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G.R. No. 128314 May 29, 2002 The court required the parties to submit their respective nominees for the position.6 Both
RODOLFO V. JAO, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS and PERICO V. failed to comply, whereupon the trial court ordered that the petition be archived.7
JAO, respondents.
Subsequently, Perico moved that the intestate proceedings be revived.8 After the parties
Rodolfo and Perico Jao were the only sons of the spouses Ignacio Jao Tayag and Andrea submitted the names of their respective nominees, the trial court designated Justice Carlos
V. Jao, who died intestate in 1988 and 1989, respectively. The decedents left real estate, L. Sundiam as special administrator of the estate of Ignacio Jao Tayag and Andrea Jao.9
cash, shares of stock and other personal properties.
On April 6, 1994, the motion to dismiss filed by petitioner Rodolfo was denied, to wit:
On April 17, 1991, Perico instituted a petition for issuance of letters of administration before
the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 99, over the estate of his parents, A mere perusal of the death certificates of the spouses issued separately in 1988
docketed as Special Proceedings No. Q-91-8507.1Pending the appointment of a regular and 1989, respectively, confirm the fact that Quezon City was the last place of
administrator, Perico moved that he be appointed as special administrator. He alleged that residence of the decedents. Surprisingly, the entries appearing on the death
his brother, Rodolfo, was gradually dissipating the assets of the estate. More particularly, certificate of Andrea V. Jao were supplied by movant, Rodolfo V. Jao, whose
Rodolfo was receiving rentals from real properties without rendering any accounting, and signature appears in said document. Movant, therefore, cannot disown his own
forcibly opening vaults belonging to their deceased parents and disposing of the cash and representation by taking an inconsistent position other than his own admission. xxx
valuables therein. xxx xxx.

Rodolfo moved for the dismissal of the petition on the ground of improper venue.2 He WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing consideration, this court DENIES for lack
argued that the deceased spouses did not reside in Quezon City either during their lifetime of merit movants motion to dismiss.
or at the time of their deaths. The decedents actual residence was in Angeles City,
Pampanga, where his late mother used to run and operate a bakery. As the health of his SO ORDERED.10
parents deteriorated due to old age, they stayed in Rodolfos residence at 61 Scout Gandia
Street, Quezon City, solely for the purpose of obtaining medical treatment and
Rodolfo filed a petition for certiorari with the Court of Appeals, which was docketed as CA-
hospitalization. Rodolfo submitted documentary evidence previously executed by the
G.R. SP No. 35908. On December 11, 1996, the Court of Appeals rendered the assailed
decedents, consisting of income tax returns, voters affidavits, statements of assets and
decision, the dispositive portion of which reads:
liabilities, real estate tax payments, motor vehicle registration and passports, all indicating
that their permanent residence was in Angeles City, Pampanga. 1wphi 1.nt

WHEREFORE, no error, much less any grave abuse of discretion of the court a
quo having been shown, the petition for certiorari is hereby DISMISSED. The
In his opposition,3 Perico countered that their deceased parents actually resided in
questioned order of the respondent Judge is affirmed in toto. SO ORDERED.11
Rodolfos house in Quezon City at the time of their deaths. As a matter of fact, it was
conclusively declared in their death certificates that their last residence before they died
was at 61 Scout Gandia Street, Quezon City.4 Rodolfo himself even supplied the entry Rodolfos motion for reconsideration was denied by the Court of Appeals in the assailed
appearing on the death certificate of their mother, Andrea, and affixed his own signature resolution dated February 17, 1997.12 Hence, this petition for review, anchored on the
on the said document. following grounds:

Rodolfo filed a rejoinder, stating that he gave the information regarding the decedents I RESPONDENT COURT HAD DECIDED A QUESTION OF SUBSTANCE IN A
residence on the death certificates in good faith and through honest mistake. He gave his WAY NOT IN ACCORD WITH THE LAW AND IS DIRECTLY CONTRADICTORY
residence only as reference, considering that their parents were treated in their late years TO THE APPLICABLE DECISION ALREADY RENDERED BY THIS
at the Medical City General Hospital in Mandaluyong, Metro Manila. Their stay in his house HONORABLE COURT.
was merely transitory, in the same way that they were taken at different times for the same
purpose to Pericos residence at Legaspi Towers in Roxas Boulevard. The death II RESPONDENT COURT ERRED IN DISREGARDING THE RULING OF THIS
certificates could not, therefore, be deemed conclusive evidence of the decedents HONORABLE COURT IN THE CASE OF EUSEBIO VS. EUSEBIO, 100 PHILS.
residence in light of the other documents showing otherwise.5
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593, WHICH CLEARLY INTERPRETED WHAT IS MEANT BY RESIDENCE IN in which he had estate. The court first taking cognizance of the settlement of the
SEC. 1 OF RULE 73 OF THE RULES OF COURT. estate of a decedent shall exercise jurisdiction to the exclusion of all other courts.
The jurisdiction assumed by a court, so far as it depends on the place of residence
III RESPONDENT COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT PHYSICAL PRESENCE of the decedent, or of the location of his estate, shall not be contested in a suit or
IN A PLACE AT THE TIME OF DEATH IS DETERMINATIVE OF DECEDENTS proceeding, except in an appeal from that court, in the original case, or when the
RESIDENCE RATHER THAN THE INTENTION OF THE DECEDENTS TO want of jurisdiction appears on the record. (underscoring ours)
ESTABLISH THEIR PERMANENT RESIDENCE IN ANOTHER PLACE.
Clearly, the estate of an inhabitant of the Philippines shall be settled or letters of
IV RESPONDENT COURT ERRED IN APPLYING BY ANALOGY THE administration granted in the proper court located in the province where the
RESIDENCE CONTEMPLATED IN SEC. 2 OF RULE 4 FOR THE PURPOSE OF decedent resides at the time of his death.
SERVING SUMMONS TO A DEFENDANT IN A PERSONAL ACTION TO THE
RESIDENCE CONTEMPLATED IN SEC. 1 OF RULE 73 FOR THE PURPOSE OF Petitioner Rodolfo invokes our ruling in the case of Eusebio v. Eusebio, et al.,14 where we
DETERMINING VENUE IN THE SETTLEMENT OF THE ESTATE OF A held that the situs of settlement proceedings shall be the place where the decedent had
DECEASED. his permanent residence or domicile at the time of death. In determining residence at the
time of death, the following factors must be considered, namely, the decedent had: (a)
V RESPONDENT COURT ERRED IN GIVING MORE WEIGHT TO THE ENTRY capacity to choose and freedom of choice; (b) physical presence at the place chosen; and
OF PETITIONER AND PRIVATE RESPONDENT IN THE RESPECTIVE DEATH (c) intention to stay therein permanently.15 While it appears that the decedents in this case
CERTIFICATES OF THE DECEDENTS RATHER THAN THE OVERWHELMING chose to be physically present in Quezon City for medical convenience, petitioner avers
EVIDENCE SHOWING THE CLEAR INTENTION OF THE DECEDENTS TO that they never adopted Quezon City as their permanent residence. 1wphi1.nt

ESTABLISH THEIR PERMANENT RESIDENCE IN ANGELES CITY.


The contention lacks merit.
VI RESPONDENT COURT ERRED IN APPLYING THE PRINCIPLE OF
ESTOPPEL AS AGAINST PETITIONER WHICH CAN NOT BE MORE The facts in Eusebio were different from those in the case at bar. The decedent therein,
PERSUASIVE THAN THE CLEAR INTENTION OF THE DECEDENTS Andres Eusebio, passed away while in the process of transferring his personal belongings
THEMSELVES TO ESTABLISH PERMANENT RESIDENCE IN ANGELES CITY. to a house in Quezon City. He was then suffering from a heart ailment and was advised
by his doctor/son to purchase a Quezon City residence, which was nearer to his doctor.
VII RESPONDENT COURT ERRED IN DISMISSING THE PETITION FOR While he was able to acquire a house in Quezon City, Eusebio died even before he could
CERTIORARI DESPITE THE CLEAR ABUSE OF DISCRETION ON THE PART move therein. In said case, we ruled that Eusebio retained his domicile --- and hence,
OF THE TRIAL COURT IN INSISTING TO TAKE COGNIZANCE OF SP. residence --- in San Fernando, Pampanga. It cannot be said that Eusebio changed his
PROCEEDING NO. Q-91-8507.13 residence because, strictly speaking, his physical presence in Quezon City was just
temporary.
The main issue before us is: where should the settlement proceedings be had --- in
Pampanga, where the decedents had their permanent residence, or in Quezon City, where In the case at bar, there is substantial proof that the decedents have transferred to
they actually stayed before their demise? petitioners Quezon City residence. Petitioner failed to sufficiently refute respondents
assertion that their elderly parents stayed in his house for some three to four years before
Rule 73, Section 1 of the Rules of Court states: they died in the late 1980s.

Where estate of deceased persons be settled. If the decedent is an inhabitant of Furthermore, the decedents respective death certificates state that they were both
the Philippines at the time of his death, whether a citizen or an alien, his will shall residents of Quezon City at the time of their demise. Significantly, it was petitioner himself
be proved, or letters of administration granted, and his estate settled, in the Court who filled up his late mothers death certificate. To our mind, this unqualifiedly shows that
of First Instance in the province in which he resides at the time of his death, and if at that time, at least, petitioner recognized his deceased mothers residence to be Quezon
he is an inhabitant of a foreign country, the Court of First Instance of any province City. Moreover, petitioner failed to contest the entry in Ignacios death certificate,
accomplished a year earlier by respondent.
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The recitals in the death certificates, which are admissible in evidence, were thus properly Petitioner strains to differentiate between the venue provisions found in Rule 4, Section
considered and presumed to be correct by the court a quo. We agree with the appellate 2,18 on ordinary civil actions, and Rule 73, Section 1, which applies specifically to
courts observation that since the death certificates were accomplished even before settlement proceedings. He argues that while venue in the former understandably refers
petitioner and respondent quarreled over their inheritance, they may be relied upon to to actual physical residence for the purpose of serving summons, it is the permanent
reflect the true situation at the time of their parents death. residence of the decedent which is significant in Rule 73, Section 1. Petitioner insists that
venue for the settlement of estates can only refer to permanent residence or domicile
The death certificates thus prevailed as proofs of the decedents residence at the time of because it is the place where the records of the properties are kept and where most of the
death, over the numerous documentary evidence presented by petitioner. To be sure, the decedents properties are located.
documents presented by petitioner pertained not toresidence at the time of death, as
required by the Rules of Court, but to permanent residence or domicile. In Garcia-Fule Petitioners argument fails to persuade.
v. Court of Appeals,16 we held:
It does not necessarily follow that the records of a persons properties are kept in the place
xxx xxx xxx the term "resides" connotes ex vi termini "actual residence" as where he permanently resides. Neither can it be presumed that a persons properties can
distinguished from "legal residence or domicile." This term "resides", like the terms be found mostly in the place where he establishes his domicile. It may be that he has his
"residing" and "residence", is elastic and should be interpreted in the light of the domicile in a place different from that where he keeps his records, or where he maintains
object or purpose of the statute or rule in which it is employed. In the application extensive personal and business interests. No generalizations can thus be formulated on
of venue statutes and rules Section 1, Rule 73 of the Revised Rules of Court is the matter, as the question of where to keep records or retain properties is entirely
of such nature residence rather than domicile is the significant factor. Even dependent upon an individuals choice and peculiarities.
where the statute uses the word "domicile" still it is construed as meaning
residence and not domicile in the technical sense. Some cases make a distinction At any rate, petitioner is obviously splitting straws when he differentiates between venue
between the terms "residence" and "domicile" but as generally used in statutes in ordinary civil actions and venue in special proceedings. In Raymond v. Court of
fixing venue, the terms are synonymous, and convey the same meaning as the Appeals19 and Bejer v. Court of Appeals,20 we ruled that venue for ordinary civil actions
term "inhabitant." In other words, "resides" should be viewed or understood in its and that for special proceedings have one and the same meaning. As thus defined,
popular sense, meaning, the personal, actual or physical habitation of a person, "residence", in the context of venue provisions, means nothing more than a persons actual
actual residence or place of abode. It signifies physical presence in a place and residence or place of abode, provided he resides therein with continuity and
actual stay thereat. In this popular sense, the term means merely residence, that consistency.21 All told, the lower court and the Court of Appeals correctly held that venue
is, personal residence, not legal residence or domicile. Residence simply requires for the settlement of the decedents intestate estate was properly laid in the Quezon City
bodily presence as an inhabitant in a given place, while domicile requires bodily court. WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the petition is DENIED, and the decision of
presence in that place and also an intention to make it ones domicile. No particular the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 35908 is AFFIRMED. SO ORDERED.
length of time of residence is required though; however, the residence must be
more than temporary.17

Both the settlement court and the Court of Appeals found that the decedents have been
living with petitioner at the time of their deaths and for some time prior thereto. We find this
conclusion to be substantiated by the evidence on record. A close perusal of the
challenged decision shows that, contrary to petitioners assertion, the court below
considered not only the decedents physical presence in Quezon City, but also other
factors indicating that the decedents stay therein was more than temporary. In the
absence of any substantial showing that the lower courts factual findings stemmed from
an erroneous apprehension of the evidence presented, the same must be held to be
conclusive and binding upon this Court.

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G.R. No. L-33006 December 8, 1982 FOR:
NICANOR NACAR, petitioner, vs. CLAUDIO A. NISTAL as Municipal Judge of
Esperanza, Agusan del Sur, PROVINCIAL SHERIFF of Agusan del Sur, ILDEFONSO Versus
JAPITANA and ANTONIO DOLORICON, respondents.
CLAIM AGAINST THE ESTATE NICANOR NACAR THE LATE ISABELO NACAR
Nicanor Nacar filed this petition for certiorari, prohibition, and mandamus with preliminary WITH Defendant. PRELIMINARY ATTACHMENT x ---------------------------------x
injunction to annul an order of the respondent judge of the municipal court of Esperanza,
Agusan del Sur directing the attachment of seven (7) carabaos, to effect the return of four COMPLAINT
(4) carabaos seized under the questioned order, and to stop the respondent judge from
further proceeding in Civil Case No. 65.
COMES NOW the undersigned plaintiff and before this Honorable Court,
respectfully avers:
Respondent Ildefonso Japitana filed the complaint in Civil Case No. 65 and entitled it
"Claim Against the Estate of the Late Isabelo Nacar With Preliminary Attachment:" On the
xxx xxx xxx
basis of this complaint, including an allegation "that defendant are (sic) about to remove
and dispose the above-named property (seven carabaos) with intent to defraud plaintiff
herein", and considering that Mr. Japitana had given security according to the Rules of That at various dates since the year 1968, the defendant have (sic) incurred
Court, Judge Nistal issued the order commanding the provincial sheriff to attach the seven indebtedness to the plaintiff in the total sum of TWO THOUSAND SEVEN
(7) heads of cattle in the possession of petitioner Nicanor Nacar. Actually only four (4) HUNDRED NINETY ONE (P2,791.00) PESOS, which said amount had long been
carabaos were attached because three (3) carabaos had earlier been slaughtered during overdue for payment, and which the defendant up to this date have (sic) not been
the rites preceding the burial of the late Isabelo Nacar. able to pay, despite repeated demands from the plaintiff;

Nicanor Nacar filed a motion to dismiss, to dissolve writ of preliminary attachment, and to That the defendant Isabelo Nacar died last April, 1970 leaving among other things
order the return of the carabaos. Private respondent Japitana filed an opposition to this personal property consisting seven (7) heads of carabaos now in the possession
motion while intervenor Antonio Doloricon filed a complaint in intervention asserting that of the defendant Nicanor Nacar;
he was the owner of the attached carabaos and that the certificates of ownership of large
cattle were in his name. That plaintiff herein file a claim against the estate of the late Isabelo Nacar to
recover the aforementioned sum of P2,791.99;
The respondent Judge denied the motion to dismiss prompting Mr. Nacar to come to the
Supreme Court. That defendant are (sic) about to remove and dispose the above mentioned
property with intent to defraud plaintiff herein;
In a resolution dated January 12, 1971, this Court, upon the posting of a bond in the
amount of P1,000.00, directed the issuance of a preliminary mandatory injunction. The That plaintiff is willing to put up a bond for the issuance of a preliminary attachment
respondents were enjoined from further enforcing the writ of attachment and to return the in an amount to be fixed by the Court, not exceeding the sum of P 2,791.00 which
seized carabaos. The judge was restrained from further proceeding with Civil Case No. is the plaintiff's claim herein;
65.
WHEREFORE, it is respectfully prayed that pending the hearing of this case, a writ
We find the petition meritorious. of preliminary attachment be issued against the properties of the defendant to
serve as security for the payment or satisfaction of any judgment that may be
The pertinent portions of the complaint filed by Mr. Japitana with the municipal court read recovered herein; and that after due hearing on the principal against the defendant
as follows: for the sum of P 2,791,00 with legal interest from September 15, 1970 plus costs
of this suit. (Annex "A", p. 7 rollo).
ILDEFONSO JAPITANA Civil Case No. 65 Plaintiff,

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In his motion to dismiss, the petitioner raised the issue of lack of jurisdiction and absence and all the paragraphs of which are incidentally unnumbered, expressly states as a
of a cause of action. Mr. Nacar averred that the indebtedness mentioned in the complaint material averment:
was alleged to have been incurred by the late Isabelo Nacar and not by Nicanor Nacar.
There was, therefore, no cause of action against him. The petitioner also stated that a xxx xxx xxx
municipal court has no jurisdiction to entertain an action involving a claim filed against the
estate of a deceased person. That plaintiff herein file (sic) a claim against the estate of the late Isabelo Nacar to recover
the aforementioned sum of P2,791.00;
The same grounds have been raised in this petition. Mr. Nacar contends:
xxx xxx xxx
xxx xxx xxx
Under the circumstances of this case, respondent Japitana has no cause of action against
9. That the respondent judge acted without jurisdiction.The municipal courts or petitioner Nacar. Mathay v. Consolidated Bank and Trust Company (58 SCRA 559) gives
inferior courts have NO jurisdiction to settle the estate of deceased persons. The the elements of a valid cause of action:
proper remedy is for the creditor to file the proper proceedings in the court of first
instance and file the corresponding claim. But assuming without admitting that the A cause of action is an act or omission of one party in violation of the legal right of
respondent judge had jurisdiction, it is very patent that he committed a very grave the other. Its essential elements are, namely: (1) the existence of a legal right in
abuse of discretion and totally disregarded the provisions of the Rules of Court and the plaintiff, (2) a correlative legal duty in the defendant, and (3) an act or omission
decisions of this honorable Court when he issued an ex-parte writ of preliminary of the defendant in violation of plaintiff's right with consequential injury or damage
attachment, when there is no showing that the plaintiff therein has a sufficient to the plaintiff for which he may maintain an action for the recovery of damages or
cause of action, that there is no other security for the claim sought to be enforced other appropriate relief. ( Ma-ao Sugar Central Co., Inc. vs. Barrios, et al., 79 Phil.
by the plaintiff; or that the amount claimed in the action is as much as the sum for 666, 667; Ramitere et al. vs. Montinola Vda. de Yulo, et al., L-19751, February 28,
which the order is prayed for above all legal counterclaims; There was no bond to 1966, 16 SCRA 251, 255). On the other hand, Section 3 of Rule 6 of the Rules of
answer for whatever damages that herein petitioner may suffer; (Rollo, pp. 3- 4). Court provides that the complaint must state the ultimate facts constituting the
plaintiff's cause of action. Hence, where the complaint states ultimate facts that
xxx xxx xxx constitute the three essential elements of a cause of action, the complaint states
a cause of action; (Community Investment and Finance Corp. vs. Garcia, 88 Phil.
The respondent judge tried to avoid the consequences of the issues raised in the motion 215, 218) otherwise, the complaint must succumb to a motion to dismiss on that
to dismiss by stating that although the title of the complaint styled it a claim against the ground.
estate of the late Isabelo Nacar, the allegations showed that the nature of the action was
really for the recovery of an indebtedness in the amount of P2,791.99. Indeed, although respondent Japitana may have a legal right to recover an indebtedness
due him, petitioner Nicanor Nacar has no correlative legal duty to pay the debt for the
The rule cited by the judge is correctly stated but it is hardly relevant to the contents of the simple reason that there is nothing in the complaint to show that he incurred the debt or
complaint filed by Mr. Japitana. had anything to do with the creation of the liability. As far as the debt is concerned, there
is no allegation or showing that the petitioner had acted in violation of Mr. Japitana's rights
It is patent from the portions of the complaint earlier cited that the allegations are not only with consequential injury or damage to the latter as would create a cause of action against
vague and ambiguous but downright misleading. The second paragraph of the body of the the former.
complaint states that the defendant (herein petitioner Nicanor Nacar) at various dates
since the year 1968 incurred debts to the plaintiff in the sum of P2,791.00. And yet, in the It is also patent from the complaint that respondent Japitana filed the case against
subsequent paragraphs, one clearly gathers that the debts were actually incurred by the petitioner Nacar to recover seven (7) heads of carabaos allegedly belonging to Isabelo
late Isabelo Nacar, who died several months before the filing of the complaint. The Nacar which Japitana wanted to recover from the possession of the petitioner to answer
complaint which the respondent judge reads as one for the collection of a sum of money for the outstanding debt of the late Isabelo Nacar. This matter, however, is only ancillary
to the main action. The ancillary matter does not cure a fatal defect in the complaint for the

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main action is for the recovery of an outstanding debt of the late lsabelo Nacar due 72. See also De Jesus, et al. vs. Belarmino et al., 95 Phil. 365, 371; Dalandan, et
respondent Japitana, a cause of action about which petitioner Nacar has nothing to do. at. vs. Julio, et al., L- 19101, February 29, 1964, 10 SCRA 400; Ramitere et al. vs.
Montinola Vda. de Yulo, et al., L-19751, February 28, 1966, 16 SCRA 250, 254;
In fact the fatal defect in the complaint was noticed by the respondent court when it advised Acuna vs. Batac Producers Cooperative Marketing Association, Inc., et al., L-
respondent Japitana to amend his complaint to conform with his evidence and from the 20338, June 30, 1967, 20 SCRA 526, 531)
court's admission that it was inclined to dismiss the case were it not for the complaint in
intervention of respondent Doloricon. Respondent Doloricon filed his complaint for Hence, it was error for the respondent court not to dismiss the case simply because
intervention on the ground that the four carabaos, subject of the writ of attachment, were respondent Doloricon filed the complaint for intervention alleging that he owned the
actually his carabaos. Thus, the respondent court in its Order denying the petitioner's carabaos.
motion to dismiss, to dissolve writ of preliminary attachment and in order the return of the
carabaos said: Moreover, even assuming that respondent Japitana had a legal right to the carabaos which
were in the possession of petitioner Nacar, the proper procedure would not be to file an
... Antonio Doloricon manifested before this Court that he is filing a third-party action for the recovery of the outstanding debts of the late Isabelo Nacar against his
complaint alleging that he is the true and lawful owner of the carabaos in questions. stepfather, the petitioner Nacar as defendant. As we said in Maspil v. Romero (61 SCRA
197):
IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING, this Court for the interest of both parties will
not for the meantime dismiss this case. Antonio Doloricon is hereby given 10 days Appropriate actions for the enforcement or defense of rights must be taken in
from receipt hereof within which to file his third-party complaint. The plaintiff who accordance with procedural rules and cannot be left to the whims or caprices of
in his opposition to defendant's motion to dismiss pray (sic) for the custody of the litigants. It cannot even be left to the untrammeled discretion of the courts of justice
carabaos. This Court further requires plaintiff to put up the additional bond of P without sacrificing uniformity and equality in the application and effectivity thereof.
I,000.00 after which the latter may be entitled of (sic) the custody of the carabaos
subject of litigation pending final termination of this case. (Rollo, pp. 18-19) Considering the foregoing, the respondent court's denial of the motion to dismiss the
complaint and its issuance of a writ of attachment based on the allegations of the complaint
The respondent court's reason for not dismissing the case is contrary to applicable are improper. With this conclusion, we find no need to discuss the other issue on whether
precedents on the matter. We ruled in Mathay v. Consolidated Bank and Trust Company, or not the procedural rules on the issuance of a writ of attachment were followed by the
supra: respondent court in issuing the subject writ of attachment.

Section I, Rule 16 of the Rules of Court, providing in part that: WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby granted. The preliminary mandatory injunction issued
on January 13, 1971 is made permanent and the cash bond filed by the petitioner in
Within the time for pleading a motion to dismiss may be made on any of connection therewith is ordered returned to him.
the following grounds; ...
SO ORDERED.
(g) That the complaint states no cause of action. ...

explicitly requires that the sufficiency of the complaint must be tested exclusively on the
basis of the complaint itself and no other should be considered when the ground for motion
to dismiss is that the complaint states no cause of action. Pursuant thereto this Court has
ruled that:

As a rule the sufficiency of the complaint, when challenged in a motion to dismiss,


must be determined exclusively on the basis of the facts alleged therein' (Uy Chao
vs. De La Rama Steamship Co., Inc., L-14495, September 29, 1962, 6 SCRA 69,
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G.R. No. L-4275 March 23, 1909 1. The fact that the court below found that an ordinary action for the acknowledgment of
PAULA CONDE, plaintiff-appellee, vs. ROMAN ABAYA, defendant-appellant. natural children under articles 135 and 137 of the Civil Code, might be brought in special
probate proceedings.
From the hearing of the appeal interposed by Roman Abaya in the special proceedings
brought in the Court of First Instance of La Laguna for the settlement of the intestate estate 2. The finding that after the death of a person claimed to be an unacknowledged natural
and the distribution of the property of Casiano Abaya it appears: child, the mother of such presumed natural child, as heir to the latter, may bring an action
to enforce the acknowledgment of her deceased child in accordance with articles 135 and
I. As antecedents: that Casiano Abaya, unmarried, the son of Romualdo Abaya and 137 of the Civil Code.
Sabrina Labadia, died on the 6th of April, 1899; that Paula Conde, as the mother of the
natural children Jose and Teopista Conde, whom the states she had by Casiano Abaya, 3. The finding in the judgment that the alleged continuos possession of the deceased
on the 6th of November, 1905, moved the settlement of the said intestate succession; that children of Paula Conde of the status of natural children of the late Casiano Abaya, has
an administrator having been appointed for the said estate on the 25th of November, 1905, been fully proven in these proceedings; and
Roman Abaya, a son of the said Romualdo Abaya and Sabrina Labadia, the parents of
the late Casiano Abaya, came forward and opposed said appointment and claimed it for 4. On the hypothesis that it was proper to adjudicate the property of this intestate estate to
himself as being the nearest relative of the deceased; that this was granted by the court Paula Conde, as improperly found by the court below, the court erred in not having
below on the 9th of January, 1906; that on the 17th of November, 1906, Roman Abaya declared that said property should be reserved in favor of relatives of Casiano Abaya to
moved that, after due process of law, the court declare him to be the sole heir of Casiano the third degree, and in not having previously demanded securities from Paula Conde to
Abaya, to the exclusion of all other persons, especially of Paula Conde, and to be therefore guarantee the transmission of the property to those who might fall within the reservation.
entitled to take possession of all the property of said estate, and that it be adjudicated to
him; and that on November 22, 1906, the court ordered the publication of notices for the As to the first error assigned, the question is set up as to whether in special proceedings
declaration of heirs and distribution of the property of the estate. for the administration and distribution of an intestate estate, an action might be brought to
enforce the acknowledgment of the natural child of the person from whom the inheritance
II. That on the 28th of November, 1906, Paula Conde, in replying to the foregoing motion is derived, that is to say, whether one might appear as heir on the ground that he is a
of Roman Abaya, filed a petition wherein she stated that she acknowledged the recognized natural child of the deceased, not having been so recognized by the deceased
relationship alleged by Roman Abaya, but that she considered that her right was superior either voluntarily or compulsorily by reason of a preexisting judicial decision, but asking at
to his and moved for a hearing of the matter, and, in consequence of the evidence that she the same time that, in the special proceeding itself, he be recognized by the presumed
intended to present she prayed that she be declared to have preferential rights to the legitimate heirs of the deceased who claim to be entitled to the succession opened in the
property left by Casiano Abaya, and that the same be adjudicated to her together with the special proceeding.
corresponding products thereof.
According to section 782 of the Code of Civil Procedure
III. That the trial was held, both parties presenting documentary and oral evidence, and
the court below entered the following judgment: If there shall be a controversy before the Court of First Instance as to who the
lawful heirs of the deceased person are, or as to the distributive share to which
That the administrator of the estate of Casiano Abaya should recognize Teopista each person is entitled under the law, the testimony as to such controversy shall
and Jose Conde as being natural children of Casiano Abaya; that the petitioner be taken in writing by the judge, under oath, and signed by the witness. Any party
Paula Conde should succeed to the hereditary rights of her children with respect in interest whose distributive share is affected by the determination of such
to the inheritance of their deceased natural father Casiano Abaya; and therefore, controversy, may appeal from the judgment of the Court of First Instance
it is hereby declared that she is the only heir to the property of the said intestate determining such controversy to the Supreme Court, within the time and in the
estate, to the exclusion of the administrator, Roman Abaya. manner provided in the last preceding section.

