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G.R. No.

128314

May 29, 2002

RODOLFO V. JAO, petitioner,


vs.
COURT OF APPEALS and PERICO V. JAO, respondents.
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:
Rodolfo and Perico Jao were the only sons of the spouses Ignacio Jao Tayag and
Andrea V. Jao, who died intestate in 1988 and 1989, respectively. The decedents left
real estate, cash, shares of stock and other personal properties.
On April 17, 1991, Perico instituted a petition for issuance of letters of
administration before the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 99, over the
estate of his parents, docketed as Special Proceedings No. Q-91-8507. 1 Pending the
appointment of a regular administrator, Perico moved that he be appointed as special
administrator. He alleged that his brother, Rodolfo, was gradually dissipating the
assets of the estate. More particularly, Rodolfo was receiving rentals from real
properties without rendering any accounting, and forcibly opening vaults belonging
to their deceased parents and disposing of the cash and valuables therein.
Rodolfo moved for the dismissal of the petition on the ground of improper
venue.2 He argued that the deceased spouses did not reside in Quezon City either
during their lifetime or at the time of their deaths. The decedents actual residence
was in Angeles City, Pampanga, where his late mother used to run and operate a
bakery. As the health of his parents deteriorated due to old age, they stayed in
Rodolfos residence at 61 Scout Gandia Street, Quezon City, solely for the purpose
of obtaining medical treatment and hospitalization. Rodolfo submitted documentary
evidence previously executed by the decedents, consisting of income tax returns,
voters affidavits, statements of assets and liabilities, real estate tax payments, motor
vehicle registration and passports, all indicating that their permanent residence was
in Angeles City, Pampanga.1wphi1.nt
In his opposition,3 Perico countered that their deceased parents actually resided in
Rodolfos house in Quezon City at the time of their deaths. As a matter of fact, it was
conclusively declared in their death certificates that their last residence before they
died was at 61 Scout Gandia Street, Quezon City.4 Rodolfo himself even supplied the
entry appearing on the death certificate of their mother, Andrea, and affixed his own
signature on the said document.
Rodolfo filed a rejoinder, stating that he gave the information regarding the
decedents residence on the death certificates in good faith and through honest
mistake. He gave his residence only as reference, considering that their parents were
treated in their late years at the Medical City General Hospital in Mandaluyong,

Metro Manila. Their stay in his house was merely transitory, in the same way that
they were taken at different times for the same purpose to Pericos residence at
Legaspi Towers in Roxas Boulevard. The death certificates could not, therefore, be
deemed conclusive evidence of the decedents residence in light of the other
documents showing otherwise.5
The court required the parties to submit their respective nominees for the
position.6 Both failed to comply, whereupon the trial court ordered that the petition
be archived.7
Subsequently, Perico moved that the intestate proceedings be revived. 8 After the
parties submitted the names of their respective nominees, the trial court designated
Justice Carlos L. Sundiam as special administrator of the estate of Ignacio Jao Tayag
and Andrea Jao.9
On April 6, 1994, the motion to dismiss filed by petitioner Rodolfo was denied, to
wit:
A mere perusal of the death certificates of the spouses issued separately in
1988 and 1989, respectively, confirm the fact that Quezon City was the last
place of residence of the decedents. Surprisingly, the entries appearing on
the death certificate of Andrea V. Jao were supplied by movant, Rodolfo V.
Jao, whose signature appears in said document. Movant, therefore, cannot
disown his own representation by taking an inconsistent position other than
his own admission. xxx xxx xxx.
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing consideration, this court DENIES
for lack of merit movants motion to dismiss.
SO ORDERED.10
Rodolfo filed a petition for certiorari with the Court of Appeals, which was docketed
as CA-G.R. SP No. 35908. On December 11, 1996, the Court of Appeals rendered
the assailed decision, the dispositive portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, no error, much less any grave abuse of discretion of the
court a quo having been shown, the petition for certiorari is hereby
DISMISSED. The questioned order of the respondent Judge is affirmedin
toto.
SO ORDERED.11

Rodolfos motion for reconsideration was denied by the Court of Appeals in the
assailed resolution dated February 17, 1997. 12 Hence, this petition for review,
anchored on the following grounds:
I
RESPONDENT COURT HAD DECIDED A QUESTION OF
SUBSTANCE IN A WAY NOT IN ACCORD WITH THE LAW AND IS
DIRECTLY CONTRADICTORY TO THE APPLICABLE DECISION
ALREADY RENDERED BY THIS HONORABLE COURT.
II

VI
RESPONDENT COURT ERRED IN APPLYING THE PRINCIPLE OF
ESTOPPEL AS AGAINST PETITIONER WHICH CAN NOT BE MORE
PERSUASIVE THAN THE CLEAR INTENTION OF THE DECEDENTS
THEMSELVES TO ESTABLISH PERMANENT RESIDENCE IN
ANGELES CITY.
VII
RESPONDENT COURT ERRED IN DISMISSING THE PETITION FOR
CERTIORARI DESPITE THE CLEAR ABUSE OF DISCRETION ON
THE PART OF THE TRIAL COURT IN INSISTING TO TAKE
COGNIZANCE OF SP. PROCEEDING NO. Q-91-8507.13

RESPONDENT COURT ERRED IN DISREGARDING THE RULING OF


THIS HONORABLE COURT IN THE CASE OF EUSEBIO VS.
EUSEBIO, 100 PHILS. 593, WHICH CLEARLY INTERPRETED WHAT
IS MEANT BY RESIDENCE IN SEC. 1 OF RULE 73 OF THE RULES
OF COURT.

The main issue before us is: where should the settlement proceedings be had --- in
Pampanga, where the decedents had their permanent residence, or in Quezon City,
where they actually stayed before their demise?

III

Rule 73, Section 1 of the Rules of Court states:

RESPONDENT COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT PHYSICAL


PRESENCE IN A PLACE AT THE TIME OF DEATH IS
DETERMINATIVE OF DECEDENTS RESIDENCE RATHER THAN
THE INTENTION OF THE DECEDENTS TO ESTABLISH THEIR
PERMANENT RESIDENCE IN ANOTHER PLACE.
IV
RESPONDENT COURT ERRED IN APPLYING BY ANALOGY THE
RESIDENCE CONTEMPLATED IN SEC. 2 OF RULE 4 FOR THE
PURPOSE OF SERVING SUMMONS TO A DEFENDANT IN A
PERSONAL ACTION TO THE RESIDENCE CONTEMPLATED IN SEC.
1 OF RULE 73 FOR THE PURPOSE OF DETERMINING VENUE IN
THE SETTLEMENT OF THE ESTATE OF A DECEASED.
V
RESPONDENT COURT ERRED IN GIVING MORE WEIGHT TO THE
ENTRY OF PETITIONER AND PRIVATE RESPONDENT IN THE
RESPECTIVE DEATH CERTIFICATES OF THE DECEDENTS RATHER
THAN THE OVERWHELMING EVIDENCE SHOWING THE CLEAR
INTENTION OF THE DECEDENTS TO ESTABLISH THEIR
PERMANENT RESIDENCE IN ANGELES CITY.

Where estate of deceased persons be settled. If the decedent is an


inhabitant of the Philippines at the time of his death, whether a citizen or an
alien, his will shall be proved, or letters of administration granted, and his
estate settled, in the Court of First Instance in the province in which he
resides at the time of his death, and if he is an inhabitant of a foreign
country, the Court of First Instance of any province in which he had estate.
The court first taking cognizance of the settlement of the estate of a
decedent shall exercise jurisdiction to the exclusion of all other courts. The
jurisdiction assumed by a court, so far as it depends on the place of
residence of the decedent, or of the location of his estate, shall not be
contested in a suit or proceeding, except in an appeal from that court, in the
original case, or when the want of jurisdiction appears on the record.
(underscoring ours)
Clearly, the estate of an inhabitant of the Philippines shall be settled or letters of
administration granted in the proper court located in the province where the
decedent resides at the time of his death.
Petitioner Rodolfo invokes our ruling in the case of Eusebio v. Eusebio, et
al.,14 where we held that the situs of settlement proceedings shall be the place where
the decedent had his permanent residence or domicile at the time of death. In
determining residence at the time of death, the following factors must be considered,
namely, the decedent had: (a) capacity to choose and freedom of choice; (b) physical
presence at the place chosen; and (c) intention to stay therein permanently.15 While it

appears that the decedents in this case chose to be physically present in Quezon City
for medical convenience, petitioner avers that they never adopted Quezon City as
their permanent residence.1wphi1.nt
The contention lacks merit.
The facts in Eusebio were different from those in the case at bar. The decedent
therein, Andres Eusebio, passed away while in the process of transferring his
personal belongings to a house in Quezon City. He was then suffering from a heart
ailment and was advised by his doctor/son to purchase a Quezon City residence,
which was nearer to his doctor. While he was able to acquire a house in Quezon City,
Eusebio died even before he could move therein. In said case, we ruled that Eusebio
retained his domicile --- and hence, residence --- in San Fernando, Pampanga. It
cannot be said that Eusebio changed his residence because, strictly speaking, his
physical presence in Quezon City was just temporary.
In the case at bar, there is substantial proof that the decedents have transferred to
petitioners Quezon City residence. Petitioner failed to sufficiently refute
respondents assertion that their elderly parents stayed in his house for some three to
four years before they died in the late 1980s.
Furthermore, the decedents respective death certificates state that they were both
residents of Quezon City at the time of their demise. Significantly, it was petitioner
himself who filled up his late mothers death certificate. To our mind, this
unqualifiedly shows that at that time, at least, petitioner recognized his deceased
mothers residence to be Quezon City. Moreover, petitioner failed to contest the
entry in Ignacios death certificate, accomplished a year earlier by respondent.
The recitals in the death certificates, which are admissible in evidence, were thus
properly considered and presumed to be correct by the court a quo. We agree with
the appellate courts observation that since the death certificates were accomplished
even before petitioner and respondent quarreled over their inheritance, they may be
relied upon to reflect the true situation at the time of their parents death.
The death certificates thus prevailed as proofs of the decedents residence at the
time of death, over the numerous documentary evidence presented by petitioner. To
be sure, the documents presented by petitioner pertained not to residence at the
time of death, as required by the Rules of Court, but to permanent residence or
domicile. In Garcia-Fule v. Court of Appeals,16 we held:
xxx xxx xxx the term "resides" connotes ex vi termini "actual residence" as
distinguished from "legal residence or domicile." This term "resides", like
the terms "residing" and "residence", is elastic and should be interpreted in
the light of the object or purpose of the statute or rule in which it is
employed. In the application of venue statutes and rules Section 1, Rule

73 of the Revised Rules of Court is of such nature residence rather


than domicile is the significant factor. Even where the statute uses the word
"domicile" still it is construed as meaning residence and not domicile in the
technical sense. Some cases make a distinction between the terms
"residence" and "domicile" but as generally used in statutes fixing venue,
the terms are synonymous, and convey the same meaning as the term
"inhabitant." In other words, "resides" should be viewed or understood in its
popular sense, meaning, the personal, actual or physical habitation of a
person, actual residence or place of abode. It signifies physical presence in a
place and actual stay thereat. In this popular sense, the term means merely
residence, that is, personal residence, not legal residence or domicile.
Residence simply requires bodily presence as an inhabitant in a given place,
while domicile requires bodily presence in that place and also an intention
to make it ones domicile. No particular length of time of residence is
required though; however, the residence must be more than temporary.17
Both the settlement court and the Court of Appeals found that the decedents have
been living with petitioner at the time of their deaths and for some time prior thereto.
We find this conclusion to be substantiated by the evidence on record. A close
perusal of the challenged decision shows that, contrary to petitioners assertion, the
court below considered not only the decedents physical presence in Quezon City,
but also other factors indicating that the decedents stay therein was more than
temporary. In the absence of any substantial showing that the lower courts factual
findings stemmed from an erroneous apprehension of the evidence presented, the
same must be held to be conclusive and binding upon this Court.
Petitioner strains to differentiate between the venue provisions found in Rule 4,
Section 2,18 on ordinary civil actions, and Rule 73, Section 1, which applies
specifically to settlement proceedings. He argues that while venue in the former
understandably refers to actual physical residence for the purpose of serving
summons, it is the permanent residence of the decedent which is significant in Rule
73, Section 1. Petitioner insists that venue for the settlement of estates can only refer
to permanent residence or domicile because it is the place where the records of the
properties are kept and where most of the decedents properties are located.
Petitioners argument fails to persuade.
It does not necessarily follow that the records of a persons properties are kept in the
place where he permanently resides. Neither can it be presumed that a persons
properties can be found mostly in the place where he establishes his domicile. It may
be that he has his domicile in a place different from that where he keeps his records,
or where he maintains extensive personal and business interests. No generalizations
can thus be formulated on the matter, as the question of where to keep records or
retain properties is entirely dependent upon an individuals choice and peculiarities.

At any rate, petitioner is obviously splitting straws when he differentiates between


venue in ordinary civil actions and venue in special proceedings. In Raymond v.
Court of Appeals19 and Bejer v. Court of Appeals,20 we ruled that venue for ordinary
civil actions and that for special proceedings have one and the same meaning. As
thus defined, "residence", in the context of venue provisions, means nothing more
than a persons actual residence or place of abode, provided he resides therein with
continuity and consistency.21 All told, the lower court and the Court of Appeals
correctly held that venue for the settlement of the decedents intestate estate was
properly laid in the Quezon City court.
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the petition is DENIED, and the decision
of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 35908 is AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. L-33006 December 8, 1982


NICANOR NACAR, petitioner,
vs.
CLAUDIO A. NISTAL as Municipal Judge of Esperanza, Agusan del Sur,
PROVINCIAL SHERIFF of Agusan del Sur, ILDEFONSO JAPITANA and
ANTONIO DOLORICON, respondents.
Tranquilino O. Calo, Jr. for petitioner.

In a resolution dated January 12, 1971, this Court, upon the posting of a bond in the
amount of P1,000.00, directed the issuance of a preliminary mandatory injunction.
The respondents were enjoined from further enforcing the writ of attachment and to
return the seized carabaos. The judge was restrained from further proceeding with
Civil Case No. 65.
We find the petition meritorious.
The pertinent portions of the complaint filed by Mr. Japitana with the municipal
court read as follows:

Ildefonso Japitana and Antonio Boloricon for respondents.


ILDEFONSO JAPITANA Civil Case No. 65 Plaintiff,
FOR:
GUTIERREZ, JR., J.:
Versus
Nicanor Nacar filed this petition for certiorari, prohibition, and mandamus with
preliminary injunction to annul an order of the respondent judge of the municipal
court of Esperanza, Agusan del Sur directing the attachment of seven (7) carabaos, to
effect the return of four (4) carabaos seized under the questioned order, and to stop
the respondent judge from further proceeding in Civil Case No. 65.

CLAIM AGAINST THE ESTATE NICANOR NACAR THE


LATE ISABELO NACAR WITH Defendant. PRELIMINARY
ATTACHMENT x ---------------------------------x
COMPLAINT

Respondent Ildefonso Japitana filed the complaint in Civil Case No. 65 and entitled
it "Claim Against the Estate of the Late Isabelo Nacar With Preliminary Attachment:"
On the basis of this complaint, including an allegation "that defendant are (sic) about
to remove and dispose the above-named property (seven carabaos) with intent to
defraud plaintiff herein", and considering that Mr. Japitana had given security
according to the Rules of Court, Judge Nistal issued the order commanding the
provincial sheriff to attach the seven (7) heads of cattle in the possession of petitioner
Nicanor Nacar. Actually only four (4) carabaos were attached because three (3)
carabaos had earlier been slaughtered during the rites preceding the burial of the late
Isabelo Nacar.
Nicanor Nacar filed a motion to dismiss, to dissolve writ of preliminary attachment,
and to order the return of the carabaos. Private respondent Japitana filed an
opposition to this motion while intervenor Antonio Doloricon filed a complaint in
intervention asserting that he was the owner of the attached carabaos and that the
certificates of ownership of large cattle were in his name.
The respondent Judge denied the motion to dismiss prompting Mr. Nacar to come to
the Supreme Court.

COMES NOW the undersigned plaintiff and before this Honorable


Court, respectfully avers:
xxx xxx xxx
That at various dates since the year 1968, the defendant have (sic)
incurred indebtedness to the plaintiff in the total sum of TWO
THOUSAND SEVEN HUNDRED NINETY ONE (P2,791.00)
PESOS, which said amount had long been overdue for payment,
and which the defendant up to this date have (sic) not been able to
pay, despite repeated demands from the plaintiff;
That the defendant Isabelo Nacar died last April, 1970 leaving
among other things personal property consisting seven (7) heads of
carabaos now in the possession of the defendant Nicanor Nacar;
That plaintiff herein file a claim against the estate of the late
Isabelo Nacar to recover the aforementioned sum of P2,791.99;

That defendant are (sic) about to remove and dispose the above
mentioned property with intent to defraud plaintiff herein;
That plaintiff is willing to put up a bond for the issuance of a
preliminary attachment in an amount to be fixed by the Court, not
exceeding the sum of P 2,791.00 which is the plaintiff's claim
herein;
WHEREFORE, it is respectfully prayed that pending the hearing
of this case, a writ of preliminary attachment be issued against the
properties of the defendant to serve as security for the payment or
satisfaction of any judgment that may be recovered herein; and that
after due hearing on the principal against the defendant for the sum
of P 2,791,00 with legal interest from September 15, 1970 plus
costs of this suit. (Annex "A", p. 7 rollo).
In his motion to dismiss, the petitioner raised the issue of lack of jurisdiction and
absence of a cause of action. Mr. Nacar averred that the indebtedness mentioned in
the complaint was alleged to have been incurred by the late Isabelo Nacar and not by
Nicanor Nacar. There was, therefore, no cause of action against him. The petitioner
also stated that a municipal court has no jurisdiction to entertain an action involving
a claim filed against the estate of a deceased person.
The same grounds have been raised in this petition. Mr. Nacar contends:
xxx xxx xxx
9. That the respondent judge acted without jurisdiction.The
municipal courts or inferior courts have NO jurisdiction to settle
the estate of deceased persons. The proper remedy is for the
creditor to file the proper proceedings in the court of first instance
and file the corresponding claim. But assuming without admitting
that the respondent judge had jurisdiction, it is very patent that he
committed a very grave abuse of discretion and totally disregarded
the provisions of the Rules of Court and decisions of this
honorable Court when he issued an ex-parte writ of preliminary
attachment, when there is no showing that the plaintiff therein has
a sufficient cause of action, that there is no other security for the
claim sought to be enforced by the plaintiff; or that the amount
claimed in the action is as much as the sum for which the order is
prayed for above all legal counterclaims; There was no bond to
answer for whatever damages that herein petitioner may suffer;
(Rollo, pp. 3- 4).
xxx xxx xxx

The respondent judge tried to avoid the consequences of the issues raised in the
motion to dismiss by stating that although the title of the complaint styled it a claim
against the estate of the late Isabelo Nacar, the allegations showed that the nature of
the action was really for the recovery of an indebtedness in the amount of P2,791.99.
The rule cited by the judge is correctly stated but it is hardly relevant to the contents
of the complaint filed by Mr. Japitana.
It is patent from the portions of the complaint earlier cited that the allegations are not
only vague and ambiguous but downright misleading. The second paragraph of the
body of the complaint states that the defendant (herein petitioner Nicanor Nacar) at
various dates since the year 1968 incurred debts to the plaintiff in the sum of
P2,791.00. And yet, in the subsequent paragraphs, one clearly gathers that the debts
were actually incurred by the late Isabelo Nacar, who died several months before the
filing of the complaint. The complaint which the respondent judge reads as one for
the collection of a sum of money and all the paragraphs of which are incidentally
unnumbered, expressly states as a material averment:
xxx xxx xxx
That plaintiff herein file (sic) a claim against the estate of the late Isabelo Nacar to
recover the aforementioned sum of P2,791.00;
xxx xxx xxx
Under the circumstances of this case, respondent Japitana has no cause of action
against petitioner Nacar.Mathay v. Consolidated Bank and Trust Company (58 SCRA
559) gives the elements of a valid cause of action:
A cause of action is an act or omission of one party in violation of
the legal right of the other. Its essential elements are, namely: (1)
the existence of a legal right in the plaintiff, (2) a correlative legal
duty in the defendant, and (3) an act or omission of the defendant
in violation of plaintiff's right with consequential injury or damage
to the plaintiff for which he may maintain an action for the
recovery of damages or other appropriate relief. ( Ma-ao Sugar
Central Co., Inc. vs. Barrios, et al., 79 Phil. 666, 667; Ramitere et
al. vs. Montinola Vda. de Yulo, et al., L-19751, February 28, 1966,
16 SCRA 251, 255). On the other hand, Section 3 of Rule 6 of the
Rules of Court provides that the complaint must state the ultimate
facts constituting the plaintiff's cause of action. Hence, where the
complaint states ultimate facts that constitute the three essential
elements of a cause of action, the complaint states a cause of
action; (Community Investment and Finance Corp. vs. Garcia, 88

Phil. 215, 218) otherwise, the complaint must succumb to a motion


to dismiss on that ground.
Indeed, although respondent Japitana may have a legal right to recover an
indebtedness due him, petitioner Nicanor Nacar has no correlative legal duty to pay
the debt for the simple reason that there is nothing in the complaint to show that he
incurred the debt or had anything to do with the creation of the liability. As far as the
debt is concerned, there is no allegation or showing that the petitioner had acted in
violation of Mr. Japitana's rights with consequential injury or damage to the latter as
would create a cause of action against the former.
It is also patent from the complaint that respondent Japitana filed the case against
petitioner Nacar to recover seven (7) heads of carabaos allegedly belonging to
Isabelo Nacar which Japitana wanted to recover from the possession of the petitioner
to answer for the outstanding debt of the late Isabelo Nacar. This matter, however, is
only ancillary to the main action. The ancillary matter does not cure a fatal defect in
the complaint for the main action is for the recovery of an outstanding debt of the
late lsabelo Nacar due respondent Japitana, a cause of action about which petitioner
Nacar has nothing to do.
In fact the fatal defect in the complaint was noticed by the respondent court when it
advised respondent Japitana to amend his complaint to conform with his evidence
and from the court's admission that it was inclined to dismiss the case were it not for
the complaint in intervention of respondent Doloricon. Respondent Doloricon filed
his complaint for intervention on the ground that the four carabaos, subject of the
writ of attachment, were actually his carabaos. Thus, the respondent court in its
Order denying the petitioner's motion to dismiss, to dissolve writ of preliminary
attachment and in order the return of the carabaos said:
... Antonio Doloricon manifested before this Court that he is filing
a third-party complaint alleging that he is the true and lawful
owner of the carabaos in questions.
IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING, this Court for the interest
of both parties will not for the meantime dismiss this case. Antonio
Doloricon is hereby given 10 days from receipt hereof within
which to file his third-party complaint. The plaintiff who in his
opposition to defendant's motion to dismiss pray (sic) for the
custody of the carabaos. This Court further requires plaintiff to put
up the additional bond of P I,000.00 after which the latter may be
entitled of (sic) the custody of the carabaos subject of litigation
pending final termination of this case. (Rollo, pp. 18-19)

The respondent court's reason for not dismissing the case is contrary to applicable
precedents on the matter. We ruled in Mathay v. Consolidated Bank and Trust
Company, supra:
Section I, Rule 16 of the Rules of Court, providing in part that:
Within the time for pleading a motion to dismiss
may be made on any of the following grounds; ...
(g) That the complaint states no cause of
action. ...
explicitly requires that the sufficiency of the complaint must be tested exclusively on
the basis of the complaint itself and no other should be considered when the ground
for motion to dismiss is that the complaint states no cause of action. Pursuant thereto
this Court has ruled that:
As a rule the sufficiency of the complaint, when
challenged in a motion to dismiss, must be
determined exclusively on the basis of the facts
alleged therein' (Uy Chao vs. De La Rama
Steamship Co., Inc., L-14495, September 29,
1962, 6 SCRA 69, 72. See also De Jesus, et al.
vs. Belarmino et al., 95 Phil. 365, 371; Dalandan,
et at. vs. Julio, et al., L- 19101, February 29,
1964, 10 SCRA 400; Ramitere et al. vs.
Montinola Vda. de Yulo, et al., L-19751,
February 28, 1966, 16 SCRA 250, 254; Acuna
vs. Batac Producers Cooperative Marketing
Association, Inc., et al., L-20338, June 30, 1967,
20 SCRA 526, 531)
Hence, it was error for the respondent court not to dismiss the case simply because
respondent Doloricon filed the complaint for intervention alleging that he owned the
carabaos.
Moreover, even assuming that respondent Japitana had a legal right to the carabaos
which were in the possession of petitioner Nacar, the proper procedure would not be
to file an action for the recovery of the outstanding debts of the late Isabelo Nacar
against his stepfather, the petitioner Nacar as defendant. As we said in Maspil v.
Romero (61 SCRA 197):
Appropriate actions for the enforcement or defense of rights must
be taken in accordance with procedural rules and cannot be left to
the whims or caprices of litigants. It cannot even be left to the

untrammeled discretion of the courts of justice without sacrificing


uniformity and equality in the application and effectivity thereof.
Considering the foregoing, the respondent court's denial of the motion to dismiss the
complaint and its issuance of a writ of attachment based on the allegations of the
complaint are improper. With this conclusion, we find no need to discuss the other
issue on whether or not the procedural rules on the issuance of a writ of attachment
were followed by the respondent court in issuing the subject writ of attachment.
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby granted. The preliminary mandatory injunction
issued on January 13, 1971 is made permanent and the cash bond filed by the
petitioner in connection therewith is ordered returned to him.
SO ORDERED.

[G. R. No. 4275. March 23, 1909.]


PAULA CONDE, Plaintiff-Appellee, vs. ROMAN ABAYA, Defendant-Appellant.
DECISION
ARELLANO, C.J.:
From the hearing of the appeal interposed by Roman Abaya in the special
proceedings brought in the Court of First Instance of La Laguna for the settlement of
the intestate estate and the distribution of the property of Casiano Abaya it
appears: chanrobles virtualawlibrary
I.
As antecedents: chanrobles virtualawlibrary that Casiano Abaya,
unmarried, the son of Romualdo Abaya and Sabina Labadia, died on the 6th of April
1899; that Paula Conde, as the mother of the natural children Jose and Teopista
Conde, whom she states she had by Casiano Abaya, on the 6th of November, 1905,
moved the settlement of the said intestate succession; that an administrator having
been appointed for the said estate on the 25th of November, 1905, Roman Abaya, a
son of the said Romualdo Abaya and Sabina Labadia, the parents of the late Casiano
Abaya, came forward and opposed said appointment and claimed it for himself as
being the nearest relative of the deceased; that this was granted by the court below on
the 9th of January, 1906; that on the 17th of November, 1906, Roman Abaya moved
that, after due process of law, the court declare him to be the sole heir of Casiano
Abaya, to the exclusion of all other persons, especially of Paula Conde, and to be
therefore entitled to take possession of all the property of said estate, and that it be
adjudicated to him; and that on November 22, 1906, the court ordered the publication
of notices for the declaration of heirs and distribution of the property of the estate.
II.
That on the 28th of November, 1906, Paula Conde, in reply to the
foregoing motion of Roman Abaya, filed a petition wherein she stated that she
acknowledged the relationship alleged by Roman Abaya, but that she considered that
her right was superior to his and moved for a hearing of the matter, and, in
consequence of the evidence that she intended to present she prayed that she be
declared to have preferential rights to the property left by Casiano Abaya, and that
the same be adjudicated to her together with the corresponding products thereof.
III.
That the trial was held, both parties presenting documentary and oral
evidence, and the court below entered the following judgment: chanrobles
virtualawlibrary
That the administrator of the estate of Casiana Abaya should recognize Teopista and
Jose Conde as being natural children of Casiano Abaya; that the Petitioner Paula
Conde should succeed to the hereditary rights of her children with respect to the
inheritance of their deceased natural father Casiano Abaya; and therefore, it is hereby
declared that she is the only heir to the property of the said intestate estate, to the
exclusion of the administrator, Roman Abaya.

