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ORDER OF INTESTATE SUCCESSION

DE LOS SANTOS VS DE LA CRUZ


Direct appeal to this Court on questions of law from the judgment of the Court of First Instance of Rizal, Branch IX, in
its Civil Case No. Q-8792.
From the record of this case, we cull the following salient facts: On May 21, 1965, Gertrudes de los Santos filed a complaint for specific
performance against Maximo de la Cruz, alleging, among others, that on August 24, 1963, she and several co-heirs, including the
defendant, executed an extrajudicial partition agreement (a copy of which was attached to the complaint) over a certain portion of land with
an area of around 20,000 sq. m.; that the parties thereto had agreed to adjudicate three (3) lots to the defendant, in addition to his
corresponding share, on condition that the latter would undertake the development and subdivision of the estate which was the subject
matter of the agreement, all expenses in connection therewith to be defrayed from the proceeds of the sale of the aforementioned three (3)
lots; that in spite of demands by the plaintiff, by the other co-heirs, and by the residents of the subdivision, the defendant refused to perform
his aforesaid obligation although he had already sold the aforesaid lots. The plaintiff prayed the court to order the defendant to comply with
his obligation under the extra-judicial partition agreement and to pay the sum of P1,000.00 as attorney's fees and costs.
In his answer, the defendant admitted the due execution of the extrajudicial partition agreement, but set up the affirmative defenses that the
plaintiff had no cause of action against him because the said agreement was void with respect to her, for the reason that the plaintiff was
not an heir of Pelagia de la Cruz, deceased owner of the property, and was included in the extrajudicial partition agreement by mistake; and
that although he had disposed of the three lots adjudicated to him, nevertheless the proceeds of the sale were not sufficient to develop and
improve properly the subdivided estate. The answer contained a counterclaim wherein the defendant alleged that the plaintiff had likewise
sold her share in the estate for P10,000.00, and that the extrajudicial partition agreement being void insofar as the latter was concerned, he
was entitled to one-fourth (1/4) of the proceeds as his share by way of reversion. The defendant prayed that the complaint be dismissed;
that the extrajudicial partition agreement be declared void with respect to the plaintiff; and, on his counterclaim, that the plaintiff be ordered
to pay him the sum of P2,500.00.
On motion of the defendant, the court below entered an order on July 19, 1965, declaring the plaintiff in default for not having answered the
counterclaim.
On July 6, 1966, the case was submitted for decision on the following stipulation of facts:
"1. That the parties admit the existence and execution of the 'Extra-Judicial Partition Agreement' dated
August 24, 1963, which we marked as Exhibit 'A' for the plaintiff, and Exhibit "1" for the defendant, which
partition agreement was marked as Annex 'A' in the complaint;
"2. That the parties agree that the original purpose of the above-mentioned Extra-Judicial Partition
Agreement was for the distribution of the lard in question for the heirs of Pelagia de al Cruz; however the
parties further agree that several lots in the said land have been sold by some of the co-heirs, and there
are now several houses constructed therein and residents therein;
"3. That the parties agree that the defendant is the appointed Administrator and In-charge of the
development and subdivision of the land in question, as provided for in the aforementioned extrajudicial
partition agreement;
"4. That parties agree that Lots 1, 2 and 3 as described on page 3, 3rd paragraph to the last of said
partition agreement have been sold by the defendant herein; and parties further agree that there are no
properly constructed roads, nor proper light and water facilities;
"5. That the parties agree that the defendant is the nephew of the deceased Pelagia de la Cruz
aforementioned, who was the owner and predecessor in interest of the land which was the subject
matter of the extrajudicial partition agreement;
"6. That the parties agree that the plaintiff is the grandniece of the said Pelagia de la Cruz;
"7. That Pelagia de la Cruz died intestate and without issue on October 16, 1962, as evidenced by a
death certificate, which is marked as Exhibit '2' for the defendant; and
"8. That Marciana de la Cruz is the mother of the plaintiff and the niece of the said Pelagia de la Cruz,
and that the said Marciana de la Cruz died on September 22, 1935, as evidenced by Exhibit '3' for the
defendant."
In its decision dated November 3, 1966, the court a quo held that the defendant, being a party to the extrajudicial partition agreement, was
estopped from raising in issue the right of the plaintiff to inherit from the decedent Pelagia de la Cruz; hence, he must abide by the terms of
the agreement. The court ordered the defendant "to perform his obligations to develop Lots 1, 2 and 3 of (LRC) Psd-29561 as described on
page 2 of the Extrajudicial Partition Agreement" (meaning, apparently, that the defendant should develop the subdivision because said Lots
1, 2 and 3 were intended to be sold for this purpose), and to pay the plaintiff the sum of P2,000.00 as actual damages, the sum of P500.00
as attorney's fees, and the costs. No disposition was made of defendant's counterclaim. The defendant filed a "Motion for New Trial' but the
same was denied. Hence, this appeal.
The seven (7) errors assigned by defendant-appellant in his brief boil down to the following:
1. The court a quo erred in not holding that the extrajudicial partition agreement is null and void with
respect to plaintiff-appellee, and, consequently, that plaintiff-appellee has no cause of action against
defendant-appellant.
2. The court a quo erred in holding that defendant-appellant is estopped from questioning plaintiffappellee's right to have the agreement enforced.
3. The court a quo erred in ordering defendant-appellant to pay actual damages to plaintiff-appellee,
and, on the other hand, in not granting the relief prayed for by defendant-appellant in his counterclaim.
We shall discuss seriatim these errors as thus condensed.
1. In the stipulation of facts submitted to the court below, the parties admit that the owner of the estate, subject matter of the extrajudicial
partition agreement, was Pelagia de la Cruz, who died intestate on October 16, 1962 that defendant-appellant is a nephew of the said
decedent; that plaintiff-appellee is a grandniece of Pelagia de la Cruz, her mother, Marciana de la Cruz, being a niece of the said Pelagia
de la Cruz; that plaintiff-appellee's mother died on September 22, 1935, thus pre-deceasing Pelagia de la Cruz; and that the purpose of the
extrajudicial partition agreement was to divide and distribute the estate among the heirs of Pelagia de la Cruz.
The pivotal question is whether, in the premises, plaintiff-appellee is an heir of the decedent. We are convinced that she is not. Plaintiffappellee being a mere grandniece of Pelagia de la Cruz, she could not inherit from the latter by right of representation.
"ART. 972. The right of representation takes place in the direct descending line, but never in the
ascending.
"In the collateral line, it takes place only in favor of the children of brothers or sisters, whether they be of
the full or half blood."
Much less could plaintiff-appellee inherit in her own right.
"ART. 962. In every inheritance, the relative nearest in degree excludes the more distant ones, saving
the right of representation when it properly takes place . . ."
Applying these two (2) provisions, this Court, in Linart y Pavia vs. Ugarte y Iturralde, 5 Phil., 176 (1905), said:
". . . [I]n an intestate succession a grandniece of the deceased can not participate with a niece in the
inheritance, because the latter being a nearer relative, the more distant grandniece is excluded. In the

ORDER OF INTESTATE SUCCESSION

collateral line the right of representation does not obtain beyond sons and daughters of the brothers and
sisters, which would have been the case if Pablo Linart, the father of the plaintiff, had survived his
deceased uncle."
In the present case, the relatives "nearest in degree" to Pelagia de la Cruz are her nephews and nieces, one of whom is defendantappellant. Necessarily, plaintiff-appellee, a grandniece, is excluded by law from the inheritance.
But what is the legal effect of plaintiff-appellee's inclusion and participation in the extrajudicial partition agreement insofar as her right to
bring the present action is concerned? They did not confer upon her the right to institute this action. The express purpose of the
extrajudicial partition agreement, as admitted by the parties in the stipulation of facts, was to divide the estate among the heirs of Pelagia
de la Cruz. Indeed, the said agreement itself states that plaintiff-appellee was participating therein in representation of her deceased
mother. The pertinent portion of the agreement is herein quoted, thus:
"NOW, THEREFORE, we . . . and Diego delos Santos, married to Anastacia dela Cruz, Mariano delos
Santos married to Andrea Ramoy: Gertrudes delos Santos, married to Pascual Acuna; Alejo delos
Santos, married to Leonila David; and Sotera delos Santos, married to Narciso Ramota; all in
representation of our mother, MARCIANA DELA CRUZ, . . ., do hereby by these presents, mutually,
voluntarily and amicably agree among ourselves to equitably divide the property left by the deceased
PELAGIA DELA CRUZ, and adjudicate unto ourselves definite and independent portions of the estate in
the following manner . . ."
It is quite apparent that in executing the partition agreement, the parties thereto were laboring under the erroneous belief that
plaintiff-appellee was one of the legal heirs of Pelagia de la Cruz. Plaintiff-appellee not being such an heir, the partition is void with
respect to her, pursuant to Article 1105 of the Civil Code, which reads:
"ART. 1105. A partition which includes a person believed to be an heir, but who is not, shall be void only
with respect to such person."
Partition of property affected between a person entitled to inherit from the deceased owner thereof and another person who thought
he was an heir, when he was not really and lawfully such, to the prejudice of the rights of the true heir designated by law to succeed
the deceased, is null and void (De Torres vs. De Torres, et al., 28 Phil. 49). A fortiori, plaintiff-appellee could hardly derive from the
agreement the right to have its terms enforced.
2. The extrajudicial partition agreement being void with respect to plaintiff-appellee, she may not be heard to assert estoppel against
defendant-appellant. Estoppel cannot be predicated on a void contract (17 Am. Jur. 605), or on acts which are prohibited by law or are
against public policy (Baltazar vs. Lingayen Gulf Electric Power Co., et al., G.R. Nos. 16236-38, June 30, 1965 [14 SCRA 522]). In Ramiro
vs. Grao, et al., 54 Phil., 744 (1930), this Court held:
"No estoppel arises where the representation or conduct of the party sought to be estopped is due to
ignorance founded upon a mistake. And while there is authority to the contrary, the weight of authority is
that the acts and declarations of a party based upon an innocent mistake as to his legal rights will not
estop him to assert the same, especially where every fact known to the party sought to be estopped is
equally well known to the party setting up the estoppel. (21 C.J., 1125, 1126.)"
And in Capili, et al. vs. Court of Appeals, et al., G.R. No. L-18148, February 28, 1963 (7 SCRA 367), this Court said:
"Finally, petitioners-appellants claim that appellees are estopped to raise the question of ownership of
the properties involved because the widow herself, during her lifetime, not only did not object to the
inclusion of these properties in the inventory of the assets of her deceased husband, but also signed an
extra-judicial partition of those inventoried properties. But the very authorities cited by appellants require
that to constitute estoppel, the actor must have knowledge of the facts and be apprised of his rights at
the time he performs the act constituting estoppel, because silence without knowledge works no
estoppel . . ."
3. The award of actual damages in favor of plaintiff-appellee cannot be sustained in view of the conclusion we have arrived at above.
Furthermore, actual or compensatory damages must be duly proved (Article 2199, Civil Code). Here, no proof of such damages was
presented inasmuch as the case was decided on a stipulation of facts and no evidence was adduced before the trial court.
We now come to defendant-appellant's counterclaim, in which he alleged that plaintiff-appellee sold her share to a certain person for the
price of P10,000.00, and claims that he is entitled to one-fourth (1/4) of the proceeds by right of reversion. It will be noted that plaintiffappellee had been declared in default on defendant-appellant's counterclaim; but the latter did not present any evidence to prove the
material allegation therein more specifically, the alleged sale of the former's share for the sum of P10,000.00. That no such evidence had
been adduced is understandable, for the parties expressly submitted the case for the resolution of the court upon their stipulation of facts
which, unfortunately, did not make any mention of the alleged sale; and neither had defendant made any offer or move to introduce the
necessary evidence to that effect for the consideration and evaluation by the trial court.
Defendant-appellant contends, however, that in view of plaintiff-appellee's having been declared in default, the latter must be deemed to
have admitted all the allegations in his counterclaim, so that the court a quo should have granted the relief prayed for by him. We find no
merit in this contention.
Section 1, Rule 18 of the Revised Rules of Court, reads:
"SECTION 1. Judgment by default. If the defendant fails to answer within the time specified in these
rules, the court shall, upon motion of the plaintiff and proof of such failure, declare the defendant in
default. Thereupon the court shall proceed to receive the plaintiff's evidence and render judgment
granting him such relief as the complaint and the fact proven may warrant. This provision applies where
no answer is made to a counterclaim, crossclaim, or third-party complaint within the period provided in
this rule."
The abovequoted rule was taken from Sections 128 and 129 of the Code of Civil Procedure. In Macondray & Co. vs. Eustaquio, 64
Phil., 446 (1937), this Court said:
"Under section 128 of our Code of Civil Procedure, the judgment by default against a defendant who has
neither appeared nor filed his answer does not imply a waiver of rights except that of being heard and of
presenting evidence in his favor. It does not imply admission by the defendant of the facts and causes of
action of the plaintiff, because the codal section requires the latter to adduce his evidence in support of
his allegations as an indispensable condition before final judgment could be given in his favor. Nor could
it be interpreted as an admission by the defendant that the plaintiff's causes of action find support in the
law or that the latter is entitled to the relief prayed for . . ."
Nevertheless, the basic fact appears in the stipulation submitted by the parties that said plaintiff-appellee admitted having received a
portion of the estate by virtue of the extrajudicial partition agreement dated August 24, 1963, to wit:
"(9). Lot 9, (LRC) Psd-29561, containing an area of 1,691 sq. m. as described in the Technical
Description to be adjudicated to Diego delos Santos, married to Anastacia dela Cruz; Mariano delos
Santos, married to Regina Baluyot; Hilario delos Santos, married to Andrea Ramoy; Gertrudes delos
Santos, married to Pascual Acuna; Alejo delos Santos, married to Leonila David; and Sotera delos
Santos, married to Narciso Ramota, in co-ownership, share and share alike."

ORDER OF INTESTATE SUCCESSION

Such being the case, defendant-appellant is apparently correct in his contention that the lower court erred in not passing on his
counterclaim and, consequently, in not sentencing appellee to turn over to him his corresponding share of said portion received by
appellee under the void partition. Remote relatives or unrelated persons who unduly received and took possession of the property
of a deceased person without any right, by virtue of a null and void partition, must restore it to the legitimate successor in the
inheritance (De Torres vs. De Torres, et al., supra). Of course, if such share has already been disposed of by appellee to a bona
fide purchaser, as seems to be indicated in the unproven allegations of the counterclaim, We cannot render judgment awarding any
specific amount to defendant-appellant as his proportionate share of the proceeds of such sale for the reason that, as already
stated above, this aspect of the counterclaim has not been touched upon in the stipulation of facts nor has it been supported by
evidence which appellant should have presented in the lower court but did not.
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING CONSIDERATIONS, the judgment appealed from is hereby reversed and set aside; the defendantappellant is absolved from any liability to and in favor of plaintiff-appellee; and, on appellant's counterclaim, appellee is hereby sentenced to
restore or reconvey to him his corresponding share of the property she has received under the extrajudicial partition hereinbefore
mentioned if the same has not already been disposed of as alleged. Costs in both instance against plaintiff-appellee.
||| (de los Santos v. de la Cruz, G.R. No. L-29192, February 22, 1971)

