The Act of Usurpation by the donee of the donor’s land is an act of ingratitude. The law does not require conviction in order to revoke the donation; only preponderance of evidence is needed in an action to revoke instituted by the donor.
Note: An action for revocation of a donation based on ingratitude must file the action to revoke his donation within 1 year from the time he had knowledge of the ingratitude of the donee (not from the occurrence of the act of ingratitude).
Directo, Noceda, and Arbizo (the daughter, grandson, and widow, respectively of the late Celestino Arbizo) extra-judicially settled a parcel of land. Directo’s share was 11,426 square meters, Noceda got 13,294 square meters, and the remaining 41,810 square meters went to Maria Arbizo. On the same day, Directo donated 625 sq.m. of her share to her nephew.
However, a few months later, another extra-judicial settlement-partition of the same lot was executed. 3/5 of the lot was awarded to Arbizo (widow) while Directo and Noceda (daughter and grandson) got only 1/5 each.
Sometime on the same year when the partitions happened, the nephew (donee) constructed his house on the land donated to him by Directo. On the other hand, Directo fenced the portion allotted to her in the extrajudicial settlement, excluding the donated portion, and constructed thereon three huts.
Around 3 years later, the nephew removed the fence earlier constructed by Directo, occupied the 3 huts, and fenced the entire land of Directo without her consent. The latter demanded Noceda to vacate her land, but Noceda refused.
Hence, Directo filed a complaint for the recovery of possession and ownership and rescission/annulment of donation, against Noceda before the lower court. A survey was conducted and it was found that the area stated in the settlement was smaller than the actual area of the lot. The TC declared the second extra-judicial settlement-partition and the deed of donation revoked (because of ingratitude). The court ordered the nephew (done) to vacate and reconvey the property to Directo. CA affirmed.
The nephew contends that there was no real partition and thus, there is no basis for the charge of usurpation and ingratitude. He also contends that granting revocation is proper, the 1 year period for such revocation has already lapsed.
Whether or not the CA erred in revoking the deed of donation
The court held that:
“We find unmeritorious petitioner’s argument that since there was no effective and real partition of the subject lot there exists no basis for the charge of usurpation and hence there is also no basis for finding ingratitude against him.
It was established that petitioner Noceda occupied not only the portion donated to him by Directo but he also fenced the whole area of Lot C which belongs to Directo; thus, petitioner’s act of occupying the portion pertaining to Directo without the latter’s knowledge and consent is an act of usurpation which is an offense against the property of the donor and considered as an act of ingratitude of a donee against the donor. The law does not require conviction of the donee; it is enough that the offense be proved in the action for revocation.
Donee alleged that he usurped donor’s property in the 1st week of September 1985 while the complaint for revocation was filed on September 16, 1986; thus, more than one (1) year had passed from the alleged usurpation by petitioner of private respondent’s share in Lot 1121.
Article 769 expressly states that:
a. the donor must file the action to revoke his donation within one year from the time he had knowledge of the ingratitude of the done; and that;
b. it must be shown that it was possible for the donor to institute the said action within the same period.
The concurrence of these two requisites must be shown by the donee in order to bar the present action, which he failed to do so. He reckoned the one year prescriptive period from the occurrence of the usurpation and not from the time the latter had the knowledge of the usurpation. He also failed to prove that at the time Directo acquired knowledge of his usurpation, it was possible for him to institute an action for revocation of her donation.