IV.
That Roman Abaya excepted to the foregoing judgment, appealed to this
court, and presented the following statement of errors: chanrobles virtualawlibrary
1.
The fact that the court below found that an ordinary action for the
acknowledgment of natural children under articles 135 and 137 of the Civil Code,
might be brought in special probate proceedings.
2.
The finding that after the death of a person claimed to be an
unacknowledged natural child, the mother of such presumed natural child, as heir to
the latter, may bring an action to enforce the acknowledgment of her deceased child
in accordance with articles 135 and 137 of the Civil Code.
3.
The finding in the judgment that the alleged continuous possession of the
deceased children of Paula Conde of the status of natural children of the late Casiano
Abaya, has been fully proven in these proceedings; and
4.
On the hypothesis that it was proper to adjudicate the property of this
intestate estate to Paula Conde, as improperly found by the court below, the court
erred in not having declared that said property should be reserved in favor of
relatives of Casiano Abaya to the third degree, and in not having previously
demanded securities from Paula Conde to guarantee the transmission of the property
to those who might fall within the reservation.
As to the first error assigned, the question is set up as to whether in special
proceedings for the administration and distribution of an intestate estate, an action
might be brought to enforce the acknowledgment of the natural child of the person
from whom the inheritance is derived, that is to say, whether one might appear as
heir on the ground that he is a recognized natural child of the deceased, not having
been so recognized by the deceased either voluntarily or compulsory by reason of a
preexisting judicial decision, but asking at the same time that, in the special
proceeding itself, he be recognized by the presumed legitimate heirs of the deceased
who claim to be entitled to the succession opened in the special proceeding.
According to section 782 of the Code of Civil Procedure
If there shall be a controversy before the Court of First Instance as to who the
lawful heirs of the deceased person are, or as to the distributive share to which each
person is entitled under the law, the testimony as to such controversy shall be taken
in writing by the judge, under oath and signed by witness. Any party in interest
whose distributive share is affected by the determination of such controversy, may
appeal from the judgment of the Court of First Instance determining such
controversy to the Supreme Court, within the time and in the manner provided in the
last preceding section.
This court has decided the present question in the manner shown in the case of Juana
Pimental vs. Engracio Palanca (5 Phil. Rep. 436.) cralaw
The main question with regard to the second error assigned, is whether or not the
mother of a natural child now deceased, but who survived the person who, it is
claimed, was his natural father, also deceased, may bring an action for the
acknowledgment of the natural filiation in favor of such child in order to appear in

his behalf to receive the inheritance from the person who is supposed to be his
natural father.
In order to decide in the affirmative the court below has assigned the following as the
only foundation: chanrobles virtualawlibrary
In resolving a similar question Manresa says: chanrobles virtualawlibrary An
acknowledgment can only be demanded by the natural child and his descendants
whom it shall benefit, and should they be minors or otherwise incapacitated, such
person as legally represents them; the mother may ask it in behalf of her child so
long as he is under her authority. On this point no positive declaration has been
made, undoubtedly because it was not considered necessary. A private action is in
question and the general rule must be followed. Elsewhere the same author
adds: chanrobles virtualawlibrary It may so happen that the child dies before four
years have expired after attaining majority, or that the document supporting his
petition for acknowledgment is discovered after his death, such death perhaps
occurring after his parents had died, as is supposed by article 137, or during their
lifetime. In any case such right of action shall pertain to the descendants of the child
whom the acknowledgment may interest. (See Commentaries to arts. 135 and 137,
Civil Code. Vol. I.) cralaw
The above doctrine, advanced by one of the most eminent commentators of the Civil
Code, lacks legal and doctrinal foundation. The power to transmit the right of such
action by the natural child to his descendants cannot be sustained under the law, and
still less to his mother.
It is without any support in law because the rule laid down in the code is most
positive, limiting in form, when establishing the exception for the exercise of such
right of action after the death of the presumed parents, as is shown hereafter. It is not
supported by any doctrine, because up to the present time no argument has been
presented, upon which even an approximate conclusion could be based.
Although the Civil Code considerably improved the condition of recognized natural
children, granting them rights and actions that they did not possess under the former
laws, they were not, however, placed upon the same plane as legitimate ones. The
difference that separates these two classes of children is still great, as proven by so
many articles dealing with the rights of the family and with succession in relation to
the members thereof. It may be laid down as a legal maxim, that whatever the code
does not grant to the legitimate children, or in connection with their rights, must still
less be understood as granted to recognized natural children or in connection with
their rights. There is not a single exception in its provisions.
If legitimacy is the attribute that constitutes the basis of the absolute family rights of
the child, the acknowledgment of the natural child is, among illegitimate ones, that
which unites him to the family of the father or the mother who recognizes him, and
affords him a participation in the rights of the family, relatively advantageous
according to whether they are alone or whether they concur with other individuals of
the family of his purely natural father or mother.

Thus, in order to consider the spirit of the Civil Code nothing is more logical than to
establish a comparison between an action to claim the legitimacy, and one to enforce
acknowledgment.
Art. 118.
The action to claim its legitimacy may be brought by the child at
any time of its lifetime and shall be transmitted to its heirs, should it die during
minority or in a state of insanity. In such cases the heirs shall be allowed a period of
five years in which to institute the action.
The action already instituted by the child is transmitted by its death to the heirs, if it
has not lapsed before then.
Art. 137.
The actions for the acknowledgment of natural children can be
instituted only during the life of the presumed parents, except in the following
cases: chanrobles virtualawlibrary
1.
If the father or mother died during the minority of the child, in which case
the latter may institute the action before the expiration of the first four years of its
majority.
2.
If, after the death of the father or mother, some instrument, before
unknown, should be discovered in which the child is expressly acknowledged.
In this case the action must be instituted within the six months following the
discovery of such instrument.
On this supposition the first difference that results between one action and the other
consists in that the right of action for legitimacy lasts during the whole lifetime of the
child, that is, it can always be brought against the presumed parents or their heirs by
the child itself, while the right of action for the acknowledgment of a natural child
does not last his whole lifetime, and, as a general rule, it cannot be instituted against
the heirs of the presumed parents, inasmuch as it can be exercised only during the
life of the presumed parents.
With regard to the question at issue, that is, the transmission to the heirs of the
presumed parents of the obligation to admit the legitimate filiation, or to recognize
the natural filiation, there exists the most radical difference in that the former
continues during the life of the child who claims to be legitimate, and he may
demand it either directly and primarily from the said presumed parents, or indirectly
and secondarily from the heirs of the latter; while the second does not endure for life;
as a general rule, it only lasts during the life of the presumed parents. Hence the
other difference, derived as a consequence, that an action for legitimacy is always
brought against the heirs of the presumed parents in case of the death of the latter,
while the action for acknowledgment is not brought against the heirs of such parents,
with the exception of the two cases prescribed by article 137 transcribed above.
So much for the passive transmission of the obligation to admit the legitimate
filiation, or to acknowledge the natural filiation.
As to the transmission to the heirs of the child of the latters action to claim his
legitimacy, or to obtain the acknowledgment of his natural filiation, it is seen that the

code grants it in the first case, but not the second. It contains provisions for the
transmission of the right of action which, for the purpose of claiming his legitimacy
inheres in the child, but it does not say a word with regard to the transmission of the
right to obtain the acknowledgment of the natural filiation.
Therefore, the respective corollary of each of the two above-cited articles
is: chanrobles virtualawlibrary (1) That the right of action which devolves upon the
child to claim his legitimacy under article 118, may be transmitted to his heirs in
certain cases designated in the said article; (2) That the right of action for the
acknowledgment of natural children to which article 137 refers, can never be
transmitted, for the reason that the code makes no mention of it in any case, not even
as an exception.
It is most illogical and contrary to every rule of correct interpretation, that the right
of action to secure acknowledgment by the natural child should be presumed to be
transmitted, independently, as a rule, to his heirs, while the right of action to claim
legitimacy from his predecessor is not expressly, independently, or, as a general rule,
conceded to the heirs of the legitimate child, but only relatively and as an exception.
Consequently, the pretension that the right of action on the part of the child to obtain
the acknowledgment of his natural filiation is transmitted to his descendants is
altogether unfounded. No legal provision exists to sustain such pretension, nor can
an argument of presumption be based on the lesser claim when there is no basis for
the greater one, and when it is only given as an exception in well-defined cases. It is
placing the heirs of the natural child on a better footing than the heirs of the
legitimate one, when, as a matter of fact, the position of a natural child is no better
than, nor even equal to, that of a legitimate child.
From the express and precise precepts of the code the following conclusions are
derived: chanrobles virtualawlibrary
The right of action that devolves upon the child to claim his legitimacy lasts during
his whole life, while the right to claim the acknowledgment of a natural child lasts
only during the life of his presumed parents.
Inasmuch as the right of action accruing to the child to claim his legitimacy lasts
during his whole life, he may exercise it either against the presumed parents, or their
heirs; while the right of action to secure the acknowledgment of a natural child, since
it does not last during his whole life, but depends on that of the presumed parents, as
a general rule can only be exercised against the latter.
Usually the right of action for legitimacy devolving upon the child is of a personal
character and pertains exclusively to him, only the child may exercise it at any time
during his lifetime. As an exception, and in three cases only, it may be transmitted to
the heirs of the child, to wit, if he died during his minority, or while insane, or after
action had been already instituted.
An action for the acknowledgment of a natural child may, as an exception, be
exercised against the heirs of the presumed parents in two cases: chanrobles
virtualawlibrary first, in the event of the death of the latter during the minority of the
child, and second, upon the discovery of some instrument of express

acknowledgment of the child, executed by the father or mother, the existence of


which was unknown during the life of the latter.
But as such action for the acknowledgment of a natural child can only be exercised
by him. It cannot be transmitted to his descendants, or to his ascendants.
In support of the foregoing the following authorities may be cited: chanrobles
virtualawlibrary
Sanchez Roman, in his Treatise on Civil Law, propounds the question as to whether
said action should be considered transmissive to the heirs or descendants of the
natural child, whether he had or had not exercised it up to the time of his death, and
decides it as follows;
There is an entire absence of legal provisions, and at most, it might be deemed
admissible as a solution, that the right of action to claim the acknowledgment of a
natural child is transmitted by analogy to his heirs on the same conditions and terms
that it is transmitted to the descendants of a legitimate child, to claim his legitimacy,
under article 118, but nothing more; because on this point nothing warrants placing
the heirs of a natural child on a better footing than those of the legitimate child, and
even to compare them would not fail to be a strained and questionable matter, and
one of great difficulty for decision by the courts, for the simple reason that for the
heirs of the legitimate child, the said article 118 exists, while for those of the natural
child, as we have said, there is no provision in the code authorizing the same,
although on the other hand there is none that prohibits it. (Vol. V.) cralaw
Diaz Guijarro and Martinez Ruiz in their work on The Civil Code as construed by
the supreme court of Spain, commenting upon article 137, say: chanrobles
virtualawlibrary
Article 118, taking into account the privileges due to the legitimacy of children,
grants them the right to claim said legitimacy during their lifetime, and even
authorizes the transmission of said right for the space of five years to the heirs
thereof, if the child die during his minority or in a state of insanity. But as article 137
is based on the consideration that in the case of a natural child, ties are less strong
and sacred in the eyes of the law, it does not fix such a long and indefinite period for
the exercise of the action; it limits it to the life of the parents, excepting in the two
cases mentioned in said article; and it does not allow, as does article 118, the action
to pass on to the heirs, inasmuch as, although it does not prohibit it, and for that
reason it might be deemed on general principles of law to consent to it, such a
supposition is inadmissible for the reason that a comparison of both articles shows
that the silence of the law in the latter case is not, nor can it be, an omission, but a
deliberate intent to establish a wide difference between the advantages granted to a
legitimate child and to a natural one.
(Ibid., Vol. II, 171.) cralaw
Navarro Amandi (Cuestionario del Codigo Civil) raises the question: chanrobles
virtualawlibrary Can the heirs of a natural child claim the acknowledgment in those

cases wherein the father or mother are under obligation to acknowledge? And
says: chanrobles virtualawlibrary

of supposed transmission is even less tenable than that sought to be sustained by the
argument of analogy.

Opinions are widely divergent. The court of Rennes held (on April 13, 1844) that
the right of investigation forms a part of the estate of the child, and along with his
patrimony is transmitted to his heirs. The affirmation is altogether too categorical to
be admissible. If it were correct the same thing would happen as when the legitimacy
of a child is claimed, and as already seen, the right of action to demand the
legitimacy is not transmitted to the heirs in every case and as an absolute right, but
under certain limitations and circumstances. Now, were we to admit the doctrine of
the court of Rennes, the result would be that the claim for natural filiation would be
more favored than one for legitimate filiation. This would be absurd, because it
cannot be conceived that the legislator should have granted a right of action to the
heirs of the natural child, which is only granted under great limitations and in very
few cases to those of a legitimate one. Some persons insist that the same rules that
govern legitimate filiation apply by analogy to natural filiation, and that in this
conception the heirs of the natural child are entitled to claim it in the cases prescribed
by article 118. The majority, however, are inclined to consider the right to claim
acknowledgment as a personal right, and consequently, not transmissive to the heirs.
Really there are not legal grounds to warrant the transmission. (Vol. 2,
229.) cralaw

The right of action pertaining to the child to claim his legitimacy is in all respects
superior to that of the child who claims acknowledgment as a natural child. And it is
evident that the right of action to claim his legitimacy is not one of those rights
which the legitimate child may transmit by inheritance to his heirs; it forms no part
of the component rights of his inheritance. If it were so, there would have been no
necessity to establish its transmissibility to heirs as an exception in the terms and
conditions of article 118 of the code. So that, in order that it may constitute a portion
of the childs inheritance, it is necessary that the conditions and the terms contained
in article 118 shall be present, since without them, the right that the child held during
his lifetime, being personal and exclusive in principle, and therefore, as a general
rule not susceptible of transmission, would and should have been extinguished by his
death. Therefore, where no express provision like that of article 118 exists, the right
of action for the acknowledgment of a natural child is, in principle and without
exception, extinguished by his death, and cannot be transmitted as a portion of the
inheritance of the deceased child.

In a decision like the present one it is impossible to bring forward the argument of
analogy for the purpose of considering that the heirs of the natural child are entitled
to the right of action which article 118 concedes to the heirs of the legitimate child.
The existence of a provision for the one case and the absence thereof for the other is
a conclusive argument that inclusio unius est exclusio alterius, and it cannot be
understood that the provision of law should be the same when the same reason does
not hold in the one case as in the other.
The theory of the law of transmission is also entirely inapplicable in this case. This
theory, which in the Roman Law expressed the general rule that an heir who did not
accept an inheritance during his lifetime was incapacitated from transmitting it to his
own heirs, included at the same time the idea that if the inheritance was not
transmitted because the heir did not possess it, there were, however, certain things
which the heir held and could transmit. Such was the law and the right to accept the
inheritance, for the existing reason that all rights, both real and personal, shall pass to
the heir; quia haeres representat defunctum in omnibus et per omnia. According to
article 659 of the Civil Code, the inheritance includes all the property, rights, and
obligations of a person, which are not extinguished by his death. If the mother is
the heir of her natural child, and the latter, among other rights during his lifetime was
entitled to exercise an action for his acknowledgment against his father, during the
life of the latter, or after his death in some of the excepting cases of article 137, such
right, which is a portion of his inheritance, is transmitted to his mother as being his
heir, and it was so understood by the court of Rennes when it considered the right in
question, not as a personal and exclusive right of the child which is extinguished by
his death, but as any other right which might be transmitted after his death. This right

On the other hand, it said right of action formed a part of the childs inheritance, it
would be necessary to establish the doctrine that the right to claim such an
acknowledgment from the presumed natural father and from his heirs is an absolute
right of the heirs of the child, not limited by certain circumstances as in the case of
the heirs of a legitimate child; and if it is unreasonable to compare a natural child
with a legitimate one to place the heirs of a natural child and his inheritance on a
better footing than those of a legitimate child would not only be unreasonable, but, as
stated in one of the above citations, most absurd and illegal in the present state of the
law and in accordance with the general principles thereof.
For all of the foregoing reasons we hereby reverse the judgment appealed from in all
its parts, without any special ruling as to the costs of this instance.
Mapa, Johnson, Carson and Willard, JJ., concur.

G.R. No. 56700 March 28, 1983


WARLITO MABALOT and ARACELI MABALOT, petitioners,
vs.
THE HON. JUDGE TOMAS P. MADELA, JR., in his capacity as Judge of the
Court of First Instance of Manila and PEDRO V. MALIT, respondents.
Efren A. Santo for petitioners.
Pedro V. Malit in his own behalf.

VASQUEZ, J.:
This is an unlawful detainer case originally commenced in the City of Manila by
private respondent to eject the petitioners from an apartment located at No. 2262
Coral Street, San Andres, Manila. The decision of said court, which was in favor of
the petitioners, was appealed by the private respondent to the Court of First Instance
of Manila where it was assigned to the branch presided over by respondent Judge
Tomas P. Madela, Jr. A decision rendered on January 6, 1981 by Judge Madela
reversed the decision of the City Court and ordered the petitioners to vacate the
premises in question.
The petitioners took a direct appeal from the decision of the Court of First Instance
of Manila on the legal question raised by them with respect to the alleged lack of
jurisdiction of the City Court of Manila and the Court of First Instance of Manila to
take cognizance of the basic action.

Galvez, the arrearages for the monthly rentals of July and August
were paid by Atty. Fernando Galvez, a brother of the late Atty.
Armando Galvez and for the month of September 1977, Atty.
Fernando Galvez issued a check (pay to cash) which he gave to the
defendants-appellees to pay the plaintiff-appellant. However, the
corresponding receipts were issued by plaintiff in the name of Atty.
Fernando Galvez.
As early as September 1, 1977, in his letter to Atty. Fernando
Galvez, the plaintiff-appellant intimated that with the death of his
brother, Araceli Mabalot and husband cannot take over the
apartment as the contract of lease between him and Atty. Armando
Galvez is a personal one and could not be transmitted to them
(Exh. "A"). On September 5, 1977, plaintiff wrote the defendants
that they could not take over the apartment as it could not be the
subject of inheritance and gave them three (3) months to vacate the
same (Exhibit "B"). However, defendants refused to receive said
letter, as plaintiff with the help of patrolman Tomas Soriaga served
it the following morning with the policeman as a witness (Exh. "B1").
Araceli Mabalot admitted that the late Armando Galvez has his
own family, a wife and children namely, Cynthia, Rosalinda,
Danilo, Jocelyn and Olivia who were mentioned in his application
for insurance as his legitimate children with Araceli mentioned as a
niece (t.s.n. p. 16, Oct. 25, 1977). The succeeding payments of the
rentals were paid by defendants- appellees' counsel, Atty. Efren
Santos.

The facts of this case, as synthesized in the decision of Judge Madela and which are
impliedly admitted by the petitioners in taking this direct appeal to this Court on a
pure question of law, are as follows:

The question to be resolved is, whether or not the defendants,


Warlito and Araceli Mabalot have the right to continue as tenants
of the plaintiff from the death of Atty. Armando Galvez. (Annex
"A", Petitioners' Brief, p. 72, Rello.)

From the records and evidence of the case, plaintiff appellant as


owner of an apartment No. 2262 located at Coral Street, San
Andres, Manila leased it to Atty. Armando Galvez on a monthly
basis of P200.00 a month since 1967. Staying with him in said
apartment is defendant Araceli Mabalot and a maid the former
claiming to be a ward of Atty. Galvez since she was 10 years old
when her mother died and her father could not support her (t.s.n.
pp. 3-4, Dec. 6, 1979). In 1970 Araceli Mabalot married defendant
Warlito Mabalot and continued to stay with Atty. Galvez until his
death on August 23, 1977. After the death of Atty. Armando

As may be noted from the definition of the issue by Judge Madela, the question
which was raised and argued by the parties in the lower courts was the right of the
petitioners to succeed to the lease over the subject apartment previously existing
between Armando Galvez and the private respondent. Apparently convinced of the
correctness of the holding of Judge Madela that they may not continue said lease
inasmuch as the petitioners are not heirs of Armando Galvez (Art. 1311, Civil Code),
nor was such lease assigned by Armando Galvez to the petitioners with the consent
of private respondent (Art. 1649, Ibid), the petitioners now rely on the alleged legal
infirmity of the proceedings had in the lower courts by attacking their jurisdiction to
take cognizance of the case.

It is the petitioners' main contention that the City Court lacked jurisdiction to
entertain the action filed by the private respondent inasmuch as it is not an action for
unlawful detainer, but one the subject matter of which is incapable of pecuniary
estimation falling within the original jurisdiction of the court of first instance
pursuant to Section 44(a) of the former Judiciary Act. Petitioners argue that an action
for unlawful detainer must be filed within one year after the unlawful deprivation of
the possession of the subject property by the defendant. They contend that this
requirement does not exist in this case inasmuch as petitioner Araceli Mabalot was
admittedly staying in the apartment together with Armando Galvez since 1966, and
the action to eject her was filed only on January 8, 1978. They further point out that
in paragraph 7 of the complaint, the private respondent had expressly alleged that he
denied the request of the petitioners to continue the lease of Armando Galvez on the
ground "that a lease contract is personal in nature and cannot be the subject of
inheritance." By this allegation, so the petitioners contend, the basic issue becomes a
determination of whether or not a lease contract may be the subject of inheritance,
thereby making the action as one of the subject matter of which is not capable of
pecuniary estimation.
Petitioners' submissions are typical examples of the arguments advanced by
defendants in ejectment cases in their attempt to prolong their occupancy of premises
over which they ceased to have valid ground to possess, by keeping alive the
litigation involving their ejectment therefrom. The records of our courts will reveal
that a considerable percentage of the cases pending in them are actions for forcible
entry and detainer. Ordained by law to be commenced in the courts at the municipal
or city level, they pass thru all the other grades of courts in the judicial system up to
the Highest Court of the land. It is ironic that a forcible entry or detainer case which
is intended to be disposed of in summary fashion has oftentimes proved to be the
most cumbersome and difficult to terminate. It has become a truism that, if a landlord
would like to eject a tenant in the shortest possible time, the worst thing that he could
do is to file an ejectment case. It is, indeed, about time that this situation be remedied
if only to contribute to the solution of the worsening problem of court congestion, by
refusing to edify these cases by giving them a full-blown treatment in all the courts
in the judicial structure, and thereby save the courts the expenditure of precious time
and energy which could otherwise be devoted to more significant and vital
litigations.
The time limitation of one year within which to file an action for forcible entry and
detainer is reckoned not from the moment of occupancy by the defendant, but from
the time that his possession becomes unlawful. The occupancy of the apartment by
Araceli Mabalot in 1966 was not unlawful because she was then a member of the
household of Armando Galvez who was the lessee of the premises in question. The
possession of the petitioners became unlawful only after Armando Galvez died,
which was on August 23, 1977. Such death of Armando Galvez terminated the lease
in his favor. Petitioners do not have any colorable right to occupy the apartment
thereafter. The filing of the case on January 8, 1978 was well within one year period
from August 23, 1977.

There is less merit in the contention that the action filed by the private respondent is
one in which the subject matter is incapable of pecuniary estimation just because it
involves the legal question as to the right of the petitioners to continue the lease by
reason of inheritance. Such legal issue is purely incidental to the question of whether
they are entitled to possess the apartment in question. The action is for the recovery
of the possession of real property brought within one year from the time the
possession of the defendant became unlawful, technically known as an action for
unlawful detainer. Although it is a real action which should ordinarily fall under the
jurisdiction of the court of first instance (now the regional trial court), the law vests
the exclusive original jurisdiction over it in the courts at the municipal or city level
as an exception to the general rule on jurisdiction over real actions, presumably in
view of the summary nature of the proceedings contemplated to be taken therein.
This kind of action is different and distinct from the class of actions where the
subject of the litigation is incapable of pecuniary estimation. An action does not
become one where the subject is incapable of pecuniary estimation by the mere fact
that an issue of law is raised therein. Such a view would result in converting virtually
all civil actions into that category, and in depriving the municipal and city trial courts
of jurisdiction over all civil cases where a party raises a question of law.
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DISMISSED. With costs against the
petitioners.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. L-14127

August 21, 1962

ISIDORO M. MERCADO, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
LEON C. VIARDO and PROVINCIAL SHERIFF OF NUEVA
ECIJA, defendants-appellants.
----------------------------G.R. No. L-14128

August 21, 1962

LEON C. VIARDO, plaintiff-appellant,


vs.
PILAR BELMONTE, PATRICIA DRIZ, JOAQUINA DRIZ, ISIDORO
MERCADO,
TRINIDAD ISIDRO, ZACARIAS BELMONTE, TERESITA FLORES,
PHILIPPINE AMERICAN GENERAL INSURANCE COMPANY, INC. and
PHILIPPINE NATIONAL BANK,defendants-appellees.
No. L-14127:
Agustin C. Bagasao for plaintiff-appellee.
Manuel A. Concordia for defendants-appellants.
No. L-14128:
Manuel A. Concordia for plaintiff-appellant.
E. A. Bello, M. Y. Macias and A. A. Reyes for defendant-appellee Philippine
American General Insurance Company, Inc.
Cecilio F. Wycoco for defendants-appellees Pilar Belmonte and Teresita Flores.
Carlos M. Ferrer for defendants-appellees Patricia Driz, et al.
PADILLA, J.:
In civil case No. 7611 of the Court of First Instance of Nueva Ecija, entitled Leon C.
Viardo vs. Bartolome Driz and Pilar Belmonte, a writ of execution was issued and
levy was made "upon all the rights, interest and participation which the spouses
Bartolome Driz and Pilar Belmonte have or might have" in a parcel of land covered
by original certificate of title No. 3484 of the Registrar of Deeds in and for the
province of Nueva Ecija (Exhibit A, p.3). This certificate of title covers a parcel of
land (Lot No. 1, Psu-14371) in the barrios of Nieves and Santo Rosario, municipality
of Zaragoza, province of Nueva Ecija, containing an area of 1,192,775 square
meters, more or less. The land is registered in the names of "Leonor Belmonte, Felisa
Belmonte, Pilar Belmonte and Ines de Guzman, subject . . . to the condition that
share [that] belongs to Ines de Guzman is usufructuary "correspondiendo la nuda

propiedad a sus tres hijas arriba citadas en participaciones iguales quienes se


consolidara el dominio despues del fallecimiento de su madre' " (Exhibit A, p. 2).
On 25 February 1941, by virtue of the writ of execution above mentioned, the
provincial sheriff of Nueva Ecija sold at public auction one-half () of the following
property:
TAX DECLARATION NO. 11313 OF THE MUNICIPALITY OF ZARAGOZA,
PROVINCE OF NUEVA ECIJA AND COVERED BY ORIGINAL CERTIFICATE
OF TITLE NO. 3484 OF THE LAND RECORDS OF NUEVA ECIJA.
A parcel of land, situated in the sitio of Valdez, barrio Sto. Rosario,
municipality of Zaragoza, Province of Nueva Ecija. Bounded on the North
by property of Felisa Belmonte; on the East by Sapang Dalagot; on the
Southeast by Ines de Guzman; on the South by the property of Felisa
Belmonte; and on then West by the property of Cirilo Acosta; containing an
area of THIRTY (30) HECTARES, more or less. Declared under tax No.
11313 in the name of Pilar Belmonte with an assessed value of P8,400.00.
The highest bidder at the auction sale was the judgment creditor, Leon C. Viardo,
who paid P2,125.64 for the interest sold and P83.15 for the land tax corresponding to
such interest (Exhibit B). When the judgment debtors failed to redeem the property
within the statutory period of one year from the date of sale (21 February 1941), the
provincial sheriff of Nueva Ecija executed on 12 May 1943 a Final Bill of Sale of the
property described in Exhibit B in favor of Leon C. Viardo (Exhibit C). On 3 May
1943 a co-owner's copy of the certificate of title was issued to Leon C. Viardo
(Exhibit A, p. 3).
On 28 December 1945 the Court of First Instance of Nueva Ecija, in Land
Registration Case No. 918, G.L.R.O. Record No. 17910, acting upon a verified
petition of Leon C. Viardo, ordered the Registrar of Deeds in and for Nueva Ecija
to cancel Original Certificate of Title No. 3484 and to issue another in lieu
thereof in the name of and in the proportion as follows: LEONOR
BELMONTE share; FELISA BELMONTE, share; PILAR
BELMONTE, /8 share; LEON C. VIARDO, /8 share; and INES DE
GUZMAN, share, upon the payment of the corresponding fees (Exhibit
D).
However, it appears from Original Certificate of Title No. 3484 (Exhibit A) that the
above-mentioned order was not carried out and that said original certificate of title
was not cancelled.

On 27 May 1946 Bartolome Driz and Pilar Belmonte filed in the Court of First
Instance of Nueva Ecija a complaint against Leon C. Viardo (civil case No. 161)
praying that judgment be rendered against the defendant:
(a) Ordering the defendant to reconvey the property in question in favor of
plaintiffs herein upon payment by the latter of the lawful redemption price
in accordance with law, or the sum of P2,125.64 with interest at the rate of
one per centum (1%) per month for twelve (12) months from February 27,
1941 to February 27, 1942. (Exhibit E.)
On 4 June 1946 Patricia Blando, attorney for the plaintiffs Bartolome Driz and Pilar
Belmonte, requested the Registrar of Deeds in and for Nueva Ecija for
the annotation of a Notice of LIS PENDENS on the back of ORIGINAL
CERTIFICATE OF TITLE NO. 3484 of the Office of the Register of Deeds
for the Province of Nueva Ecija, affecting the undivided one-half ()
portion of the property of the plaintiffs in the above-entitled cause, situated
in the Sitio of Valdez, Barrio of Sto. Rosario, Municipality of Zaragoza,
which is involved in the said controversy against the defendant LEON C.
VIARDO, and which is more particularly described under paragraph (4) of
the plaintiffs' complaint a copy of which is hereby presented, hereunto
attached. (Exhibit F.)
On 6 June 1946 the Registrar of Deeds made the following annotation on the back of
original certificate of title No. 3484:
Entry No. 3347/0-3484: Kind Lis Pendens Executed in favor of
Bartolome Driz and Pilar Belmonte; Conditions Al the rights, interests,
and participation of Leon C. Viardo in this title is the subject of a complaint
filed in Civil Case No. 16 of the C.F.I. of N.E. now pending for action. Date
of the instrument June 4, 1946; Date of the inscription June 6, 1946 at
3:18 (?) p.m. (Sgd.) F.C. Cuizon, Acting Register of Deeds. (Exhibit A, p.
3.)
While the above-mentioned case was pending in the Court of First Instance of Nueva
Ecija, Pilar Belmonte, one of the plaintiffs, entered into the following contracts
involving her interest or rights over the parcel of land covered by original certificate
of title No. 3484:
(1) Entry No. 10984: Kind Sale; Executed in favor of Isidro M.
Mercado & Trinidad Isidro; Conditions--Pilar Belmonte sold a portion of
Seven and One-Half (7-) hectares of the property described in this title for
the sum of P5,500.00 (D-126: P-90: B-11: S-1948, Herminio E. Algas, N.
E.) Date of the Inst. June 28, 1948 at 1:30 p.m. (Sgd.) F.C. CUIZON,
Register of Deeds.

