Friday, January 8, 2010

SC Upholds Sale of Real Property by Alien to Filipino

(This was taken verbatim from "The Bar Tribune" [The Official Publication of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, Vol. 5, No. 8, June 2009])

While the acquisition and the purchase of real properties in the country by a foreigner is void ab initio for being contrary to the Constitution, the subsequent acquisition of the said properties from the foreigner by a Filipino citizen has cured the flaw in the original transaction and the title of the transferee is valid.

Thus reiterated the Supreme Court in a 12-page decision penned by Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno reversing the Court of Appeals and affirming the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Mandaue City. The RTC has declared petitioner Camilo F. Borromeo as owner in fee simple of the residential house of strong materials and three parcel of lands under litigation and ordered the issuance of new certificates of title in his name and the cancellation of the transfer certificates of titles in the name of respondent Antonietta O. Descallar. The RTC likewise directed Descallar to pay Borromeo Php25,000 as attorney's fees, Php10,000 as litigation expenses, and costs.

The SC explained the rationale for the ruling it first enunciated in United Church Board for World Ministries v. Sebastian, thus, "(S)ince the ban on aliens is intended to preserve the nation's land for future generations of Filipinos, that aim is achieved by making lawful the acquisitions of real estate by aliens who became Filipino citizens by naturalization or those transfers made by aliens to Filipino citizens. As the property in dispute is already in the hands of a qualified person, a Filipino citizen, there would be no more public policy to be protected. The objective of the constitutional provision to keep our lands in Filipino hands has been achieved."

The SC adopted the findings of the trial court that the true buyer of the subject properties in 1985-1986 was the Austrian Wilhelm Jambrich albeit the properties were registered in the name of respondent Descallar, with whom he was then having an adulterous relationship. On July 11, 1991 Jambrich transferred all his rights, interests, and participation over the subject properties to petitioner Borromeo. By then, Descallar's relationship with Jambrich was over.

On August 2, 1991, petitioner filed a complaint against respondent for recovery of real property before the RTC of Mandaue City (GR. No. 159310, Borromeo v. Descallar, February 24, 2009)


  1. Good on them im in a similar situation would like to know the name of their lawer if possible if anybody can help me there my email is

    1. To explain the above situation, all that the Court allowed in this case is to authorize the transfer by the foreigner of the land to a third party who is also a Filipino. It did not state the foreigner can own land but only that since he was "actually the owner of the property" he and not the woman can legally transfer the property to another person.