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(G.R. No. 165803, September 1, 2010)

Involved in this action are parcels of land and their improvements situated in Paraaque City and registered
under the name of Spouses Parulan, who have been estranged from one another. Real estate broker Atanacio offered
the property and swayed the Spouses Aggabao. Atanacio then met with Ma. Elena (Parulans wife) at the site of the
property where Ma. Elena presented several documents including an SPA executed by Dionisio authorizing Elena to
sell the properties. During the meeting, Spouses Aggabao paid Ma. Elena an earnest money amounting to P20,000
which she acknowledged with a handwritten receipt and stipulations pertaining to the sale of the properties. Petitioners
complied and delivered the final payment to Ma. Elena, who executed a deed of absolute sale in their favor. However,
Elena did not turn over the owners duplicate copy of the TCT claiming that said copy was in the possession of a relative
who was then in Hongkong. Through the petitioners own verification, the spouses found out that said copy of title was
in the hands of Dionisios brother all along. The spouses met with Dionisios brother, Atty. Parulan, who told them that
he is the one with the power to sell the property. He demanded P800,000 for said property and gave the spouses
several days to decide. When Atty. Parulan did not hear back from the spouses, he gave them a call, and was then
informed that they have already paid the full amount to Ma. Elena. Subsequently, Dionisio, through Atty. Parulan,
commenced an action praying for the declaration of the nullity of the deed of absolute sale executed by Ma. Elena, and
the cancellation of the title issued to the petitioners by virtue thereof.
Whether or not the sale of conjugal property made by Ma. Elena, by presenting a special power of attorney to
sell (SPA) purportedly executed by respondent husband in her favor was validly made to the vendees.
No, the Court ruled that the sale of conjugal property without the consent of the husband was not merely
voidable but void; hence, it could not be ratified. Article 124 of the Family Code categorically requires the consent of
both spouses before the conjugal property may be disposed of by sale, mortgage, or other modes of disposition.
Spouses Aggabao also cannot use the defense that they are buyers in good faith because they did not
exercise the necessary prudence to inquire into the wifes authority to sell. Petitioners did not take immediate action
against Ma. Elena upon discovering that the owners original copy was in the possession of Atty. Parulan, contrary to
Elenas representation. Human experience would have impelled them to exert every effort to proceed against Ma.
Elena, including demanding the return of the substantial amounts paid to her. But they seemed not to mind her inability
to produce the TCT, and, instead, they contented themselves with meeting with Atty. Parulan to negotiate for the
possible turnover of the TCT to them.