(2) Entry No. 10985/0-3484: Kind Sale with right of repurchase:


Executed in favor of Federico Aquino; Conditions Pilar Belmonte
sold with a right of repurchase seven and one-half (7-) hectares of her
share, interest and participation in this title for the sum of P3,600.00 (D127: P-90: B-11: S-48. H. Algas, N. E.) Date of the Inst. June 28, 1948;
Date of the Inscription June 28, 1948 at 1:30 p.m. (Sgd.) F. C. CUIZON,
Register of Deeds.
(3) Entry No. 15110/0-3484: Kind Resale: Executed in favor of Pilar
Belmonte; Conditions Federico Aquino resold his share in this title
consisting of 7- Has. for the sum of P3,600.00 (D-63: P-15: B-6: S-1949,
Jose E. Castaeda, Manila) Date of the Inst. March 8, 1958: Date of the
Inscription April 8, 1949 at 11:30 a.m. (Sgd.) F.C. CUIZON, Register of
Deeds.
(4) Entry No. 15111/0-3484: Kind Sale; Executed in favor of
Dominador Asuncion and Tomasita Dansil: Pilar Belmonte sold a portion of
seven (7) Has. of her share and participation in this title for the sum of
P7,000.00. (D-64: P-15: B-6: S-1949, J. E. Castaeda, Manila) Date of the
Inst. March 9, 1949; Date of the Inscription April 8, 1949 at 11:30
a.m. (Sgd.) F.C. CUIZON, Register of Deeds. (Exhibit A, p. 4)
On 11 April 1950 the Court of First Instance of Nueva Ecija rendered judgment in
civil case No. 161, as follows:
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the Court absolves the defendant from the
complaint of the plaintiffs, in the same manner that plaintiffs are absolved from the
counter complaint of the defendant. Defendant is the legal owner of the land in
question and the right of redemption of the plaintiff of said land had already elapsed.
With costs to the plaintiff. (Exhibit G.)
Not satisfied with the judgment dismissing his counter-claim, the defendant Leon C.
Viardo appealed to the Court of Appeals. While the appeal was pending, the
following transactions involving the interest or rights of Pilar Belmonte over the
parcel of land covered by original certificate of title No. 3484 took place:
(1) Entry No. 7967/NT-15162: Kind Partition: Executed in favor of
Felisa Belmonte, et al.; Conditions By virtue of a deed of partition, the
share of the deceased Ines de Guzman and Isidro Belmonte has been
adjudicated in favor of the heirs of said deceased. (D-891: P-77: B-V: S1948, Manuel E. Castaeda, Manila) Date of the Inst. March 31, 1948:
Date of the Inscription Feb. 18, 1954 at 10:18 a.m. (Sgd.) F.C. CUIZON,
Register of Deeds.

(2) Entry No. 7968/NT-15162: Kind Agreement: Executed in favor of


Felisa Belmonte, et al; Conditions By virtue of an agreement of the
parties concerned in the partition, Lots Nos. 1-D and 1-J, with an area of
300,000 sq. m. and 80,000 sq.m., more or less, respectively in the
subdivision plan Psd-36340, a portion of lot 1 described on plan Psu-14371,
of this title, have been adjudicated in favor of Felisa Belmonte and Lot 1-G
with an area of 75,000 sq.m., more or less, of the same subdivision, has
been adjudicated in favor of Isidoro Mercado, See TCT No. 15162 and
15163, Vol. No. 76. (D-211: P-44: B-IV: S-1952, P. Bautista, Cab. City)
Date of the Inst. Jan. 22, 1952: Date of the Inscription Feb. 18, 1954
at 10:18 a.m.(Sgd.) F.C. CUIZON, Register of Deeds.
(3) Entry No. 9715/NT-15746: Kind Sale; Executed in favor of Sp.
Zacarias Belmonte and Teresita Flores; Conditions Dominador Asuncion
and Tomasita Dansil sold all their rights and interest in this title consisting
of seven hectares for the sum of P6,000.00. (D-177: P-37: B-IV: S-1952; R.
S. Pengson, N.E.) Date of the Inst. Feb. 4, 1952; Date of Inscription
May 13, 1954 at 10:08 a.m. (Sgd.) F.C. CUIZON, Register of Deeds.
(4) Entry No. 12168/NT-15162: Kind Project of Partition Executed in
favor of Pilar Belmonte; Conditions By virtue of a project of partition reestate of the late Ines de Guzman, a portion of 13.2775 hectares of the land
described in this title has been adjudicated in favor of Pilar Belmonte. (D891: P-77: B-V: S-1948, Manuel E. Castaeda, Manila) Date of the Inst.
March 31, 1948: Date of the Inscription Aug. 23, 1954 at 2:00 p.m.
(Sgd.) F.C. CUIZON, Register of Deeds.1wph1.t
(5) Entry No. 12169/NT-16440: Kind Sale; Executed in favor of
Joaquin Driz: Conditions Pilar Belmonte sold Lot 1-B of the subdivision
plan of this title Psd-36340 a portion taken from her undivided 13.2775
hectares with an area of 52,775 sq.m., more or less, for the sum of P800.00.
See TCT NT-16440, Vol. No. 83. (D-160: P-33: B-I: S-1954, Adolfo San
Juan, Cab. City) Date of the Inst. Aug. 23, 1954; Date of the Inscription
Aug. 23, 1954 at 2:00 p.m. (Sgd.) F.C. CUIZON, Register of Deeds.
(6) Entry No. 12370/NT-16488: Kind Sale; Executed in favor of
Patricia Driz: Conditions Pilar Belmonte sold Lot 1-A of the subdivision
plan Psd-36340 being a portion of Lot 1 described in plan Psu-14371,
G.L.R.O. Cad. Record No. 17910, of this title for the sum of P1,000.00 with
an area of 80,000 sq.m., with respect to her share of 13.2775 hectares. See
TCT No. NT-16488, Vol. 83. (D-440: P-90: B-V: S-1954, H. V. Garcia, Cab.
City) Date of the Inst. Aug. 31, 1954: Date of the Inscription Sept. 2,
1954 at 8:00 p.m. (Sgd.) F.C. CUIZON, Register of Deeds.

(7) Entry No. 12512/NT-16546: Kind Sale; Executed in favor of


Patricia Driz: Conditions Pilar Belmonte sold Lots Nos. 1-H and 1-I of
the subdivision plan Psd-30340 of the property described in this title for the
sum of P850.00. See TCT No. NT-16524, Vol. 83. (D-167: P-35: B-I: S1954, Adolfo San Juan, Cab. City) Date of the Inst. Sept. 9, 1954; Date
of the Inscription Sept. 9, 1954 at 11:50 a.m. (Sgd.) F. C. CUIZON,
Register of Deeds.
(8) Entry No. 12569/NT-16546: Kind Sale; Executed favor of Patricia
Driz; Conditions Pilar Belmonte sold Lot I-E of the subdivision plan
Psd-30340 of the property described in this title, with an area of 79,848
sq.m., more or less the subdivision plan of this title, was sold for the sum of
P2,000.00. See TCT No. NT-16546, Vol. 83. (D-172: P-36: BS-1954,
Adolfo San Juan, Cab. City) Date of the Inst. Sept. 11, 1954; Date of the
Inscription Sept. 13, 1954 at 8:20 am. (Sgd.) F.C. CUIZON, Register of
Deeds. (Exhibit A, pp. 4-5.)
On 22 September 1954, a few days after the last transactions mentioned above, the
Court of Appeals passed a resolution granting the prayer of defendant-appellant Leon
C. Viardo that the children and only heirs, namely, Artemio, Patricia, Mario,
Domingo, Joaquina and Catalina, surnamed Driz, who were all of age, be substituted
for the deceased appellee Bartolome Driz (the husband of Pilar Belmonte). (Exhibit
H-1).
On 25 September 1954 the Court of Appeals rendered judgment awarding damages
prayed for in the counterclaim of Leon V. Viardo. The judgment made the following
findings and conclusions:
. . . The area of the contested property is 15 hectares. By computation, this
is capable of producing 750 cavans of palay a year. On the basis of 70-30,
defendant is entitled to 225 cavans of palay a year. Therefore, plaintiffs are
under obligation to deliver to defendant this quantity of palay every
agricultural year from the filing of defendant's answer on August 5, 1946,
up to the time he vacates said land, or pay the equivalent value thereof at
P12.00 a cavan.
Having been declared owner of the land in dispute, defendant is entitled to
its possession. Inasmuch as the court below did not order plaintiffs to
restore the possession of the land in question, we hereby order them to
vacate the same and restore possession thereof to defendant. (Exhibit H.)
This judgment of the Court of Appeals became final and executory and the records
were remanded to the lower court. On 16 December 1954 the Court of First Instance
of Nueva Ecija issued a writ of execution (Exhibit W). The return made by Chief of
Police of the Municipality of Zaragoza on 14 February 1955 states that Leon C.

Viardo had been placed in possession of the parcel of land referred to in the writ and
that levy was made on a total of 86 cavans and 74 kilos of palay, and that the same
were deposited in a warehouse (Exhibit X).
On or about 4 January 1955 Isidoro M. Mercado filed a third party claim with the
Provincial Sheriff of Nueva Ecija (Exhibit Y). The affidavit attached to the claim
states that Isidoro M. Mercado and his wife purchased from Pilar Belmonte on 28
June 1948 seven and one-half hectares of her undivided share in the land described
in original certificate of title No. 3484, that on the same day the deed of sale was
registered, that a transfer certificate of title was issued in their names, and that since
1948 up to the time of the levy on execution he had been in actual possession of the
parcel of land, paying the corresponding taxes thereon and had exclusively benefited
from the harvests therein, (Exhibit Y-1). The sheriff was requested not to continue
with the levy on the harvest in the parcel of land they were claiming.
On 2 February 1955 Isidoro M. Mercado filed in the Court of First Instance of Nueva
Ecija a complaint docketed as civil case No. 1718, against Leon C. Viardo and the
Provincial Sheriff. The complaint alleged that improper levy had been made on the
harvest in plaintiff's parcel of land and prayed that judgment be rendered ordering the
defendants to return the palay levied upon, together with damages. On 26 February
1955 the defendants answered that plaintiffs' purchase of the parcel of land in
question from Pilar Belmonte was subject to whatever judgment the courts might
render in civil case No. 161 between Pilar Belmonte and Leon C. Viardo. On 17
October 1955 the Court of First Instance of Nueva Ecija entered an order suspending
the trial of the case, in view of the information by counsel for the defendant that his
client Leon C. Viardo would file a complaint against all persons claiming ownership
of or interest in the parcel of land covered by original certificate of title No. 3484
(Record on Appeal, pp. 2-11).
On 5 December 1955 civil case No. 2004 was filed by Leon V. Viardo against Pilar
Belmonte, Patricia Driz, Joaquina Driz, Isidoro Mercado, Trinidad Isidro, Zacarias
Belmonte, Teresita Flores, Philippine American General Insurance Co., Inc. and the
Philippine National Bank, as parties claiming some right, participation, share or
interest in the parcel of land covered by original certificate of title No. 3484 or by
trader certificates of title derived therefrom. The defendants filed their answers. After
trial,1 on 24 August 1956 the trial court rendered judgment in civil cases Nos. 1718
and 2004, the dispositive part of which reads as follows:
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING CONSIDERATIONS, in Civil Case
2004, Leon C. Viardo, Isidoro M. Mercado, Zacarias Belmonte and Patricia
Driz are hereby declared CO-OWNERS PRO-INDIVISO of lots 1-A PSD16864, which is the share of Pilar Belmonte in Lot 1, PSU 14371, OCT
No. 3484 in the following proportions: ONE-HALF for LEON C.
VIARDO; 7 hectares for Isidoro M. Mercado; 7 hectares for Zacarias
Belmonte, and the remainder for Patricia Driz, it being understood that
whatever is adjudicated to Patricia Driz in the partition shall be subject to

the mortgage in favor of the Philippine National Bank; the deeds of sale
executed by Pilar Belmonte in favor of Patricia Driz, Exhibits R and S are
declared NULL AND VOID; the deeds of partition Exhibits L and N, are set
aside, and the certificates of title issued in favor of Zacarias Belmonte,
Isidoro M. Mercado and Patricia Driz, Exhibits P, Q, R-1 and S-1 are
ordered cancelled. And in civil case 1718 Isidoro M. Mercado is hereby
declared to be entitled to the products which had been levied upon by the
Provincial Sheriff. No damages are awarded. The parties in civil case 2004
shall come to an amicable settlement with respect to the partition. Upon
their failure to arrive at an amicable settlement, commissioner shall be
appointed by this Court in accordance with a law to make the partition.
With costs against the defendants in both cases.
Only Leon C. Viardo, plaintiff in civil case No. 2004 and defendant in civil case No.
1718, appealed to the Court of Appeals. On 21 May 1958 the latter certified and
forwarded the appeals to this Court because the facts are not in dispute and "the
questions raised by appellant in his brief are purely legal in nature."
In his first assignment of error the appellant contends that the trial court "erred in not
annulling the sale executed by Pilar Belmonte to Isidoro M. Mercado, marked as
Exhibit I, and to Dominador Asuncion and Teresita Bansil (Exhibit J) and the sale by
Dominador Asuncion to Zacarias Belmonte and Teresita Flores in a Deed of Sale
marked Exhibit M." In support thereof he argues that the three sales took place and
were registered after he had become the absolute owner of an undivided one-half
interest in the parcel of land owned by Pilar Belmonte and after notice of lis
pendens had been recorded on the title of Pilar Belmonte.
The argument is without merit. It is true that the appellant became the absolute
owner of an undivided one-half interest in the undivided one-fourth interest owned
by Pilar Belmonte in the parcel of land described in original certificate of title No.
3484; that before Pilar Belmonte sold parts of her undivided share in the parcel of
land to Isidoro M. Mercado and Dominador Asuncion and the last in turn sold his
part to Zacarias Belmonte, there was notice of lis pendens recorded on the certificate
of title; and that this notice is binding upon all who should acquire an interest in the
property subsequent to the record of the lis pendens. The notice of lis
pendens (Exhibit A), however, was limited to one-half interest acquired by Leon C.
Viardo from Pilar Belmonte. The other one-half undivided interest of the latter was
not in litigation and therefore the trial court correctly held that Pilar Belmonte, as the
owner of this undivided one-half interest, had a right to sell it and could convey
absolute title thereto or to parts thereof. Of course, the deeds of sale executed by
Pilar Belmonte appears to convey definite or segregated parts of her remaining
interest in the parcel of land described in original certificate of title No. 3484, which
she could not do, because this one-fourth in interest had not yet been subdivided to
show the interest acquired by Leon C. Viardo, amounting to one-half of the said onefourth interest. This defect, however, does not result in the nullity of the deeds of sale

she had executed relating to her remaining interest of one-eighth. The sales were
valid, subject only to the condition that the interests acquired by the vendees were
limited to the parts which might be assigned to them in the division upon the
termination of the co-ownership (Article 493, Civil Code).
In the second assignment of error the appellant contends that the trial court "erred in
not annulling the sales executed by Pilar Belmonte in favor of her daughters
Joaquina and Patricia Driz of lots 1-B and 1-A, Exhibits U and V of Plan PSD
36340."
Lots 1-B and 1-A of Plan PSD-36340 are taken, not from the original one-fourth
interest of Pilar Belmonte in the parcel of land covered by original certificate of title
No. 3484, which interest was levied upon and thereafter acquired by Leon C. Viardo
to the extent of one-half, but from another one-fourth interest in the same parcel of
land, which belonged originally to Ines de Guzman, the mother of Pilar Belmonte.
This one-fourth interest subsequently devolved upon Pilar Belmonte and her two
sisters. The three sisters partitioned this one-fourth interest among themselves and
lots 1-A and 1-B were assigned to Pilar Belmonte who, in turn, sold them to her
daughters. These sales, the appellant contends, are fictitious and in fraud of his rights
as creditor.
The only evidence adduced by the appellant in support of this contention is that the
sales were made by the mother to her daughters. This is not enough evidence to hold
the sale fictitious and fraudulent. There is no evidence whatsoever that Pilar
Belmonte, at the time she sold the lots, had outstanding debts or was in an otherwise
embarrasing financial position. Even the credit of Leon C. Viardo, the appellant, was
established only after the sales were executed, when the Court of Appeals modified
the judgment of the trial court in civil case No. 161 by awarding damages to him.
There is no merit, therefore, in the second assignment of error.
In the third assignment of error the appellant contends that the trial court "erred in
declaring that the "product raised in the portion under the occupancy of Isidoro
Mercado, therefore, pertains to him and was not subject to the levy or execution in
favor of Leon C. Viardo in Civil Case No. 161." In support of this assignment the
appellant again harps on the fact that the time Isidoro Mercado acquired an interest
in the property, there was notice of lis pendens, and therefore Isidoro Mercado "is not
a purchaser in good faith."
This contention has been overruled in the first assignment of error when the notice
of lis pendens (Exhibits A and F) was held to refer not to the remaining one-eighth
interest of Pilar Belmonte in the parcel of land described in original certificate of title
No. 3484, but to the one-eighth interest which Leon C. Viardo had acquired from
Pilar Belmonte, and which the latter was trying to recover from him in civil case No.
161. It was Pilar Belmonte who caused the notice of lis pendens to be recorded to
subject "all the rights, interests and participation of Leon C. Viardo in this Title" to

the result of the litigation in the aforesaid civil case No. 161. Pilar Belmonte did not
thereby subject her remaining one-eighth interest to the result of civil case No. 161
which she had filed against Leon C. Viardo. If the latter wanted to subject the
remaining one-eighth interest of Pilar Belmonte to the outcome of his counterclaim
in civil case No. 161, he should have asked for it.
The view held by this Court in passing upon the third assignment of error renders it
unnecessary for the Court to discuss the respective rights and liabilities of co-owners
when one co-owner, without the knowledge and/or consent of the other co-owners,
plants or builds on the property owned in common.
The appellant further contends that the trial court erred "in concluding that the heirs
of Bartolome Driz could not be held personally liable for the judgment rendered
against the plaintiffs in Civil Case No. 161 and therefore Lots 1-A and 1-B cannot be
subject to the payment of the judgment in favor of Leon C. Viardo."
The only ground of appellant for this contention is that the present owners of these
lots are the children of the spouses Pilar Belmonte and Bartolome Driz, the plaintiffs
in civil case No. 161, and that, upon the death of Bartolome Driz during the
pendency of the appeal in civil case No. 161, these children were substituted as
parties. This assignment of error is without merit. The substitution of parties was
made obviously because the children of Bartolome Driz are his legal heirs and
therefore could properly represent and protect whatever interest he had in the case on
appeal. But such a substitution did not and cannot have the effect of making these
substituted parties personally liable for whatever judgment might be rendered on the
appeal against their deceased father. Article 774 of the Civil Code provides:
Succession is a mode of acquisition by virtue of which the property, rights
and obligations to the extent of the value of the inheritance, of a person are
transmitted through his death to another or others either by his will or by
operation of law. (Emphasis supplied.)
The trial court, therefore, correctly ruled that the remedy of Leon C. Viardo, the
creditor, was to proceed against the estate of Bartolome Driz.
Moreover, it appears from the evidence that Bartolome Driz was only a formal party
to civil case No. 161, the real party in interest being his wife Pilar Belmonte. The
subject matter in litigation was Pilar Belmonte's interest in the parcel of land
described in original certificate of title No. 3484, which appears to be paraphernal
property.
The appellant's fifth and last assignment of error is that "the trial court erred in not
awarding damages to the plaintiff Leon C. Viardo in Civil Case No. 2004."
Obviously the appellant refers to the prayer in his complaint that P5,000 be awarded
to him against Pilar Belmonte for attorney's fees. He maintains that appellee Pilar

Belmonte had disposed of all her property with the intent of avoiding payment of her
liability or debt to him.
A review of the record lends credence to the appellant's claim. Appellee Pilar
Belmonte had one-fourth interest in a parcel of land containing an area of 119.2775
hectares. On 12 May 1943 Leon C. Viardo acquired one-half interest of Pilar
Belmonte's one-fourth interest. In a partition, where the appellant did not participate
but which he does not impugn, Pilar Belmonte's original one-fourth interest was
segregated and delimited. She was assigned in that partition and subdivision, Lot 1-A
of Plan PSD-16864, containing an area of 30 hectares (Exhibit K). Upon the death of
her mother, she acquired another 13.2775 hectares. These 13.2775 hectares she sold
to her two daughters and the validity of the sales has been upheld by this Court. With
the original 30 hectares, however, Pilar Belmonte did not act in good faith when she
sold more than 15 hectares to her daughter Patricia Driz. Knowing that one-half of
said 30 hectares or a total of 15 hectares belonged to the appellant Leon C. Viardo,
she nevertheless proceeded to enter into the following transactions: (1) sale of seven
and one-half hectares to Isidoro Mercado, dated 28 June 1948, Exhibit A; (2) sale of
seven hectares to Dominador Asuncion, who later sold the same parcel or interest to
Zacarias Belmonte, dated 9 March 1949, Exhibit A; (3) subdivision and partition of
her lot 1-A, PSD-16864, into lots 1-E, 1-F, 1-G, 1-H and 1-I, without the knowledge
of her co-owner Leon C. Viardo, Plan PSD-36340, Exhibit O; (4) sale in favor of her
daughter Patricia Driz of lots 1-H and 1-I, Plan PSD-36340, containing an area of
20,000 and 55,152 sq. meters, respectively, dated 9 September 1954, Exhibits R and
A; and (5) sale in favor of her daughter Patricia Driz of lot 1-E; Plan PSD-36340,
containing an area of 79,848 sq. meters, dated 11 September 1954, Exhibits S and A.
It will thus be seen that on 9 March 1949, after Pilar Belmonte had sold seven
hectares to Dominador Asuncion, she had only one-half hectare left to dispose of,
since out of her original thirty hectares (Lot 1-A, PSD-16864) the appellant Leon C.
Viardo had acquired one-half or fifteen hectares, Isidoro Mercado, seven and onehalf hectares, and Dominador Asuncion, seven hectares.
Fully aware that one-half hectare remained her only property, Pilar Belmonte
nevertheless proceeded to sell to her daughter Patricia Driz three lots containing a
combined area of more than fifteen hectares. It is obvious, therefore, that the sales to
Patricia Driz cannot be sustained, regardless of whether Pilar Belmonte was aware or
suspected that she would be held liable for damages to Leon C. Viardo in civil case
No. 161, as in fact she was held liable by the Court of Appeals about two weeks after
she had executed the sales in favor of her daughter. The sales above referred to stand
on a different footing from the sales made in favor of Isidoro Mercado and
Dominador Asuncion, because in the latter sales Pilar Belmonte still had something
to sell, namely, her remaining fifteen hectares. But after she had disposed of fourteen
and one-half hectares to Mercado and Asuncion she had only one-half hectare left
and therefore could not sell another fifteen hectares.

The trial court, however, did not completely annul the sales made by Pilar Belmonte
in favor of her daughter. It merely reduced the sale of fifteen hectares to a sale of
one-half hectare, obviously in the belief that the sales should be sustained to the
extent of Pilar Belmonte's remaining interest. The record shows that both Pilar
Belmonte and her daughter Patricia Driz knew that one-half hectare only remained as
the former's property, but they nevertheless proceeded to sell and purchase more than
fifteen hectares. When it is considered further that the final judgment in civil case
No. 161 awarded damages to Leon C. Viardo amounting to 225 cavans of palay from
1946 (Exhibit H) and that when this judgment was executed in 1954 no property of
Pilar Belmonte could be found to satisfy the damages (p. 11, t.s.n.), it is evident that
Pilar Belmonte and her daughter Patricia Driz had conspired to dispose of all the
property of Pilar Belmonte in order to frustrate any award of damages the Court of
Appeals might make in favor of Leon C. Viardo and that this conspiracy must have
taken place at the latest on 9 September 1954 when Pilar Belmonte proceeded to sell
to her daughter Patricia Driz parcels of land which no longer belonged to her.
The judgment appealed from is modified by holding and declaring that (1) Leon C.
Viardo, Isidoro M. Mercado, Zacarias Belmonte and Pilar Belmonte (not Patricia
Driz) are the co-owners pro-indiviso of lot 1-A, Plan PSD-16864, which is the onefourth share of Pilar Belmonte in lot 1, PSD-14371, original certificate of title No.
3484, in the following proportion: one-half or fifteen hectares owned by Leon C.
Viardo, seven and one-half hectares by Isidoro M. Mercado, seven hectares by
Zacarias Belmonte, and one-half hectares by Pilar Belmonte, subject to the rights of
Leon C. Viardo to the balance of his judgment credit against Pilar Belmonte; and (2)
Leon C. Viardo is awarded damages of P1,000 against Pilar Belmonte. In all other
respects, the judgment appealed from is affirmed, with costs against appellees Pilar
Belmonte and Patricia Driz.
Bengzon, C.J., Bautista Angelo, Labrador, Concepcion, Reyes, J.B.L., Barrera,
Paredes, Dizon, Regala and Makalintal, JJ., concur.

G.R. No. L-33187 March 31, 1980


CORNELIO PAMPLONA alias GEMINIANO PAMPLONA and APOLONIA
ONTE, petitioners,
vs.
VIVENCIO MORETO, VICTOR MORETO, ELIGIO MORETO, MARCELO
MORETO, PAULINA MORETO, ROSARIO MORETO, MARTA MORETO,
SEVERINA MENDOZA, PABLO MENDOZA, LAZARO MENDOZA,
VICTORIA TUIZA, JOSEFINA MORETO, LEANDRO MORETO and
LORENZO MENDOZA, respondents.
E.P. Caguioa for petitioners.
Benjamin C. Yatco for respondents.

GUERRERO, J.:
This is a petition for certiorari by way of appeal from the decision of the Court of
Appeals 1 in CA-G.R. No. 35962-R, entitled "Vivencio Moreto, et al., PlaintiffAppellees vs. Cornelio Pamplona, et al., Defendants-Appellants," affirming the
decision of the Court of First Instance of Laguna, Branch I at Bian.
The facts, as stated in the decision appealed from, show that:
Flaviano Moreto and Monica Maniega were husband and wife. During their
marriage, they acquired adjacent lots Nos. 1495, 4545, and 1496 of the Calamba
Friar Land Estate, situated in Calamba, Laguna, containing 781-544 and 1,021
square meters respectively and covered by certificates of title issued in the name of
"Flaviano Moreto, married to Monica Maniega."
The spouses Flaviano Moreto and Monica Maniega begot during their marriage six
(6) children, namely, Ursulo, Marta, La Paz, Alipio, Pablo, and Leandro, all
surnamed Moreto.
Ursulo Moreto died intestate on May 24, 1959 leaving as his heirs herein plaintiffs
Vivencio, Marcelo, Rosario, Victor, Paulina, Marta and Eligio, all surnamed Moreto.
Marta Moreto died also intestate on April 30, 1938 leaving as her heir plaintiff
Victoria Tuiza.

