I am 63 years old, a retiree, and the eldest of two siblings. During my prime, I bought a registered farmland in Nueva Ecija for two million pesos with the help of my brother. As I could not have fully paid the seller of the farmland then, my brother offered to lend me P500,000.00 to be able to afford it. To show my good faith to my brother, I asked the seller to transfer the title to my brother’s name so that he will not think that I will not repay him. Ever since then I was in possession of this farmland and built a house and a family there until I have fully paid my brother back in 2012. In 2015, my brother died of pneumonia and the title to my farmland was included in his estate and which was thereafter transferred to his only child, Maximo, who is now evicting me from my farmland. How can I enforce my title to my farmland?
Based on your narration of facts, you may bring an action in court for the reconveyance of title of the farmland in order that it may be reconveyed to you by your nephew. This is because, by operation of law, an implied trust resulted when you entrusted title to the farmland to your brother who loaned you the money. This much is clear from Article 1450 of the New Civil Code which provides:
“Art. 1450. If the price of a sale of property is loaned or paid by one person for the benefit of another and the conveyance is made to the lender or payor to secure the payment of the debt, a trust arises by operation of law in favor of the person to whom the money is loaned or for whom its is paid. The latter may redeem the property and compel a conveyance thereof to him.”
You also mentioned that you have been in possession of the property to the exclusion of your nephew ever since you bought the property from the seller. According to jurisprudence, an action for reconveyance based on an implied trust is imprescriptible if the plaintiff is in possession of the property (Rodolfo v. Francisco vs. Emiliana M. Rojas, et al., G.R. No. 167120, April 23, 2014; ponente, Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta) as such action is in the nature of quieting title. Moreover, your nephew cannot be considered an innocent purchaser for value as he did not acquire the title to the property for consideration. Based on the foregoing, it is clear that your right over the property cannot be trumped by the newly issued transfer certificate of title to your nephew and thus, you may ask the courts to reconvey the title to you.
Again, we find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed or elaborated. We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter.
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