Legalese (2009 Week 12)


Voidable contract – a contract where one of the contracting parties is incapable of giving consent to the contract, or where the consent was obtained by mistake, violence, intimidation, undue influence or fraud.  (Civil Code, art. 1390)


ARTICLE 1391. The action for annulment shall be brought within four years.  This period shall begin:  In cases of intimidation, violence or undue influence, from the time the defect of the consent ceases.

In case of mistake or fraud, from the time of the discovery of the same.  And when the action refers to contracts entered into by minors or other incapacitated persons, from the time the guardianship ceases.


A voidable contract is valid unless annulled or set aside by a court.  Article 1391 of the Civil Code provides a four year period within which a party can ask a court to set aside the voidable contract.


M claims that he was forced, through threat and intimidation, to sell  (during the height of Martial Law and at a grossly low price) 3 parcels of land located near Malacanang to the Development Bank of the Philippines, which in turn, sold it to the Government, through the Office of the President.  After the President Marcos left the country sometime February 1986 (after the EDSA People Power revolution), M made repeated extrajudicial demands for the return of the property, the last being a demand letter dated October 24, 1989.  On March 23, 1990, M filed a complaint for annulment of the sale, reconveyance and damages.  Did M file the action to annul within the period prescribed by the Civil Code?   [Source: Comments and Cases on Obligations and Contracts [2003], p. 776, citing Miailhe vs. Court of Appeals, 354 SCRA 675 (2001)]