Tuesday 23 October, 2018
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SC upholds donation to Peach Sisters of Laguna

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The Supreme Court has upheld as legal a donation to a charitable institution for the abandoned and neglected elderly made by a spinster, Purificacion Alzona, who died seven years ago.

In a decision written by Associate Justice Andres B. Reyes Jr., the SC underscored that charitable work is “an important social fabric that eliminates inequality” and pointed out that “charitable giving must be encouraged through support from society and the courts.”

“Donation is an expression of our social conscience, an act rooted purely on the goodness of one’s heart and the intent to contribute,” the ruling added.

Alzona was the registered owner of two parcels of land and co-owner of another lot in Calamba City in Laguna. She devoted the rest of her life in helping others through the Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Fatima (MSOLF), known as the Peach Sisters of Laguna, headed by Mother Ma. Concepcion R. Realon as superior general. Alzona herself originally intended to become a nun.

In a letter dated Oct. 11, 1999, Alzona informed Realon that the she was donating her house and lot and a riceland in Banlic, Calamba City to the Peach Sisters of Laguna through MSOLF.

Alzona then introduced Realon to her nephew, Francisco del Mundo, and her niece, Ma. Lourdes Alzona Agusto Africa. She instructed del Mundo to give a share of the harvest to Realon for the Peach Sisters and informed Africa that she has given her house and lot to the nuns.

On the request of Alzona in August 2001, Realon talked to lawyer Nonato Arcillas who asked the former if MSOLF was registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Since the missionary group was not registered with SEC, Realon filed a registration application on Aug. 28, 2001.

On Aug. 29, 2001, Alzona executed a deed of donation for the two properties and her undivided share in the riceland. The deed was notarized by Arcillas in the presence of Alzona and witnessed by her nephews Francisco and Diosdado (both surnamed del Mundo) and grandnephew lawyer Fernando Alonzo.

The donation was accepted by Realon and it was exempted from donor’s tax by the Bureau of Internal Revenue.

But the register of deeds denied the registration of the donated properties because of the affidavit of adverse claim filed on Sept. 26, 2001 by Purificacion’s brother, Amando Y. Alzona. Alzona died on Oct. 3, 2001.

On April 9, 2002, Amando filed a complaint with the regional trial court (RTC) to annul the deed of donation on the ground that when the donation was made, MSOLF was not registered with the SEC.

The case reached the Court of Appeals (CA), which reversed the trial court and voided the deed of donation in a decision dated Jan. 7, 2016.

In reversing the CA ruling, the SC said “there is no question that the true intent of Purificacion, the donor and the owner of the properties in question, was to give, out of liberality the subject house and lot, which she owned, to the petitioner” (MSOLF).“The Court finds that for the purpose of accepting the donation, the petitioner (MOSLF) is deemed vested with personality to accept, and Mother Concepcion is clothed with authority to act on the latter’s behalf,” it added.

“Accordingly, the acceptance of Mother Concepcion for the sisters comprising the congregation is sufficient to perfect the donation and to transfer the title to the property to the petitioner,” the SC said. (PNA)

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