I bought a parcel of land and signed a “Kasunduan ng Pagbebenta ng Lupa” with the seller, the contract of which was not notarized. That land was inherited by the seller from her parents. The seller has two siblings who are already dead. The elder sibling has three children while the younger one and the seller were not married and have no children. The children of the elder sibling of the seller is now claiming that the latter has no authority to sell the land I bought because the contract of sale between me and the seller bears no signature of their father. Is this correct?
The children of the elder sibling are partly correct. After the death of their parents, the seller and her brothers became co-owners of the property. The seller cannot sell the share of her brothers without any authority (Special Power of Attorney) coming from the latter or their heirs. The contract entered between you and the seller affects only the latter’s share. This is in consonance with the provision of Article 1317, Civil Code of the Philippines, which states, “No one may contract in the name of another without being authorized by the latter, or unless he has by law or right to represent him. A contract entered into in the name of another by one who has no authority or legal representation, or who has acted beyond his powers, shall be unenforceable, unless it is ratified, expressly or impliedly, by the person on whose behalf it has been executed, before it is revoked by the other contracting party.”
Please be reminded that contracts shall be obligatory, in whatever form they may have been entered into, provided all the essential requisites for their validity are present. When the law, however, requires that a contract be in some form in order that it may be valid or enforceable, or that a contract be proved in a certain way, that requirement is absolute and indispensable. In such cases, the right of the parties stated in the following article cannot be exercised (Article 1356, Ibid.). For acts and contracts that have for their object the creation, transmission, modification or extinguishment of real rights over immovable property must appear in a public document (Article 1358 (1), Id.), while sales of real property or of an interest therein must be in writing and subscribed by the party charged or his agent (Article 1402 (2), Id.).
It is therefore important that the contract of sale involving the property you bought must not only be in writing, but also in public document and must be signed not only by the seller but also by the heirs of her deceased brothers, otherwise, the sale would only affect the share of the seller.
We hope that we were able to answer your queries. Please be reminded that this advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated.
Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org