question the subsequent sale of the same property by his wife on the theory that in so doing he is merely exercising the prerogative of a husband in respect of conjugal property. To sustain such a theory would permit indirect controversion of the constitutional prohibition. If the property were to be declared conjugal, this would accord to the alien husband a not insubstantial interest and right over 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.
As already observed, the finding that his wife had used her own money to purchase the property cannot, and will not, at this stage of the proceedings be reviewed and overturned. But even if it were a fact that said wife had used conjugal funds to make the acquisition, the considerations just set out militate, on high constitutional grounds, against his recovering and holding the property so acquired or any part thereof. And whether in such an event, he may recover from his wife any share of the money used for the purchase or charge her with unauthorized disposition or expenditure of conjugal funds is not now inquired into; that would be, in the premises, a purely academic exercise. An equally decisive consideration is that Estelita Padilla is a purchaser in good faith, both the Trial Court and the Appellate Court having found that Cheesman's own conduct had led her to believe the property to be exclusive property of the latter's wife, freely disposable by her without his consent or intervention. An innocent buyer for value, she is entitled to the protection of the law in her purchase, particularly as against Cheesman, who would assert rights to the property denied him by both letter and spirit of the Constitution itself.
X x x.”
23 Ramos, et al. vs. Pepsi-Cola Bottling Co. of the P.I., et al., 19 SCRA 289, 292, citing II Bouvier's Law Dictionary, 2784, and II Martin, Rules of Court, 255; See also, Francisco, The Rules of Court, Annotated and Commented, 1968, ed., Vol. III, pp. 485- 488.
24 SEE Lim v. Calaguas, 83 Phil. 796, 799, and Mackay Radio & Tel. Co. v. Rich, 28 SCRA 699, 705, cited in Moran, Comments on the Rules, 1979 ed., p. 474.
25 Sec. 2, Rule 45, Rules of Court; Villanueva v. IAC, G.R. No. 67582, Oct. 29, 1987; Andres v. Manufacturers Hanover & Trust Corp., G.R. No. 82670, Sept. 15, 1989.
26 See Moran, Comments on the Rules, 1979 ed., Vol. 2, 472-473, citing Evangelista & Co. v. Abad Santos, June 28, 1973, 51 SCRA 416, 419; See, too, Francisco, op. cit., p. 489; Korean Airlines, Ltd. v. C.A., G.R. No. 61418, Sept. 24, 1987.
27 Moran, op. cit., p. 473, citing Sta. Ana v. Hernandez, 18 SCRA 973, 978.
28 SEE Ramos v. Pepsi-Cola Bottling Co. of the Phil., 19 SCRA 289, 291-292.
29 Sec. 1, Rule 41, Rules of Court.
30 Identical to Sec. 7, Art. XII of the 1987 Constitution, and Sec. 5, ART. XIII of the 1935 Constitution (except that the latter section refers not simply to "private land" but to "private agricultural land".
31 Rellosa v. Gaw Chee Hun, 93 Phil. 827 (1953) applying the pari delicto rule to disallow the Filipino vendor from recovering the land sold to an alien (See also Bautista v. Uy Isabelo, 93 Phil. 843; Talento v. Makiki, 93 Phil. 855; Caoile v. Chiao Peng, 93 Phil. 861; Arambulo v. Cua So, 95 Phil. 749; Dinglasan v. Lee Bun Ting, 99 Phil. 427); and Philippine Banking Corporation v. Lui She, 21 SCRA 52, which declared that the pari delicto rule should not apply where the original parties had already died and had been succeeded by administrators to whom it would have been unjust and to impute guilt, and recovery would enhance the declared public policy of preserving lands for Filipinos.