IV. That Roman Abaya excepted to the foregoing judgment, appealed to this court, and This court has decided the present question in the manner shown in the case of Juana
presented the following statement of errors: Pimentel vs. Engracio Palanca (5 Phil. Rep., 436.)

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The main question with regard to the second error assigned, is whether or not the mother If legitimacy is the attribute that constitutes the basis of the absolute family rights of the
of a natural child now deceased, but who survived the person who, it is claimed, was his child, the acknowledgment of the natural child is, among illegitimate ones, that which unites
natural father, also deceased, may bring an action for the acknowledgment of the natural him to the family of the father or the mother who recognized him, and affords him a
filiation in favor of such child in order to appear in his behalf to receive the inheritance from participation in the rights of the family, relatively advantageous according to whether they
the person who is supposed to be his natural father. are alone or whether they concur with other individuals of the family of his purely natural
father or mother.
In order to decide in the affirmative the court below has assigned the following as the only
foundation: Thus, in order to consider the spirit of the Civil Code, nothing is more logical than to
establish a comparison between an action to claim the legitimacy, and one to enforce
In resolving a similar question Manresa says: "An acknowledgment can only be acknowledgment.
demanded by the natural child and his descendants whom it shall benefit, and
should they be minors or otherwise incapacitated, such person as legally ART. 118. The action to claim its legitimacy may be brought by the child at any
represents them; the mother may ask it in behalf of her child so long as he is under time of its lifetime and shall be transmitted to its heirs, should it die during minority
her authority." On this point no positive declaration has been made, undoubtedly or in a state of insanity. In such cases the heirs shall be allowed a period of five
because it was not considered necessary. A private action is in question and the years in which to institute the action.
general rule must be followed. Elsewhere the same author adds: "It may so happen
that the child dies before four years have expired after attaining majority, or that The action already instituted by the child is transmitted by its death to the heirs, if it has
the document supporting his petition for acknowledgment is discovered after his not lapsed before then.
death, such death perhaps occurring after his parents had died, as is supposed by
article 137, or during their lifetime. In any case such right of action shall pertain to ART. 137. The actions for the acknowledgment of natural children can be
the descendants of the child whom the acknowledgment may interest." (See instituted only during the life of the presumed parents, except in the following
Commentaries to arts. 135 and 137, Civil Code, Vol. I.) cases:

The above doctrine, advanced by one of the most eminent commentators of the Civil Code, 1. If the father or mother died during the maturity of the child, in which case the
lacks legal and doctrinal foundation. The power to transmit the right of such action by the latter may institute the action before the expiration of the first four years of its
natural child to his descendants can not be sustained under the law, and still less to his maturity.
mother.
2. If, after the death of the father or mother, some instrument, before unknown,
It is without any support in law because the rule laid down in the code is most positive, should be discovered in which the child is expressly acknowledged.
limiting in form, when establishing the exception for the exercise of such right of action
after the death of the presumed parents, as is shown hereafter. It is not supported by any
In this case the action must be instituted with the six months following the discovery
doctrine, because up to the present time no argument has been presented, upon which
of such instrument.
even an approximate conclusion could be based.
On this supposition the first difference that results between one action and the other
Although the Civil Code considerably improved the condition of recognized natural
consists in that the right of action for legitimacy lasts during the whole lifetime of the child,
children, granting them rights and actions that they did not possess under the former laws,
that is, it can always be brought against the presumed parents or their heirs by the child
they were not, however, placed upon the same place as legitimate ones. The difference
itself, while the right of action for the acknowledgment of a natural child does not last his
that separates these two classes of children is still great, as proven by so many articles
whole lifetime, and, as a general rule, it can not be instituted against the heirs of the
dealing with the rights of the family and the succession in relation to the members thereof.
presumed parents, inasmuch as it can be exercised only during the life of the presumed
It may be laid down as legal maxim, that whatever the code does not grant to the legitimate
parents.
children, or in connection with their rights, must still less be understood as granted to
recognized natural children or in connection with their rights. There is not a single
exception in its provisions.
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SUCCESSION CASES
With regard to the question at issue, that is, the transmission to the heirs of the presumed The right of action that devolves upon the child to claim his legitimacy lasts during his
parents of the obligation to admit the legitimate filiation, or to recognize the natural filiation, whole life, while the right to claim the acknowledgment of a natural child lasts only during
there exists the most radical difference in that the former continues during the life of the the life of his presumed parents.
child who claims to be legitimate, and he may demand it either directly and primarily from
the said presumed parents, or indirectly and secondarily from the heirs of the latter; while Inasmuch as the right of action accruing to the child to claim his legitimacy lasts during his
the second does not endure for life; as a general rule, it only lasts during the life of the whole life, he may exercise it either against the presumed parents, or their heirs; while the
presumed parents. Hence the other difference, derived as a consequence, that an action right of action to secure the acknowledgment of a natural child, since it does not last during
for legitimacy is always brought against the heirs of the presumed parents in case of the his whole life, but depends on that of the presumed parents, as a general rule can only be
death of the latter, while the action for acknowledgment is not brought against the heirs of exercised against the latter.
such parents, with the exception of the two cases prescribed by article 137 transcribed
above. Usually the right of action for legitimacy devolving upon the child is of a personal character
and pertains exclusively to him, only the child may exercise it at any time during his lifetime.
So much for the passive transmission of the obligation to admit the legitimate filiation, or As an exception, and in three cases only, it may be transmitted to the heirs of the child, to
to acknowledge the natural filiation. wit, if he died during his minority, or while insane, or after action had been already
instituted.
As to the transmission to the heirs of the child of the latter's action to claim his legitimacy,
or to obtain the acknowledgment of his natural filiation, it is seen that the code grants it in An action for the acknowledgment of a natural child may, as an exception, be exercised
the first case, but not in the second. It contains provisions for the transmission of the right against the heirs of the presumed parents in two cases: first, in the event of the death of
of action which, for the purpose claiming his legitimacy inheres in the child, but it does not the latter during the minority of the child, and second, upon the discovery of some
say a word with regard to the transmission of the right to obtain the acknowledgment of instrument of express acknowledgment of the child, executed by the father or mother, the
the natural filiation. existence of which was unknown during the life of the latter.

Therefore, the respective corollary of each of the two above-cited articles is: (1) That the But such action for the acknowledgment of a natural child can only be exercised by him. It
right of action which devolves upon the child to claim his legitimacy under article 118, may can not be transmitted to his descendants, or his ascendants.
be transmitted to his heirs in certain cases designated in the said article; (2) That the right
of action for the acknowledgment of natural children to which article 137 refers, can never In support of the foregoing the following authorities may be cited:
be transmitted, for the reason that the code makes no mention of it in any case, not even
as an exception.
Sanchez Roman, in his Treatise of Civil Law, propounds the question as to whether said
action should be considered transmissive to the heirs or descendants of the natural child,
It is most illogical and contrary to every rule of correct interpretation, that the right of action whether he had or had not exercised it up to the time of his death, and decides it as follows:
to secure acknowledgment by the natural child should be presumed to be transmitted,
independently, as a rule, to his heirs, while the right of action to claim legitimacy from his
There is an entire absence of legal provisions, and at most, it might be deemed
predecessor is not expressly, independently, or, as a general rule, conceded to the heirs
admissible as a solution, that the right of action to claim the acknowledgment of a
of the legitimate child, but only relatively and as an exception. Consequently, the
natural child is transmitted by the analogy to his heirs on the same conditions and
pretension that the right of action on the part of the child to obtain the acknowledgment of
terms that it is transmitted to the descendants of a legitimate child, to claim his
his natural filiation is transmitted to his descendants is altogether unfounded. No legal
legitimacy, under article 118, but nothing more; because on this point nothing
provision exists to sustain such pretension, nor can an argument of presumption be based
warrants placing the heirs of a natural child on a better footing than those of the
on the lesser claim when there is no basis for the greater one, and when it is only given as
legitimate child, and even to compare them would not fail to be a strained and
an exception in well-defined cases. It is placing the heirs of the natural child on a better
questionable matter, and one of great difficulty for decision by the courts, for the
footing than the heirs of the legitimate one, when, as a matter of fact, the position of a
simple reason that for the heirs of the legitimate child, the said article 118 exists,
natural child is no better than, no even equal to, that of a legitimate child.
while for those of the natural child, as we have said, there is no provision in the
From the express and precise precepts of the code the following conclusions are derived:
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SUCCESSION CASES
code authorizing the same, although on the other hand there is none that prohibits consequently, not transmissive to the heirs. Really there are no legal grounds to
it. (Vol. V.) warrant the transmission. (Vol. 2, 229.)

Diaz Guijarro and Martinez Ruiz in their work on "The Civil Code as construed by the In a decision like the present one it is impossible to bring forward the argument of analogy
supreme court of Spain," commenting upon article 137, say: for the purpose of considering that the heirs of the natural child are entitled to the right of
action which article 118 concedes to the heirs of the legitimate child. The existence of a
Article 118, taking into account the privileges due to the legitimacy of children, provision for the one case and the absence thereof for the other is a conclusive argument
grants them the right to claim said legitimacy during their lifetime, and even that inclusio unius est exclusio alterius, and it can not be understood that the provision of
authorizes the transmission of said right for the space of five years to the heirs law should be the same when the same reason does not hold in the one case as in the
thereof, if the child die during his minority or in a state of insanity. But as article other.
137 is based on the consideration that in the case of a natural child, ties are less
strong and sacred in the eyes of the law, it does not fix such a long and indefinite The theory of law of transmission is also entirely inapplicable in this case. This theory,
period for the exercise of the action; it limits it to the life of the parents, excepting which in the Roman Law expressed the general rule than an heir who did not accept an
in the two cases mentioned in said article; and it does not allow, as does article inheritance during his lifetime was incapacitated from transmitting it to his own heirs,
118, the action to pass on to the heirs, inasmuch as, although it does not prohibit included at the same time the idea that if the inheritance was not transmitted because the
it, and for that reason it might be deemed on general principles of law to consent heir did not possess it, there were, however, certain things which the heir held and could
to it, such a supposition is inadmissible for the reason that a comparison of both transmit. Such was the law and the right to accept the inheritance, for the existing reason
articles shows that the silence of the law in the latter case is not, nor it can be, an that all rights, both real and personal, shall pass to the heir; quia haeres representat
omission, but a deliberate intent to establish a wide difference between the defunctum in omnibus et per omnia. According to the article 659 of the Civil Code, "the
advantages granted to a legitimate child and to a natural one. inheritance includes all the property, rights, and obligations of a person, which are not
extinguished by his death." If the mother is the heir of her natural child, and the latter,
(Ibid., Vol. II, 171.) among other rights during his lifetime was entitled to exercise an action of his
acknowledgment against his father, during the life of the latter, if after his death in some of
Navarro Amandi (Cuestionario del Cdigo Civil) raises the question: "Can the heirs of a the excepting cases of article 137, such right, which is a portion of his inheritance, is
natural child claim the acknowledgment in those cases wherein the father or mother are transmitted to his mother as being his heir, and it was so understood by the court of Rennes
under obligation to acknowledge"? And says: when it considered the right in question, not as a personal and exclusive right of the child
which is extinguished by his death, but a any other right which might be transmitted after
his death. This right of supposed transmission is even less tenable than that sought to be
Opinions are widely divergent. The court of Rennes held (on April 13, 1844) that
sustained by the argument of analogy.
the right of investigation forms a part of the estate of the child, and along with his
patrimony is transmitted to his heirs. The affirmation is altogether too categorical
to be admissible. If it were correct the same thing would happen as when the The right of action pertaining to the child to claim his legitimacy is in all respects superior
legitimacy of a child is claimed, and as already seen, the right of action to demand to that of the child who claims acknowledgment as a natural child. And it is evident that the
the legitimacy is not transmitted to the heirs in every case and as an absolute right, right of action to claim his legitimacy is not one of those rights which the legitimate child
but under certain limitations and circumstances. Now, were we to admit the may transmit by inheritance to his heirs; it forms no part of the component rights of his
doctrine of the court of Rennes, the result would be that the claim for natural filiation inheritance. If it were so, there would have been no necessity to establish its
would be more favored than one for legitimate filiation. This would be absurd, transmissibility to heirs as an exception in the terms and conditions of article 118 of the
because it can not be conceived that the legislator should have granted a right of code. So that, in order that it may constitute a portion of the child's inheritance, it is
action to the heirs of the natural child, which is only granted under great limitations necessary that the conditions and the terms contained in article 118 shall be present, since
and in very few cases to those of a legitimate one. Some persons insist that the without them, the right that the child held during his lifetime, being personal and exclusive
same rules that govern legitimate filiation apply by analogy to natural child are in principle, and therefore, as a general rule not susceptible of transmission, would and
entitled to claim it in the cases prescribed by the article 118. The majority, however, should have been extinguished by his death. Therefore, where no express provision like
are inclined to consider the right to claim acknowledgment as a personal right, and that of article 118 exists, the right of action for the acknowledgment of a natural child is, in

10
SUCCESSION CASES
principle and without exception, extinguished by his death, and can not be transmitted as
a portion of the inheritance of the deceased child.

On the other hand, if said right of action formed a part of the child's inheritance, it would
be necessary to establish the doctrine that the right to claim such an acknowledgment from
the presumed natural father and from his heirs is an absolute right of the heirs of the child,
not limited by certain circumstances as in the case of the heirs of a natural child with a
legitimate one to place the heirs of a natural child and his inheritance on a better footing
than those of a legitimate child would not only be unreasonable, but, as stated in one of
the above citations, most absurd and illegal in the present state of the law and in
accordance with the general principles thereof.

For all of the foregoing reasons we hereby reverse the judgment appealed from in all its
parts, without any special ruling as to the costs of this instance.

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G.R. No. 56700 March 28, 1983 The question to be resolved is, whether or not the defendants, Warlito and Araceli
WARLITO MABALOT and ARACELI MABALOT, petitioners, vs. THE HON. JUDGE Mabalot have the right to continue as tenants of the plaintiff from the death of Atty.
TOMAS P. MADELA, JR., in his capacity as Judge of the Court of First Instance of Armando Galvez. (Annex "A", Petitioners' Brief, p. 72, Rello.)
Manila and PEDRO V. MALIT, respondents.
As may be noted from the definition of the issue by Judge Madela, the question which was
The petitioners took a direct appeal from the decision of the Court of First Instance of raised and argued by the parties in the lower courts was the right of the petitioners to
Manila on the legal question raised by them with respect to the alleged lack of jurisdiction succeed to the lease over the subject apartment previously existing between Armando
of the City Court of Manila and the Court of First Instance of Manila to take cognizance of Galvez and the private respondent. Apparently convinced of the correctness of the holding
the basic action. of Judge Madela that they may not continue said lease inasmuch as the petitioners are
not heirs of Armando Galvez (Art. 1311, Civil Code), nor was such lease assigned by
The facts of this case, as synthesized in the decision of Judge Madela and which are Armando Galvez to the petitioners with the consent of private respondent (Art. 1649, Ibid),
impliedly admitted by the petitioners in taking this direct appeal to this Court on a pure the petitioners now rely on the alleged legal infirmity of the proceedings had in the lower
question of law, are as follows: courts by attacking their jurisdiction to take cognizance of the case.

From the records and evidence of the case, plaintiff appellant as owner of an It is the petitioners' main contention that the City Court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the
apartment No. 2262 located at Coral Street, San Andres, Manila leased it to Atty. action filed by the private respondent inasmuch as it is not an action for unlawful detainer,
Armando Galvez on a monthly basis of P200.00 a month since 1967. Staying with but one the subject matter of which is incapable of pecuniary estimation falling within the
him in said apartment is defendant Araceli Mabalot and a maid the former claiming original jurisdiction of the court of first instance pursuant to Section 44(a) of the former
to be a ward of Atty. Galvez since she was 10 years old when her mother died and Judiciary Act. Petitioners argue that an action for unlawful detainer must be filed within one
her father could not support her (t.s.n. pp. 3-4, Dec. 6, 1979). In 1970 Araceli year after the unlawful deprivation of the possession of the subject property by the
Mabalot married defendant Warlito Mabalot and continued to stay with Atty. Galvez defendant. They contend that this requirement does not exist in this case inasmuch as
until his death on August 23, 1977. After the death of Atty. Armando Galvez, the petitioner Araceli Mabalot was admittedly staying in the apartment together with Armando
arrearages for the monthly rentals of July and August were paid by Atty. Fernando Galvez since 1966, and the action to eject her was filed only on January 8, 1978. They
Galvez, a brother of the late Atty. Armando Galvez and for the month of September further point out that in paragraph 7 of the complaint, the private respondent had expressly
1977, Atty. Fernando Galvez issued a check (pay to cash) which he gave to the alleged that he denied the request of the petitioners to continue the lease of Armando
defendants-appellees to pay the plaintiff-appellant. However, the corresponding Galvez on the ground "that a lease contract is personal in nature and cannot be the subject
receipts were issued by plaintiff in the name of Atty. Fernando Galvez. of inheritance." By this allegation, so the petitioners contend, the basic issue becomes a
determination of whether or not a lease contract may be the subject of inheritance, thereby
As early as September 1, 1977, in his letter to Atty. Fernando Galvez, the plaintiff- making the action as one of the subject matter of which is not capable of pecuniary
appellant intimated that with the death of his brother, Araceli Mabalot and husband estimation.
cannot take over the apartment as the contract of lease between him and Atty.
Armando Galvez is a personal one and could not be transmitted to them (Exh. "A"). Petitioners' submissions are typical examples of the arguments advanced by defendants
On September 5, 1977, plaintiff wrote the defendants that they could not take over in ejectment cases in their attempt to prolong their occupancy of premises over which they
the apartment as it could not be the subject of inheritance and gave them three (3) ceased to have valid ground to possess, by keeping alive the litigation involving their
months to vacate the same (Exhibit "B"). However, defendants refused to receive ejectment therefrom. The records of our courts will reveal that a considerable percentage
said letter, as plaintiff with the help of patrolman Tomas Soriaga served it the of the cases pending in them are actions for forcible entry and detainer. Ordained by law
following morning with the policeman as a witness (Exh. "B-1"). to be commenced in the courts at the municipal or city level, they pass thru all the other
grades of courts in the judicial system up to the Highest Court of the land. It is ironic that
Araceli Mabalot admitted that the late Armando Galvez has his own family, a wife a forcible entry or detainer case which is intended to be disposed of in summary fashion
and children namely, Cynthia, Rosalinda, Danilo, Jocelyn and Olivia who were has oftentimes proved to be the most cumbersome and difficult to terminate. It has become
mentioned in his application for insurance as his legitimate children with Araceli a truism that, if a landlord would like to eject a tenant in the shortest possible time, the
mentioned as a niece (t.s.n. p. 16, Oct. 25, 1977). The succeeding payments of worst thing that he could do is to file an ejectment case. It is, indeed, about time that this
the rentals were paid by defendants- appellees' counsel, Atty. Efren Santos. situation be remedied if only to contribute to the solution of the worsening problem of court
12
SUCCESSION CASES
congestion, by refusing to edify these cases by giving them a full-blown treatment in all the
courts in the judicial structure, and thereby save the courts the expenditure of precious
time and energy which could otherwise be devoted to more significant and vital litigations.

The time limitation of one year within which to file an action for forcible entry and detainer
is reckoned not from the moment of occupancy by the defendant, but from the time that
his possession becomes unlawful. The occupancy of the apartment by Araceli Mabalot in
1966 was not unlawful because she was then a member of the household of Armando
Galvez who was the lessee of the premises in question. The possession of the petitioners
became unlawful only after Armando Galvez died, which was on August 23, 1977. Such
death of Armando Galvez terminated the lease in his favor. Petitioners do not have any
colorable right to occupy the apartment thereafter. The filing of the case on January 8,
1978 was well within one year period from August 23, 1977.

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

WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DISMISSED. With costs against the petitioners.

SO ORDERED.

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SUCCESSION CASES
G.R. No. L-14127 August 21, 1962 The highest bidder at the auction sale was the judgment creditor, Leon C. Viardo, who
ISIDORO M. MERCADO, plaintiff-appellee, vs. LEON C. VIARDO and PROVINCIAL paid P2,125.64 for the interest sold and P83.15 for the land tax corresponding to such
SHERIFF OF NUEVA ECIJA, defendants-appellants. interest (Exhibit B). When the judgment debtors failed to redeem the property within the
statutory period of one year from the date of sale (21 February 1941), the provincial sheriff
----------------------------- of Nueva Ecija executed on 12 May 1943 a Final Bill of Sale of the property described in
Exhibit B in favor of Leon C. Viardo (Exhibit C). On 3 May 1943 a co-owner's copy of the
G.R. No. L-14128 August 21, 1962 certificate of title was issued to Leon C. Viardo (Exhibit A, p. 3).
LEON C. VIARDO, plaintiff-appellant, vs. PILAR BELMONTE, PATRICIA DRIZ,
JOAQUINA DRIZ, ISIDORO MERCADO, On 28 December 1945 the Court of First Instance of Nueva Ecija, in Land Registration
TRINIDAD ISIDRO, ZACARIAS BELMONTE, TERESITA FLORES, Case No. 918, G.L.R.O. Record No. 17910, acting upon a verified petition of Leon C.
PHILIPPINE AMERICAN GENERAL INSURANCE COMPANY, INC. and PHILIPPINE Viardo, ordered the Registrar of Deeds in and for Nueva Ecija
NATIONAL BANK,defendants-appellees.
to cancel Original Certificate of Title No. 3484 and to issue another in lieu thereof
In civil case No. 7611 of the Court of First Instance of Nueva Ecija, entitled Leon C. Viardo in the name of and in the proportion as follows: LEONOR BELMONTE share;
vs. Bartolome Driz and Pilar Belmonte, a writ of execution was issued and levy was made FELISA BELMONTE, share; PILAR BELMONTE, /8 share; LEON C. VIARDO, /8 share;
and INES DE GUZMAN, share, upon the payment of the corresponding fees (Exhibit D).
"upon all the rights, interest and participation which the spouses Bartolome Driz and Pilar
Belmonte have or might have" in a parcel of land covered by original certificate of title No.
3484 of the Registrar of Deeds in and for the province of Nueva Ecija (Exhibit A, p.3). This However, it appears from Original Certificate of Title No. 3484 (Exhibit A) that the above-
certificate of title covers a parcel of land (Lot No. 1, Psu-14371) in the barrios of Nieves mentioned order was not carried out and that said original certificate of title was not
and Santo Rosario, municipality of Zaragoza, province of Nueva Ecija, containing an area cancelled.
of 1,192,775 square meters, more or less. The land is registered in the names of "Leonor
Belmonte, Felisa Belmonte, Pilar Belmonte and Ines de Guzman, subject . . . to the On 27 May 1946 Bartolome Driz and Pilar Belmonte filed in the Court of First Instance of
condition that share [that] belongs to Ines de Guzman is usufructuary "correspondiendo Nueva Ecija a complaint against Leon C. Viardo (civil case No. 161) praying that judgment
la nuda propiedad a sus tres hijas arriba citadas en participaciones iguales quienes se be rendered against the defendant:
consolidara el dominio despues del fallecimiento de su madre' " (Exhibit A, p. 2).
(a) Ordering the defendant to reconvey the property in question in favor of plaintiffs
On 25 February 1941, by virtue of the writ of execution above mentioned, the provincial herein upon payment by the latter of the lawful redemption price in accordance
sheriff of Nueva Ecija sold at public auction one-half () of the following property: with law, or the sum of P2,125.64 with interest at the rate of one per centum (1%)
per month for twelve (12) months from February 27, 1941 to February 27, 1942.
TAX DECLARATION NO. 11313 OF THE MUNICIPALITY OF ZARAGOZA, PROVINCE (Exhibit E.)
OF NUEVA ECIJA AND COVERED BY ORIGINAL CERTIFICATE OF TITLE NO. 3484
OF THE LAND RECORDS OF NUEVA ECIJA. On 4 June 1946 Patricia Blando, attorney for the plaintiffs Bartolome Driz and Pilar
Belmonte, requested the Registrar of Deeds in and for Nueva Ecija for
A parcel of land, situated in the sitio of Valdez, barrio Sto. Rosario, municipality of
Zaragoza, Province of Nueva Ecija. Bounded on the North by property of Felisa the annotation of a Notice of LIS PENDENS on the back of ORIGINAL
Belmonte; on the East by Sapang Dalagot; on the Southeast by Ines de Guzman; CERTIFICATE OF TITLE NO. 3484 of the Office of the Register of Deeds for the
on the South by the property of Felisa Belmonte; and on then West by the property Province of Nueva Ecija, affecting the undivided one-half () portion of the
of Cirilo Acosta; containing an area of THIRTY (30) HECTARES, more or less. property of the plaintiffs in the above-entitled cause, situated in the Sitio of Valdez,
Declared under tax No. 11313 in the name of Pilar Belmonte with an assessed Barrio of Sto. Rosario, Municipality of Zaragoza, which is involved in the said
value of P8,400.00. controversy against the defendant LEON C. VIARDO, and which is more
particularly described under paragraph (4) of the plaintiffs' complaint a copy of
which is hereby presented, hereunto attached. (Exhibit F.)