La Paz Moreto died intestate on July 17, 1954 leaving the following heirs, namely,
herein plaintiffs Pablo, Severina, Lazaro, and Lorenzo, all surnamed Mendoza.
Alipio Moreto died intestate on June 30, 1943 leaving as his heir herein plaintiff
Josefina Moreto.
Pablo Moreto died intestate on April 25, 1942 leaving no issue and as his heirs his
brother plaintiff Leandro Moreto and the other plaintiffs herein.
On May 6, 1946, Monica Maniega died intestate in Calamba, Laguna.
On July 30, 1952, or more than six (6) years after the death of his wife Monica
Maniega, Flaviano Moreto, without the consent of the heirs of his said deceased wife
Monica, and before any liquidation of the conjugal partnership of Monica and
Flaviano could be effected, executed in favor of Geminiano Pamplona, married to
defendant Apolonia Onte, the deed of absolute sale (Exh. "1") covering lot No. 1495
for P900.00. The deed of sale (Exh. "1") contained a description of lot No. 1495 as
having an area of 781 square meters and covered by transfer certificate of title No.
14570 issued in the name of Flaviano Moreto, married to Monica Maniega, although
the lot was acquired during their marriage. As a result of the sale, the said certificate
of title was cancelled and a new transfer certificate of title No. T-5671 was issued in
the name of Geminiano Pamplona married to Apolonia Onte (Exh. "A").
After the execution of the above-mentioned deed of sale (Exh. "1"), the spouses
Geminiano Pamplona and Apolonia Onte constructed their house on the eastern part
of lot 1496 as Flaviano Moreto, at the time of the sale, pointed to it as the land which
he sold to Geminiano Pamplona. Shortly thereafter, Rafael Pamplona, son of the
spouses Geminiano Pamplona and Apolonia Onte, also built his house within lot
1496 about one meter from its boundary with the adjoining lot. The vendor Flaviano
Moreto and the vendee Geminiano Pamplona thought all the time that the portion of
781 square meters which was the subject matter of their sale transaction was No.
1495 and so lot No. 1495 appears to be the subject matter in the deed of sale (Exh.
"1") although the fact is that the said portion sold thought of by the parties to be lot
No. 1495 is a part of lot No. 1496.
From 1956 to 1960, the spouses Geminiano Pamplona and Apolonio Onte enlarged
their house and they even constructed a piggery corral at the back of their said house
about one and one-half meters from the eastern boundary of lot 1496.
On August 12, 1956, Flaviano Moreto died intestate. In 1961, the plaintiffs
demanded on the defendants to vacate the premises where they had their house and
piggery on the ground that Flaviano Moreto had no right to sell the lot which he sold
to Geminiano Pamplona as the same belongs to the conjugal partnership of Flaviano
and his deceased wife and the latter was already dead when the sale was executed

without the consent of the plaintiffs who are the heirs of Monica. The spouses
Geminiano Pamplona and Apolonia Onte refused to vacate the premises occupied by
them and hence, this suit was instituted by the heirs of Monica Maniega seeking for
the declaration of the nullity of the deed of sale of July 30, 1952 above-mentioned as
regards one-half of the property subject matter of said deed; to declare the plaintiffs
as the rightful owners of the other half of said lot; to allow the plaintiffs to redeem
the one-half portion thereof sold to the defendants. "After payment of the other half
of the purchase price"; to order the defendants to vacate the portions occupied by
them; to order the defendants to pay actual and moral damages and attorney's fees to
the plaintiffs; to order the defendants to pay plaintiffs P120.00 a year from August
1958 until they have vacated the premises occupied by them for the use and
occupancy of the same.
The defendants claim that the sale made by Flaviano Moreto in their favor is valid as
the lot sold is registered in the name of Flaviano Moreto and they are purchasers
believing in good faith that the vendor was the sole owner of the lot sold.
After a relocation of lots 1495, 1496 and 4545 made by agreement of the parties, it
was found out that there was mutual error between Flaviano Moreto and the
defendants in the execution of the deed of sale because while the said deed recited
that the lot sold is lot No. 1495, the real intention of the parties is that it was a
portion consisting of 781 square meters of lot No. 1496 which was the subject matter
of their sale transaction.
After trial, the lower court rendered judgment, the dispositive part thereof being as
follows:
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered for the plaintiffs
declaring the deed of absolute sale dated July 30, 1952 pertaining
to the eastern portion of Lot 1496 covering an area of 781 square
meters null and void as regards the 390.5 square meters of which
plaintiffs are hereby declared the rightful owners and entitled to its
possession.
The sale is ordered valid with respect to the eastern one-half (1/2)
of 1781 square meters of Lot 1496 measuring 390.5 square meters
of which defendants are declared lawful owners and entitled to its
possession.
After proper survey segregating the eastern one-half portion with
an area of 390.5 square meters of Lot 1496, the defendants shall be
entitled to a certificate of title covering said portion and Transfer
Certificate of Title No. 9843 of the office of the Register of Deeds
of Laguna shall be cancelled accordingly and new titles issued to

the plaintiffs and to the defendants covering their respective


portions.
Transfer Certificate of Title No. 5671 of the office of the Register
of Deeds of Laguna covering Lot No. 1495 and registered in the
name of Cornelio Pamplona, married to Apolonia Onte, is by virtue
of this decision ordered cancelled. The defendants are ordered to
surrender to the office of the Register of Deeds of Laguna the
owner's duplicate of Transfer Certificate of Title No. 5671 within
thirty (30) days after this decision shall have become final for
cancellation in accordance with this decision.
Let copy of this decision be furnished the Register of Deeds for the
province of Laguna for his information and guidance.
With costs against the defendants. 2
The defendants-appellants, not being satisfied with said judgment, appealed to the
Court of Appeals, which affirmed the judgment, hence they now come to this Court.
The fundamental and crucial issue in the case at bar is whether under the facts and
circumstances duly established by the evidence, petitioners are entitled to the full
ownership of the property in litigation, or only one-half of the same.
There is no question that when the petitioners purchased the property on July 30,
1952 from Flaviano Moreto for the price of P900.00, his wife Monica Maniega had
already been dead six years before, Monica having died on May 6, 1946. Hence, the
conjugal partnership of the spouses Flaviano Moreto and Monica Maniega had
already been dissolved. (Article 175, (1) New Civil Code; Article 1417, Old Civil
Code). The records show that the conjugal estate had not been inventoried,
liquidated, settled and divided by the heirs thereto in accordance with law. The
necessary proceedings for the liquidation of the conjugal partnership were not
instituted by the heirs either in the testate or intestate proceedings of the deceased
spouse pursuant to Act 3176 amending Section 685 of Act 190. Neither was there an
extra-judicial partition between the surviving spouse and the heirs of the deceased
spouse nor was an ordinary action for partition brought for the purpose. Accordingly,
the estate became the property of a community between the surviving husband,
Flaviano Moreto, and his children with the deceased Monica Maniega in the concept
of a co-ownership.
The community property of the marriage, at the dissolution of this
bond by the death of one of the spouses, ceases to belong to the
legal partnership and becomes the property of a community, by
operation of law, between the surviving spouse and the heirs of the
deceased spouse, or the exclusive property of the widower or the

widow, it he or she be the heir of the deceased spouse. Every coowner shall have full ownership of his part and in the fruits and
benefits derived therefrom, and he therefore may alienate, assign
or mortgage it, and even substitute another person in its enjoyment,
unless personal rights are in question. (Marigsa vs. Macabuntoc, 17
Phil. 107)
In Borja vs. Addision, 44 Phil. 895, 906, the Supreme Court said that "(t)here is no
reason in law why the heirs of the deceased wife may not form a partnership with the
surviving husband for the management and control of the community property of the
marriage and conceivably such a partnership, or rather community of property,
between the heirs and the surviving husband might be formed without a written
agreement." In Prades vs. Tecson, 49 Phil. 230, the Supreme Court held that
"(a)lthough, when the wife dies, the surviving husband, as administrator of the
community property, has authority to sell the property withut the concurrence of the
children of the marriage, nevertheless this power can be waived in favor of the
children, with the result of bringing about a conventional ownership in common
between the father and children as to such property; and any one purchasing with
knowledge of the changed status of the property will acquire only the undivided
interest of those members of the family who join in the act of conveyance.
It is also not disputed that immediately after the execution of the sale in 1952, the
vendees constructed their house on the eastern part of Lot 1496 which the vendor
pointed out to them as the area sold, and two weeks thereafter, Rafael who is a son of
the vendees, also built his house within Lot 1496. Subsequently, a cemented piggery
coral was constructed by the vendees at the back of their house about one and onehalf meters from the eastern boundary of Lot 1496. Both vendor and vendees
believed all the time that the area of 781 sq. meters subject of the sale was Lot No.
1495 which according to its title (T.C.T. No. 14570) contains an area of 781 sq.
meters so that the deed of sale between the parties Identified and described the land
sold as Lot 1495. But actually, as verified later by a surveyor upon agreement of the
parties during the proceedings of the case below, the area sold was within Lot 1496.
Again, there is no dispute that the houses of the spouses Cornelio Pamplona and
Apolonia Onte as well as that of their son Rafael Pamplona, including the concrete
piggery coral adjacent thereto, stood on the land from 1952 up to the filing of the
complaint by the private respondents on July 25, 1961, or a period of over nine (9)
years. And during said period, the private respondents who are the heirs of Monica
Maniega as well as of Flaviano Moreto who also died intestate on August 12, 1956,
lived as neighbors to the petitioner-vendees, yet lifted no finger to question the
occupation, possession and ownership of the land purchased by the Pamplonas, so
that We are persuaded and convinced to rule that private respondents are in estoppel
by laches to claim half of the property, in dispute as null and void. Estoppel by
laches is a rule of equity which bars a claimant from presenting his claim when, by
reason of abandonment and negligence, he allowed a long time to elapse without
presenting the same. (International Banking Corporation vs. Yared, 59 Phil. 92)

We have ruled that at the time of the sale in 1952, the conjugal partnership was
already dissolved six years before and therefore, the estate became a co-ownership
between Flaviano Moreto, the surviving husband, and the heirs of his deceased wife,
Monica Maniega. Article 493 of the New Civil Code is applicable and it provides a
follows:
Art. 493. Each co-owner shall have the full ownership of his part
and of the fruits and benefits pertaining thereto, and he may
therefore alienate, assign or mortgage it, and even substitute
another person in its enjoyment, except when personal rights are
involve. But the effect of the alienation or the mortgage, with
respect to the co-owners, shall be limited to the portion which may
be allotted to him in the division upon the termination of the coownership.
We agree with the petitioner that there was a partial partition of the co-ownership
when at the time of the sale Flaviano Moreto pointed out the area and location of the
781 sq. meters sold by him to the petitioners-vendees on which the latter built their
house and also that whereon Rafael, the son of petitioners likewise erected his house
and an adjacent coral for piggery.
Petitioners point to the fact that spouses Flaviano Moreto and Monica Maniega
owned three parcels of land denominated as Lot 1495 having an area of 781 sq.
meters, Lot 1496 with an area of 1,021 sq. meters, and Lot 4545 with an area of 544
sq. meters. The three lots have a total area of 2,346 sq. meters. These three parcels of
lots are contiguous with one another as each is bounded on one side by the other,
thus: Lot 4545 is bounded on the northeast by Lot 1495 and on the southeast by Lot
1496. Lot 1495 is bounded on the west by Lot 4545. Lot 1496 is bounded on the
west by Lot 4545. It is therefore, clear that the three lots constitute one big land.
They are not separate properties located in different places but they abut each other.
This is not disputed by private respondents. Hence, at the time of the sale, the coownership constituted or covered these three lots adjacent to each other. And since
Flaviano Moreto was entitled to one-half pro-indiviso of the entire land area or 1,173
sq. meters as his share, he had a perfect legal and lawful right to dispose of 781 sq.
meters of his share to the Pamplona spouses. Indeed, there was still a remainder of
some 392 sq. meters belonging to him at the time of the sale.
We reject respondent Court's ruling that the sale was valid as to one-half and invalid
as to the other half for the very simple reason that Flaviano Moreto, the vendor, had
the legal right to more than 781 sq. meters of the communal estate, a title which he
could dispose, alienate in favor of the vendees-petitioners. The title may be proindiviso or inchoate but the moment the co-owner as vendor pointed out its location
and even indicated the boundaries over which the fences were to be erectd without
objection, protest or complaint by the other co-owners, on the contrary they
acquiesced and tolerated such alienation, occupation and possession, We rule that a
factual partition or termination of the co-ownership, although partial, was created,

and barred not only the vendor, Flaviano Moreto, but also his heirs, the private
respondents herein from asserting as against the vendees-petitioners any right or title
in derogation of the deed of sale executed by said vendor Flaiano Moreto.
Equity commands that the private respondents, the successors of both the deceased
spouses, Flaviano Moreto and Monica Maniega be not allowed to impugn the sale
executed by Flaviano Moreto who indisputably received the consideration of
P900.00 and which he, including his children, benefitted from the same. Moreover,
as the heirs of both Monica Maniega and Flaviano Moreto, private respondents are
duty-bound to comply with the provisions of Articles 1458 and 1495, Civil Code,
which is the obligation of the vendor of the property of delivering and transfering the
ownership of the whole property sold, which is transmitted on his death to his heirs,
the herein private respondents. The articles cited provide, thus:
Art. 1458. By the contract of sale one of the contracting parties
obligates himself to transfer the ownership of and to deliver a
determinate thing, and the other part to pay therefore a price
certain in money or its equivalent.
A contract of sale may be absolute or conditionial.
Art. 1495. The vendor is bound to transfer the ownership of and
deliver, as well as warrant the thing which is the object of the sale.
Under Article 776, New Civil Code, the inheritance which private respondents
received from their deceased parents and/or predecessors-in-interest included all the
property rights and obligations which were not extinguished by their parents' death.
And under Art. 1311, paragraph 1, New Civil Code, the contract of sale executed by
the deceased Flaviano Moreto took effect between the parties, their assigns and heirs,
who are the private respondents herein. Accordingly, to the private respondents is
transmitted the obligation to deliver in full ownership the whole area of 781 sq.
meters to the petitioners (which was the original obligation of their predecessor
Flaviano Moreto) and not only one-half thereof. Private respondents must comply
with said obligation.
The records reveal that the area of 781 sq. meters sold to and occupied by petitioners
for more than 9 years already as of the filing of the complaint in 1961 had been resurveyed by private land surveyor Daniel Aranas. Petitioners are entitled to a
segregation of the area from Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-9843 covering Lot
1496 and they are also entitled to the issuance of a new Transfer Certificate of Title
in their name based on the relocation survey.
WHEREFORE, IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the judgment appealed from is
hereby AFFIRMED with modification in the sense that the sale made and executed

by Flaviano Moreto in favor of the petitioners-vendees is hereby declared legal and


valid in its entirely.
Petitioners are hereby declared owners in full ownership of the 781 sq. meters at the
eastern portion of Lot 1496 now occupied by said petitioners and whereon their
houses and piggery coral stand.
The Register of Deeds of Laguna is hereby ordered to segregate the area of 781 sq.
meters from Certificate of Title No. 9843 and to issue a new Transfer Certificate of
Title to the petitioners covering the segregated area of 781 sq. meters.
No costs.
SO ORDERED.

[G.R. No. 94918. September 2, 1992.]


DANILO I. SUAREZ, EUFROCINA SUAREZ-ANDRES, MARCELO I.
SUAREZ, JR., EVELYN SUAREZ-DE LEON and REGINIO I.
SUAREZ, Petitioners, v. THE COURT OF APPEALS, VALENTE
RAYMUNDO, VIOLETA RAYMUNDO, MA. CONCEPCION VITO and
VIRGINIA BANTA,Respondents.
Villareal Law Offices, for Petitioners.
Nelson Loyola for Private Respondent.
SYLLABUS
1. CIVIL LAW; WILLS AND SUCCESSION; LEGITIME; PROPRIETARY
INTEREST OF THE CHILDREN, DIFFERENT AND ADVERSE FROM THEIR
MOTHER. The legitime of the surviving spouse is equal to the legitime of each
child. The proprietary interest of petitioners in the levied and auctioned property is
different from and adverse to that of their mother. Petitioners became co-owners of
the property not because of their mother but through their own right as children of
their deceased father. Therefore, petitioners are not barred in any way from
instituting the action to annul the auction sale to protect their own interest.
DECISION
NOCON, J.:
The ultimate issue before Us is whether or not private respondents can validly
acquire all the five (5) parcels of land co-owned by petitioners and registered in the
name of petitioners deceased father. Marcelo Suarez, whose estate has not been
partitioned or liquidated, after the said properties were levied and publicly sold en
masse to private respondents to satisfy the personal judgment debt of Teofista
Suarez, the surviving spouse of Marcelo Suarez, mother of herein
petitioners.chanrobles law library
The undisputed facts of the case are as follows:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
Herein petitioners are brothers and sisters. Their father died in 1955 and since then
his estate consisting of several valuable parcels of land in Pasig, Metro Manila has
lot been liquidated or partitioned. In 1977, petitioners widowed mother and Rizal
Realty Corporation lost in the consolidated cases for rescission of contract and for
damages, and were ordered by Branch 1 of the then Court of First Instance of Rizal
(now Branch 151, RTC of Pasig) to pay, jointly and severally, herein respondents the
aggregate principal amount of about P70,000 as damages. 1
The judgment against petitioners mother and Rizal Realty Corporation having
become final and executory, five (5) valuable parcel of land in Pasig, Metro Manila,

(worth to be millions then) were levied and sold on execution on June 24, 1983 in
favor of the private respondents as the highest bidder for the amount of P94,170.000.
Private respondents were then issued a certificate of sale which was subsequently
registered or August 1, 1983.
On June 21, 1984 before the expiration of the redemption period, petitioners filed a
reinvindicatory action 2 against private respondents and the Provincial Sheriff of
Rizal, thereafter docketed as Civil Case No. 51203, for the annulment of the auction
sale and the recovery of the ownership of the levied pieces of property. Therein, they
alleged, among others, that being strangers to the case decided against their mother,
they cannot be held liable therefor and that the five (5) parcels of land, of which they
are co-owners, can neither be levied nor sold on execution.
On July 31, 1984, the Provincial Sheriff of Rizal issued to private respondents a final
deed of sale 3 over the properties.
On October 22, 1984, Teofista Suarez joined by herein petitioners filed with Branch
151 a Motion for Reconsideration 4 of the Order dated October 10, 1984, claiming
that the parcels of land are co-owned by them and further informing the Court the
filing and pendency of an action to annul the auction sale (Civil Case No. 51203),
which motion however, was denied.chanrobles.com:cralaw:red
On February 25, 1985, a writ of preliminary injunction was issued enjoining private
respondents from transferring to third parties the levied parcels of land based on the
finding that the auctioned lands are co-owned by petitioners.
On March 1, 1985, private respondent Valente Raymundo filed in Civil Case No.
51203 a Motion to Dismiss for failure on the part of the petitioners to prosecute,
however, such motion was later denied by Branch 155, Regional Trial Court, Pasig.
On December 1985, Raymundo filed in Civil Case No. 51203 an Ex-Parte Motion to
Dismiss complaint for failure to prosecute. This was granted by Branch 155 through
an Order dated May 29, 1986, notwithstanding petitioners pending motion for the
issuance of alias summons to be served upon the other defendants in the said case. A
motion for reconsideration was filed but was later denied.
On October 10, 1984, RTC Branch 151 issued in Civil Case Nos. 21736-21739 an
Order directing Teofista Suarez and all persons claiming right under her to vacate the
lots subject of the judicial sale; to desist from removing or alienating improvements
thereon; and to surrender to private respondents the owners duplicate copy of the
torrens title and other pertinent documents.
Teofista Suarez then filed with the then Court of Appeals a petition for certiorari to
annul the Orders of Branch 151 dated October 10, 1984 and October 14, 1986 issued
in Civil Case Nos. 21736-21739.
On December 4, 1986 petitioners filed with Branch 155 a Motion for reconsideration
of the Order 5 dated September 24, 1986. In an Order dated June 10, 1987, 6 Branch
155 lifted its previous order of dismissal and directed the issuance of alias
summons.chanrobles law library : red

Respondents then appealed to the Court of Appeals seeking to annul the orders dated
February 25, 1985, 7 May 19, 1989 8 and February 26, 1990 9 issued in Civil Case
No. 51203 and further ordering respondent Judge to dismiss Civil Case No. 51203.
The appellate court rendered its decision on July 27, 1990, 10 the dispositive portion
of which reads:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari is hereby granted and the questioned
orders dated February 25, 1985, May 19, 1989 and February 26, 1990 issued in Civil
Case No. 51203 are hereby annulled, further respondent Judge is ordered to dismiss
Civil Case No. 51203." 11
Hence, this appeal.
Even without touching on the incidents and issues raised by both petitioner and
private respondents and the developments subsequent to the filing of the complaint,
We cannot but notice the glaring error committed by the trial court.
It would be useless to discuss the procedural issue on the validity of the execution
and the manner of publicly selling en masse the subject properties for auction. To
start with, only one-half of the 5 parcels of land should have been the subject of the
auction sale.
The law in point is Article 777 of the Civil Code, the law applicable at the time of the
institution of the case.
"The rights to the succession are transmitted from the moment of the death of the
decedent."cralaw virtua1aw library
Article 888 further provides:chanrobles.com.ph : virtual law library
"The legitime of the legitimate children and descendants consists of one-half of the
hereditary estate of the father and of the mother.
The latter may freely dispose of the remaining half, subject to the rights of
illegitimate children and of the surviving spouse as hereinafter provided."cralaw
virtua1aw library
Article 892 par. 2 likewise provides:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"If there are two or more legitimate children or descendants, the surviving spouse
shall be entitled to a portion equal to the legitime of each of the legitimate children
or descendants."cralaw virtua1aw library
Thus, from the foregoing, the legitime of the surviving spouse is equal to the
legitime of each child.
The proprietary interest of petitioners in the levied and auctioned property is
different from and adverse to that of their mother. Petitioners became co-owners of
the property not because of their mother but through their own right as children of

their deceased father. Therefore, petitioners are not barred in any way from
instituting the action to annul the auction sale to protect their own interest.
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals dated July 27, 1990 as well as
its Resolution of August 28, 1990 are hereby REVERSED and set aside; and Civil
Case No. 51203 is reinstated only to determine that portion which belongs to
petitioners and to annul the sale with regard to said portion.chanrobles law library
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. L-14070

March 29, 1961

MARIA GERVACIO BLAS, MANUEL GERVACIO BLAS, LEONCIO


GERVACIO BLAS and LODA GERVACIO BLAS, plaintiffs-appellants,
vs.
ROSALINA SANTOS, in her capacity as Special Administratrix of the Estate of
the deceased MAXIMA SANTOS VDA. DE BLAS, in Sp. Proc. No. 2524, Court
of First Instance of Rizal, defendants-appellants. MARTA GERVACIO BLAS
and DR. JOSE CHIVI, defendants-appellants.
Teofilo Sison and Nicanor Sison for plaintiffs-appellants.
De los Santos, Caluag, Pascal and Felizardo for defendants-appellees.
LABRADOR, J.:
This action was instituted by plaintiffs against the administration of the estate of
Maxima Santos, to secure a judicial declaration that one-half of the properties left by
Maxima Santos Vda. de Blas, the greater bulk of which are set forth and described in
the project of partition presented in the proceedings for the administration of the
estate of the deceased Simeon Blas, had been promised by the deceased Maxima
Santos to be delivered upon her death and in her will to the plaintiffs, and requesting
that the said properties so promised be adjudicated to the plaintiffs. The complaint
also prays for actual damages in the amount of P50,000. (Record on Appeal, pp. 165.) The alleged promise of the deceased Maxima Santos is contained in a document
executed by Maxima Santos on December 26, 1936 attached to the complaint as
Annex "H" and introduced at the trial as Exhibit "A". (Ibid., pp. 258-259.) The
complaint also alleges that the plaintiffs are entitled to inherit certain properties
enumerated in paragraph 3 thereof, situated in Malabon, Rizal and Obando, Bulacan,
but which properties have already been in included in the inventory of the estate of
the deceased Simeon Blas and evidently partitioned and conveyed to his heirs in the
proceedings for the administration of his (Simeon Blas) estate.
Defendant, who is the administratrix of the estate of the deceased Maxima Santos
Vda. de Blas, filed an answer with a counterclaim, and later, an amended answer and
a counterclaim. The said amended answer admits the allegations of the complaint as
to her capacity as administratrix the death of Simeon Blas on January 3, 1937; the
fact that Simeon Blas and Marta Cruz begot three children only one of whom,
namely, Eulalio Blas, left legitimate descendants; that Simeon Blas contracted a
second marriage with Maxima Santos on June 28, 1898. She denies for lack of
sufficient information and belief, knowledge edge of the first marriage of Simeon
Blas to Marta Cruz, the averment that Simeon Blas and Marta Cruz acquired
properties situated in Obando, Bulacan, that said properties were utilized as capital,
etc. As special defenses, she alleges that the properties of the spouses Blas and
Santos had been settled and liquidated in the project of partition of the estate of said
Simeon Blas; that pursuant to the project of partition, plaintiffs and some defendants
had already received the respective properties adjudicated to them; that the plaintiffs
and the defendants Marta Geracio and Jose Chivi are estopped from impugning the
validity of the project of partition of the estate of the deceased Simeon Blas and from
questioning the ownership in the properties conveyed in the project of partition to

Maxima Santos as her own exclusive property; that the testament executed by
Maxima Santos is valid, the plain plaintiffs having no right to recover any portion of
Maxima Santos' estate now under administration by the court. A counterclaim for the
amount of P50,000 as damages is also included in the complaint, as also a crossclaim against Marta Gervacio Blas and Jose Chivi.
Trial of the case was Conducted and, thereafter, the court, Hon. Gustave Victoriano,
presiding, rendered judgment dismissing the complaint, with costs against plaintiff,
and dismissing also the counterclaim and cross-claim decision ,the plaintiffs filed by
the defendants. From this district have appealed to this Court.
The facts essential to an understanding of the issues involved in the case may be
briefly summarized as follows: Simeon Blas contracted a first marriage with Marta
Cruz sometime before 1898. They had three children, only one of whom, Eulalio, left
children, namely, Maria Gervacio Blas, one of the plaintiffs, Marta Gervacio Blas,
one of the defendants, and Lazaro Gervacio Blas. Lazaro died in 1950, and is
survived by three legitimate children who are plaintiffs herein, namely, Manuel
Gervacio Blas, Leoncio Gervacio Blas and Loida Gervacio Blas. Marta Cruz died in
1898, and the following year, Simeon Blas contracted a second marriage with
Maxima Santos. At the time of this second marriage, no liquidation of the properties
required by Simeon Blas and Marta Cruz was made. Three of the properties left are
fishponds located in Obando, Bulacan. Maxima Santos does not appear to have
apported properties to her marriage with Simeon Blas.
On December 26, 1936, only over a week before over a week before his death on
January 9, 1937, Simeon Blas executed a last will and testament. In the said
testament Simeon Blas makes the following declarations:
I
2. Sa panahon ng aking pangalawang asawa, MAXIMA SANTOS DE
BLAS, ay nagkaroon ako at nakatipon ng mga kayamanan (bienes) at pagaari (propriedades) na ang lahat ng lupa, palaisdaan at iba pang pag-aari ay
umaabot sa halagang ANIM NA RAAN PITONG PU'T WALONG DAAN
LIBO WALONG DAAN WALONG PUNG PISO (678,880-00) sang-ayon
sa mga halaga sa amillarimento (valor Amillarado.)
II
1. Ang kalahati ng lahat ng aming pag-aari, matapos mabayaran ang lahat
ng aking o aming pag-kakautang na mag-asawa, kung mayroon man,
yayamang ang lahat ng ito ay kita sa loob ng matrimonio (bienes
ganaciales) ay bahagi ng para sa aking asawa, MAXIMA SANTOS DE
BLAS, sang-ayon sa batas. (Record on Appeal, pp. 250-251.)
The above testamentary provisions may be translated as follows:
I
2. During my second marriage with Maxima Santos de Blas, I possessed
and acquired wealth and properties, consisting of lands, fishponds and other

kinds of properties, the total assessed value of which reached the amount
P678,880.00.
II
1. One-half of our properties, after the payment of my and our indebtedness,
all these properties having been acquired during marriage (conjugal
properties), constitutes the share of my wife Maxima Santos de Blas,
according to the law.
At the time of the execution of said will, Andres Pascual a son-in-law of the testator,
and Avelina Pascual and others, were present. Andres Pascual had married a
descendant by the first marriage. The will was prepared by Andres Pascual, with the
help of his nephew Avelino Pascual. The testator asked Andres Pascual to prepare a
document which was presented in court as Exhibit "A", thus:
Q Was there anybody who asked you to prepare this document?
A Don Simeon Blas asked me to prepare this document (referring to
Exhibit "A"), (t.s.n., Sarmiento to, P. 24).
The reason why the testator ordered the preparation of Exhibit "A" was because the
properties that the testator had acquired during his first marriage with Marta Cruz
had not been liquidated and were not separated from those acquired during the
second marriage. Pascual's testimony is as follows:
Q To whom do you refer with the word "they"?
A Simeon Blas and his first wife, Marta Cruz. When Marta Cruz died
they had not made a liquidation of their conjugal properties and so all those
properties were included all in the assets of the second marriage, and that is
the reason why this document was prepared. (t.s.n., Sarmiento, p. 36.)
The above testimony is fully corroborated by that of Leoncio Gervacio, son-in-law of
Simeon Blas.
Q Please state to the Court?
A My children were claiming from their grandfather Simeon Blas the
properties left by their grandmother Marta Cruz in the year 1936.
Q And what happened with that claim of your children against Simeon
Blas regarding the assets or properties of the first marriage that were left
after the death of Marta Cruz in 1936?
A The claim was not pushed through because they reached into an
agreement whereby the parties Simeon Blas Maxima Santos, Maria
Gervacio Bias, Marta Gervacio Blas and Lazaro Gervacio Blas agreed that
Simeon Blas and Maxima Blas will give one-half of the estate of Simeon
Blas. (t.s.n., Sarmiento, pp. 143-144).
The document which was thus prepared and which is marked as Exhibit "A" reads in
Tagalog, thus:

MAUNAWA NG SINO MANG MAKABABASA:


Na akong si MAXIMA SANTOS DE BLAS, nasa hustong gulang, kasal
kay SIMEON BLAS, taga bayan ng Malabon, Rizal, Philippines, sa
pamamagitan ng kasulatang ito ay malaya kong ipinahahayag:
Na aking nabasa at naunawa ang testamento at huling kalooban na
nilagdaan ng aking asawa, SIMEON BLAS, at ipinahahayag ko sa ilalim ng
aking karangalan at sa harap ng aking asawa na igagalang at pagpipitaganan
ang lahat at bawa't isang bahagi ng nabanggit na testamento at
ipinangangako ko pa sa pamamagitan ng kasulatang ito na ang lahat ng
maiiwang pag-aari at kayamanan naming mag-asawa, na nauukol at
bahaging para sa akin sa paggawa ko naman ng aking testamento ay
ipagkakaloob ko ang kalahati () sa mga herederos at legatarios o
pinamamanahan ng aking nabanggit na asawa, SIMEON BLAS, sa
kaniyang testamento, na ako'y makapipili o makahihirang na kahit kangino
sa kanila ng aking pagbibigyan at pamamanahan sang-ayon sa paggalang,
paglilingkod, at pakikisama ng gagawin sa akin.
SA KATUNAYAN NG LAHAT NG ITO ay nilagdaan ko ang kasulatang ito
ngayon ika 26 ng Diciembre ng taong 1936, dito sa San Francisco del
Monte, San Juan, Rizal, Philippines. (Exh. "A", pp. 29-30 Appellant's
brief).
(Fdo.) MAXIMA SANTOS DE BLAS
and which, translated into English, reads as follows:
KNOW ALL MEN BY THESE PRESENTS:
That I MAXIMA SANTOS DE BLAS, of legal age, married to SIMEON
BLAS, resident of Malabon, Rizal, Philippines, voluntarily state:
That I have read and knew the contents of the will signed by my husband,
SIMEON BLAS, (2) and I promise on my word of honor in the presence of
my husband that I will respect and obey all and every disposition of said
will (3) and furthermore, I promise in this document that all the properties
my husband and I will leave, the portion and share corresponding to me
when I make my will, I will give one-half () to the heirs and legatees or
the beneficiaries named in the will of my husband, (4) and that I can select
or choose any of them, to whom I will give depending upon the respect,
service and treatment accorded to me.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I signed this document this 26th day of
December, 1936 at San Francisco del Monte, San Juan, Rizal, Philippines.
(Exh. "A", pp. 30-31, Appellant's brief).
(Sgd.) MAXIMA SANTOS DE BLAS

The court below held that said Exhibit "A" has not created any right in favor of
plaintiffs which can serve as basis for the complaint; that neither can it be considered
as a valid and enforceable contract for lack of consideration and because it deals with
future inheritance. The court also declared that Exhibit "A" is not a will because it
does not comply with the requisites for the execution of a will; nor could it be
considered as a donation, etc.
Both the court below in its decision and the appellees in their brief before us, argue
vehemently that the heirs of Simeon Blas and his wife Marta Cruz can no longer
make any claim for the unliquidated conjugal properties acquired during said first
marriage, because the same were already included in the mass of properties
constituting the estate of the deceased Simeon Blas and in the adjudications made by
virtue of his will, and that the action to recover the same has prescribed. This
contention is correct. The descendants of Marta Cruz can no longer claim the
conjugal properties that she and her husband may have required during their
marriage although no liquidation of such properties and delivery thereof to the heirs
of Marta Cruz have been made, no action to recover said propertied having been
presented in the proceedings for the settlement of the estate of Simeon Blas.
But the principal basis for the plaintiffs' action in the case at bar is the document
Exhibit "A". It is not disputed that this document was prepared at the instance of
Simeon Blas for the reason that the conjugal properties of me on Blas for the reason
his first marriage had not been liquidated; that it was prepared at the same time as the
will of Simeon Blas on December 26, 1936, at the instance of the latter himself. It is
also not disputed that the document was signed by Maxima Santos and one copy
thereof, which was presented in court as Exhibit "A", was kept by plaintiffs' witness
Andres Pascual.
Plaintiffs-appellants argue before us that Exhibit "A" is both a trust agreement and a
contract in the nature of a compromise to avoid litigation. Defendants-appellees, in
answer, claim that it is neither a trust agreement nor a compromise a agreement.
Considering that the properties of the first marriage of Simeon Blas had not been
liquidated when Simeon Blas executed his will on December 26, 1936', and the
further fact such properties where actually , and the further fact that included as
conjugal properties acquired during the second marriage, we find, as contended by
plaintiffs-appellants that the preparation and execution of Exhibit "A" was ordered
by Simeon Blas evidently to prevent his heirs by his first marriage from contesting
his will and demanding liquidation of the conjugal properties acquired during the
first marriage, and an accounting of the fruits and proceeds thereof from the time of
the death of his first wife.
Exhibit "A", therefore, appears to be the compromise defined in Article 1809 of the
Civil Code of Spain, in force at the time of the execution of Exhibit "A", which
provides as follows:
Compromise is a contract by which each of the parties in interest, by
giving, promising, or retaining something avoids the provocation of a suitor
terminates one which has already the provocation been instituted.
(Emphasis supplied.)

