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VILLEGASvs.

ARJONA
Facts
In Dec 1996, petitioners Proceso Quiros and Leonarda Villegas filed with the office of the
barangaycaptainofLabney,Pangasinan,acomplaintforrecoveryofownershipandpossession
ofaparceloflandlocatedatLabney,Pangasinan.Petitionerssoughttorecoverfromtheiruncle
MarceloArjona,oneoftherespondentsherein,theirlawfulshareoftheinheritancefromtheir
lategrandmotherRosaArjonaQuirosaliasDoza.
In1997,anamicablesettlementwasreachedbetweentheparties.Byreasonthereof,respondent
Arjona executed a document denominated as "PAKNAAN" ("Agreement", in Pangasinan
dialect).
PetitionersfiledacomplaintwiththeMCTCwithprayerfortheissuanceofawritofexecution
of the compromise agreement which was denied because the subject property cannot be
determinedwithcertainty.
TheRTCreversedthedecisionofthemunicipalcourtonappealandorderedtheissuanceofthe
writofexecution.
RespondentsappealedtotheCA,whichreversedthedecisionoftheRTCandreinstatedthe
decisionoftheMCTC.
Issue:
WhetherornotthefailuretoincludeinthePaknaanasufficientdescriptionoftheproperty
toconveycallsfornullificationofthePaknaanorforreformationonly.
Ruling:
Forreformationonly.
Althoughbothpartiesagreedtotransferonehectarerealproperty,theyfailedtoincludein
thewrittendocumentasufficientdescriptionofthepropertytoconvey.Thiserrorisnotonefor
nullificationoftheinstrumentbutonlyforreformationsincethereisnoquestionthattherewas
meetingofthemindsbetweenthecontractingparties.Clearly,thePaknaanhasalltheearmarks
ofavalidcontract.
Theinabilityofthemunicipalcourttoidentifytheexactlocationoftheinheritedproperty
didnotnegatetheprincipalobjectofthecontract.Thisisanerroroccasionedbythefailureof
thepartiestodescribethesubjectproperty,whichiscorrectiblebyreformationanddoesnot
indicatetheabsenceoftheprincipalobjectastorenderthecontractvoid.Itcannotbedisputed
thattheobjectisdeterminableastoitskindandcanbedetermined withoutneedofanew
contractoragreement.
Reformationisaremedyinequitywherebyawritteninstrumentismadeorconstruedsoas
toexpressorconformtotherealintentionofthepartieswheresomeerrorormistakehasbeen

committed.Ingrantingreformation,theremedyinequityisnotmakinganewcontractforthe
parties,butestablishingandperpetuatingtherealcontractbetweentheparties.
InorderthatanactionforreformationofinstrumentasprovidedinArticle1359oftheCivil
Codemayprosper,thefollowingrequisitesmustconcur:(1)theremusthavebeenameetingof
themindsofthepartiestothecontract;(2)theinstrumentdoesnotexpressthetrueintentionof
theparties;and(3)thefailureoftheinstrumenttoexpressthetrueintentionofthepartiesisdue
tomistake,fraud,inequitableconductoraccident.
Bothpartiesacknowledgethatpetitionersareentitledtotheirinheritance,hence,theremedy
ofnullification,whichinvalidatesthePaknaan,wouldprejudicepetitionersanddeprivethemof
theirjustshareoftheinheritance.Respondentcannot,asanafterthought,beallowedtorenege
on his legal obligation to transfer the property to its rightful heirs. A refusal to reform
thePaknaanunder such circumstances would have the effect of penalizing one party for
negligentconduct,andatthesametimepermittingtheotherpartytoescapetheconsequencesof
hisnegligenceandprofitthereby.Nopersonshallbeunjustlyenrichedattheexpenseofanother.