Civil Law

Liguez v. CA G.R. No. L-11240, December 18, 1957 Oblicon, Illicit Consideration

FACTS:

Conchita Liguez filed a complaint against the widow and heirs of the late Salvador P. Lopez to recover a parcel of land. Liguez averred that she is the legal owner thereof, pursuant to a deed of donation of said land, executed in her favor by Salvador P. Lopez. The donated land originally belonged to the conjugal partnership of Salvador and his wife, Maria Ngo.

The deed of donation was signed and ratified at the time Liguez was a minor, only 16 years of age.

The donation was made in view of the desire of Salvador, a man of mature years, to have sexual relations with Conchita. 

Salvador had confessed his love for appellant to the instrumental witnesses, with the remark that her parents would not allow Lopez to live with her unless he first donated the land in question. After the donation, Conchita and Salvador lived together, until Lopez was killed on July 1st, 1943, by some guerrillas who believed him to be pro-Japanese.

On the other hand, the defense interposed was that the donation was null and void for having an illicit cause or consideration; and that the property had been adjudicated to the appellees as heirs of Lopez by the Court of First Instance.

The CA held that the deed of donation was inoperative, and null and void (1) because the husband, Lopez, had no right to donate conjugal property to the plaintiff appellant; and (2) because the donation was tainted with illegal cause or consideration, of which donor and donee were participants.

Liguez contends that under Article 1274 of the Civil Code of 1889 (which was the governing law in 1948, when the donation was executed), “in contracts of pure beneficence the consideration is the liberality of the donor”, and that liberality per se can never be illegal, since it is neither against law or morals or public policy.

ISSUE:

Whether or not  the donation is void for having an illicit cause or consideration.

RULING:

Under Article 1274, liberality of the donor is deemed causa in those contracts that are of “pure” beneficence; that is to say, contracts designed solely and exclusively to procure the welfare of the beneficiary, without any intent of producing any satisfaction for the donor; contracts, in other words, in which the idea of self-interest is totally absent on the part of the transferor. 

For this very reason, the same Article 1274 provides that in remuneratory contracts, the consideration is the service or benefit for which the remuneration is given; causa is not liberality in these cases because the contract or conveyance is not made out of pure beneficence, but “solvendi animo.” 

Here the facts demonstrate that in making the donation in question, the late Salvador P. Lopez was not moved exclusively by the desire to benefit appellant Conchita Liguez, but also to secure her cohabiting with him, so that he could gratify his sexual impulses. Thus considered, the conveyance was clearly predicated upon an illicit causa.

In the present case, it is scarcely disputable that Lopez would not have conveyed the property in question had he known that appellant would refuse to cohabit with him; so that the cohabitation was an implied condition to the donation, and being unlawful, necessarily tainted the donation itself.

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