Exhibit "A" states that the maker (Maxima Santos) had read and knew the contents
of the will of her husband read and knew the contents of the will Simeon Blas she
was evidently referring to the declaration in the will(of Simeon Blas) that his
properties are conjugal properties and one-half thereof belongs to her (Maxima
Santos) as her share of the conjugal assets under the law. The agreement or promise
that Maxima Santos makes in Exhibit "A" is to hold one-half of her said share in the
conjugal assets in trust for the heirs and legatees of her husband in his will, with the
obligation of conveying the same to such of his heirs or legatees as she may choose
in her last will and testament. It is to be noted that the conjugal properties referred to
are those that were actually existing at that time, December 26, 1936. Simeon Blas
died on January 9, 1937. On June 2, 1937, an inventory of the properties left by him,
all considered conjugal, was submitted by Maxima Santos herself as administratrix
of his estate. A list of said properties is found in Annex "E", the complete inventory
submitted by Maxima Santos Vda. de Blas, is administratrix of the estate of her
husband, dated March 10, 1939. The properties which were given to Maxima Santos
as her share in the conjugal properties are also specified in the project of partition
submitted by said Maxima Santos herself on March 14, 1939. (Record on Appeal, pp.
195-241.) Under Exhibit "A", therefore, Maxima Santos contracted the obligation
and promised to give one-half of the above indicated properties to the heirs and
legatees of Simeon Blas.
Counsel for the defendant-appellee claims Exhibit "A" is a worthless piece of paper
because it is not a will nor a donation mortis causa nor a contract. As we have in
indicated above, it is a compromise and at the same time a contract with a sufficient
cause or consideration. It is also contended that it deals with future inheritance. We
do not think that Exhibit "A" is a contract on future inheritance. it is an obligation or
promise made by the maker to transmit one-half of her share in the conjugal
properties acquired with her husband, which properties are stated or declared to be
conjugal properties in the will of the husband. The conjugal properties were in
existence at the time of the execution of Exhibit "A" on December 26, 1936. As a
matter of fact, Maxima Santos included these properties in her inventory of her
husband's estate of June 2, 1937. The promise does not refer to any properties that
the maker would inherit upon the death of her husband, because it is her share in the
conjugal assets. That the kind of agreement or promise contained in Exhibit "A" is
not void under Article 1271 of the old Civil Code, has been decided by the Supreme
Court of Spain in its decision of October 8, 19154, thus:
Que si bien el art. 1271 del Codigo civil dispone que sobre la herenciafutura
no se podra celebrar otros contratos que aquellos cuyo objecto seapracticar
entre vivos la division de un caudal, conforme al articulo 1056, esta
prohibicion noes aplicable al caso, porque la obligacion que contrajoel
recurr en contrato privado de otorgar testamento e instituir heredera a su
subrina de los bienes que adquirio en virtud de herencia, procedentes desu
finada consorte que le quedasen sobrantes despues de pagar las deudas, y
del ganacial que se expresa, asi como de reconocer, ademas, con alguna
cosaa otros sobrinos, se refiere a bienes conocidos y determinados
existentes cuando tal compromisi se otorgo, y no a la universalidad de una

herencia que, sequn el art. 659 del citado Codigo civil, as determina a
muerte, constituyendola todos los bienes, derechos y obligaciones que por
ella no sehayan extinguido: ..." (Emphasis supplied.)
It will be noted that what is prohibited to be the subject matter of a contract under
Article 1271 of the Civil Code is " future inheritance." To us future inheritance is any
property or right not in existence or capable of determination at the time of the
contract, that a person may in the future acquire by succession. The properties
subject of the contract Exhibit "A" are well defined properties, existing at the time of
the agreement, which Simeon Blas declares in his statement as belonging to his wife
as her share in the conjugal partnership. Certainly his wife's actual share in the
conjugal properties may not be considered as future inheritance because they were
actually in existence at the time Exhibit "A" was executed.
The trial court held that the plaintiffs-appellants in the case at bar are concluded by
the judgement rendered in the proceedings for the settlement of the estate of Simeon
Blas for the reason that the properties left by him belonged to himself and his wife
Maxima Santos; that the project of partition in the said case, adjudicating to Maxima
Santos one-half as her share in the conjugal properties, is a bar to another action on
the same subject matter, Maxima Santos having become absolute owner of the said
properties adjudicated in her favor. As already adverted to above, these contentions
would be correct if applied to the claim of the plaintiffs-appellants that said
properties were acquired with the first wife of Simeon Blas, Marta Cruz. But the
main ground upon which plaintiffs base their present action is the document Exhibit
"A", already fully considered above. As this private document contains the express
promise made by Maxima Santos to convey in her testament, upon her death, onehalf of the conjugal properties she would receive as her share in the conjugal
properties, the action to enforce the said promise did not arise until and after her
death when it was found that she did not comply with her above-mentioned promise.
(Art. 1969, old Civil Code.) The argument that the failure of the plaintiffs-appellants
herein to oppose the project of partition in the settlement of the estate of Simeon
Blas, especially that portion of the project which assigned to Maxima Santos onehalf of all the conjugal properties bars their present action, is, therefore, devoid of
merit. It may be added that plaintiffs-appellants did not question the validity of the
project of partition precisely because of the promise made by Maxima Santos in the
compromise Exhibit "A"; they acquised in the approval of said project of partition
because they were relying on the promise made by Maxima Santos in Exhibit "A",
that she would transmit one-half of the conjugal properties that she was going to
receive as her share in the conjugal partnership upon her death and in her will, to the
heirs and legatees of her husband Simeon Blas.
Neither can the claim of prescription be considered in favor of the defendants. The
right of action arose at the time of the death of Maxima Santos on October 5,1956,
when she failed to comply with the promise made by her in Exhibit "A". The
plaintiffs-appellants immediately presented this action on December 27, 1956, upon
learning of such failure on the part of Maxima Santos to comply with said promise.
This defense is, therefore, also without merit.

It is next contended by the defendant-appellee that Maxima Santos complied with


her above-mentioned promise, that Andres Pascual, Tomasa Avelino, Justo
Garcia, Ludovico Pimpin and Marta Gervacio Blas were given substancial legacies
in the will and testament of Maxima Santos. To determine whether she had actually
complied with the promise made in Exhibit "A", there is herein set forth a list only of
the fishponds and their respective areas as contained in the list of properties she
acquired as her share in the conjugal partnership, which list includes, besides many
ricelands as well as residential lots, thus:
31. Paco, Obando, Bulacan

5.8396 has.

32. Pangjolo, Obando

3.5857

34. Batang Pirasuan, Lubao, Pampanga

11.9515

"

35. Calangian, Lubao, Pampanga

30.2059

"

38. Bakuling, Lubao, Pampanga

215.4325

39. Bakuling, Lubao, Pampanga

8.3763

40. Bangkal, Sinubli

23.0730

41. Tagulod,

6.8692

44. Bangkal Pugad

"

"
"
"
"

(a) 34.2779

"

(b) 51.7919

"

(c) 2.5202
45. Magtapat Bangkal, Lubao, Pampanga

"

(a) 18.0024
(b) 7.3265

"
"

(c) 53.5180

"

46. Pinanganakan, Lubao, Pampanga

159.0078

"

47. Emigdio Lingid, Lubao, Pampanga

34.5229

"

48. Propios, Lubao, Pampanga

80.5382

"

49. Batang Mabuanbuan, Sexmoan, Pampanga

43.3350

"

50. Binatang Mabuanbuan, Sexmoan, Pampanga

3.5069

51. Sapang Magtua, Sexmoan, Pampanga

56,8242

"
"

52. Kay Limpin, Sexmoan, Pampanga

5.0130

53. Calise Mabalumbum, Sexmoan, Pampanga

23.8935

54. Messapinit Kineke, Sexmoan, Pampanga

It is evident from a consideration of the above figures and facts that Maxima Santos
did not comply with her obligation to devise one-half of her conjugal properties to
the heirs and legatees of her husband. She does not state that she had complied with
such obligation in her will. If she intended to comply therewith by giving some of
the heirs of Simeon Blas the properties mentioned above, the most that can be
considered in her favor is to deduct the value of said properties from the total amount
of properties which she had undertaken to convey upon her death.

"
"

(a) 5.2972

"

(b) 5.9230

"

(c) 1.4638

"

(d) 1.4638

"

(e) 2.8316

"

(f) 10.4412

All the issues in the pleadings of the parties and in their respective briefs, have now
been fully discussed and considered. Reiterating what we have stated above, we
declare that by Exhibit "A", a compromise to avoid litigation, Maxima Santos
promised to devise to the heirs and legatees of her husband Simeon Blas, one-half of
the properties she received as her share in the conjugal partnership of herself and her
husband, which share is specified in the project of partition submitted by herself on
March 14, 1939 in the settlement of the estate of her husband, and which is found on
pages 195 to 240 of the record on appeal and on pages 27 to 46 of the project of
partition, submitted by Maxima Santos herself before the Court of First Instance of
Rizal in Civil Case No. 6707, entitled "Testamentaria del Finado Don Simeon Blas,
Maxima Santos Vda. de Bias, Administradora"; and that she failed to comply with
her aforementioned obligation. (Exhibit "A")

(g) 3.9033

"
"

(h) 11.9263 "


(i) 6.0574
55. Dalang, Banga, Sexmoan, Pampanga

23.3989

62. Alaminos, Pangasinan

147.1242

80. Mangasu Sexmoan, Pampanga

10.000

81. Don Tomas, Sexmoan, Pampanga

21.6435

"

82. Matikling, Lubao, Pampanga


Total area ...............................

"
"
"
"

16.0000
1045.7863

"
"

(See Record on Record, pp. 195-241.)


In her will, Maxima Santos devised to Marta Gervacio Blas the 80-hectare fishpond
situated in Lubao, Pampanga. The fishpond devised is evidently that designated as
"Propios" in Lubao, Pampanga, item No. 8 in the list of properties adjudicated to her
in the project of partition. (Record on Appeal, p. 215.) Considering that the total area
of the fishponds amount to 1045.7863 hectares, the 80 hectares devised to Marta
Gervacio Blas is not even one-tenth of the total area of the fishponds. Add to this the
fact that in the will she imposed upon Marta Gervacio Blas de Chivi an existing
obligation on said fishponds, namely, its lease in 1957 and the duty to pay out of the
rentals thereof an obligation to the Rehabilitation Finance Corporation RFC (Ibid.,
pp. 262-263.) Angelina Blas was given only a lot of 150 square meters in Hulong
Duhat, Malabon, Rizal, and Leony Blas, the sum of P300.00 (Ibid., p. 264.)

WHEREFORE, the judgment appealed from is hereby reversed and the defendantappellee, administratrix of the estate of Maxima Santos, is ordered to convey and
deliver one-half of the properties adjudicated o Maxima Santos as her share in the
conjugal properties in said Civil Case No. 6707, entitled "Testamentaria del Finado
Don Simeon Blas, Maxima Santos Vda. de Blas, Administradora", to the heirs and
the legatees of her husband Simeon Blas. Considering that all said heirs and legatees,
designated in the will of Simeon Blas as the persons for whose benefit Exhibit "A"
had been executed, have not appeared in these proceedings, the record is hereby
remanded to the court below, with instructions that, after the conveyance of the
properties hereinabove ordered had been effected, the said heirs and legatees (of
Simeon Blas) file adversary pleadings to determine the participation of each and
every one of them in said properties. Costs against the defendant- appellee Rosalina
Santos.
Padilla, Parades and Dizon, JJ., concur.
Reyes, J.B.L. and Barrera, JJ., concur in a separate opinion.
Bengzon, C.J., reserves his vote.
Concepcion, J., took no part.

G.R. No. 112193 March 13, 1996

(d) Payment of baptismal expenses and attendance therein;

JOSE E. ARUEGO, JR., SIMEONA SAN JUAN ARUEGO, MA.


IMMACULADA T. ALANON, ROBERTO A. TORRES, CRISTINA A.
TORRES, JUSTO JOSE TORRES and AGUSTIN TORRES, petitioners,
vs.
THE HON. COURT OF APPEALS, THIRTEENTH DIVISION and ANTONIA
ARUEGO, respondents.

(e) Taking them to restaurants and department stores on occasions


of family rejoicing;

HERMOSISIMA, JR., J.:p


On March 7, 1983, a Complaint 1 for Compulsory Recognition and Enforcement of
Successional Rights was filed before Branch 30 of the Regional Trial Court of
Manila by the minors, private respondent Antonia F. Aruego and her alleged sister
Evelyn F. Aruego, represented by their mother and natural guardian, Luz M. Fabian.
Named defendants therein were Jose E. Aruego, Jr. and the five (5) minor children of
the deceased Gloria A. Torres, represented by their father and natural guardian, Justo
P. Torres, Jr., now the petitioners herein.
In essence, the complaint avers that the late Jose M. Aruego, Sr., a married man, had
an amorous relationship with Luz M. Fabian sometime in 1959 until his death on
March 30, 1982. Out of this relationship were born Antonia F. Aruego and Evelyn F.
Aruego on October 5, 1962 and September 3, 1963, respectively. The complaint
prayed for an Order praying that herein private respondent and Evelyn be declared
the illegitimate children of the deceased Jose M. Aruego, Sr.; that herein petitioners
be compelled to recognize and acknowledge them as the compulsory heirs of the
deceased Jose M. Aruego; that their share and participation in the estate of their
deceased father be determined and ordered delivered to them.
The main basis of the action for compulsory recognition is their alleged "open and
continuous possession of the status of illegitimate children" as stated in paragraphs 6
and 7 of the Complaint, to wit:
6. The plaintiffs' father, Jose M. Aruego, acknowledged and
recognized the herein plaintiffs as his children verbally among
plaintiffs' and their mother's family friends, as well as by myriad
different paternal ways, including but not limited to the following:
(a) Regular support and educational expenses;
(b) Allowance to use his surname;
(c) Payment of maternal bills;

(f) Attendance to school problems of plaintiffs;


(g) Calling and allowing plaintiffs to his office every now and
then;
(h) Introducing them as such children to family friends.
7. The plaintiffs are thus, in continuous possession of the status
of (illegitimate) children of the deceased Jose M. Aruego who
showered them, with the continuous and clear manifestations of
paternal care and affection as above outlined. 2
Petitioners denied all these allegations.
After trial, the lower court rendered judgment, dated June 15, 1992, the dispositive
portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, judgment is rendered
1. Declaring Antonia Aruego as illegitimate daughter of Jose
Aruego and Luz Fabian;
2. Evelyn Fabian is not an illegitimate daughter of Jose Aruego
with Luz Fabian;
3. Declaring that the estate of deceased Jose Aruego are the
following:
xxx xxx xxx
4. Antonia Aruego is entitled to a share equal to 1/2 portion of
share of the legitimate children of Jose Aruego;
5. Defendants are hereby ordered to recognize Antonia Aruego as
the illegitimate daughter of Jose Aruego with Luz Fabian;

6. Defendants are hereby ordered to deliver to Antonia Aruego


(her) share in the estate of Jose Aruego, Sr.;
7. Defendants to play (sic) plaintiffs (Antonia Aruego) counsel the
sum of P10,000.00 as atty's fee;
8. Cost against the defendants. 3
Herein petitioners filed a Motion for Partial Reconsideration of the decision alleging
loss of jurisdiction on the part of the trial court over the complaint by virtue of the
passage of Executive Order No. 209 (as amended by Executive Order No. 227),
otherwise known as the Family Code of the Philippines which took effect on August
3, 1988. This motion was denied by the lower court in the Order, dated January 14,
1993.
Petitioners interposed an appeal but the lower court refused to give it due course on
the ground that it was filed out of time.

RESPONDENT COURT HAD CLEARLY ERRED IN RULING


THAT THERE IS NO PERCEPTIBLE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN
THE CIVIL CODE PROVISION AND THOSE OF THE FAMILY
CODE ANENT THE TIME AN ACTION FOR COMPULSORY
RECOGNITION MAY BE MADE AND THAT THERE IS NO
DIFFERENCE UNDER THE CIVIL CODE FROM THAT OF
THE FAMILY CODE CONCERNING THE REQUIREMENT
THAT AN ACTION FOR COMPULSORY RECOGNITION ON
THE GROUND OF CONTINUOUS POSSESSION OF THE
STATUS OF AN ILLEGITIMATE CHILD SHOULD BE FILED
DURING THE LIFETIME OF THE PUTATIVE PARENT, IN
UTTER DISREGARD OF THE RULING OF THIS
HONORABLE COURT IN THE UYGUANGCO CASE THAT
THE CIVIL CODE PROVISION HAD BEEN SUPERSEDED OR
AT LEAST MODIFIED BY THE CORRESPONDING
ARTICLES IN THE FAMILY CODE.
D

A Petition for Prohibition and Certiorari with prayer for a Writ of Preliminary
Injunction was filed by herein petitioners before respondent Court of Appeals, the
petition was dismissed for lack of merit in a decision promulgated on August 31,
1993. A Motion for Reconsideration when filed was denied by the respondent court
in a minute resolution, dated October 13, 1993.

RESPONDENT
COURT
ERRED
IN
DISMISSING
PETITIONERS' PETITION FOR PROHIBITION AND IN
HOLDING THAT PETITIONERS REMEDY IS THAT OF AN
APPEAL WHICH ALLEGEDLY HAD ALREADY BEEN LOST. 4

Hence, this Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 alleging the following
grounds:

Private respondent's action for compulsory recognition as an illegitimate child was


brought under Book I, Title VIII of the Civil Code on PERSONS, specifically Article
285 thereof, which state the manner by which illegitimate children may prove their
filiation, to wit:

A
RESPONDENT COURT HAD DECIDED A QUESTION OF
SUBSTANCE IN A WAY NOT IN ACCORD WITH THE LAW
AND IS
DIRECTLY CONTRADICTORY TO THE
APPLICABLE DECISION ALREADY ISSUED BY THIS
HONORABLE COURT.
B
RESPONDENT COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE
PETITION FILED BY PETITIONERS BEFORE IT DOES NOT
INVOLVE A QUESTION OF JURISDICTION.
C

Art. 285. The action for the recognition of natural children may be
brought only during the lifetime of the presumed parents, except in
the following cases:
(1) If the father or mother died during the minority of the child, in
which case the latter may file the action before the expiration of
four years from the attainment of his majority; . . . .
Petitioners, on the other hand, submit that with the advent of the New
Family Code on August 3, 1988, the trial court lost jurisdiction over the
complaint of private respondent on the ground of prescription, considering
that under Article 175, paragraph 2, in relation to Article 172 of the New
Family Code, it is provided that an action for compulsory recognition of
illegitimate filiation, if based on the "open and continuous possession of the
status of an illegitimate child," must be brought during the lifetime of the

alleged parent without any exception, otherwise the action will be barred by
prescription.
The law cited reads:
Art. 172. The filiation of legitimate children is established by any
of the following:
(1) The record of birth appearing in the civil register or a final
judgment; or
(2) An admission of legitimate filiation in a public document or a
private handwritten instrument and signed by the parent concerned.
In the absence of the foregoing evidence, the legitimate filiation
shall be proved by:
(1) The open and continuous possession of the status of a
legitimate child; or
(2) Any other means allowed by the Rules of Court and special
laws.
Art. 175. Illegitimate children may establish their illegitimate
filiation in the same way and on the same evidence as legitimate
children.
The action must be brought within the same period specified in
Article 173 [during the lifetime of the child], except when the
action is based on the second paragraph of Article 172, in which
case the action may be brought during the lifetime of the alleged
parent.
In the case at bench, petitioners point out that, since the complaint of private
respondent and her alleged sister was filed on March 7, 1983, or almost one
(1) year after the death of their presumed father on March 30, 1982, the
action has clearly prescribed under the new rule as provided in the Family
Code. Petitioners, further, maintain that even if the action was filed prior to
the effectivity of the Family Code, this new law must be applied to the
instant case pursuant to Article 256 of the Family Code which provides:
This Code shall, have retroactive effect insofar as it does not
prejudice or impair vested of acquired rights in accordance with
the Civil Code or other laws.

The basic question that must be resolved in this case, therefore, appears to be:
Should the provisions of the Family Code be applied in the instant case? As a
corollary Will the application of the Family Code in this case prejudice or impair any
vested right of the private respondent such that it should not be given retroactive
effect in this particular case?
The phrase "vested or acquired rights" under Article 256, is not defined by the
Family Code. "The Committee did not define what is meant by a 'vested or acquired
right,' thus leaving it to the courts to determine what it means as each particular issue
is submitted to them. It is difficult to provide the answer for each and every question
that may arise in the future." 5
In Tayag vs. Court of Appeals, 6 a case which involves a similar complaint
denominated as "Claim for Inheritance" but treated by this court as one to compel
recognition as an illegitimate child brought prior to the effectivity of the Family
Code by the mother of the minor child, and based also on the "open and continuous
possession of the status of an illegitimate child," we had occasion to rule that:
Under the circumstances obtaining in the case at bar, we hold that
the right of action of the minor child has been vested by the filing
of the complaint in court under the regime of the Civil Code and
prior to the effectivity of the Family Code. We herein adopt our
ruling in the recent case of Republic of the Philippines vs. Court of
Appeals, et. al. 7 where we held that the fact of filing of the petition
already vested in the petitioner her right to file it and to have the
same proceed to final adjudication in accordance with the law in
force at the time, and such right can no longer be prejudiced or
impaired by the enactment of a new law.
xxx xxx xxx
Accordingly, Article 175 of the Family Code finds no proper
application to the instant case since it will ineluctably affect
adversely a right of private respondent and, consequentially, of the
minor child she represents, both of which have been vested with
the filing of the complaint in court. The trial court is, therefore,
correct in applying the provisions of Article 285 of the Civil Code
and in holding that private respondent's cause of action has not yet
prescribed.
Tayag applies four-square with the case at bench. The action brought by private
respondent Antonia Aruego for compulsory recognition and enforcement of
successional rights which was filed prior to the advent of the Family Code, must be
governed by Article 285 of the Civil Code and not by Article 175, paragraph 2 of the

Family Code. The present law cannot be given retroactive effect insofar as the instant
case is concerned, as its application will prejudice the vested right of private
respondent to have her case decided under Article 285 of the Civil Code. The right
was vested to her by the fact that she filed her action under the regime of the Civil
Code. Prescinding from this, the conclusion then ought to be that the action was not
yet barred, notwithstanding the fact that it was brought when the putative father was
already deceased, since private respondent was then still a minor when it was filed,
an exception to the general rule provided under Article 285 of the Civil Code. Hence,
the trial court, which acquired jurisdiction over the case by the filing of the
complaint, never lost jurisdiction over the same despite the passage of E.O. No. 209,
also known as the Family Code of the Philippines.
Our ruling herein reinforces the principle that the jurisdiction of a court, whether in
criminal or civil cases, once attached cannot be ousted by subsequent happenings or
events, although of a character which would have prevented jurisdiction from
attaching in the first instance, and it retains jurisdiction until it finally disposes of the
case. 8
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED and the decision of the Court of Appeals
dated August 31, 1993 and its Resolution dated October 13, 1993 are hereby
AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 108947 September 29, 1997


ROLANDO SANCHEZ, FLORIDA MIERLY SANCHEZ, ALFREDO T.
SANCHEZ and MYRNA T. SANCHEZ,petitioners,
vs.
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, ROSALIA S. LUGOD, ARTURO
S. LUGOD, EVELYN LUGOD-RANISES and ROBERTO S.
LUGOD, respondents.
PANGANIBAN, J.:
Is a petition for certiorari, in lieu of appeal, the proper remedy to correct orders of a
probate court nullifying certain deeds of sale and, thus, effectively passing upon title
to the properties subject of such deeds? Is a compromise agreement partitioning
inherited properties valid even without the approval of the trial court hearing the
intestate estate of the deceased owner?
The Case
These questions are answered by this Court as it resolves the petition for review
on certiorari before us assailing the November 23, 1992 Decision 1 of the Court of
Appeals 2 in CA-G.R. SP No. 28761 which annulled the decision 3 of the trial
court 4 and which declared the compromise agreement among the parties valid and
binding even without the said trial court's approval. The dispositive portion of the
assailed Decision reads:
WHEREFORE, for the reasons hereinabove set forth and discussed, the
instant petition is GRANTED and the challenged decision as well as the
subsequent orders of the respondent court are ANNULLED and SET
ASIDE. The temporary restraining order issued by this Court on October
14, 1992 is made PERMANENT. The compromise agreement dated
October 30, 1969 as modified by the memorandum of agreement of April
13, 1970 is DECLARED valid and binding upon herein parties. And Special
Proceedings No. 44-M and 1022 are deemed CLOSED and TERMINATED.
SO ORDERED. 5
The Antecedent Facts
The facts are narrated by the Court of Appeals as follows:
[Herein private respondent] Rosalia S. Lugod is the only child of spouses
Juan C. Sanchez and Maria Villafranca while [herein private respondents]

Arturo S. Lugod, Evelyn L. Ranises and Roberto S. Lugod are the


legitimate children of [herein private respondent] Rosalia.
[Herein petitioners] Rolando, Florida Mierly, Alfredo and Myrna, all
surnamed Sanchez, are the illegitimate children of Juan C. Sanchez.
Following the death of her mother, Maria Villafranca, on September 29,
1967, [herein private respondent] Rosalia filed on January 22, 1968, thru
counsel, a petition for letters of administration over the estate of her mother
and the estate of her father, Juan C. Sanchez, who was at the time in state of
senility (Annex "B", Petition).
On September 30, 1968, [herein private respondent] Rosalia, as
administratrix of the intestate estate of her mother, submitted an inventory
and appraisal of the real and personal estate of her late mother (Annex "C",
Petition).
Before the administration proceedings Special in Proceedings No. 44-M
could formally be terminated and closed, Juan C. Sanchez, [herein private
respondent] Rosalia's father, died on October 21, 1968.
On January 14, 1969, [herein petitioners] as heirs of Juan C. Sanchez, filed
a petition for letters of administration (Special Proceedings No. 1022) over
the intestate estate of Juan C. Sanchez, which petition was opposed by
(herein private respondent) Rosalia. 6
On October 30, 1969, however, [herein private respondent] Rosalia and
[herein petitioners] assisted by their respective counsels executed a
compromise agreement (Annex "D", Petition) wherein they agreed to divide
the properties enumerated therein of the late Juan C. Sanchez.
On November 3, 1969, petitioner Rosalia was appointed by [the trial court],
and took her oath as the administratrix of her father's intestate estate.
On January 19, 1970, [herein petitioners] filed a motion to require
administratrix, [herein private respondent] Rosalia, to deliver deficiency of
24 hectares and or to set aside compromise agreement (Annex "E",
Petition).
Under date of April 13, 1970, (herein private respondent) Rosalia and
[herein petitioners] entered into and executed a memorandum of agreement
which modified the compromise agreement (Annex "F". Petition)

On October 25, 1979, or nine years later, [herein petitioners] filed, thru
counsel, a motion to require [herein private respondent] Rosalia to submit a
new inventory and to render an accounting over properties not included in
the compromise agreement (Annex "G", Petition). They likewise filed a
motion to defer the approval of the compromise agreement (Annex
"H", Ibid), in which they prayed for the annulment of the compromise
agreement on the ground of fraud.

3. That one-half (1/2) of the entire intestate estate of Juan C.


Sanchez shall be inherited by his only legitimate daughter, Rosalia
V. Sanchez de Lugod while the other one-half (1/2) shall be
inherited and be divided equally by, between and among the six (6)
illegitimate children, namely: Patricia Alburo, Maria Ramuso
Sanchez, Rolando Pedro T. Sanchez, Florida Mierly T. Sanchez,
Alfredo T. Sanchez and Myrna T. Sanchez;

On February 4, 1980, however, counsel for [herein petitioners] moved to


withdraw his appearance and the two motions he flied, Annex "G" and "H"
(Annex "I", Petition).

