Courts can void Deeds of Donation

Persida Acosta

Persida Acosta

Dear PAO,
My aunt made it appear in a Deed of Donation that the lot in the name of my father has been donated to her. She used that Deed of Donation to facilitate the transfer of the tax declaration of the same lot in her name. When I obtained a copy of the deed and sent it to my father in the US, he immediately noticed the difference of his genuine signature from that appearing on the deed. The deed was executed in 2002; whereas my father visited the Philippines only in 2004. What shall we do to have that tax declaration be amended to revert to the name of my father? Can I file any complaint in behalf of my father against my aunt?

Dear Leonardo,
You have to file a civil action before the Regional Trial Court which has jurisdiction where the property is located to nullify the Deed of Donation allegedly executed by your father in favor of your aunt since this was the basis of the cancellation of the tax declaration in the name of your father. In your situation, you have to obtain a Special Power of Attorney (SPA) from your father in the United States of America (USA) authorizing you to file the appropriate complaint/petition in his behalf. The SPA must be duly authenticated by the consul assigned at the nearest embassy to the residence of your father. The Deed of Donation is void because your father did not intend to execute the same. This is a simulated Deed of Donation. Under Article 345 of the Civil Code of the Philippines, it provides that: “Simulation of a contract may be absolute or relative. The former takes place when the parties do not intend to be bound at all; the latter, when the parties conceal their true agreement.”

The Supreme Court said in Valerio vs. Refresca, GR No. 263687, March 28, 2006: “In absolute simulation, there is a colorable contract but it has no substance as the parties have no intention to be bound by it. The main characteristic of an absolute simulation is that the apparent contract is not really desired or intended to produce legal effect or in any way alter the juridical situation of the parties. As a result, an absolutely simulated or fictitious contract is void, and the parties may recover from each other what they may have given under the contract.”

A corresponding criminal complaint for Falsification by Private Individuals and Use of Falsified Documents (Article 172, Revised Penal Code) may also be filed against your aunt. The complaint may be supported by an examination result conducted by a handwriting expert showing that the signature appearing on the deed of donation is not that of your father.

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


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