14
SUCCESSION CASES
On 6 June 1946 the Registrar of Deeds made the following annotation on the back of IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the Court absolves the defendant from the complaint of
original certificate of title No. 3484: the plaintiffs, in the same manner that plaintiffs are absolved from the counter complaint
of the defendant. Defendant is the legal owner of the land in question and the right of
Entry No. 3347/0-3484: Kind Lis Pendens Executed in favor of Bartolome redemption of the plaintiff of said land had already elapsed. With costs to the plaintiff.
Driz and Pilar Belmonte; Conditions Al the rights, interests, and participation of (Exhibit G.)
Leon C. Viardo in this title is the subject of a complaint filed in Civil Case No. 16 of
the C.F.I. of N.E. now pending for action. Date of the instrument June 4, 1946; Not satisfied with the judgment dismissing his counter-claim, the defendant Leon C. Viardo
Date of the inscription June 6, 1946 at 3:18 (?) p.m. (Sgd.) F.C. Cuizon, Acting appealed to the Court of Appeals. While the appeal was pending, the following transactions
Register of Deeds. (Exhibit A, p. 3.) involving the interest or rights of Pilar Belmonte over the parcel of land covered by original
certificate of title No. 3484 took place:
While the above-mentioned case was pending in the Court of First Instance of Nueva Ecija,
Pilar Belmonte, one of the plaintiffs, entered into the following contracts involving her (1) Entry No. 7967/NT-15162: Kind Partition: Executed in favor of Felisa
interest or rights over the parcel of land covered by original certificate of title No. 3484: Belmonte, et al.; Conditions By virtue of a deed of partition, the share of the
deceased Ines de Guzman and Isidro Belmonte has been adjudicated in favor of
(1) Entry No. 10984: Kind Sale; Executed in favor of Isidro M. Mercado & the heirs of said deceased. (D-891: P-77: B-V: S-1948, Manuel E. Castaeda,
Trinidad Isidro; Conditions--Pilar Belmonte sold a portion of Seven and One-Half Manila) Date of the Inst. March 31, 1948: Date of the Inscription Feb. 18,
(7-) hectares of the property described in this title for the sum of P5,500.00 (D- 1954 at 10:18 a.m. (Sgd.) F.C. CUIZON, Register of Deeds.
126: P-90: B-11: S-1948, Herminio E. Algas, N. E.) Date of the Inst. June 28,
1948 at 1:30 p.m. (Sgd.) F.C. CUIZON, Register of Deeds. (2) Entry No. 7968/NT-15162: Kind Agreement: Executed in favor of Felisa
Belmonte, et al; Conditions By virtue of an agreement of the parties concerned
(2) Entry No. 10985/0-3484: Kind Sale with right of repurchase: Executed in in the partition, Lots Nos. 1-D and 1-J, with an area of 300,000 sq. m. and 80,000
favor of Federico Aquino; Conditions Pilar Belmonte sold with a right of sq.m., more or less, respectively in the subdivision plan Psd-36340, a portion of lot
repurchase seven and one-half (7-) hectares of her share, interest and 1 described on plan Psu-14371, of this title, have been adjudicated in favor of
participation in this title for the sum of P3,600.00 (D-127: P-90: B-11: S-48. H. Felisa Belmonte and Lot 1-G with an area of 75,000 sq.m., more or less, of the
Algas, N. E.) Date of the Inst. June 28, 1948; Date of the Inscription June 28, same subdivision, has been adjudicated in favor of Isidoro Mercado, See TCT No.
1948 at 1:30 p.m. (Sgd.) F. C. CUIZON, Register of Deeds. 15162 and 15163, Vol. No. 76. (D-211: P-44: B-IV: S-1952, P. Bautista, Cab. City)
Date of the Inst. Jan. 22, 1952: Date of the Inscription Feb. 18, 1954 at 10:18
(3) Entry No. 15110/0-3484: Kind Resale: Executed in favor of Pilar a.m.(Sgd.) F.C. CUIZON, Register of Deeds.
Belmonte; Conditions Federico Aquino resold his share in this title consisting of
7- Has. for the sum of P3,600.00 (D-63: P-15: B-6: S-1949, Jose E. Castaeda, (3) Entry No. 9715/NT-15746: Kind Sale; Executed in favor of Sp. Zacarias
Manila) Date of the Inst. March 8, 1958: Date of the Inscription April 8, 1949 Belmonte and Teresita Flores; Conditions Dominador Asuncion and Tomasita
at 11:30 a.m. (Sgd.) F.C. CUIZON, Register of Deeds. Dansil sold all their rights and interest in this title consisting of seven hectares for
the sum of P6,000.00. (D-177: P-37: B-IV: S-1952; R. S. Pengson, N.E.) Date of
(4) Entry No. 15111/0-3484: Kind Sale; Executed in favor of Dominador the Inst. Feb. 4, 1952; Date of Inscription May 13, 1954 at 10:08 a.m. (Sgd.)
Asuncion and Tomasita Dansil: Pilar Belmonte sold a portion of seven (7) Has. of F.C. CUIZON, Register of Deeds.
her share and participation in this title for the sum of P7,000.00. (D-64: P-15: B-6:
S-1949, J. E. Castaeda, Manila) Date of the Inst. March 9, 1949; Date of the (4) Entry No. 12168/NT-15162: Kind Project of Partition Executed in favor of
Inscription April 8, 1949 at 11:30 a.m. (Sgd.) F.C. CUIZON, Register of Deeds. Pilar Belmonte; Conditions By virtue of a project of partition re-estate of the late
(Exhibit A, p. 4) Ines de Guzman, a portion of 13.2775 hectares of the land described in this title
has been adjudicated in favor of Pilar Belmonte. (D-891: P-77: B-V: S-1948,
On 11 April 1950 the Court of First Instance of Nueva Ecija rendered judgment in civil case Manuel E. Castaeda, Manila) Date of the Inst. March 31, 1948: Date of the
No. 161, as follows: Inscription Aug. 23, 1954 at 2:00 p.m. (Sgd.) F.C. CUIZON, Register of Deeds. 1w ph1.t

15
SUCCESSION CASES
(5) Entry No. 12169/NT-16440: Kind Sale; Executed in favor of Joaquin Driz: is entitled to 225 cavans of palay a year. Therefore, plaintiffs are under obligation
Conditions Pilar Belmonte sold Lot 1-B of the subdivision plan of this title Psd- to deliver to defendant this quantity of palay every agricultural year from the filing
36340 a portion taken from her undivided 13.2775 hectares with an area of 52,775 of defendant's answer on August 5, 1946, up to the time he vacates said land, or
sq.m., more or less, for the sum of P800.00. See TCT NT-16440, Vol. No. 83. (D- pay the equivalent value thereof at P12.00 a cavan.
160: P-33: B-I: S-1954, Adolfo San Juan, Cab. City) Date of the Inst. Aug. 23,
1954; Date of the Inscription Aug. 23, 1954 at 2:00 p.m. (Sgd.) F.C. CUIZON, Having been declared owner of the land in dispute, defendant is entitled to its
Register of Deeds. possession. Inasmuch as the court below did not order plaintiffs to restore the
possession of the land in question, we hereby order them to vacate the same and
(6) Entry No. 12370/NT-16488: Kind Sale; Executed in favor of Patricia Driz: restore possession thereof to defendant. (Exhibit H.)
Conditions Pilar Belmonte sold Lot 1-A of the subdivision plan Psd-36340 being
a portion of Lot 1 described in plan Psu-14371, G.L.R.O. Cad. Record No. 17910, This judgment of the Court of Appeals became final and executory and the records were
of this title for the sum of P1,000.00 with an area of 80,000 sq.m., with respect to remanded to the lower court. On 16 December 1954 the Court of First Instance of Nueva
her share of 13.2775 hectares. See TCT No. NT-16488, Vol. 83. (D-440: P-90: B- Ecija issued a writ of execution (Exhibit W). The return made by Chief of Police of the
V: S-1954, H. V. Garcia, Cab. City) Date of the Inst. Aug. 31, 1954: Date of the Municipality of Zaragoza on 14 February 1955 states that Leon C. Viardo had been placed
Inscription Sept. 2, 1954 at 8:00 p.m. (Sgd.) F.C. CUIZON, Register of Deeds. in possession of the parcel of land referred to in the writ and that levy was made on a total
of 86 cavans and 74 kilos of palay, and that the same were deposited in a warehouse
(7) Entry No. 12512/NT-16546: Kind Sale; Executed in favor of Patricia Driz: (Exhibit X).
Conditions Pilar Belmonte sold Lots Nos. 1-H and 1-I of the subdivision plan
Psd-30340 of the property described in this title for the sum of P850.00. See TCT On or about 4 January 1955 Isidoro M. Mercado filed a third party claim with the Provincial
No. NT-16524, Vol. 83. (D-167: P-35: B-I: S-1954, Adolfo San Juan, Cab. City) Sheriff of Nueva Ecija (Exhibit Y). The affidavit attached to the claim states that Isidoro M.
Date of the Inst. Sept. 9, 1954; Date of the Inscription Sept. 9, 1954 at 11:50 Mercado and his wife purchased from Pilar Belmonte on 28 June 1948 seven and one-half
a.m. (Sgd.) F. C. CUIZON, Register of Deeds. hectares of her undivided share in the land described in original certificate of title No. 3484,
that on the same day the deed of sale was registered, that a transfer certificate of title was
(8) Entry No. 12569/NT-16546: Kind Sale; Executed favor of Patricia Driz; issued in their names, and that since 1948 up to the time of the levy on execution he had
Conditions Pilar Belmonte sold Lot I-E of the subdivision plan Psd-30340 of the been in actual possession of the parcel of land, paying the corresponding taxes thereon
property described in this title, with an area of 79,848 sq.m., more or less the and had exclusively benefited from the harvests therein, (Exhibit Y-1). The sheriff was
subdivision plan of this title, was sold for the sum of P2,000.00. See TCT No. NT- requested not to continue with the levy on the harvest in the parcel of land they were
16546, Vol. 83. (D-172: P-36: BS-1954, Adolfo San Juan, Cab. City) Date of the claiming.
Inst. Sept. 11, 1954; Date of the Inscription Sept. 13, 1954 at 8:20 am. (Sgd.)
F.C. CUIZON, Register of Deeds. (Exhibit A, pp. 4-5.) On 2 February 1955 Isidoro M. Mercado filed in the Court of First Instance of Nueva Ecija
a complaint docketed as civil case No. 1718, against Leon C. Viardo and the Provincial
On 22 September 1954, a few days after the last transactions mentioned above, the Court Sheriff. The complaint alleged that improper levy had been made on the harvest in
of Appeals passed a resolution granting the prayer of defendant-appellant Leon C. Viardo plaintiff's parcel of land and prayed that judgment be rendered ordering the defendants to
that the children and only heirs, namely, Artemio, Patricia, Mario, Domingo, Joaquina and return the palay levied upon, together with damages. On 26 February 1955 the defendants
Catalina, surnamed Driz, who were all of age, be substituted for the deceased appellee answered that plaintiffs' purchase of the parcel of land in question from Pilar Belmonte was
Bartolome Driz (the husband of Pilar Belmonte). (Exhibit H-1). subject to whatever judgment the courts might render in civil case No. 161 between Pilar
Belmonte and Leon C. Viardo. On 17 October 1955 the Court of First Instance of Nueva
On 25 September 1954 the Court of Appeals rendered judgment awarding damages Ecija entered an order suspending the trial of the case, in view of the information by
prayed for in the counterclaim of Leon V. Viardo. The judgment made the following findings counsel for the defendant that his client Leon C. Viardo would file a complaint against all
and conclusions: persons claiming ownership of or interest in the parcel of land covered by original
certificate of title No. 3484 (Record on Appeal, pp. 2-11).
. . . The area of the contested property is 15 hectares. By computation, this is
capable of producing 750 cavans of palay a year. On the basis of 70-30, defendant
16
SUCCESSION CASES
On 5 December 1955 civil case No. 2004 was filed by Leon V. Viardo against Pilar The argument is without merit. It is true that the appellant became the absolute owner of
Belmonte, Patricia Driz, Joaquina Driz, Isidoro Mercado, Trinidad Isidro, Zacarias an undivided one-half interest in the undivided one-fourth interest owned by Pilar Belmonte
Belmonte, Teresita Flores, Philippine American General Insurance Co., Inc. and the in the parcel of land described in original certificate of title No. 3484; that before Pilar
Philippine National Bank, as parties claiming some right, participation, share or interest in Belmonte sold parts of her undivided share in the parcel of land to Isidoro M. Mercado and
the parcel of land covered by original certificate of title No. 3484 or by trader certificates of Dominador Asuncion and the last in turn sold his part to Zacarias Belmonte, there was
title derived therefrom. The defendants filed their answers. After trial,1 on 24 August 1956 notice of lis pendens recorded on the certificate of title; and that this notice is binding upon
the trial court rendered judgment in civil cases Nos. 1718 and 2004, the dispositive part of all who should acquire an interest in the property subsequent to the record of the lis
which reads as follows: pendens. The notice of lis pendens (Exhibit A), however, was limited to one-half interest
acquired by Leon C. Viardo from Pilar Belmonte. The other one-half undivided interest of
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING CONSIDERATIONS, in Civil Case 2004, Leon C. the latter was not in litigation and therefore the trial court correctly held that Pilar Belmonte,
Viardo, Isidoro M. Mercado, Zacarias Belmonte and Patricia Driz are hereby as the owner of this undivided one-half interest, had a right to sell it and could convey
declared CO-OWNERS PRO-INDIVISO of lots 1-A PSD-16864, which is the absolute title thereto or to parts thereof. Of course, the deeds of sale executed by Pilar
share of Pilar Belmonte in Lot 1, PSU 14371, OCT No. 3484 in the following Belmonte appears to convey definite or segregated parts of her remaining interest in the
proportions: ONE-HALF for LEON C. VIARDO; 7 hectares for Isidoro M. parcel of land described in original certificate of title No. 3484, which she could not do,
Mercado; 7 hectares for Zacarias Belmonte, and the remainder for Patricia Driz, it because this one-fourth in interest had not yet been subdivided to show the interest
being understood that whatever is adjudicated to Patricia Driz in the partition shall acquired by Leon C. Viardo, amounting to one-half of the said one-fourth interest. This
be subject to the mortgage in favor of the Philippine National Bank; the deeds of defect, however, does not result in the nullity of the deeds of sale she had executed relating
sale executed by Pilar Belmonte in favor of Patricia Driz, Exhibits R and S are to her remaining interest of one-eighth. The sales were valid, subject only to the condition
declared NULL AND VOID; the deeds of partition Exhibits L and N, are set aside, that the interests acquired by the vendees were limited to the parts which might be
and the certificates of title issued in favor of Zacarias Belmonte, Isidoro M. Mercado assigned to them in the division upon the termination of the co-ownership (Article 493, Civil
and Patricia Driz, Exhibits P, Q, R-1 and S-1 are ordered cancelled. And in civil Code).
case 1718 Isidoro M. Mercado is hereby declared to be entitled to the products
which had been levied upon by the Provincial Sheriff. No damages are awarded. In the second assignment of error the appellant contends that the trial court "erred in not
The parties in civil case 2004 shall come to an amicable settlement with respect to annulling the sales executed by Pilar Belmonte in favor of her daughters Joaquina and
the partition. Upon their failure to arrive at an amicable settlement, commissioner Patricia Driz of lots 1-B and 1-A, Exhibits U and V of Plan PSD 36340."
shall be appointed by this Court in accordance with a law to make the partition.
Lots 1-B and 1-A of Plan PSD-36340 are taken, not from the original one-fourth interest of
With costs against the defendants in both cases. Pilar Belmonte in the parcel of land covered by original certificate of title No. 3484, which
interest was levied upon and thereafter acquired by Leon C. Viardo to the extent of one-
Only Leon C. Viardo, plaintiff in civil case No. 2004 and defendant in civil case No. 1718, half, but from another one-fourth interest in the same parcel of land, which belonged
appealed to the Court of Appeals. On 21 May 1958 the latter certified and forwarded the originally to Ines de Guzman, the mother of Pilar Belmonte. This one-fourth interest
appeals to this Court because the facts are not in dispute and "the questions raised by subsequently devolved upon Pilar Belmonte and her two sisters. The three sisters
appellant in his brief are purely legal in nature." partitioned this one-fourth interest among themselves and lots 1-A and 1-B were assigned
to Pilar Belmonte who, in turn, sold them to her daughters. These sales, the appellant
In his first assignment of error the appellant contends that the trial court "erred in not contends, are fictitious and in fraud of his rights as creditor.
annulling the sale executed by Pilar Belmonte to Isidoro M. Mercado, marked as Exhibit I,
and to Dominador Asuncion and Teresita Bansil (Exhibit J) and the sale by Dominador The only evidence adduced by the appellant in support of this contention is that the sales
Asuncion to Zacarias Belmonte and Teresita Flores in a Deed of Sale marked Exhibit M." were made by the mother to her daughters. This is not enough evidence to hold the sale
In support thereof he argues that the three sales took place and were registered after he fictitious and fraudulent. There is no evidence whatsoever that Pilar Belmonte, at the time
had become the absolute owner of an undivided one-half interest in the parcel of land she sold the lots, had outstanding debts or was in an otherwise embarrasing financial
owned by Pilar Belmonte and after notice of lis pendens had been recorded on the title of position. Even the credit of Leon C. Viardo, the appellant, was established only after the
Pilar Belmonte. sales were executed, when the Court of Appeals modified the judgment of the trial court in

17
SUCCESSION CASES
civil case No. 161 by awarding damages to him. There is no merit, therefore, in the second Succession is a mode of acquisition by virtue of which the property, rights and
assignment of error. obligations to the extent of the value of the inheritance, of a person are transmitted
through his death to another or others either by his will or by operation of law.
In the third assignment of error the appellant contends that the trial court "erred in declaring (Emphasis supplied.)
that the "product raised in the portion under the occupancy of Isidoro Mercado, therefore,
pertains to him and was not subject to the levy or execution in favor of Leon C. Viardo in The trial court, therefore, correctly ruled that the remedy of Leon C. Viardo, the creditor,
Civil Case No. 161." In support of this assignment the appellant again harps on the fact was to proceed against the estate of Bartolome Driz.
that the time Isidoro Mercado acquired an interest in the property, there was notice of lis
pendens, and therefore Isidoro Mercado "is not a purchaser in good faith." Moreover, it appears from the evidence that Bartolome Driz was only a formal party to civil
case No. 161, the real party in interest being his wife Pilar Belmonte. The subject matter
This contention has been overruled in the first assignment of error when the notice of lis in litigation was Pilar Belmonte's interest in the parcel of land described in original
pendens (Exhibits A and F) was held to refer not to the remaining one-eighth interest of certificate of title No. 3484, which appears to be paraphernal property.
Pilar Belmonte in the parcel of land described in original certificate of title No. 3484, but to
the one-eighth interest which Leon C. Viardo had acquired from Pilar Belmonte, and which The appellant's fifth and last assignment of error is that "the trial court erred in not awarding
the latter was trying to recover from him in civil case No. 161. It was Pilar Belmonte who damages to the plaintiff Leon C. Viardo in Civil Case No. 2004." Obviously the appellant
caused the notice of lis pendens to be recorded to subject "all the rights, interests and refers to the prayer in his complaint that P5,000 be awarded to him against Pilar Belmonte
participation of Leon C. Viardo in this Title" to the result of the litigation in the aforesaid for attorney's fees. He maintains that appellee Pilar Belmonte had disposed of all her
civil case No. 161. Pilar Belmonte did not thereby subject her remaining one-eighth interest property with the intent of avoiding payment of her liability or debt to him.
to the result of civil case No. 161 which she had filed against Leon C. Viardo. If the latter
wanted to subject the remaining one-eighth interest of Pilar Belmonte to the outcome of A review of the record lends credence to the appellant's claim. Appellee Pilar Belmonte
his counterclaim in civil case No. 161, he should have asked for it. had one-fourth interest in a parcel of land containing an area of 119.2775 hectares. On 12
May 1943 Leon C. Viardo acquired one-half interest of Pilar Belmonte's one-fourth interest.
The view held by this Court in passing upon the third assignment of error renders it In a partition, where the appellant did not participate but which he does not impugn, Pilar
unnecessary for the Court to discuss the respective rights and liabilities of co-owners when Belmonte's original one-fourth interest was segregated and delimited. She was assigned
one co-owner, without the knowledge and/or consent of the other co-owners, plants or in that partition and subdivision, Lot 1-A of Plan PSD-16864, containing an area of 30
builds on the property owned in common. hectares (Exhibit K). Upon the death of her mother, she acquired another 13.2775
hectares. These 13.2775 hectares she sold to her two daughters and the validity of the
The appellant further contends that the trial court erred "in concluding that the heirs of sales has been upheld by this Court. With the original 30 hectares, however, Pilar
Bartolome Driz could not be held personally liable for the judgment rendered against the Belmonte did not act in good faith when she sold more than 15 hectares to her daughter
plaintiffs in Civil Case No. 161 and therefore Lots 1-A and 1-B cannot be subject to the Patricia Driz. Knowing that one-half of said 30 hectares or a total of 15 hectares belonged
payment of the judgment in favor of Leon C. Viardo." to the appellant Leon C. Viardo, she nevertheless proceeded to enter into the following
transactions: (1) sale of seven and one-half hectares to Isidoro Mercado, dated 28 June
The only ground of appellant for this contention is that the present owners of these lots are 1948, Exhibit A; (2) sale of seven hectares to Dominador Asuncion, who later sold the
the children of the spouses Pilar Belmonte and Bartolome Driz, the plaintiffs in civil case same parcel or interest to Zacarias Belmonte, dated 9 March 1949, Exhibit A; (3)
No. 161, and that, upon the death of Bartolome Driz during the pendency of the appeal in subdivision and partition of her lot 1-A, PSD-16864, into lots 1-E, 1-F, 1-G, 1-H and 1-I,
civil case No. 161, these children were substituted as parties. This assignment of error is without the knowledge of her co-owner Leon C. Viardo, Plan PSD-36340, Exhibit O; (4)
without merit. The substitution of parties was made obviously because the children of sale in favor of her daughter Patricia Driz of lots 1-H and 1-I, Plan PSD-36340, containing
Bartolome Driz are his legal heirs and therefore could properly represent and protect an area of 20,000 and 55,152 sq. meters, respectively, dated 9 September 1954, Exhibits
whatever interest he had in the case on appeal. But such a substitution did not and cannot R and A; and (5) sale in favor of her daughter Patricia Driz of lot 1-E; Plan PSD-36340,
have the effect of making these substituted parties personally liable for whatever judgment containing an area of 79,848 sq. meters, dated 11 September 1954, Exhibits S and A.
might be rendered on the appeal against their deceased father. Article 774 of the Civil
Code provides: It will thus be seen that on 9 March 1949, after Pilar Belmonte had sold seven hectares to
Dominador Asuncion, she had only one-half hectare left to dispose of, since out of her
18
SUCCESSION CASES
original thirty hectares (Lot 1-A, PSD-16864) the appellant Leon C. Viardo had acquired
one-half or fifteen hectares, Isidoro Mercado, seven and one-half hectares, and Dominador
Asuncion, seven hectares.

Fully aware that one-half hectare remained her only property, Pilar Belmonte nevertheless
proceeded to sell to her daughter Patricia Driz three lots containing a combined area of
more than fifteen hectares. It is obvious, therefore, that the sales to Patricia Driz cannot
be sustained, regardless of whether Pilar Belmonte was aware or suspected that she
would be held liable for damages to Leon C. Viardo in civil case No. 161, as in fact she
was held liable by the Court of Appeals about two weeks after she had executed the sales
in favor of her daughter. The sales above referred to stand on a different footing from the
sales made in favor of Isidoro Mercado and Dominador Asuncion, because in the latter
sales Pilar Belmonte still had something to sell, namely, her remaining fifteen hectares.
But after she had disposed of fourteen and one-half hectares to Mercado and Asuncion
she had only one-half hectare left and therefore could not sell another fifteen hectares.

The trial court, however, did not completely annul the sales made by Pilar Belmonte in
favor of her daughter. It merely reduced the sale of fifteen hectares to a sale of one-half
hectare, obviously in the belief that the sales should be sustained to the extent of Pilar
Belmonte's remaining interest. The record shows that both Pilar Belmonte and her
daughter Patricia Driz knew that one-half hectare only remained as the former's property,
but they nevertheless proceeded to sell and purchase more than fifteen hectares. When it
is considered further that the final judgment in civil case No. 161 awarded damages to
Leon C. Viardo amounting to 225 cavans of palay from 1946 (Exhibit H) and that when this
judgment was executed in 1954 no property of Pilar Belmonte could be found to satisfy
the damages (p. 11, t.s.n.), it is evident that Pilar Belmonte and her daughter Patricia Driz
had conspired to dispose of all the property of Pilar Belmonte in order to frustrate any
award of damages the Court of Appeals might make in favor of Leon C. Viardo and that
this conspiracy must have taken place at the latest on 9 September 1954 when Pilar
Belmonte proceeded to sell to her daughter Patricia Driz parcels of land which no longer
belonged to her.

The judgment appealed from is modified by holding and declaring that (1) Leon C. Viardo,
Isidoro M. Mercado, Zacarias Belmonte and Pilar Belmonte (not Patricia Driz) are the co-
owners pro-indiviso of lot 1-A, Plan PSD-16864, which is the one-fourth share of Pilar
Belmonte in lot 1, PSD-14371, original certificate of title No. 3484, in the following
proportion: one-half or fifteen hectares owned by Leon C. Viardo, seven and one-half
hectares by Isidoro M. Mercado, seven hectares by Zacarias Belmonte, and one-half
hectares by Pilar Belmonte, subject to the rights of Leon C. Viardo to the balance of his
judgment credit against Pilar Belmonte; and (2) Leon C. Viardo is awarded damages of
P1,000 against Pilar Belmonte. In all other respects, the judgment appealed from is
affirmed, with costs against appellees Pilar Belmonte and Patricia Driz.

19
SUCCESSION CASES
G.R. No. L-33187 March 31, 1980 before any liquidation of the conjugal partnership of Monica and Flaviano could be
CORNELIO PAMPLONA alias GEMINIANO PAMPLONA and APOLONIA effected, executed in favor of Geminiano Pamplona, married to defendant Apolonia Onte,
ONTE, petitioners, vs. VIVENCIO MORETO, VICTOR MORETO, ELIGIO MORETO, the deed of absolute sale (Exh. "1") covering lot No. 1495 for P900.00. The deed of sale
MARCELO MORETO, PAULINA MORETO, ROSARIO MORETO, MARTA MORETO, (Exh. "1") contained a description of lot No. 1495 as having an area of 781 square meters
SEVERINA MENDOZA, PABLO MENDOZA, LAZARO MENDOZA, VICTORIA TUIZA, and covered by transfer certificate of title No. 14570 issued in the name of Flaviano Moreto,
JOSEFINA MORETO, LEANDRO MORETO and LORENZO MENDOZA, respondents. married to Monica Maniega, although the lot was acquired during their marriage. As a
result of the sale, the said certificate of title was cancelled and a new transfer certificate of
This is a petition for certiorari by way of appeal from the decision of the Court of title No. T-5671 was issued in the name of Geminiano Pamplona married to Apolonia Onte
Appeals 1 in CA-G.R. No. 35962-R, entitled "Vivencio Moreto, et al., Plaintiff-Appellees vs. (Exh. "A").
Cornelio Pamplona, et al., Defendants-Appellants," affirming the decision of the Court of
First Instance of Laguna, Branch I at Bian. After the execution of the above-mentioned deed of sale (Exh. "1"), the spouses
Geminiano Pamplona and Apolonia Onte constructed their house on the eastern part of
The facts, as stated in the decision appealed from, show that: lot 1496 as Flaviano Moreto, at the time of the sale, pointed to it as the land which he sold
to Geminiano Pamplona. Shortly thereafter, Rafael Pamplona, son of the spouses
Flaviano Moreto and Monica Maniega were husband and wife. During their marriage, they Geminiano Pamplona and Apolonia Onte, also built his house within lot 1496 about one
acquired adjacent lots Nos. 1495, 4545, and 1496 of the Calamba Friar Land Estate, meter from its boundary with the adjoining lot. The vendor Flaviano Moreto and the vendee
situated in Calamba, Laguna, containing 781-544 and 1,021 square meters respectively Geminiano Pamplona thought all the time that the portion of 781 square meters which was
and covered by certificates of title issued in the name of "Flaviano Moreto, married to the subject matter of their sale transaction was No. 1495 and so lot No. 1495 appears to
Monica Maniega." be the subject matter in the deed of sale (Exh. "1") although the fact is that the said portion
sold thought of by the parties to be lot No. 1495 is a part of lot No. 1496.
The spouses Flaviano Moreto and Monica Maniega begot during their marriage six (6)
children, namely, Ursulo, Marta, La Paz, Alipio, Pablo, and Leandro, all surnamed Moreto. From 1956 to 1960, the spouses Geminiano Pamplona and Apolonio Onte enlarged their
house and they even constructed a piggery corral at the back of their said house about
one and one-half meters from the eastern boundary of lot 1496.
Ursulo Moreto died intestate on May 24, 1959 leaving as his heirs herein plaintiffs Vivencio,
Marcelo, Rosario, Victor, Paulina, Marta and Eligio, all surnamed Moreto.
On August 12, 1956, Flaviano Moreto died intestate. In 1961, the plaintiffs demanded on
the defendants to vacate the premises where they had their house and piggery on the
Marta Moreto died also intestate on April 30, 1938 leaving as her heir plaintiff Victoria
ground that Flaviano Moreto had no right to sell the lot which he sold to Geminiano
Tuiza.
Pamplona as the same belongs to the conjugal partnership of Flaviano and his deceased
wife and the latter was already dead when the sale was executed without the consent of
La Paz Moreto died intestate on July 17, 1954 leaving the following heirs, namely, herein the plaintiffs who are the heirs of Monica. The spouses Geminiano Pamplona and Apolonia
plaintiffs Pablo, Severina, Lazaro, and Lorenzo, all surnamed Mendoza. Onte refused to vacate the premises occupied by them and hence, this suit was instituted
by the heirs of Monica Maniega seeking for the declaration of the nullity of the deed of sale
Alipio Moreto died intestate on June 30, 1943 leaving as his heir herein plaintiff Josefina of July 30, 1952 above-mentioned as regards one-half of the property subject matter of
Moreto. said deed; to declare the plaintiffs as the rightful owners of the other half of said lot; to
allow the plaintiffs to redeem the one-half portion thereof sold to the defendants. "After
Pablo Moreto died intestate on April 25, 1942 leaving no issue and as his heirs his brother payment of the other half of the purchase price"; to order the defendants to vacate the
plaintiff Leandro Moreto and the other plaintiffs herein. portions occupied by them; to order the defendants to pay actual and moral damages and
attorney's fees to the plaintiffs; to order the defendants to pay plaintiffs P120.00 a year
On May 6, 1946, Monica Maniega died intestate in Calamba, Laguna. from August 1958 until they have vacated the premises occupied by them for the use and
occupancy of the same.
On July 30, 1952, or more than six (6) years after the death of his wife Monica Maniega,
Flaviano Moreto, without the consent of the heirs of his said deceased wife Monica, and
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The defendants claim that the sale made by Flaviano Moreto in their favor is valid as the The defendants-appellants, not being satisfied with said judgment, appealed to the Court
lot sold is registered in the name of Flaviano Moreto and they are purchasers believing in of Appeals, which affirmed the judgment, hence they now come to this Court.
good faith that the vendor was the sole owner of the lot sold.
The fundamental and crucial issue in the case at bar is whether under the facts and
After a relocation of lots 1495, 1496 and 4545 made by agreement of the parties, it was circumstances duly established by the evidence, petitioners are entitled to the full
found out that there was mutual error between Flaviano Moreto and the defendants in the ownership of the property in litigation, or only one-half of the same.
execution of the deed of sale because while the said deed recited that the lot sold is lot
No. 1495, the real intention of the parties is that it was a portion consisting of 781 square There is no question that when the petitioners purchased the property on July 30, 1952
meters of lot No. 1496 which was the subject matter of their sale transaction. from Flaviano Moreto for the price of P900.00, his wife Monica Maniega had already been
dead six years before, Monica having died on May 6, 1946. Hence, the conjugal
After trial, the lower court rendered judgment, the dispositive part thereof being as follows: partnership of the spouses Flaviano Moreto and Monica Maniega had already been
dissolved. (Article 175, (1) New Civil Code; Article 1417, Old Civil Code). The records show
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered for the plaintiffs declaring the deed that the conjugal estate had not been inventoried, liquidated, settled and divided by the
of absolute sale dated July 30, 1952 pertaining to the eastern portion of Lot 1496 heirs thereto in accordance with law. The necessary proceedings for the liquidation of the
covering an area of 781 square meters null and void as regards the 390.5 square conjugal partnership were not instituted by the heirs either in the testate or intestate
meters of which plaintiffs are hereby declared the rightful owners and entitled to its proceedings of the deceased spouse pursuant to Act 3176 amending Section 685 of Act
possession. 190. Neither was there an extra-judicial partition between the surviving spouse and the
heirs of the deceased spouse nor was an ordinary action for partition brought for the
The sale is ordered valid with respect to the eastern one-half (1/2) of 1781 square purpose. Accordingly, the estate became the property of a community between the
meters of Lot 1496 measuring 390.5 square meters of which defendants are surviving husband, Flaviano Moreto, and his children with the deceased Monica Maniega
declared lawful owners and entitled to its possession. in the concept of a co-ownership.

