I bought the half portion (100 square meters) of the land of spouses Jose and Maria. We signed a Deed of Absolute Sale and had it notarized and they also acknowledged the receipt of P600,000 as full payment. After a year, Jose and Maria claimed that they thought that they were just lending me their certificate of title and I allegedly lured them to sign the deed which they have no knowledge about its contents because they did not read the same when they affixed their signature. Further, they said that the deed was not signed before the notary public; hence, it is considered void. Are they correct?
Jose and Maria were bound to comply with the terms of the Deed of Absolute Sale the moment they affixed their signature on the contract. This is what the law provides in Article 1315 of the New Civil Code of the Philippines:
“Contracts are perfected by mere consent, and from that moment the parties are bound not only to the fulfilment of what has been expressly stipulated but also to all the consequences which, according to their nature may be in keeping with good faith, usage and law.”
Their claim that the contract is void because they did not affix their signature n front of the notary public is not correct. The contract is valid in so far as Jose and Maria are concerned and the notarization or lack of it will only affect the issue of whether the contract is a private document or public document.
The notarization by a notary public converts a private document into a public document, making it admissible in evidence without further proof of its authenticity. A notarial document is, by law, entitled to full faith and credit upon its face (Gonzales vs. Ramos, A.C. No. 6649, June 21, 2005, Ponente: Honorable former Associate Justice Consuelo Ynares-Santiago).
In the case titled Diampoc vs. Buenaventura and the Registry of Deeds for the City of Taguig (G.R. No. 200383, March 19, 2018), the Supreme Court through Honorable Associate Justice Mariano C. del Castillo stated:
“The rule that one who signs a contract is presumed to know its contents has been applied even to contracts of illiterate persons on the ground that if such persons are unable to read, they are negligent if they fail to have the contract read to them. If a person cannot read the instrument, it is as much his duty to procure some reliable persons to read and explain it to him, before he signs it, as it would be to read it before he signed it if he were able to do so and his failure to obtain a reading and explanation of it is such gross negligence as will estop him from avoiding it on the ground that he was ignorant of its contents.
It is also a well-settled principle that “the law will not relieve parties from the effects of an unwise, foolish or disastrous agreement they entered into with all the required formalities and with full awareness of what they were doing. Courts have no power to relieve them from obligations they voluntarily assumed simply because their contracts tum out to be disastrous deals or unwise investments. Neither the law nor the courts will extricate them from an unwise or undesirable contract which they entered into with all the required formalities and with full knowledge of its consequences.”
Jose and Maria were presumed to know the contents of the deed of sale the moment they signed the contract. It is important to emphasize that the spouses are not illiterate and they voluntarily signed the contract; hence, there is no valid excuse for them not to read its contents. They cannot evade the consequences of the contract by the simple expedient that they did not read its contents.
We hope that we were able to answer your queries. This advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated.
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