PINGOL V. COURT OF APPEALS
A vendee in an oral contract to convey land who had made part payment thereof, entered upon the land and had made valuable improvements thereon is entitled to bring suit to clear his title against the vendor who had refused to transfer the title to him. It is not necessary that the vendee should have an absolute title, an equitable title being sufficient to clothe him with personality to bring an action to quiet title.
In 1969, Pingol, the owner of a lot (Lot No. 3223) in Caloocan City, executed a DEED OF ABSOLUTE SALE OF ONE-HALF OF AN UNDIVIDED PORTION OF [his] PARCEL OF LAND in favor of Donasco (private respondent), payable in 6 years.
In 1984, Donasco died and was only able to pay P8,369 plus P2,000 downpayment, leaving a balance of P10,161. The heirs of Donasco remained in possession of such lot and offered to settle the balance with Pingol. However, Pingol refused to accept the offer and demanded a larger amount. Thus, the heirs of Donasco filed an action for specific performance (with Prayer for Writ of Prelim. Injunction, because Pingol were encroaching upon Donasco’s lot). Pingol averred that the sale and transfer of title was conditional upon the full payment of Donasco (contract to sell, not contract of sale). With Donasco’s breach of the contract in 1976 and death in 1984, the sale was deemed cancelled, and the heirs’ continuous occupancy was only being tolerated by Pingol.
(1) Whether or not Pingol can refuse to transfer title to Donasco
(2) Whether or not Donasco has the right to quiet title
(1) No. The contract between Pingol and Donasco is a contract of sale and not a contract to sell. The acts of the parties, contemporaneous and subsequent to the contract, clearly show that the parties intended an absolute deed of sale; the ownership of the lot was transferred to the Donasco upon its actual (upon Donasco’s possession and construction of the house) and constructive delivery (upon execution of the contract). The delivery of the lot divested Pingol of his ownership and he cannot recover the title unless the contract is resolved or rescinded under Art. 1592 of NCC. It states that the vendee may pay even after the expiration of the period stipulated as long as no demand for rescission has been made upon him either judicially or by notarial act. Pingol neither did so. Hence, Donasco has equitable title over the property.
(2) Although the complaint filed by the Donascos was an action for specific performance, it was actually an action to quiet title. A cloud has been cast on the title, since despite the fact that the title had been transferred to them by the execution of the deed of sale and the delivery of the object of the contract, Pingol adamantly refused to accept the payment by Donascos and insisted that they no longer had the obligation to transfer the title.
Donasco, who had made partial payments and improvements upon the property, is entitled to bring suit to clear his title against Pingol who refused to transfer title to him. It is not necessary that Donasco should have an absolute title, an equitable title being sufficient to clothe him with personality to bring an action to quiet title.
Prescription cannot also be invoked against the Donascos because an action to quiet title to property in ONE’s POSSESSION is imprescriptible.