ORDER OF INTESTATE SUCCESSION

TEOTICO VS DEL VAL


1. CITIZENSHIP; NATURALIZATION; ALIEN WIFE OF CITIZEN NOT AUTOMATICALLY CITIZEN BUT MUST PROVE COMPLIANCE
WITH REQUIREMENTS. The alien wife of a Filipino citizen does not automatically become a Philippine citizen upon her husband's
naturalization. She must first prove that she has all the qualifications required by Section 2 and none of the disqualifications enumerated in
Section 4 of the Naturalization Law before she may be deemed a Philippine citizen.
2. ID.; ID.; ID.; REASON FOR RULE; POLICY OF SELECTIVE ADMISSION TO PHILIPPINE CITIZENSHIP. The rule laid down by this
Court in this and in other cases heretofore decided is believed to be in line with the national policy of selective admission to Philippine
citizenship which after all is a privilege granted only to those who are found worthy thereof, and not indiscriminately to anybody at all on the
basis alone of marriage to a man who is a citizen of the Philippines, irrespective of moral character, ideological belief, and identification with
Filipino ideals, customs and traditions.
DECISION
BAUTISTA ANGELO, J p:
Maria Mortera y Balsalobre Vda. de Aguirre died on July 14, 1955 in the City of Manila leaving properties worth
P600,000.00. She left a will written in Spanish which she executed at her residence in No. 2 Legarda St., Quiapo, Manila. She
affixed her signature at the bottom of the will and on the left margin of each and every page thereof in the presence of Pilar Borja,
Pilar G. Sanchez, and Modesto Formilleza, who in turn affixed their signatures below the attestation clause and on the left margin of
each and every page of the will in the presence of the testatrix and of each other. Said will was acknowledged before Notary Public
Niceforo S. Agaton by the testatrix and her witnesses.
In said will the testatrix made the following preliminary statement: that she was possessed of the full use of her mental faculties; that she
was free from illegal pressure or influence of any kind from the beneficiaries of the will and from any influence of fear or threat; that she
freely and spontaneously executed said will and that she had neither ascendants nor descendants of any kind such that she could dispose
of all her estate.
Among the many legacies and devises made in the will was one of P20,000.00 to Rene A. Teotico, married to the testatrix's niece named
Josefina Mortera. To said spouses the testatrix left the usufruct of her interest in the Calvo building, while the naked ownership thereof she
left in equal parts to her grandchildren who are the legitimate children of said spouses. The testatrix also instituted Josefina Mortera as her
sole and universal heir to all the remainder of her properties not otherwise disposed of in the will.
On July 17, 1955, Vicente B. Teotico filed a petition for the probate of the will before the Court of First Instance of Manila which was set for
hearing on September 3, 1955 after the requisite publication and service to all parties concerned.
Ana del Val Chan, claiming to be an adopted child of Francisca Mortera, a deceased sister of the testatrix, as well as an acknowledged
natural child of Jose Mortera, a deceased brother of the same testatrix, filed on September 2, 1955 an opposition to the probate of the will
alleging the following grounds: (1) said will was not executed as required by law; (2) the testatrix was physically and mentally incapable to
execute the will at the time of its execution; and (3) the will was executed under duress, threat or influence of fear.
Vicente B. Teotico filed a motion to dismiss the opposition alleging that the oppositor had no legal personality to intervene. The probate
court, after due hearing, allowed the oppositor to intervene as an adopted child of Francisco Mortera, and on June 17, 1959, the oppositor
amended her opposition by alleging the additional ground that the will is inoperative as to the share of Dr. Rene Teotico because the latter
was the physician who took care of the testatrix during her last illness.
After the parties had presented their evidence, the probate court rendered its decision on November 10, 1960 admitting the will to probate
but declaring the disposition made in favor of Dr. Rene Teotico void with the statement that the portion to be vacated by the annulment
should pass to the testatrix's heirs by way of intestate succession.
Petitioner Teotico, together with the universal heir Josefina Mortera, filed a motion for reconsideration of that part of the decision which
declares the portion of the estate to be vacated by the nullity of the legacy made to Dr. Rene Teotico as passing to the legal heirs, while the
oppositor filed also a motion for reconsideration of the portion of the judgment which decrees the probate of the will. On his part, Dr. Rene
Teotico requested leave to intervene and to file a motion for reconsideration with regard to that portion of the decision which nullified the
legacy made in his favor.
The motions for reconsideration above adverted to having been denied, both petitioner and oppositor appealed from the decision, the
former from that portion which nullifies the legacy in favor of Dr. Rene Teotico and declares the vacated portion as subject of succession in
favor of the legal heirs, and the latter from that portion which admits the will to probate. And in this instance both petitioner and oppositor
assign several error which, stripped of non-essentials, may be boiled down to the following: (1) Has oppositor Ana del Val Chan the right to
intervene in this proceeding?; (2) Has the will in question been duly admitted to probate?; and (3) Did the probate court commit an error in
passing on the intrinsic validity of the provisions of the will and in determining who should inherit the portion to be vacated by the
nullification of the legacy made in favor of Dr. Rene Teotico?
These issues will be discussed separately.
1. It is a well-settled rule that in order that a person may be allowed to intervene in a probate proceeding he must have an interest in the
estate, or in the will, or in the property to be affected by it either as executor or as a claimant of the estate (Ngo The Hua vs. Chung Kiat
Hua, et al., L-17091, September 30, 1963); and an interested party has been defined as one who would be benefitted by the estate such as
an heir or one who has a claim against the estate like a creditor (Idem.). On the other hand, in Saguinsin vs. Lindayag, et al., L-17750,
December 17, 1962, this Court said:
"According to Section 2, Rule 80 of the Rules of Court, a petition for letters of
administration must be filed by an 'interested person.' An interested party has been defined
in this connection as one who would be benefitted by the estate, such as an heir, or one who
has a claim against the estate, such as a creditor (Intestate Estate of Julio Magbanwa 40
O.G., 1171). And it is well settled in this jurisdiction that in civil actions as well as special
proceedings, the interest required in order that a person may be a party thereto must be
material and direct, and not merely indirect or contingent. (Trillana vs. Crisostomo, G. R. No.
L-3370, August 22, 1951; Rapinosa vs. Barrion, 70 Phil. 311)."
The question now may be asked: Has oppositor any interest in any of the provisions of the will, and, in the negative, would she acquire any
right to the estate in the event that the will is denied probate?
Under the terms of the will, oppositor has no right to intervene because she has no interest in the estate either as heir, executor, or
administrator, nor does she have any claim to any property affected by the will, because it nowhere appears therein any provision
designating her as heir, legatee or devisee of any portion of the estate. She has also no interest in the will either as administratrix or
executrix. Neither has she any claim against any portion of the estate because she is not a co-owner thereof, and while she previously had
an interest in the Calvo building located in Escolta, she had already disposed of it long before the execution of the will.
In the supposition that the will is denied probate, would the oppositor acquire any interest in any portion of the estate left by the testatrix?
She would acquire such right only if she were a legal heir of the deceased, but she is not under our Civil Code. It is true that oppositor
claims to be an acknowledged natural child of Jose Mortera, a deceased brother of the deceased, and also an adopted daughter of
Francisca Mortera, a deceased sister of the testatrix, but such claim cannot give her any comfort for, even if it be true, the law does not give
her any right to succeed to the estate of the deceased sister of both Jose Mortera and Francisca Mortera. And this is so because being an
illegitimate child she is prohibited by law from succeeding to the legitimate relatives of her natural father. Thus, Article 992 of our Civil Code
provides: "An illegitimate child has no right to inherit ab intestato from the legitimate children and relatives of his father or mother; . . ." And

ORDER OF INTESTATE SUCCESSION

the philosophy behind this provision is well expressed in Grey vs. Fabie, 68 Phil., 128, as follows:
"'Between the natural child and the legitimate relatives of the father or mother
who acknowledged it, the Code denies any right of succession. They cannot be called
relatives and they have no right to inherit. Of course, there is a blood tie, but the law does
not recognize it. In this, article 943 is based upon the reality of the facts and upon the
presumptive will of the interested parties; the natural child is disgracefully looked down upon
by the legitimate family; the legitimate family is, in turn, hated by the natural child; the latter
considers the privileged condition of the former and the resources of which it is thereby
deprived; the former, in turn, sees in the natural child nothing but the product of sin, a
palpable evidence of a blemish upon the family. Every relation is ordinarily broken in life; the
law does no more them recognize this truth, by avoiding further grounds of resentment.' (7
Manresa, 3d ed., p. 110.)"
The oppositor cannot also derive comfort from the fact that she is an adopted child of Francisca Mortera because under our law the
relationship established by adoption is limited solely to the adopter and the adopted does not extend to the relatives of the adopting parents
or of the adopted child except only as expressly provided for by law. Hence, no relationship is created between the adopted and the
collaterals of the adopting parents. As a consequence, the adopted is an heir of the adopter but not of the relatives of the adopter.
"The relationship established by the adoption, however, is limited to the
adopting parent, and does not extend to his other relatives, except as expressly provided by
law. Thus, the adopted child cannot be considered as a relative of the ascendants and
collaterals of the adopting parents, nor of the legitimate children which they may have after
the adoption, except that the law imposes certain impediments to marriage by reason of
adoption. Neither are the children of the adopted considered as descendants of the adopter.
The relationship created is exclusively between, the adopter and the adopted, and does not
extend to the relatives of either." (Tolentino, Civil Code of the Philippines, Vol. 1, p. 652)
"Relationship by adoption is limited to adopter and adopted, and does not
extend to other members of the family of either; but the adopted is prohibited to marry the
children of the adopter to avoid scandal." (An Outline of Philippines Civil law by Justice Jose
B. L, Reyes and Ricardo C. Puno, Vol. 1, p. 313; See also Caguioa, Comments and Cases
on Civil law, 1955, Vol. 1, pp. 312-313; Paras, Civil Code of the Philippines, 1959 ed., Vol. 1,
p. 515)
It thus appears that the oppositor has no right to intervene either as testamentary or as legal heir in this probate proceeding contrary to the
ruling of the court a quo.
2. The next question to be determined is whether the will Exhibit A was duly admitted to probate. Oppositor claims that the same should not
have been admitted not only because it was not properly attested to but also because it was procured thru pressure and influence and the
testatrix affixed her signature by mistake believing that it contained her true intent.
The claim that the will was not properly attested to is contradicted by the evidence of record. In this respect it is fit that we state briefly the
declarations of the instrumental witnesses.
Pilar Borja testified that the testatrix was in perfect state of health at the time she executed the will for she carried her conversation with her
intelligently; that the testatrix signed immediately above the attestation clause and on each and every page thereof at the left-hand margin
in the presence of the three instrumental witnesses and the notary public; that it was the testatrix herself who asked her and the other
witnesses to act as such; and that the testatrix was the first one to sign and later she gave the will to the witnesses who read and signed it.
Pilar G. Sanchez also testified that she knew the testatrix since 1945; that it was the testatrix herself who asked her to be a witness to the
will; that the testatrix was the first one to sign and she gave the will later to the witnesses to sign and afterwards she gave it to the notary
public; that on the day of the execution of the will the testatrix was in the best of health.
Modesto Formilleza also testified that he was asked by the testatrix to be one of the witnesses to the will; that he read and understood the
attestation clause before he signed the document, and that all the witnesses spoke either in Spanish or in Tagalog. He finally said that the
instrumental witnesses and the testatrix signed the will at the same time and place and identified their signatures.
This evidence which has not been successfully refuted proves conclusively, that the will was duly executed because it was signed by the
testatrix and her instrumental witnesses and the notary public in the manner provided for by law.
The claim that the will was procured by improper pressure and influence is also belied by the evidence. On this point the court a quo made
the following observation:
"The circumstance that the testatrix was then living under the same roof with
Dr. Rene Teotico is no proof adequate in law to sustain the conclusion that there was
improper pressure and undue influence. Nor is the alleged fact of isolation of the testatrix
from the oppositor and her witnesses, for their supposed failure to see personally the
testatrix, attributable to the vehemence of Dr. Rene Teotico to exclude visitors, took place
years after the execution of the will on May 17, 1951. Although those facts may have some
weight to support the theory of the oppositor, yet they must perforce yield to the weightier
fact that nothing could have prevented the testatrix, had she really wanted to, from
subsequently revoking her 1951 will if it did not in fact reflect and express her own
testamentary dispositions. For, as testified to by the oppositor and her witnesses, the
testatrix was often seen at the Escolta, in Quiapo and in Sta. Cruz, Manila, walking and
accompanied by no one. In fact, on different occasions, each of them was able to talk with
her."
We have examined the evidence on the matter and we are fully in accord with the foregoing observation. Moreover, the mere claim that
Josefina Mortera and her husband Rene Teotico had the opportunity to exert pressure on the testatrix simply because she lived in their
house several years prior to the execution of the will and that she was old and suffering from hypertension in that she was virtually isolated
from her friends for several years prior to her death is insufficient to disprove what the instrumental witnesses had testified that the testatrix
freely and voluntarily and with full consciousness of the solemnity of the occasion executed the will under consideration. The exercise of
improper pressure and undue influence must be supported by substantial evidence and must be of a kind that would overpower and
subjugate the mind of the testatrix as to destroy her free agency and make her express the will of another rather than her own (Coso vs.
Deza, 42 Phil., 596). The burden is on the person challenging the will that such influence was exerted at the time of its execution, a matter
which here was not done, for the evidence presented not only is sufficient but was disproved by the testimony the instrumental witnesses.
3. The question of whether the probate court could determine the intrinsic validity of the provisions of a will has been decided by this Court
in a long line of decisions among which the following may be cited:
"Opposition to the intrinsic validity or legality of the provisions of the will cannot
be entertained in probate proceeding because its only purpose is merely to determine if the
will has been executed in accordance with the requirements of the law." (Palacios vs.
Palacios, 58 O.G. 220)

ORDER OF INTESTATE SUCCESSION

". . . The authentication of a will decides no other questions than such as touch
upon the capacity of the testator and the compliance with those requisites or solemnities
which the law prescribes for the validity of wills. It does not determine nor even by
implication prejudge the validity or efficiency of the provisions; these may be impugned as
being vicious or null, notwithstanding its authentication. The questions relating to these
points remain entirely unaffected, and may be raised even after the will has been
authenticated. . . .
"From the fact that the legalization of a will does not validate the provisions
therein contained, it does not follow that such provisions lack of efficiency, or fail to produce
the effects which the law recognizes when they are not impugned by anyone. In the matter
of wills it is a fundamental doctrine that the will of the testator is the law governing the
interested parties, and must be punctually complied with in so far as it is not contrary to the
law or to public morals." (Montaano vs. Suesa, 14 Phil., pp. 676, 679-680)
"To establish conclusively as against everyone, and once for all, the facts that a
will was executed with the formalities required by law and that the testator was in a condition
to make a will, is the only purpose of the proceedings under the new code for the probate of
a will. (Sec. 625.) The judgment in such proceedings determines and can determine nothing
more. In them the court has no power to pass upon the validity of any provisions made in the
will. It can not decide, for example, that a certain legacy is void and another one valid."
Castaeda vs. Alemany, 3 Phil., 426, 428)
Pursuant to the foregoing precedents the pronouncement made by the court a quo declaring invalid the legacy made to Dr. Rene Teotico in
the will Exhibit A must be set aside as having been made in excess of its jurisdiction. Another reason why said pronouncement should be
set aside is that the legatee was not given an opportunity to defend the validity of the legacy for he was not allowed to intervene in this
proceeding. As a corollary, the other pronouncements, touching on the disposition of the estate in favor of some relatives of the deceased
should also be set aside for the same reason.
WHEREFORE, with the exception of that portion of the decision which declares that the will in question has been duly executed and
admitted the same to probate, the rest of the decision is hereby set aside. This case is ordered remanded to the court a quo for further
proceedings. No pronouncement as to costs.
||| (Teotico v. Del Val Chan, G.R. No. L-18753, March 26, 1965)

ORDER OF INTESTATE SUCCESSION

SAYSON VS COURT OF APPEALS


1. REMEDIAL LAW; JUDGMENT; FINAL AND EXECUTORY; PETITIONERS SHOULD HAVE SEASONABLY APPEALED THE DECREE
OF ADOPTION. It is too late now to challenge the decree of adoption, years after it became final and executory. That was way back in
1967. Assuming that the petitioners were proper parties, what they should have done was seasonably appeal the decree of adoption,
pointing to the birth of Doribel that disqualified Teodoro and Isabel from adopting Delia and Edmundo. They did not. In fact, they should
have done this earlier, before the decree of adoption was issued. They did not, although Mauricio claimed he had personal knowledge of
such birth.
2. ID.; ADOPTION PROCEEDINGS; CHALLENGE TO THE VALIDITY OF ADOPTION CANNOT BE MADE COLLATERALLY. A no less
important argument against the petitioners is that their challenge to the validity of the adoption cannot be made collaterally, as in their action
for partition but in a direct proceeding frontally addressing the issue. The settled rule is that a finding that the requisite jurisdictional facts
exists, whether erroneous or not, cannot be questioned in a collateral proceeding, for a presumption arises in such cases where the validity
of the judgment is thus attacked that the necessary jurisdictional facts were proven [Freeman on Judgments, Vol. I, Sec. 350, pp. 719-720].
3. CIVIL LAW; PATERNITY AND FILIATION; BIRTH CERTIFICATE; ONE OF THE PRESCRIBED MEANS OF RECOGNITION. On the
question of Doribel's legitimacy, we hold that the findings of the trial courts as affirmed by the respondent court must be sustained. Doribel's
birth certificate is a formidable piece of evidence. It is one of the prescribed means of recognition under Article 265 of the Civil Code and
Article 172 of the Family Code. It is true, as the petitioners stress, that the birth certificate offers only prima facie evidence of filiation and
may be refuted by contrary evidence. However, such evidence is lacking in the case at bar.
4. ID.; ID.; ID.; EVIDENTIARY NATURE OF PUBLIC DOCUMENTS TO BE SUSTAINED ABSENT STRONG, COMPLETE AND
CONCLUSIVE PROOF OF ITS FALSITY OR NULLITY. Mauricio's testimony that he was present when Doribel was born to Edita Abila
was understandably suspect, coming as it did from an interested party. The affidavit of Abila denying her earlier statement in the petition for
the guardianship of Doribel is of course hearsay, let alone the fact that it was never offered in evidence in the lower courts. Even without it,
however, the birth certificate must be upheld in line with Legaspi v. Court of Appeals, where we ruled that "the evidentiary nature of public
documents must be sustained in the absence of strong, complete and conclusive proof of its falsity or nullity."
5. ID.; ID.; LEGITIMACY OF CHILD CAN BE QUESTIONED ONLY IN A DIRECT ACTION. Another reason why the petitioners' challenge
must fail is the impropriety of the present proceedings for that purpose. Doribel's legitimacy cannot be questioned in a complaint for partition
and accounting but in a direct action seasonably filed by the proper party. The presumption of legitimacy in the Civil Code . . . does not have
this purely evidential character. It serves a more fundamental purpose. It actually fixes a civil status for the child born in wedlock, and that
civil status cannot be attacked collaterally. The legitimacy of the child can be impugned only in a direct action brought for that purpose, by
the proper parties, and within the period limited by law. The legitimacy of the child cannot be contested by way of defense or as a collateral
issue in another action for a different purpose. (Tolentino, Civil Code of the Philippines, vol. I, p. 559.)
6. ID.; SUCCESSION; LEGITIMATE AND ADOPTED CHILDREN SUCCEED THE PARENTS AND ASCENDANTS; RATIONALE. The
philosophy underlying this article is that a person's love descends first to his children and grandchildren before it ascends to his parents and
thereafter spreads among his collateral relatives. It is also supposed that one of his purposes in acquiring properties is to leave them
eventually to his children as a token of his love for them and as a provision for their continued care even after he is gone from this earth.
7. ID.; ID.; RIGHT OF REPRESENTATION; GRANDDAUGHTER HAS A RIGHT TO REPRESENT HER DECEASED FATHER. There is
no question that as the legitimate daughter of Teodoro and thus the granddaughter of Eleno and Rafaela, Doribel has a right to represent
her deceased father in the distribution of the intestate estate of her grandparents. Under Article 981, quoted above, she is entitled to the
share her father would have directly inherited had he survived, which shall be equal to the shares of her grandparents' other children.
8. ID.; ID.; ID.; RELATIONSHIP CREATED BY ADOPTION DOES NOT EXTEND TO THE BLOOD RELATIVES OF EITHER PARTIES.
While it is true that the adopted child shall be deemed to be a legitimate child and have the same right as the latter, these rights do not
include the right of representation. The relationship created by the adoption is between only the adopting parents and the adopted child and
does not extend to the blood relatives of either party.
DECISION
CRUZ, J p:
At issue in this case is the status of the private respondents and their capacity to inherit from their alleged parents and grandparents. The
petitioners deny them that right, asserting it for themselves to the exclusion of all others.
The relevant genealogical facts are as follows.
Eleno and Rafaela Sayson begot five children, namely, Mauricio, Rosario, Basilisa, Remedios and Teodoro. Eleno died on November 10,
1952, and Rafaela on May 15, 1976. Teodoro, who had married Isabel Bautista, died on March 23, 1972. His wife died nine years later, on
March 26, 1981. Their properties were left in the possession of Delia, Edmundo, and Doribel, all surnamed Sayson, who claim to be their
children.
On April 25, 1983, Mauricio, Rosario, Basilisa, and Remedios, together with Juana C. Bautista, Isabel's mother, filed a complaint for
partition and accounting of the intestate estate of Teodoro and Isabel Sayson. It was docketed as Civil Case No. 1030 in Branch 13 of the
Regional Trial Court of Albay. The action was resisted by Delia, Edmundo and Doribel Sayson, who alleged successional rights to the
disputed estate as the decedent's lawful descendants.
On July 11, 1983, Delia, Edmundo and Doribel filed their own complaint, this time for the accounting and partition of the intestate estate of
Eleno and Rafaela Sayson, against the couple's four surviving children. This was docketed as Civil Case No. 1042 in the Regional Trial
Court of Albay, Branch 12. The complainants asserted the defense they raised in Civil Case No. 1030, to wit, that Delia and Edmundo were
the adopted children and Doribel was the legitimate daughter of Teodoro and Isabel. As such, they were entitled to inherit Teodoro's share
in his parents' estate by right of representation.
Both cases were decided in favor of the herein private respondents on the basis of practically the same evidence.
Judge Rafael P. Santelices declared in his decision dated May 26, 1986, 1 that Delia and Edmundo were the legally adopted children of
Teodoro and Isabel Sayson by virtue of the decree of adoption dated March 9, 1967. 2 Doribel was their legitimate daughter as evidenced
by her birth certificate dated February 27, 1967. 3 Consequently, the three children were entitled to inherit from Eleno and Rafaela by right
of representation.
In his decision dated September 30, 1986, 4 Judge Jose S. Saez dismissed Civil Case No. 1030, holding that the defendants, being the
legitimate heirs of Teodoro and Isabel as established by the aforementioned evidence, excluded the plaintiffs from sharing in their estate.
Both cases were appealed to the Court of Appeals, where they were consolidated. In its own decision dated February 28, 1989, 5 the
respondent court disposed as follows:
WHEREFORE, in Civil Case No. 1030 (CA-G.R. No. 11541), the appealed decision is hereby
AFFIRMED. In Civil Case No. 1042 (CA-G.R. No. 12364), the appealed decision is MODIFIED in that
Delia and Edmundo Sayson are disqualified from inheriting from the estate of the deceased spouses
Eleno and Rafaela Sayson, but is affirmed in all other respects.
SO ORDERED.
That judgment is now before us in this petition for review by certiorari. Reversal of the respondent court is sought on the ground that it
disregarded the evidence of the petitioners and misapplied the pertinent law and jurisprudence when it declared the private respondents as
the exclusive heirs of Teodoro and Isabel Sayson.
The contention of the petitioners is that Delia and Edmundo were not legally adopted because Doribel had already been born on February

