My father married my mother in 1988. I am their only child. Things turned sour in their relationship when I turned 18 years old in 2010. My father eloped with his mistress. Before he died in 2015, he allegedly executed a Deed of Donation in favor of his mistress, with whom he bore no child, bequeathing to her half of his property and half to me. He did not give anything to my mother, who had been faithful to their marriage even up to this time. Nevertheless, my mother was able to claim her conjugal part of the propery before my father’s mistress was able to register under her name the property of my father that was allegedly donated to her. Is my father’s donation valid? How can we have the property back?
For your information, Article 739 of the New Civil Code is particularly applicable to your situation. This provision of law explicitly states:
Art. 739. The following donations shall be void:
(1) Those made between persons who were guilty of adultery or concubinage at the time of the donation;
(2) Those made between persons found guilty of the same criminal offense, in consideration thereof;
(3) Those made to a public officer or his wife, descendants and ascendants, by reason of his office. (Emphasis supplied)
Considering this, and the principle enunciated in the case of Matabueana v. Cervantes (38 SCRA 287, 1971)and Buenaventura v. Bautista (50 OG 3679, 1954), the donation made by your father to his paramour is considered void and without effect.
In order to retrieve the property, you and your mother may file a petition for reconveyance based on the aforementioned grounds (Roman Catholic Archbishop of Manila v. CA, G.R. No. 77425, 77450, 19 June 1991).
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