SC resolves Quirino condo ownership

January 17, 2020

The Supreme Court has dismissed the petition of the husband of Victoria Quirino Gonzales - daughter of the late President Elpidio Quirino - in connection with the ownership of a posh condominium unit in Makati City.

In a 17-page decision dated Sept. 25, 2019 but was only released yesterday, the high court thumbed down petition of Francisco C. Delgado through his son Jose Mari as it upheld a ruling by the Court of Appeals.

The CA ruling declared that Delgado’s claim of implied trust over a unit in the Urdaneta Apartments Condominium was waived through the execution of a pre-nuptial agreement.

The agreement stated, among others, that their properties would be governed by complete separation of properties.

Moreover, it was also stipulated that “during his lifetime, (Francisco) agrees that the maintenance, support, and care of (Victoria) shall be borne solely by him and any gift which (Francisco) may have bestowed or shall bestow on (Victoria) shall become her exclusive property. Any gift which (Victoria), on the other hand, may have given or may give to (Francisco) shall revert to her after his death for her to dispose of as she may wish.”

Francisco claimed that he purchased the condominuim unit so “that he could effectively express his support for the ailing (Victoria).”

Francisco said that “(t)he best (way to provide for Victoria) that he conceived of was to acquire real properties, although to have them registered in the name of (GQ Realty).”

GQ Realty Development Corp. was established in 1984 after the death of Victoria’s first husband, former Philippine Ambassador to Spain Luis Gonzales, for the sole purpose of holding Victoria’s properties.

The High Court ruled that when Francisco purchased the condominium unit and registered the same under the name of GQ Realty, it was a gift bestowed upon Victoria.

“(T)he waiver of Francisco’s alleged interests over the subject property — again only hypothetically admitting this to be true — is completely fathomable and understandable, given his professed true love and affection for Victoria,” it added.

The SC also pointed out that the pre-nuptial agreement was not drafted by Victoria and her children, but was drafted by Francisco through his counsel and that he could have easily included a provision to the effect in the agreement to eradicate any ambiguity and misinterpretation.

“It is elementary that any ambiguity in a contract whose terms are susceptible of different interpretations must be read against the party who drafted it,” the SC explained.