After proper survey segregating the eastern one-half portion with an area of 390.5 The community property of the marriage, at the dissolution of this bond by the
square meters of Lot 1496, the defendants shall be entitled to a certificate of title death of one of the spouses, ceases to belong to the legal partnership and
covering said portion and Transfer Certificate of Title No. 9843 of the office of the becomes the property of a community, by operation of law, between the surviving
Register of Deeds of Laguna shall be cancelled accordingly and new titles issued spouse and the heirs of the deceased spouse, or the exclusive property of the
to the plaintiffs and to the defendants covering their respective portions. widower or the widow, it he or she be the heir of the deceased spouse. Every co-
owner shall have full ownership of his part and in the fruits and benefits derived
therefrom, and he therefore may alienate, assign or mortgage it, and even
Transfer Certificate of Title No. 5671 of the office of the Register of Deeds of
substitute another person in its enjoyment, unless personal rights are in question.
Laguna covering Lot No. 1495 and registered in the name of Cornelio Pamplona,
(Marigsa vs. Macabuntoc, 17 Phil. 107)
married to Apolonia Onte, is by virtue of this decision ordered cancelled. The
defendants are ordered to surrender to the office of the Register of Deeds of
Laguna the owner's duplicate of Transfer Certificate of Title No. 5671 within thirty In Borja vs. Addision, 44 Phil. 895, 906, the Supreme Court said that "(t)here is no reason
(30) days after this decision shall have become final for cancellation in accordance in law why the heirs of the deceased wife may not form a partnership with the surviving
with this decision. husband for the management and control of the community property of the marriage and
conceivably such a partnership, or rather community of property, between the heirs and
the surviving husband might be formed without a written agreement." In Prades vs.
Let copy of this decision be furnished the Register of Deeds for the province of
Tecson, 49 Phil. 230, the Supreme Court held that "(a)lthough, when the wife dies, the
Laguna for his information and guidance.
surviving husband, as administrator of the community property, has authority to sell the
property withut the concurrence of the children of the marriage, nevertheless this power
With costs against the defendants. 2 can be waived in favor of the children, with the result of bringing about a conventional
ownership in common between the father and children as to such property; and any one

21
SUCCESSION CASES
purchasing with knowledge of the changed status of the property will acquire only the whereon Rafael, the son of petitioners likewise erected his house and an adjacent coral
undivided interest of those members of the family who join in the act of conveyance. for piggery.

It is also not disputed that immediately after the execution of the sale in 1952, the vendees Petitioners point to the fact that spouses Flaviano Moreto and Monica Maniega owned
constructed their house on the eastern part of Lot 1496 which the vendor pointed out to three parcels of land denominated as Lot 1495 having an area of 781 sq. meters, Lot 1496
them as the area sold, and two weeks thereafter, Rafael who is a son of the vendees, also with an area of 1,021 sq. meters, and Lot 4545 with an area of 544 sq. meters. The three
built his house within Lot 1496. Subsequently, a cemented piggery coral was constructed lots have a total area of 2,346 sq. meters. These three parcels of lots are contiguous with
by the vendees at the back of their house about one and one-half meters from the eastern one another as each is bounded on one side by the other, thus: Lot 4545 is bounded on
boundary of Lot 1496. Both vendor and vendees believed all the time that the area of 781 the northeast by Lot 1495 and on the southeast by Lot 1496. Lot 1495 is bounded on the
sq. meters subject of the sale was Lot No. 1495 which according to its title (T.C.T. No. west by Lot 4545. Lot 1496 is bounded on the west by Lot 4545. It is therefore, clear that
14570) contains an area of 781 sq. meters so that the deed of sale between the parties the three lots constitute one big land. They are not separate properties located in different
Identified and described the land sold as Lot 1495. But actually, as verified later by a places but they abut each other. This is not disputed by private respondents. Hence, at
surveyor upon agreement of the parties during the proceedings of the case below, the area the time of the sale, the co-ownership constituted or covered these three lots adjacent to
sold was within Lot 1496. each other. And since Flaviano Moreto was entitled to one-half pro-indiviso of the entire
land area or 1,173 sq. meters as his share, he had a perfect legal and lawful right to
Again, there is no dispute that the houses of the spouses Cornelio Pamplona and Apolonia dispose of 781 sq. meters of his share to the Pamplona spouses. Indeed, there was still a
Onte as well as that of their son Rafael Pamplona, including the concrete piggery coral remainder of some 392 sq. meters belonging to him at the time of the sale.
adjacent thereto, stood on the land from 1952 up to the filing of the complaint by the private
respondents on July 25, 1961, or a period of over nine (9) years. And during said period, We reject respondent Court's ruling that the sale was valid as to one-half and invalid as to
the private respondents who are the heirs of Monica Maniega as well as of Flaviano Moreto the other half for the very simple reason that Flaviano Moreto, the vendor, had the legal
who also died intestate on August 12, 1956, lived as neighbors to the petitioner-vendees, right to more than 781 sq. meters of the communal estate, a title which he could dispose,
yet lifted no finger to question the occupation, possession and ownership of the land alienate in favor of the vendees-petitioners. The title may be pro-indiviso or inchoate but
purchased by the Pamplonas, so that We are persuaded and convinced to rule that private the moment the co-owner as vendor pointed out its location and even indicated the
respondents are in estoppel by laches to claim half of the property, in dispute as null and boundaries over which the fences were to be erectd without objection, protest or complaint
void. Estoppel by laches is a rule of equity which bars a claimant from presenting his claim by the other co-owners, on the contrary they acquiesced and tolerated such alienation,
when, by reason of abandonment and negligence, he allowed a long time to elapse without occupation and possession, We rule that a factual partition or termination of the co-
presenting the same. (International Banking Corporation vs. Yared, 59 Phil. 92) ownership, although partial, was created, and barred not only the vendor, Flaviano Moreto,
but also his heirs, the private respondents herein from asserting as against the vendees-
We have ruled that at the time of the sale in 1952, the conjugal partnership was already petitioners any right or title in derogation of the deed of sale executed by said vendor
dissolved six years before and therefore, the estate became a co-ownership between Flaiano Moreto.
Flaviano Moreto, the surviving husband, and the heirs of his deceased wife, Monica
Maniega. Article 493 of the New Civil Code is applicable and it provides a follows: Equity commands that the private respondents, the successors of both the deceased
spouses, Flaviano Moreto and Monica Maniega be not allowed to impugn the sale
Art. 493. Each co-owner shall have the full ownership of his part and of the fruits executed by Flaviano Moreto who indisputably received the consideration of P900.00 and
and benefits pertaining thereto, and he may therefore alienate, assign or mortgage which he, including his children, benefitted from the same. Moreover, as the heirs of both
it, and even substitute another person in its enjoyment, except when personal Monica Maniega and Flaviano Moreto, private respondents are duty-bound to comply with
rights are involve. But the effect of the alienation or the mortgage, with respect to the provisions of Articles 1458 and 1495, Civil Code, which is the obligation of the vendor
the co-owners, shall be limited to the portion which may be allotted to him in the of the property of delivering and transfering the ownership of the whole property sold,
division upon the termination of the co-ownership. which is transmitted on his death to his heirs, the herein private respondents. The articles
cited provide, thus:
We agree with the petitioner that there was a partial partition of the co-ownership when at
the time of the sale Flaviano Moreto pointed out the area and location of the 781 sq. meters
sold by him to the petitioners-vendees on which the latter built their house and also that
22
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Art. 1458. By the contract of sale one of the contracting parties obligates himself
to transfer the ownership of and to deliver a determinate thing, and the other part
to pay therefore a price certain in money or its equivalent.

A contract of sale may be absolute or conditionial.

Art. 1495. The vendor is bound to transfer the ownership of and deliver, as well as
warrant the thing which is the object of the sale.

Under Article 776, New Civil Code, the inheritance which private respondents received
from their deceased parents and/or predecessors-in-interest included all the property
rights and obligations which were not extinguished by their parents' death. And under Art.
1311, paragraph 1, New Civil Code, the contract of sale executed by the deceased
Flaviano Moreto took effect between the parties, their assigns and heirs, who are the
private respondents herein. Accordingly, to the private respondents is transmitted the
obligation to deliver in full ownership the whole area of 781 sq. meters to the petitioners
(which was the original obligation of their predecessor Flaviano Moreto) and not only one-
half thereof. Private respondents must comply with said obligation.

The records reveal that the area of 781 sq. meters sold to and occupied by petitioners for
more than 9 years already as of the filing of the complaint in 1961 had been re-surveyed
by private land surveyor Daniel Aranas. Petitioners are entitled to a segregation of the area
from Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-9843 covering Lot 1496 and they are also entitled
to the issuance of a new Transfer Certificate of Title in their name based on the relocation
survey.

WHEREFORE, IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the judgment appealed from is hereby


AFFIRMED with modification in the sense that the sale made and executed by Flaviano
Moreto in favor of the petitioners-vendees is hereby declared legal and valid in its entirely.

Petitioners are hereby declared owners in full ownership of the 781 sq. meters at the
eastern portion of Lot 1496 now occupied by said petitioners and whereon their houses
and piggery coral stand.

The Register of Deeds of Laguna is hereby ordered to segregate the area of 781 sq.
meters from Certificate of Title No. 9843 and to issue a new Transfer Certificate of Title to
the petitioners covering the segregated area of 781 sq. meters.

No costs. SO ORDERED.

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SUCCESSION CASES
G.R. No. 94918. September 2, 1992 others, that being strangers to the case decided against their mother, they cannot be held
DANILO I. SUAREZ, EUFROCINA SUAREZ-ANDRES, MARCELO I. SUAREZ, JR., liable therefor and that the five (5) parcels of land, of which they are co-owners, can neither
EVELYN SUAREZ-DE LEON and REGINIO I. SUAREZ, Petitioners, vs. THE COURT be levied nor sold on execution.
OF APPEALS, VALENTE RAYMUNDO, VIOLETA RAYMUNDO, MA. CONCEPCION
VITO and VIRGINIA BANTA, Respondents. On July 31, 1984, the Provincial Sheriff of Rizal issued to private respondents a final deed
of sale 3 over the properties.
CIVIL LAW; WILLS AND SUCCESSION; LEGITIME; PROPRIETARY INTEREST OF THE
CHILDREN, DIFFERENT AND ADVERSE FROM THEIR MOTHER. The legitime of the On October 22, 1984, Teofista Suarez joined by herein petitioners filed with Branch 151 a
surviving spouse is equal to the legitime of each child. The proprietary interest of Motion for Reconsideration 4 of the Order dated October 10, 1984, claiming that the
petitioners in the levied and auctioned property is different from and adverse to that of their parcels of land are co-owned by them and further informing the Court the filing and
mother. Petitioners became co-owners of the property not because of their mother but pendency of an action to annul the auction sale (Civil Case No. 51203), which motion
through their own right as children of their deceased father. Therefore, petitioners are not however, was denied.
barred in any way from instituting the action to annul the auction sale to protect their own
interest. On February 25, 1985, a writ of preliminary injunction was issued enjoining private
respondents from transferring to third parties the levied parcels of land based on the finding
The ultimate issue before Us is whether or not private respondents can validly acquire all that the auctioned lands are co-owned by petitioners.
the five (5) parcels of land co-owned by petitioners and registered in the name of
petitioners deceased father. Marcelo Suarez, whose estate has not been partitioned or On March 1, 1985, private respondent Valente Raymundo filed in Civil Case No. 51203 a
liquidated, after the said properties were levied and publicly sold en masse to private Motion to Dismiss for failure on the part of the petitioners to prosecute, however, such
respondents to satisfy the personal judgment debt of Teofista Suarez, the surviving spouse motion was later denied by Branch 155, Regional Trial Court, Pasig.
of Marcelo Suarez, mother of herein petitioners.chanrobles law library
On December 1985, Raymundo filed in Civil Case No. 51203 an Ex-Parte Motion to
The undisputed facts of the case are as follows: Dismiss complaint for failure to prosecute. This was granted by Branch 155 through an
Order dated May 29, 1986, notwithstanding petitioners pending motion for the issuance
Herein petitioners are brothers and sisters. Their father died in 1955 and since then his of alias summons to be served upon the other defendants in the said case. A motion for
estate consisting of several valuable parcels of land in Pasig, Metro Manila has lot been reconsideration was filed but was later denied.
liquidated or partitioned. In 1977, petitioners widowed mother and Rizal Realty
Corporation lost in the consolidated cases for rescission of contract and for damages, and On October 10, 1984, RTC Branch 151 issued in Civil Case Nos. 21736-21739 an Order
were ordered by Branch 1 of the then Court of First Instance of Rizal (now Branch 151, directing Teofista Suarez and all persons claiming right under her to vacate the lots subject
RTC of Pasig) to pay, jointly and severally, herein respondents the aggregate principal of the judicial sale; to desist from removing or alienating improvements thereon; and to
amount of about P70,000 as damages. 1 surrender to private respondents the owners duplicate copy of the torrens title and other
pertinent documents.
The judgment against petitioners mother and Rizal Realty Corporation having become
final and executory, five (5) valuable parcel of land in Pasig, Metro Manila, (worth to be Teofista Suarez then filed with the then Court of Appeals a petition for certiorari to annul
millions then) were levied and sold on execution on June 24, 1983 in favor of the private the Orders of Branch 151 dated October 10, 1984 and October 14, 1986 issued in Civil
respondents as the highest bidder for the amount of P94,170.000. Private respondents Case Nos. 21736-21739.
were then issued a certificate of sale which was subsequently registered or August 1,
1983.
On December 4, 1986 petitioners filed with Branch 155 a Motion for reconsideration of the
Order 5 dated September 24, 1986. In an Order dated June 10, 1987, 6 Branch 155 lifted
On June 21, 1984 before the expiration of the redemption period, petitioners filed a its previous order of dismissal and directed the issuance of alias summons.
reinvindicatory action 2 against private respondents and the Provincial Sheriff of Rizal,
thereafter docketed as Civil Case No. 51203, for the annulment of the auction sale and the
recovery of the ownership of the levied pieces of property. Therein, they alleged, among
24
SUCCESSION CASES
Respondents then appealed to the Court of Appeals seeking to annul the orders dated The proprietary interest of petitioners in the levied and auctioned property is different from
February 25, 1985, 7 May 19, 1989 8 and February 26, 1990 9 issued in Civil Case No. and adverse to that of their mother. Petitioners became co-owners of the property not
51203 and further ordering respondent Judge to dismiss Civil Case No. 51203. The because of their mother but through their own right as children of their deceased father.
appellate court rendered its decision on July 27, 1990, 10 the dispositive portion of which Therefore, petitioners are not barred in any way from instituting the action to annul the
reads: auction sale to protect their own interest.

"WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari is hereby granted and the questioned orders WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals dated July 27, 1990 as well as its
dated February 25, 1985, May 19, 1989 and February 26, 1990 issued in Civil Case No. Resolution of August 28, 1990 are hereby REVERSED and set aside; and Civil Case No.
51203 are hereby annulled, further respondent Judge is ordered to dismiss Civil Case No. 51203 is reinstated only to determine that portion which belongs to petitioners and to annul
51203." 11 the sale with regard to said portion.

Hence, this appeal. SO ORDERED.

Even without touching on the incidents and issues raised by both petitioner and private
respondents and the developments subsequent to the filing of the complaint, We cannot
but notice the glaring error committed by the trial court.

It would be useless to discuss the procedural issue on the validity of the execution and the
manner of publicly selling en masse the subject properties for auction. To start with, only
one-half of the 5 parcels of land should have been the subject of the auction sale.

The law in point is Article 777 of the Civil Code, the law applicable at the time of the
institution of the case.

"The rights to the succession are transmitted from the moment of the death of the
decedent."

Article 888 further provides:

"The legitime of the legitimate children and descendants consists of one-half of the
hereditary estate of the father and of the mother.

The latter may freely dispose of the remaining half, subject to the rights of illegitimate
children and of the surviving spouse as hereinafter provided:

Article 892 par. 2 likewise provides:

"If there are two or more legitimate children or descendants, the surviving spouse shall be
entitled to a portion equal to the legitime of each of the legitimate children or descendants."

Thus, from the foregoing, the legitime of the surviving spouse is equal to the legitime of
each child.
25
SUCCESSION CASES
G.R. No. L-19270 March 31, 1962 one-half share of Maxima Santos in her conjugal partnership with Simeon Blas. Petitioners
MANUEL GERVACIO BLAS, THE HEIRS OF THE DECEASED MARIA GERVACIO opposed the admission of the intervention complaint on the ground that Pinpin and
BLAS, ET AL., petitioners, vs. HON. CECILIA MUOZ-PALMA, as Judge of the Rizal Avendao have absolutely no interest in the case, not being the heirs and legatees
Court of First Instance; ROSALINA SANTOS, as Executrix of the testate estate of contemplated in the document Exhibit "A", signed by the late Maxima Santos, nor in the
the late Maxima Santos; MARTA GERVACIO BLAS CHIVI, LUDOVICO PINPIN and will and project of partition covering the estate of Simeon Blas nor in the decision rendered
TOMASA AVENDAO, respondents. by the Supreme Court sought to be executed; and that the admission of the intervention
complaint would violate the rule of res judicata and the doctrine of "law of the case". A
Petition for certiorari, mandamus and prohibition against the order of the Court of First reply to the opposition was filed by the claimants-intervenors and a rejoinder thereto
Instance of Rizal, Judge Cecilia Muoz Palma, presiding, dated October 25, 1961, which presented by plaintiffs. After considering the allegations of the parties in their respective
(1) granted the motion of respondent executrix Rosalina Santos to set Civil Case No. 4395 pleadings, respondent judge issued an order dated October 25, 1961, wherein the motion
of said court, appealed to this Court as G.R. No. L-14070, for hearing to determine certain for intervention was admitted, the motion for hearing granted, and the motion to enforce
factual issues before proceeding with the execution of the judgment rendered therein by the judgment of this Court was denied. A motion for reconsideration of this order presented
this Court, (2) admitted the complaint in intervention of intervenors Ludovico Pinpin and by petitioners on October 31, 1961 was denied by respondent judge on December 7, 1961.
Tomasa Avendao, and (3) denied the motion filed by plaintiffs, petitioners herein, to Hence, the present action was brought before this Court.
enforce the judgment of this Court in the above-mentioned case without the necessity of
further hearing. The pertinent parts of the order against which the present petition has been instituted is,
for the sake of clarity, hereby quoted:
The events that led to the present petition may be summarized as follows: On July 26,
1961, plaintiffs, petitioners herein, filed before the Court of First Instance of Rizal, a motion In pages 27 to 46 of said Project of Partition, an enumeration was made of the
for the execution of the decision of this Court in G.R. No. L-14070, dated March 29, 1961 properties constituting the entire share of Maxima Santos on the basis of the
(Civil Case No. 4395, Court of First Instance of Rizal), which motion was granted by the above-quoted distribution. It is, therefore, incorrect to state that all these properties
respondent judge in an order dated August 16, 1961. Pursuant to said order, a writ of listed in pages 27 to 46 of the Project of Partition constitute the one-half share of
execution was issued by the clerk of the lower court on August 24, 1961, and notice thereof Maxima Santos in the conjugal properties for as already indicated, said
served upon respondent Rosalina Santos on August 29, 1961, giving the latter 10 days enumeration includes: (a) the one-third portion devised to her by her husband,
within which to comply the same. Instead of complying with the order, respondent Simeon Blas in his will; (b) the one-third portion constituting the share of Lazaro
executrix, on September 15,1961, filed a motion to set the case for hearing, alleging that Gervacio Blas; and (c) her one-half share in the conjugal properties. In view of this,
it would be difficult to comply with the court's order unless the following questions were there is need of segregating in that list of properties found in pages 27 to 46 of the
first resolved: (1) what properties to be conveyed by the executrix; (2) to whom conveyance Project of Partition, those which constitute the one-half share of Maxima Santos
is to be made; and (3) in what proportions conveyance should be effected. This motion Vda. de Blas in the conjugal properties from those portions which she inherited
was opposed by herein petitioners as well as by Marta Chivi on the ground that the decision from her husband as well as those which she bought from Lazaro Gervacio Blas.
of this Court was clear enough on the questions raised and could be complied with without
the necessity of adducing evidence. A reply to this opposition was filed by respondent As regards the allowance of the intervention of several parties in this proceeding,
executrix and a rejoinder thereto presented by petitioners. this Court is simply guided by that portion of the Decision of the Supreme Court
which states that considering that all heirs and legatees designated in the will of
On October 3, 1961, plaintiff again filed a motion to enforce the final judgment in the above- Simeon Blas have not appeared in this Civil Case, the said heirs and legatees may
numbered case in accordance with Sec. 10, Rule 39, to which motion defendant executrix file adversary pleadings to determine the participation of each and every one of
filed an opposition reiterating the necessity of a hearing before the judgment of this Court them in the properties to be conveyed.
could be executed.
For a proper understanding of the case at bar, we hereby quote the dispositive part of the
In the meantime, or on August 29, 1961, Ludovico Pinpin and Tomasa Avendao decision of this Court in G.R. No. L-14070:.
presented a complaint in intervention, alleging that they are legatees named in the last will
and testament of the deceased Don Simeon Blas as well as in that of the deceased ... the defendant-appellee, administratrix ... is ordered to convey and deliver one-
Maxima Santos Vda. de Blas, and that they are, therefore, entitled to participate in the half of the properties adjudicated to Maxima Santos as her share in the conjugal
26
SUCCESSION CASES
properties in said Civil Case No. 6707, ... to the heirs and the legatees of her It might be pertinent to recall, in order to show the propriety of this method of partition by
husband Simeon Blas. determination of the aliquot portion pertaining to each heir, that the original action, G.R.
No. L-14070, was instituted to obtain a judicial declaration that one-half of the properties
The objection to the execution of the above-quoted dispositive part of the decision lies, as of Maxima Santos assigned to her as her share in the conjugal properties of herself and
contended by counsel for respondent executrix Rosalina Santos and as found by the trial her husband, be conveyed to the petitioners, because of a document signed by Maxima
court, in the supposed impossibility of pointing out from among the properties adjudicated Santos (Annex "H" of complaint) in which she promised to convey to the heirs of her
to Maxima Santos in the project of partition of the estate of her deceased husband, the deceased husband one-half of the properties that she would receive as her share in the
properties that should be conveyed and delivered. conjugal properties of herself and her husband. The action was expressly based on said
document, Annex "H" of complaint, in which the promise to convey said one-half portion
It must be borne in mind that it was not the intention of our decision in the, previous case was made. There was no demand that said one-half be expressly and actually segregated
(G.R. No. L-14070) which was ordered executed, that of the very numerous properties in the action, or that the conjugal properties be actually divided or partitioned. The
adjudicated to Maxima Santos in the project of partition, those that should be conveyed defendants in that case contended that the document Annex "H" was not executed by
and delivered to the petitioners herein, petitioners also in the previous case, be specifically Maxima Santos and that if it was so executed, the same was null and void as constituting
pointed out separately from the rest of the properties that should remain as Maxima a promise to convey future inheritance. There was no intent to designate or point out the
Santos' share. It was not expected, in view of the fact that the project of partition of the properties to be conveyed. The properties appear in the inventory filed in the proceedings
estate of Simeon Blas does not indicate the properties adjudicated to Maxima Santos as for the settlement of the estate of Simeon Blas but no demand was made for their
her share in the conjugal partnership separately from those received by her from her determination in the case. In view of the nature of the claim, which was to compel
husband as devisee of the free portion of his estate, or those acquired by purchase, that conveyance in accordance with the written contract or promise, and the nature of the
the properties constituting the one-half to be conveyed out of Maxima Santos' share in the defense, which is the supposed invalidity of the promise, the decision could not be other
conjugal partnership, be expressly singled out from the others. What was expected to be than a mere declaration of the validity of the instrument, coupled with an order for the
done by the court executing the judgment, in order to carry out the decision of this conveyance and delivery to the petitioners of the said one-half share as promised in the
Court, was to determine what undivided portion or aliquot part of all the properties document Annex "H". All of the above circumstances would have been ascertained had
adjudicated to her in various capacities should be conveyed by virtue of the judgment, and the court below taken pains to read even the decision and the project of partition alone.
then to have said undivided portion or aliquot part conveyed in an appropriate deed and
delivered to the petitioners, without need of actually partitioning the bulk of the properties It is true that objection was also raised by the defendants in the previous case to the action
and pointing out which of them belongs to petitioners and which belongs to the widow on the ground that the deceased Maxima Santos had received in one single mass of
Maxima Santos. 1wph1.t
properties, not only her share in the conjugal estate but also a devise of one-third of the
free portion of the estate of her husband Simeon Blas, as well as the share of one of the
The practice in the distribution of the estates of deceased persons is to assign the whole latter's heirs. But such objection could not prevent compliance with the promise made the
of the properties left for distribution to the heirs in a certain definite proportion, an aliquot deceased Maxima Santos (to convey to the heirs of her husband one-half of what she
part pertaining to each of the heirs. This method or plan of distribution and partition of received of the conjugal properties of her husband and herself). And the objection then
estates is provided for in section 1 of Rule 91, which reads thus: . raised was opportunely denied.

Section 1. When order for distribution of residue made. Testimony taken on The project of partition mentioned in the dispositive part of our decision sought to be
controversy preserved. When the debts, funeral charges, and expenses of enforced, which is the project of partition in Civil Case No. 6707 of the Court of First
administration, the allowances to the widow, and inheritance tax, if any, chargeable Instance of Rizal, contains the following resume of the properties received by Maxima
to the estate in accordance with law, have been paid, the court, on the application Santos in various capacities in the settlement of the estate of her husband Simeon Blas:
of the executor or administrator, or of a person interested in the estate, and after
hearing upon notice, shall assign the residue of the estate to the persons entitled 1/2 of all properties left by the deceased, as her
to the same, naming them and the proportions, or parts, to which each is entitled, share in the conjugal partnership property . . . . . . . . . P339,440.00
and such persons may demand and recover their respective shares from the
executor or administrator, or any other person having the same in his possession. 1/3 free disposition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 113,146.66
...
27
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1/3 of strict legitime devised to Lazaro Blas by the rule, the deed shall be as effectual to convey the property as if executed by the
and sold by the latter to the widow . . . . . . . . . . . 37,715.56 deceased in her lifetime.