ORDER OF INTESTATE SUCCESSION

27, 1967, when the decree of adoption was issued on March 9, 1967. The birth of Doribel disqualified her parents from adopting. The
pertinent provision is Article 335 of the Civil Code, naming among those who cannot adopt "(1) Those who have legitimate, legitimated,
acknowledged natural children, or natural children by legal fiction."
Curiously enough, the petitioners also argue that Doribel herself is not the legitimate daughter of Teodoro and Isabel but was in fact born to
one Edita Abila, who manifested in a petition for guardianship of the child that she was her natural mother. 6
The inconsistency of this position is immediately apparent. The petitioners seek to annul the adoption of Delia and Edmundo on the ground
that Teodoro and Isabel already had a legitimate daughter at the time but in the same breath try to demolish this argument by denying that
Doribel was born to the couple.
On top of this, there is the vital question of timeliness. It is too late now to challenge the decree of adoption, years after it became final and
executory. That was way back in 1967. 7 Assuming that the petitioners were proper parties, what they should have done was seasonably
appeal the decree of adoption, pointing to the birth of Doribel that disqualified Teodoro and Isabel from adopting Delia and Edmundo. They
did not. In fact, they should have done this earlier, before the decree of adoption was issued. They did not, although Mauricio claimed he
had personal knowledge of such birth.
As the respondent court correctly observed:
When Doribel was born on February 27, 1967, or about TEN (10) days before the issuance of the Order
of Adoption, the petitioners could have notified the court about the fact of birth of DORIBEL and perhaps
withdrew the petition or perhaps petitioners could have filed a petition for the revocation or rescission of
the adoption (although the birth of a child is not one of those provided by law for the revocation or
rescission of an adoption). The court is of the considered opinion that the adoption of the plaintiffs DELIA
and EDMUNDO SAYSON is valid, outstanding and binding to the present, the same not having been
revoked or rescinded.
Not having any information of Doribel's birth to Teodoro and Isabel Sayson, the trial judge cannot be faulted for granting the petition for
adoption on the finding inter alia that the adopting parents were not disqualified.
A no less important argument against the petitioners is that their challenge to the validity of the adoption cannot be made collaterally, as in
their action for partition but in a direct proceeding frontally addressing the issue.
The settled rule is that a finding that the requisite jurisdictional facts exists, whether erroneous or not,
cannot be questioned in a collateral proceeding, for a presumption arises in such cases where the
validity of the judgment is thus attacked that the necessary jurisdictional facts were proven [Freeman on
Judgments, Vol. I, Sec. 350, pp. 719-720]. (Emphasis supplied.)
In the case of Santos v. Aranzanso, 8 this Court declared:
Anent this point, the rulings are summed up in 2 American Jurisprudence, 2nd Series, Adoption, Sec. 75, p. 922, thus:
An adoption order implies the finding of the necessary facts and the burden of proof is on the party
attacking it; it cannot be considered void merely because the fact needed to show statutory compliance
is obscure. While a judicial determination of some particular fact, such as the abandonment of his next of
kin to the adoption, may be essential to the exercise of jurisdiction to enter the order of adoption, this
does not make it essential to the jurisdictional validity of the decree that the fact be determined upon
proper evidence, or necessarily in accordance with the truth; a mere error cannot affect the jurisdiction,
and the determination must stand until reversed on appeal, and hence cannot be collaterally attacked. If
this were not the rule, the status of adopted children would always be uncertain, since the evidence
might not be the same at all investigations, and might be regarded with different effect by different
tribunals, and the adoption might be held by one court to have been valid, while another court would
hold it to have been of no avail. (Emphasis supplied.)
On the question of Doribel's legitimacy, we hold that the findings of the trial courts as affirmed by the respondent court must be sustained.
Doribel's birth certificate is a formidable piece of evidence. It is one of the prescribed means of recognition under Article 265 of the Civil
Code and Article 172 of the Family Code. It is true, as the petitioners stress, that the birth certificate offers only prima facie evidence 9 of
filiation and may be refuted by contrary evidence. However, such evidence is lacking in the case at bar.
Mauricio's testimony that he was present when Doribel was born to Edita Abila was understandably suspect, coming as it did from an
interested party. The affidavit of Abila 10 denying her earlier statement in the petition for the guardianship of Doribel is of course hearsay, let
alone the fact that it was never offered in evidence in the lower courts. Even without it, however, the birth certificate must be upheld in line
with Legaspi v. Court of Appeals, 11 where we ruled that "the evidentiary nature of public documents must be sustained in the absence of
strong, complete and conclusive proof of its falsity or nullity."
Another reason why the petitioners' challenge must fail is the impropriety of the present proceedings for that purpose. Doribel's legitimacy
cannot be questioned in a complaint for partition and accounting but in a direct action seasonably filed by the proper party.
The presumption of legitimacy in the Civil Code . . . does not have this purely evidential character. It
serves a more fundamental purpose. It actually fixes a civil status for the child born in wedlock, and that
civil status cannot be attacked collaterally. The legitimacy of the child can be impugned only in a direct
action brought for that purpose,by the proper parties, and within the period limited by law. The legitimacy
of the child cannot be contested by way of defense or as a collateral issue in another action for a
different purpose . . . . 12
(Emphasis supplied.)
In consequence of the above observations, we hold that Doribel, as the legitimate daughter of Teodoro and Isabel Sayson, and Delia and
Edmundo, as their adopted children, are the exclusive heirs to the intestate estate of the deceased couple, conformably to the following
Article 979 of the Civil Code:
ARTICLE 979. Legitimate children and their descendants succeed the parents and other ascendants,
without distinction as to sex or age, and even if they should come from different marriages.
An adopted child succeeds to the property of the adopting parents in the same manner as a legitimate
child.
The philosophy underlying this article is that a person's love descends first to his children and grandchildren before it ascends to his parents
and thereafter spreads among his collateral relatives. It is also supposed that one of his purposes in acquiring properties is to leave them
eventually to his children as a token of his love for them and as a provision for their continued care even after he is gone from this earth.
Coming now to the right of representation, we stress first the following pertinent provisions of the Civil Code:
ARTICLE 970. Representation is a right created by fiction of law, by virtue of which the representative is
raised to the place and the degree of the person represented, and acquires the rights which the latter
would have if he were living or if he could have inherited.
ARTICLE 971. The representative is called to the succession by the law and not by the person
represented. The representative does not succeed the person represented but the one whom the person
represented would have succeeded.
ARTICLE 981. Should children of the deceased and descendants of other children who are dead,
survive, the former shall inherit in their own right, and the latter by right of representation.

ORDER OF INTESTATE SUCCESSION

There is no question that as the legitimate daughter of Teodoro and thus the granddaughter of Eleno and Rafaela, Doribel has a right to
represent her deceased father in the distribution of the intestate estate of her grandparents. Under Article 981, quoted above, she is entitled
to the share her father would have directly inherited had he survived, which shall be equal to the shares of her grandparents' other children.
13
But a different conclusion must be reached in the case of Delia and Edmundo, to whom the grandparents were total strangers. While it is
true that the adopted child shall be deemed to be a legitimate child and have the same right as the latter, these rights do not include the
right of representation. The relationship created by the adoption is between only the adopting parents and the adopted child and does not
extend to the blood relatives of either party. 14
In sum, we agree with the lower courts that Delia and Edmundo as the adopted children and Doribel as the legitimate daughter of Teodoro
Sayson and Isabel Bautista, are their exclusive heirs and are under no obligation to share the estate of their parents with the petitioners.
The Court of Appeals was correct however, in holding that only Doribel has the right of representation in the inheritance of her
grandparents' intestate estate, the other private respondents being only the adoptive children of the deceased Teodoro.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED, and the challenged decision of the Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED in toto, with costs against the
petitioners.
||| (Sayson v. Court of Appeals, G.R. Nos. 89224-25, January 23, 1992)

ORDER OF INTESTATE SUCCESSION

AGUIRRE VS COURT OF APPEALS


Before us is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court seeking the reversal of the Decision 1 dated July 26,
1995 rendered by the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 42350 which set aside the Decision 2 dated April 28, 1992 of the Regional Trial
Court of Batangas City (Branch 2) in Civil Case No. 202, 3 and declared private respondents Heirs of Tiburcio Balitaan, as owners of the
parcel of unregistered land with an approximate area of 1,695 square meters, located at Aplaya, Bauan, Batangas. aSCHIT
The facts of the case are as follows:
In his lifetime, Leocadio Medrano was the owner and possessor of a parcel of residential land, situated in Aplaya, Bauan, Batangas,
containing an area of 2,611 square meters. 4 The parcel of land was conjugal property, having been acquired by Leocadio during his first
marriage with one Emiliana Narito. Their union begot four children, namely: (a) Gertrudes Medrano, now deceased, represented in this
case by her children, herein petitioners Telesforo, Reynaldo, Remedios, Alfredo, and Belen, all surnamed Aguirre; (b) Isabel Medrano,
likewise deceased, represented by her children, herein petitioners Vicenta, Horacio, and Florencio, all surnamed Magtibay; (c) Placido
Medrano, also deceased, represented by his only child, herein petitioner Zosima Quiambao; and (d) Sixto Medrano.
After the death of his first wife, Leocadio contracted a second marriage with Miguela Cario. Their union bore four children, herein copetitioners, namely: Venancio, Leonila, Antonio and Cecilia, all surnamed Medrano.
Upon the death of Leocadio on March 19, 1945, the surviving heirs agreed that Sixto should manage and administer the subject property.
Sixto died on May 17, 1974. It was only after his death that petitioners heard rumors that Sixto had, in fact, sold significant portions of the
estate of Leocadio. It appears that on September 7, 1953, Sixto, without the knowledge and consent of the petitioners, executed an Affidavit
of Transfer of Real Property stating therein that he was the only heir of Leocadio. 5 Sixto declared that Leocadio died on September 16,
1949, instead of the actual date of his death on March 19, 1945. With the use of said affidavit and a survey plan, 6 Tax Declaration No.
40105 in the name of Leocadio was cancelled and Tax Declaration No. 44984 was issued in the name of Sixto. 7 On August 29, 1957, Sixto
sold to Maria Bacong a 160-square meter portion of the subject land. 8 On September 28, 1959, Sixto sold to Tiburcio Balitaan a 1,695
square meter portion of the same land. 9 Sometime in November 1967, Maria Bacong sold her property to Rosendo Bacong. 10
Petitioners demanded the reconveyance of the portions sold by Sixto but Tiburcio Balitaan, Maria Bacong and Rosendo Bacong refused to
do so Hence, petitioners filed against them before the Regional Trial Court of Batangas (Branch 2), a complaint for Declaration of Nullity of
Documents, Partition, Malicious Prosecution and Damages, docketed as Civil Case No. 202. 11
In their Answer, Maria Bacong and Rosendo Bacong contend that petitioners have no cause of action because they acquired their property
thru a valid deed of sale dated August 29, 1957, executed by Sixto and, alternatively, petitioners' cause of action, if any, was barred by
prescription and laches. 12
In his Answer, Tiburcio Balitaan contends that petitioners have no cause of action since petitioners were well-aware of the sale of the
property to him by Sixto; and that he was an innocent purchaser for value, in possession and enjoyment of the land in the concept of
absolute owner, peacefully and publicly. He further echoed the contention of Maria and Rosendo Bacong that any cause of action
petitioners may have was barred by prescription and laches. 13
Maria Bacong died during the pendency of the suit in the trial court and she was substituted by her surviving heirs, namely, Lorenza, Elena,
Felipa, Manuel, Marilou, Ricardo, Medel, Monchito and Milag, all surnamed Medrano. 1 4 Tiburcio Balitaan also died and was substituted
by his heirs, herein private respondents, namely: his wife, Maria Rosales and their four children: Elias, Jose, Arsenia and Rogelio, all
surnamed Balitaan. 15
On July 28, 1989, petitioners and Rosendo Bacong, for himself and as attorney-in-fact of the heirs of Maria Bacong, entered into a
compromise agreement to settle the case between them. 16 The compromise agreement, as approved by the trial court, provided that
Rosendo Bacong and the heirs of Maria Bacong agreed to pay P30,000.00 to petitioners in recognition of petitioners' ownership of a 269square meter portion 17 and in consideration of which, petitioners recognized the full ownership, rights, interest and participation of the
former over said land. 18 The area of the subject land is thus reduced to 2,342 square meters (2,611 square meters minus 269 square
meters).
After trial on the merits, the trial court rendered judgment dated April 28, 1992, ruling that private respondents did not dispute, by any
evidence, the falsity of the Affidavit of Transfer, as well as the fact that Sixto had co-owners to the property. It found that private
respondents' affirmative defense of laches and/or prescription are unavailing against a property held in co-ownership as long as the state of
co-ownership is recognized. Consequently, the trial court upheld the sale made by Sixto in favor of private respondents only to the extent
that Sixto is entitled to by virtue of his being a co-owner. 19
In determining the area that Sixto could have validly sold to private respondents, the trial court, in its decision, provided for the manner of
partition among the parties, based on the memorandum submitted by petitioners, thus:
For the four (4) children of the first marriage, namely:
(1) Gertrudes, who is already dead represented by her children Telesforo, Reynaldo,
Remedios, Alfredo and Belen, all surnamed Aguirre 399.42 square
meters;
(2) Isabel Medrano, who is already dead, represented by the plaintiffs, her children
Vicenta, Horacio and Florencio, all surnamed Magtibay 399.42 square
meters;
(3) Placido Medrano (dead), represented by his only child Zosima Medrano 399.42
square meters; and
(4) Sixto Medrano 399.42 square meters only which he had the right to dispose of
in favor of Tiburcio Balitaan and Maria Rosales.
The above consist of undivided interest, shares and participations from the inheritance or succession to
the conjugal estate of Leocadio Medrano and Emiliana Narito.
For the children of the second marriage their shares in the inheritance from the property of Leocadio
Medrano are as follows:
(1) To Venancio Medrano 138.32 square meters
(2) To Leonila Medrano 138.32 square meters
(3) To Antonio Medrano 138.32 square meters
(4) To Cecilia Medrano 138.32 square meters
with all the above consisting of undivided shares, interest and participation in the estate.
For the defendants Maria Rosales, surviving spouse of the deceased Tiburcio Balitaan and their
Children, an area of 399.42 square meters, the only area and extent which Sixto Medrano could have
legally dispensed of in their favor. 20
Thus, the dispositive portion of the trial court's decision reads as follows:
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the Court renders judgment in favor of the plaintiffs and against
the defendants, to wit:
(a) Ordering the partition of the property in question among the plaintiffs and the defendants; and
(b) Ordering the parties, plaintiffs and defendants, to make a partition among themselves by proper
instruments of conveyance and to submit before this Court a project of partition should the parties be
able to agree for the confirmation of the Court within two (2) months upon receipt of this decision,

