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Matabuena v.

Cervantes
G.R. No. L-28771 (March 31, 1971) We reach a different conclusion. While Art. 133 of the Civil
Code considers as void a "donation between the spouses
FACTS: during the marriage", policy considerations of the most
Felix Matabuena cohabitated with Respondent. During exigent character as well as the dictates of morality require
this period, Felix Matabuena donated to Respondent a that the same prohibition should apply to a common-law
parcel of land. Later the two were married. After the death relationship. We reverse.
of Felix Matabuena, his sister, Petitioner, sought the
nullification of the donation citing Art.133 of the Civil Code The lack of validity of the donation made by the deceased to
Every donation between the spouses during the marriage defendant Petronila Cervantes does not necessarily result in
shall be void. plaintiff having exclusive right to the disputed property. Prior
The trial court ruled that this case was not covered by the to the death of Felix Matabuena, the relationship between
prohibition because the donation was made at the time the him and the defendant was legitimated by their marriage on
deceased and Respondent were not yet married and were March 28, 1962. She is therefore his widow. As provided for
simply cohabitating. in the Civil Code, she is entitled to one-half of the inheritance
and the plaintiff, as the surviving sister, to the other half.
ISSUE:
W/N the prohibition applies to donations between live-in
partners. CORNELIA MATABUENA vs. PETRONILA CERVANTES
L-2877 (38 SCRA 284) March 31, 1971
HELD:
Yes. It is a fundamental principle in statutory construction FACTS:
that what is within the spirit of the law is as much a part of In 1956, herein appellants brother Felix Matabuena donated
the law as what is written. Since the reason for the ban on a piece of lot to his common-law spouse, herein appellee
donations between spouses during the marriage is to Petronila Cervantes. Felix and Petronila got married only in
prevent the possibility of undue influence and improper 1962 or six years after the deed of donation was executed.
pressure being exerted by one spouse on the other, there is Five months later, or September 13, 1962, Felix died.
no reason why this prohibition shall not apply also to Thereafter, appellant Cornelia Matabuena, by reason of
common-law relationships.The court, however, said that being the only sister and nearest collateral relative of the
the lack of the donation made by the deceased to deceased, filed a claim over the property, by virtue of a an
Respondent does not necessarily mean that the affidavit of self-adjudication executed by her in 1962, had the
Petitioner will have exclusive rights to the disputed property land declared in her name and paid the estate and
because the relationship between Felix and Respondent inheritance taxes thereon. The lower court of Sorsogon
were legitimated by marriage. declared that the donation was valid inasmuch as it was
made at the time when Felix and Petronila were not yet
Matabuena v. Cervantes spouses, rendering Article 133 of the Civil Code inapplicable.
I
Facts: SSUE:
In 1956, Felix Matabuena, the brother of the plaintiff, Whether or not the ban on donation between spouses during
donated a property to his common-law spouse, Petronila a marriage applies to a common-law
Cervantes. In 1962, six years after the donation of property, relationship.
Felix Matabuena and Petronila Cervantes got married. In the
same year, after five months, Felix Matabuena died. Being HELD:
the only sister and the nearest collateral relative of the While Article 133 of the Civil Code considers as void a
deceased, Cornelia Matabuena filed a claim over the donation between the spouses during marriage, policy
property. The lower court of Sorsogon then declared that the consideration of the most exigent character as well as the
donation was valid as long as it happened before Felix dictates of morality requires that the same prohibition should
Matabuena and Petronila Cervantes got married. This apply to a common-law relationship. As stated in
decision was in accordance with the Article 133 of Civil Code Buenaventura vs. Bautista (50 OG 3679, 1954), if the policy
which states that donation made between spouses is null of the law is to prohibit donations in favor of the other
and void. consort and his descendants because of fear of undue and
Issue: improper pressure and influence upon the donor, then there
Whether or not the ban of donation between spouses applies is every reason to apply the same prohibitive policy to
to a common-law relationship. persons living
Rulings: together as husband and wife without the benefit of nuptials.
Supplying the legislative omission, the court ruled that the The lack of validity of the donation by the deceased to
ban of donation between spouses applies to a common-law appellee does not necessarily result in appellant having
relationship. However, the lack of validity of the donation of exclusive right to the disputed property. As a widow,
Felix Matabuena to Petronila Cervantes does not necessarily Cervantes is entitled to one-half of the inheritance, and the
result to plaintiff having exclusive rights to the disputed surviving sister to the other half. Article 1001, Civil Code:
property. Because Petronila and Felix Matabuena were Should brothers and sisters or their children survive with the
legally married before Felix died, Petronila is his widow. widow or widower, the latter shall be entitled to one-half of
Hence, she is entitled to 1/2 of the property of the deceased. the inheritance and the brothers and sisters or their children
The other half would be given to Felix Matabuenas sister, to the
Cornelia Matabuena. other half.

