FELIX TING HO, JR., MERLA TING HO BRADEN, JUANA TING HO & LYDIA TING HO BELENZO vs. VICENTE TENG GUI, G.R. No. 130115, July 16, 2008
“x x x.
Nonetheless, petitioners invoke equity considerations and claim that the ruling of the RTC that an implied trust was created between respondent and their father with respect to the subject lot should be upheld.
This contention must fail because the prohibition against an alien from owning lands of the public domain is absolute and not even an implied trust can be permitted to arise on equity considerations.
In the case of Muller v. Muller, wherein the respondent, a German national, was seeking reimbursement of funds claimed by him to be given in trust to his petitioner wife, a Philippine citizen, for the purchase of a property in Antipolo, the Court, in rejecting the claim, ruled that:
Respondent was aware of the constitutional prohibition and expressly admitted his knowledge thereof to this Court. He declared that he had the Antipolo property titled in the name of the petitioner because of the said prohibition. His attempt at subsequently asserting or claiming a right on the said property cannot be sustained.
The Court of Appeals erred in holding that an implied trust was created and resulted by operation of law in view of petitioner's marriage to respondent. Save for the exception provided in cases of hereditary succession, respondent's disqualification from owning lands in the Philippines is absolute. Not even an ownership in trust is allowed. Besides, where the purchase is made in violation of an existing statute and in evasion of its express provision, no trust can result in favor of the party who is guilty of the fraud. To hold otherwise would allow circumvention of the constitutional prohibition.
Invoking the principle that a court is not only a court of law but also a court of equity, is likewise misplaced. It has been held that equity as a rule will follow the law and will not permit that to be done indirectly which, because of public policy, cannot be done directly...
X x x.”