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G.R. No.

74833 January 21, 1991

THOMAS C. CHEESMAN, petitioner, Held:

INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT and ESTELITA PADILLA, respondents. The fundamental law prohibits the sale to aliens of residential land. Section 14, Article XIV of the 1973
Constitution ordains that, "Save in cases of hereditary succession, no private land shall be transferred or
Facts: conveyed except to individuals, corporations, or associations qualified to acquire or hold lands of the public
domain." Petitioner Thomas Cheesman was, of course, charged with knowledge of this prohibition. Thus,
assuming that it was his intention that the lot in question be purchased by him and his wife, he acquired
This appeal concerns the attempt by an American citizen (petitioner Thomas Cheesman) to annul for lack
no right whatever over the property by virtue of that purchase; and in attempting to acquire a right or
of consent on his part the sale by his Filipino wife (Criselda) of a residential lot and building to Estelita
interest in land, vicariously and clandestinely, he knowingly violated the Constitution; the sale as to him
was null and void. 31 In any event, he had and has no capacity or personality to question the subsequent
sale of the same property by his wife on the theory that in so doing he is merely exercising the
December 4, 1970 – Thomas Cheesman and Criselda Cheesman were married but have been separated
prerogative of a husband in respect of conjugal property. To sustain such a theory would permit indirect
since February 15, 1981
controversion of the constitutional prohibition. If the property were to be declared conjugal, this would
accord to the alien husband a not insubstantial interest and right over land, as he would then have a
June 4, 1974 – a Deed of Sale and Transfer of Possessory Rights was executed by Armando Altares,
decisive vote as to its transfer or disposition. This is a right that the Constitution does not permit him to
conveying a parcel of land in favor of Criselda Cheesman. Thomas, although aware of the deed, did not
object to the transfer being made only to his wife. Tax declarations for the said property were issued in
the name of Criselda Cheesman alone and she assumed exclusive management and administration of the
property As already observed, the finding that his wife had used her own money to purchase the property cannot,
and will not, at this stage of the proceedings be reviewed and overturned. But even if it were a fact that
July 1, 1981– Criselda sold the property to Estelita Padilla without knowledge and consent of Thomas said wife had used conjugal funds to make the acquisition, the considerations just set out militate, on high
constitutional grounds, against his recovering and holding the property so acquired or any part thereof.
July 31, 1981 – Thomas filed a suit for the annulment of the sale on the ground that the transaction had And whether in such an event, he may recover from his wife any share of the money used for the purchase
been executed without his knowledge and consent. Criselda filed an answer alleging that the property sold or charge her with unauthorized disposition or expenditure of conjugal funds is not now inquired into; that
was paraphernal, having purchased the property from her own money; that Thomas, an American was would be, in the premises, a purely academic exercise. An equally decisive consideration is that Estelita
disqualified to have any interest or right of ownership in the land and; that Estelita was a buyer in good Padilla is a purchaser in good faith, both the Trial Court and the Appellate Court having found that
faith Cheesman's own conduct had led her to believe the property to be exclusive property of the latter's wife,
freely disposable by her without his consent or intervention. An innocent buyer for value, she is entitled
During the trial, it was found out that the transfer of property took place during the existence of their to the protection of the law in her purchase, particularly as against Cheesman, who would assert rights to
marriage as it was acquired on June 4, 1974 the property denied him by both letter and spirit of the Constitution itself.