We note that the petitioners prepared a deed of conveyance to be signed by the clerk of
TOTAL .......... P490,302.22 court, but the error in the said deed of conveyance lies in that it includes all of the properties
mentioned in the project of partition, adjudicated to Maxima Santos which, as above
indicated, should not be the case, because what was actually adjudicated to her in the
The properties received by Maxima Santos as her share in the conjugal partnership project of partition included not only her share in the conjugal property, but also what she
properties is expressly stated to be P339,440.00. In accordance with the promise made in
received from her husband out of the free portion, and what she had purchased from an
Annex "H", to convey and deliver to the heirs of the deceased husband one-half thereof,
heir of her husband.
the value of the properties that she was obliged to convey and deliver is one-half of said
properties, or P169,720. Following what we have stated above, that the practice in the
settlement of assets of deceased persons is to assign to each heir or participant a certain It is to be noted further that in order to have the document executed and approved by the
aliquot portion, undivided if division is difficult to carry out, the share to be assigned by court, the specific steps prior to the execution of the deed of conveyance as pointed out in
Maxima Santos is P169,720 divided by P490,302.22 or approximately 34.61-1/3%. In the last part of the above-quoted section must be strictly followed.
order to carry out the decision of this Court, therefore, the administratrix should have been
compelled or ordered to convey and deliver the 34.61-1/3% of the total amount of the With the above explanations, there should be no difficulty for the court below to proceed
properties that she received in the project of partition. with the execution of the decision in accordance with its terms. Our attention has been
called to the fact of the properties included in the inventory of the estate left by the
The procedure to be followed is that outlined in section 8 of Rule 90 which reads as follows: deceased Simeon Blas, certain properties listed in Annex "2" of the petition in the case at
bar, are not included in the project of partition. We have checked the said properties and
have found that the same are actually included in the inventory of the estate left by Simeon
Sec. 8. When court may authorize conveyance of realty which deceased
Blas but do not appear among those adjudicated to any of the heirs in the project of
contracted to convey. Notice. Effect of deed. Where the deceased was in his
partition. Without making a final pronouncement as to the effect of such conveyances, it is
lifetime under contract, binding in law, to deed real property, or an interest therein,
possible that such conveyances violated the express promise made by Maxima Santos in
the court having jurisdiction of the estate may, on application for that purpose,
Annex "H" that she convey one-half of her share in the conjugal properties to the heirs of
authorize the executor or administrator to convey such property according to such
her deceased husband. On the other hand, the persons who may have purchased the
contract, or with such modifications as are agreed upon by the parties and
same may have acquired them in good faith, without knowledge of the existence of the
approved by the court; and if the contract is to convey real property to the executor
promise made by the deceased Maxima Santos in Annex "H". The only just ruling
or administrator, the clerk of the court shall execute the deed. The deed executed
regarding these properties would be to reserve to the petitioners herein the right of action
by such executor, administrator or clerk of court shall be as effectual to convey the
to claim from the administratrix of Maxima Santos, or from the persons to whom they have
property as if executed by the deceased in his lifetime; but no such conveyance
been transferred, or from both, their one-half share therein as promised by Maxima Santos
shall be authorized until notice of the application for that purpose has been given
in Annex "H".
personally or by mail to all persons interested, and such further notice has been
given, by publication or otherwise, as the court deems proper; nor if the assets in
the hands of the executor or administrator will thereby be reduced so as to prevent The above considerations dispose of the main issue submitted to this Court in the case at
a creditor from receiving his full debt or diminish his dividend. bar. One minor matter remains to be considered, and that is, the petition for intervention
filed by Ludovico Pinpin and Tomasa Avendao alleging that they have interest in the
action as legatees of the deceased Simeon Blas. This petition was opposed by the
The above-quoted section is applicable because the deceased Maxima Santos had agreed
petitioners herein, but was finally admitted by the court a quo.
and promised to convey in her will one-half of her share in the conjugal assets to such of
the heirs of her husband as she may designate. If the administratrix Rosalina Santos is
reluctant to execute the deed as ordered by the Court, the deed of conveyance and These intervenors appear to have received legacies in the will of the deceased Simeon
delivery of the properties may be executed by the clerk of court, in which case, as declared Blas. The portion of said will containing the legacies to these intervenors are as follows:.

IV
28
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"Ang isang ikatlong bahagi, etc. Na aking nabasa at naunawa ang testamento at huling kalooban na nilagdaan ng
xxx xxx xxx aking asawa, SIMEON BLAS, at ipinahahayag ko sa ilalim ng aking karangalan at
4. Ipinagkakaloob ko kay TOMASA AVENDAO, etc. sa harap ng aking asawa na igagalang at pagpipitaganan ang lahat at bawat isang
xxx xxx xxx bahagi ng nabanggit na testamento at ipinangangako ko pa sa pamamagitan ng
6. Ipinagkakaloob ko kay LUDOVICO PINPIN, etc." kasulatang ito na ang lahat ng maiiwang pag-aari at kayamanan naming mag-
(Pp. 254-255, Record on Appeal, G.R. No. L-14070, Maria Gervacio Blas, asawa, na nauukol at bahaging para sa akin sa paggawa ko naman ng aking
et al. vs. Rosalina Santos.). testamento ay ipinagkakaloob ko ang kalahati (1/2) sa mga herederos at legatarios
o pinamamanahan ng aking nabanggit na asawa, SIMEON BLAS, sa kaniyang
The question at issue, therefore, is whether these intervenors are embraced within the testamento na ako'y makapipili o makahihirang sa kahi't kangino sa kanila ng aking
term "herederos at legatarios o pinamamanahan ng aking nabanggit na asawa, SIMEON pagbibigyan at pamamanahan sang-ayon sa pag-galang, paglilingkod, at
BLAS, sa kaniyang testamento," to which persons Maxima Santos had obligated herself pakikisama na gagawin sa akin.
to convey one-half of her share in the conjugal properties.
SA KATUNAYAN NG LAHAT NG ITO, ay nilagdaan ko ang kasulatang ito ngayong
A study of the testament of Simeon Blas (Record on Appeal, pp. 249-257, G.R. No. L- ika 26 ng Diciembre ng taong 1936, dito sa San Francisco del Monte, SanJuan,
14070) and the promise or contract executed by Maxima Santos, Annex "H", shows that Rizal, Philippines.
the two terms (herederos and legatarios) are used in the devises or legacies to the various
heirs and legatees. With respect to the legitimate heirs of Simeon Blas, to whom he MAXIMA SANTOS DE BLAS
devised the strict legitime and the mejora, he used the expression
"ibinibigay ko at ipinamamana sa aking apong Maria Gervacio Blas, Marta Gervacio Blas the words "herederos at legatarios o pinamamanahan ng aking nabanggit na asawa,"
at Lazaro Gervacio Blas" (Chapter II, paragraph 2 of the testament of Simeon Blas). With mean the heirs at law or relatives of the deceased Simeon Blas and not other persons who
respect to the mejora he uses the same term "ipinamamana" and he says thus:"Para sa are not heirs but had received legacies in money or otherwise. Consequent to this
aking mga apong Luding at Leoncio Blas ay ipinagkakaloob ko at ipinamamana ang conclusion, intervenors Ludovico Pinpin and Tomasa Avendao cannot claim any right by
halagang SAMPUNG LIBONG PISO (P10,000) sa bawat isa sa kanila." In the last or fourth virtue of said document Annex "H" and their petition for intervention should be, as it hereby
chapter where the one-third subject to the free disposal are disposed of, he uses only the is, disallowed.
term "ipinagkakaloob". This term is used for Andres Pascual, Leoncio Santos, Catalina
Blas, Tomasa Avendao, Justo Garcia, Ludovico Pinpin, and Fermin Santiago, all of IN VIEW THEREOF, the order sought to be reviewed is hereby set aside and the court
whom are not relatives of the deceased. Taking into account the fact that both the will of below is ordered to proceed with the execution of the judgment in G.R. No. L-14070 in
the deceased Simeon Blas and the document Annex "H" executed by Maxima Santos were accordance herewith. With costs against the respondent Rosalina Santos.
prepared by the same persons and at about the same time, both bearing date of December
26, 1936, and are attested by the same witnesses, and the further fact that it was the
deceased Simeon Blas that had asked for the execution of the document Annex "II", it
stands to reason that the word "ipinamamana" refers to devices made legal heirs (heirs at
law) of the deceased Simeon Blas, whereas the term "ipinagkakaloob" refers to persons
who are not related to him, on his heirs at law. Accordingly, in the document Annex "H"
which reads as follows:.

MAUNAWA NG SINO MANG MAKABABASA:

Na akong si MAXIMA SANTOS DE BLAS, nasa hustong gulang, kasal kay


SIMEON BLAS, taga bayan ng Malabon, Rizal, Philippines, sa pamamagitan
ngkasulatang ito ay malaya kong ipinahahayag:

29
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G.R. No. 112193 March 13, 1996 court, whether in criminal or civil cases, once attached cannot be ousted by subsequent
JOSE E. ARUEGO, JR., SIMEONA SAN JUAN ARUEGO, MA. IMMACULADA T. happenings or events, although of a character which would have prevented jurisdiction
ALANON, ROBERTO A. TORRES, CRISTINA A. TORRES, JUSTO JOSE TORRES from attaching in the first instance, and it retains jurisdiction until it finally disposes of the
and AGUSTIN TORRES, petitioners, vs. THE HON. COURT OF APPEALS, case.
THIRTEENTH DIVISION and ANTONIA ARUEGO, respondents.
On March 7, 1983, a Complaint1 for Compulsory Recognition and Enforcement of
1. Parent and Child; Filiation; Recognition; Family Code; Words and Phrases; The phrase Successional Rights was filed before Branch 30 of the Regional Trial Court of Manila by
vested or acquired rights under Article 256 is not defined by the Family Code, leaving it the minors, private respondent Antonia F. Aruego and her alleged sister Evelyn F. Aruego,
to the courts to determine what it means as each particular issue is submitted to them.- represented by their mother and natural guardian, Luz M. Fabian. Named defendants
therein were Jose E. Aruego, Jr. and the five (5) minor children of the deceased Gloria A.
The phrase vested or acquired rights under Article 256, is not defined by the Family Torres, represented by their father and natural guardian, Justo P. Torres, Jr., now the
Code. The Committee did not define what is meant by a vested or acquired right, thus petitioners herein.
leaving it to the courts to determine what it means as each particular issue is submitted to
them. It is difficult to provide the answer for each and every question that may arise in the In essence, the complaint avers that the late Jose M. Aruego, Sr., a married man, had an
future. amorous relationship with Luz M. Fabian sometime in 1959 until his death on March 30,
1982. Out of this relationship were born Antonia F. Aruego and Evelyn F. Aruego on
2. Parent and Child; Filiation; Recognition; Family Code; Actions; An action for compulsory
October 5, 1962 and September 3, 1963, respectively. The complaint prayed for an Order
recognition and enforcement of successional rights which was filed prior to the advent of
praying that herein private respondent and Evelyn be declared the illegitimate children of
the Family Code must be governed by Article 285 of the Civil Code and not by Article 175, the deceased Jose M. Aruego, Sr.; that herein petitioners be compelled to recognize and
paragraph 2 of the Family Code.- acknowledge them as the compulsory heirs of the deceased Jose M. Aruego; that their
share and participation in the estate of their deceased father be determined and ordered
Tayag applies four-square with the case at bench. The action brought by private
delivered to them.
respondent Antonia Aruego for compulsory recognition and enforcement of successional
rights which was filed prior to the advent of the Family Code, must be governed by Article
The main basis of the action for compulsory recognition is their alleged "open and
285 of the Civil Code and not by Article 175, paragraph 2 of the Family Code. The present
continuous possession of the status of illegitimate children" as stated in paragraphs 6 and
law cannot be given retroactive effect insofar as the instant case is concerned, as its 7 of the Complaint, to wit:
application will prejudice the vested right of private respondent to have her case decided
under Article 285 of the Civil Code. The right was vested to her by the fact that she filed 6. The plaintiffs' father, Jose M. Aruego, acknowledged and recognized the herein
her action under the regime of the Civil Code. plaintiffs as his children verbally among plaintiffs' and their mother's family friends,
3. Parent and Child; Filiation; Recognition; Family Code; Actions; Jurisdiction; The as well as by myriad different paternal ways, including but not limited to the
following:
jurisdiction of a court, whether in criminal or civil cases, once attached, cannot be ousted
by subsequent happenings or events, although of a character which would have prevented
(a) Regular support and educational expenses;
jurisdiction from attaching in the first instance, and the Court retains jurisdiction until it
finally disposes of the case.-
(b) Allowance to use his surname;
Prescinding from this, the conclusion then ought to be that the action was not yet barred,
notwithstanding the fact that it was brought when the putative father was already (c) Payment of maternal bills;
deceased, since private respondent was then still a minor when it was filed, an exception
to the general rule provided under Article 285 of the Civil Code. Hence, the trial court, (d) Payment of baptismal expenses and attendance therein;
which acquired jurisdiction over the case by the filing of the complaint, never lost
jurisdiction over the same despite the passage of E.O. No. 209, also known as the Family (e) Taking them to restaurants and department stores on occasions of family
Code of the Philippines. Our ruling herein reinforces the principle that the jurisdiction of a rejoicing;
30
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(f) Attendance to school problems of plaintiffs; Herein petitioners filed a Motion for Partial Reconsideration of the decision alleging loss of
jurisdiction on the part of the trial court over the complaint by virtue of the passage of
(g) Calling and allowing plaintiffs to his office every now and then; Executive Order No. 209 (as amended by Executive Order No. 227), otherwise known as
the Family Code of the Philippines which took effect on August 3, 1988. This motion was
(h) Introducing them as such children to family friends. denied by the lower court in the Order, dated January 14, 1993.

7. The plaintiffs are thus, in continuous possession of the status Petitioners interposed an appeal but the lower court refused to give it due course on the
of (illegitimate) children of the deceased Jose M. Aruego who showered them, with ground that it was filed out of time.
the continuous and clear manifestations of paternal care and affection as above
outlined.2 A Petition for Prohibition and Certiorari with prayer for a Writ of Preliminary Injunction was
filed by herein petitioners before respondent Court of Appeals, the petition was dismissed
Petitioners denied all these allegations. for lack of merit in a decision promulgated on August 31, 1993. A Motion for
Reconsideration when filed was denied by the respondent court in a minute resolution,
dated October 13, 1993.
After trial, the lower court rendered judgment, dated June 15, 1992, the dispositive portion
of which reads:
Hence, this Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 alleging the following grounds:
WHEREFORE, judgment is rendered
A
1. Declaring Antonia Aruego as illegitimate daughter of Jose Aruego and Luz
Fabian; RESPONDENT COURT HAD DECIDED A QUESTION OF SUBSTANCE IN A
WAY NOT IN ACCORD WITH THE LAW AND IS DIRECTLY CONTRADICTORY
TO THE APPLICABLE DECISION ALREADY ISSUED BY THIS HONORABLE
2. Evelyn Fabian is not an illegitimate daughter of Jose Aruego with Luz Fabian;
COURT.
3. Declaring that the estate of deceased Jose Aruego are the following:
B
xxx xxx xxx
RESPONDENT COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE PETITION FILED BY
PETITIONERS BEFORE IT DOES NOT INVOLVE A QUESTION OF
4. Antonia Aruego is entitled to a share equal to 1/2 portion of share of the JURISDICTION.
legitimate children of Jose Aruego;
C
5. Defendants are hereby ordered to recognize Antonia Aruego as the illegitimate
daughter of Jose Aruego with Luz Fabian;
RESPONDENT COURT HAD CLEARLY ERRED IN RULING THAT THERE IS
NO PERCEPTIBLE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE CIVIL CODE PROVISION
6. Defendants are hereby ordered to deliver to Antonia Aruego (her) share in the AND THOSE OF THE FAMILY CODE ANENT THE TIME AN ACTION FOR
estate of Jose Aruego, Sr.; COMPULSORY RECOGNITION MAY BE MADE AND THAT THERE IS NO
DIFFERENCE UNDER THE CIVIL CODE FROM THAT OF THE FAMILY CODE
7. Defendants to play (sic) plaintiffs (Antonia Aruego) counsel the sum of CONCERNING THE REQUIREMENT THAT AN ACTION FOR COMPULSORY
P10,000.00 as atty's fee; RECOGNITION ON THE GROUND OF CONTINUOUS POSSESSION OF THE
STATUS OF AN ILLEGITIMATE CHILD SHOULD BE FILED DURING THE
8. Cost against the defendants.3 LIFETIME OF THE PUTATIVE PARENT, IN UTTER DISREGARD OF THE
RULING OF THIS HONORABLE COURT IN THE UYGUANGCO CASE THAT
31
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THE CIVIL CODE PROVISION HAD BEEN SUPERSEDED OR AT LEAST (1) The open and continuous possession of the status of a legitimate child;
MODIFIED BY THE CORRESPONDING ARTICLES IN THE FAMILY CODE. or

D (2) Any other means allowed by the Rules of Court and special laws.

RESPONDENT COURT ERRED IN DISMISSING PETITIONERS' PETITION FOR Art. 175. Illegitimate children may establish their illegitimate filiation in the
PROHIBITION AND IN HOLDING THAT PETITIONERS REMEDY IS THAT OF same way and on the same evidence as legitimate children.
AN APPEAL WHICH ALLEGEDLY HAD ALREADY BEEN LOST.4
The action must be brought within the same period specified in Article 173
Private respondent's action for compulsory recognition as an illegitimate child was brought [during the lifetime of the child], except when the action is based on the
under Book I, Title VIII of the Civil Code on PERSONS, specifically Article 285 thereof, second paragraph of Article 172, in which case the action may be brought
which state the manner by which illegitimate children may prove their filiation, to wit: during the lifetime of the alleged parent.

Art. 285. The action for the recognition of natural children may be brought In the case at bench, petitioners point out that, since the complaint of private
only during the lifetime of the presumed parents, except in the following respondent and her alleged sister was filed on March 7, 1983, or almost one (1)
cases: year after the death of their presumed father on March 30, 1982, the action has
clearly prescribed under the new rule as provided in the Family Code. Petitioners,
(1) If the father or mother died during the minority of the child, in which further, maintain that even if the action was filed prior to the effectivity of the Family
case the latter may file the action before the expiration of four years from Code, this new law must be applied to the instant case pursuant to Article 256 of
the attainment of his majority; . . . . the Family Code which provides:

Petitioners, on the other hand, submit that with the advent of the New Family Code This Code shall, have retroactive effect insofar as it does not prejudice or
on August 3, 1988, the trial court lost jurisdiction over the complaint of private impair vested of acquired rights in accordance with the Civil Code or other
respondent on the ground of prescription, considering that under Article 175, laws.
paragraph 2, in relation to Article 172 of the New Family Code, it is provided that
an action for compulsory recognition of illegitimate filiation, if based on the "open The basic question that must be resolved in this case, therefore, appears to be:
and continuous possession of the status of an illegitimate child," must be brought
during the lifetime of the alleged parent without any exception, otherwise the action Should the provisions of the Family Code be applied in the instant case? As a corollary
will be barred by prescription. Will the application of the Family Code in this case prejudice or impair any vested right of
the private respondent such that it should not be given retroactive effect in this particular
The law cited reads: case?

Art. 172. The filiation of legitimate children is established by any of the The phrase "vested or acquired rights" under Article 256, is not defined by the Family
following: Code. "The Committee did not define what is meant by a 'vested or acquired right,' thus
leaving it to the courts to determine what it means as each particular issue is submitted to
(1) The record of birth appearing in the civil register or a final judgment; or them. It is difficult to provide the answer for each and every question that may arise in the
future."5
(2) An admission of legitimate filiation in a public document or a private
handwritten instrument and signed by the parent concerned. In Tayag vs. Court of Appeals,6 a case which involves a similar complaint denominated as
"Claim for Inheritance" but treated by this court as one to compel recognition as an
In the absence of the foregoing evidence, the legitimate filiation shall be illegitimate child brought prior to the effectivity of the Family Code by the mother of the
proved by:
32
SUCCESSION CASES
minor child, and based also on the "open and continuous possession of the status of an SO ORDERED.
illegitimate child," we had occasion to rule that:

Under the circumstances obtaining in the case at bar, we hold that the right of
action of the minor child has been vested by the filing of the complaint in court
under the regime of the Civil Code and prior to the effectivity of the Family Code.
We herein adopt our ruling in the recent case of Republic of the Philippines
vs. Court of Appeals, et. al. 7 where we held that the fact of filing of the petition
already vested in the petitioner her right to file it and to have the same proceed to
final adjudication in accordance with the law in force at the time, and such right
can no longer be prejudiced or impaired by the enactment of a new law.

xxx xxx xxx

Accordingly, Article 175 of the Family Code finds no proper application to the
instant case since it will ineluctably affect adversely a right of private respondent
and, consequentially, of the minor child she represents, both of which have been
vested with the filing of the complaint in court. The trial court is, therefore, correct
in applying the provisions of Article 285 of the Civil Code and in holding that private
respondent's cause of action has not yet prescribed.

Tayag applies four-square with the case at bench. The action brought by private
respondent Antonia Aruego for compulsory recognition and enforcement of successional
rights which was filed prior to the advent of the Family Code, must be governed by Article
285 of the Civil Code and not by Article 175, paragraph 2 of the Family Code. The present
law cannot be given retroactive effect insofar as the instant case is concerned, as its
application will prejudice the vested right of private respondent to have her case decided
under Article 285 of the Civil Code. The right was vested to her by the fact that she filed
her action under the regime of the Civil Code. Prescinding from this, the conclusion then
ought to be that the action was not yet barred, notwithstanding the fact that it was brought
when the putative father was already deceased, since private respondent was then still a
minor when it was filed, an exception to the general rule provided under Article 285 of the
Civil Code. Hence, the trial court, which acquired jurisdiction over the case by the filing of
the complaint, never lost jurisdiction over the same despite the passage of E.O. No. 209,
also known as the Family Code of the Philippines.

Our ruling herein reinforces the principle that the jurisdiction of a court, whether in
criminal or civil cases, once attached cannot be ousted by subsequent happenings or
events, although of a character which would have prevented jurisdiction from attaching in
the first instance, and it retains jurisdiction until it finally disposes of the case. 8

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED and the decision of the Court of Appeals dated
August 31, 1993 and its Resolution dated October 13, 1993 are hereby AFFIRMED.
33
SUCCESSION CASES
G.R. No. 108947 September 29, 1997 [Herein petitioners] Rolando, Florida Mierly, Alfredo and Myrna, all surnamed
ROLANDO SANCHEZ, FLORIDA MIERLY SANCHEZ, ALFREDO T. SANCHEZ and Sanchez, are the illegitimate children of Juan C. Sanchez.
MYRNA T. SANCHEZ, petitioners, vs. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS,
ROSALIA S. LUGOD, ARTURO S. LUGOD, EVELYN LUGOD-RANISES and Following the death of her mother, Maria Villafranca, on September 29, 1967,
ROBERTO S. LUGOD, respondents. [herein private respondent] Rosalia filed on January 22, 1968, thru counsel, a
petition for letters of administration over the estate of her mother and the estate of
Is a petition for certiorari, in lieu of appeal, the proper remedy to correct orders of a probate her father, Juan C. Sanchez, who was at the time in state of senility (Annex "B",
court nullifying certain deeds of sale and, thus, effectively passing upon title to the Petition).
properties subject of such deeds? Is a compromise agreement partitioning inherited
properties valid even without the approval of the trial court hearing the intestate estate of On September 30, 1968, [herein private respondent] Rosalia, as administratrix of
the deceased owner? the intestate estate of her mother, submitted an inventory and appraisal of the real
and personal estate of her late mother (Annex "C", Petition).
The Case
Before the administration proceedings Special in Proceedings No. 44-M could
These questions are answered by this Court as it resolves the petition for review formally be terminated and closed, Juan C. Sanchez, [herein private respondent]
on certiorari before us assailing the November 23, 1992 Decision1 of the Court of Rosalia's father, died on October 21, 1968.
Appeals2 in CA-G.R. SP No. 28761 which annulled the decision3 of the trial court4 and
which declared the compromise agreement among the parties valid and binding even On January 14, 1969, [herein petitioners] as heirs of Juan C. Sanchez, filed a
without the said trial court's approval. The dispositive portion of the assailed Decision petition for letters of administration (Special Proceedings No. 1022) over the
reads: intestate estate of Juan C. Sanchez, which petition was opposed by (herein private
respondent) Rosalia.6
WHEREFORE, for the reasons hereinabove set forth and discussed, the
instant petition is GRANTED and the challenged decision as well as the On October 30, 1969, however, [herein private respondent] Rosalia and [herein
subsequent orders of the respondent court are ANNULLED and SET petitioners] assisted by their respective counsels executed a compromise
ASIDE. The temporary restraining order issued by this Court on October agreement (Annex "D", Petition) wherein they agreed to divide the properties
14, 1992 is made PERMANENT. The compromise agreement dated enumerated therein of the late Juan C. Sanchez.
October 30, 1969 as modified by the memorandum of agreement of April
13, 1970 is DECLARED valid and binding upon herein parties. And Special On November 3, 1969, petitioner Rosalia was appointed by [the trial court], and
Proceedings No. 44-M and 1022 are deemed CLOSED and took her oath as the administratrix of her father's intestate estate.
TERMINATED.
On January 19, 1970, [herein petitioners] filed a motion to require administratrix,
SO ORDERED.5 [herein private respondent] Rosalia, to deliver deficiency of 24 hectares and or to
set aside compromise agreement (Annex "E", Petition).
The Antecedent Facts
Under date of April 13, 1970, (herein private respondent) Rosalia and [herein
The facts are narrated by the Court of Appeals as follows: petitioners] entered into and executed a memorandum of agreement which
modified the compromise agreement (Annex "F". Petition)
[Herein private respondent] Rosalia S. Lugod is the only child of spouses Juan C.
Sanchez and Maria Villafranca while [herein private respondents] Arturo S. Lugod, On October 25, 1979, or nine years later, [herein petitioners] filed, thru counsel, a
Evelyn L. Ranises and Roberto S. Lugod are the legitimate children of [herein motion to require [herein private respondent] Rosalia to submit a new inventory
private respondent] Rosalia. and to render an accounting over properties not included in the compromise
agreement (Annex "G", Petition). They likewise filed a motion to defer the approval
34
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of the compromise agreement (Annex "H", Ibid), in which they prayed for the between and among the six (6) illegitimate children, namely: Patricia
annulment of the compromise agreement on the ground of fraud. Alburo, Maria Ramuso Sanchez, Rolando Pedro T. Sanchez, Florida
Mierly T. Sanchez, Alfredo T. Sanchez and Myrna T. Sanchez;
On February 4, 1980, however, counsel for [herein petitioners] moved to withdraw
his appearance and the two motions he flied, Annex "G" and "H" (Annex "I", 4. That all the Deed (sic) of Absolute Sales executed by Juan C. Sanchez
Petition). and Maria Villafranca in favor of Rosalia Sanchez Lugod, Arturo S. Lugod,
Evelyn S. Lugod and Roberto S. Lugod on July 26, 1963 and June 26,
On February 28, 1980, the [trial] court issued an order directing [herein private 1967 are all declared simulated and fictitious and must be subject to
respondent] Rosalia to submit a new inventory of properties under her collation and partition among all heirs;
administration and an accounting of the fruits thereof, which prompted [herein
private respondent] Rosalia to file a rejoinder on March 31, 1980 (Annex "K", 5. That within thirty (30) days from finality of this decision, Rosalia Sanchez
Petition). Lugod is hereby ordered to prepare a project of partition of the intestate
estate of Juan C. Sanchez under Special Proceedings No. 1022 and
On May 12, 1980, [herein petitioners], thru new counsel, filed a motion to change distribute and deliver to all heirs their corresponding shares. If she fails to
administratrix (Annex "L", Petition) to which [herein private respondent] Rosalia do so within the said thirty (30) days, then a Board of Commissioners is
filed an opposition (Annex "M", Ibid). hereby constituted, who are all entitled to honorarium and per diems and
other necessary expenses chargeable to the estate to be paid by
The parties were subsequently ordered to submit their respective position papers, Administratrix Rosalia S. Lugod, appointing the Community Environment
which they did (Annexes "N" and "O", Petition). On September 14, 1989, former and Natural Resources Officer (CENRO) of Gingoog City as members
counsel of (herein petitioners) entered his re-appearance as counsel for (herein thereof, with the task to prepare the project of partition and deliver to all
petitioners). heirs their respective shares within ninety (90) days from the finality of said
decision;
On the bases of memoranda submitted by the parties, the [trial court], this time
presided by Judge Vivencio A. Galon, promulgated its decision on June 26, 1991, 6. That within thirty (30) days from receipt of this decision, Administratrix
the dispositive portion of which states: Rosalia Sanchez Vda. de Lugod is hereby ordered to submit two (2)
separate certified true and correct accounting, one for the income of all the
properties of the entire intestate estate of Maria Villafranca under Special
WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered as
Proceedings No. 44-M, and another for the properties of the entire intestate
follows by declaring and ordering:
estate of Juan C. Sanchez under Special Proceedings No. 1022 duly both
signed by her and both verified by a Certified Public Accountant and
1. That the entire intestate estate of Maria Villafranca Sanchez under distribute and deliver to her six (6) illegitimate brothers and sisters in equal
Special Proceedings No. 44-M consists of all her paraphernal properties shares, one-half (1/2) of the net income of the estate of Juan C. Sanchez
and one-half (1/2) of the conjugal properties which must be divided equally from October 21, 1968 up to the finality of this decision;
between Rosalia Sanchez de Lugod and Juan C. Sanchez;
7. For failure to render an accounting report and failure to give cash
2. That the entire intestate estate of Juan C. Sanchez under Special advances to the illegitimate children of Juan C. Sanchez during their
Proceedings No. 1022 consists of all his capital properties, one-half (1/2) minority and hour of need from the net income of the estate of Juan C.
from the conjugal partnership of gains and one-half (1/2) of the intestate Sanchez, which adversely prejudiced their social standing and pursuit of
estate of Maria Villafranca under Special Proceedings No. 44-M; college education, (the trial court) hereby orders Rosalia Sanchez Vda. de
Lugod to pay her six (6) illegitimate brothers and sisters the sum of Five
3. That one-half (1/2) of the entire intestate estate of Juan C. Sanchez shall Hundred Thousand (P500,000.00) Pesos, as exemplary damages, and
be inherited by his only legitimate daughter, Rosalia V. Sanchez de Lugod also the sum of One Hundred Fifty Thousand (P150,000.00) Pesos for
while the other one-half (1/2) shall be inherited and be divided equally by, attorney's fees;
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8. Upon release of this decision and during its pendency, should appeal be IV [The trial court judge] defied without rhyme or reason well-established and
made, the Register of Deeds and Assessors of the Provinces and Cities entrenched jurisprudence when he determined facts sans any evidence thereon.
where the properties of Juan C. Sanchez and Maria Villafranca are located,
are all ordered to register and annotate in the title and/or tax declarations, V [The trial court] grossly misinterpreted [herein private respondent] Rosalia S.
the dispositive portion of this decision for the protection of all heirs and all Lugod's right to appeal.8
those who may be concerned.
For clarity's sake, this Court hereby reproduces verbatim the compromise agreement9 of
SO ORDERED. the parties:

[Herein private respondent] Rosalia filed a motion for reconsideration dated July COMPROMISE AGREEMENT
17, 1991 (Annex "P", Petition) on August 6, 1991.
COME NOW, the parties in the above-entitled case, motivated by their mutual
On August 13, 1991, [herein petitioners] filed a motion for execution and opposition desire to preserve and maintain harmonious relations between and among
to [herein private respondent] Rosalia's motion for reconsideration (Annex "Q", themselves, for mutual valuable considerations and in the spirit of good will and
Petition). fair play, and, for the purpose of this Compromise Agreement, agree to the
following:
On September 3, 1991, [the trial court] issued an Omnibus Order (Annex "S",
Petition) declaring, among other things, that the decision at issue had become final 1. That the deceased Juan C. Sanchez who died intestate on October 21, 1968
and executory. was legally married to Maria Villafranca de Sanchez, who predeceased her on
September 29, 1967, out of whose wedlock Rosalia Sanchez Lugod, Oppositor
[Herein private respondent] Rosalia then filed a motion for reconsideration of said herein, was born, thus making her the sole and only surviving legitimate heir of her
Omnibus Order (Annex "T", Petition). Said [herein private respondent] was allowed deceased parents;
to file a memorandum in support of her motion (Annex "V", Petition).
2. That the said deceased Juan C. Sanchez, left illegitimate children, Intervenors-
On June 26, 1991, [the trial court] issued and Order denying petitioner Rosalia's Oppositors and Petitioners, respectively, herein namely;
motion for reconsideration (Annex "W", Petition).7
(1) Patricio Alburo, born out of wedlock on March 17, 1926 at Cebu City,
Thereafter, private respondents elevated the case to the Court of Appeals via a petition Philippines, to Emilia Alburo;
for certiorari and contended:
(2) Maria Ramoso Sanchez, born out of wedlock on May 9, 1937 at
I The [trial court] has no authority to disturb the compromise agreement. Gingoog, Misamis Oriental, now, Gingoog City, to Alberta Ramoso;

II The [trial court] has arbitrarily faulted [herein private respondent] Rosalia S. (3) (a) Rolando Pedro Sanchez, born on May 19, 1947,
Lugod for alleged failure to render an accounting which was impossible.
(b) Florida Mierly Sanchez, born on February 16, 1949,
III The [trial court] acted without jurisdiction in derogation of the constitutional rights
of [herein private respondents] Arturo S. Lugod, Evelyn L. Ranises and Roberto S. (c) Alfredo Sanchez, born on July 21, 1950, and
Lugod when [the trial court] decided to annul the deed of sale between the said
[herein private respondents] and Juan C. Sanchez without affording them their day (d) Myrna Sanchez, born on June 16, 1952, all born out of wedlock to
in court. Laureta Tampus in Gingoog City, Philippines.