Matabuena v. Cervantes Matabuena vs. Cervantes


Appellants brother Felix Matabuena donated a piece of lot to
A donation between spouses during marriage is void. his common-law spouse, herein appellee Petronila
Donation in this case was made where there was no Cervantes. Felix and Petronila got married only in 1962 or
marriage yet, the persons being common-law spouses. The six years after the deed of donation was executed. After the
rule should apply to both married spouses and to persons death of Feliz, Cornelia Matabuena, by reason of being the
living together as husband and wife without the benefit of only sister and nearest collateral relative of the deceased,
marriage. If there is any occasion where the principle of filed a claim over the property, by virtue of an affidavit of self-
statutory construction that what is within the spirit of the law adjudication executed and had the land declared in her
is as much a part of it as what is written this is it. Omission name and paid the estate and inheritance taxes thereon.
must be remedied by adherence to its avowed objectives. Cornelia cites Art. 133 which provides that Every donation
between the spouses during the marriage shall be void. The
PAGUIA SAYS: lower court of Sorsogon declared that the donation was valid
inasmuch as it was made at the time when Felix and
1. The law is clear, only donations between spouses are Petronila were not yet spouses, rendering Article 133 of the
void. Civil Code inapplicable.

2. Rights are rooted in human needs and wants. The law in ISSUE:
this case is clear but the law violates morality and public Whether or not the ban on donation between spouses during
policy (but it is not violative of the constitution or other laws). a marriage applies to a common-law relationship.
Here, public policy should be invoked. Rights may be waived
unless they are prejudicial to third persons. Here, the right HELD:
(to the land) was waived, violating the rights of the children Yes. While Article 133 of the Civil Code considers as void a
and other heirs.) donation between the spouses during marriage, policy
consideration of the most exigent character as well as the
COMPARISON BETWEEN VELASCO VS. LOPEZ AND dictates of morality requires that the same prohibition should
MATABUENA VS. CERVANTES apply to a common-law relationship. It is a fundamental
principle in statutory construction that what is within the spirit
The facts of the case does not apply squarely to the law in of the law is as much a part of the law as what is written.
Matabuena because the law pertains to married couples, Since the reason for the ban on donations between spouses
and the case involves an unmarried couple. during the marriage is too prevent the possibility of undue
influence and improper pressure being exerted by one
In Velasco, the law applies squarely to the case. spouse on the other, there is no reason why this prohibition
shall not apply also to common-law relationships.
Velasco vs. Lopez
As stated in Buenaventura vs. Bautista (50 OG 3679, 1954),
The law requiring the formalities of wills are clear. The if the policy of the law is to prohibit donations in favor of the
language of the law is too plain and unambiguous to justify other consort and his descendants because of fear of undue
the courts in entering upon such inquiries for the purpose of and improper pressure and influence upon the donor, then
ascertaining the legislative intent. We must administer the there is every reason to apply the same prohibitive policy to
law not as we think it ought to be but as we find it and persons living together as husband and wife without the
without regard to the consequences. benefit of nuptials.

Matabuena v. Cervantes The lack of validity of the donation by the deceased to


G.R. No. L-28771, March 31, 1971 appellee does not necessarily result in appellant having
exclusive right to the disputed property. As a widow,
FACTS: Cervantes is entitled to one-half of the inheritance, and the
surviving sister to the other half.