Saturday, March 03, 2012

Dumasug vs. Modelo [G.R. No. L-10462 March 16, 1916]

Facts: On November, 1911, defendant persuaded plaintiff to sign a document by making her believe that it contained an engagement on plaintiff's part to pay defendant a certain sum of money as expresses occasioned the latter by reason of a lawsuit in which plaintiff was one of the parties and was protected and aided by defendant. The plaintiff, who does not know how to write, signed the document, believing in good faith that defendant had told her the truth and that said document referred to the expenses incurred by defendant. 3 months after the execution of said document, defendant took possession of a carabao and two parcels of land, all belonging to plaintiff. The defendant notified plaintiff that she had conveyed to him by absolute sale said parcels of land and the plow carabao. 

Plaintiff asks for the nullification of the document and the recovery of her property. She, in turn, said that instruments are of no value whatever, as her consent was obtained by means of fraud and deceit on the part of defendant. Plaintiff testified that defendant told her to sign a document acknowledging that she owed him the sum of P101 for the work he had performed in her behalf in the two actions she had brought to recover here land. She did not object to so doing and signed said document by mark in the presence of the defendant while they were alone and without any attesting witness. When she was afterwards taken by defendant to the house of the notary Anselmo Saniel y Legaspi the latter said nothing to her about the pretended sale of her property. She added that she had never sold her lands or her carabao to defendant. She neither offered to sell them to defendant, nor did the latter offer to buy them for her. 

The defendant alleges that by means of the instrument of purchase and sale of the properties, he acquired the possession and ownership of the said property. According to the defendant, the plaintiff signed with a cross placed between her Christian name and surname in the presence of the witnesses Mariano Abear and Apolina Minosa, and certified before a notary on the very date of its execution. The defendant testified that the sale of the parcels of land and the carabao was in payment of a debt of P333.49 which the plaintiff was owing him for money he had advanced her to maintain two actions against Albarracin and Saniel. He added that these sums of money were expended by plaintiff in the payment of attorney's fees, traveling expenses for herself and her witnesses and for their expenses while in Cebu. 

Issue: Whether or not the instrument of purchase and sale of two parcels of land and a plow carabao is null and void. 

Held: The consent given by plaintiff in the document is null and void, as it was given by mistake. This error invalidates the contract, because it goes to the very substance of the thing which was the subject-matter of said contract, for, had the maker thereof truly understood the contents of said document, she would neither have accepted nor authenticated it by her mark. 

It is undeniable that she was deceived in order to obtain her consent thereto. The document signed by plaintiff has no value whatever, for the reason that it is not the one which, of her own free will, she authenticated with her mark.

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