PAULMITAN V. CA- Co-ownership of Property
When a co-owner sells the entire property without consent from the other co-owners, only his pro indiviso share on the property is transferred to the buyer.
The dispute covers 2 lots, Lot 757 and Lot 1091, which were owned by Agatona Paulmitan. She had 2 children, Pascual and Donato. Pascual’s (7) children (Alicio, Elena, Abelino, Adelina, Anita, Baking, Anito) are the respondents and Donato and his daughter and son-in-law are petitioners.
Donato executed an Affidavit of Declaration of Heirship, adjudicating to himself Lot 757 claiming that he is the sole surviving heir thus the OCT of Agatona was cancelled and a TCT was issued in his name. He executed a deed of sale of Lot 1091 in favor of his daughter, Juliana. For non-payment of taxes, the lot was forfeited and sole at a public to the Provincial Gov’t of Negros Occidental, however, Juliana was able to redeem the property. Upon learning these, the children of Pascual filed w/ the CFI a complaint against petitioners to partition the land plus damages. Petitioners’ defense was that the action has already prescribed for it was filed more than 11 years after the issuance of the TCT and that Juliana has acquired exclusive ownership thru the Deed of Sale and by redeeming the said property.
The CFI dismissed the complaint and became final and executory. With respect to Lot 1091, the court decided in favor of respondents. They are entitled to ½ of Lot 1091, pro indiviso. The redemption did not in anyway prejudice their rights. The land was ordered to be partitioned and the petitioners were ordered to pay the respondents their share of the fruits and the respondents to pay their share in the redemption of the land. The CA affirmed the decision thus the case at bar.
(1) Whether or not Pascual’s children and Donato and Juliana were co-owners of their mother’s lot
(2) Whether or not Juliana acquired full ownership by redeeming the property
(1) YES: When Agatona died, her estate was still unpartitioned. Art. 1078 states that “Where there are 2 or more heirs, the whole estate of the decedent is, before its partition, owned in common by such heirs, subject to the payment of debts of the deceased”. Since Pascual and Donato were still alive when she died, they are co-owners of the estate. When Pascual died, his children succeeded him in the co-ownership of the property.
When Donato sold to his daughter the lot, he was only a co-owner of the same thus he can only sell his undivided portion of the property. Art. 493 states that “each co-owner shall have the full ownership of his part and of the fruits and benefits pertaining thereto, and he may therefore alienate, assign or mortgage it and even substitute another person in its enjoyment, except when personal rights are involved. But the effect of the alienation or mortgage, with respect to the co-owners, shall be limited to the portion which may be allotted to him in the division upon the termination of the co-ownership.”
Only the rights of the co-owner-seller are transferred making the buyer (Juliana) a co-owner.
(2) NO: When she redeemed the property, it did not end the co-ownership. The right of repurchase may be exercised by a co-owner w/ respect to his/her share alone as stated in Art. 1612. But she may compel them to reimburse her for half of the repurchase price for a co-owner has the right to compel other co-owners to contribute to the expenses for the preservation of the thing and to taxes.