4. That all the Deed (sic) of Absolute Sales executed by Juan C.


Sanchez and Maria Villafranca in favor of Rosalia Sanchez Lugod,
Arturo S. Lugod, Evelyn S. Lugod and Roberto S. Lugod on July
26, 1963 and June 26, 1967 are all declared simulated and
fictitious and must be subject to collation and partition among all
heirs;

On February 28, 1980, the [trial] court issued an order directing [herein
private respondent] Rosalia to submit a new inventory of properties under
her administration and an accounting of the fruits thereof, which prompted
[herein private respondent] Rosalia to file a rejoinder on March 31, 1980
(Annex "K", Petition).
On May 12, 1980, [herein petitioners], thru new counsel, filed a motion to
change administratrix (Annex "L", Petition) to which [herein private
respondent] Rosalia filed an opposition (Annex "M",Ibid).
The parties were subsequently ordered to submit their respective position
papers, which they did (Annexes "N" and "O", Petition). On September 14,
1989, former counsel of (herein petitioners) entered his re-appearance as
counsel for (herein petitioners).
On the bases of memoranda submitted by the parties, the [trial court], this
time presided by Judge Vivencio A. Galon, promulgated its decision on
June 26, 1991, the dispositive portion of which states:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered
as follows by declaring and ordering:
1. That the entire intestate estate of Maria Villafranca Sanchez
under Special Proceedings No. 44-M consists of all her
paraphernal properties and one-half (1/2) of the conjugal properties
which must be divided equally between Rosalia Sanchez de Lugod
and Juan C. Sanchez;
2. That the entire intestate estate of Juan C. Sanchez under Special
Proceedings No. 1022 consists of all his capital properties, onehalf (1/2) from the conjugal partnership of gains and one-half (1/2)
of the intestate estate of Maria Villafranca under Special
Proceedings No. 44-M;

5. That within thirty (30) days from finality of this decision,


Rosalia Sanchez Lugod is hereby ordered to prepare a project of
partition of the intestate estate of Juan C. Sanchez under Special
Proceedings No. 1022 and distribute and deliver to all heirs their
corresponding shares. If she fails to do so within the said thirty
(30) days, then a Board of Commissioners is hereby constituted,
who are all entitled to honorarium and per diems and other
necessary expenses chargeable to the estate to be paid by
Administratrix Rosalia S. Lugod, appointing the Community
Environment and Natural Resources Officer (CENRO) of Gingoog
City as members thereof, with the task to prepare the project of
partition and deliver to all heirs their respective shares within
ninety (90) days from the finality of said decision;
6. That within thirty (30) days from receipt of this decision,
Administratrix Rosalia Sanchez Vda. de Lugod is hereby ordered
to submit two (2) separate certified true and correct accounting,
one for the income of all the properties of the entire intestate estate
of Maria Villafranca under Special Proceedings No. 44-M, and
another for the properties of the entire intestate estate of Juan C.
Sanchez under Special Proceedings No. 1022 duly both signed by
her and both verified by a Certified Public Accountant and
distribute and deliver to her six (6) illegitimate brothers and sisters
in equal shares, one-half (1/2) of the net income of the estate of
Juan C. Sanchez from October 21, 1968 up to the finality of this
decision;
7. For failure to render an accounting report and failure to give
cash advances to the illegitimate children of Juan C. Sanchez
during their minority and hour of need from the net income of the
estate of Juan C. Sanchez, which adversely prejudiced their social

standing and pursuit of college education, (the trial court) hereby


orders Rosalia Sanchez Vda. de Lugod to pay her six (6)
illegitimate brothers and sisters the sum of Five Hundred Thousand
(P500,000.00) Pesos, as exemplary damages, and also the sum of
One Hundred Fifty Thousand (P150,000.00) Pesos for attorney's
fees;
8. Upon release of this decision and during its pendency, should
appeal be made, the Register of Deeds and Assessors of the
Provinces and Cities where the properties of Juan C. Sanchez and
Maria Villafranca are located, are all ordered to register and
annotate in the title and/or tax declarations, the dispositive portion
of this decision for the protection of all heirs and all those who
may be concerned.
SO ORDERED.
[Herein private respondent] Rosalia filed a motion for reconsideration dated
July 17, 1991 (Annex "P", Petition) on August 6, 1991.
On August 13, 1991, [herein petitioners] filed a motion for execution and
opposition to [herein private respondent] Rosalia's motion for
reconsideration (Annex "Q", Petition).
On September 3, 1991, [the trial court] issued an Omnibus Order (Annex
"S", Petition) declaring, among other things, that the decision at issue had
become final and executory.
[Herein private respondent] Rosalia then filed a motion for reconsideration
of said Omnibus Order (Annex "T", Petition). Said [herein private
respondent] was allowed to file a memorandum in support of her motion
(Annex "V", Petition).
On June 26, 1991, [the trial court] issued and Order denying petitioner
Rosalia's motion for reconsideration (Annex "W", Petition). 7
Thereafter, private respondents elevated the case to the Court of Appeals via a
petition for certiorari and contended:
I
The [trial court] has no authority to disturb the compromise agreement.
II

The [trial court] has arbitrarily faulted [herein private respondent] Rosalia
S. Lugod for alleged failure to render an accounting which was impossible.
III
The [trial court] acted without jurisdiction in derogation of the
constitutional rights of [herein private respondents] Arturo S. Lugod,
Evelyn L. Ranises and Roberto S. Lugod when [the trial court] decided to
annul the deed of sale between the said [herein private respondents] and
Juan C. Sanchez without affording them their day in court.
IV
[The trial court judge] defied without rhyme or reason well-established and
entrenched jurisprudence when he determined facts sans any evidence
thereon.
V
[The trial court] grossly misinterpreted [herein private respondent] Rosalia
S. Lugod's right to appeal.8
For clarity's sake, this Court hereby reproduces verbatim the compromise
agreement 9 of the parties:
COMPROMISE AGREEMENT
COME NOW, the parties in the above-entitled case, motivated by their
mutual desire to preserve and maintain harmonious relations between and
among themselves, for mutual valuable considerations and in the spirit of
good will and fair play, and, for the purpose of this Compromise
Agreement, agree to the following:
1. That the deceased Juan C. Sanchez who died intestate on October 21,
1968 was legally married to Maria Villafranca de Sanchez, who
predeceased her on September 29, 1967, out of whose wedlock Rosalia
Sanchez Lugod, Oppositor herein, was born, thus making her the sole and
only surviving legitimate heir of her deceased parents;
2. That the said deceased Juan C. Sanchez, left illegitimate children,
Intervenors-Oppositors and Petitioners, respectively, herein namely;
(1) Patricio Alburo, born out of wedlock on March 17, 1926 at
Cebu City, Philippines, to Emilia Alburo;

(2) Maria Ramoso Sanchez, born out of wedlock on May 9, 1937


at Gingoog, Misamis Oriental, now, Gingoog City, to Alberta
Ramoso;
(3) (a) Rolando Pedro Sanchez, born on May 19, 1947,
(b) Florida Mierly Sanchez, born on February 16, 1949,
(c) Alfredo Sanchez, born on July 21, 1950, and
(d) Myrna Sanchez, born on June 16, 1952, all born out of wedlock
to Laureta Tampus in Gingoog City, Philippines.
3. That the deceased Juan C. Sanchez left the following properties, to wit:
I. SEPARATE CAPITAL OF JUAN C. SANCHEZ
NATURE, DESCRIPTION AND AREA ASSESSED VALUE
(1) Agricultural Land. Covered by Tax. Decl. No. 06458, Cad. Lot
No. 1041 C-2, located at Murallon, Gingoog City and bounded on
the North by Lot Nos. 1033, 1035, 1036, 1037, 1039, 1040, 1042
& 1043; South by Lot No. 1080, 1088, 1087 & 1084; East by Lot
Nos. 1089, 1061 & 2319; West by Lot Nos. 954, 1038, 1057 &
1056, containing an area of ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY THREE
THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED SEVENTY TWO (183, 672) sq.
ms. more or less.
P21,690.00
II. CONJUGAL PROPERTY OF JUAN C. SANCHEZ AND
MARIA VILLAFRANCA DE SANCHEZ

bounded on the North by Lot No. 3270; South by Lot Nos. 2900 &
3462; East by Panyangan River & F. Lumanao; and Part of Lot
3272; and West by Samay Creek, containing an area of ONE
HUNDRED FOUR THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED (104,600) sq.
ms. more or less.
P11,580.00
(3) Agricultural Land. Covered by Tax Decl. No. 06449, Cad. Lot
No. 2319, Case 2, located at Murallon, Gingoog City and bounded
on the North by Lot No. 1061; South by Hinopolan Creek; East by
Lot No. 1044; and West by Lot No. 1041, containing an area of
THREE THOUSAND TWO HUNDRED TWENTY FIVE (3,225)
sq. ms. more or less.
(4) Agricultural Land. Covered by Tax Decl. No. 06452, Cad. Lot
No. 3272, C-7 Part 4 located at Panyangan, Lunao, Gingoog City
and bounded on the North by Lot Nos. 3270 & 3273; East by
Panyangan River; South by Panyangan River; and West by Lot
Nos. 3270 & 3271, containing an area of FIFTY FIVE
THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED (55,600) sq. ms. more or less,
being claimed by Damian Querubin.
P2,370.00
(5) Agricultural Land. Covered by Tax Decl. No. 06453, Cad. Lot
No. 3270 Case 7, located at Sunog, Lunao, Gingoog City and
bounded on the North by Samay Creek & Lot 3267; South by Lot
Nos. 3271 & 3272; East by Lot Nos. 3269 & 3273; and West by
Samay Creek, containing an area of FOUR HUNDRED EIGHT
THREE THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED (483,600) sq. ms. more or
less.
P61,680.00

(1) Agricultural Land. Covered by Tax Decl. No. 06447, Cad. Lot
No. 2745, C-7 located at Agay-ayan, Gingoog City and bounded
on the North by Lot Nos. 2744, 2742, 2748; South by Lot No.
2739; East by Lot No. 2746; West by Lot No. 2741, containing an
area of FOURTEEN THOUSAND SEVEN HUNDRED (14,700)
sq. ms. more or less.
P1,900.00
(2) Agricultural Land. Covered by Tax Decl. No. 06449, Cad, Lot
No. 3271 C-7 located at Panyangan, Lanao, Gingoog City and

(6) Agricultural Land. Covered by Tax Decl. No. 06457, Cad. Lot
No. 3273, C-7 Part 2 located at Panyangan, Lunao, Gingoog City
and bounded on the North by Lot No. 3269; South by Lot No.
3272; East by Panyangan River; and West by Lot No. 3270,
containing an area of THIRTY FOUR THOUSAND THREE
HUNDRED (34,300) sq. ms. more or less, being claimed by
Miguel Tuto.
P3,880.00

(7) Agricultural Land. Covered by Tax Decl. No. 12000, Cad. Lot
No. 2806, Case 7 located at Agayayan, Gingoog City and bounded
on the North by Agayayan River; South by Victoriano Barbac; East
by Isabelo Ramoso; and West by Restituto Baol, containing an area
of SIX THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED SEVENTY SIX (6,676) sq.
ms. more or less.

(12) A Commercial Land. Covered by Tax Decl. No. 06484, Lot


No. 5, Block 2, located at Cabuyoan, Gingoog City and bounded
on the North by Lot No. 4, block 2; South by Lot No. 8, block 2;
East by Lot No. 6, block 2, West by Subdivision Road, containing
an area of FOUR HUNDRED (400) sq. ms. more or less.
P12,240.00

P380.00
(8) Agricultural Land. Covered by Tax Decl. No. 12924, Cad. Lot
No. 1206 C-1 located at Cahulogan, Gingoog City and bounded on
the NW., by Lot No. 1209; SW., by Lot No. 1207; Eastby National
Highway; and West by Lot No. 1207; containing an area of FOUR
THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED THIRTEEN (4,513) sq. ms. more
or less.

(13) A Commercial Land. Covered by Tax Decl. No. 15798, Block


No. 7-A-16-0 located at Cabuyoan, Gingoog City and bounded on
the North by Lot No. 7-A-16-0; South by Lot No. 7-16-0; East by
Lot No. 7-A-18-Road; West by Lot No. 8, PSU-120704Julito Arengo vs. Restituto Baol, containing an area of TWO
HUNDRED SIXTEEN (216) sq. ms. more or less.
P1,050.00

P740.00
(9) Agricultural Land. Covered by Tax Decl. No. 12925, Cad. Lot
No. 5554, located at Tinaytayan, Pigsalohan, Gingoog City and
bounded on the North by Lot Nos. 5559 & 5558; South by Lot No.
3486; East by Lot No. 5555; and West by Lot No. 5355, containing
an area of EIGHTEEN THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED TWENTY
EIGHT (18,528) sq. ms. more or less.

(14) Agricultural Land. Covered by Tax, Decl. No. 06789, Cad.


Lot No. 5157-C-7, located at Kiogat, Agayayan, Gingoog City and
bounded on the North by Lot No. 5158, 5159, 5156; South by SESteep Bank; East by NW, by Lot No. 5158, Villafranca, containing
an area of NINETY SIX THOUSAND TWO HUNDRED (96,200)
sq. ms. more or less.
P3,370.00

P320.00
III. PERSONAL ESTATE (CONJUGAL)
(10) Agricultural Land. Covered by Tax Decl. No. 12926, Cad. Lot
No. 5555 C-7 located at Tinaytayan, Pigsalojan, Gingoog City and
bounded on the North by Tinaytayan Creek & Lot Nos. 5557 &
5558; South by Lot Nos. 3486, 3487, 3488, 3491 & 3496; East by
Cr. & Lot No. 3496; and West by Lot No. 5554, containing an area
of SEVENTY SEVEN THOUSAND SEVEN HUNDRED
SEVENTY SIX (77,776) sq. ms. more or less.
P1,350.00
(11) A Commercial Land. Covered by Tax Decl. No. 06454, Cad.
Lot No. 61-C-1 located at Guno-Condeza Sts., Gingoog City and
bounded on the North by Lot 64; South by Road-Lot 613 Condeza
St; East by Lot Nos. 63, and 62; West by Road-Lot 614-Guno St.,
containing an area of ONE THOUSAND FORTY TWO (1,042) sq.
ms. more or less.
P9,320.00

NATURE AND DESCRIPTION LOCATION APPRAISAL


1.
Fifty
(50)
shares
of
Rural
Bank
of
Gingoog,
at P100.00 per share P5,000.00

stock
Inc.

2.
Four
(4)
shares
of
Preferred
with San Miguel Corporation 400.00

Stock

4. That, the parties hereto have agreed to divide the above-enumerated


properties in the following manner, to wit:
(a) To Patricio Alburo, Maria Ramoso Sanchez, Roland Pedro T.
Sanchez, Florida Mierly Sanchez, Alfredo T. Sanchez and Myrna
T. Sanchez, in equal pro-indiviso shares, considering not only their
respective areas but also the improvements existing thereon, to wit:

Agricultural Land. Covered by Tax Decl. No. 06453, Cad. Lot No.
3270 Case 7, located at Sunog, Lunao, Gingoog City and bounded
on the North by Samay Creek & Lot 3267; South by Lot Nos. 3271
and 3272; East by Lot Nos. 3269 & 3273; and West by Samay
Creek, containing an area of FOUR HUNDRED EIGHTY THREE
THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED (483,600) sq. ms. and assessed in
the sum of P61,680.00.
(b) To Rosalia Sanchez Lugod all the rest of the properties, both
real and personal, enumerated above with the exception of the
following:
(1) Two Preferred Shares of Stock in the San Miguel
Corporation, indicated in San Miguel Corporation Stock
Certificate No. 30217, which two shares she is ceding in
favor of Patricio Alburo;
(2) The house and lot designated as Lot No. 5, Block 2
together with the improvements thereon and identified as
parcel No. II-12, lot covered by Tax Decl. No. 15798
identified as Parcel No. II-13 in the above enumerated,
and Cad. Lot No. 5157-C-7 together with the
improvements thereon, which is identified as parcel No.
II-14 of the above-enumeration of properties, which said
Rosalia S. Lugod is likewise ceding and renouncing in
favor of Rolando Pedro, Florida Mierly, Alfredo and
Myrna, all surnamed Sanchez, in equal pro-indiviso
shares;
5. That Rolando Pedro, Florida Mierly, Alfredo and Myrna, all
surnamed Sanchez hereby acknowledge to have received jointly
and severally in form of advances after October 21, 1968 the
aggregate sum of EIGHT THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED
THIRTY-THREE PESOS (P8,533.94) and NINETY-FOUR
CENTAVOS;
6. That the parties hereto likewise acknowledge and recognize in
the indebtedness of the deceased Juan G. Sanchez and his deceased
wife Maria Villafranca Sanchez to the Lugod Enterprises, Inc., in
the sum of P43,064.99;
7. That the parties hereto shall be responsible for the payment of
the estate and inheritance taxes proportionate to the value of their
respective shares as may be determined by the Bureau of Internal

Revenue and shall likewise be responsible for the expenses of


survey and segregation of their respective shares;
8. That Patricio Alburo, Maria Ramoso Sanchez, Roland Pedro
Sanchez, Florida Mierly Sanchez, Alfredo Sanchez and Myrna
Sanchez hereby waive, relinquish and renounce, jointly and
individually, in a manner that is absolute and irrevocable, all their
rights and interests, share and participation which they have or
might have in all the properties, both real and personal, known or
unknown and/or which may not be listed herein, or in excess of the
areas listed or mentioned herein, and/or which might have been, at
one time or another, owned by, registered or placed in the name of
either of the spouses Juan C. Sanchez or Maria Villafranca de
Sanchez or both, and which either one or both might have sold,
ceded, transferred, or donated to any person or persons or entity
and which parties hereto do hereby confirm and ratify together
with all the improvements thereon, as well as all the produce and
proceeds thereof, and particularly of the properties, real and
personal listed herein, as well as demandable obligations due to the
deceased spouses Juan C. Sanchez, before and after the death of
the aforementioned spouses Juan C. Sanchez and Maria Villafranca
de Sanchez, in favor of oppositor Rosalia S. Lugod;
9. That the expenses of this litigation including attorney's fees shall
be borne respectively by the parties hereto;
10. That Laureta Tampus for herself and guardian ad-litem of her
minor children, namely: Florida Mierly, Alfredo, and Myrna, all
surnamed Sanchez, hereby declare that she has no right, interest,
share and participation whatsoever in the estate left by Juan C.
Sanchez and/or Maria Villafranca de Sanchez, or both, and that she
likewise waives, renounces, and relinquishes whatever rigid, share,
participation or interest therein which she has or might have in
favor of Rosalia S. Lugod;
11. That, the parties hereto mutually waive and renounce in favor
of each other any whatever claims or actions, arising from,
connected with, and as a result of Special Proceedings Nos. 44-M
and 1022 of the Court of First Instance of Misamis Oriental,
Rosalia S. Lugod, warranting that the parcel of land ceded to the
other parties herein contains 48 hectares and 36 ares.
12. That, Rosalia S. Lugod shall assume as she hereby assumes the
payment to Lugod Enterprises, Inc., of the sum of P51,598.93
representing the indebtedness of the estate of Juan C. Sanchez and

Maria Villafranca de Sanchez and the advances made to Rolando


Pedro, Mierly, Alfredo, and Myna all surnamed Sanchez,
mentioned in paragraphs 5 hereto agree to have letters of
administration issued in favor of Rosalia S. Lugod without any
bond.
That Rosalia S. Lugod likewise agrees to deliver possession and
enjoyment of the parcel of land herein ceded to petitioners and
intervenors immediately after the signing of this agreement and
that the latter also mutually agree among themselves to have the
said lot subdivided and partitioned immediately in accordance with
the proportion of one sixth (1/6) part for every petitioner and
intervenor and that in the meantime that the partition and
subdivision is not yet effected, the administrations of said parcel of
land shall be vested jointly with Laureta Tampos, guardian ad litem
of petitioners and Maria Ramoso, one of the intervenors who shall
see to it that each petitioner and intervenor is given one sixth (1/6)
of the net proceeds of all agricultural harvest made thereon.
WHEREFORE, it is most respectfully prayed that the foregoing
compromise agreement be approved.
Medina, Misamis Oriental, October 30, 1969.
(Sgd.) (Sgd.)
PATRICIO ALBURO ROSALIA S. LUGOD
Intervenor-Oppositor Oppositor
(Sgd.)
MARIA RAMOSO SANCHEZ ASSISTED BY:
Intervenor-Oppositor
(Sgd.)
ASSISTED BY: PABLO S. REYES
R-101-Navarro Bldg.
(Sgd.) Don A. Velez St.
REYNALDO L. FERNANDEZ Cagayan de Oro City
Gingoong City
(Sgd.) (Sgd.)
ROLANDO PEDRO T. SANCHEZ ALFREDO T. SANCHEZ
Petitioner Petitioner

(Sgd.) (Sgd.)
FLORIDA MIERLY T. SANCHEZ MYRNA T. SANCHEZ
Petitioner Petitioner
(Sgd.)
LAURETA TAMPUS
For herself and as Guardian
Ad-Litem of the minors
Florida Mierly, Alfredo, and
Myrna, all surnamed Sanchez
ASSISTED BY:
TEOGENES VELEZ, JR.
Counsel for Petitioners
Cagayan de Oro City
The Clerk of Court
Court of First Instance
Branch III, Medina, Mis. Or.
Greetings:
Please set the foregoing compromise agreement for the approval of the
Honorable Court today, Oct. 30, 1969.
(Sgd.)
PABLO S. REYES
FERNANDEZ

(Sgd.)
TEOGENES VELEZ,

JR.

(Sgd.)
REYNALDO L.

The Memorandum of Agreement dated April 13, 1970, which the parties entered into
with the assistance of their counsel, amended the above compromise. (It will be
reproduced later in our discussion of the second issue raised by the petitioners.)
The Court of Appeals, in a Resolution 10 dated September 4, 1992, initially dismissed
private respondents' petition. Acting, however, on a motion for reconsideration and a
supplemental motion for reconsideration dated September 14, 1992 and September
25, 1992, respectively, 11 Respondent Court thereafter reinstated private respondents'
petition in a resolution 12 dated October 14, 1992.
In due course, the Court of Appeals, as earlier stated, rendered its assailed Decision
granting the petition, setting aside the trial court's decision and declaring the
modified compromise agreement valid and binding.

Hence, this appeal to this Court under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court.
The Issues
In this appeal, petitioners invite the Court's attention to the following issues:
I
The respondent court grossly erred in granting the petition
for certiorari under Rule 65 considering that the special civil action
of certiorari may not be availed of as a substitute for an appeal and that, in
any event, the grounds invoked in the petition are merely alleged errors of
judgment which can no longer be done in view of the fact that the decision
of the lower court had long become final and executory.
II
Prescinding from the foregoing, the respondent court erred in annulling the
decision of the lower court for the reason that a compromise agreement or
partition as the court construed the same to be, executed by the parties on
October 30, 1969 was void and unenforceable the same not having been
approved by the intestate court and that the same having been seasonably
repudiated by petitioners on the ground of fraud.
III
The respondent court grossly erred in ignoring and disregarding findings of
facts of the lower court that the alleged conveyances of real properties made
by the spouses Juan C. Sanchez and Maria Villafranca just before their
death in favor of their daughter and grandchildren, private respondents
herein, are tainted with fraud or made in contemplation of death, hence,
collationable.
IV
In any event, the respondent court grossly erred in treating the lower court's
declaration of fictitiousness of the deeds of sale as a final adjudication of
annulment.
V
The respondent court grossly erred in declaring the termination of the
intestate proceedings even as the lower court had not made a final and
enforceable distribution of the estate of the deceased Juan C. Sanchez.

VI
Prescinding from the foregoing, the respondent court grossly erred in not at
least directing respondent Rosalia S. Lugod to deliver the deficiency of
eight (8) hectares due petitioners under the compromise agreement and
memorandum of agreement, and in not further directing her to include in the
inventory properties conveyed under the deeds of sale found by the lower
court to be part of the estate of Juan C. Sanchez. 13
The salient aspects of some issues are closely intertwined; hence, they are hereby
consolidated into three main issues specifically dealing with the following subjects:
(1) the propriety of certiorari as a remedy before the Court of Appeals, (2) the
validity of the compromise agreement, and (3) the presence of fraud in the execution
of the compromise and/or collation of the properties sold.
The Court's Ruling
The petition is not meritorious.
First
Issue:
Before the Court of Appeals

Propriety

of

Certiorari

Since private respondents had neglected or failed to file an ordinary appeal within
the reglementary period, petitioners allege that the Court of Appeals erred in
allowing private respondent's recourse to Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. They
contend that private respondents' invocation of certiorari was "procedurally
defective." 14 They further argue that private respondents, in their petition before the
Court of Appeals, alleged errors of the trial court which, being merely errors of
judgment and not errors of jurisdiction, were not correctable by certiorari. 15 This
Court disagrees.
Doctrinally entrenched is the general rule that certiorari is not a substitute for a lost
appeal. However, Justice Florenz D. Regalado lists several exceptions to this
rule, viz.: "(1) where the appeal does not constitute a speedy and adequate remedy
(Salvadades vs. Pajarillo, et al., 78 Phil. 77), as where 33 appeals were involved from
orders issued in a single proceeding which will inevitably result in a proliferation of
more appeals (PCIB vs. Escolin, et al., L-27860 and 27896, Mar. 29, 1974); (2)
where the orders were also issued either in excess of or without jurisdiction (Aguilar
vs. Tan, L-23600, Jun 30, 1970, Cf. Bautista, et al. vs. Sarmiento, et al., L-45137,
Sept. 231985); (3) for certain special consideration, as public welfare or public
policy (See Jose vs. Zulueta, et al. 16598, May 31, 1961 and the cases cited therein);
(4) where in criminal actions, the court rejects rebuttal evidence for the prosecution
as, in case of acquittal, there could be no remedy (People vs. Abalos, L029039, Nov.
28, 1968); (5) where the order is a patent nullity (Marcelo vs. De Guzman, et al., L29077, June 29, 1982); and (6) where the decision in the certiorari case will avoid

future litigations (St. Peter Memorial Park, Inc. vs. Campos, et al., L-38280, Mar. 21,
1975)." 16 Even in a case where the remedy of appeal was lost, the Court has issued
the writ ofcertiorari where the lower court patently acted in excess of or outside its
jurisdiction, 17 as in the present case.
A petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court is appropriate and
allowable when the following requisites concur: (1) the writ is directed against a
tribunal, board or officer exercising judicial or quasi-judicial functions; (2) such
tribunal, board or officer has acted without or in excess of jurisdiction, or with grave
abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction; and (3) there is no
appeal or any plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of
law. 18 After a thorough review of the case at bar, we are convinced that all these
requirements were met.
As a probate court, the trial court was exercising judicial functions when it issued its
assailed resolution. The said court had jurisdiction to act in the intestate proceedings
involved in this case with the caveat that, due to its limited jurisdiction, it could
resolve questions of title only provisionally. 19 It is hornbook doctrine that "in a
special proceeding for the probate of a will, the question of ownership is an
extraneous matter which the probate court cannot resolve with finality. This
pronouncement no doubt applies with equal force to an intestate proceeding as in the
case at bar." 20 In the instant case, the trial court rendered a decision declaring as
simulated and fictitious all the deeds of absolute sale which, on July 26, 1963 and
June 26, 1967, Juan C. Sanchez and Maria Villafranca executed in favor of their
daughter, Rosalia Sanchez Lugod; and grandchildren, namely, Arturo S. Lugod,
Evelyn S. Lugod and Roberto S. Lugod. The trial court ruled further that the
properties covered by the said sales must be subject to collation. Citing Article 1409
(2) of the Civil Code, the lower court nullified said deeds of sale and determined
with finality the ownership of the properties subject thereof . In doing so, it clearly
overstepped its jurisdiction as a probate court. Jurisprudence teaches:
[A] probate court or one in charge of proceedings whether testate or
intestate cannot adjudicate or determine title to properties claimed to be a
part of the estate and which are claimed to belong to outside parties. All that
the said court could do as regards said properties is to determine whether
they should or should not be included in the inventory or list of properties to
be administered by the administrator. If there is not dispute, well and good,
but if there is, then the parties, the administrator, and the opposing parties
have to resort to an ordinary action for a final determination of the
conflicting claims of title because the probate court cannot do so. 21
Furthermore, the trial court committed grave abuse of discretion when it rendered its
decision in disregard of the parties' compromise agreement. 22 Such disregard, on the
ground that the compromise agreement "was nor approved by the court," 23 is
tantamount to "an evasion of positive duty or to a virtual refusal to perform the duty
enjoined or to act in contemplation and within the bounds of law. " 24

The foregoing issues clearly involve not only the correctness of the trial court's
decision but also the latter's jurisdiction. They encompass plain errors of jurisdiction
and grave abuse of discretion, not merely errors of judgment. 25 Since the trial court
exceeded its jurisdiction, a petition for certiorari is certainly a proper remedy.
Indeed, it is well-settled that "(a)n act done by a probate court in excess of its
jurisdiction may be corrected by certiorari." 26
Consistent with the foregoing, the following disquisition by respondent appellate
court is apt:
As a general proposition, appeal is the proper remedy of petitioner Rosalia
here under Rule 109 of the Revised Rules of Court. But the availability of
the ordinary course of appeal does not constitute sufficient ground to
[prevent] a party from making use of the extraordinary remedy
of certiorari where appeal is not an adequate remedy or equally beneficial,
speedy and sufficient (Echauz vs. Court of Appeals, 199 SCRA 381). Here,
considering that the respondent court has disregarded the compromise
agreement which has long been executed as early as October, 1969 and
declared null and void the deeds of sale with finality, which, as a probate
court, it has no jurisdiction to do, We deem ordinary appeal is inadequate.
Considering further the [trial court's] granting of [herein petitioners') motion
for execution of the assailed decision, 27 [herein private respondent]
Rosalia's resort to the instant petition [for review on certiorari] is all the
more warranted under the circumstances. 28
We thus hold that the questioned decision and resolutions of the trial court may be
challenged through a special civil action for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of
Court. At the very least, this case is a clear exception to the general rule
that certiorari is not a substitute for a lost appeal because the trial court's decision
and resolutions were issued without or in excess of jurisdiction, which may thus be
challenged or attacked at any time. "A void judgment for want of jurisdiction is no
judgment at all. It cannot be the source of any right nor the creator of any obligation.
All acts performed pursuant to it and all claims emanating from it have no legal
effect. Hence, it can never become final and any writ of execution based on it is void;
' . . . it may be said to be a lawless thing which can be treated as an outlaw and slain
at sight, or ignored wherever and whenever it exhibits its head.' " 29
Second Issue: Validity of Compromise Agreement
Petitioners contend that, because the compromise agreement was executed during the
pendency of the probate proceedings, judicial approval is necessary to shroud it with
validity. They stress that the probate court had jurisdiction over the properties
covered by said agreement. They add that Petitioners Florida Mierly, Alfredo and
Myrna were all miners represented only by their mother/natural guardian, Laureta
Tampus. 30

