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    Hello dear readers, There’s lots of happenings this month of June.  First of all, congratulations to all the graduates this year!  You have made a milestone in your life by getting your diplomas.  But it doesn’t end there.  You have to move on and continue on your next journey.  For Kinder graduates, you move on to [...]

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Page added on May 25, 2010

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CAN FORMER FILIPINOS OWN LAND (REAL ESTATE) IN THE PHILIPPINES?

BY:  FERDIE AGUIRRE

(About the writer: Ferdie Aguirre has more than 20 years of combined experience as a legal professional in the Philippines and in Canada.  After graduating from the Ateneo de Manila College of Law, he has held the following positions in the Philippine Corporate world: Asst. Senior Vice President of the Philippine National Bank, Senior Manager of the Law Division of the Metropolitan Bank & Trust Company and Chief Legal Counsel of Unibancard.  As a private legal practitioner, he has successfully handled several major cases one of which was included in the Philippine case books. Ferdie Aguirre was also a professor of Political Science and Business Law before migrating to Ontario Canada in 2005 where worked as a Paralegal. He is presently a Court Agent & Commissioner of Oaths in Alberta and is now working on his admission to the Alberta Bar.  Ferdie Aguirre may be reached at (403) 6131168 /403 4747168 or at pilipinolegalservices@yahoo.ca )

CAN FORMER FILIPINOS OWN LAND (REAL ESTATE) IN THE PHILIPPINES?

Owning a house and lot in our native land is a dream that most of us cherish.  Unfortunately, this has only remained dream to a vast majority of Filipinos who live in poverty in their native land.  Glen and Hilda are one of those that share that vision and for half their lives; they have toiled long and hard in a foreign land to give a better life to their two children.

Now in their late 40’s, Glen and Hilda decided that it is time to start planning for retirement and a big part of that plan is to go home and retire in the Philippines. Their two children already having their own careers to pursue have signified their intention to stay in their adopted country.  After hours of browsing the internet, they found the perfect house in a 700 square meter lot in Tagaytay City.  After contacting the owner and informing him of their intentions, they started inquiring around their circle of friends in the Filipino community on how to they can acquire real property in the Philippines.  One

“advice” that they got was to register the property in the name of any of their Filipino friend or relative who is a resident in the Philippines. The reason behind this “advice” is that since they already naturalized citizens of another country, they now are considered as foreigners under Philippine laws hence cannot anymore own real property in that country.

DID THEY GET THE RIGHT ADVICE?

They obviously got the wrong advice.  Although it is true that foreigners cannot own land in the Philippines (Glenn and Hilda are now considered as foreigners), there are exceptions provided for former Filipinos .  One of these exceptions is provided under Batas Pambansa 185 which provides that Filipinos who become naturalized citizens of a foreign country may still own real property .

We quote Section 2 thereof:

Batas |Pambansa Bilang 185

xxx Section 2. Any natural-born citizen of the Philippines who has lost his Philippine citizenship and who has the legal capacity to enter into a contract under Philippine laws may be a transferee of a private land up to a maximum area of one thousand square meters, in the case of urban land, or one hectare in the case of rural land, to be used by him as his residence. In the case of married couples, one of them may avail of the privilege herein granted; Provided, that if both shall avail of the same, the total area acquired shall not exceed the maximum herein fixed .xxx.

It is quite alarming that a lot of overseas Filipinos have registered the properties they acquired with their hard earned money in other people’s names because of the wrong advice of well meaning friends.  Many times this writer have been told by clients of stories of how they lost their properties in the Philippines because their friend or relatives have totally assumed ownership or even sold the properties that were entrusted to them.  Some even lost a great sum of money on account of defective documentation.

Sometimes clients have been advised to just charge the loss to experience since most of the time this writer was approached only AFTER the transaction has been consummated, the property registered in the name of another party and there was already a conflict between the parties.  As discussed by this writer in one of his past articles (PUT IT IN WRITING), the courts will only look at document or title when deciding on contracts involving real properties.   More often than not courts will not go beyond the four corners of the title of the land as this is the best evidence of ownership.

There are other laws that allow foreigners to acquire ownership of real properties in the Philippines and this will be discussed in future articles.

The best ADVICE that one can give or receive before buying or selling property in the Philippines…..

“SEEK PROFESSIONAL LEGAL ADVICE”.

(Legal Disclaimer: This article is designed for general information only. The information presented at this site should not be construed to be neither formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.)

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