SC junks Quirino daughter’s hubby bid on condo unit ownership

The Supreme Court (SC) junked the petition of the husband of the late President Elpidio Quirino's daughter for the ownership of a condominium unit in Makati City.

In a 17-page decision dated Sept. 25, 2019 penned by Associate Justice Alfredo Benjamin S. Caguioa and released on Thursday, the High Court dismissed the petition of Francisco C. Delgado, represented by his son Jose Mari, and affirmed the Court of Appeals decision declaring Francisco's claim of implied trust over a unit in the Urdaneta Apartments Condominium waived through the execution of a pre-nuptial agreement with his wife, Victoria Quirino Gonzales.

The High Court found that Francisco and Victoria agreed five days before they got married on June 20, 1987. Both of them were widower and widow at the time.

The agreement, drafted by Francisco's counsel, Romulo Mabanta Law Offices, stated, among others, that the spouses' properties would be governed by complete separation of properties.

Moreover, it also stipulated that during his lifetime, (Francisco) agrees that the maintenance, support, and care of (Victoria) shall be borne solely by him and any gift which (Francisco) may have bestowed or shall bestow on (Victoria) shall become her exclusive property. Any gift which (Victoria), on the other hand, may have given or may give to (Francisco) shall revert to her after his death for her to dispose of as she may wish.

GQ Realty Development Corp., a family corporation, was established in 1984 after the death of Victoria's first husband, former Philippine Ambassador to Spain Luis Gonzales, for the sole purpose of holding Victoria's properties.

Francisco claimed that he purchased the unit in the Urdaneta Apartments Condominium so that he could effectively express his support for the ailing (Victoria).

Francisco further declared that (t)he best (way to provide for Victoria) that he conceived of was to acquire real properties, although to have them registered in the name of (GQ Realty)."

The SC found that the reason behind the purchase of the property was that Victoria wanted to live near her daughter.

(I)t is clear that Francisco bought the subject property for the purpose of accommodating Victoria's desire to live beside her daughter, Rosario, it said.

The High Court ruled that when Francisco purchased the condominium unit and registered the same under the name of GQ Realty, it was a gift bestowed upon Victoria.

(T)he waiver of Francisco's alleged interests over the subject property � again only hypothetically admitting this to be true � is completely fathomable and understandable, given his professed true love and affection for Victoria, it added.

The SC also said GQ Realty never really operated as a legitimate real estate corporation, except with Victoria's daughter, Rosario, that is when she mortgaged the property with a bank in 2001 and when the subject property was eventually transferred in her name.

Since Victoria's death in 2006, Rosario and her siblings were prohibited to enter the subject property.

The court also said Francisco was not able to provide evidence that he was the one who actually bought the subject property using his funds and that the subject property was merely held in trust by Victoria and GQ Realty.

Assuming that Francisco really used his own funds to buy the subject property and that he intended to preserve his interest in the subject property, Francisco's failure to reduce such into writing and place protective measures to secure his alleged interest over the subject property in the Ante-Nuptial Agreement and any other document is clearly contrary to human experience. It must be stressed that the Condominium Certificate Title (CCT) covering the subject property, which is currently under the name of Rosario, is the best proof of ownership of the property and it requires more than the bare allegation of Francisco to defeat the face value of the certificate of title which enjoys a legal presumption of regularity of issuance, the SC said.

Lastly, the SC pointed out that the pre-nuptial agreement was not drafted by Victoria and her children, but was drafted by Francisco through his counsel, Romulo Mabanta Law Offices, and that he could have easily included a provision to the effect in the agreement to eradicate any ambiguity and misinterpretation.

It is elementary that any ambiguity in a contract whose terms are susceptible of different interpretations must be read against the party who drafted it, the SC explained

Source: Philippines News Agency

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