These contentions lack merit. Article 2028 of the Civil Code defines a compromise
agreement as "a contract whereby the parties, by making reciprocal concessions,
avoid a litigation or put an end to one already commenced." Being a consensual
contract, it is perfected upon the meeting of the minds of the parties. Judicial
approval is not required for its perfection. 31 Petitioners' argument that the
compromise was not valid for lack of judicial approval is not novel; the same was
raised in Mayuga vs. Court of Appeals, 32 where the Court, through Justice Irene R.
Cortes, ruled:
It is alleged that the lack of judicial approval is fatal to the compromise. A
compromise is a consensual contract. As such, it is perfected upon the
meeting of the minds of the parties to the contract. (Hernandez v. Barcelon,
23 Phil. 599 [1912]; see also De los Reyes v. de Ugarte, 75 Phil. 505
[1945].) And from that moment not only does it become binding upon the
parties (De los Reyes v. De Ugarte, supra ), it also has upon them the effect
and authority of res judicata (Civil Code, Art. 2037), even if not judicially
approved (Meneses v. De la Rosa, 77 Phil. 34 [1946]; Vda. De Guilas v.
David, 132 Phil. 241, L-24280, 23 SCRA 762 [May 27, 1968]; Cochingyan
v. Cloribel, L-27070-71 [April 22, 1977], 76 SCRA 361). (Emphasis found
in the original.)
In the case before us, it is ineludible that the parties knowingly and freely entered
into a valid compromise agreement. Adequately assisted by their respective counsels,
they each negotiated its terms and provisions for four months; in fact, said agreement
was executed only after the fourth draft. As noted by the trial court itself, the first
and second drafts were prepared successively in July, 1969; the third draft on
September 25, 1969; and the fourth draft, which was finally signed by the parties on
October 30, 1969, 33 followed. Since this compromise agreement was the result of a
long drawn out process, with all the parties ably striving to protect their respective
interests and to come out with the best they could, there can be no doubt that the
parties entered into it freely and voluntarily. Accordingly, they should be bound
thereby. 34 To be valid, it is merely required under the law to be based on real claims
and actually agreed upon in good faith by the parties thereto. 35
Indeed, compromise is a form of amicable settlement that is not only allowed but
also encouraged in civil cases.36 Article 2029 of the Civil Code mandates that a
"court shall endeavor to persuade the litigants in a civil case to agree upon some fair
compromise."
In opposing the validity and enforcement of the compromise agreement, petitioners
harp on the minority of Florida Mierly, Alfredo and Myna. Citing Article 2032 of the
Civil Code, they contend that the court's approval is necessary in compromises
entered into by guardians and parents in behalf of their wards or children. 37

However, we observe that although denominated a compromise agreement, the


document in this case is essentially a deed of partition, pursuant to Article 1082 of
the Civil Code which provides that "[e]very act which is intended to put an end to
indivision among co-heirs and legatees or devisees is deemed to be a partition,
although it should purport to be a sale, an exchange, a compromise, or any other
transaction."
For a partition to be valid, Section 1, Rule 74 of the Rules of Court, requires the
concurrence of the following conditions: (1) the decedent left no will; (2) the
decedent left no debts, or if there were debts left, all had been paid; (3) the heirs and
liquidators are all of age, or if they are minors, the latter are represented by their
judicial guardian or legal representatives; and (4) the partition was made by means of
a public instrument or affidavit duly filed with the Register of Deeds. 38 We find that
all the foregoing requisites are present in this case. We therefore affirm the validity
of the parties' compromise agreement/partition in this case.
In any event, petitioners neither raised nor ventilated this issue in the trial court. This
new question or matter was manifestly beyond the pale of the issues or questions
submitted and threshed out before the lower court which are reproduced below, viz.:
I Are the properties which are the object of the sale by the deceased spouses
to their grandchildren collationable?
II Are the properties which are the object of the sale by the deceased
spouses to their legitimate daughter also collationable?
III The first and second issues being resolved, how much then is the rightful
share of the four (4) recognized illegitimate children? 39
Furthermore, the 27-page Memorandum dated February 17, 1990 filed by petitioners
before the Regional Trial Court 40 readily reveals that they never questioned the
validity of the compromise. In their comment before the Court of
Appeals, 41 petitioners based their objection to sad compromise agreement on the
solitary "reason that it was tainted with fraud and deception," zeroing specifically on
the alleged fraud committed by private respondent Rosalia S. Lugod. 42 The issue of
minority was first raised only in petitioners' Motion for Reconsideration of the Court
of Appeals' Decision; 43 thus, it "is as if it was never duly raised in that court at
all." 44 Hence, this Court cannot now, for the first time on appeal, entertain this issue,
for to do so would plainly violate the basic rule of fair play, justice and due
process. 45 We take this opportunity to reiterate and emphasize the well-settled rule
that "(a)n issue raised for the first time on appeal and not raised timely in the
proceedings in the lower court is barred by estoppel. Questions raised on appeal must
be within the issues framed by the parties and, consequently, issues not raised in the
trial court cannot be raised for the first time on appeal." 46

The petitioners likewise assail as void the provision on waiver contained in No. 8 of
the aforequoted compromise, because it allegedly constitutes a relinquishment by
petitioners of "a right to properties which were not known." 47They argue that such
waiver is contrary to law, public policy, morals or good custom. The Court disagrees.
The assailed waiver pertained to their hereditary right to properties belonging to the
decedent's estate which were not included in the inventory of the estate's properties.
It also covered their right to other properties originally belonging to the spouses Juan
Sanchez and Maria Villafranca de Sanchez which have been transferred to other
persons. In addition, the parties agreed in the compromise to confirm and ratify said
transfers. The waiver is valid because, contrary to petitioners' protestation, the parties
waived a known and existing interest their hereditary right which was already
vested in them by reason of the death of their father. Article 777 of the Civil Code
provides that "(t)he rights to the succession are transmitted from the moment of
death of the decedent." Hence, there is no legal obstacle to an heir's waiver of his/her
hereditary share "even if the actual extent of such share is not determined until the
subsequent liquidation of the estate." 48 At any rate, such waiver is consistent with
the intent and letter of the law advocating compromise as a vehicle for the settlement
of civil disputes. 49
Finally, petitioners contend that Private Respondent Rosalia T. Lugod's alleged
fraudulent acts, specifically her concealment of some of the decedent's properties,
attended the actual execution of the compromise agreement. 50 This argument is
debunked by the absence of any substantial and convincing evidence on record
showing fraud on her part. As aptly observed by the appellate court:
[Herein petitioners] accuse [herein private respondent] Rosalia of fraud or
deception by alleging, inter alia, that the parcel of land given to them never
conformed to the stated area, i.e., forty-eight (48) hectares, as stated in the
compromise agreement. We find this argument unconvincing and
unmeritorious. [Herein petitioners'] averment of fraud on the part of [herein
private respondent] Rosalia becomes untenable when We consider the
memorandum of agreement they later executed with [herein private
respondent] Rosalia wherein said compromise agreement was modified by
correcting the actual area given to [herein petitioners] from forty-eight (48)
hectares to thirty-six (36) hectares only. If the actual area allotted to them
did not conform to the 48 hectare area stated in the compromise agreement,
then why did they agree to the memorandum of agreement whereby their
share in the estate of their father was even reduced to just 36 hectares?
Where is fraud or deception there? Considering that [herein petitioners]
were ably represented by their lawyers in executing these documents and
who presumably had explained to them the import and consequences
thereof, it is hard to believe their charge that they were defrauded and
deceived by [herein private respondent] Rosalia.
If the parcel of land given to [herein petitioners], when actually surveyed,
happened to be different in area to the stated area of 48 hectares in the

compromise agreement, this circumstance is not enough proof of fraud or


deception on [herein private respondent] Rosalia's part. Note that Tax
Declaration No. 06453 plainly discloses that the land transferred to [herein
petitioners] pursuant to the compromise agreement contained an area of 48
hectares (Annex "A", Supplemental Reply). And when [herein petitioners]
discovered that the land allotted to them actually contained only 24
hectares, a conference between the parties took place which led to the
execution and signing of the memorandum of agreement wherein [herein
petitioners'] distributive share was even reduced to 36 hectares. In the
absence of convincing and clear evidence to the contrary, the allegation of
fraud and deception cannot be successfully imputed to [herein private
respondent] Rosalia who must be presumed to have acted in good faith. 51
The memorandum of agreement freely and validly entered into by the parties on
April 13, 1970 and referred to above reads:
MEMORANDUM OF AGREEMENT
The parties assisted by their respective counsel have agreed as they hereby
agree:
1. To amend the compromise agreement executed by them on October 30,
1969 so as to include the following:
a. Correction of the actual area being given to the petitioners and
intervenors, all illegitimate children of the late Juan C. Sanchez,
forty-eight (48) hectares, thirty-six (36) ares as embodied in the
aforementioned compromise agreement to thirty-six (36) hectares
only, thus enabling each of them to get six (6) hectares each.
b. That the said 36-hectare area shall be taken from that parcel of
land which is now covered by O.C.T. No. 146 (Patent No. 30012)
and the adjoining areas thereof designated as Lot A and Lot C as
reflected on the sketch plan attached to the record of this case
prepared by Geodetic Engineer Olegario E. Zalles pursuant to the
Court's commission of March 10, 1970 provided, however, that if
the said 36-hectare area could not be found after adding thereto the
areas of said lots A and C, then the additional area shall be taken
from what is designated as Lot B, likewise also reflected in the
said sketch plan attached to the records;
c. That the partition among the six illegitimate children of the late
Juan C. Sanchez (petitioners and intervenors) shall be effective
among themselves in such a manner to be agreed upon by them,
each undertaking to assume redemption of whatever plants found

in their respective shares which need redemption from the tenants


thereof as well as the continuity of the tenancy agreements now
existing and covering the said shares or areas.
d. The subdivision survey shall be at the expense of the said
petitioners and intervenors prorata.
e. That the administratrix agrees to deliver temporary
administration of the area designated as Lot 5 of the Valles Sketch
Plan pending final survey of the said 36-hectare area.
Cagayan de Oro City, April 13, 1970.
(Sgd.)
LAURETA TAMPOS
For herself and as Guardian
ad-litem of Rolando, Mierly,
Alfredo and Myrna, all
surnamed Sanchez
Assisted by:
(Sgd.)
TEOGENES VELEZ, Jr.
Counsel for Petitioners
(Sgd.)
ROSALIA S. LUGOD
Administratrix
Assisted by:
(Sgd.)
PABLO S. REYES
Counsel for Administratrix
(Sgd.)
MARIA RABOSO SANCHEZ
Intervenor 52
Not only did the parties knowingly enter into a valid compromise agreement; they
even amended it when they realized some errors in the original. Such correction
emphasizes the voluntariness of said deed.

It is also significant that all the parties, including the then minors, had
already consummated and availed themselves of the benefits of their
compromise. 53 This Court has consistently ruled that "a party to a compromise
cannot ask for a rescission after it has enjoyed its benefits." 54 By their acts, the
parties are ineludibly estopped from questioning the validity of their compromise
agreement. Bolstering this conclusion is the fact that petitioners questioned the
compromise only nine years after its execution, when they filed with the trial court
their Motion to Defer Approval of Compromise Agreement, dated October 26,
1979. 55 In hindsight, it is not at all farfetched that petitioners filed said motion for
the sole reason that they may have felt shortchanged in their compromise agreement
or partition with private respondents, which in their view was unwise and unfair.
While we may sympathize with this rueful sentiment of petitioners, we can only
stress that this alone is not sufficient to nullify or disregard the legal effects of said
compromise which, by its very nature as a perfected contract, is binding on the
parties. Moreover, courts have no jurisdiction to look into the wisdom of a
compromise or to render a decision different therefrom. 56 It is a well-entrenched
doctrine that "the law does not relieve a party from the effects of an unwise, foolish,
or disastrous contract, entered into with all the required formalities and with full
awareness of what he was doing" 57 and "a compromise entered into and carried out
in good faith will not be discarded even if there was a mistake of law or fact,
(McCarthy vs. Barber Steamship Lines, 45 Phil. 488) because courts have no power
to relieve parties from obligations voluntarily assumed, simply because their
contracts turned out to be disastrous deals or unwise investments." 58 Volenti non fit
injuria.
Corollarily, the petitioners contend that the Court of Appeals gravely abused its
discretion in deeming Special Proceedings Nos. 44-M and 1022 "CLOSED and
TERMINATED," arguing that there was as yet no order of distribution of the estate
pursuant to Rule 90 of the Rules of Court. They add that they had not received their
full share thereto. 59 We disagree. Under Section 1, Rule 90 of the Rules of Court, an
order for the distribution of the estate may be made when the "debts, funeral charges,
and expenses of administration, the allowance to the widow, and inheritance tax, if
any," had been paid. This order for the distribution of the estate's residue must
contain the names and shares of the persons entitled thereto. A perusal of the whole
record, particularly the trial court's conclusion, 60 reveals that all the foregoing
requirements already concurred in this case. The payment of the indebtedness of the
estates of Juan C. Sanchez and Maria Villafranca in the amount of P51,598.93 was
shouldered by Private Respondent Rosalia, who also absorbed or charged against her
share the advances of Rolando T. Lugod in the sum of P8,533.94, in compliance with
Article 1061 of the Civil Code on collation. 61 Furthermore, the compromise of the
parties, which is the law between them, already contains the names and shares of the
heirs to the residual estate, which shares had also been delivered. On this point, we
agree with the following discussion of the Court of Appeals:
But what the (trial court) obviously overlooked in its appreciation of the
facts of this case are the uncontroverted facts that (herein petitioners) have

been in possession and ownership of their respective distributive shares as


early as October 30, 1969 and they have received other properties in
addition to their distributive shares in consideration of the compromise
agreement which they now assail. Proofs thereof are Tax Declarations No.
20984, 20985, 20986, 20987, 20988, 20989 and 20990 (Annexes "B" to
"H", Supplemental Reply) in the respective names of (herein petitioners), all
for the year 1972. (Herein petitioners) also retained a house and lot, a
residential lot and a parcel of agricultural land (Annexes "I", "J" and
"K", Ibid.) all of which were not considered in the compromise agreement
between the parties. Moreover, in the compromise agreement per se, it is
undoubtedly stated therein that cash advances in the aggregate sum of
P8,533.94 were received by (herein petitioners) after October 21, 1968
(Compromise Agreement, par. 5) 62
All the foregoing show clearly that the probate court had essentially finished said
intestate proceedings which, consequently, should be deemed closed and terminated.
In view of the above discussion, the Court sees no reversible error on the part of the
Court of Appeals.

Similarly, petitioners' allegations of fraud in the execution of the questioned deeds of


sale are bereft of substance, in view of the palpable absence of evidence to support
them. The legal presumption of validity of the questioned deeds of absolute sale,
being duly notarized public documents, has not been overcome. 68 On the other hand,
fraud is not presumed. It must be proved by clear and convincing evidence, and not
by mere conjectures or speculations. We stress that these deeds of sale did not
involve gratuitous transfers of future inheritance; these were contracts of sale
perfected by the decedents during their lifetime. 69 Hence, the properties conveyed
thereby are not collationable because, essentially, collation mandated under Article
1061 of the Civil Code contemplates properties conveyed inter vivos by the decedent
to an heir by way of donation or other gratuitous title.
In any event, these alleged errors and deficiencies regarding the delivery of shares
provided in the compromise, concealment of properties and fraud in the deeds of sale
are factual in nature which, as a rule, are not reviewable by this Court in petitions
under Rule 45. 70 Petitioners have failed to convince us that this case constitutes an
exception to such rule. All in all, we find that the Court of Appeals has sufficiently
addressed the issues raised by them. Indeed, they have not persuaded us that said
Court committed any reversible error to warrant a grant of their petition.

Third Issue: Fraud and Collation


Petitioners fault Respondent Court for not ordering Private Respondent Rosalia T.
Lugod to deliver to them the deficiency as allegedly provided under the compromise
agreement. They further contend that said court erred in not directing the provisional
inclusion of the alleged deficiency in the inventory for purposes of collating the
properties subject of the questioned deeds of sale. 63 We see no such error. In the trial
court, there was only one hearing conducted, and it was held only for the reception of
the evidence of Rosalia S. Lugod to install her as administratrix of the estate of
Maria Villafranca. There was no other evidence, whether testimonial or otherwise,
"received, formally offered to, and subsequently admitted by the probate court
below"; nor was there "a trial on the merits of the parries' conflicting claims." 64 In
fact, the petitioners "moved for the deferment of the compromise agreement on the
basis of alleged fraudulent concealment of properties NOT because of any
deficiency in the land conveyed to them under the agreements." 65Hence, there is no
hard evidence on record to back up petitioners' claims.
In any case, the trial court noted Private Respondent Rosalia's willingness to
reimburse any deficiency actually proven to exist. It subsequently ordered the
geodetic engineer who prepared the certification and the sketch of the lot in question,
and who could have provided evidence for the petitioners, "to bring records of his
relocation survey." 66 However, Geodetic Engineer Idulsa did not comply with the
court's subpoena duces tecum and ad testificandum. Neither did he furnish the
required relocation survey. 67 No wonder, even after a thorough scrutiny of the
records, this Court cannot find any evidence to support petitioners' allegations of
fraud against Private Respondent Rosalia.

WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DENIED and the assailed Decision of the
Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. L-22036 April 30, 1979


TESTATE ESTATE OF THE LATE REVEREND FATHER PASCUAL
RIGOR. THE PARISH PRIEST OF THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH OF
VICTORIA,
TARLAC, petitioner-appellant,
vs.
BELINA RIGOR, NESTORA RIGOR, FRANCISCA ESCOBAR DE RIGOR
and JOVITA ESCOBAR DE FAUSTO,respondents-appellees.
D. Taedo, Jr. for appellants.
J. Palanca, Sr. for appellee.
AQUINO, J.:
This case is about the efficaciousness or enforceability of a devise of ricelands
located at Guimba, Nueva Ecija, with a total area of around forty- four hectares That
devise was made in the will of the late Father Pascual Rigor, a native of Victoria
Tarlac, in favor of his nearest male relative who would study for the priesthood.
The parish priest of Victoria, who claimed to be a trustee of the said lands, appealed
to this Court from the decision of the Court of Appeals affirming the order of the
probate court declaring that the said devise was inoperative (Rigor vs. Parish Priest
of the Roman Catholic Church of Victoria, Tarlac, CA-G.R. No. 24319-R, August 1,
1963).
The record discloses that Father Rigor, the parish priest of Pulilan, Bulacan, died on
August 9, 1935, leaving a will executed on October 29, 1933 which was probated by
the Court of First Instance of Tarlac in its order of December 5, 1935. Named as
devisees in the will were the testators nearest relatives, namely, his three sisters:
Florencia Rigor-Escobar, Belina Rigor-Manaloto and Nestora Rigor-Quiambao. The
testator gave a devise to his cousin, Fortunato Gamalinda.
In addition, the will contained the following controversial bequest (paragraphing
supplied to facilitate comprehension of the testamentary provisions):
I and bequeathed FOUR (4) parcels of land located in palayeros
municipiooo of Guimba in Nueva Ecija provinciaaa whose num.
CERTIFICATE OF TRANSFER OF TITLE ARE; -. Title No. 6530,
measures 16,249 m. Title Num square surface. 6548, measuring 242.998 m.
squares of surface and annual 6525, measures 62.665 m. square surface; and
Title Num. 6521, measuring 119.251 m. square surface; any relative of mine
varon nearest to consider the sort of ecclesiastic career to Priesthood or be a
priest; Legacy estate conditions are;

priest until his death; but legatee loses this right to manage and enjoy this
legacy to leave to continue their studies for ordination of Priesthood
(Priest).
The legatee once Priest and be bound to celebrate each year TWENTY (20)
Masses prayed for the repose of my soul and my deceased parents, and if
the current legatee, would remain excommunicated, ipso facto deprives him
this legacy, and the administration of this happened by the current pastor
and his successors of the Catholic Iglecia Victoria, Tarlac.
And time interval no legatee conditioning according to what is stated above,
the administration passed this legacy by the current pastor and his Catholic
successors, Victoria, Tarlac.
The pastor administrator estate legacy accumulate annually all the products
that may have estate legacy, making or taking of annual products five (5)
percent for administration, and rights of the twenty (20) Masses prayed that
The pastor should celebrate each year, depositing all remaining legacy
estate products in a bank on behalf of estate legacy.
To implement the foregoing bequest, the administratix in 1940 submitted a project
containing the following item:
5. LEGACY OF THE CHURCH
That it be adjudicated in favor of the legacy purported to be given
to the nearest male relative who shall take the priesthood, and in
the interim to be administered by the actual Catholic Priest of the
Roman Catholic Church of Victoria, Tarlac, Philippines, or his
successors, the real properties hereinbelow indicated, to wit:
Title No.

Lot No.

Area in Has.

Tax Dec.

Ass. Value

T-6530

3663

1.6249

18740

P 340.00

T-6548

3445-C

24.2998

18730

7,290.00

T-6525

3670

6.2665

18736

1,880.00

T-6521

3666

11.9251

18733

3,580.00

Total amount and value 44.1163 P13,090.00

(1.a) absolutely prohibits the sale of these lands located above objects of
this legacy;

Judge Roman A. Cruz in his order of August 15, 1940, approving the project of
partition, directed that after payment of the obligations of the estate (including the
sum of P3,132.26 due to the church of the Victoria parish) the administratrix should
deliver to the devisees their respective shares.

(2d) The legatee mine kin shall be entitled to begin to enjoy and manage
this legacy as you begin to Holy Theologius the crossover, and ordained a

It may be noted that the administratrix and Judge Cruz did not bother to analyze the
meaning and implications of Father Rigor's bequest to his nearest male relative who

would study for the priesthood. Inasmuch as no nephew of the testator claimed the
devise and as the administratrix and the legal heirs believed that the parish priest of
Victoria had no right to administer the ricelands, the same were not delivered to that
ecclesiastic. The testate proceeding remained pending.
About thirteen years after the approval of the project of partition, or on February 19,
1954, the parish priest of Victoria filed in the pending testate proceeding a petition
praying for the appointment of a new administrator (succeeding the deceased
administration Florencia Rigor), who should deliver to the church the said ricelands,
and further praying that the possessors thereof be ordered to render an accounting of
the fruits. The probate court granted the petition. A new administrator was appointed.
On January 31, 1957 the parish priest filed another petition for the delivery of the
ricelands to the church as trustee.
The intestate heirs of Father Rigor countered with a petition dated March 25, 1957
praying that the bequest be d inoperative and that they be adjudged as the persons
entitled to the said ricelands since, as admitted by the parish priest of Victoria, "no
nearest male relative of" the testator "has ever studied for the priesthood" (pp. 25 and
35, Record on Appeal). That petition was opposed by the parish priest of Victoria.
Finding that petition to be meritorious, the lower court, through Judge Bernabe de
Aquino, declared the bequest inoperative and adjudicated the ricelands to the
testator's legal heirs in his order of June 28, 1957. The parish priest filed two motions
for reconsideration.
Judge De Aquino granted the respond motion for reconsideration in his order of
December 10, 1957 on the ground that the testator had a grandnephew named
Edgardo G. Cunanan (the grandson of his first cousin) who was a seminarian in the
San Jose Seminary of the Jesuit Fathers in Quezon City. The administrator was
directed to deliver the ricelands to the parish priest of Victoria as trustee.
The legal heirs appealed to the Court of Appeals. It reversed that order. It held that
Father Rigor had created a testamentary trust for his nearest male relative who would
take the holy orders but that such trust could exist only for twenty years because to
enforce it beyond that period would violate "the rule against perpetuities. It ruled that
since no legatee claimed the ricelands within twenty years after the testator's death,
the same should pass to his legal heirs, citing articles 888 and 912(2) of the old Civil
Code and article 870 of the new Civil Code.
The parish priest in this appeal contends that the Court of Appeals erred in not
finding that the testator created a public charitable trust and in not liberally
construing the testamentary provisions so as to render the trust operative and to
prevent intestacy.
As refutation, the legal heirs argue that the Court of Appeals d the bequest
inoperative because no one among the testator's nearest male relatives had studied
for the priesthood and not because the trust was a private charitable trust. According
to the legal heirs, that factual finding is binding on this Court. They point out that
appellant priest's change of theory cannot be countenanced in this appeal .

In this case, as in cases involving the law of contracts and statutory construction,
where the intention of the contracting parties or of the lawmaking body is to be
ascertained, the primary issue is the determination of the testator's intention which is
the law of the case (dicat testor et erit lex. Santos vs. Manarang, 27 Phil. 209, 215;
Rodriguez vs. Court of Appeals, L-28734, March 28, 1969, 27 SCRA 546).
The will of the testator is the first and principal law in the matter of testaments.
When his intention is clearly and precisely expressed, any interpretation must be in
accord with the plain and literal meaning of his words, except when it may certainly
appear that his intention was different from that literally expressed (In re Estate of
Calderon, 26 Phil. 333).
The intent of the testator is the cardinal rule in the construction of wills." It is "the
life and soul of a will It is "the first greatest rule, the sovereign guide, the polestar, in
giving effect to a will". (See Dissent of Justice Moreland in Santos vs. Manarang, 27
Phil. 209, 223, 237-8.)
One canon in the interpretation of the testamentary provisions is that "the testator's
intention is to be ascertained from the words of the wilt taking into consideration the
circumstances under which it was made", but excluding the testator's oral
declarations as to his intention (Art. 789, Civil Code of the Philippines).
To ascertain Father Rigor's intention, it may be useful to make the following restatement of the provisions of his will.
1. that he bequeathed the ricelands to anyone of his nearest male relatives
who would pursue an ecclesiastical career until his ordination as a priest.
2. That the devisee could not sell the ricelands.
3. That the devisee at the inception of his studies in sacred theology could
enjoy and administer the ricelands, and once ordained as a priest, he could
continue enjoying and administering the same up to the time of his death
but the devisee would cease to enjoy and administer the ricelands if he
discontinued his studies for the priesthood.
4. That if the devisee became a priest, he would be obligated to celebrate
every year twenty masses with prayers for the repose of the souls of Father
Rigor and his parents.
5. That if the devisee is excommunicated, he would be divested of the
legacy and the administration of the riceland would pass to the incumbent
parish priest of Victoria and his successors.
6. That during the interval of time that there is no qualified devisee as
contemplated above, the administration of the ricelands would be under the
responsibility of the incumbent parish priest of Victoria and his successors,
and
7. That the parish priest-administrator of the ricelands would accumulate
annually the products thereof, obtaining or getting from the annual produce
five percent thereof for his administration and the fees corresponding to the

twenty masses with prayers that the parish priest would celebrate for each
year, depositing the balance of the income of the devise in the bank in the
name of his bequest.
From the foregoing testamentary provisions, it may be deduced that the testator
intended to devise the ricelands to his nearest male relative who would become a
priest, who was forbidden to sell the ricelands, who would lose the devise if he
discontinued his studies for the priesthood, or having been ordained a priest, he was
excommunicated, and who would be obligated to say annually twenty masses with
prayers for the repose of the souls of the testator and his parents.
On the other hand, it is clear that the parish priest of Victoria would administer the
ricelands only in two situations: one, during the interval of time that no nearest male
relative of the testator was studying for the priesthood and two, in case the testator's
nephew became a priest and he was excommunicated.
What is not clear is the duration of "el intervalo de tiempo que no haya legatario
acondicionado", or how long after the testator's death would it be determined that he
had a nephew who would pursue an ecclesiastical vocation. It is that patent
ambiguity that has brought about the controversy between the parish priest of
Victoria and the testator's legal heirs.
Interwoven with that equivocal provision is the time when the nearest male relative
who would study for the priesthood should be determined. Did the testator
contemplate only his nearest male relative at the time of his death? Or did he have in
mind any of his nearest male relatives at anytime after his death?
We hold that the said bequest refers to the testator's nearest male relative living at the
time of his death and not to any indefinite time thereafter. "In order to be capacitated
to inherit, the heir, devisee or legatee must be living at the moment the succession
opens, except in case of representation, when it is proper" (Art. 1025, Civil Code).
The said testamentary provisions should be sensibly or reasonably construed. To
construe them as referring to the testator's nearest male relative at anytime after his
death would render the provisions difficult to apply and create uncertainty as to the
disposition of his estate. That could not have been his intention.
In 1935, when the testator died, his nearest leagal heirs were his three sisters or
second-degree relatives, Mrs. Escobar, Mrs. Manaloto and Mrs. Quiambao.
Obviously, when the testator specified his nearest male relative, he must have had in
mind his nephew or a son of his sister, who would be his third-degree relative, or
possibly a grandnephew. But since he could not prognosticate the exact date of his
death or state with certitude what category of nearest male relative would be living at
the time of his death, he could not specify that his nearest male relative would be his
nephew or grandnephews (the son of his nephew or niece) and so he had to use the
term "nearest male relative".
It is contended by the legal heirs that the said devise was in reality intended for
Ramon Quiambao, the testator's nephew and godchild, who was the son of his sister,
Mrs. Quiambao. To prove that contention, the legal heirs presented in the lower court

the affidavit of Beatriz Gamalinda, the maternal grandmother of Edgardo Cunanan,


who deposed that after Father Rigor's death her own son, Valentin Gamalinda, Jr., did
not claim the devise, although he was studying for the priesthood at the San Carlos
Seminary, because she (Beatriz) knew that Father Rigor had intended that devise for
his nearest male relative beloning to the Rigor family (pp. 105-114, Record on
Appeal).
Mrs. Gamalinda further deposed that her own grandchild, Edgardo G. Cunanan, was
not the one contemplated in Father Rigor's will and that Edgardo's father told her that
he was not consulted by the parish priest of Victoria before the latter filed his second
motion for reconsideration which was based on the ground that the testator's
grandnephew, Edgardo, was studying for the priesthood at the San Jose Seminary.
Parenthetically, it should be stated at this juncture that Edgardo ceased to be a
seminarian in 1961. For that reason, the legal heirs apprised the Court of Appeals
that the probate court's order adjudicating the ricelands to the parish priest of Victoria
had no more leg to stand on (p. 84, Appellant's brief).
Of course, Mrs. Gamalinda's affidavit, which is tantamount to evidence aliunde as to
the testator's intention and which is hearsay, has no probative value. Our opinion that
the said bequest refers to the testator's nephew who was living at the time of his
death, when his succession was opened and the successional rights to his estate
became vested, rests on a judicious and unbiased reading of the terms of the will.
Had the testator intended that the "cualquier pariente mio varon mas cercano que
estudie la camera eclesiatica" would include indefinitely anyone of his nearest male
relatives born after his death, he could have so specified in his will He must have
known that such a broad provision would suspend for an unlimited period of time the
efficaciousness of his bequest.
What then did the testator mean by "el intervalo de tiempo que no haya legatario
acondicionado"? The reasonable view is that he was referring to a situation whereby
his nephew living at the time of his death, who would like to become a priest, was
still in grade school or in high school or was not yet in the seminary. In that case, the
parish priest of Victoria would administer the ricelands before the nephew entered
the seminary. But the moment the testator's nephew entered the seminary, then he
would be entitled to enjoy and administer the ricelands and receive the fruits thereof.
In that event, the trusteeship would be terminated.
Following that interpretation of the will the inquiry would be whether at the time
Father Rigor died in 1935 he had a nephew who was studying for the priesthood or
who had manifested his desire to follow the ecclesiastical career. That query is
categorically answered in paragraph 4 of appellant priest's petitions of February 19,
1954 and January 31, 1957. He unequivocally alleged therein that "not male relative
of the late (Father) Pascual Rigor has ever studied for the priesthood" (pp. 25 and 35,
Record on Appeal).
Inasmuch as the testator was not survived by any nephew who became a priest, the
unavoidable conclusion is that the bequest in question was ineffectual or inoperative.

