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Pedrosa v Court of Appeals

Spouses Miguel and Rosalina de Rodriguez adopted Maria Elena Rodriguez Pedrosa.
Years later, Miguel died intestate. Private respondents filed an action to annul the
adoption of Maria Elena. The RTC upheld the validity of the adoption. While the case
is pending on appeal in the Court of Appeals, the Rodriguezes entered into a Deed
of Extrajudicial Settlement and Partition with respondent Rosalina for the partition of
the estate of Miguel and of another sister, Pilar. Rosalina acted as the
representative of the heirs of Miguel Rodriguez. New TCTs under the name of the
respondents were subsequently issued. Maria Elena then sent her daughter to claim
their share of the properties from the Rodriguezes. The latter refused saying that
Maria Elena and Loreto were not heirs since they were not their blood relatives.
Maria Elena filed a complaint to annul the partition.
Issue: Whether or not the action to annul the partition has prescribed.
Held: Section 4, Rule 74 provides for a two year prescriptive period (1) to persons
who have participated or taken part or had notice of the extrajudicial partition, and
in addition (2) when the provisions of Section 1 of Rule 74 have been strictly
complied with, i.e., that all the persons or heirs of the decedent have taken part in
the extrajudicial settlement or are represented by themselves or through guardians.
Maria Elena did not participate in the extrajudicial partition. Patently then, the twoyear prescriptive period is not applicable in her case. The applicable prescriptive
period is 4 years from discovery since the annulment is based on fraud (for the lack
of notice and consent of 1 of the heirs, Maria Elena). Such discovery is deemed to
have taken place when said instrument was filed with the Register of Deeds and
new certificates of title were issued in the name of respondents exclusively.
Considering that the complaint of the petitioner was filed on January 28, 1987, or
three years and ten months after the questioned extrajudicial settlement dated
March 11, 1983, was executed, we hold that her action against the respondents on
the basis of fraud has not yet prescribed.
Also, Section 1 of Rule 74 provides that The fact of the extrajudicial settlement
or administration shall be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the
manner provided in the next succeeding section; but no extrajudicial settlement
shall be binding upon any person who has not participated therein or had no notice
thereof.
Lastly, it cannot be argued that Maria Elena was represented by Rosalina in
the extrajudicial settlement because at that time, Maria Elena was no longer a
minor. Hence, Rosalina only represented herself during the settlement.