10

ORDER OF INTESTATE SUCCESSION

otherwise this Court will be constrained to appoint commissioners to make the partition in accordance
with law.
All other claims not having been duly proved are ordered dismissed.
SO ORDERED. 21
Aggrieved, private respondents appealed to the Court of Appeals. 22
On July 26, 1995, the appellate court rendered judgment recognizing the validity of the sale only with respect to the undivided share of
Sixto Medrano as co-owner; but nonetheless, declaring respondents as absolute owners of 1,695 square meters of the subject property,
reasoning that:
. . . Defendants-appellees have been in possession, in the concept of owner, of the entire parcel of land
sold to Tiburcio Balitaan by Sixto Medrano for more than ten years, seventeen years to be exact (19581975). Relying on the affidavit of transfer (Exhibit "B") the tax declaration (Exhibit "C") and the survey
plan (Exhibit "D") shown to him by Sixto Medrano which indicate the latter as owner of the property in
dispute, Tiburcio Balitaan believed transfer to him was effected. (TSN, April 17, 1991, pp. 1417) and
thus, entered the property as owner (Ibid. at p. 13) Tiburcio Balitaan, believing himself as the lawful
transferee, in addition, caused Tax Declaration No. 51038 to be issued in his name (Exhibits "6", "6-A",
"6-B", and "6-C"). Thus, although the sale of the co-owned property is only valid as to the undivided
share of Sixto Medrano, defendants, by virtue of their open, adverse and uninterrupted possession from
1958 (Exhibit "G") to 1975, obtained title to the entire property and not just Sixto's undivided share. This
is pursuant to Article 1134 (1957a) of the New Civil Code which provides that:
Ownership and other real rights over immovable property are acquired by ordinary
prescription through possession of ten years.
xxx xxx xxx
Plaintiffs did not at all inquire as to the status of their property all this time and thus have been remiss of
their duties as owners of the property. Plaintiffs waited until Sixto's death to learn more about their
property. Even though the co-ownership is to be preserved in accordance with the wishes of the
deceased, the plaintiffs should have taken it upon themselves to look into the status of the property once
in a while, to assure themselves that it is managed well and that they are receiving what is due them as
co-owners of the parcel of land or to at least manifest their continued interest in the property as normal
owners would do. But the plaintiffs did not show any interest in the way Sixto Medrano was managing
the property which in effect gave the latter carte blanche powers over the same. Such passivity is
aggravated by the fact that one of the plaintiffs resides a mere 600 meters away from the disputed
property (TSN, April 17, 1991, p. 13). By not showing any interest, the plaintiffs have, in fact, slept on
their rights and thus, cannot now exercise a stale right. 23
Petitioners sought reconsideration 24 but the appellate court denied it in a Resolution dated October 5, 1995. 25
In their present recourse, petitioners take exception from the appellate court's findings that respondents have been in possession, in the
concept of owner of the entire parcel of land sold to Tiburcio Balitaan by Sixto Medrano for seventeen years (19581975), relying on the
Affidavit of Transfer and Tax Declaration No. 51038 in the name of Sixto; and that Tiburcio acquired ownership of the whole property from
Sixto through ordinary prescription for ten years.
Petitioners submit that Tiburcio Balitaan was not a purchaser in good faith and for value since there are enough circumstances which
should have put him on guard and prompted him to be more circumspect and inquire further about the true status of Sixto Medrano's
ownership; that during his lifetime, Tiburcio was a neighbor of petitioners and was well-aware that Sixto had other siblings but Tiburcio
chose to rely on the Affidavit of Transfer executed by Sixto Medrano declaring that he was the only heir of Leocadio; that the Court of
Appeals should not have faulted them for failing to inquire about the status of the disputed property until after the death of Sixto Medrano;
that they are not guilty of laches.
It is settled that in the exercise of the Supreme Court's power of review, the findings of facts of the Court of Appeals are conclusive and
binding on the Supreme Court. 26 The exceptions to this rule are: (1) when the findings are grounded entirely on speculation, surmises or
conjectures; (2) when the inference made is manifestly mistaken, absurd or impossible; (3) when there is grave abuse of discretion; (4)
when the judgment is based on a misapprehension of facts; (5) when the findings of fact are conflicting; (6) when in making its findings the
Court of Appeals went beyond the issues of the case, or its findings are contrary to the admissions of both the appellant and the appellee;
(7) when the findings are contrary to the trial court; (8) when the findings are conclusions without citation of specific evidence on which they
are based; (9) when the facts set forth in the petition as well as in the petitioner's main and reply briefs are not disputed by the respondent;
(10) when the findings of fact are premised on the supposed absence of evidence and contradicted by the evidence on record; and (11)
when the Court of Appeals manifestly overlooked certain relevant facts not disputed by the parties, which, if properly considered, would
justify a different conclusion. 27 Exceptions (4), (7), (10) and (11) are present in the instant case.
We find the petition meritorious. 28 We agree with the petitioners that the Court of Appeals committed a reversible error in upholding the
claim of petitioners that they acquired ownership of the subject property through prescription.
Acquisitive prescription of real rights may be ordinary or extraordinary. Ordinary acquisitive prescription requires possession of things in
good faith and with just title for the time fixed by law; 29 without good faith and just title, acquisitive prescription can only be extraordinary in
character. Regarding real or immovable property, ordinary acquisitive prescription requires a period of possession of ten years, 30 while
extraordinary acquisitive prescription requires an uninterrupted adverse possession of thirty years. 31
Ordinary acquisitive prescription demands that possession be "in good faith", which consists in the reasonable belief that the person from
whom the thing is received has been the owner thereof and could thereby transmit that ownership. 32 There is "just title" when the adverse
claimant comes into possession of the property through any of the modes recognized by law for the acquisition of ownership or other real
rights, but that the grantor is neither the owner nor in a position to transmit the right. 33
Article 1130 of the Civil Code states that the "title for prescription must be true and valid." In Doliendo vs. Biarnesa, 34 we elucidated on this
provision, thus: AEIDTc
We think that this contention is based on a misconception of the scope and effect of the provisions of
this article of the Code in its application to "ordinary prescription." It is evident that by a "titulo verdadero
y valido" in this connection we are not to understand a "titulo que por si solo tiene fuerza de transferir el
dominio sin necesidad de la prescricion" (a title which of itself is sufficient to transfer the ownership
without the necessity of the lapse of the prescription period); and we accept the opinion of a learned
Spanish law writer who holds that the "titulo verdadero y valido" as used in this article of the code
prescribes a "titulo Colorado" and not merely "putativo;" a "titulo Colorado" being one 'which a person
has when he buys a thing, in good faith, from one whom he believes to be the owner,' and a "titulo
putativo" "being one which is supposed to have preceded the acquisition of a thing, although in fact it did
not, as might happen when one is in possession of a thing in the belief that it had been bequeathed to
him." (Viso Derecho Civil, Parte Segunda, p. 541) 35
The requirements for ordinary acquisitive prescription as hereinabove described have not been met in this case.
It must be remembered that the burden of proving the status of a purchaser in good faith lies upon him who asserts that status. It is not

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ORDER OF INTESTATE SUCCESSION

sufficient to invoke the ordinary presumption of good faith, that is, that everyone is presumed to have acted in good faith, since the good
faith that is here essential is integral with the very status that must be established. 36
After a careful examination of the records, we find that private respondents failed to discharge the burden of proof that Tiburcio Balitaan
was a purchaser in good faith. It is undisputed that Tiburcio practically lived his entire lifetime in the area where the property in dispute is
located and had been a neighbor of petitioners. He knew that Sixto Medrano had other siblings because his son, Dr. Elias Balitaan, is the
godson by baptism of spouses Jose Aguirre and Gertrudes Medrano, the latter being a deceased sister of Sixto. Thus, Tiburcio was not a
complete stranger to the Medrano clan. Yet, he deliberately chose to close his eyes to said facts and despite his personal knowledge to the
contrary, he purchased the disputed property from Sixto on the basis of the misrepresentation of the latter in his Affidavit of Transfer that he
is the sole surviving heir of Leocadio. A purchaser cannot close his eyes to facts which should put a reasonable man upon his guard, and
then claim that he acted in good faith under the belief that there was no defect in the title of the vendor. 37
Since the disputed property is an unregistered land, Tiburcio as buyer thereof did so at his peril. Private respondents' claim that Tiburcio
bought the land in good faith, that is, without notice that some other person has a right to or interest in the property, would not protect them
if it turns out, as it actually did in this case, that the seller, Sixto Medrano, did not own the entire property at the time of the sale, but only an
undivided portion of the land as a co-owner. Private respondents failed to show that the petitioners were notified of the subject sale or that
respondents gave their consent to the sale. Not being in "good faith", the ten-year period required for ordinary acquisitive prescription does
not apply.
Even the thirty-year period under extraordinary acquisitive prescription has not been met in this case. Private respondents claim to have
been in possession, in the concept of owner, of the entire parcel of land sold to Tiburcio Balitaan by Sixto Medrano for only seventeen years
(19581975).
In addition, as we have enunciated in Salvador vs. Court of Appeals, 38 to wit:
This Court has held that the possession of a co-owner is like that of a trustee and shall not be regarded
as adverse to the other co-owners but in fact as beneficial to all of them. Acts which may be considered
adverse to strangers may not be considered adverse insofar as co-owners are concerned. A mere silent
possession by a co-owner, his receipt of rents, fruits or profits from the property, the erection of buildings
and fences and the planting of trees thereon, and the payment of land taxes, cannot serve as proof of
exclusive ownership, if it is not borne out by clear and convincing evidence that he exercised acts of
possession which unequivocably constituted an ouster or deprivation of the rights of the other coowners.
Thus, in order that a co-owner's possession may be deemed adverse to the cestui que trust or the other
co-owners, the following elements must concur: (1) that he has performed unequivocal acts of
repudiation amounting to an ouster of the cestui que trust or the other co-owners; (2) that such positive
acts of repudiation have been made known to the cestui que trust or the other co-owners; and (3) that
the evidence thereon must be clear and convincing. 39 (Emphasis supplied)
Tested against these guidelines, respondents failed to present competent evidence that the acts of Sixto adversely and clearly repudiated
the existing co-ownership among the heirs of Leocadio Medrano.
Private respondents' reliance on the tax declaration in the name of Sixto Medrano is unworthy of credit since we have held on several
occasions that tax declarations by themselves do not conclusively prove title to land. 40 Further, private respondents failed to show that the
Affidavit executed by Sixto to the effect that he is the sole owner of the subject property was known or made known to the other co-heirs of
Leocadio Medrano.
Neither can we subscribe to the appellate court's view that petitioners are guilty of laches. Laches is the negligence or omission to assert a
right within a reasonable time, warranting a presumption that the party entitled to assert it has abandoned it or declined to assert it. 41 It
does not involve mere lapse or passage of time, but is principally an impediment to the assertion or enforcement of a right, which has
become under the circumstances inequitable or unfair to permit. 42 The rule that each co-owner may demand at any time the partition of
the common property implies that an action to demand partition is imprescriptible or cannot be barred by laches. 43
We have consistently held that if a co-owner sells the whole property as his, the sale will affect only his own share but not those of the other
co-owners who did not consent to the sale. 44 Article 493 of the Civil Code provides:
Art. 493. Each co-owner shall have the full ownership of his part and 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 involved. 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 co-ownership.
It clearly provides that the sale or other disposition affects only the seller's share pro indiviso, and the transferee gets only what
corresponds to his grantor's share in the partition of the property owned in common. Since a co-owner is entitled to sell his undivided share,
a sale of the entire property by one co-owner without the consent of the other co-owners is not null and void; only the rights of the coowner/seller are transferred, thereby making the buyer a co-owner of the property. 45 Accordingly, we held in Bailon-Casilao vs. Court of
Appeals:
From the foregoing, it may be deduced that since a co-owner is entitled to sell his undivided share, a
sale of the entire property by one-co-owner without the consent of the other co-owners is not null and
void. However, only the rights of the co-owner-seller are transferred, thereby making the buyer a coowner of the property.
The proper action in cases like this is not for the nullification of the sale or for the recovery of possession
of the thing owned in common from the third person who substituted the co-owner or co-owners who
alienated their shares, but the DIVISION of the common property as if it continued to remain in the
possession of the co-owners who possessed and administered it [Mainit v. Bandoy, supra].
Thus, it is now settled that the appropriate recourse of co-owners in cases where their consent were not
secured in a sale of the entire property as well as in a sale merely of the undivided shares of some of the
co-owners is an action for PARTITION under Rule 69 of the Revised Rules of Court. Neither recovery of
possession nor restitution can be granted since the defendant buyers are legitimate proprietors and
possessors in joint ownership of the common property claimed [Ramirez v. Bautista, supra]. 46
It is clear therefore that the deed of sale executed by Sixto Medrano in favor of Tiburcio Balitaan is a valid conveyance only insofar as the
share of Sixto Medrano in the co-ownership is concerned. Thus, the respondent court erred in declaring the ownership of the entire 1,695square meter property sold by Sixto, in favor of the private respondents.
The next question is what is the area of the pro indiviso share pertaining to Sixto Medrano that was sold to private respondents? The trial
court endeavored to determine the same by ascertaining the inheritance of each of the heirs of Leocadio. However, the manner of partition
as set out by the trial court in the text of its decision needs to be amended so as to conform to the laws on intestate succession under the
Old Civil Code absent any allegation or showing that Leocadio left any last will and testament.
It is not disputed that the 2,342-square meter property was a conjugal property of Leocadio and Emiliana. Upon the death of Emiliana,
which occurred many years before the death of Leocadio in 1945, both deaths occurring before the enactment of the New Civil Code in
1950, all the four children of the first marriage and the four children of the second marriage shall share equally. The subject property should

12

ORDER OF INTESTATE SUCCESSION

have been divided into eight equal parts, pursuant to Articles 921 and 931 of the old Civil Code, 47 or 292.75 square meters each. The
respective heirs of the now deceased children of Leocadio inherit by way of representation the respective shares of their respective
parents, pursuant to Articles 933 and 934 of the Old Civil Code. 48
At the time of death of Leocadio in 1945, Miguela was entitled only to the usufruct of the land pursuant to Article 834 of the Old Civil Code,
49 which provides that "[i]f only one legitimate child or descendant survives, the widower or widow shall have the usufruct of the third
available for betterment, such child or descendant to have the naked ownership until, on the death of the surviving spouse, the whole title is
merged in him". DaACIH
Thus, to recapitulate, each of the heirs of Leocadio should inherit 292.75 square meters, pro-indiviso (2,342 square meters 8 = 292.75
square meters) after deducting from the original 2,611 square meters of the subject property the 269 square meters ceded to the heirs of
Maria Bacong in a compromise agreement among the petitioners and the heirs of Maria Bacong. The deceased children of Leocadio are
represented by their respective heirs by right of representation under Articles 933 and 934 of the Old Civil Code.
Accordingly, the undivided shares of Leocadio's eight children or their heirs by right of representation, upon the death of Leocadio in 1945
are as follows:
(1) Venancio Medrano - 292.75 square meters
(2) Leonila Medrano - 292.75 square meters
(3) Antonio Medrano - 292.75 square meters
(4) Cecilia Medrano - 292.75 square meters
(5) Heirs of Gertrudes M. Aguirre, Telesforo, Reynaldo, Remedios, Alfredo and Belen, all surnamed Aguirre - 292.75
square meters
(6) Heirs of Isabel M. Magtibay, Vicenta, Horacio and Florencio, all surnamed Magtibay - 292.75 square meters
(7) Heirs of Placido Medrano, plaintiff Zosima Medrano Quimbao - 292.75 square meters
(8) Sixto Medrano - 292.75 square meters
During the pendency of the case in the trial court but after the death of Sixto, petitioners sold 460 square meters to one
Mateo Castillo. Consequently, the 460 square meters should be charged against the shares of petitioners only and should not affect
the 292.75 square meters undivided share of Sixto Medrano which he had sold in 1959. 50 Accordingly, 460 square meters divided
by 7 equals 65.71 square meters. Deducting said area from 292.75 square meters, the final undivided share of each of the seven
heirs of Leocadio should be 227.04 square meters (292.75 - 65.71 = 227.04) and that pertaining to Sixto in 292.75 square meters.
Thus, the manner of partition set forth by the trial court in its decision should be amended, as follows:
(1) Gertrudes M. Aguirre, deceased, - 227.04 square meters represented by her children, herein petitioners
Telesforo, Reynaldo, Remedios, Alfredo and Belen, all surnamed Aguirre
(2) Isabel M. Magtibay, deceased, represented by her children, herein petitioners Vicenta, Horacio and Florencio,
all surnamed Magtibay - 227.04 square meters
(3) Placido Medrano, deceased, represented by his only child, Placido Medrano - 227.04 square meters
(4) Private respondents Maria Rosales and heirs of Tiburcio Balitaan, namely: Elias, Jose, Arsenia and Rogelio
all surnamed Balitaan (in lieu of Sixto Medrano) - 292.75 square meters
(5) Venancio Medrano - 227.04 square meters
(6) Leonila Medrano - 227.04 square meters
(7) Antonio Medrano - 227.04 square meters
(8) Cecilia Medrano - 227.04 square meters
(9) Rosendo Bacong - 269 square meters
(10) Mateo Castillo - 460 square meters
WHEREFORE, we GRANT the petition. The assailed decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 42350,
dated July 26, 1995, is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The decision of the Regional Trial Court is REINSTATED with the following
MODIFICATIONS:
The sale in favor of private respondents is declared VALID but only insofar as the 292.75 square meters undivided share of Sixto Medrano
in the subject property is concerned.
Let the parcel of land, located at Aplaya, Bauan, Batangas, consisting of 2,611 square meters, be partitioned and distributed as determined
by the Court in the text of herein decision. Accordingly, let the records of the case be remanded to the Regional Trial Court of Batangas City
(Branch 2) in Civil Case No. 202 for further appropriate proceedings under Rule 69 of the Rules of Court.
No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.
||| (Aguirre v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 122249, January 29, 2004)

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ORDER OF INTESTATE SUCCESSION