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3. That the deceased Juan C. Sanchez left the following properties, to wit: Lot Nos. 3270 & 3273; East by Panyangan River; South by Panyangan River; and
West by Lot Nos. 3270 & 3271, containing an area of FIFTY FIVE THOUSAND
I. SEPARATE CAPITAL OF JUAN C. SANCHEZ SIX HUNDRED (55,600) sq. ms. more or less, being claimed by Damian Querubin.

NATURE, DESCRIPTION AND AREA ASSESSED VALUE P2,370.00

(1) Agricultural Land. Covered by Tax. Decl. No. 06458, Cad. Lot No. 1041 C-2, (5) Agricultural Land. Covered by Tax Decl. No. 06453, Cad. Lot No. 3270 Case
located at Murallon, Gingoog City and bounded on the North by Lot Nos. 1033, 7, located at Sunog, Lunao, Gingoog City and bounded on the North by Samay
1035, 1036, 1037, 1039, 1040, 1042 & 1043; South by Lot No. 1080, 1088, 1087 Creek & Lot 3267; South by Lot Nos. 3271 & 3272; East by Lot Nos. 3269 & 3273;
& 1084; East by Lot Nos. 1089, 1061 & 2319; West by Lot Nos. 954, 1038, 1057 and West by Samay Creek, containing an area of FOUR HUNDRED EIGHT
& 1056, containing an area of ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY THREE THOUSAND SIX THREE THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED (483,600) sq. ms. more or less.
HUNDRED SEVENTY TWO (183, 672) sq. ms. more or less.
P61,680.00
P21,690.00
(6) Agricultural Land. Covered by Tax Decl. No. 06457, Cad. Lot No. 3273, C-7
II. CONJUGAL PROPERTY OF JUAN C. SANCHEZ AND MARIA VILLAFRANCA Part 2 located at Panyangan, Lunao, Gingoog City and bounded on the North by
DE SANCHEZ Lot No. 3269; South by Lot No. 3272; East by Panyangan River; and West by Lot
No. 3270, containing an area of THIRTY FOUR THOUSAND THREE HUNDRED
(1) Agricultural Land. Covered by Tax Decl. No. 06447, Cad. Lot No. 2745, C-7 (34,300) sq. ms. more or less, being claimed by Miguel Tuto.
located at Agay-ayan, Gingoog City and bounded on the North by Lot Nos. 2744,
2742, 2748; South by Lot No. 2739; East by Lot No. 2746; West by Lot No. 2741, P3,880.00
containing an area of FOURTEEN THOUSAND SEVEN HUNDRED (14,700) sq.
ms. more or less. (7) Agricultural Land. Covered by Tax Decl. No. 12000, Cad. Lot No. 2806, Case
7 located at Agayayan, Gingoog City and bounded on the North by Agayayan
P1,900.00 River; South by Victoriano Barbac; East by Isabelo Ramoso; and West by Restituto
Baol, containing an area of SIX THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED SEVENTY SIX
(2) Agricultural Land. Covered by Tax Decl. No. 06449, Cad, Lot No. 3271 C-7 (6,676) sq. ms. more or less.
located at Panyangan, Lanao, Gingoog City and bounded on the North by Lot No.
3270; South by Lot Nos. 2900 & 3462; East by Panyangan River & F. Lumanao; P380.00
and Part of Lot 3272; and West by Samay Creek, containing an area of ONE
HUNDRED FOUR THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED (104,600) sq. ms. more or less. (8) Agricultural Land. Covered by Tax Decl. No. 12924, Cad. Lot No. 1206 C-1
located at Cahulogan, Gingoog City and bounded on the NW., by Lot No. 1209;
P11,580.00 SW., by Lot No. 1207; Eastby National Highway; and West by Lot No. 1207;
containing an area of FOUR THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED THIRTEEN (4,513) sq.
(3) Agricultural Land. Covered by Tax Decl. No. 06449, Cad. Lot No. 2319, Case ms. more or less.
2, located at Murallon, Gingoog City and bounded on the North by Lot No. 1061;
South by Hinopolan Creek; East by Lot No. 1044; and West by Lot No. 1041, P740.00
containing an area of THREE THOUSAND TWO HUNDRED TWENTY FIVE
(3,225) sq. ms. more or less. (9) Agricultural Land. Covered by Tax Decl. No. 12925, Cad. Lot No. 5554, located
at Tinaytayan, Pigsalohan, Gingoog City and bounded on the North by Lot Nos.
(4) Agricultural Land. Covered by Tax Decl. No. 06452, Cad. Lot No. 3272, C-7 5559 & 5558; South by Lot No. 3486; East by Lot No. 5555; and West by Lot No.
Part 4 located at Panyangan, Lunao, Gingoog City and bounded on the North by
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SUCCESSION CASES
5355, containing an area of EIGHTEEN THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED TWENTY P3,370.00
EIGHT (18,528) sq. ms. more or less.
III. PERSONAL ESTATE (CONJUGAL)
P320.00
NATURE AND DESCRIPTION LOCATION APPRAISAL
(10) Agricultural Land. Covered by Tax Decl. No. 12926, Cad. Lot No. 5555 C-7
located at Tinaytayan, Pigsalojan, Gingoog City and bounded on the North by 1. Fifty (50) shares of stock
Tinaytayan Creek & Lot Nos. 5557 & 5558; South by Lot Nos. 3486, 3487, 3488, Rural Bank of Gingoog, Inc.
3491 & 3496; East by Cr. & Lot No. 3496; and West by Lot No. 5554, containing at P100.00 per share P5,000.00
an area of SEVENTY SEVEN THOUSAND SEVEN HUNDRED SEVENTY SIX
(77,776) sq. ms. more or less. 2. Four (4) shares of Preferred Stock
with San Miguel Corporation 400.00
P1,350.00
4. That, the parties hereto have agreed to divide the above-enumerated properties
(11) A Commercial Land. Covered by Tax Decl. No. 06454, Cad. Lot No. 61-C-1 in the following manner, to wit:
located at Guno-Condeza Sts., Gingoog City and bounded on the North by Lot 64;
South by Road-Lot 613 Condeza St; East by Lot Nos. 63, and 62; West by Road- (a) To Patricio Alburo, Maria Ramoso Sanchez, Roland Pedro T. Sanchez,
Lot 614-Guno St., containing an area of ONE THOUSAND FORTY TWO (1,042) Florida Mierly Sanchez, Alfredo T. Sanchez and Myrna T. Sanchez, in
sq. ms. more or less. equal pro-indiviso shares, considering not only their respective areas but
also the improvements existing thereon, to wit:
P9,320.00
Agricultural Land. Covered by Tax Decl. No. 06453, Cad. Lot No. 3270
(12) A Commercial Land. Covered by Tax Decl. No. 06484, Lot No. 5, Block 2, Case 7, located at Sunog, Lunao, Gingoog City and bounded on the North
located at Cabuyoan, Gingoog City and bounded on the North by Lot No. 4, block by Samay Creek & Lot 3267; South by Lot Nos. 3271 and 3272; East by
2; South by Lot No. 8, block 2; East by Lot No. 6, block 2, West by Subdivision Lot Nos. 3269 & 3273; and West by Samay Creek, containing an area of
Road, containing an area of FOUR HUNDRED (400) sq. ms. more or less. FOUR HUNDRED EIGHTY THREE THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED
(483,600) sq. ms. and assessed in the sum of P61,680.00.
P12,240.00
(b) To Rosalia Sanchez Lugod all the rest of the properties, both real and
(13) A Commercial Land. Covered by Tax Decl. No. 15798, Block No. 7-A-16-0 personal, enumerated above with the exception of the following:
located at Cabuyoan, Gingoog City and bounded on the North by Lot No. 7-A-16-
0; South by Lot No. 7-16-0; East by Lot No. 7-A-18-Road; West by Lot No. 8, PSU- (1) Two Preferred Shares of Stock in the San Miguel Corporation,
120704-Julito Arengo vs. Restituto Baol, containing an area of TWO HUNDRED indicated in San Miguel Corporation Stock Certificate No. 30217,
SIXTEEN (216) sq. ms. more or less. which two shares she is ceding in favor of Patricio Alburo;

P1,050.00 (2) The house and lot designated as Lot No. 5, Block 2 together
with the improvements thereon and identified as parcel No. II-12,
(14) Agricultural Land. Covered by Tax, Decl. No. 06789, Cad. Lot No. 5157-C-7, lot covered by Tax Decl. No. 15798 identified as Parcel No. II-13 in
located at Kiogat, Agayayan, Gingoog City and bounded on the North by Lot No. the above enumerated, and Cad. Lot No. 5157-C-7 together with
5158, 5159, 5156; South by SE-Steep Bank; East by NW, by Lot No. 5158, the improvements thereon, which is identified as parcel No. II-14
Villafranca, containing an area of NINETY SIX THOUSAND TWO HUNDRED of the above-enumeration of properties, which said Rosalia S.
(96,200) sq. ms. more or less. Lugod is likewise ceding and renouncing in favor of Rolando
38
SUCCESSION CASES
Pedro, Florida Mierly, Alfredo and Myrna, all surnamed Sanchez, 11. That, the parties hereto mutually waive and renounce in favor of each other
in equal pro-indiviso shares; any whatever claims or actions, arising from, connected with, and as a result of
Special Proceedings Nos. 44-M and 1022 of the Court of First Instance of Misamis
5. That Rolando Pedro, Florida Mierly, Alfredo and Myrna, all surnamed Sanchez Oriental, Rosalia S. Lugod, warranting that the parcel of land ceded to the other
hereby acknowledge to have received jointly and severally in form of advances parties herein contains 48 hectares and 36 ares.
after October 21, 1968 the aggregate sum of EIGHT THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED
THIRTY-THREE PESOS (P8,533.94) and NINETY-FOUR CENTAVOS; 12. That, Rosalia S. Lugod shall assume as she hereby assumes the payment to
Lugod Enterprises, Inc., of the sum of P51,598.93 representing the indebtedness
6. That the parties hereto likewise acknowledge and recognize in the indebtedness of the estate of Juan C. Sanchez and Maria Villafranca de Sanchez and the
of the deceased Juan G. Sanchez and his deceased wife Maria Villafranca advances made to Rolando Pedro, Mierly, Alfredo, and Myna all surnamed
Sanchez to the Lugod Enterprises, Inc., in the sum of P43,064.99; Sanchez, mentioned in paragraphs 5 hereto agree to have letters of administration
issued in favor of Rosalia S. Lugod without any bond.
7. That the parties hereto shall be responsible for the payment of the estate and
inheritance taxes proportionate to the value of their respective shares as may be That Rosalia S. Lugod likewise agrees to deliver possession and enjoyment of the
determined by the Bureau of Internal Revenue and shall likewise be responsible parcel of land herein ceded to petitioners and intervenors immediately after the
for the expenses of survey and segregation of their respective shares; signing of this agreement and that the latter also mutually agree among
themselves to have the said lot subdivided and partitioned immediately in
8. That Patricio Alburo, Maria Ramoso Sanchez, Roland Pedro Sanchez, Florida accordance with the proportion of one sixth (1/6) part for every petitioner and
Mierly Sanchez, Alfredo Sanchez and Myrna Sanchez hereby waive, relinquish intervenor and that in the meantime that the partition and subdivision is not yet
and renounce, jointly and individually, in a manner that is absolute and irrevocable, effected, the administrations of said parcel of land shall be vested jointly with
all their rights and interests, share and participation which they have or might have Laureta Tampos, guardian ad litem of petitioners and Maria Ramoso, one of the
in all the properties, both real and personal, known or unknown and/or which may intervenors who shall see to it that each petitioner and intervenor is given one sixth
not be listed herein, or in excess of the areas listed or mentioned herein, and/or (1/6) of the net proceeds of all agricultural harvest made thereon.
which might have been, at one time or another, owned by, registered or placed in
the name of either of the spouses Juan C. Sanchez or Maria Villafranca de WHEREFORE, it is most respectfully prayed that the foregoing compromise
Sanchez or both, and which either one or both might have sold, ceded, transferred, agreement be approved.
or donated to any person or persons or entity and which parties hereto do hereby
confirm and ratify together with all the improvements thereon, as well as all the Medina, Misamis Oriental, October 30, 1969.
produce and proceeds thereof, and particularly of the properties, real and personal
listed herein, as well as demandable obligations due to the deceased spouses (Sgd.) (Sgd.)
Juan C. Sanchez, before and after the death of the aforementioned spouses Juan PATRICIO ALBURO ROSALIA S. LUGOD
C. Sanchez and Maria Villafranca de Sanchez, in favor of oppositor Rosalia S. Intervenor-Oppositor Oppositor
Lugod;
(Sgd.)
9. That the expenses of this litigation including attorney's fees shall be borne MARIA RAMOSO SANCHEZ ASSISTED BY:
respectively by the parties hereto; Intervenor-Oppositor

10. That Laureta Tampus for herself and guardian ad-litem of her minor children, (Sgd.)
namely: Florida Mierly, Alfredo, and Myrna, all surnamed Sanchez, hereby declare ASSISTED BY: PABLO S. REYES
that she has no right, interest, share and participation whatsoever in the estate left R-101-Navarro Bldg.
by Juan C. Sanchez and/or Maria Villafranca de Sanchez, or both, and that she (Sgd.) Don A. Velez St.
likewise waives, renounces, and relinquishes whatever rigid, share, participation
or interest therein which she has or might have in favor of Rosalia S. Lugod;
39
SUCCESSION CASES
REYNALDO L. FERNANDEZ Cagayan de Oro City supplemental motion for reconsideration dated September 14, 1992 and September 25,
Gingoong City 1992, respectively, 11 Respondent Court thereafter reinstated private respondents' petition
in a resolution 12 dated October 14, 1992.
(Sgd.) (Sgd.)
ROLANDO PEDRO T. SANCHEZ ALFREDO T. SANCHEZ In due course, the Court of Appeals, as earlier stated, rendered its assailed Decision
Petitioner Petitioner granting the petition, setting aside the trial court's decision and declaring the modified
compromise agreement valid and binding.
(Sgd.) (Sgd.)
FLORIDA MIERLY T. SANCHEZ MYRNA T. SANCHEZ Hence, this appeal to this Court under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court.
Petitioner Petitioner
The Issues
(Sgd.)
LAURETA TAMPUS In this appeal, petitioners invite the Court's attention to the following issues:
For herself and as Guardian
Ad-Litem of the minors I The respondent court grossly erred in granting the petition for certiorari under
Florida Mierly, Alfredo, and Rule 65 considering that the special civil action of certiorari may not be availed of
Myrna, all surnamed Sanchez as a substitute for an appeal and that, in any event, the grounds invoked in the
petition are merely alleged errors of judgment which can no longer be done in view
ASSISTED BY: of the fact that the decision of the lower court had long become final and executory.

TEOGENES VELEZ, JR. II Prescinding from the foregoing, the respondent court erred in annulling the
Counsel for Petitioners decision of the lower court for the reason that a compromise agreement or partition
Cagayan de Oro City as the court construed the same to be, executed by the parties on October 30,
1969 was void and unenforceable the same not having been approved by the
The Clerk of Court intestate court and that the same having been seasonably repudiated by
Court of First Instance petitioners on the ground of fraud.
Branch III, Medina, Mis. Or.
III The respondent court grossly erred in ignoring and disregarding findings of facts
Greetings: of the lower court that the alleged conveyances of real properties made by the
spouses Juan C. Sanchez and Maria Villafranca just before their death in favor of
Please set the foregoing compromise agreement for the approval of the their daughter and grandchildren, private respondents herein, are tainted with
Honorable Court today, Oct. 30, 1969. fraud or made in contemplation of death, hence, collationable.

(Sgd.) (Sgd.) (Sgd.) IV In any event, the respondent court grossly erred in treating the lower court's
PABLO S. REYES TEOGENES VELEZ, JR. REYNALDO L. FERNANDEZ declaration of fictitiousness of the deeds of sale as a final adjudication of
annulment.
The Memorandum of Agreement dated April 13, 1970, which the parties entered into with
the assistance of their counsel, amended the above compromise. (It will be reproduced V The respondent court grossly erred in declaring the termination of the intestate
later in our discussion of the second issue raised by the petitioners.) proceedings even as the lower court had not made a final and enforceable
distribution of the estate of the deceased Juan C. Sanchez.
The Court of Appeals, in a Resolution 10 dated September 4, 1992, initially dismissed
private respondents' petition. Acting, however, on a motion for reconsideration and a
40
SUCCESSION CASES
VI Prescinding from the foregoing, the respondent court grossly erred in not at writ of certiorari where the lower court patently acted in excess of or outside its
least directing respondent Rosalia S. Lugod to deliver the deficiency of eight (8) jurisdiction, 17 as in the present case.
hectares due petitioners under the compromise agreement and memorandum of
agreement, and in not further directing her to include in the inventory properties A petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court is appropriate and allowable
conveyed under the deeds of sale found by the lower court to be part of the estate when the following requisites concur: (1) the writ is directed against a tribunal, board or
of Juan C. Sanchez. 13 officer exercising judicial or quasi-judicial functions; (2) such tribunal, board or officer has
acted without or in excess of jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to
The salient aspects of some issues are closely intertwined; hence, they are hereby lack or excess of jurisdiction; and (3) there is no appeal or any plain, speedy and adequate
consolidated into three main issues specifically dealing with the following subjects: (1) the remedy in the ordinary course of law. 18 After a thorough review of the case at bar, we are
propriety of certiorari as a remedy before the Court of Appeals, (2) the validity of the convinced that all these requirements were met.
compromise agreement, and (3) the presence of fraud in the execution of the compromise
and/or collation of the properties sold. As a probate court, the trial court was exercising judicial functions when it issued its
assailed resolution. The said court had jurisdiction to act in the intestate proceedings
The Court's Ruling involved in this case with the caveat that, due to its limited jurisdiction, it could resolve
questions of title only provisionally. 19 It is hornbook doctrine that "in a special proceeding
The petition is not meritorious. for the probate of a will, the question of ownership is an extraneous matter which the
probate court cannot resolve with finality. This pronouncement no doubt applies with equal
First Issue: Propriety of Certiorari force to an intestate proceeding as in the case at bar." 20 In the instant case, the trial court
Before the Court of Appeals rendered a decision declaring as simulated and fictitious all the deeds of absolute sale
which, on July 26, 1963 and June 26, 1967, Juan C. Sanchez and Maria Villafranca
executed in favor of their daughter, Rosalia Sanchez Lugod; and grandchildren, namely,
Since private respondents had neglected or failed to file an ordinary appeal within the
Arturo S. Lugod, Evelyn S. Lugod and Roberto S. Lugod. The trial court ruled further that
reglementary period, petitioners allege that the Court of Appeals erred in allowing private
the properties covered by the said sales must be subject to collation. Citing Article 1409
respondent's recourse to Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. They contend that private
(2) of the Civil Code, the lower court nullified said deeds of sale and determined with finality
respondents' invocation of certiorari was "procedurally defective." 14 They further argue
the ownership of the properties subject thereof . In doing so, it clearly overstepped its
that private respondents, in their petition before the Court of Appeals, alleged errors of the
jurisdiction as a probate court. Jurisprudence teaches:
trial court which, being merely errors of judgment and not errors of jurisdiction, were not
correctable by certiorari. 15 This Court disagrees.
[A] probate court or one in charge of proceedings whether testate or intestate
cannot adjudicate or determine title to properties claimed to be a part of the estate
Doctrinally entrenched is the general rule that certiorari is not a substitute for a lost appeal.
and which are claimed to belong to outside parties. All that the said court could do
However, Justice Florenz D. Regalado lists several exceptions to this rule, viz.: "(1) where
as regards said properties is to determine whether they should or should not be
the appeal does not constitute a speedy and adequate remedy (Salvadades vs. Pajarillo,
included in the inventory or list of properties to be administered by the
et al., 78 Phil. 77), as where 33 appeals were involved from orders issued in a single
administrator. If there is not dispute, well and good, but if there is, then the parties,
proceeding which will inevitably result in a proliferation of more appeals (PCIB vs. Escolin,
the administrator, and the opposing parties have to resort to an ordinary action for
et al., L-27860 and 27896, Mar. 29, 1974); (2) where the orders were also issued either in
a final determination of the conflicting claims of title because the probate court
excess of or without jurisdiction (Aguilar vs. Tan, L-23600, Jun 30, 1970, Cf. Bautista, et
cannot do so. 21
al. vs. Sarmiento, et al., L-45137, Sept. 231985); (3) for certain special consideration, as
public welfare or public policy (See Jose vs. Zulueta, et al. 16598, May 31, 1961 and the
cases cited therein); (4) where in criminal actions, the court rejects rebuttal evidence for Furthermore, the trial court committed grave abuse of discretion when it rendered its
the prosecution as, in case of acquittal, there could be no remedy (People vs. Abalos, decision in disregard of the parties' compromise agreement. 22 Such disregard, on the
L029039, Nov. 28, 1968); (5) where the order is a patent nullity (Marcelo vs. De Guzman, ground that the compromise agreement "was nor approved by the court," 23 is tantamount
et al., L-29077, June 29, 1982); and (6) where the decision in the certiorari case will avoid to "an evasion of positive duty or to a virtual refusal to perform the duty enjoined or to act
future litigations (St. Peter Memorial Park, Inc. vs. Campos, et al., L-38280, Mar. 21, in contemplation and within the bounds of law. " 24
1975)." 16 Even in a case where the remedy of appeal was lost, the Court has issued the
41
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The foregoing issues clearly involve not only the correctness of the trial court's decision These contentions lack merit. Article 2028 of the Civil Code defines a compromise
but also the latter's jurisdiction. They encompass plain errors of jurisdiction and grave agreement as "a contract whereby the parties, by making reciprocal concessions, avoid a
abuse of discretion, not merely errors of judgment. 25 Since the trial court exceeded its litigation or put an end to one already commenced." Being a consensual contract, it is
jurisdiction, a petition for certiorari is certainly a proper remedy. Indeed, it is well-settled perfected upon the meeting of the minds of the parties. Judicial approval is not required
that "(a)n act done by a probate court in excess of its jurisdiction may be corrected for its perfection. 31 Petitioners' argument that the compromise was not valid for lack of
by certiorari." 26 judicial approval is not novel; the same was raised in Mayuga vs. Court of
Appeals, 32 where the Court, through Justice Irene R. Cortes, ruled:
Consistent with the foregoing, the following disquisition by respondent appellate court is
apt: It is alleged that the lack of judicial approval is fatal to the compromise. A
compromise is a consensual contract. As such, it is perfected upon the meeting of
As a general proposition, appeal is the proper remedy of petitioner Rosalia here the minds of the parties to the contract. (Hernandez v. Barcelon, 23 Phil. 599
under Rule 109 of the Revised Rules of Court. But the availability of the ordinary [1912]; see also De los Reyes v. de Ugarte, 75 Phil. 505 [1945].) And from that
course of appeal does not constitute sufficient ground to [prevent] a party from moment not only does it become binding upon the parties (De los Reyes v. De
making use of the extraordinary remedy of certiorari where appeal is not an Ugarte, supra ), it also has upon them the effect and authority of res judicata (Civil
adequate remedy or equally beneficial, speedy and sufficient (Echauz vs. Court of Code, Art. 2037), even if not judicially approved (Meneses v. De la Rosa, 77 Phil.
Appeals, 199 SCRA 381). Here, considering that the respondent court has 34 [1946]; Vda. De Guilas v. David, 132 Phil. 241, L-24280, 23 SCRA 762 [May
disregarded the compromise agreement which has long been executed as early 27, 1968]; Cochingyan v. Cloribel, L-27070-71 [April 22, 1977], 76 SCRA 361).
as October, 1969 and declared null and void the deeds of sale with finality, which, (Emphasis found in the original.)
as a probate court, it has no jurisdiction to do, We deem ordinary appeal is
inadequate. Considering further the [trial court's] granting of [herein petitioners') In the case before us, it is ineludible that the parties knowingly and freely entered into a
motion for execution of the assailed decision, 27 [herein private respondent] valid compromise agreement. Adequately assisted by their respective counsels, they each
Rosalia's resort to the instant petition [for review on certiorari] is all the more negotiated its terms and provisions for four months; in fact, said agreement was executed
warranted under the circumstances. 28 only after the fourth draft. As noted by the trial court itself, the first and second drafts were
prepared successively in July, 1969; the third draft on September 25, 1969; and the fourth
We thus hold that the questioned decision and resolutions of the trial court may be draft, which was finally signed by the parties on October 30, 1969, 33 followed. Since this
challenged through a special civil action for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. compromise agreement was the result of a long drawn out process, with all the parties
At the very least, this case is a clear exception to the general rule that certiorari is not a ably striving to protect their respective interests and to come out with the best they could,
substitute for a lost appeal because the trial court's decision and resolutions were issued there can be no doubt that the parties entered into it freely and voluntarily. Accordingly,
without or in excess of jurisdiction, which may thus be challenged or attacked at any time. they should be bound thereby. 34 To be valid, it is merely required under the law to be based
"A void judgment for want of jurisdiction is no judgment at all. It cannot be the source of on real claims and actually agreed upon in good faith by the parties thereto. 35
any right nor the creator of any obligation. All acts performed pursuant to it and all claims
emanating from it have no legal effect. Hence, it can never become final and any writ of Indeed, compromise is a form of amicable settlement that is not only allowed but also
execution based on it is void; ' . . . it may be said to be a lawless thing which can be treated encouraged in civil cases. 36Article 2029 of the Civil Code mandates that a "court shall
as an outlaw and slain at sight, or ignored wherever and whenever it exhibits its head.' " 29 endeavor to persuade the litigants in a civil case to agree upon some fair compromise."

