For a donation to be valid, it must comply with the requirements provided under Article 749 of the New Civil Code of the Philippines which states that:
“In order that the donation of an immovable may be valid, it must be made in a public document, specifying therein the property donated and the value of the charges which the donee must satisfy.
“The acceptance may be made in the same deed of donation or in a separate public document, but it shall not take effect unless it is done during the lifetime of the donor.
“If the acceptance is made in a separate instrument, the donor shall be notified thereof in an authentic form, and this step shall be noted in both instruments.”
If the deed of donation was lost, one can still prove the donation through the provision of Section 5, Rule 130 of the 1997 Revised Rules of Court:
“When original document is unavailable. – When the original document has been lost or destroyed, or cannot be produced in court, the offeror, upon proof of its execution or existence and the cause of its unavailability without bad faith on his part, may prove its contents by a copy, or by a recital of its contents in some authentic document, or by the testimony of witnesses in the order stated.”
This is in consonance with the decision of the court in the case of the Department of Education, Culture and Sports vs. Rosario, et al. (GR 146586, Jan. 26, 2005), where the Supreme Court through Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr., stated that:
“The Notarial Law mandates a notary public to record in his notarial register the necessary information regarding the instrument acknowledged before him. The Notarial Law also mandates the notary public to retain a copy of the instrument acknowledged before him when it is a contract. The notarial register is a record of the notary public’s official acts. Acknowledged instruments recorded in the notarial register are public documents. If the instrument is not recorded in the notarial register and there is no copy in the notarial records, the presumption arises that the document was not notarized and is not a public document.”
The donation of land or immovable must be made in a public document for it to be valid.