CORPUZ VS CORPUZ
HUSBAND AND WIFE; CONJUGAL PARTNERSHIP; SURVIVING SPOUSE CANNOT SELL CONJUGAL
PROPERTY WITHOUT THE FORMALITIES REQUIRED BY LAW. The death of either husband or wife does not make the
surviving spouse the de facto administrator of the conjugal estate or invest him or her with power to dispose of the same. The sale
of conjugal property by the surviving spouse without the formalities established for the sale of the property of deceased persons,
shall be null and void, except as to the portion that may correspond to the vendor in the partition.
DECISION
REYES, A., J p:
The property involved in this appeal is a parcel of land of about 1,854 square meters covered by Original Certificate of
Title No. 5980 of the land records of Nueva Ecija. By a deed executed on November 12, 1934, some eleven years after Bernarda
Mantile's death, Francisco Corpuz conveyed the land by way of sale to the spouses Domingo Cruz and Eugenia Rigal for the sum
of P80. The dispute is between an heir of the wife of the vendor and the heirs of the vendees.
It appears that the vendees had an only son named Isabelo Corpuz, who married Susana Santiago and had three
children with her. In 1943, with Domingo and his son Isabelo already deceased, their widows Eugenio Rigal and Susana Santiago
had a misunderstanding and, for that reason, the certificate of title to the property in dispute was, together with other documents,
entrusted by them to the mayor of Rizal, Nueva Ecija; but upon the death of the latter during the Japanese occupation the title was
lost, and with a view to securing a duplicate thereof, Susana Santiago enlisted the help of Evaristo Corpuz, one of the children of
the vendors. Pretending to help Susana, what Evaristo did was to secure a duplicate certificate of title for himself and once it was
obtained, he refused to deliver it to Susana, telling her that they had better litigate the matter in court. Hence the present action,
which was filed by Susana in her capacity as judicial guardian of her children, all minors, with the deceased Isabelo Corpuz, as only
heirs of the deceased Domingo Corpuz and Eugenia Rigal. The complaint prays for judgment ordering the defendant Evaristo
Corpuz to deliver to plaintiff the second Owner's Duplication Certificate of Title which defendant to be without right to possess the
said duplicate as the land covered by the same had already been conveyed to Domingo Corpuz; and adjudging damages and costs
to plaintiff.
Answering the complaint, defendant alleged that the deed of sale supposed to have been executed Francisco Corpuz
in favor of Domingo Corpuz and his wife was fictitious and void and, in any event, the vendor had no authority to make the sale
because the land sold was conjugal property, it being alleged in this connection that Bernarda Mantile died intestate in 1923, long
before the sale, and that the defendant and his brothers and sisters, Daniel Inocencio, Narciso, Escolastica, Canuta, and Felicidad,
all surnamed Corpuz, had by operation of law become the owners of one-half of the land in question through inheritance from their
deceased mother.
After trial, the court rendered judgment in favor of plaintiff, ordering defendant to surrender the second Owner's
Duplicate Certificate of Title No. 5980 to plaintiff and declaring defendant to have no right to possess the same, but denying the
claim for damages. On appeal to the Court of Appeals, the judgment of the inferior court was confirmed and the case is now before
us on appeal by certiorari.
We note at the outset that plaintiff's title derives from the deed of sale executed by Francisco Corpuz on November 12,
1934, which describes the lands sold as registered in the Office of the Register of Deeds of Nueva Ecija " bajo el Certificado Original
de Titulo No. 5980 a nombre de Francisco Corpuz y Bernarda Mantile ya difunta." Such being the case, it is to be presumed stands
because there appears to be no proof to the contrary, It is significant that in the deed Francisco Corpuz declares himself absolute
owner of the land merely on the basis of the fact that his wife was already dead.
The Court of Appeals, however, took the view that, even supposing the property to be conjugal, still "in accordance
with the law in force at the time of the sale and decided cases, the surviving husband, as administrator of the community property,
had authority to sell conjugal property without the concurrence of the children of the marriage." The assertion is inaccurate because,
at the time of the sale, Act No. 3176, which took effect in 1924, had already been approved. Said Act declared that when the
marriage is dissolved by the death of the husband or wife, the community property shall be administered and liquidated in the
testamentary or intestate proceedings of the deceased spouse, or in an ordinary liquidation and partition proceeding. In the present
case, there has been no liquidation or partition on any kind and, under the Act, the death of the wife did not make the husband the
de facto administrator of the conjugal estate or invest him with power to dispose of the same. In fact, the Act declares that a sale,
without the formalities established for the sale of the property of deceased person's "shall be null and void, except as regards the
portion that belongs to the vendor at the time the liquidation and partition was made." The cases cited as authority by the Court of
Appeals were either decided before the approval of the Act or referred to sales antedating said approval and, are therefore, not
controlling in the present case. Thus in the case of Ocampo et al., vs. Potenciano et al., (89 Phil., 159) where the authority of a
surviving spouse to dispose of the conjugal property was put in issue, this Court said:
"The Court of Appeals erred in supposing that the surviving spouse has such authority as
de facto administrator of the conjugal estate. As pointed out by appellants, the decisions relied on by that
court in support of its view are now obsolete. Those decisions laid down the rule that, upon the
dissolution of the marriage by the death of the wife, the husband must liquidate the partnership affairs.
But the procedure has been changed by Act No. 3176 (approved on November 24, 1924), now section
2, Rule 75, of the Rules of Court, which provides that when the marriage is dissolved by the death of
either husband or wife, the partnership affairs must be liquidated in the testate or intestate proceedings
of the deceased spouse." Moran, Comments on the Rules of Court, 3rd ed., Vol. II, p. 324.) Ocampo et
al., vs. Potenciano et al., promulgated May 30, 1951.)
Conformably to what has been said above, the sale made by Francisco Corpuz of the land covered by Original
Certificate of Title No. 5980 should be held to have conveyed title only to the vendors's share in said land, with the result that the
legal heirs of the deceased Bernarda Mantile cannot be deemed to have been divested of their title to her share of the property.
With the property jointly owned by the heirs of the vendor's deceased wife and the heirs of the vendees, the latter set
of heirs are not entitled to have exclusive possession of the Torrens certificate of title now said to be in the possession of the
defendant, who is one of the other set of heirs. Perhaps plaintiff's remedy is to ask for other Owner's Duplicate Certificate. But
before that is done, title to the property should first, through appropriate procedure, be recorded in the joint names of both sets of
heirs as co-owners.
In view of the foregoing, the judgment below is revoked in so far as it declares defendant without right to possess the
Owner's Duplicate Certificate of Title herein involved and orders him to surrender it to plaintiff. Defendant's claim for damages,
referring to the products of the land, may not be adequately adjudicated in the present case because his co-heirs, who should have
equal interest in such damages, have not been made parties and cannot, therefore, be bound by any adjudication that may be
made on said claim.
The appellee shall pay costs.
||| (Corpuz v. Corpuz, G.R. No. L-7495, September 30, 1955)

14

ORDER OF INTESTATE SUCCESSION

LEONARDO VS COURT OF APPEALS


REMEDIAL LAW; EVIDENCE; FACTUAL FINDINGS OF THE COURT OF APPEALS; GENERALLY NOT DISTURBED ON REVIEW;
EXCEPTIONS. It is a well-established rule laid down by this Court in numerous cases that findings of facts by the Court of Appeals are,
generally, final and conclusive upon this Court. The exceptions are. (1) when the conclusion is a finding grounded entirely on speculation;
(2) when the inference made is manifestly mistaken, absurd or impossible; (3) when there is a grave abuse of discretion; (4) when the
judgment is based on a misapprehension of facts; and (5) when the Court of Appeals, in making its findings, went beyond the issues of the
case and the same are contrary to the submission of both appellant and appellee. None of the abuse exceptions, however, exists in the
case at bar, hence, there is no reason to disturb the findings of facts of the Court of Appeals.
2. CIVIL LAW; INTESTATE SUCCESSION; ILLEGITIMATE CHILDREN NOT ENTITLED TO INHERIT AB INTESTATO FROM THE
LEGITIMATE CHILDREN AND RELATIVES OF HIS FATHER OR MOTHER; CASE AT BAR. Even if it is true that petitioner is the child of
Sotero Leonardo, still he cannot, by right of representation, claim a share of the estate left by the deceased Francisca Reyes considering
that, as found by the Court of Appeals, he was born outside wedlock as shown by the fact that when he was born on September 13, 1938,
his alleged putative father and mother were not yet married, and what is more, his alleged father's first marriage was still subsisting. At most
, petitioner would be an illegitimate child who has no right to inherit ab intestato from the legitimate children and relatives of his father like
the Deceased Francisco Reyes. (Article 992, Civil Code of the Philippines.)
DECISION
DE CASTRO, J p:
Petition for review on certiorari of the decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. No. 43476-R, promulgated on February 21, 1979,
reversing the judgment of the Court of First Instance of Rizal in favor of petitioner: LLjur
"(a) Declaring plaintiff Cresenciano Leonardo as the great grandson and heir of deceased FRANCISCA
REYES, entitled to one-half share in the estate of said deceased, jointly with defendant Maria Cailles;
"(b) Declaring the properties, subject of this complaint, to be the properties of the deceased FRANCISCA
REYES and not of defendants Maria Cailles and James Bracewell;
"(c) Declaring null and void any sale of these properties by defendant Maria Cailles in so far as the share
of Cresenciano Leonardo are affected;
"(d) Ordering the partition within 30 days from the finality of this decision, of the properties subject of this
litigation, between defendant Maria Cailles and plaintiff Cresenciano Leonardo, share and share alike;
"(e) Ordering defendants Maria Cailles and James Bracewell, within 30 days from the finality of this
decision, to render an accounting of the fruits of the properties, and 30 days thereafter to pay to plaintiff
Cresenciano Leonardo his one-half share thereof with interest of 6% per annum;
"(f) Ordering defendants Maria Cailles and James Bracewell to pay jointly and severally plaintiff
Cresenciano Leonardo the amount of P2,000.00 as attorney's fees;
"(g) Ordering defendants to pay the costs; and
"(h) Dismissing defendants' counterclaim." 1
From the record, it appears that Francisca Reyes who died intestate on July 12, 1942 was survived by two (2) daughters, Maria and
Silvestra Cailles, and a grandson, Sotero Leonardo, the son of her daughter, Pascuala Cailles who predeceased her. Sotero Leonardo died
in 1944, while Silvestra Cailles died in 1949 without any issue.
On October 29, 1964, petitioner Cresenciano Leonardo, claiming to be the son of the late Sotero Leonardo, filed a complaint for ownership
of properties, sum of money and accounting in the Court of First Instance of Rizal seeking judgment (1) to be declared one of the lawful
heirs of the deceased Francisca Reyes, entitled to one-half share in the estate of said deceased jointly with defendant, private respondent
herein, Maria Cailles, (2) to have the properties left by said Francisca Reyes, described in the complaint, partitioned between him and
defendant Maria Cailles, and (3) to have an accounting of all the income derived from said properties from the time defendants took
possession thereof until said accounting shall have been made, delivering to him his share therein with legal interest.
Answering the complaint, private respondent Maria Cailles asserted exclusive ownership over the subject properties and alleged that
petitioner is an illegitimate child who cannot succeed by right of representation. For his part, the other defendant, private respondent James
Bracewell, claimed that said properties are now his by virtue of a valid and legal deed of sale which Maria Cailles had subsequently
executed in his favor. These properties were allegedly mortgaged to respondent Rural Bank of Paraaque, Inc. sometime in September
1963. cdrep
After hearing on the merits, the trial court rendered judgment in favor of the petitioner, the dispositive portion of which was earlier quoted,
finding the evidence of the private respondent insufficient to prove ownership of the properties in suit. From said judgment, private
respondents appealed to the Court of Appeals which, as already stated, reversed the decision of the trial court" thereby dismissing
petitioner's complaint. Reconsideration having been denied by the appellate court, this petition for review was filed on the following
assignment of errors:
I
"RESPONDENT COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE PROPERTIES IN QUESTION ARE THE
EXCLUSIVE PROPERTIES OF PRIVATE RESPONDENTS.
II
"RESPONDENT COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT PETITIONER HAS NOT ESTABLISHED HIS
FILIATION.
III
"RESPONDENT COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT PETITIONER, AS THE GREAT GRANDSON OF
FRANCISCA REYES, HAS NO LEGAL RIGHT TO INHERIT BY REPRESENTATION."
To begin with, the Court of Appeals found the subject properties to be the exclusive properties of the private respondents.
"There being two properties in this case both will be discussed separately, as each has its own distinct
factual setting. The first was bought in 1908 by Maria Cailles under a deed of sale (Exh. '60'), which
describes it as follows:
'. . . radicada en la calle Desposorio de este dicho Municipio dentro de los
limites y linderos siquientes: Por la derecha a la entrada el solar de Teodorico Reyes por
la izquierda el solar de Maria Calesa (Cailles) arriba citada por la espalda la via ferrea
del Railroad Co., y la frente la dicha calle Desposorio'
"After declaring it in her name, Maria Cailles paid the realty taxes starting from 1918 up to 1948.
Thereafter as she and her son Narciso Bracewell, left for Nueva Ecija, Francisca Reyes managed the
property and paid the realty tax of the land. However, for unexplained reasons, she paid and declared
the same in her own name. Because of this, plaintiff decided to run after this property, erroneously
thinking that as the great grandson of Francisca Reyes, he had some proprietary right over the same.
"The second parcel on the other hand, was purchased by Maria Cailles in 1917 under a deed of sale
(Exh. '3') which describes the property as follows:
'. . . una parcela de terreno destinado al beneficio de la sal, que linda por
Norte con la linea Ferrea y Salinar de Narciso Mayuga, por Este con los de Narciso

15

ORDER OF INTESTATE SUCCESSION

Mayuga y Domingo Lozada, por Sur con los de Domingo Lozada y Fruto Silverio y por
Oeste con el de Fruto Silverio y Linea Ferrea, de una extension superficial de 1229.00
metros cuadrados.'
"After declaring it in her name, Maria Cailles likewise paid the realty tax in 1917 and continued paying
the same up to 1948. Thereafter when she and her son, Narciso Bracewell, established their residence
in Nueva Ecija, Francisca Reyes administered the property and like in the first case, declared in 1949
the property in her own name. Thinking that the property is the property of Francisca Reyes, plaintiff filed
the instant complaint, claiming a portion thereof as the same allegedly represents the share of his father.
"As earlier stated, the court a quo decided the case in favor of the plaintiff principally because
defendants' evidence do not sufficiently show that the 2 properties which they bought in 1908 and 1917,
are the same as the properties sought by the plaintiff.
"Carefully going over the evidence, We believe that the trial judge misinterpreted the evidence as to the
identification of the lands in question.
"To begin with, the deed of sale (Exh. '60') of 1908 clearly states that the land sold to Maria Cailles is 'en
la calle Desposorio' in Las Pias, Rizal which was bounded by adjoining lands owned by persons living
at the time, including the railroad track of the Manila Railroad Co. ('la via ferrea del Railroad Co.').
"With the exception of the area which was not disclosed in the deed, the description fits the land now
being sought by the plaintiff, as this property is also located in Desposorio St. and is bounded by the
M.R.R. Co.
"With these natural boundaries, there is indeed an assurance that the property described in the deed
and in the tax declaration is one and the same property.
"The change of owners of the adjoining lands is immaterial since several decades have already passed
between the deed and the declaration and 'during that period, many changes of abode would likely have
occurred.'
"Besides, it is a fact that defendants have only one property in Desposorio St. and they have paid the
realty taxes of this property from May 29, 1914 up to May 28, 1948. Hence, there is no reason to doubt
that this property is the same, if not identical to the property in Desposorio St. which is now being sought
after by the plaintiff.
"With respect to the other parcel which Maria Cailles bought from Tranquilino Mateo in 1917, it is true
that there is no similar boundaries to be relied upon. It is however undeniable that after declaring it in her
name, Maria Cailles began paying the realty taxes thereon on July 24, 1917 until 1948." (Reference to
Exhibits omitted.) 2
Petitioner takes issue with the appellate court on the above findings of fact, forgetting that since the present petition is one for review on
certiorari, only questions of law may be raised. It is a well-established rule laid down by this Court in numerous cases that findings of facts
by the Court of Appeals are, generally, final and conclusive upon this Court. The exceptions are: (1) when the conclusion is a finding
grounded entirely on speculation; (2) when the inference made is manifestly mistaken, absurd or impossible; (3) when there is a grave
abuse of discretion; (4) when the judgment is based on a misapprehension of facts; and (5) when the Court of Appeals, in making its
findings, went beyond the issues of the case and the same are contrary to the submission of both appellant and appellee. 3 None of the
above exceptions, however, exists in the case at bar, hence, there is no reason to disturb the findings of facts of the Court of Appeals.
Anent the second assignment of error, the Court of Appeals made the following findings:
"Going to the issue of filiation, plaintiff claims that he is the son of Sotero Leonardo, the son of one of the
daughters (Pascuala) of Francisca Reyes. He further alleges that since Pascuala predeceased
Francisca Reyes, and that his father, Sotero, who subsequently died in 1944, survived Francisca Reyes,
plaintiff can consequently succeed to the estate of Francisca Reyes by right of representation.
"In support of his claim, plaintiff submitted in evidence his alleged birth certificate showing that his father
is Sotero Leonardo, married to Socorro Timbol, his alleged mother.
"Since his supposed right will either rise or fall on the proper evaluation of this vital evidence, We have
minutely scrutinized the same, looking for that vital link connecting him to the family tree of the deceased
Francisca Reyes. However, this piece of evidence does not in any way lend credence to his tale.
"This is because the name of the child described in the birth certificate is not that of the plaintiff but a
certain 'Alfredo Leonardo' who was born on September 13, 1938 to Sotero Leonardo and Socorro
Timbol. Other than his bare allegation, plaintiff did not submit any durable evidence showing that the
'Alfredo Leonardo' mentioned in the birth certificate is no other than he himself. Thus, even without
taking time and space to go into further details, We may safely conclude that plaintiff failed to prove his
filiation which is a fundamental requisite in this action where he is claiming to be an heir in the
inheritance in question." 4
That is likewise a factual finding which may not be disturbed in this petition for review in the absence of a clear showing that said finding is
not supported by substantial evidence, or that there was a grave abuse of discretion on the part of the court making the finding of fact. prLL
Referring to the third assignment of error, even if it is true that petitioner is the child of Sotero Leonardo, still he cannot, by right of
representation, claim a share of the estate left by the deceased Francisca Reyes considering that, as found again by the Court of Appeals,
he was born outside wedlock as shown by the fact that when he was born on September 13, 1938, his alleged putative father and mother
were not yet married, and what is more, his alleged father's first marriage was still subsisting. At most, petitioner would be an illegitimate
child who has no right to inherit ab intestato from the legitimate children and relatives of his father, like the deceased Francisca Reyes.
(Article 992, Civil Code of the Philippines.)
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals sought to be reviewed in this petition is hereby affirmed, with costs against the
petitioner. cdphil
SO ORDERED.
||| (Leonardo v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. L-51263, February 28, 1983)