June 24, 1982 – RTC declared the sale executed by Criselda void ab initio and ordered the delivery of the WHEREFORE, the appealed decision is AFFIRMED, with costs against petitioner.
property to Thomas as administrator of the conjugal property. The judgment was however set aside as
regards Estelita Padilla on a petition for relief filed by the latter, grounded on "fraud, mistake and/or
excusable negligence" which had seriously impaired her right to present her case adequately. "After the SO ORDERED.
petition for relief from judgment was given due course," according to petitioner, "a new judge presided
over the case."
Thomas appealed to IAC where he assailed the granting of of granting Estelita Padilla's petition for relief,
G.R. No. 164584 June 22, 2009
and its resolution of matters not subject of said petition; of declaring valid the sale to Estelita Padilla
despite the lack of consent thereto by him, and the presumption of the conjugal character of the property
Brion, J.:
in question pursuant to Article 160 of the Civil Code; of disregarding the judgment of June 24, 1982 which,
not having been set aside as against Criselda Cheesman, continued to be binding on her; and of making
findings of fact not supported by evidence. On January 7, 1986, IAC found all of these contentions without
1. On June 30, 1988, respondent Benjamin, a British subject, married Joselyn, a 17-year old Filipina.
Hence this petition
2. On June 9, 1989, while their marriage was subsisting, Joselyn bought from Diosa M. Martin a lot in
Boracay. The sale was allegedly financed by Benjamin.
3. Joselyn and Benjamin, also using the latter’s funds, constructed improvements thereon and
1. WoN Criselda can sell the property in question without her husband’s consent; YES
eventually converted the property to a vacation and tourist resort known as the Admiral Ben Bow
2. WoN Thomas, being an American citizen, can question the sale; NO
3. WoN Estelita was a buyer of good faith;YES
4. All required permits and licenses for the operation of the resort were obtained in the name of This is true even if Benjamin’s claim is sustained, that he provided the funds for such acquisition. By
Ginna Celestino, Joselyn’s sister. entering into such contract knowing that it was illegal, no implied trust was created in his favor; no
reimbursement for his expenses can be allowed; and no declaration can be made that the subject
5. However, Benjamin and Joselyn had a falling out, and Joselyn ran away with Kim Philippsen. On property was part of the conjugal/community property of the spouses.
June 8, 1992, Joselyn executed a SPA in favor of Benjamin, authorizing the latter to maintain, sell,
lease, and sub-lease and otherwise enter into contract with third parties with respect to their In any event, he had and has no capacity or personality to question the subsequent lease of the
Boracay property. Boracay property by his wife on the theory that in so doing, he was merely exercising the prerogative
of a husband in respect of conjugal property. To sustain such a theory would countenance indirect
6. Thereafter, on July 20, 1992, Joselyn as lessor and petitioner Philip Matthews as lessee, entered controversion of the constitutional prohibition. If the property were to be declared conjugal, this
into an Agreement of Lease involving the Boracay property for a period of 25 years, with an annual would accord the alien husband a substantial interest and right over the land, as he would then have
rental of P12,000.00. a decisive vote as to its transfer or disposition. This is a right that the Constitution does not permit
him to have.
7. Petitioner thereafter took possession of the property and renamed the resort as Music Garden
Resort. GREGORIO LLANTINO and BELINDA LLANTINO assisted by husband Napoleon Barba vs.

8. Claiming that the Agreement was null and void since it was entered into by Joselyn without CO LIONG CHONG alias JUAN MOLINA.
Benjamin’s consent, Benjamin instituted an action for Declaration of Nullity of Agreement of Lease
with Damages against Joselyn and the petitioner. FACTS:

9. Benjamin claimed that his funds were used in the acquisition and improvement of the Boracay Llantino aver that they are the owners of a commercial-residential land, which sometime in 1954
property, and coupled with the fact that he was Joselyn’s husband, any transaction involving said they leased to the defendant who was then a Chinese national and went by the name of Co Liong
property required his consent. Chong for a period of thirteen (13) years. Petitioners requested private respondent for a conference
but the latter did not honor the request and instead he informed the petitioners that he had already
Issue: constructed a commercial building on the land and that the lease contract was for a period of sixty
(60) years, counted from 1954; and that he is already a Filipino citizen. The claim of Chong came as
1. Whether or not the Lease Agreement of a parcel of land entered into by a Filipino wife without a surprise to the Llantinos because they did not remember having agreed to a sixty-year lease
the consent of her British husband is valid. agreement as that would virtually make Chong the owner of the realty which, as a Chinese national,
he had no right to own and neither could he have acquired such ownership after naturalization
Ruling: subsequent to 1954.The Llantinos filed their complaint to quiet title with damages. The Trial Court
rendered decision in favor of the respondent. Plaintiffs appealed directly to the Supreme Court
No. Section 7, Article XII of the 1987 Constitution states that:
Section 7. Save in cases of hereditary succession, no private lands shall be transferred or conveyed
except to individuals, corporations, or associations qualified to acquire or hold lands of the public Whether or not the contract of lease entered into by and between the petitioners is valid based on
domain. the nationality and the length of period of lease.

