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Question 4

IV

(Question IV, Civil Law, 2018 Bar Exam)

Severino died intestate, survived by his wife Saturnina, and legitimate children Soler, Sulpicio, Segundo and the twins Sandro and Sandra. At the time of his death, the twins were only 11 years of age, while all the older children were of age. He left only one property: a 5,000 sq. m. parcel of land. After his death, the older siblings Soler, Sulpicio, and Segundo sold the land to Dr. Santos for PhP500,000 with a right to repurchase, at the same price, within five (5) years from the date of the sale. The deed of sale was signed only by the three (3) older siblings, and covered the entire property. Before the five (5) years expired, Soler and Sulpicio tendered their respective shares of PhP166,666 each to redeem the property. Since Segundo did not have the means because he was still unemployed, Saturnina paid the remaining PhP166,666 to redeem the property. After the property was redeemed from Dr. Santos, the three (3) older children and Saturnina, for herself and on behalf of the twins who were still minors, sold the property to Dr. Sazon, in an absolute sale, for PhP1 million. In representing the twins, Saturnina relied on the fact that she was the natural guardian of her minor children.

(a) Was the first sale to Dr. Santos, and the subsequent repurchase, valid? (2.5%)

(b) Was the second sale to Dr. Sazon valid? May the twins redeem their share after they reach the age of majority? (2.5%)

Suggested Answer:

(a) Yes. Answer

Under the Civil Code, the surviving spouse and all the children become heirs and thus co-owners upon death of Severino. Co-owners may sell their share or interests. The effect of the alienation shall be limited to the portion which may be alloted to a co-owner in the division upon the termination of the co-ownership. Further, a co-owner may take action on behalf of the co-ownership so long as it is redounds to the benefit of other co-owners Rule

In the case at bar, the sale of the parcel of land is valid insofar as the shares/interests of the older children (Soler, Sulpicio, and Segundo) as concerned. They are co-owners of the parcel of land and may alienate their share or interest therein. As for the repurchase, it is also valid. That Saturnina (the surviving spouse and mother) paid the remaining Php166,666.00 as Segundo did not have the means, does not affect the repurchase. As a co-owner, Saturnina’s action redounded to the benefit of the other co-owners. Apply

Thus, the first sale to Dr. Santos and the subsequent repurchase was valid. Conclusion

(b) Yes, the second sale to Dr. Sazon is valid insofar as the share/interest of the surviving spouse and the older children are concerned. Answer

Under the Civil Code, co-owners may sell their share/interest in a co-owned property. Further, under the Family Code, a parent is required to post a bond if the market value of the property exceeds P50,000 if he/she intends to dispose of the child’s property. If the bond is not posted, the guardian is not properly authorized resulting in an unenforceable contract. Rule

In the case at bar, the surviving spouse and the older children may sell their share/interest to the co-owned property toDr. Sazon. However, as to the share of the twins, their mother representing them as a natural guardian is required to post a bond with the court prior to selling their shares considering the market value of the property exceeds Php50,000.00. There is no indication that the bond was posted. Accordingly, the contract is unenforceable against the twins insofar as their share/interest is concerned. There is thus no redemption to speak of. Apply

Thus, the second sale to Dr. Sazon is valid insofar as the share/interest of the surviving spouse and the older children are concerned; however, the contract is unenforceable as against the share/interest of the twins. Redemption by the twins is unnecessary. Conclusion

(Notice: The suggested answers simulate those that a bar examinee may provide, and thus specific citations are not provided. Notwithstanding, in the reviewers, the bar exam question is answered under the appropriate topic which discusses the concepts and principles, as well as provide for specific citations. Accordingly, please refer to it on the reviewer or in the Library.)

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