Petitioner Isabelo Dela Cruz claimed that he and his sister, respondent Lucila Dela Cruz and Cornelia Dela Cruz, bought on installment a land from Gatchalian Realty, Inc. Isabelo and Cornelia paid the down payment and religiously paid the monthly amortizations. On the following year, Isabelo constructed a residential house on the subject lot.
Isabelo agreed to have the lot they bought used as collateral for the loan that their cousin Corazon planned to secure from the bank. To make this possible, Lucila paid the ₱8,000.00 that they still owed Gatchalian Realty, Inc. The Register of Deeds issued Transfer Certificate of Title in Lucila’s name and this was mortgaged for Corazon’s benefit. But, since Corazon failed to pay her loan, the bank foreclosed on the property. Lucila redeemed it.
Lucila executed an affidavit of waiver relinquishing all her share, interest, and participation to half of the lot to Isabelo and the other half to her niece, Emelinda.
Isabelo filed an action for partition seeking the segregation of his portion of the land and the issuance of the corresponding title in his name. But Lucila claimed that her affidavit of waiver did not cede ownership of half of the property to Isabelo since the affidavit made clear that her waiver would take effect only if the problems that beset their family were resolved. Since this condition had not been met, she had every right to revoke that waiver as in fact she did so in the Kasulatan ng Pagpawalang Bisa ng “Affidavit Waiver.”
The RTC ruled that Lucila’s ownership was evidenced by the title to the land in her name, among others.
The RTC held that Lucila’s affidavit of waiver did not confer title over the property on Isabelo considering that, absent an annotation on the TCT, the waiver cannot ripen into an adverse claim.
Whether or not Lucila’s affidavit of waiver ceding to Isabelo half of the subject property conveys to him a right of ownership over the half of the subject property.
In partition, the court must first determine the existence of co-ownership. The action will not lie if the plaintiff has no proprietary interest in the subject property. Indeed, the rules require him to set forth in his complaint the nature and extent of his title to the property. It would be premature to order partition until the question of ownership is first definitely resolved.
The CA agreed with the RTC that Lucila’s affidavit of waiver did not vest any property right to Isabelo since the condition she set in that affidavit had not been fulfilled. This then gave Lucila the right in the meantime to rescind the waiver, something that she eventually did.
But, contrary to the position that the CA and the RTC had taken, Lucila’s waiver was absolute and contained no precondition. The pertinent portion of the affidavit of waiver reads:
That to put everything in proper order, I hereby waive all my share, interest and participation in so far as it refer to the one half portion (120 SQ. M.) of the above-parcel of land, with and in favor of my brother ISABELO C. DELA CRUZ, and the other half portion (120 SQ. M.) in favor of my niece, EMELINDA C. DELA CRUZ x x x x
Evidently, Lucila would not have used the terms “to put everything in proper order, I hereby waive…” if her intent was to set a precondition to her waiver covering the property, half to Isabelo and half to Emelinda. If that were her intention, she could have stated, “subject to the condition that everything is put in proper order, I hereby waive…” or something to that effect.
When she instead said, “That to put everything in proper order, I hereby waive my share, interest and participation” in the two halves of the subject property in favor of Isabelo and Emelinda, Lucila merely disclosed what motivated her in ceding the property to them. She wanted to put everything in proper order, thus she was driven to make the waiver in their favor.
Lucila did not say, “to put everything in proper order, I promise to waive my right” to the property, which is a future undertaking, one that is demandable only when everything is put in proper order. But she instead said, “to put everything in proper order, I hereby waive” etc. The phrase “hereby waive” means that Lucila was, by executing the affidavit, already waiving her right to the property, irreversibly divesting herself of her existing right to the same. After he and his co-owner Emelinda accepted the donation, Isabelo became the owner of half of the subject property having the right to demand its partition.