Aliens, whether individuals or corporations, have been disqualified from acquiring lands of the public RULING:
domain. Hence, by virtue of the aforecited constitutional provision, they are also disqualified from
acquiring private lands. The primary purpose of this constitutional provision is the conservation of The lower court correctly ruled that the Chong had at the time of the execution of the contract, the
the national patrimony. Our fundamental law cannot be any clearer. The right to acquire lands of the right to hold by lease the property involved in the case although at the time of the execution of the
public domain is reserved only to Filipino citizens or corporations at least sixty percent of the capital contract, he was still a Chinese national. A lease to an alien for a reasonable period is valid. So is an
of which is owned by Filipinos. option giving an alien the right to buy real property on condition that he is granted Philippine
citizenship. Aliens are not completely excluded by the Constitution from use of lands for residential
The rule is clear and inflexible: aliens are absolutely not allowed to acquire public or private lands in purposes. Since their residence in the Philippines is temporary, they may be granted temporary rights
the Philippines, save only in constitutionally recognized exceptions. There is no rule more settled such as a lease contract, which is not forbidden by the Constitution. Should they desire to remain
than this constitutional prohibition, as more and more aliens attempt to circumvent the provision by here forever and share our fortune and misfortune, Filipino citizenship is not impossible to acquire.
trying to own lands through another. Assuming, arguendo, that the subject contract is prohibited, the same can no longer be questioned
presently upon the acquisition by the private respondent of Filipino citizenship. It was held that sale
Benjamin has no right to nullify the Agreement of Lease between Joselyn and petitioner. Benjamin, of a residential land to an alien which is now in the hands of a naturalized Filipino citizen is valid.
being an alien, is absolutely prohibited from acquiring private and public lands in the Philippines. Contracts which are not ambiguous are to be interpreted according to their literal meaning and
Considering that Joselyn appeared to be the designated "vendee" in the Deed of Sale of said should not be interpreted beyond their obvious intendment.
property, she acquired sole ownership thereto.

Asiatic Petroleum v. Co Quico (69 Phil. 433) Should the Maryland judgment be recognized in North Carolina courts?

Co Quico was a sales agent of Asiatic Petroleum. He was later in default for a certain sum, so he left ANSWER:
for China without rendering account to Asiatic. Asiatic sought to recover the unremitted sum, filing
a complaint which led to the preliminary attachment of Co’s deposit with Mercantile Bank of China. Yes
There was summons by publication, and Co was declared in default, with judgment rendered against

A writ of execution was issued, and levy was made on the deposits, but this was unsatisfied because The Court held that the garnishee's debt owed to the creditor in Maryland followed the garnishee
the same were transferred to Co’s son. Co’s counsel then appeared to have the proceedings nullified everywhere. Since Maryland had a law that would allow the Maryland creditor to pursue the debt owed
on the ground of lack of jurisdiction of the court over the person of Co. This was granted. by the garnishee to it, debtor could attach the debt owed by the garnishee to the creditor, even though
the garnishee was not a Maryland resident. The garnishee's failure to notify defendant of attachment was
not prejudicial because defendant had the opportunity to show that he did not owe a debt to plaintiff.
Moreover, the court also reminded that it is the object of courts to prevent the payment of any debt twice
Issue: Does the court have jurisdiction to levy on Co’s deposits? over.


Even though Co was outside the Philippines when the case against him was instituted, he possessed
property within the Philippines.

“All property within a state is subject to the jurisdiction of its courts, and they have the right to
adjudicate title thereto, enforce liens thereupon, and subject it to the payment of the debts of its
owners, whether resident or not.”

“The sovereign power may lay hands on any and all persons or property within its borders…”

In such a case, no distinction needs to be made between movable and immovable property.

Harris v. Balk

198 U.S. 215, 25 S. Ct. 625 (1905)


It ought to be and it is the object of courts to prevent the payment of any debt twice over.


A citizen of North Carolina owed money to another citizen of that State. While temporarily in Maryland,
however, the debtor got garnished by a creditor of his creditor (garnishee). Judgment was duly entered
according to Maryland practice and paid. Thereafter the debtor was sued in North Carolina by the creditor
and as a defense, showed the judgment and payment made in Maryland. Nevertheless, North Carolina
courts held that as the situs of the debt was in North Carolina the Maryland judgment was not a bar and
awarded judgment against him. The United States Court of Appeals reversed. The Supreme Court of North
Carolina, on the other hand, reversed the decision, which refused to give full faith and credit to a Maryland
judgment. The case was elevated to the Supreme Court of the United States.