16

ORDER OF INTESTATE SUCCESSION

DIAZ VS IAC and JARDIN


Private respondent filed a Petition dated January 23, 1976 with the Court of First Instance of Cavite in Sp. Proc. Case No. B-21, "In The
Matter of the Intestate Estate of the late Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero," praying among other things, that the corresponding letters of
Administration be issued in her favor and that she be appointed as special administratrix of the properties of the deceased Simona Pamuti
Vda. de Santero.
It is undisputed: 1) that Felisa Pamuti Jardin is a niece of Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero who together with Felisa's mother Juliana were
the only legitimate children of the spouses Felipe Pamuti and Petronila Asuncion; 2) that Juliana married Simon Jardin and out of their
union were born Felisa Pamuti and another child who died during infancy; 3) that Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero is the widow of Pascual
Santero and the mother of Pablo Santero; 4) that Pablo Santero was the only legitimate son of his parents Pascual Santero and Simona
Pamuti Vda. de Santero; 5) that Pascual Santero died in 1970; Pablo Santero in 1973 and Simona Santero in 1976; 6) that Pablo Santero,
at the time of his death was survived by his mother Simona Santero and his six minor natural children to wit: four minor children with
Anselma Diaz and two minor children with Felixberta Pacursa.
Judge Jose Raval in his Orders dated December 1, 1976 1 and December 9, 1976 2 declared Felisa Pamuti Jardin as the sole legitimate
heir of Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero. LLphil
Before the trial court, there were 4 interrelated cases filed to wit:
"a) Sp. Proc. No. B-4 is the Petition for the Letters of Administration of the Intestate Estate of Pablo
Santero;
"b) Sp. Proc. No. B-5 is the Petition for the Letters of Administration of the Intestate Estate of Pascual
Santero;
"c) Sp. Proc. No. B-7 is the Petition for Guardianship over the properties of an Incompetent Person,
Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero;
"e) Sp. Proc. No. B-21 is the Petition for Settlement of the Intestate Estate of Simona Pamuti Vda. de
Santero."
Felisa Jardin upon her Motion to Intervene in Sp. Proceedings Nos. B-4 and B-5, was allowed to intervene in the intestate estates of Pablo
Santero and Pascual Santero by Order of the Court dated August 24, 1977.
Petitioner Anselma Diaz, as guardian of her minor children, filed her "Opposition and Motion to Exclude Felisa Pamuti-Jardin dated March
13, 1980, from further taking part or intervening in the settlement of the intestate estate of Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero, as well as in the
intestate estate of Pascual Santero and Pablo Santero.
Felixberta Pacursa guardian for her minor children, filed thru counsel, her Manifestation of March 14, 1980 adopting the Opposition and
Motion to Exclude Felisa Pamuti, filed by Anselma Diaz.
On May 20, 1980, Judge Ildefonso M. Bleza issued an order excluding Felisa Jardin "from further taking part or intervening in the
settlement of the intestate estate of Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero, as well as in the intestate estates of Pascual Santero and Pablo
Santero and declared her to be, not an heir of the deceased Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero." 3
After her Motion for Reconsideration was denied by the trial court in its order dated November 1, 1980, Felisa P. Jardin filed her appeal to
the Intermediate Appellate Court in CA-G.R. No. 69814-R. A decision 4 was rendered by the Intermediate Appellate Court on December 14,
1983 (reversing the decision of the trial court) the dispositive portion of which reads
"WHEREFORE, finding the Order appealed from not consistent with the facts and law applicable, the
same is hereby set aside and another one entered sustaining the Orders of December 1 and 9, 1976
declaring the petitioner as the sole heir of Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero and ordering oppositorsappellees not to interfere in the proceeding for the declaration of heirship in the estate of Simona Pamuti
Vda. de Santero."
"Costs against the oppositors-appellees."
The Motion for Reconsideration filed by oppositors-appellees (petitioners herein) was denied by the same respondent court in its order
dated February 17, 1984 hence, the present petition for Review with the following: LexLib
ASSIGNMENT OF ERRORS
I. The Decision erred in ignoring the right to intestate succession of petitioners grandchildren Santero as
direct descending line (Art. 978) and/or natural/"illegitimate children" (Art. 988) and prefering a niece,
who is a collateral relative (Art. 1003);
II. The Decision erred in denying the right of representation of the natural grandchildren Santero to
represent their father Pablo Santero in the succession to the intestate estate of their grandmother
Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero (Art. 982);
III. The Decision erred in mistaking the intestate estate of the grandmother Simona Pamuti Vda. de
Santero as the estate of "legitimate child or relative" of Pablo Santero, her son and father of the
petitioners' grandchildren Santero;
IV. The Decision erred in ruling that petitioner-appellant Felisa P. Jardin who is a niece and therefore a
collateral relative of Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero excludes the natural children of her son Pablo
Santero, who are her direct descendants and/or grand children;
V. The Decision erred in applying Art. 992, when Arts. 988, 989 and 990 are the applicable provisions of
law on intestate succession; and
VI. The Decision erred in considering the orders of December 1 and December 9, 1976 which are
provisional and interlocutory as final and executory.
The real issue in this case may be briefly stated as follows who are the legal heirs of Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero her niece Felisa
Pamuti Jardin or her grandchildren (the natural children of Pablo Santero)?
The dispute at bar refers only to the intestate estate of Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero and the issue here is whether oppositors-appellees
(petitioners herein) as illegitimate children of Pablo Santero could inherit from Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero, by right of representation of
their father Pablo Santero who is a legitimate child of Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero.
Now then what is the appropriate law on the matter? Petitioners contend in their pleadings that Art. 990 of the New Civil Code is the
applicable law on the case. They contend that said provision of the New Civil Code modifies the rule in Article 941 (Old Civil Code) and
recognizes the right of representation (Art. 970) to descendants, whether legitimate or illegitimate and that Art. 941, Spanish Civil Code
denied illegitimate children the right to represent their deceased parents and inherit from their deceased grandparents, but that Rule was
expressly changed and/or amended by Art. 990 New Civil Code which expressly grants the illegitimate children the right to represent their
deceased father (Pablo Santero) in the estate of their grandmother (Simona Pamuti)" 5
Petitioners' contention holds no water. Since the hereditary conflict refers solely to the intestate estate of Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero,
who is the legitimate mother of Pablo Santero, the applicable law is the provision of Art. 992 of the Civil Code which reads as follows: Cdpr
ART. 992. An illegitimate child has no right to inherit ab intestato from the legitimate children and
relatives of his father or mother; nor shall such children or relatives inherit in the same manner from the
illegitimate child. (943a).
Pablo Santero is a legitimate child, he is not an illegitimate child. On the other hand, the oppositors (petitioners herein) are the illegitimate
children of Pablo Santero.

17

ORDER OF INTESTATE SUCCESSION

Article 992 of the New Civil Code provides a barrier or iron curtain in that it prohibits absolutely a succession ab intestato between the
illegitimate child and the legitimate children and relatives of the father or mother of said legitimate child. They may have a natural tie of
blood, but this is not recognized by law for the purposes of Art. 992. Between the legitimate family and the illegitimate family there is
presumed to be an intervening antagonism and incompatibility. The illegitimate child is disgracefully looked down upon by the legitimate
family; the family is in turn, hated by the illegitimate child; the latter considers the privileged condition of the former, and the resources of
which it is thereby deprived; the former, in turn, sees in the illegitimate child nothing but the product of sin, palpable evidence of a blemish
broken in life; the law does no more than recognize this truth, by avoiding further grounds of resentment. 6
Thus, petitioners herein cannot represent their father Pablo Santero in the succession of the letter to the intestate estate of his legitimate
mother Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero, because of the barrier provided for under Art. 992 of the New Civil Code.
In answer to the erroneous contention of petitioners that Article 941 of the Spanish Civil Code is changed by Article 990 of the New Civil
Code, We are reproducing herewith the Reflections of the Illustrious Hon. Justice Jose B.L. Reyes which also finds full support from other
civilists, to wit:
"In the Spanish Civil Code of 1889 the right of representation was admitted only within the legitimate
family; so much so that Article 943 of that Code prescribed that an illegitimate child can not inherit ab
intestato from the legitimate children and relatives of his father and mother. The Civil Code of the
Philippines apparently adhered to this principle since it reproduced Article 943 of the Spanish Code in its
own Art. 992, but with fine inconsistency, in subsequent articles (990, 995 and 998) our Code allows the
hereditary portion of the illegitimate child to pass to his own descendants, whether legitimate or
illegitimate. So that while Art, 992 prevents the illegitimate issue of a legitimate child from representing
him in the intestate succession of the grandparent, the illegitimates of an illegitimate child can now do
so. This difference being indefensible and unwarranted, in the future revision of the Civil Code we shall
have to make a choice and decide either that the illegitimate issue enjoys in all cases the right of
representation, in which case Art. 992 must be suppressed; or contrariwise maintain said article and
modify Articles 995 and 998. The first solution would be more in accord with an enlightened attitude visa-vis illegitimate children. (Reflections on the Reform of Hereditary Succession, JOURNAL of the
Integrated Bar of the Philippines, First Quater, 1976, Volume 4, Number 1, pp. 40-41).
It is therefore clear from Article 992 of the New Civil Code that the phrase "legitimate children and relatives of his father or mother" includes
Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero as the word "relative" includes all the kindred of the person spoken of. 7 The record shows that from the
commencement of this case the only parties who claimed to be the legitimate heirs of the late Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero are Felisa
Pamuti Jardin and the six minor natural or illegitimate children of Pablo Santero. Since petitioners herein are barred by the provisions of
Article 992, the respondent Intermediate Appellate Court did not commit any error in holding Felisa Pamuti-Jardin to be the sole legitimate
heir to the intestate estate of the late Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero. cdll
Lastly, petitioners claim that the respondent Intermediate Appellate Court erred in ruling that the Orders of the Court a quo dated December
1, 1976 and December 9, 1976 are final and executory. Such contention is without merit. The Hon. Judge Jose Raval in his order dated
December 1, 1976 held that the oppositors (petitioners herein) are not entitled to intervene and hence not allowed to intervene in the
proceedings for the declaration of the heirship in the intestate estate of Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero. Subsequently, Judge Jose Raval
issued an order, dated December 9, 1976, which declared Felisa Pamuti-Jardin to be the sole legitimate heir of Simona Pamuti. The said
Orders were never made the subjects of either a motion for reconsideration or a perfected appeal. Hence, said orders which long became
final and executory are already removed from the power of jurisdiction of the lower court to decide anew. The only power retained by the
lower court, after a judgment has become final and executory is to order its execution. The respondent Court did not err therefore in ruling
that the Order of the Court a quo dated May 30, 1980 excluding Felisa Pamuti Jardin as intestate heir of the deceased Simona Pamuti Vda.
de Santero "is clearly a total reversal of an Order which has become final and executory, hence null and void."
WHEREFORE, this petition is hereby DISMISSED, and the assailed decision is hereby AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.
||| (Diaz v. Intermediate Appellate Court, G.R. No. L-66574, June 17, 1987)
MANUEL VS FERRER
CIVIL LAW; WILLS AND SUCCESSION; ART. 992, CIVIL CODE OF THE PHILIPPINES; "BARRIER" BETWEEN MEMBERS OF THE
LEGITIMATE AND ILLEGITIMATE FAMILY; CONSTRUED. Article 992 of the Civil Code, a basic postulate, enunciates what is so
commonly referred to in the rules on succession as the "principle of absolute separation between the legitimate family and the illegitimate
family." The doctrine rejects succession ab intestato in the collateral line between legitimate relatives, on the one hand, and illegitimate
relatives, on other hand, although it does not totally disavow such succession in the direct line. Since the rule is predicated on the
presumed will of the decedent, it has no application, however, on testamentary dispositions. This "barrier" between the members of the
legitimate and illegitimate family in intestacy is explained by a noted civilist. (Desiderio Jurado, Comments and Jurisprudence on
Succession, 8th ed., 1991, pp. 423-424.) His thesis: "What is meant by the law when it speaks of brothers and sisters, nephews and nieces,
as legal or intestate heirs of an illegitimate child? It must be noted that under Art. 992 of the Code, there is a barrier dividing members of the
illegitimate family from members of the legitimate family. It is clear that by virtue of this barrier, the legitimate brothers and sisters as well as
the children, whether legitimate or illegitimate, of such brothers and sisters, cannot inherit from the illegitimate child. Consequently, when
the law speaks of 'brothers and sisters, nephews and nieces' as legal heirs of an illegitimate child, it refers to illegitimate brothers and
sisters as well as to the children, whether legitimate or illegitimate, of such brothers and sisters." The Court, too, has had occasions to
explain this "iron curtain," firstly, in the early case of Grey v. Fabie(40 O.G. [First S] No. 3, p. 196 citing 7 Manresa 110) and, then, in the
relatively recent cases of Diaz v. Intermediate Appellate Court (150 SCRA 645) and De la Puerta v. Court of Appeals. (181 SCRA 861) In
Diaz, we have said: "Article 992 of the New Civil Code . . . prohibits absolutely a succession ab intestato between the illegitimate child and
the legitimate children and relatives of the father or mother of said legitimate child. They may have a natural tie of blood, but this is not
recognized by law for the purposes of Article 992. Between the legitimate family and the illegitimate family there is presumed to be an
intervening antagonism and incompatibility. The illegitimate child is disgracefully looked down upon by the legitimate family; the legitimate
family is, in turn, hated by the illegitimate child; the latter considers the privileged condition of the former, and the resources of which it is
thereby deprived; the former, in turn, sees in the illegitimate child nothing but the product of sin, palpable evidence of a blemish broken in
life; the law does no more than recognize this truth, by avoiding further grounds of resentment." The rule in Article 992 has consistently
been applied by the Court in several other cases. Thus, it has ruled that where the illegitimate child had half-brothers who were legitimate,
the latter had no right to the former's inheritance; (Corpus v. Corpus, 85 SCRA 567) that the legitimate collateral relatives of the mother
cannot succeed from her illegitimate child; (Cacho v. Udan, 13 SCRA 693) that a natural child cannot represent his natural father in the
succession to the estate of the legitimate grandparent; (Llorente v. Rodriguez, 10 Phil. 585; Allarde v. Abaya, 57 Phil. 909) that the natural
daughter cannot succeed to the estate of her deceased uncle who is a legitimate brother of her natural father; ( Anuran v. Aquino and Ortiz,
38 Phil. 29) and that an illegitimate child has no right to inherit ab intestato from the legitimate children and relatives of his father. (Leonardo
v. Court of Appeals, 120 SCRA 890) Indeed, the law on succession is animated by a uniform general intent, and thus no part should be
rendered inoperative (Javellana v. Tayo, 6 SCRA 1042) by, but must always be construed in relation to, any other part as to produce a
harmonious whole. (Sotto v. Sotto, 43 Phil 688; Araneta v. Concepcion, 99 Phil 709)
2. ID.; ID.; ORDER OF PREFERENCE AND CONCURRENCE IN INTESTACY; GRAPHIC PRESENTATION. We might, in easy graphic

18

ORDER OF INTESTATE SUCCESSION

presentation, collate the order of preference and concurrence in intestacy expressed in Article 978 through Article 1014, inclusive, of the
Civil Code; viz:
Order of Preference Order of Concurrence
(a) Legitimate Children (a) Legitimate Children and Descendants and Descendants, Illegitimate Children and
Descendants, and Surviving Spouse
(b) Legitimate Parents (b) Legitimate Parents and Ascendants and Ascendants, Illegitimate Children and
Descendants, and Surviving Spouse
(c) Illegitimate Children (c) Illegitimate Children and Descendants (in the and Descendants and absence of ICDs
and LPAs, Surviving Spouse
the illegitimate Parents)
(d) Surviving Spouse (d) Surviving Spouse and Illegitimate Parents
(e) Brothers and Sisters/ (e) Brothers and Sisters/ Nephews and Nieces Nephews and Nieces and Surviving
Spouse
(f) Other Collateral Relatives (f) Alone
(within the fifth civil degree)
(g) State (g) Alone
3. ID.; ID.; WHEN A WARD IS NEITHER A COMPULSORY HEIR NOR A LEGAL HEIR. A ward ( ampon), without the benefit of formal
(judicial) adoption, is neither a compulsory nor a legal heir. (Lim vs. Intermediate Appellate Court, G.R. No. 69679, 18 October 1988)
4. ID.; DAMAGES; WHEN NOT JUSTIFIED; CASE AT BAR. An adverse result of a suit in law does not mean that its advocacy is
necessarily so wrongful as to justify an assessment of damages against the actor. (Rubio v. Court of Appeals, 141 SCRA 488, Tiu v. Court
of Appeals, 228 SCRA 51)
DECISION
VITUG, J p:
The property involved in this petition for review on certiorari is the inheritance left by an illegitimate child who died intestate without any
surviving descendant or ascendant.
Petitioners, the legitimate children of spouses Antonio Manuel and Beatriz Guiling, initiated this suit. During his marriage with Beatriz,
Antonio had an extra-marital affair with one Ursula Bautista. From this relationship, Juan Manuel was born. Several years passed before
Antonio Manuel, his wife Beatriz, and his mistress Ursula finally crossed the bar on, respectively, 06 August 1960, 05 February 1981 and 04
November 1976.
Juan Manuel, the illegitimate son of Antonio, married Esperanza Gamba. In consideration of the marriage, a donation propter nuptias over a
parcel of land, with an area of 2,700 square meters, covered by Original Certificate of Title ("OCT") No. P-20594 was executed in favor of
Juan Manuel by Laurenciana Manuel. Two other parcels of land, covered by OCT P-19902 and Transfer Certificate of Title ("TCT") No.
41134, were later bought by Juan and registered in his name. The couple were not blessed with a child of their own. Their desire to have
one impelled the spouses to take private respondent Modesta Manuel-Baltazar into their fold and so raised her as their own "daughter."
On 03 June 1980, Juan Manuel executed in favor of Estanislaoa Manuel a Deed of Sale Con Pacto de Retro (with a
10-year period of redemption) over a one-half (1/2) portion of his land covered by TCT No. 41134. Juan Manuel died intestate on 21
February 1990. Two years later, or on 04 February 1992, Esperanza Gamba also passed away.
On 05 March 1992, a month after the death of Esperanza, Modesta executed an Affidavit of Self-Adjudication claiming
for herself the three parcels of land covered by OCT P-20594, OCT P-19902 and TCT No. 41134 (all still in the name of Juan
Manuel). Following the registration of the document of adjudication with the Office of the Register of Deeds, the three titles (OCT P20594, OCT P-19902 and TCT No. 41134) in the name of Juan Manuel were canceled and new titles, TCT No. 184223, TCT No.
184224 and TCT No. 184225, were issued in the name of Modesta Manuel-Baltazar. On 19 October 1992, Modesta executed in
favor of her co-respondent Estanislaoa Manuel a Deed of Renunciation and Quitclaim over the unredeemed one-half (1/2) portion
of the land (now covered by TCT No. 184225) that was sold to the latter by Juan Manuel under the 1980 Deed of Sale Con Pacto
de Retro. These acts of Modesta apparently did not sit well with petitioners. In a complaint filed before the Regional Trial Court of
Lingayen, Pangasinan, the petitioners sought the declaration of nullity of the aforesaid instruments.
The case, there being no material dispute on the facts, was submitted to the court a quo for summary judgment.
The trial court, in its now assailed 15th August 1994 decision, dismissed the complaint holding that petitioners, not
being heirs ab intestato of their illegitimate brother Juan Manuel, were not the real parties-in-interest to institute the suit. Petitioners
were also ordered to jointly and severally (solidarily) pay (a) respondent Modesta Manuel-Baltazar the sum of P5,000.00 for moral
damages, P5,000.00 for exemplary damages, P5,000.00 for attorney's fees and P500.00 for litigation expenses and (b) Estanislaoa
Manuel the sum of P5,000.00 for moral damages, P5,000.00 for exemplary damages and P500.00 for attorney's fees.
Petitioners' motion for reconsideration was denied by the trial court.
The petition before us raises the following contentions: That
"1. THE LOWER COURT (HAS) FAILED TO CONSIDER THE LAST PARAGRAPH OF ARTICLE 994
OF THE NEW CIVIL CODE, AS THE CONTROLLING LAW APPLICABLE BY VIRTUE OF THE
ADMITTED FACTS, AND NOT ARTICLE 992 OF THE SAME CODE.
"2. THE LOWER COURT, IN NOT ANNULLING ALL THE ACTS OF, AND VOIDING ALL DOCUMENTS
EXECUTED BY, RESPONDENT MODESTA BALTAZAR, WHO ARROGATED UNTO HERSELF THE
RIGHTS OF AN HEIR TO THE ESTATE OF DECEDENT JUAN MANUEL, (HAS) VIRTUALLY
GRANTED SAID RESPONDENT THE STATUS OF AN HEIR MANIFESTLY CONTRARY TO LAW,
MORALS AND PUBLIC POLICY.
"3. TO ENFORCE ONE'S RIGHT WHEN THEY ARE VIOLATED IS NEVER A LEGAL WRONG." 1
Petitioners argue that they are the legal heirs over one-half of Juan's intestate estate (while the other half would pertain to Juan's surviving
spouse) under the provision of the last paragraph of Article 994 of the Civil Code, providing thusly:
"ARTICLE 994. In default of the father or mother, an illegitimate child shall be succeeded by
his or her surviving spouse, who shall be entitled to the entire estate.
"If the widow or widower should survive with brothers and sisters, nephews and nieces, she
or he shall inherit one-half of the estate, and the latter the other half ." (Emphasis supplied.)
Respondents, in turn, submit that Article 994 should be read in conjunction with Article 992 of the Civil Code, which reads:
"ARTICLE 992. An illegitimate child has no right to inherit ab intestato from the legitimate children and
relatives of his father or mother; nor shall such children or relative inherit in the same manner from the
illegitimate child." (Emphasis supplied.)
Article 992, a basic postulate, enunciates what is so commonly referred to in the rules on succession as the "principle
of absolute separation between the legitimate family and the illegitimate family." The doctrine rejects succession ab intestato in the
collateral line between legitimate relatives, on the one hand, and illegitimate relatives, on other hand, although it does not totally
disavow such succession in the direct line. Since the rule is predicated on the presumed will of the decedent, it has no application,
however, on testamentary dispositions.
This "barrier" between the members of the legitimate and illegitimate family in intestacy is explained by a noted civilist.