Second Issue: Validity of Compromise Agreement In opposing the validity and enforcement of the compromise agreement, petitioners harp
on the minority of Florida Mierly, Alfredo and Myna. Citing Article 2032 of the Civil Code,
Petitioners contend that, because the compromise agreement was executed during the they contend that the court's approval is necessary in compromises entered into by
pendency of the probate proceedings, judicial approval is necessary to shroud it with guardians and parents in behalf of their wards or children. 37
validity. They stress that the probate court had jurisdiction over the properties covered by
said agreement. They add that Petitioners Florida Mierly, Alfredo and Myrna were all However, we observe that although denominated a compromise agreement, the document
miners represented only by their mother/natural guardian, Laureta Tampus. 30 in this case is essentially a deed of partition, pursuant to Article 1082 of the Civil Code
which provides that "[e]very act which is intended to put an end to indivision among co-
42
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heirs and legatees or devisees is deemed to be a partition, although it should purport to of "a right to properties which were not known." They argue that such waiver is contrary
47

be a sale, an exchange, a compromise, or any other transaction." to law, public policy, morals or good custom. The Court disagrees. The assailed waiver
pertained to their hereditary right to properties belonging to the decedent's estate which
For a partition to be valid, Section 1, Rule 74 of the Rules of Court, requires the were not included in the inventory of the estate's properties. It also covered their right to
concurrence of the following conditions: (1) the decedent left no will; (2) the decedent left other properties originally belonging to the spouses Juan Sanchez and Maria Villafranca
no debts, or if there were debts left, all had been paid; (3) the heirs and liquidators are all de Sanchez which have been transferred to other persons. In addition, the parties agreed
of age, or if they are minors, the latter are represented by their judicial guardian or legal in the compromise to confirm and ratify said transfers. The waiver is valid because,
representatives; and (4) the partition was made by means of a public instrument or affidavit contrary to petitioners' protestation, the parties waived a known and existing interest
duly filed with the Register of Deeds. 38 We find that all the foregoing requisites are present their hereditary right which was already vested in them by reason of the death of their
in this case. We therefore affirm the validity of the parties' compromise agreement/partition father. Article 777 of the Civil Code provides that "(t)he rights to the succession are
in this case. transmitted from the moment of death of the decedent." Hence, there is no legal obstacle
to an heir's waiver of his/her hereditary share "even if the actual extent of such share is
In any event, petitioners neither raised nor ventilated this issue in the trial court. This new not determined until the subsequent liquidation of the estate." 48 At any rate, such waiver
question or matter was manifestly beyond the pale of the issues or questions submitted is consistent with the intent and letter of the law advocating compromise as a vehicle for
and threshed out before the lower court which are reproduced below, viz.: the settlement of civil disputes. 49

I Are the properties which are the object of the sale by the deceased spouses to Finally, petitioners contend that Private Respondent Rosalia T. Lugod's alleged fraudulent
their grandchildren collationable? acts, specifically her concealment of some of the decedent's properties, attended the
actual execution of the compromise agreement. 50This argument is debunked by the
absence of any substantial and convincing evidence on record showing fraud on her part.
II Are the properties which are the object of the sale by the deceased spouses to
As aptly observed by the appellate court:
their legitimate daughter also collationable?
[Herein petitioners] accuse [herein private respondent] Rosalia of fraud or
III The first and second issues being resolved, how much then is the rightful share
deception by alleging, inter alia, that the parcel of land given to them never
of the four (4) recognized illegitimate children? 39
conformed to the stated area, i.e., forty-eight (48) hectares, as stated in the
compromise agreement. We find this argument unconvincing and unmeritorious.
Furthermore, the 27-page Memorandum dated February 17, 1990 filed by petitioners [Herein petitioners'] averment of fraud on the part of [herein private respondent]
before the Regional Trial Court 40 readily reveals that they never questioned the validity of Rosalia becomes untenable when We consider the memorandum of agreement
the compromise. In their comment before the Court of Appeals, 41 petitioners based their they later executed with [herein private respondent] Rosalia wherein said
objection to sad compromise agreement on the solitary "reason that it was tainted with compromise agreement was modified by correcting the actual area given to [herein
fraud and deception," zeroing specifically on the alleged fraud committed by private petitioners] from forty-eight (48) hectares to thirty-six (36) hectares only. If the
respondent Rosalia S. Lugod. 42 The issue of minority was first raised only in petitioners' actual area allotted to them did not conform to the 48 hectare area stated in the
Motion for Reconsideration of the Court of Appeals' Decision; 43 thus, it "is as if it was never compromise agreement, then why did they agree to the memorandum of
duly raised in that court at all." 44 Hence, this Court cannot now, for the first time on appeal, agreement whereby their share in the estate of their father was even reduced to
entertain this issue, for to do so would plainly violate the basic rule of fair play, justice and just 36 hectares? Where is fraud or deception there? Considering that [herein
due process. 45 We take this opportunity to reiterate and emphasize the well-settled rule petitioners] were ably represented by their lawyers in executing these documents
that "(a)n issue raised for the first time on appeal and not raised timely in the proceedings and who presumably had explained to them the import and consequences thereof,
in the lower court is barred by estoppel. Questions raised on appeal must be within the it is hard to believe their charge that they were defrauded and deceived by [herein
issues framed by the parties and, consequently, issues not raised in the trial court cannot private respondent] Rosalia.
be raised for the first time on appeal." 46
If the parcel of land given to [herein petitioners], when actually surveyed, happened
The petitioners likewise assail as void the provision on waiver contained in No. 8 of the to be different in area to the stated area of 48 hectares in the compromise
aforequoted compromise, because it allegedly constitutes a relinquishment by petitioners agreement, this circumstance is not enough proof of fraud or deception on [herein
43
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private respondent] Rosalia's part. Note that Tax Declaration No. 06453 plainly d. The subdivision survey shall be at the expense of the said petitioners and
discloses that the land transferred to [herein petitioners] pursuant to the intervenors prorata.
compromise agreement contained an area of 48 hectares (Annex "A",
Supplemental Reply). And when [herein petitioners] discovered that the land e. That the administratrix agrees to deliver temporary administration of the area
allotted to them actually contained only 24 hectares, a conference between the designated as Lot 5 of the Valles Sketch Plan pending final survey of the said 36-
parties took place which led to the execution and signing of the memorandum of hectare area.
agreement wherein [herein petitioners'] distributive share was even reduced to 36
hectares. In the absence of convincing and clear evidence to the contrary, the Cagayan de Oro City, April 13, 1970.
allegation of fraud and deception cannot be successfully imputed to [herein private
respondent] Rosalia who must be presumed to have acted in good faith. 51
(Sgd.)
LAURETA TAMPOS
The memorandum of agreement freely and validly entered into by the parties on April 13, For herself and as Guardian
1970 and referred to above reads: ad-litem of Rolando, Mierly,
Alfredo and Myrna, all
MEMORANDUM OF AGREEMENT surnamed Sanchez

The parties assisted by their respective counsel have agreed as they hereby agree: Assisted by:

1. To amend the compromise agreement executed by them on October 30, 1969 so as to (Sgd.)
include the following: TEOGENES VELEZ, Jr.
Counsel for Petitioners
a. Correction of the actual area being given to the petitioners and intervenors, all
illegitimate children of the late Juan C. Sanchez, forty-eight (48) hectares, thirty- (Sgd.)
six (36) ares as embodied in the aforementioned compromise agreement to thirty- ROSALIA S. LUGOD
six (36) hectares only, thus enabling each of them to get six (6) hectares each. Administratrix

b. That the said 36-hectare area shall be taken from that parcel of land which is Assisted by:
now covered by O.C.T. No. 146 (Patent No. 30012) and the adjoining areas thereof
designated as Lot A and Lot C as reflected on the sketch plan attached to the (Sgd.)
record of this case prepared by Geodetic Engineer Olegario E. Zalles pursuant to PABLO S. REYES
the Court's commission of March 10, 1970 provided, however, that if the said 36- Counsel for Administratrix
hectare area could not be found after adding thereto the areas of said lots A and (Sgd.)
C, then the additional area shall be taken from what is designated as Lot B, likewise MARIA RABOSO SANCHEZ
also reflected in the said sketch plan attached to the records; Intervenor 52

c. That the partition among the six illegitimate children of the late Juan C. Sanchez Not only did the parties knowingly enter into a valid compromise agreement; they even
(petitioners and intervenors) shall be effective among themselves in such a amended it when they realized some errors in the original. Such correction emphasizes
manner to be agreed upon by them, each undertaking to assume redemption of the voluntariness of said deed.
whatever plants found in their respective shares which need redemption from the
tenants thereof as well as the continuity of the tenancy agreements now existing
It is also significant that all the parties, including the then minors, had
and covering the said shares or areas.
already consummated and availed themselves of the benefits of their compromise. 53 This
Court has consistently ruled that "a party to a compromise cannot ask for a rescission after
44
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it has enjoyed its benefits." By their acts, the parties are ineludibly estopped from
54
20984, 20985, 20986, 20987, 20988, 20989 and 20990 (Annexes "B" to
questioning the validity of their compromise agreement. Bolstering this conclusion is the "H", Supplemental Reply) in the respective names of (herein petitioners),
fact that petitioners questioned the compromise only nine years after its execution, when all for the year 1972. (Herein petitioners) also retained a house and lot, a
they filed with the trial court their Motion to Defer Approval of Compromise Agreement, residential lot and a parcel of agricultural land (Annexes "I", "J" and
dated October 26, 1979. 55 In hindsight, it is not at all farfetched that petitioners filed said "K", Ibid.) all of which were not considered in the compromise agreement
motion for the sole reason that they may have felt shortchanged in their compromise between the parties. Moreover, in the compromise agreement per se, it is
agreement or partition with private respondents, which in their view was unwise and unfair. undoubtedly stated therein that cash advances in the aggregate sum of
While we may sympathize with this rueful sentiment of petitioners, we can only stress that P8,533.94 were received by (herein petitioners) after October 21, 1968
this alone is not sufficient to nullify or disregard the legal effects of said compromise which, (Compromise Agreement, par. 5) 62
by its very nature as a perfected contract, is binding on the parties. Moreover, courts have
no jurisdiction to look into the wisdom of a compromise or to render a decision different All the foregoing show clearly that the probate court had essentially finished said intestate
therefrom. 56 It is a well-entrenched doctrine that "the law does not relieve a party from the proceedings which, consequently, should be deemed closed and terminated. In view of
effects of an unwise, foolish, or disastrous contract, entered into with all the required the above discussion, the Court sees no reversible error on the part of the Court of
formalities and with full awareness of what he was doing" 57 and "a compromise entered Appeals.
into and carried out in good faith will not be discarded even if there was a mistake of law
or fact, (McCarthy vs. Barber Steamship Lines, 45 Phil. 488) because courts have no Third Issue: Fraud and Collation
power to relieve parties from obligations voluntarily assumed, simply because their
contracts turned out to be disastrous deals or unwise investments." 58 Volenti non fit injuria.
Petitioners fault Respondent Court for not ordering Private Respondent Rosalia T. Lugod
to deliver to them the deficiency as allegedly provided under the compromise agreement.
Corollarily, the petitioners contend that the Court of Appeals gravely abused its discretion They further contend that said court erred in not directing the provisional inclusion of the
in deeming Special Proceedings Nos. 44-M and 1022 "CLOSED and TERMINATED," alleged deficiency in the inventory for purposes of collating the properties subject of the
arguing that there was as yet no order of distribution of the estate pursuant to Rule 90 of questioned deeds of sale. 63 We see no such error. In the trial court, there was only one
the Rules of Court. They add that they had not received their full share thereto. 59 We hearing conducted, and it was held only for the reception of the evidence of Rosalia S.
disagree. Under Section 1, Rule 90 of the Rules of Court, an order for the distribution of Lugod to install her as administratrix of the estate of Maria Villafranca. There was no other
the estate may be made when the "debts, funeral charges, and expenses of administration, evidence, whether testimonial or otherwise, "received, formally offered to, and
the allowance to the widow, and inheritance tax, if any," had been paid. This order for the subsequently admitted by the probate court below"; nor was there "a trial on the merits of
distribution of the estate's residue must contain the names and shares of the persons the parries' conflicting claims." 64 In fact, the petitioners "moved for the deferment of the
entitled thereto. A perusal of the whole record, particularly the trial court's compromise agreement on the basis of alleged fraudulent concealment of properties
conclusion, 60 reveals that all the foregoing requirements already concurred in this case. NOT because of any deficiency in the land conveyed to them under the
The payment of the indebtedness of the estates of Juan C. Sanchez and Maria Villafranca agreements." 65 Hence, there is no hard evidence on record to back up petitioners' claims.
in the amount of P51,598.93 was shouldered by Private Respondent Rosalia, who also
absorbed or charged against her share the advances of Rolando T. Lugod in the sum of
In any case, the trial court noted Private Respondent Rosalia's willingness to reimburse
P8,533.94, in compliance with Article 1061 of the Civil Code on collation. 61 Furthermore,
any deficiency actually proven to exist. It subsequently ordered the geodetic engineer who
the compromise of the parties, which is the law between them, already contains the names
prepared the certification and the sketch of the lot in question, and who could have
and shares of the heirs to the residual estate, which shares had also been delivered. On
provided evidence for the petitioners, "to bring records of his relocation
this point, we agree with the following discussion of the Court of Appeals:
survey." 66 However, Geodetic Engineer Idulsa did not comply with the court's subpoena
duces tecum and ad testificandum. Neither did he furnish the required relocation
But what the (trial court) obviously overlooked in its appreciation of the survey. 67 No wonder, even after a thorough scrutiny of the records, this Court cannot find
facts of this case are the uncontroverted facts that (herein petitioners) have any evidence to support petitioners' allegations of fraud against Private Respondent
been in possession and ownership of their respective distributive shares Rosalia.
as early as October 30, 1969 and they have received other properties in
addition to their distributive shares in consideration of the compromise
Similarly, petitioners' allegations of fraud in the execution of the questioned deeds of sale
agreement which they now assail. Proofs thereof are Tax Declarations No.
are bereft of substance, in view of the palpable absence of evidence to support them. The
45
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legal presumption of validity of the questioned deeds of absolute sale, being duly notarized
public documents, has not been overcome. 68 On the other hand, fraud is not presumed. It
must be proved by clear and convincing evidence, and not by mere conjectures or
speculations. We stress that these deeds of sale did not involve gratuitous transfers of
future inheritance; these were contracts of sale perfected by the decedents during their
lifetime. 69 Hence, the properties conveyed thereby are not collationable because,
essentially, collation mandated under Article 1061 of the Civil Code contemplates
properties conveyed inter vivos by the decedent to an heir by way of donation or other
gratuitous title.

In any event, these alleged errors and deficiencies regarding the delivery of shares
provided in the compromise, concealment of properties and fraud in the deeds of sale are
factual in nature which, as a rule, are not reviewable by this Court in petitions under Rule
45. 70 Petitioners have failed to convince us that this case constitutes an exception to such
rule. All in all, we find that the Court of Appeals has sufficiently addressed the issues raised
by them. Indeed, they have not persuaded us that said Court committed any reversible
error to warrant a grant of their petition.

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

SO ORDERED.

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G.R. No. L-22036 April 30, 1979 pierde el legatario este derecho de administrar y gozar de este legado al
TESTATE ESTATE OF THE LATE REVEREND FATHER PASCUAL RIGOR. THE dejar de continuar sus estudios para ordenarse de Presbiterado
PARISH PRIEST OF THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH OF VICTORIA, (Sacerdote).
TARLAC, petitioner-appellant, vs. BELINA RIGOR, NESTORA RIGOR, FRANCISCA
ESCOBAR DE RIGOR and JOVITA ESCOBAR DE FAUSTO, respondents-appellees. Que el legatario una vez Sacerdote ya estara obligado a celebrar cada ao
VEINTE (20) Misas rezadas en sufragio de mi alma y de mis padres
This case is about the efficaciousness or enforceability of a devise of ricelands located at difuntos, y si el actual legatario, quedase excomulgado, IPSO FACTO se
Guimba, Nueva Ecija, with a total area of around forty- four hectares That devise was le despoja este legado, y la administracion de esto pasara a cargo del
made in the will of the late Father Pascual Rigor, a native of Victoria Tarlac, in favor of his actual Parroco y sus sucesores de la Iglecia Catolica de Victoria, Tarlac.
nearest male relative who would study for the priesthood.
Y en intervalo de tiempo que no haya legatario acondicionado segun lo
The parish priest of Victoria, who claimed to be a trustee of the said lands, appealed to arriba queda expresado, pasara la administracion de este legado a cargo
this Court from the decision of the Court of Appeals affirming the order of the probate court del actual Parroco Catolico y sus sucesores, de Victoria, Tarlac.
declaring that the said devise was inoperative (Rigor vs. Parish Priest of the Roman
Catholic Church of Victoria, Tarlac, CA-G.R. No. 24319-R, August 1, 1963). El Parroco administrador de estate legado, acumulara, anualmente todos
los productos que puede tener estate legado, ganando o sacando de los
The record discloses that Father Rigor, the parish priest of Pulilan, Bulacan, died on productos anuales el CINCO (5) por ciento para su administracion, y los
August 9, 1935, leaving a will executed on October 29, 1933 which was probated by the derechos correspondientes de las VEINTE (20) Misas rezadas que
Court of First Instance of Tarlac in its order of December 5, 1935. Named as devisees in debiera el Parroco celebrar cada ao, depositando todo lo restante de los
the will were the testators nearest relatives, namely, his three sisters: Florencia Rigor- productos de estate legado, en un banco, a nombre de estate legado.
Escobar, Belina Rigor-Manaloto and Nestora Rigor-Quiambao. The testator gave a devise
to his cousin, Fortunato Gamalinda. To implement the foregoing bequest, the administratix in 1940 submitted a project
containing the following item:
In addition, the will contained the following controversial bequest (paragraphing supplied
to facilitate comprehension of the testamentary provisions): 5. LEGACY OF THE CHURCH

Doy y dejo como legado CUATRO (4) PARCELAS de terreno palayeros That it be adjudicated in favor of the legacy purported to be given to the
situados en el municipiooo de Guimba de la provinciaaa de NUEVA ECIJA, nearest male relative who shall take the priesthood, and in the interim to
cuyo num. de CERTIFICADO DE TRANSFERENCIA DE TITULO SON; be administered by the actual Catholic Priest of the Roman Catholic
Titulo Num. 6530, mide 16,249 m. cuadrados de superficie Titulo Num. Church of Victoria, Tarlac, Philippines, or his successors, the real
6548, mide 242,998 m. cuadrados de superficie y annual 6525, mide properties hereinbelow indicated, to wit:
62,665 m. cuadrados de superficie; y Titulo Num. 6521, mide 119,251 m.
cuadrados de superficie; a cualquier pariente mio varon mas cercano que
estudie la carrera eclesiatica hasta ordenarse de Presbiterado o sea
Sacerdote; las condiciones de estate legado son;
Title No. Lot No. Area in Has. Tax Dec. Ass. Value
T-6530 3663 1.6249 18740 P340
(1.a) Prohibe en absoluto la venta de estos terrenos arriba situados T-6548 3445-C 24.2998 18730 P7290
objectos de este legado; T-6525 3670 6.2665 18736 P1880
T-6521 3666 11.9251 18733 P3580
(2.a) Que el legatario pariente mio mas cercano tendra derecho de
empezar a gozar y administrar de este legado al principiar a curzar la Total amount and value 44.1163 P13,090.00
Sagrada Teologio, y ordenado de Sacerdote, hasta su muerte; pero que

47
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Judge Roman A. Cruz in his order of August 15, 1940, approving the project of partition, The parish priest in this appeal contends that the Court of Appeals erred in not finding that
directed that after payment of the obligations of the estate (including the sum of P3,132.26 the testator created a public charitable trust and in not liberally construing the testamentary
due to the church of the Victoria parish) the administratrix should deliver to the devisees provisions so as to render the trust operative and to prevent intestacy.
their respective shares.
As refutation, the legal heirs argue that the Court of Appeals d the bequest inoperative
It may be noted that the administratrix and Judge Cruz did not bother to analyze the because no one among the testator's nearest male relatives had studied for the priesthood
meaning and implications of Father Rigor's bequest to his nearest male relative who would and not because the trust was a private charitable trust. According to the legal heirs, that
study for the priesthood. Inasmuch as no nephew of the testator claimed the devise and factual finding is binding on this Court. They point out that appellant priest's change of
as the administratrix and the legal heirs believed that the parish priest of Victoria had no theory cannot be countenanced in this appeal .
right to administer the ricelands, the same were not delivered to that ecclesiastic. The
testate proceeding remained pending. In this case, as in cases involving the law of contracts and statutory construction, where
the intention of the contracting parties or of the lawmaking body is to be ascertained, the
About thirteen years after the approval of the project of partition, or on February 19, 1954, primary issue is the determination of the testator's intention which is the law of the case
the parish priest of Victoria filed in the pending testate proceeding a petition praying for (dicat testor et erit lex. Santos vs. Manarang, 27 Phil. 209, 215; Rodriguez vs. Court of
the appointment of a new administrator (succeeding the deceased administration Appeals, L-28734, March 28, 1969, 27 SCRA 546).
Florencia Rigor), who should deliver to the church the said ricelands, and further praying
that the possessors thereof be ordered to render an accounting of the fruits. The probate The will of the testator is the first and principal law in the matter of testaments. When his
court granted the petition. A new administrator was appointed. On January 31, 1957 the intention is clearly and precisely expressed, any interpretation must be in accord with the
parish priest filed another petition for the delivery of the ricelands to the church as trustee. plain and literal meaning of his words, except when it may certainly appear that his
intention was different from that literally expressed (In re Estate of Calderon, 26 Phil. 333).
The intestate heirs of Father Rigor countered with a petition dated March 25, 1957 praying
that the bequest be d inoperative and that they be adjudged as the persons entitled to the The intent of the testator is the cardinal rule in the construction of wills." It is "the life and
said ricelands since, as admitted by the parish priest of Victoria, "no nearest male relative soul of a will It is "the first greatest rule, the sovereign guide, the polestar, in giving effect
of" the testator "has ever studied for the priesthood" (pp. 25 and 35, Record on Appeal). to a will". (See Dissent of Justice Moreland in Santos vs. Manarang, 27 Phil. 209, 223,
That petition was opposed by the parish priest of Victoria. 237-8.)

Finding that petition to be meritorious, the lower court, through Judge Bernabe de Aquino, One canon in the interpretation of the testamentary provisions is that "the testator's
declared the bequest inoperative and adjudicated the ricelands to the testator's legal heirs intention is to be ascertained from the words of the wilt taking into consideration the
in his order of June 28, 1957. The parish priest filed two motions for reconsideration. circumstances under which it was made", but excluding the testator's oral declarations as
to his intention (Art. 789, Civil Code of the Philippines).
Judge De Aquino granted the respond motion for reconsideration in his order of December
10, 1957 on the ground that the testator had a grandnephew named Edgardo G. Cunanan To ascertain Father Rigor's intention, it may be useful to make the following re-statement
(the grandson of his first cousin) who was a seminarian in the San Jose Seminary of the of the provisions of his will.
Jesuit Fathers in Quezon City. The administrator was directed to deliver the ricelands to
the parish priest of Victoria as trustee. 1. that he bequeathed the ricelands to anyone of his nearest male relatives who would
pursue an ecclesiastical career until his ordination as a priest.
The legal heirs appealed to the Court of Appeals. It reversed that order. It held that Father
Rigor had created a testamentary trust for his nearest male relative who would take the 2. That the devisee could not sell the ricelands.
holy orders but that such trust could exist only for twenty years because to enforce it
beyond that period would violate "the rule against perpetuities. It ruled that since no legatee
3. That the devisee at the inception of his studies in sacred theology could enjoy and
claimed the ricelands within twenty years after the testator's death, the same should pass
administer the ricelands, and once ordained as a priest, he could continue enjoying and
to his legal heirs, citing articles 888 and 912(2) of the old Civil Code and article 870 of the
new Civil Code.
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administering the same up to the time of his death but the devisee would cease to enjoy We hold that the said bequest refers to the testator's nearest male relative living at the
and administer the ricelands if he discontinued his studies for the priesthood. time of his death and not to any indefinite time thereafter. "In order to be capacitated to
inherit, the heir, devisee or legatee must be living at the moment the succession opens,
4. That if the devisee became a priest, he would be obligated to celebrate every year except in case of representation, when it is proper" (Art. 1025, Civil Code).
twenty masses with prayers for the repose of the souls of Father Rigor and his parents.
The said testamentary provisions should be sensibly or reasonably construed. To construe
5. That if the devisee is excommunicated, he would be divested of the legacy and the them as referring to the testator's nearest male relative at anytime after his death would
administration of the riceland would pass to the incumbent parish priest of Victoria and his render the provisions difficult to apply and create uncertainty as to the disposition of his
successors. estate. That could not have been his intention.

6. That during the interval of time that there is no qualified devisee as contemplated above, In 1935, when the testator died, his nearest leagal heirs were his three sisters or second-
the administration of the ricelands would be under the responsibility of the incumbent degree relatives, Mrs. Escobar, Mrs. Manaloto and Mrs. Quiambao. Obviously, when the
parish priest of Victoria and his successors, and testator specified his nearest male relative, he must have had in mind his nephew or a son
of his sister, who would be his third-degree relative, or possibly a grandnephew. But since
7. That the parish priest-administrator of the ricelands would accumulate annually the he could not prognosticate the exact date of his death or state with certitude what category
products thereof, obtaining or getting from the annual produce five percent thereof for his of nearest male relative would be living at the time of his death, he could not specify that
administration and the fees corresponding to the twenty masses with prayers that the his nearest male relative would be his nephew or grandnephews (the son of his nephew
parish priest would celebrate for each year, depositing the balance of the income of the or niece) and so he had to use the term "nearest male relative".
devise in the bank in the name of his bequest.
It is contended by the legal heirs that the said devise was in reality intended for Ramon
From the foregoing testamentary provisions, it may be deduced that the testator intended Quiambao, the testator's nephew and godchild, who was the son of his sister, Mrs.
to devise the ricelands to his nearest male relative who would become a priest, who was Quiambao. To prove that contention, the legal heirs presented in the lower court the
forbidden to sell the ricelands, who would lose the devise if he discontinued his studies for affidavit of Beatriz Gamalinda, the maternal grandmother of Edgardo Cunanan, who
the priesthood, or having been ordained a priest, he was excommunicated, and who would deposed that after Father Rigor's death her own son, Valentin Gamalinda, Jr., did not claim
be obligated to say annually twenty masses with prayers for the repose of the souls of the the devise, although he was studying for the priesthood at the San Carlos Seminary,
testator and his parents. because she (Beatriz) knew that Father Rigor had intended that devise for his nearest
male relative beloning to the Rigor family (pp. 105-114, Record on Appeal).
On the other hand, it is clear that the parish priest of Victoria would administer the ricelands
only in two situations: one, during the interval of time that no nearest male relative of the Mrs. Gamalinda further deposed that her own grandchild, Edgardo G. Cunanan, was not
testator was studying for the priesthood and two, in case the testator's nephew became a the one contemplated in Father Rigor's will and that Edgardo's father told her that he was
priest and he was excommunicated. not consulted by the parish priest of Victoria before the latter filed his second motion for
reconsideration which was based on the ground that the testator's grandnephew, Edgardo,
was studying for the priesthood at the San Jose Seminary.
What is not clear is the duration of "el intervalo de tiempo que no haya legatario
acondicionado", or how long after the testator's death would it be determined that he had
a nephew who would pursue an ecclesiastical vocation. It is that patent ambiguity that has Parenthetically, it should be stated at this juncture that Edgardo ceased to be a seminarian
brought about the controversy between the parish priest of Victoria and the testator's legal in 1961. For that reason, the legal heirs apprised the Court of Appeals that the probate
heirs. court's order adjudicating the ricelands to the parish priest of Victoria had no more leg to
stand on (p. 84, Appellant's brief).
Interwoven with that equivocal provision is the time when the nearest male relative who
would study for the priesthood should be determined. Did the testator contemplate only his Of course, Mrs. Gamalinda's affidavit, which is tantamount to evidence aliunde as to the
nearest male relative at the time of his death? Or did he have in mind any of his nearest testator's intention and which is hearsay, has no probative value. Our opinion that the said
male relatives at anytime after his death? bequest refers to the testator's nephew who was living at the time of his death, when his

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succession was opened and the successional rights to his estate became vested, rests on The Court of Appeals correctly ruled that this case is covered by article 888 of the old Civil
a judicious and unbiased reading of the terms of the will. Code, now article 956, which provides that if "the bequest for any reason should be
inoperative, it shall be merged into the estate, except in cases of substitution and those in
Had the testator intended that the "cualquier pariente mio varon mas cercano que estudie which the right of accretion exists" ("el legado ... por qualquier causa, no tenga efecto se
la camera eclesiatica" would include indefinitely anyone of his nearest male relatives born refundira en la masa de la herencia, fuera de los casos de sustitucion y derecho de
after his death, he could have so specified in his will He must have known that such a acrecer").
broad provision would suspend for an unlimited period of time the efficaciousness of his
bequest. This case is also covered by article 912(2) of the old Civil Code, now article 960 (2), which
provides that legal succession takes place when the will "does not dispose of all that
What then did the testator mean by "el intervalo de tiempo que no haya legatario belongs to the testator." There being no substitution nor accretion as to the said ricelands
acondicionado"? The reasonable view is that he was referring to a situation whereby his the same should be distributed among the testator's legal heirs. The effect is as if the
nephew living at the time of his death, who would like to become a priest, was still in grade testator had made no disposition as to the said ricelands.
school or in high school or was not yet in the seminary. In that case, the parish priest of
Victoria would administer the ricelands before the nephew entered the seminary. But the The Civil Code recognizes that a person may die partly testate and partly intestate, or that
moment the testator's nephew entered the seminary, then he would be entitled to enjoy there may be mixed succession. The old rule as to the indivisibility of the testator's win is
and administer the ricelands and receive the fruits thereof. In that event, the trusteeship no longer valid. Thus, if a conditional legacy does not take effect, there will be intestate
would be terminated. succession as to the property recovered by the said legacy (Macrohon Ong Ham vs.
Saavedra, 51 Phil. 267).
Following that interpretation of the will the inquiry would be whether at the time Father
Rigor died in 1935 he had a nephew who was studying for the priesthood or who had We find no merit in the appeal The Appellate Court's decision is affirmed. Costs against
manifested his desire to follow the ecclesiastical career. That query is categorically the petitioner.
answered in paragraph 4 of appellant priest's petitions of February 19, 1954 and January
31, 1957. He unequivocally alleged therein that "not male relative of the late (Father) SO ORDERED
Pascual Rigor has ever studied for the priesthood" (pp. 25 and 35, Record on Appeal).

