of said spouses who had been cultivating the parcels of land even before World War II either personally or through their predecessors-in-interest. Marina Gonzales died intestate, and Lilia Gonzales was appointed administratrix of her estate. Prior to the partition of said estate, Ignacio Gonzales executed a Deed of Donation conveying his share of the property in favor of his 14 grandchildren. The donation was not registered. When P.D. No. 27 took effect on October 21, 1972, the landholdings of the spouses Gonzales were placed under Operation Land Transfer and private
respondents were issued the corresponding Certificates of Land Transfer and Emancipation Patents. Lilia filed an application for retention with the then Ministry of Agrarian Reform, requesting that their property be excluded from the coverage of Operation Land Transfer but the application was denied. However, a reinvestigation was conducted and the present Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) subsequently issued an order declaring that the subject landholdings covered by the deed of donation are exempt from Operation Land Transfer, and cancelling the Certificates of Land Transfer issued in favor of private respondents. The Court of Appeals (CA) reversed the action of the DAR. ISSUE Should the property subject of the deed of donation which was not registered when P.D. No. 27 took effect, be excluded from the Operation Land Transfer? RULING No. Article 749 of the Civil Code and its corollary provision, Article 709, provides that, as between the parties to a donation of an immovable property, all that is required is for said donation to be contained in a public document. Registration is not necessary for it to be considered valid and effective. However, in order to bind third persons, the donation must be registered in the Registry of Property (now Registry of Land Titles and Deeds). Although the non-registration of a deed of donation shall not affect its validity, the necessity of registration comes into play when the rights of third persons are affected. In the case at bar, it is undisputed that the donation executed by Ignacio Gonzales in favor of his grandchildren, although in writing and duly notarized, has not been registered in accordance with law. For this reason, it shall not be binding upon private respondents who did not participate in said deed or had no actual knowledge thereof. Hence, while the deed of donation is valid between the donor and the donees, such deed, however, did not bind the tenants-farmers who were not parties to the donation. Thus, the unregistered deed of donation cannot operate to exclude the subject land from the coverage of the Operation Land Transfer of P.D. No. 27. To rule otherwise would render ineffectual the rights and interests that the tenants- farmers immediately acquired upon the promulgation of P.D. No. 27, especially so because they had been cultivating the land even before World War II.
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- Spring '14
- Supreme Court of the United States