Therefore, the administration of the ricelands by the parish priest of Victoria, as


envisaged in the wilt was likewise inoperative.
The appellant in contending that a public charitable trust was constituted by the
testator in is favor assumes that he was a trustee or a substitute devisee That
contention is untenable. A reading of the testamentary provisions regarding the
disputed bequest not support the view that the parish priest of Victoria was a trustee
or a substitute devisee in the event that the testator was not survived by a nephew
who became a priest.
It should be understood that the parish priest of Victoria could become a trustee only
when the testator's nephew living at the time of his death, who desired to become a
priest, had not yet entered the seminary or, having been ordained a priest, he was
excommunicated. Those two contingencies did not arise, and could not have arisen in
this case because no nephew of the testator manifested any intention to enter the
seminary or ever became a priest.
The Court of Appeals correctly ruled that this case is covered by article 888 of the
old Civil Code, now article 956, which provides that if "the bequest for any reason
should be inoperative, it shall be merged into the estate, except in cases of
substitution and those in which the right of accretion exists" ("el legado ... por
qualquier causa, no tenga efecto se refundira en la masa de la herencia, fuera de los
casos de sustitucion y derecho de acrecer").
This case is also covered by article 912(2) of the old Civil Code, now article 960 (2),
which provides that legal succession takes place when the will "does not dispose of
all that belongs to the testator." There being no substitution nor accretion as to the
said ricelands the same should be distributed among the testator's legal heirs. The
effect is as if the testator had made no disposition as to the said ricelands.
The Civil Code recognizes that a person may die partly testate and partly intestate, or
that there may be mixed succession. The old rule as to the indivisibility of the
testator's win is no longer valid. Thus, if a conditional legacy does not take effect,
there will be intestate succession as to the property recovered by the said legacy
(Macrohon Ong Ham vs. Saavedra, 51 Phil. 267).
We find no merit in the appeal The Appellate Court's decision is affirmed. Costs
against the petitioner.
SO ORDERED

G.R. No. 118114 December 7, 1995


TEODORO ACAP, petitioner,
vs.
COURT OF APPEALS and EDY DE LOS REYES, respondents.
PADILLA, J.:
This is a petition for review on certiorari of the decision 1 of the Court of Appeals,
2nd Division, in CA-G.R. No. 36177, which affirmed the decision 2 of the Regional
Trial Court of Himamaylan, Negros Occidental holding that private respondent Edy
de los Reyes had acquired ownership of Lot No. 1130 of the Cadastral Survey of
Hinigaran, Negros Occidental based on a document entitled "Declaration of Heirship
and Waiver of Rights", and ordering the dispossession of petitioner as leasehold
tenant of the land for failure to pay rentals.

That Cosme Pido was survived by his/her legitimate heirs, namely:


LAURENCIANA PIDO, wife, ELY, ERVIN, ELMER, and ELECHOR all
surnamed PIDO; children;
That invoking the provision of Section 1, Rule 74 of the Rules of Court, the
above-mentioned heirs do hereby declare unto [sic] ourselves the only heirs
of the late Cosme Pido and that we hereby adjudicate unto ourselves the
above-mentioned parcel of land in equal shares.
Now, therefore, We LAURENCIANA 3, ELY, ELMER, ERVIN and
ELECHOR all surnamed PIDO, do hereby waive, quitclaim all our rights,
interests and participation over the said parcel of land in favor of EDY DE
LOS REYES, of legal age, (f)ilipino, married to VIRGINIA DE LOS
REYES,
and
resident
of
Hinigaran,
Negros
Occidental,
Philippines. . . . 4 (Emphasis supplied)

The facts of the case are as follows:

The document was signed by all of Pido's heirs. Private respondent Edy de los Reyes
did not sign said document.

The title to Lot No. 1130 of the Cadastral Survey of Hinigaran, Negros Occidental
was evidenced by OCT No. R-12179. The lot has an area of 13,720 sq. meters. The
title was issued and is registered in the name of spouses Santiago Vasquez and
Lorenza Oruma. After both spouses died, their only son Felixberto inherited the lot.
In 1975, Felixberto executed a duly notarized document entitled "Declaration of
Heirship and Deed of Absolute Sale" in favor of Cosme Pido.

It will be noted that at the time of Cosme Pido's death, title to the property continued
to be registered in the name of the Vasquez spouses. Upon obtaining the Declaration
of Heirship with Waiver of Rights in his favor, private respondent Edy de los Reyes
filed the same with the Registry of Deeds as part of a notice of an adverse
claimagainst the original certificate of title.

The evidence before the court a quo established that since 1960, petitioner Teodoro
Acap had been the tenant of a portion of the said land, covering an area of nine
thousand five hundred (9,500) meters. When ownership was transferred in 1975 by
Felixberto to Cosme Pido, Acap continued to be the registered tenant thereof and
religiously paid his leasehold rentals to Pido and thereafter, upon Pido's death, to his
widow Laurenciana.
The controversy began when Pido died intestate and on 27 November 1981, his
surviving heirs executed a notarized document denominated as "Declaration of
Heirship and Waiver of Rights of Lot No. 1130 Hinigaran Cadastre," wherein they
declared; to quote its pertinent portions, that:
. . . Cosme Pido died in the Municipality of Hinigaran, Negros Occidental,
he died intestate and without any known debts and obligations which the
said parcel of land is (sic) held liable.

Thereafter, private respondent sought for petitioner (Acap) to personally inform him
that he (Edy) had become the new owner of the land and that the lease rentals
thereon should be paid to him. Private respondent further alleged that he and
petitioner entered into an oral lease agreement wherein petitioner agreed to pay ten
(10) cavans of palay per annum as lease rental. In 1982, petitioner allegedly
complied with said obligation. In 1983, however, petitioner refused to pay any
further lease rentals on the land, prompting private respondent to seek the assistance
of the then Ministry of Agrarian Reform (MAR) in Hinigaran, Negros Occidental.
The MAR invited petitioner to a conference scheduled on 13 October 1983.
Petitioner did not attend the conference but sent his wife instead to the conference.
During the meeting, an officer of the Ministry informed Acap's wife about private
respondent's ownership of the said land but she stated that she and her husband
(Teodoro) did not recognize private respondent's claim of ownership over the land.
On 28 April 1988, after the lapse of four (4) years, private respondent filed a
complaint for recovery of possession and damages against petitioner, alleging in the
main that as his leasehold tenant, petitioner refused and failed to pay the agreed
annual rental of ten (10) cavans of palay despite repeated demands.

During the trial before the court a quo, petitioner reiterated his refusal to recognize
private respondent's ownership over the subject land. He averred that he continues to
recognize Cosme Pido as the owner of the said land, and having been a registered
tenant therein since 1960, he never reneged on his rental obligations. When Pido
died, he continued to pay rentals to Pido's widow. When the latter left for abroad, she
instructed him to stay in the landholding and to pay the accumulated rentals upon her
demand or return from abroad.
Petitioner further claimed before the trial court that he had no knowledge about any
transfer or sale of the lot to private respondent in 1981 and even the following year
after Laurenciana's departure for abroad. He denied having entered into a verbal
lease tenancy contract with private respondent and that assuming that the said lot was
indeed sold to private respondent without his knowledge, R.A. 3844, as amended,
grants him the right to redeem the same at a reasonable price. Petitioner also
bewailed private respondent's ejectment action as a violation of his right to security
of tenure under P.D. 27.
On 20 August 1991, the lower court rendered a decision in favor of private
respondent, the dispositive part of which reads:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Court renders judgment in favor
of the plaintiff, Edy de los Reyes, and against the defendant, Teodoro Acap,
ordering the following, to wit:
1. Declaring forfeiture of defendant's preferred right to issuance of a
Certificate of Land Transfer under Presidential Decree No. 27 and his
farmholdings;
2. Ordering the defendant Teodoro Acap to deliver possession of said farm
to plaintiff, and;
3. Ordering the defendant to pay P5,000.00 as attorney's fees, the sum of
P1,000.00 as expenses of litigation and the amount of P10,000.00 as actual
damages. 5
In arriving at the above-mentioned judgment, the trial court stated that the evidence
had established that the subject land was "sold" by the heirs of Cosme Pido to private
respondent. This is clear from the following disquisitions contained in the trial
court's six (6) page decision:
There is no doubt that defendant is a registered tenant of Cosme Pido.
However, when the latter died their tenancy relations changed since
ownership of said land was passed on to his heirs who, by executing a Deed
of Sale, which defendant admitted in his affidavit, likewise passed on their
ownership of Lot 1130 to herein plaintiff (private respondent). As owner

hereof, plaintiff has the right to demand payment of rental and the tenant is
obligated to pay rentals due from the time demand is made. . . . 6
xxx xxx xxx
Certainly, the sale of the Pido family of Lot 1130 to herein plaintiff does not
of itself extinguish the relationship. There was only a change of the
personality of the lessor in the person of herein plaintiff Edy de los Reyes
who being the purchaser or transferee, assumes the rights and obligations of
the former landowner to the tenant Teodoro Acap, herein defendant. 7
Aggrieved, petitioner appealed to the Court of Appeals, imputing error to the lower
court when it ruled that private respondent acquired ownership of Lot No. 1130 and
that he, as tenant, should pay rentals to private respondent and that failing to pay the
same from 1983 to 1987, his right to a certificate of land transfer under P.D. 27 was
deemed forfeited.
The Court of Appeals brushed aside petitioner's argument that the Declaration of
Heirship and Waiver of Rights (Exhibit "D"), the document relied upon by private
respondent to prove his ownership to the lot, was excluded by the lower court in its
order dated 27 August 1990. The order indeed noted that the document was not
identified by Cosme Pido's heirs and was not registered with the Registry of Deeds
of Negros Occidental. According to respondent court, however, since the Declaration
of Heirship and Waiver of Rights appears to have been duly notarized, no further
proof of its due execution was necessary. Like the trial court, respondent court was
also convinced that the said document stands as prima facie proof of appellee's
(private respondent's) ownership of the land in dispute.
With respect to its non-registration, respondent court noted that petitioner had actual
knowledge of the subjectsale of the land in dispute to private respondent because as
early as 1983, he (petitioner) already knew of private respondent's claim over the
said land but which he thereafter denied, and that in 1982, he (petitioner) actually
paid rent to private respondent. Otherwise stated, respondent court considered this
fact of rental payment in 1982 as estoppel on petitioner's part to thereafter refute
private respondent's claim of ownership over the said land. Under these
circumstances, respondent court ruled that indeed there was deliberate refusal by
petitioner to pay rent for a continued period of five years that merited forfeiture of
his otherwise preferred right to the issuance of a certificate of land transfer.
In the present petition, petitioner impugns the decision of the Court of Appeals as not
in accord with the law and evidence when it rules that private respondent acquired
ownership of Lot No. 1130 through the aforementioned Declaration of Heirship and
Waiver of Rights.
Hence, the issues to be resolved presently are the following:

1. WHETHER OR NOT THE SUBJECT DECLARATION OF HEIRSHIP


AND WAIVER OF RIGHTS IS A RECOGNIZED MODE OF
ACQUIRING OWNERSHIP BY PRIVATE RESPONDENT OVER THE
LOT IN QUESTION.
2. WHETHER OR NOT THE SAID DOCUMENT CAN BE
CONSIDERED A DEED OF SALE IN FAVOR OF PRIVATE
RESPONDENT OF THE LOT IN QUESTION.
Petitioner argues that the Regional Trial Court, in its order dated 7 August 1990,
explicitly excluded the document marked as Exhibit "D" (Declaration of Heirship,
etc.) as private respondent's evidence because it was not registered with the Registry
of Deeds and was not identified by anyone of the heirs of Cosme Pido. The Court of
Appeals, however, held the same to be admissible, it being a notarized document,
hence, a prima facie proof of private respondents' ownership of the lot to which it
refers.
Petitioner points out that the Declaration of Heirship and Waiver of Rights is not one
of the recognized modes of acquiring ownership under Article 712 of the Civil Code.
Neither can the same be considered a deed of sale so as to transfer ownership of the
land to private respondent because no consideration is stated in the contract
(assuming it is a contract or deed of sale).
Private respondent defends the decision of respondent Court of Appeals as in accord
with the evidence and the law. He posits that while it may indeed be true that the trial
court excluded his Exhibit "D" which is the Declaration of Heirship and Waiver of
Rights as part of his evidence, the trial court declared him nonetheless owner of the
subject lot based on other evidence adduced during the trial, namely, the notice of
adverse claim (Exhibit "E") duly registered by him with the Registry of Deeds,
which contains the questioned Declaration of Heirship and Waiver of Rights as an
integral part thereof.
We find the petition impressed with merit.
In the first place, an asserted right or claim to ownership or a real right over a thing
arising from a juridical act, however justified, is not per se sufficient to give rise to
ownership over the res. That right or title must be completed by fulfilling certain
conditions imposed by law. Hence, ownership and real rights are acquired only
pursuant to a legal mode or process. While title is the juridical justification, mode is
the actual process of acquisition or transfer of ownership over a thing in question. 8

Under Article 712 of the Civil Code, the modes of acquiring ownership are generally
classified into two (2) classes, namely, the original mode (i.e., through occupation,
acquisitive prescription, law or intellectual creation) and thederivative mode (i.e.,
through succession mortis causa or tradition as a result of certain contracts, such as
sale, barter, donation, assignment or mutuum).
In the case at bench, the trial court was obviously confused as to the nature and effect
of the Declaration of Heirship and Waiver of Rights, equating the same with a
contract (deed) of sale. They are not the same.
In a Contract of Sale, one of the contracting parties obligates himself to transfer the
ownership of and to deliver a determinate thing, and the other party to pay a price
certain in money or its equivalent. 9
Upon the other hand, a declaration of heirship and waiver of rights operates as a
public instrument when filed with the Registry of Deeds whereby the intestate heirs
adjudicate and divide the estate left by the decedent among themselves as they see
fit. It is in effect an extrajudicial settlement between the heirs under Rule 74 of the
Rules of Court. 10
Hence, there is a marked difference between a sale of hereditary rights and
a waiver of hereditary rights. The first presumes the existence of a contract or deed
of sale between the parties. 11 The second is, technically speaking, a mode of
extinction of ownership where there is an abdication or intentional relinquishment of
a known right with knowledge of its existence and intention to relinquish it, in favor
of other persons who are co-heirs in the succession. 12 Private respondent, being then
a stranger to the succession of Cosme Pido, cannot conclusively claim ownership
over the subject lot on the sole basis of the waiver document which neither recites
the elements of either a sale, 13 or a donation, 14 or any other derivative mode of
acquiring ownership.
Quite surprisingly, both the trial court and public respondent Court of Appeals
concluded that a "sale" transpired between Cosme Pido's heirs and private
respondent and that petitioner acquired actual knowledge of said sale when he was
summoned by the Ministry of Agrarian Reform to discuss private respondent's claim
over the lot in question. This conclusion has no basis both in fact and in law.
On record, Exhibit "D", which is the "Declaration of Heirship and Waiver of Rights"
was excluded by the trial court in its order dated 27 August 1990 because the
document was neither registered with the Registry of Deeds nor identified by the
heirs of Cosme Pido. There is no showing that private respondent had the same
document attached to or made part of the record. What the trial court admitted was
Annex "E", a notice of adverse claim filed with the Registry of Deeds which
contained the Declaration of Heirship with Waiver of rights and was annotated at the
back of the Original Certificate of Title to the land in question.

A notice of adverse claim, by its nature, does not however prove private respondent's
ownership over the tenanted lot. "A notice of adverse claim is nothing but a notice of
a claim adverse to the registered owner, the validity of which is yet to be established
in court at some future date, and is no better than a notice of lis pendenswhich is a
notice of a case already pending in court." 15
It is to be noted that while the existence of said adverse claim was duly proven, there
is no evidence whatsoever that a deed of sale was executed between Cosme Pido's
heirs and private respondent transferring the rights of Pido's heirs to the land in favor
of private respondent. Private respondent's right or interest therefore in the tenanted
lot remains an adverse claim which cannot by itself be sufficient to cancel the OCT
to the land and title the same in private respondent's name.
Consequently, while the transaction between Pido's heirs and private
respondent may be binding on both parties, the right of petitioner as a
registered tenant to the land cannot be perfunctorily forfeited on a mere
allegation of private respondent's ownership without the corresponding
proof thereof.
Petitioner had been a registered tenant in the subject land since 1960 and religiously
paid lease rentals thereon. In his mind, he continued to be the registered tenant of
Cosme Pido and his family (after Pido's death), even if in 1982, private respondent
allegedly informed petitioner that he had become the new owner of the land.
Under the circumstances, petitioner may have, in good faith, assumed such statement
of private respondent to be true and may have in fact delivered 10 cavans of palay as
annual rental for 1982 to private respondent. But in 1983, it is clear that petitioner
had misgivings over private respondent's claim of ownership over the said land
because in the October 1983 MAR conference, his wife Laurenciana categorically
denied all of private respondent's allegations. In fact, petitioner even secured a
certificate from the MAR dated 9 May 1988 to the effect that he continued to be the
registered tenant of Cosme Pido and not of private respondent. The reason is that
private respondent never registered the Declaration of Heirship with Waiver of
Rights with the Registry of Deeds or with the MAR. Instead, he (private respondent)
sought to do indirectly what could not be done directly,i.e., file a notice of adverse
claim on the said lot to establish ownership thereover.
It stands to reason, therefore, to hold that there was no unjustified or deliberate
refusal by petitioner to pay the lease rentals or amortizations to the
landowner/agricultural lessor which, in this case, private respondent failed to
establish in his favor by clear and convincing evidence. 16

Consequently, the sanction of forfeiture of his preferred right to be issued a


Certificate of Land Transfer under P.D. 27 and to the possession of his farmholdings
should not be applied against petitioners, since private respondent has not established
a cause of action for recovery of possession against petitioner.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Court hereby GRANTS the petition and the
decision of the Court of Appeals dated 1 May 1994 which affirmed the decision of
the RTC of Himamaylan, Negros Occidental dated 20 August 1991 is hereby SET
ASIDE. The private respondent's complaint for recovery of possession and damages
against petitioner Acap is hereby DISMISSED for failure to properly state a cause of
action, without prejudice to private respondent taking the proper legal steps to
establish the legal mode by which he claims to have acquired ownership of the land
in question.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 116018 November 13, 1996


NELIA A. CONSTANTINO, petitioner,
vs.
COURT OF APPEALS, AURORA S. ROQUE, PRISCILLA S. LUNA and
JOSEFINA S. AUSTRIA, respondents.
BELLOSILLO, J.:
JOSEFA TORRES died intestate leaving a parcel of land located at Balagtas,
Bulacan. Among her heirs are respondents Aurora S. Roque, Priscilla S. Luna and
Josefina S. Austria. Sometime in 1984, the heirs of Josefa Torres, as vendors, and
petitioner Nelia A. Constantino, as vendee, entered into a contract to sell a parcel of
land with a total land area of two hundred and fifty (250) square meters. The lot,
owned in common by the Torres heirs, is being occupied by petitioners' mother and
sister. An adjoining lot, also co-owned by the heirs, is being occupied by spouses
Severino and Consuelo Lim. Pursuant to their agreement, the heirs authorized
petitioner to prepare the necessary Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement of Estate with
Sale.
After having the document drafted with several spaces left blank including the
specification as to the metes and bounds of the land petitioner asked the heirs to
affix their signatures on the document. The heirs signed the document with the
understanding that respondent Aurora S. Roque, one of the heirs, would be present
when the latter would seek permission from the Bureau of Lands and have the land
surveyed.
However, without the participation of any of the Torres heirs, the property was
subsequently surveyed, subdivided and then covered by TCT Nos. T-292265 and T292266. Petitioner did not furnish the heirs with copies of theDeed of Extrajudicial
Settlement of Estate with Sale nor of the subdivision plan and the certificates of title.
Upon securing a copy of the deed from the Registry of Deeds, the respondents
learned that the area of the property purportedly sold to petitioner was much bigger
than that agreed upon by the parties. It already included the portion being occupied
by the spouses Severino and Consuelo Lim.
On 2 June 1986, private respondents sent a letter to petitioner demanding the
surrender to them of the deed of settlement and conveyance, the subdivision plan and
the certificates of title; but to no avail. On 25 June 1986 respondents filed with the
Regional Trial Court of Bulacan an action for annulment of the deed and cancellation
of the certificates of title, with prayer for recovery of damages, attorney's fees and
costs of suit. 1

Petitioner controverted the allegations of respondents by presenting the Deed of


Extrajudicial Settlement of Estate with Sale dated 10 October 1984 wherein
respondents agreed to divide and adjudicate among themselves the inherited property
with an area of one thousand five hundred and three (1,503) square meters. In the
same document, they caused the subdivision of the property into two (2) lots
according to Plan No. PSD-03-009105 identified as Lot 4-A with an area of one
thousand ninety-six (1,096) square meters, and Lot 4-B with an area of four hundred
and seven (407) square meters, and acknowledged the sale to petitioner of said Lot 4B. As a consequence, on 18 March 1985, the Register of Deeds issued TCT No. T292265 in the name of the heirs of Josefa Torres and TCT No. T-292266 in the name
of petitioner.
In reply, private respondents reiterated that all the heirs signed the document before
the land was surveyed and subdivided, hence, there was as yet no definite area to be
sold that could be indicated in the deed at the time of the signing. They also claimed
that they were not notified about the survey and the subdivision of the lot and
therefore they could not have agreed on the area supposedly sold to petitioner. The
respondent heirs insist that they could not have agreed to the extent of the area
actually reflected in the deed because it included the portion being occupied by the
Lim spouses, which was already the subject of a previous agreement to sell between
them and their predecessor.
The trial court entertained serious doubts with respect to the preparation and due
execution of the Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement of Estate with Sale taking into
account that (a) while petitioner claimed that all the heirs signed before the notary
public and in her presence, she was not able to enumerate all the signatories to the
document; (b) while petitioner claimed that the document was signed only after the
survey of the land was completed, or on 10 October 1984, such fact was negated by
her own witness who testified that the survey was conducted only on 16 October
1984; and, (c) while petitioner alleged that the document was signed and notarized in
Manila no explanation was offered why the same could not have been signed and
notarized in Bulacan where notaries public abound which could have been less
inconvenient to the parties concerned. Additionally, the trial court relied heavily on
the assertions of respondents as reflected in their demand letter that they did not give
their consent to the sale of Lot 4-B.
Thus, on the basis of the evidence on record, the trial court on 27 September 1990
ordered the annulment and cancellation of the Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement of
Estate with Sale, TCT Nos. T-292265 and T-292266 and Subdivision Plan No. PSD03-009105. It also ordered petitioner to pay private respondents P50,000.00 for
moral damages, P15,000.00 for attorney's fees, and to pay the costs of suit. 2
On 16 March 1994 respondent Court of Appeals sustained the decision of the trial
court, 3 and on 20 June 1994 denied the motion to reconsider its decision. 4

Petitioner faults respondent Court of Appeals: (a) for disregarding documentary


evidence already presented, marked and identified on a purely technical ground, and
(b) for concluding that the Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement of Estate with Sale did
not reflect the true intent of the parties.
Petitioner argues that the trial court should not have denied her motion to admit
formal offer of evidence merely on the basis of technicality such as late filing,
citing Siguenza v. Court of Appeals. 5 We are not persuaded. Indeed, we held
in Siguenza that rules of procedure are not to be applied in a very rigid and technical
sense as they are used only to help secure, not override, substantial justice. Yet the
holding is inapplicable to the present case as the trial court had a reasonable basis for
denying petitioner's motion
On February 6, 1990, Atty. Ponciano Mercado, defendant's counsel,
manifested in Court that he has (sic) no more witness to present. He asked
that he be given 15 days to make a formal offer of evidence and which the
Court granted. At the scheduled hearing of April 03, 1990, Atty. Ponciano
Mercado . . . . was not in Court. Atty. Veneracion, plaintiffs' counsel, called
the attention of the Court that Atty. Mercado has (sic) not yet filed and/or
complied with the Court Order dated February 06, 1990, which is to file his
formal offer of evidence. On motion of Atty. Veneracion, defendant's right
to file a formal offer of evidence was deemed waived. Atty. Veneracion
waived the presentation of rebuttal evidence considering that the defendant
can (sic) no longer make a formal offer of evidence.
On May 11, 1990, the Court was in receipt of a motion to admit formal offer
of exhibits filed by the defendant thru counsel, Atty. Ponciano Mercado, on
May 02, 1990. Considering that the same was filed out of time and the
plaintiffs having filed their memorandum already, the motion to admit
formal offer of exhibits was denied (emphasis supplied).
The trial court was correct in holding that petitioner waived the right to formally
offer his evidence. A considerable lapse of time, about three (3) months, had already
passed before petitioner's counsel made effort to formally offer his evidence. For the
trial court to grant petitioner's motion to admit her exhibits would be to condone an
inexcusable laxity if not non-compliance with a court order which, in effect, would
encourage needless delays and derail the speedy administration of justice.

Petitioner also insists that the real intent of the parties was to make the entire Lot 4-B
the subject matter of the sale. She claims that during cross-examination respondent
Aurora S. Roque admitted that she signed in behalf of her co-heirs a receipt for
P30,000.00 as partial payment for the lot occupied by Ka Baring and Lina (relatives
of petitioner) and Iling (Consuelo Lim). Moreover, according to petitioner, the
assertions of private respondents to petitioner contained in the demand letter should
not necessarily be true and that the validity of the Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement
of Estate with Sale was not affected by the fact that it was notarized in a place other
than where the subject matter thereof was situated, citing Sales v. Court of Appeals. 6
These other arguments of petitioner are barren and futile. The admission of
respondent Roque cannot prevail in the face of the clear evidence that there was as
yet no meeting of the minds on the land area to be sold since private respondents
were still awaiting the survey to be conducted on the premises. Obviously, the trial
court only lent credence to the assertions in the demand letter after having weighed
the respective evidence of the parties. But even without the letter, the evidence of
respondents had already amply substantiated their claims.
We ruled in the Sales case that the extrinsic validity of a document was not affected
by the fact that it was notarized in a place other than where the subject matter thereof
was located. What is more important under theNotarial Law is that the notary public
has authority to acknowledge the document executed within his territorial
jurisdiction. The ruling in Sales is not applicable to the present case. Our concern
here is not whether the notary public had the authority to acknowledge the document
executed within his territorial jurisdiction but whether respondents indeed appeared
before him and signed the deed. However, the quantum of evidence shows that they
did not.
The trial court correctly appreciated the fact that the deed was notarized in Manila
when it could have been notarized in Bulacan. This additional detail casts doubt on
the procedural regularity in the preparation, execution and signing of the deed. It is
not easy to believe that petitioner and the ten (10) Torres heirs traveled all the way to
Manila to have their questioned document notarized considering that they, with the
exception of respondent Roque, are residents of Balagtas, Bulacan, where notaries
public are easy to find. Consequently, the claim of private respondents that they did
not sign the document before a notary public is more plausible than petitioner's
feeble claim to the contrary.
Likewise, we find the allegation of respondents that they signed the deed prior to the
survey, or before determination of the area to be sold, worthy of credit as against the
contention of petitioner that they signed after the survey or on 10 October 1984. As
found by the trial court, such contention was contradicted by petitioner's own witness
who positively asserted in court that the survey was conducted only on 16 October
1984 or six (6) days after the signing. Quite obviously, when respondents affixed
their signatures on the deed, it was still incomplete since petitioner who caused it to
be prepared left several spaces blank, more particularly as regards the dimensions of

the property to be sold. The heirs were persuaded to sign the document only upon the
assurance of petitioner that respondent Roque, pursuant to their understanding,
would be present when the property would be surveyed after obtaining permission
from the Bureau of Lands. As it surfaced, the supposed understanding was merely a
ruse of petitioner to induce respondents to sign the deed without which the latter
would not have given their conformity thereto. 7 Apparently, petitioner deceived
respondents by filling the blank spaces in the deed, having the lots surveyed and
subdivided, and then causing the issuance of transfer certificates of title without their
knowledge, much less consent. Thus all the elements of fraud vitiating consent for
purposes of annulling a contract concur: (a) It was employed by a contracting party
upon the other; (b) It induced the other party to enter into the contract; (c) It was
serious; and, (d) It resulted in damages and injury to the party seeking annulment. 8
Perhaps, another compelling reason for the annulment of the document of settlement
and conveyance is that the second page thereof clearly manifests that the number of

the subdivision plan and the respective areas of Lots 4-A and 4-B were merely
handwritten while all the rest of the statements therein were typewritten, which leads
us to the conclusion that handwritten figures thereon were not available at the time
the document was formalized.
WHEREFORE, their being no error to warrant a reversal of the decision and
resolution in question of respondent Court of Appeals, which affirmed the decision
of the Regional Trial Court of Malolos, Bulacan, Br. 22, the instant petition is
DENIED.
SO ORDERED.