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Cirila Arcaba vs.

Erlinda Tabancura
Francisco Comille and Zosima Montallana became the registered orders of Lot No. 437-A at the corner of Calle Santa Rosa and Rosario in Zamboanga del Norte on January 1956. Zosima died on October 3, 1980. Francisco and his mother-in-law, Juliana Montallana executed a deed of extrajudicial partition with waiver of rights. Juliana waived her share consisting of the property to Francisco. Since Francisco had no children, he asked his neice (Leticia), his neices cousin (Luzviminda) and a widow (Cirila Arcaba) to take care of his house as well as the store inside. When Leticia and Luzminda got married, only Cirila was left to take good care of Francisco and his house. Erlinda Tabancura testified that the source of income of Francisco solely consisted of rentals from lots. Francisco did not pay Cirila her wages but her family received free board and lodging from him. On January 1991, Francisco executed a Deed of Donation Inter Vivos wherein he donated 150 sq. meters lot and his house to Cirila. The latter accepted such donation. The deed stated that the donation was being made in consideration of the faithful services that Cirila had rendered over the past ten (10) years. On October 1991, Francisco died. On 1993, the nephews, nieces and heirs by intestate succession of Francisco filed a petition for the nullity of the deed of donation inter vivos. They alleged that the donation violated Article 87 of the Family Code because Cirila was the common law wife of Francisco. The court granted the petition in favor of the heirs based on the testimony of Erlinda Tabancura and the documents showing that Cirila was the common law wife of Francisco (Signed documents bearing the name Cirila Comile). Cirila filed a motion for reconsideration stating that the Court of Appeals erred in stating that she was the common law wife of Francisco based on the misapprehension of facts. According to her, the presented evidences were only hearsay.

ISSUE: Whether or not the donation was void.

HELD: YES. The donation made by Francisco to Cirila was void because it is not in accordance with Article 87 of the Family Code.

Every donation or grant of gratuitous advantage, direct or indirect, between the spouses during the marriage shall be void, except moderate gifts which the spouses may give each other on the occasion of any family rejoicing. The prohibition shall also apply to persons living together as husband and wife without a valid marriage. Respondents having proven by a preponderance of evidence that Cirila and Francisco lived together as husband and wife without a valid marriage, the inescapable conclusion is that the donation made by Francisco in favor of Cirila is void under Art. 87 of the Family Code. In the case at bar, the Supreme Court held that Cirila was a common law wife of Francisco based on the following evidences:
The application for business permit to operate a real estate business where in Cirila used the surname Comile instead of Arcaba. The sanitary permit also showed Cirila Comile as signatory. The death certificate of Francisco was signed by Cirila using the surname Comile.

In Bitangcor vs. Tan, the Supreme Court ruled that cohabitation is more than sexual intercourse especially when the spouses are already old and may no longer be interested in sex.