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ORDER OF INTESTATE SUCCESSION

2 His thesis:
"What is meant by the law when it speaks of brothers and sisters, nephews and nieces, as legal or
intestate heirs of an illegitimate child? It must be noted that under Art. 992 of the Code, there is a barrier
dividing members of the illegitimate family from members of the legitimate family. It is clear that by virtue
of this barrier, the legitimate brothers and sisters as well as the children, whether legitimate or
illegitimate, of such brothers and sisters, cannot inherit from the illegitimate child. Consequently, when
the law speaks of 'brothers and sisters, nephews and nieces' as legal heirs of an illegitimate child, it
refers to illegitimate brothers and sisters as well as to the children, whether legitimate or illegitimate, of
such brothers and sisters." (Emphasis supplied)
The Court, too, has had occasions to explain this "iron curtain," firstly, in the early case of Grey v. Fabie 3 and, then, in
the relatively recent cases of Diaz v. Intermediate Appellate Court 4 and De la Puerta v. Court of Appeals. 5 In Diaz, we have said:
"Article 992 of the New Civil Code . . . prohibits absolutely a succession ab intestato between the
illegitimate child and the legitimate children and relatives of the father or mother of said legitimate child.
They may have a natural tie of blood, but this is not recognized by law for the purposes of Article 992.
Between the legitimate family and the illegitimate family there is presumed to be an intervening
antagonism and incompatibility. The illegitimate child is disgracefully looked down upon by the legitimate
family; the legitimate family is, in turn, hated by the illegitimate child; the latter considers the privileged
condition of the former, and the resources of which it is thereby deprived; the former, in turn, sees in the
illegitimate child nothing but the product of sin, palpable evidence of a blemish broken in life; the law
does no more than recognize this truth, by avoiding further grounds of resentment."
The rule in Article 992 has consistently been applied by the Court in several other cases. Thus, it has ruled that where
the illegitimate child had half-brothers who were legitimate, the latter had no right to the former's inheritance; 6 that the legitimate
collateral relatives of the mother cannot succeed from her illegitimate child; 7 that a natural child cannot represent his natural father
in the succession to the estate of the legitimate grandparent; 8 that the natural daughter cannot succeed to the estate of her
deceased uncle who is a legitimate brother of her natural father; 9 and that an illegitimate child has no right to inherit ab intestato
from the legitimate children and relatives of his father. 10 Indeed, the law on succession is animated by a uniform general intent,
and thus no part should be rendered inoperative 11 by, but must always be construed in relation to, any other part as to produce a
harmonious whole. 12
In passing, we might, in easy graphic presentation, collate the order of preference and concurrence in intestacy expressed in Article 978
through Article 1014, inclusive, of the Civil Code; viz:
Order of Preference Order of Concurrence
(a) Legitimate Children (a) Legitimate Children and and Descendants Descendants,
Illegitimate Children and Descendants, and Surviving Spouse
(b) Legitimate Parents (b) Legitimate Parents and and Ascendants Ascendants,
Illegitimate Children and Descendants, and Surviving Spouse
(c) Illegitimate Children and (c) Illegitimate Children Descendants (in the and
Descendants and absence of ICDs and Surviving Spouse LPAs, the Illegitimate Parents)
(d) Surviving Spouse (d) Surviving Spouse and Illegitimate Parents
(e) Brothers and (e) Brothers and Sisters/Nephews and
Sisters/Nephews and
Nieces Nieces and Surviving Spouse
(f) Other Collateral Relatives (f) Alone (within the fifth civil degree)
(g) State (g) Alone
In her answer to the complaint, Modesta candidly admitted that she herself is not an intestate heir of Juan Manuel. She
is right. A ward (ampon), without the benefit of formal (judicial) adoption, is neither a compulsory nor a legal heir. 13
We must hold, nevertheless, that the complaint of petitioners seeking the nullity of the Affidavit of Self-Adjudication
executed by Modesta, the three (3) TCT's issued to her favor, as well as the Deed of Renunciation and Quitclaim in favor of
Estanislaoa Manuel, was properly dismissed by the trial court. Petitioners, not being the real "parties-in-interest" 14 in the case, had
neither the standing nor the cause of action to initiate the complaint.
The Court, however, sees no sufficient reason to sustain the award of amounts for moral and exemplary damages,
attorney's fees and litigation expenses. An adverse result of a suit in law does not mean that its advocacy is necessarily so wrongful
as to justify an assessment of damages against the actor. 15
WHEREFORE, the appealed decision of the Regional Trial Court of Pangasinan (Branch 37) is AFFIRMED, except
insofar as it has awarded moral and exemplary damages, as well as attorney's fees and litigation expenses, in favor of private
respondents, which portion is hereby DELETED. No special pronouncement on costs.
SO ORDERED.
||| (Manuel v. Ferrer, G.R. No. 117246, August 21, 1995)

20

ORDER OF INTESTATE SUCCESSION

SANTILLON VS MIRANDA
APPEALS IN SPECIAL PROCEEDINGS; ORDER OF COURT DETERMINING DISTRIBUTIVE SHARE OF HEIRS APPEALABLE. An
order of the Court of First Instance which determines the distributive shares of the heirs of a deceased person is appealable.
2. SUCCESSION; SURVIVING SPOUSE CONCURRING WITH A LEGITIMATE CHILD ENTITLED TO ONE-HALF OF THE INTESTATE
ESTATE. When intestacy occurs, a surviving spouse concurring with only one legitimate child of the deceased is entitled to one-half of
the estate of the deceased spouse under Article 996 of the Civil Code.
DECISION
BENGZON, J p:
This is an appeal from the order of the Court of First Instance of Pangasinan, specifying the respective shares of the
principal parties herein in the intestate estate of Pedro Santillon.
On November 21, 1953, Santillon died without testament in Tayug, Pangasinan, his residence, leaving one son Claro, and his wife, Perfecta
Miranda. During his marriage, Pedro acquired several parcels of land located in that province.
About four years after his death, Claro Santillon filed a petition for letters of administration. Opposition to said petition was entered by the
widow Perfecta Miranda and the spouses Benito U. Miranda and Rosario Corrales on the following grounds: (a) that the properties
enumerated in the petition were all conjugal, except three parcels which Perfecta Miranda claimed to be her exclusive properties; (b) that
Perfecta Miranda by virtue of two documents had conveyed 3/4 of her undivided share in most of the properties enumerated in the petition
to said spouses Benito and Rosario; (c) that administration of the estate was not necessary, there being a case for partition pending; and
(d) that if administration was necessary at all, the oppositor Perfecta Miranda and not the petitioner was better qualified for the post. It
appears that subsequently, oppositor Perfecta Miranda was appointed administratrix of the estate.
On March 22, 1961, the court appointed commissioners to draft within sixty days, a project of partition and distribution of all the properties
of the deceased Pedro Santillon.
On April 25, 1961, Claro filed a "Motion to Declare Share of Heirs" and to resolve the conflicting claims of the parties with respect to their
respective rights in the estate. Invoking Art. 892 of the New Civil Code, he insisted that after deducting 1/2 from the conjugal properties as
the conjugal share of Perfecta, the remaining 1/2 must be divided as follows: 1/4 for her and 3/4 for him. Oppositor Perfecta, on the other
hand, claimed that besides her conjugal half, she was entitled under Art. 996 of the New Civil Code, to another 1/2 of the remaining half. In
other words, Claro claimed 3/4 of Pedro's inheritance, while Perfecta claimed 1/2.
After due notice and hearing, the court, on June 28, 1961, issued an order, the dispositive portion of which reads:
"IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING CONSIDERATIONS it is hereby ruled and ordered that in the intestate
succession of the deceased Pedro Santillon, the surviving spouse Perfecta Miranda shall inherit ONEHALF (1/2) share and the remaining ONE-HALF (1/2) share for the only son, Atty. Claro Santillon. This is
after deducting the share of the widow as co-owner of the conjugal properties. . . ."
From this order, petitioner Claro Santillon has appealed to this Court. Two questions of law are involved. The first, raised in Perfecta's
Motion to Dismiss Appeal, is whether the order of the lower court is appealable. And the second, raised in appellant's lone assignment of
error, is: How shall the estate of a person who dies intestate be divided when the only survivors are the spouse and one legitimate child?
The First Issue: It is clear that the order of the lower court is final and therefore appealable to this Court.
Under Rule 109, sec. 1, a person may appeal in special proceedings from an order of the Court of First Instance where such order
determines . . ."the distributive share of the estate to which such person is entitled."
The Second Issue: Petitioner rests his claim to 3/4 of his father's estate on Art. 892, of the New Civil Code which provides that:
"If only the legitimate child or descendant of the deceased survives, the widow or widower shall be
entitled to one-fourth of the hereditary estate. . . .'
As she gets one-fourth, therefore, I get 3/4, says Claro. Perfecta, on the other hand, cites Art. 996 which provides:
"If a widow or widower and legitimate children or descendants are left, the surviving spouse has in the
succession the same share as that of each of the children."
Replying to Perfecta's claim, Claro says the article is unjust and inequitable to the extent that it grants the widow the same share as that of
the children in intestate succession, whereas in testate, she is given 1/4 and the only child 1/2.
Oppositor Perfecta Miranda, on the other hand, contends that Art. 996 should control, regardless of its alleged inequity, being as it is, a
provision on intestate succession involving a surviving spouse and a legitimate child, inasmuch as in statutory construction, the plural word
"children" includes the singular, "child".
Art. 892 of the New Civil Code falls under the chapter on Testamentary Succession; whereas Art. 996 comes under the chapter on Legal or
Intestate Succession. Such being the case, it is obvious that Claro cannot rely on Art. 892 to support his claim to 3/4 of his father's estate.
Art. 892 merely fixes the legitime of the surviving spouse and Art. 888 thereof, the legitime of children in testate succession. While it may
indicate the intent of the law with respect to the ideal shares that a child and a spouse should get when they concur with each other, it does
not fix the amount of shares that such child and spouse are entitled to when intestacy occurs. Because if the latter happens, the pertinent
provision on intestate succession shall apply; i. e. Art. 996.
Some commentators of our New Civil Code seem to support Claro's contention; at least, his objection to fifty-fifty sharing. But others
confirm the half and half idea of the Pangasinan court.
This is, remember, intestate proceedings. In the New Civil Code's chapter in legal or intestate succession, the only article applicable is Art.
996. Our colleague Mr. Justice J. B. L. Reyes, professor of Civil Law, is quoted as having expressed the opinion that under this article,
when the widow survives with only one legitimate child, they share the estate in equal parts. 1 Senator Tolentino in his commentaries writes
as follows:
"One child Surviving. If there is only one legitimate child surviving with the spouse, since they share
equally, one-half of the estate goes to the child and the other half goes to the surviving spouse. Although
the law refers to "children or descendants," the rule in statutory construction that the plural can be
understood to include the singular is applicable in his case." (Tolentino, Civil Code of the Philippines, Vol.
III, p. 436.)
The theory of those holding otherwise, seems to be premised on these propositions: (a) Art. 996 speaks of "children," therefore it does not
apply when there is only one "child"; consequently Art. 892 (and Art. 888) should be applied, thru a process of judicial construction and
analogy; (b) Art. 996 is unjust or unfair because whereas in testate succession, the widow is assigned one-fourth only (Art. 892), she would
get 1/2 in intestate.
A. Children: It is a maxim of statutory construction that words in plural include the singular. 2 So Art. 996 could or should be read (and so
applied): "if the widow or widower and a legitimate child are left, the surviving spouse has the same share as that of the child." Indeed, if we
refuse to apply the article to this case on the ground that "child" is not included in "children", the consequences would be tremendous,
because "children" will not include "child" in the following articles:
Art. 887. The following are compulsory heirs: (1) legitimate children and descendants . . .
ART. 888. The legitime of legitimate children and descendants consists of one-half of the hereditary
estate . . .
ART. 896. Illegitimate children who may survive . . . are entitled to one-fourth of the hereditary
estate . . . (See also Art. 901.)
In fact, those who say, "children" in Art. 996 does not include "child" seem to be inconsistent when they argue from the premise that "in

21

ORDER OF INTESTATE SUCCESSION

testate succession the only legitimate child gets one-half and the widow, one-fourth." The inconsistency is clear, because the only legitimate
child gets one-half under Art. 888, which speaks of "children", not "child". So if "children" in Art. 888 includes "child", the same meaning
should be given to Art. 996.
B. Unfairness of Art. 996. Such position, more clearly stated is this: In testate succession, where there is only one child of the marriage,
the child gets one-half, and the widow or widower one-fourth. But in intestate, if Art. 996 is applied now, the child gets one-half, and the
widow or widower one-half. Unfair or inequitable, they insist.
On this point, it is not correct to assume that in testate succession the widow or widower "gets only one-fourth." She or he may get one-half
if the testator so wishes. So, the law virtually leaves it to each of the spouses to decide (by testament) whether his or her only child shall
get more than his or her survivor.
Our conclusion (equal shares) seems a logical inference from the circumstance that whereas Article 834 of the Spanish Civil Code, from
which Art. 996 was taken, contained two paragraphs governing two contingencies, the first, where the widow or widower survives with
legitimate children (general rule), and the second, where the widow or widower survives with only one child (exception), Art. 996 omitted to
provide for the second situation, thereby indicating the legislator's desire to promulgate just one general rule applicable to both situations.
The resultant division may be unfair as some writers explain, and this we are not called upon to discuss but it is the clear mandate of
the statute, which we are bound to enforce.
The appealed decision is affirmed. No costs in this instance.
||| (In re: Satillon v. Miranda, G.R. No. L-19281, June 30, 1965)

