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THE HEIRS OF PROTACIO GO, SR. vs.

SERVACIO

G.R. No. 157537 (September 7, 2011)


J. BERSAMIN

The disposition by sale of a portion of the conjugal property by the surviving spouse without the
prior liquidation mandated by Article 130 of the Family Code is not necessarily void if said
portion has not yet been allocated by judicial or extrajudicial partition to another heir of the
deceased spouse. At any rate, the requirement of prior liquidation does not prejudice vested
rights.

Facts:

Jesus Gaviola sold two parcels of land to Protacio, Jr. Twenty-three years later, Protacio, Jr.
Executed an Affidavit of Renunciation and Waiver, whereby he affirmed under oath that it was
his father, Protacio, Sr., not he, who purchased the two parcels of land.

Martha Barola Go (wife of Protacio, Sr. and mother of petitioners) died. Protacio, Sr. and
his son Rito B. Go (joined by Ritos wife Dina B. Go) sold a portion of the property to Ester L.
Servacio (Servacio). Petitioners demanded the return of the property but Servacio refused.

The petitioners averred that following Protacio, Jr.s renunciation, the property became
conjugal property; and that the sale of the property to Servacio without the prior liquidation of
the community property between Protacio, Sr. and Marta was null and void.

RTC ruled that the lands were conjugal propery of Martha and Protacio Sr. However, it
affirmed the sale ruling that as long as the portion sold, alienated or encumbered will not be
allotted to the other heirs in the final partition of the property, or as long as it does not
encroach upon the legitime of the other heirs, it is valid. RTC denied petitioners MR, hence this
appeal.

The petitioners claim that Article 130 of the Family Code is the applicable law; and that the
sale by Protacio, Sr., et al. to Servacio was void for being made without prior liquidation.

Issue:

Whether or not the sale was valid.

Ruling:

Yes, the sale was valid.

The conjugal partnership of gains established before and after the effectivity of the Family
Code are governed by the rules found in Chapter 4 (Conjugal Partnership of Gains) of Title IV
(Property Relations Between Husband And Wife) of the Family Code. Hence, any disposition of
the conjugal property after the dissolution of the conjugal partnership must be made only after
the liquidation; otherwise, the disposition is void.

Before applying such rules, however, the conjugal partnership of gains must be subsisting
at the time of the effectivity of the Family Code. There being no dispute that Protacio, Sr. and
Marta were married prior to the effectivity of the Family Code on August 3, 1988, their
property relation was properly characterized as one of conjugal partnership governed by
the Civil Code. Upon Martas death in 1987, the conjugal partnership was dissolved, pursuant to
Article 175 (1) of the Civil Code,and an implied ordinary co-ownership ensued among Protacio,
Sr. and the other heirs of Marta with respect to her share in the assets of the conjugal
partnership pending a liquidation following its liquidation.

The sale by Protacio, Sr. and Rito as co-owners without the consent of the other co-owners
was not necessarily void, for the rights of the selling co-owners were thereby effectively
transferred, making the buyer (Servacio) a co-owner of Martas share.This result conforms to
the well-established principle that the binding force of a contract must be recognized as far as
it is legally possible to do so (quando res non valet ut ago, valeat quantum valere potest)