I am leaving the Philippines for a couple of months because I have to accompany my boss abroad for some non-profit work. I want my live-in partner to be able to push through with my purchase of a small apartment in Canlubang. Do I need to give her any authority so that she can sign whatever is necessary for that transaction? I was told that I may need to provide her with special power of attorney (SPA). Is this correct? Are there other transactions that would require SPA?
Your live-in partner cannot bind you in any legal transaction, unless you have validly authorized her to enter into an agreement which binds you and another party. Particularly, she cannot enter into a contract with another person, under your name, for the purchase of a small apartment situated in Canlubang without you granting her a formal authority to do so. It is, thus, necessary for you to execute an SPA in her favor so that she can validly represent you in such transaction. This is in consonance with Article 1878 of the New Civil Code (NCC) of the Philippines, which provides that, “Special powers of attorney are necessary in the following cases: x x x (5) To enter into any contract by which the ownership of an immovable is transmitted or acquired either gratuitously or for valuable consideration; x x x”
Apart from entering into a contract for the purchase of an immovable property such as an apartment, an agent or representative needs to possess an SPA executed by his or her principal under the following circumstances: (a) To make such payments as are not usually considered as acts of administration; (b) To effect novations which put an end to obligations already in existence at the time the agency was constituted; (c) To compromise, to submit questions to arbitration, to renounce the right to appeal from a judgment, to waive objections to the venue of an action or to abandon a prescription already acquired; (d) To waive any obligation gratuitously; (e) To make gifts, except customary ones for charity or those made to employees in the business managed by the agent; (f) To loan or borrow money, unless the latter act be urgent and indispensable for the preservation of the things which are under administration; (g) To lease any real property to another person for more than one year; (h) To bind the principal to render some service without compensation; (i) To bind the principal in a contract of partnership; (j) To obligate the principal as a guarantor or surety; (k) To create or convey real rights over immovable property; (l) To accept or repudiate an inheritance; (m) To ratify or recognize obligations contracted before the agency; and (n) Any other act of strict dominion (Article 1878, NCC).
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 email@example.com