22

ORDER OF INTESTATE SUCCESSION

BICOMONG VS ALMANZA
This is an appeal certified to this Court by the Court of Appeals 1 in accordance with the provisions of Sec. 17, paragraph (4) of the
Judiciary Act of 1948, as amended, since the only issue raised is the correct application of the law and jurisprudence on the matter which is
purely a legal question.
The following findings of fact by the Court of First Instance of Laguna and San Pablo City in Civil Case No. SP-265, and adopted by the
Court of Appeals, show that:
"Simeon Bagsic was in married to Sisenanda Barcenas on June 8, 1859 (Exh. "D") Of this marriage
there were born three children namely: Perpetua Bagsic (Exhibit G), Igmedia Bagsic (Exhibit F), and
Ignacio Bagsic (Exhibit H). Sisenanda Barcenas died ahead of her husband Simeon Bagsic.
On June 3, 1885, Simeon Bagsic remarried Silvestra Glorioso (Exhibit "E"). Of this second marriage
were born two children, Felipa Bagsic (Exhibit J) and Maura Bagsic (Exhibit I). Simeon Bagsic died
sometime in 1901. Silvestra Glorioso also died.
Ignacio Bagsic died on April 18, 1939 (Exhibit C) leaving the plaintiff Francisca Bagsic as his only heir.
Igmedia Bagsic also died on August 19, 1944 (Exhibit B) survived by the plaintiffs Dionisio Tolentino,
Maria Tolentino and Petra Tolentino. LexLib
Perpetua Bagsic died on July 1, 1945 (Exhibit A). Surviving her are her heirs, the plaintiffs Gaudencio
Bicomong, Felicidad Bicomong, Salome Bicomong, and Gervacio Bicomong.
Of the children of the second marriage, Maura Bagsic died also on April 14, 1952 leaving no heir as her
husband died ahead of her. Felipa Bagsic, the other daughter of the second Geronimo Almanza and her
daughter Cristeta Almanza. But five (5) months before the present suit was filed or on July 23, 1959,
Cristeta Almanza died leaving behind her husband, the defendant herein Engracio Manese (Exhibit 1Manese) and her father Geronimo Almanza."
(Rollo, pp. 2-3)
The subject matter of the complaint in Civil Case No. SP-265 concerns the one-half undivided share of Maura Bagsic in the following
described five (5) parcels of land which she inherited from her deceased mother, Silvestra Glorioso, to wit:
"A. A parcel of land in Bo. San Ignacio, City of San Pablo, planted with 38 fruit bearing coconut trees,
with an area of 1,077, sq. m. Bounded on the N. by German Garingan; on the E. by Juan Aliagas; on the
S. by Bernandino Alina; and on the W. by Feliciana Glorioso. Covered by Tax No. 12713 for the year
1948 in the name of Silvestra Glorioso, now Tax No. 31232, assessed at P170.00 in the name of
defendant Geronimo Almanza;
B. A parcel of land, also situated in Bo. San Ignacio, City of San Pablo, planted with fruit bearing coconut
trees, with an area of 9,455 sq. m. Bounded on the N. by Paulino Gajuco; on the E. by Felisa Gavino
and German Garigan; on the S. by Esteban Calayag; and on the W. by Laureano Ambion, Covered by
Tax No. 12714 for the year 1948 in the name of defendant Geronimo Almanza;
C. A parcel of land situated in same Bo. San Ignacio, City of San Pablo, planted with 376 fruit bearing
coconut trees and having an area of 11,739 sq. sq. m. Bounded on the N. by Jacinto Alvero, Anacleto
Glorioso and Bernandino Alina; on the E. by Bernandino Alina; on the S. by Rosendo Banaad, Jacinto
Alvero and Casayan River; and on the W. by Anacleto Glorioso. Covered by Tax No. 12715 for the year
1948 in the name of Silvestra Glorioso, now Tax No. 31234, assessed at P2,720.00 in the name of
defendant Geronimo Almanza;
D. A residential lot, situated at P. Alcantara Street, Int., City of San Pablo, with an area of 153, sq. m.
Bounded on the N. by heirs of Pedro Calampiano; on the E. by Petronilo Cartago; on the S. by Ignacio
Yerro; and on the W. by Melecio Cabrera. Covered by Tax No. 17653 for the year 1948 in the name of
Silvestra Glorioso, now Tax No, 21452, assessed at P610.00 in the name of Cristeta Almanza; and
E. A parcel of coconut land, situated at Bo. Buenavista, Candelaria, Quezon, planted with 300 coconut
trees fruit bearing. Area 24,990 sq. m. Bounded on the N. (Ilaya) by heirs of Pedro de Gala; on the E.
by Julian Garcia; on the S. (Ibaba) by Julian Garcia, and on the W. by Taguan River. Covered by Tax No.
21452, assessed at P910.00."
(Record
on
Appeal, pp. 4-6)
Three sets of plaintiffs filed the complaint on December 1, 1959, namely: (a) the Bicomongs, children of Perpetua Bagsic; (b) the Tolentinos,
children of Igmedia Bagsic; and (c) Francisca Bagsic, daughter of Ignacio Bagsic, in the Court of First Instance of Laguna and San Pablo
City against the defendants Geronimo Almanza and Engracio Menese for the recovery of their lawful shares in the properties left by Maura
Bagsic.
After the death of Maura Bagsic, the above described properties passed on to Cristela Almanza who took charge of the administration of
the same. Thereupon, the plaintiffs approached her and requested for the partition of their aunt's properties. However, they were prevailed
upon by Cristeta Almanza not to divide the properties yet as the expenses for the last illness and burial of Maura Bagsic had not yet been
paid. Having agreed to defer the partition of the same. the plaintiffs brought out the subject again sometime in 1959 only. This time Cristeta
Almanza acceded to the request as the debts, accordingly, had already been paid. Unfortunately, she died without the division of the
properties having been effected, thereby leaving the possession and administration of the same to the defendants.
After trial, the court rendered judgment, the dispositive portion of which reads:
"WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiffs who are hereby declared to be
entitled to ten twenty-fourth (10/24) share on the five parcels of land in dispute. The defendant Engracio
Manese and the heirs of the deceased Geronimo Almanza, who are represented in the instant case by
the administrator Florentino Cartena, are hereby required to pay the plaintiffs from July 23, 1959 the sum
of P625.00 per annum until the ten-twenty fourth (10/24) share on the five parcels of land are delivered
to the plaintiffs, with legal interest from the time this decision shall have become final.
With costs against the defendants.
SO ORDERED.
City of San Pablo, September 21, 1962.
(SGD) JOSE G.
BAUTISTA
Judge"Record on
Appeal, p. 47
From the aforesaid decision of the trial court, Florentino Cartena, the substitute defendant for Geronimo Almanza, appealed to the Court of
Appeals. The other defendant, Engracio Manese, did not appeal and execution was issued with respect to the parcels of land in his
possession, that is, those described under Letters D and E in the complaint. Hence, the subject matter of the case on appeal was limited to
the one-half undivided portion of only three of the five parcels of land described under letters A, B and C in the complaint which defendant
Cartena admitted to be only in his possession. 2

23

ORDER OF INTESTATE SUCCESSION

On appeal, defendant-appellant Cartena contends that the provisions of Arts. 995, 1006 and 1008 of the New Civil Code, applied by the trial
court in allowing plaintiffs-appellees to succeed to the properties left by Maura Bagsic were not the applicable provisions. He asserts that in
the course of the trial of the case in the lower court, plaintiffs requested defendants to admit that Felipa Bagsic, the sole sister of full blood
of Maura Bagsic, died on May 9, 1955. Since Maura Bagsic died on April 14, 1952, Felipa succeeded to Maura's estate. In support thereof,
he cites Art. 1004 of the New Civil Code which provides that "should the only survivors be brothers and sisters of the full blood, they shall
inherit in equal shares," and he concludes with the rule that the relatives nearest in degree excludes the more distant ones. (Art. 962, New
Civil Code)
On the other hand, plaintiffs-appellees claim that the date of death of Felipa Bagsic was not raised as an issue in the trial court. It was even
the subject of stipulation of the parties as clearly shown in the transcript of the stenographic notes that Felipa Bagsic died on May 9, 1945.
3
The Court of Appeals ruled that the facts of the case have been duly established in the trial court and that the only issue left for
determination is a purely legal question involving the correct application of the law and jurisprudence on the matter, hence the appellate
court certified this case to Us.
We hold that the provisions of Art. 975, 1006 and 1008 of the New Civil Code are applicable to the admitted facts of the case at bar. These
Articles provide: cdll
"Art. 975. When children of one or more brothers or sisters of the deceased survive, they shall inherit
from the latter by representation, if they survive with their uncles or aunts. But if they alone survive, they
shall inherit in equal portions."
"Art. 1006. Should brothers and sisters of the full blood survive together with brothers and sisters of the
half blood, the former shall be entitled to a share double that of the latter."
"Art. 1008. Children of brothers and sisters of the half blood shall succeed per capita or per stirpes, in
accordance with the rules laid down for brothers and sisters of the full blood."
In the absence of descendants, ascendants, illegitimate children, or a surviving spouse, Article 1003 of the New Civil Code provides that
collateral relatives shall succeed to the entire estate of the deceased. It appearing that Maura Bagsic died intestate without an issue, and
her husband and all her ascendants had died ahead of her, she is succeeded by the surviving collateral relatives, namely the daughter of
her sister of full blood and the ten (10) children of her brother and two (2) sisters of half blood, in accordance with the provision of Art. 975
of the New Civil Code.
By virtue of said provision, the aforementioned nephews and nieces are entitled to inherit in their own right. In Abellana-Bacayo vs.
Ferraris-Borromeo, L-19382, August 31, 1965, 14 SCRA 986, this Court held that "nephews and nieces alone do not inherit by right of
representation (that is per stirpes) unless concurring with brothers or sisters of the deceased."
Under the same provision, Art. 975, which makes no qualification as to whether the nephews or nieces are on the maternal or paternal line
and without preference as to whether their relationship to the deceased is by whole or half blood, the sole niece of whole blood of the
deceased does not exclude the ten nephews and nieces of half blood. The only difference in their right of succession is provided in Art.
1008, N.C.C., in relation to Article 1006 of the New Civil Code (supra), which provisions, in effect, entitle the sole niece of full blood to a
share double that of the nephews and nieces of half blood. Such distinction between whole and half blood relationships with the deceased
has been recognized in Dionisia Padura, et al. vs. Melania Baldovino, et al., No. L-11960, December 27, 1958, 104 Phil. 1065 (unreported)
and in Alviar vs. Alviar, No. L-22402, June 30, 1969, 28 SCRA 610). prcd
The contention of the appellant that Maura Bagsic should be succeeded by Felipa Bagsic, her sister of full blood, to the exclusion of the
nephews and nieces of half blood citing Art. 1004, N.C.C., is unmeritorious and erroneous for it is based on an erroneous factual
assumption, that is, that Felipa Bagsic died in 1955, which as indicated here before, is not true as she died on May 9, 1945, thus she
predeceased her sister Maura Bagsic.
We find the judgment of the trial court to be in consonance with law and jurisprudence.
ACCORDINGLY, the judgment of the trial court is hereby affirmed.
No costs.
||| (Bicomong v. Almanza, G.R. No. L-37365, November 29, 1977)

24

ORDER OF INTESTATE SUCCESSION

BACAYO VS BORROMEO
CCESSION; INTESTACY; COLLATERAL RELATIVES EXCLUDED BY NEPHEWS AND NIECES. A decedent's uncles and aunts may
not succeed ab intestato so long as nephews and nieces of the decedent survive and are willing and qualified to succeed.
2.ID.; ID.; WHEN COLLATERALS ENTITLED TO SUCCESSION. The absence of brothers, sisters, nephews and nieces of the decedent
is a precondition to the other collaterals (uncles, cousins, etc.) being called to the succession. (Art. 1009 Civil Code.)
3.ID.; ID.; DEGREE OF RELATIONSHIP OF COLLATERAL RELATIVES TO THE DECEASED. An aunt of the deceased is as far distant
as the nephews from the decedent (three degrees) since in the collateral line to which both kinds of relatives belong, degrees are counted
by first ascending to the common ancestor and then descending to the heir (Civil Code Art. 966).
4.ID.; ID.; WHEN NEPHEWS AND NIECES INHERIT BY RIGHT OF REPRESENTATION. Nephews and nieces alone do not inherit by
right of representation (i.e., per stirpes) unless concurring with brothers or sisters of the deceased.
DECISION
REYES, J.B.L., J p:
This is a pauper's appeal, directly brought to this Court on points of law, from a resolution, dated September 20, 1961, excluding petitionerappellant herein, Filomena Abellana de Bacayo, as heir in the summary settlement of the estate of Melodia Ferraris, Special Proceeding
No. 2177-R of the Court of First Instance of Cebu, Third Branch, as well as from the order, dated October 16, 1961, denying a motion to
reconsider said resolution.
The facts of this case are not disputed by the parties.
Melodia Ferraris was a resident of Cebu City until 1937 when she transferred to Intramuros, Manila. She was known to have resided there
continuously until 1944. Thereafter, up to the filing on December 22, 1960 of the petition for the summary settlement of her estate, she has
not been heard of and her whereabouts are still unknown. More than ten (10) years having elapsed since the last time she was known to be
alive, she was declared presumptively dead for purposes of opening her succession and distributing her estate among her heirs.
Melodia Ferraris left properties in Cebu City, consisting of one third (1/3) share in the estate of her aunt, Rosa Ferraris, valued at
P6,000.00, more or less, and which was adjudicated to her in Special Proceeding No. 13-V of the same court.
The deceased Melodia Ferraris left no surviving direct descendant, ascendant, or spouse, but was survived only by collateral relatives,
namely, Filomena Abellana de Bacayo, an aunt, and half- sister of decedent's father, Anacleto Ferraris; and by Gaudencia, Catalina,
Conchita, and Juanito, all surnamed Ferraris, her nieces and nephew, who were the children of Melodia's only brother of full blood, Arturo
Ferraris, who pre-deceased her (the decedent). These two classes of heirs claim to be the nearest intestate heirs and seek to participate in
the estate of said Melodia Ferraris.
The following diagram will help illustrate the degree of relationship of the contending parties to said Melodia Ferraris:
The sole issue to be resolved in this case is: Who should inherit the intestate estate of a deceased person when he or she is survived only
by collateral relatives, to wit: an aunt and the children of a brother who predeceased him or her? Otherwise, will the aunt concur with the
children of the decedent's brother in the inheritance or will the former be excluded by the latter?
The trial court ruled that the oppositors-appellees, as children of the only predeceased brother of the decedent, exclude the aunt (petitionerappellant) of the same decedent, reasoning out that the former are nearer in degree (two degrees) than the latter since nieces and nephew
succeed by right of representation, while petitioner- appellant is three degrees distant from the decedent, and that other collateral relatives
are excluded by brothers or sisters, or children of brothers or sisters of the decedent in accordance with article 1009 of the New Civil Code.
Against the above ruling, petitioner-appellant contends in the present appeal that she is of the same or equal degree of relationship as the
oppositors-appellees, three degrees removed from the decedent; and that under article 975 of the New Civil Code no right or representation
could take place when the nieces and nephew of the decedent do not concur with an uncle or aunt, as in the case at bar, but rather the
former succeed in their own right.
We agree with appellants that as an aunt of the deceased, she is as far distant as the nephews from the decedent (three degrees) since in
the collateral line to which both kinds of relatives belong degrees are counted by first ascending to the common ancestor and then
descending to the heir (Civil Code, Art. 966). Appellant is likewise right in her contention that nephews and nieces alone do not inherit by
right of representation (i.e., per stirpes) unless concurring with brothers or sisters of the deceased, as provided expressly by Article 975:
"ART. 975.When children of one or more brothers or sisters of the deceased survive, they shall inherit
from the latter by representation, if they survive with their uncles or aunts. But if they alone survive, they
shall inherit in equal portions."
Nevertheless, the trial court was correct when it held that, in case of intestacy, nephews and nieces of the de cujus exclude all other
collaterals (aunts and uncles, first cousins, etc.) from the succession. This is readily apparent from articles 1001, 1004, 1005, and 1009 of
the Civil Code of the Philippines, that provided as follows:
"ART. 1001.Should brothers and sisters or their children survive with the widow or widower, the latter
shall be entitled to one-half of the inheritance and the brothers and sisters or their children to the other
half."
"ART. 1004.Should the only survivors be, brothers and sisters of the full blood, they shall inherit in equal
shares."
"ART. 1005.Should brothers and sisters survive together with nephews and nieces who are the children
of the decedent's brothers and sisters of the full blood, the former shall inherit per capita, and the latter
per stirpes."
"ART. 1009.Should there be neither brothers nor sisters, nor children of brothers or sisters, the other
collateral relatives shall succeed to the estate."
"The latter shall succeed without distinction of lines or preference among by reason of relationship by the
whole blood."
Under the last article (1009), the absence of brothers, sisters, nephews and nieces of the decedent is a precondition to the other collaterals
(uncles, cousins, etc.) being called to the succession. This was also and more clearly the case under the Spanish Civil Code of 1889, that
immediately preceded the Civil Code now in force (R. A. 386). Thus, Articles 952 and 954 of the Code of 1889 prescribed as follows:
"ART. 952.In the absence of brothers or sisters and of nephews or nieces, children of the former,
whether of the whole blood or not, the surviving spouse, if not separated by a final decree of divorce
shall succeed to the entire estate of the deceased."
"ART. 954.Should there be neither brothers nor sisters, nor children of brothers or sisters, nor a surviving
spouse, the other collateral relatives shall succeed to the estate of deceased.
The latter shall succeed without distinction of lines or preference among them by reason of the whole
blood."
It will be seen that under the preceding articles, brothers and sisters and nephews and nieces inherited ab intestato ahead of the surviving
spouse, while other collaterals succeeded only after the widower or widow. The present Civil Code of the Philippines merely placed the
spouse on a par with the nephews and nieces and brothers and sisters of the deceased, but without altering the preferred position of the
latter vis a vis the other collaterals.
Appellants quote paragraph 2 of Tolentino's commentaries to Article 1009 of the present Civil Code as declaring that Article 1009 does not
establish a rule of preference. Which is true as to "other collaterals", since preference among them is according to their proximity to the

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ORDER OF INTESTATE SUCCESSION

decedent, as established by Article 962, paragraph 1.


"ART. 962.In every inheritance, the relative nearest in degree excludes the more distant ones, saving the
right of representation when it properly takes place."
But Tolentino does not state that nephews and nieces concur with other collaterals of equal degree. On the contrary, in the first paragraph
of his commentaries to Article 1009 (Vol. II, p. 439) (which counsel for appellants had unethically omitted to quote), Tolentino expressly
states:
"Other Collaterals. The last of the relatives of the decedent to succeed in intestate succession are the
collaterals other than brothers or sisters or children of brothers or sisters. They are, however, limited to
relatives within the fifth degree. Beyond this, we can safely say, there is hardly any affection to merit the
succession of collaterals. Under the law, therefore, persons beyond the fifth degree are no longer
considered as relatives, for successional purposes.
"Article 1009 does not state any order of preference. However, this article should be understood in
connection with the general rule that the nearest relatives exclude the farther. Collaterals of the same
degree inherit in equal parts, there being no right of representation. They succeed without distinction of
lines or preference among them on account of the whole blood relationship." (Italics supplied)
We, therefore, hold, and so rule, that under our laws of succession, a decedent's uncles and aunts may not succeed ab intestato so long as
nephews and nieces of the decedent survive and are willing and qualified to succeed

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