I’ve talked a number of times on this blog about the fact that unless you are a Citizen of the Philippines, you cannot own land. There is only one exception to that – if you are a former citizen who has been naturalized in another country, then you can own a limited amount of land, basically enough to have a house here. That is the only exception to the law that non-citizens cannot own property.
Funny thing is, lately, I’ve been getting a lot of e-mails from different foreigners from all around the world. They are all asking questions about what they can do to own land. It’s always the same – they want to buy it in the girlfriend’s name (most of these guys aren’t even married to local ladies), and have some sort of affidavit drawn up that will show that they (the foreign guy) is the true owner. They ask me if there is any way to circumvent the law. Let me just say this – the law is very clear – if you are not a citizen, you CANNOT own land.
When I tell them this, they ask if the affidavit won’t stand up in court. Well, of course it won’t! You cannot legally own land, so any document that says you own the land is automatically illegal, and will not be accepted by the court. No matter what, whoever has their name on the title of the land is the owner! You cannot change that.
Now, in my case, I am involved in a long term marriage (17 years) to my Filipina wife, and I trust her implicitly. Even if something did happen with our marriage (which it won’t), I feel secure that the two of us would be equitable in splitting our property. It’s just not a concern for me. But, if I was just purchasing real estate and putting it in the name of a girlfriend, I’d be quite concerned about that. In that case, if you buy land and put it in a girlfriend’s name, in my opinion, you should just consider it to be hers, and she can leave you at any time.
The bottom line is this – don’t fool yourself! Don’t let others fool you! Use your mind and think about things. If the law says it is illegal for you to do something, how would a piece of paper make it legal? Bottom line is that it won’t!