Inasmuch as the testator was not survived by any nephew who became a priest, the
unavoidable conclusion is that the bequest in question was ineffectual or inoperative.
Therefore, the administration of the ricelands by the parish priest of Victoria, as envisaged
in the wilt was likewise inoperative.

The appellant in contending that a public charitable trust was constituted by the testator in
is favor assumes that he was a trustee or a substitute devisee That contention is untenable.
A reading of the testamentary provisions regarding the disputed bequest not support the
view that the parish priest of Victoria was a trustee or a substitute devisee in the event that
the testator was not survived by a nephew who became a priest.

It should be understood that the parish priest of Victoria could become a trustee only when
the testator's nephew living at the time of his death, who desired to become a priest, had
not yet entered the seminary or, having been ordained a priest, he was excommunicated.
Those two contingencies did not arise, and could not have arisen in this case because no
nephew of the testator manifested any intention to enter the seminary or ever became a
priest.

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G.R. No. 118114 December 7, 1995 Cosme Pido and that we hereby adjudicate unto ourselves the above-mentioned
TEODORO ACAP, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS and EDY DE LOS parcel of land in equal shares.
REYES, respondents.
Now, therefore, We LAURENCIANA3 , ELY, ELMER, ERVIN and ELECHOR all
This is a petition for review on certiorari of the decision1 of the Court of Appeals, 2nd surnamed PIDO, do hereby waive, quitclaim all our rights, interests and
Division, in CA-G.R. No. 36177, which affirmed the decision2 of the Regional Trial Court of participation over the said parcel of land in favor of EDY DE LOS REYES, of legal
Himamaylan, Negros Occidental holding that private respondent Edy de los Reyes had age, (f)ilipino, married to VIRGINIA DE LOS REYES, and resident of Hinigaran,
acquired ownership of Lot No. 1130 of the Cadastral Survey of Hinigaran, Negros Negros Occidental, Philippines. . . .4 (Emphasis supplied)
Occidental based on a document entitled "Declaration of Heirship and Waiver of Rights",
and ordering the dispossession of petitioner as leasehold tenant of the land for failure to The document was signed by all of Pido's heirs. Private respondent Edy de los Reyes did
pay rentals. not sign said document.

The facts of the case are as follows: It will be noted that at the time of Cosme Pido's death, title to the property continued to be
registered in the name of the Vasquez spouses. Upon obtaining the Declaration of Heirship
The title to Lot No. 1130 of the Cadastral Survey of Hinigaran, Negros Occidental was with Waiver of Rights in his favor, private respondent Edy de los Reyes filed the same with
evidenced by OCT No. R-12179. The lot has an area of 13,720 sq. meters. The title was the Registry of Deeds as part of a notice of an adverse claimagainst the original certificate
issued and is registered in the name of spouses Santiago Vasquez and Lorenza Oruma. of title.
After both spouses died, their only son Felixberto inherited the lot. In 1975, Felixberto
executed a duly notarized document entitled "Declaration of Heirship and Deed of Absolute Thereafter, private respondent sought for petitioner (Acap) to personally inform him that
Sale" in favor of Cosme Pido. he (Edy) had become the new owner of the land and that the lease rentals thereon should
be paid to him. Private respondent further alleged that he and petitioner entered into an
The evidence before the court a quo established that since 1960, petitioner Teodoro Acap oral lease agreement wherein petitioner agreed to pay ten (10) cavans of palay per
had been the tenant of a portion of the said land, covering an area of nine thousand five annum as lease rental. In 1982, petitioner allegedly complied with said obligation. In 1983,
hundred (9,500) meters. When ownership was transferred in 1975 by Felixberto to Cosme however, petitioner refused to pay any further lease rentals on the land, prompting private
Pido, Acap continued to be the registered tenant thereof and religiously paid his leasehold respondent to seek the assistance of the then Ministry of Agrarian Reform (MAR) in
rentals to Pido and thereafter, upon Pido's death, to his widow Laurenciana. Hinigaran, Negros Occidental. The MAR invited petitioner to a conference scheduled on
13 October 1983. Petitioner did not attend the conference but sent his wife instead to the
The controversy began when Pido died intestate and on 27 November 1981, his surviving conference. During the meeting, an officer of the Ministry informed Acap's wife about
heirs executed a notarized document denominated as "Declaration of Heirship and Waiver private respondent's ownership of the said land but she stated that she and her husband
of Rights of Lot No. 1130 Hinigaran Cadastre," wherein they declared; to quote its pertinent (Teodoro) did not recognize private respondent's claim of ownership over the land.
portions, that:
On 28 April 1988, after the lapse of four (4) years, private respondent filed a complaint for
. . . Cosme Pido died in the Municipality of Hinigaran, Negros Occidental, he died recovery of possession and damages against petitioner, alleging in the main that as his
intestate and without any known debts and obligations which the said parcel of leasehold tenant, petitioner refused and failed to pay the agreed annual rental of ten (10)
land is (sic) held liable. cavans of palay despite repeated demands.

That Cosme Pido was survived by his/her legitimate heirs, namely: During the trial before the court a quo, petitioner reiterated his refusal to recognize private
LAURENCIANA PIDO, wife, ELY, ERVIN, ELMER, and ELECHOR all surnamed respondent's ownership over the subject land. He averred that he continues to recognize
PIDO; children; Cosme Pido as the owner of the said land, and having been a registered tenant therein
since 1960, he never reneged on his rental obligations. When Pido died, he continued to
That invoking the provision of Section 1, Rule 74 of the Rules of Court, the above- pay rentals to Pido's widow. When the latter left for abroad, she instructed him to stay in
mentioned heirs do hereby declare unto [sic] ourselves the only heirs of the late the landholding and to pay the accumulated rentals upon her demand or return from
abroad.
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Petitioner further claimed before the trial court that he had no knowledge about any transfer lessor in the person of herein plaintiff Edy de los Reyes who being the purchaser
or sale of the lot to private respondent in 1981 and even the following year after or transferee, assumes the rights and obligations of the former landowner to the
Laurenciana's departure for abroad. He denied having entered into a verbal lease tenancy tenant Teodoro Acap, herein defendant.7
contract with private respondent and that assuming that the said lot was indeed sold to
private respondent without his knowledge, R.A. 3844, as amended, grants him the right to Aggrieved, petitioner appealed to the Court of Appeals, imputing error to the lower court
redeem the same at a reasonable price. Petitioner also bewailed private respondent's when it ruled that private respondent acquired ownership of Lot No. 1130 and that he, as
ejectment action as a violation of his right to security of tenure under P.D. 27. tenant, should pay rentals to private respondent and that failing to pay the same from 1983
to 1987, his right to a certificate of land transfer under P.D. 27 was deemed forfeited.
On 20 August 1991, the lower court rendered a decision in favor of private respondent, the
dispositive part of which reads: The Court of Appeals brushed aside petitioner's argument that the Declaration of Heirship
and Waiver of Rights (Exhibit "D"), the document relied upon by private respondent to
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Court renders judgment in favor of the prove his ownership to the lot, was excluded by the lower court in its order dated 27 August
plaintiff, Edy de los Reyes, and against the defendant, Teodoro Acap, ordering the 1990. The order indeed noted that the document was not identified by Cosme Pido's heirs
following, to wit: and was not registered with the Registry of Deeds of Negros Occidental. According to
respondent court, however, since the Declaration of Heirship and Waiver of Rights appears
1. Declaring forfeiture of defendant's preferred right to issuance of a Certificate of to have been duly notarized, no further proof of its due execution was necessary. Like the
Land Transfer under Presidential Decree No. 27 and his farmholdings; trial court, respondent court was also convinced that the said document stands as prima
facie proof of appellee's (private respondent's) ownership of the land in dispute.
2. Ordering the defendant Teodoro Acap to deliver possession of said farm to
plaintiff, and; With respect to its non-registration, respondent court noted that petitioner had actual
knowledge of the subject saleof the land in dispute to private respondent because as early
3. Ordering the defendant to pay P5,000.00 as attorney's fees, the sum of as 1983, he (petitioner) already knew of private respondent's claim over the said land but
P1,000.00 as expenses of litigation and the amount of P10,000.00 as actual which he thereafter denied, and that in 1982, he (petitioner) actually paid rent to private
damages.5 respondent. Otherwise stated, respondent court considered this fact of rental payment in
1982 as estoppel on petitioner's part to thereafter refute private respondent's claim of
ownership over the said land. Under these circumstances, respondent court ruled that
In arriving at the above-mentioned judgment, the trial court stated that the evidence had
indeed there was deliberate refusal by petitioner to pay rent for a continued period of five
established that the subject land was "sold" by the heirs of Cosme Pido to private
years that merited forfeiture of his otherwise preferred right to the issuance of a certificate
respondent. This is clear from the following disquisitions contained in the trial court's six
of land transfer.
(6) page decision:
In the present petition, petitioner impugns the decision of the Court of Appeals as not in
There is no doubt that defendant is a registered tenant of Cosme Pido. However,
accord with the law and evidence when it rules that private respondent acquired ownership
when the latter died their tenancy relations changed since ownership of said land
of Lot No. 1130 through the aforementioned Declaration of Heirship and Waiver of Rights.
was passed on to his heirs who, by executing a Deed of Sale, which defendant
admitted in his affidavit, likewise passed on their ownership of Lot 1130 to herein
plaintiff (private respondent). As owner hereof, plaintiff has the right to demand Hence, the issues to be resolved presently are the following:
payment of rental and the tenant is obligated to pay rentals due from the time
demand is made. . . .6 1. WHETHER OR NOT THE SUBJECT DECLARATION OF HEIRSHIP AND
WAIVER OF RIGHTS IS A RECOGNIZED MODE OF ACQUIRING OWNERSHIP
xxx xxx xxx BY PRIVATE RESPONDENT OVER THE LOT IN QUESTION.

Certainly, the sale of the Pido family of Lot 1130 to herein plaintiff does not of itself 2. WHETHER OR NOT THE SAID DOCUMENT CAN BE CONSIDERED A DEED
extinguish the relationship. There was only a change of the personality of the OF SALE IN FAVOR OF PRIVATE RESPONDENT OF THE LOT IN QUESTION.

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Petitioner argues that the Regional Trial Court, in its order dated 7 August 1990, explicitly In a Contract of Sale, one of the contracting parties obligates himself to transfer the
excluded the document marked as Exhibit "D" (Declaration of Heirship, etc.) as private ownership of and to deliver a determinate thing, and the other party to pay a price certain
respondent's evidence because it was not registered with the Registry of Deeds and was in money or its equivalent.9
not identified by anyone of the heirs of Cosme Pido. The Court of Appeals, however, held
the same to be admissible, it being a notarized document, hence, a prima facie proof of Upon the other hand, a declaration of heirship and waiver of rights operates as a public
private respondents' ownership of the lot to which it refers. instrument when filed with the Registry of Deeds whereby the intestate heirs adjudicate
and divide the estate left by the decedent among themselves as they see fit. It is in effect
Petitioner points out that the Declaration of Heirship and Waiver of Rights is not one of the an extrajudicial settlement between the heirs under Rule 74 of the Rules of Court.10
recognized modes of acquiring ownership under Article 712 of the Civil Code. Neither can
the same be considered a deed of sale so as to transfer ownership of the land to private Hence, there is a marked difference between a sale of hereditary rights and a waiver of
respondent because no consideration is stated in the contract (assuming it is a contract or hereditary rights. The first presumes the existence of a contract or deed of sale between
deed of sale). the parties.11 The second is, technically speaking, a mode of extinction of ownership where
there is an abdication or intentional relinquishment of a known right with knowledge of its
Private respondent defends the decision of respondent Court of Appeals as in accord with existence and intention to relinquish it, in favor of other persons who are co-heirs in the
the evidence and the law. He posits that while it may indeed be true that the trial court succession.12 Private respondent, being then a stranger to the succession of Cosme Pido,
excluded his Exhibit "D" which is the Declaration of Heirship and Waiver of Rights as part cannot conclusively claim ownership over the subject lot on the sole basis of the waiver
of his evidence, the trial court declared him nonetheless owner of the subject lot based on document which neither recites the elements of either a sale,13 or a donation,14 or any other
other evidence adduced during the trial, namely, the notice of adverse claim (Exhibit "E") derivative mode of acquiring ownership.
duly registered by him with the Registry of Deeds, which contains the questioned
Declaration of Heirship and Waiver of Rights as an integral part thereof. Quite surprisingly, both the trial court and public respondent Court of Appeals concluded
that a "sale" transpired between Cosme Pido's heirs and private respondent and that
We find the petition impressed with merit. petitioner acquired actual knowledge of said sale when he was summoned by the Ministry
of Agrarian Reform to discuss private respondent's claim over the lot in question. This
In the first place, an asserted right or claim to ownership or a real right over a thing arising conclusion has no basis both in fact and in law.
from a juridical act, however justified, is not per se sufficient to give rise to ownership over
the res. That right or title must be completed by fulfilling certain conditions imposed by law. On record, Exhibit "D", which is the "Declaration of Heirship and Waiver of Rights"
Hence, ownership and real rights are acquired only pursuant to a legal mode or process. was excluded by the trial court in its order dated 27 August 1990 because the document
While title is the juridical justification, mode is the actual process of acquisition or transfer was neither registered with the Registry of Deeds nor identified by the heirs of Cosme
of ownership over a thing in question.8 Pido. There is no showing that private respondent had the same document attached to or
made part of the record. What the trial court admitted was Annex "E", a notice of adverse
Under Article 712 of the Civil Code, the modes of acquiring ownership are generally claim filed with the Registry of Deeds which contained the Declaration of Heirship with
classified into two (2) classes, namely, the original mode (i.e., through occupation, Waiver of rights and was annotated at the back of the Original Certificate of Title to the
acquisitive prescription, law or intellectual creation) and the derivative mode (i.e., through land in question.
succession mortis causa or tradition as a result of certain contracts, such as sale, barter,
donation, assignment or mutuum). A notice of adverse claim, by its nature, does not however prove private respondent's
ownership over the tenanted lot. "A notice of adverse claim is nothing but a notice of a
In the case at bench, the trial court was obviously confused as to the nature and effect of claim adverse to the registered owner, the validity of which is yet to be established in court
the Declaration of Heirship and Waiver of Rights, equating the same with a contract (deed) at some future date, and is no better than a notice of lis pendens which is a notice of a
of sale. They are not the same. case already pending in court."15

It is to be noted that while the existence of said adverse claim was duly proven, there is no
evidence whatsoever that a deed of sale was executed between Cosme Pido's heirs and
private respondent transferring the rights of Pido's heirs to the land in favor of private
53
SUCCESSION CASES
respondent. Private respondent's right or interest therefore in the tenanted lot remains an SO ORDERED.
adverse claim which cannot by itself be sufficient to cancel the OCT to the land and title
the same in private respondent's name.

Consequently, while the transaction between Pido's heirs and private respondent
may be binding on both parties, the right of petitioner as a registered tenant to the
land cannot be perfunctorily forfeited on a mere allegation of private respondent's
ownership without the corresponding proof thereof.

Petitioner had been a registered tenant in the subject land since 1960 and religiously paid
lease rentals thereon. In his mind, he continued to be the registered tenant of Cosme Pido
and his family (after Pido's death), even if in 1982, private respondent allegedly informed
petitioner that he had become the new owner of the land.

Under the circumstances, petitioner may have, in good faith, assumed such statement of
private respondent to be true and may have in fact delivered 10 cavans of palay as annual
rental for 1982 to private respondent. But in 1983, it is clear that petitioner had misgivings
over private respondent's claim of ownership over the said land because in the October
1983 MAR conference, his wife Laurenciana categorically denied all of private
respondent's allegations. In fact, petitioner even secured a certificate from the MAR dated
9 May 1988 to the effect that he continued to be the registered tenant of Cosme Pido and
not of private respondent. The reason is that private respondent never registered the
Declaration of Heirship with Waiver of Rights with the Registry of Deeds or with the MAR.
Instead, he (private respondent) sought to do indirectly what could not be done
directly, i.e., file a notice of adverse claim on the said lot to establish ownership thereover.

It stands to reason, therefore, to hold that there was no unjustified or deliberate refusal by
petitioner to pay the lease rentals or amortizations to the landowner/agricultural lessor
which, in this case, private respondent failed to establish in his favor by clear and
convincing evidence.16

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


Land Transfer under P.D. 27 and to the possession of his farmholdings should not be
applied against petitioners, since private respondent has not established a cause of action
for recovery of possession against petitioner.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Court hereby GRANTS the petition and the
decision of the Court of Appeals dated 1 May 1994 which affirmed the decision of the RTC
of Himamaylan, Negros Occidental dated 20 August 1991 is hereby SET ASIDE. The
private respondent's complaint for recovery of possession and damages against petitioner
Acap is hereby DISMISSED for failure to properly state a cause of action, without prejudice
to private respondent taking the proper legal steps to establish the legal mode by which
he claims to have acquired ownership of the land in question.
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G.R. No. 116018 November 13, 1996 the Register of Deeds issued TCT No. T-292265 in the name of the heirs of Josefa Torres
NELIA A. CONSTANTINO, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS, AURORA S. ROQUE, and TCT No. T-292266 in the name of petitioner.
PRISCILLA S. LUNA and JOSEFINA S. AUSTRIA, respondents.
In reply, private respondents reiterated that all the heirs signed the document before the
JOSEFA TORRES died intestate leaving a parcel of land located at Balagtas, Bulacan. land was surveyed and subdivided, hence, there was as yet no definite area to be sold
Among her heirs are respondents Aurora S. Roque, Priscilla S. Luna and Josefina S. that could be indicated in the deed at the time of the signing. They also claimed that they
Austria. Sometime in 1984, the heirs of Josefa Torres, as vendors, and petitioner Nelia A. were not notified about the survey and the subdivision of the lot and therefore they could
Constantino, as vendee, entered into a contract to sell a parcel of land with a total land not have agreed on the area supposedly sold to petitioner. The respondent heirs insist that
area of two hundred and fifty (250) square meters. The lot, owned in common by the Torres they could not have agreed to the extent of the area actually reflected in the deed because
heirs, is being occupied by petitioners' mother and sister. An adjoining lot, also co-owned it included the portion being occupied by the Lim spouses, which was already the subject
by the heirs, is being occupied by spouses Severino and Consuelo Lim. Pursuant to their of a previous agreement to sell between them and their predecessor.
agreement, the heirs authorized petitioner to prepare the necessary Deed of Extrajudicial
Settlement of Estate with Sale. The trial court entertained serious doubts with respect to the preparation and due
execution of the Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement of Estate with Sale taking into account
After having the document drafted with several spaces left blank including the that (a) while petitioner claimed that all the heirs signed before the notary public and in her
specification as to the metes and bounds of the land petitioner asked the heirs to affix presence, she was not able to enumerate all the signatories to the document; (b) while
their signatures on the document. The heirs signed the document with the understanding petitioner claimed that the document was signed only after the survey of the land was
that respondent Aurora S. Roque, one of the heirs, would be present when the latter would completed, or on 10 October 1984, such fact was negated by her own witness who testified
seek permission from the Bureau of Lands and have the land surveyed. that the survey was conducted only on 16 October 1984; and, (c) while petitioner alleged
that the document was signed and notarized in Manila no explanation was offered why the
However, without the participation of any of the Torres heirs, the property was same could not have been signed and notarized in Bulacan where notaries public abound
subsequently surveyed, subdivided and then covered by TCT Nos. T-292265 and T- which could have been less inconvenient to the parties concerned. Additionally, the trial
292266. Petitioner did not furnish the heirs with copies of the Deed of Extrajudicial court relied heavily on the assertions of respondents as reflected in their demand letter
Settlement of Estate with Sale nor of the subdivision plan and the certificates of title. Upon that they did not give their consent to the sale of Lot 4-B.
securing a copy of the deed from the Registry of Deeds, the respondents learned that the
area of the property purportedly sold to petitioner was much bigger than that agreed upon Thus, on the basis of the evidence on record, the trial court on 27 September 1990 ordered
by the parties. It already included the portion being occupied by the spouses Severino and the annulment and cancellation of the Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement of Estate with Sale,
Consuelo Lim. TCT Nos. T-292265 and T-292266 and Subdivision Plan No. PSD-03-009105. It also
ordered petitioner to pay private respondents P50,000.00 for moral damages, P15,000.00
On 2 June 1986, private respondents sent a letter to petitioner demanding the surrender for attorney's fees, and to pay the costs of suit. 2
to them of the deed of settlement and conveyance, the subdivision plan and the certificates
of title; but to no avail. On 25 June 1986 respondents filed with the Regional Trial Court of On 16 March 1994 respondent Court of Appeals sustained the decision of the trial
Bulacan an action for annulment of the deed and cancellation of the certificates of title, court, 3 and on 20 June 1994 denied the motion to reconsider its decision. 4
with prayer for recovery of damages, attorney's fees and costs of suit. 1
Petitioner faults respondent Court of Appeals: (a) for disregarding documentary evidence
Petitioner controverted the allegations of respondents by presenting the Deed of already presented, marked and identified on a purely technical ground, and (b) for
Extrajudicial Settlement of Estate with Sale dated 10 October 1984 wherein respondents concluding that the Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement of Estate with Sale did not reflect the
agreed to divide and adjudicate among themselves the inherited property with an area of true intent of the parties.
one thousand five hundred and three (1,503) square meters. In the same document, they
caused the subdivision of the property into two (2) lots according to Plan No. PSD-03- Petitioner argues that the trial court should not have denied her motion to admit formal
009105 identified as Lot 4-A with an area of one thousand ninety-six (1,096) square offer of evidence merely on the basis of technicality such as late filing, citing Siguenza
meters, and Lot 4-B with an area of four hundred and seven (407) square meters, and v. Court of Appeals. 5 We are not persuaded. Indeed, we held in Siguenza that rules of
acknowledged the sale to petitioner of said Lot 4-B. As a consequence, on 18 March 1985, procedure are not to be applied in a very rigid and technical sense as they are used only
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to help secure, not override, substantial justice. Yet the holding is inapplicable to the parties. But even without the letter, the evidence of respondents had already amply
present case as the trial court had a reasonable basis for denying petitioner's motion substantiated their claims.

On February 6, 1990, Atty. Ponciano Mercado, defendant's counsel, manifested in We ruled in the Sales case that the extrinsic validity of a document was not affected by the
Court that he has (sic) no more witness to present. He asked that he be given 15 fact that it was notarized in a place other than where the subject matter thereof was
days to make a formal offer of evidence and which the Court granted. At the located. What is more important under the Notarial Law is that the notary public has
scheduled hearing of April 03, 1990, Atty. Ponciano Mercado . . . . was not in Court. authority to acknowledge the document executed within his territorial jurisdiction. The
Atty. Veneracion, plaintiffs' counsel, called the attention of the Court that Atty. ruling in Sales is not applicable to the present case. Our concern here is not whether the
Mercado has (sic) not yet filed and/or complied with the Court Order dated notary public had the authority to acknowledge the document executed within his territorial
February 06, 1990, which is to file his formal offer of evidence. On motion of Atty. jurisdiction but whether respondents indeed appeared before him and signed the deed.
Veneracion, defendant's right to file a formal offer of evidence was deemed However, the quantum of evidence shows that they did not.
waived. Atty. Veneracion waived the presentation of rebuttal evidence considering
that the defendant can (sic) no longer make a formal offer of evidence. The trial court correctly appreciated the fact that the deed was notarized in Manila when it
could have been notarized in Bulacan. This additional detail casts doubt on the procedural
On May 11, 1990, the Court was in receipt of a motion to admit formal offer of regularity in the preparation, execution and signing of the deed. It is not easy to believe
exhibits filed by the defendant thru counsel, Atty. Ponciano Mercado, on May 02, that petitioner and the ten (10) Torres heirs traveled all the way to Manila to have their
1990. Considering that the same was filed out of time and the plaintiffs having filed questioned document notarized considering that they, with the exception of respondent
their memorandum already, the motion to admit formal offer of exhibits was denied Roque, are residents of Balagtas, Bulacan, where notaries public are easy to find.
(emphasis supplied). Consequently, the claim of private respondents that they did not sign the document before
a notary public is more plausible than petitioner's feeble claim to the contrary.
The trial court was correct in holding that petitioner waived the right to formally offer his
evidence. A considerable lapse of time, about three (3) months, had already passed before Likewise, we find the allegation of respondents that they signed the deed prior to the
petitioner's counsel made effort to formally offer his evidence. For the trial court to grant survey, or before determination of the area to be sold, worthy of credit as against the
petitioner's motion to admit her exhibits would be to condone an inexcusable laxity if not contention of petitioner that they signed after the survey or on 10 October 1984. As found
non-compliance with a court order which, in effect, would encourage needless delays and by the trial court, such contention was contradicted by petitioner's own witness who
derail the speedy administration of justice. positively asserted in court that the survey was conducted only on 16 October 1984 or six
(6) days after the signing. Quite obviously, when respondents affixed their signatures on
Petitioner also insists that the real intent of the parties was to make the entire Lot 4-B the the deed, it was still incomplete since petitioner who caused it to be prepared left several
subject matter of the sale. She claims that during cross-examination respondent Aurora S. spaces blank, more particularly as regards the dimensions of the property to be sold. The
Roque admitted that she signed in behalf of her co-heirs a receipt for P30,000.00 as partial heirs were persuaded to sign the document only upon the assurance of petitioner that
payment for the lot occupied by Ka Baring and Lina (relatives of petitioner) respondent Roque, pursuant to their understanding, would be present when the property
and Iling (Consuelo Lim). Moreover, according to petitioner, the assertions of private would be surveyed after obtaining permission from the Bureau of Lands. As it surfaced,
respondents to petitioner contained in the demand letter should not necessarily be true the supposed understanding was merely a ruse of petitioner to induce respondents to sign
and that the validity of the Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement of Estate with Sale was not the deed without which the latter would not have given their conformity
affected by the fact that it was notarized in a place other than where the subject matter thereto. 7 Apparently, petitioner deceived respondents by filling the blank spaces in the
thereof was situated, citing Sales v. Court of Appeals. 6 deed, having the lots surveyed and subdivided, and then causing the issuance of transfer
certificates of title without their knowledge, much less consent. Thus all the elements of
These other arguments of petitioner are barren and futile. The admission of respondent fraud vitiating consent for purposes of annulling a contract concur: (a) It was employed by
Roque cannot prevail in the face of the clear evidence that there was as yet no meeting of a contracting party upon the other; (b) It induced the other party to enter into the contract;
the minds on the land area to be sold since private respondents were still awaiting the (c) It was serious; and, (d) It resulted in damages and injury to the party seeking
survey to be conducted on the premises. Obviously, the trial court only lent credence to annulment. 8
the assertions in the demand letter after having weighed the respective evidence of the

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Perhaps, another compelling reason for the annulment of the document of settlement and
conveyance is that the second page thereof clearly manifests that the number of the
subdivision plan and the respective areas of Lots 4-A and 4-B were merely handwritten
while all the rest of the statements therein were typewritten, which leads us to the
conclusion that handwritten figures thereon were not available at the time the document
was formalized.

WHEREFORE, their being no error to warrant a reversal of the decision and resolution in
question of respondent Court of Appeals, which affirmed the decision of the Regional Trial
Court of Malolos, Bulacan, Br. 22, the instant petition is DENIED.

SO ORDERED.

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