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#126 Article 151 - Conciliation Hontiveros vs. RTCG.R. No.

. 125465 June 29, 1999 CHARACTERS: AUGUSTO HONTIVEROS MARRIED TO MARIA HONTIVEROS PETITIONERS; GREGORIO HONTIVEROS (BROTHER OF AUGUSTO) AND TEODORA AYSON (Alleged STRANGER) Mendoza, J. Facts: 1.) On December 3, 1990 the spouses Augusto and Maria Hontiveros, filed a complaint fordamages against private respondents Gregorio Hontiveros and Teodora Ayson for damages due to uncollected rentals on a land located at Jamindan, Capiz as they are the owners of the land. (Land Registration Case) 2.) Rentals are from tenants of the land in the amount of 66,000 per year from 1968-1987, and 595,000 per year thereafter. Also, that the respondents held the land in their possession in bad faith. 3.) Gregorio and Teodora denied that they were married saying Gregorio was a widower and Teodora was single. They said that they did not deprive the petitioners of the income of the land. In fact, the property in question had already been tranferred to the petitioners on August 27, 1985 by virtue of a writ of possession dated July 18, 1985. Since then, they have been receiving income from rentals. 4.) Gregorio and Teodora further alleged that EARNEST EFFORTS TOWARDS A COMPROMISE had not been made between the brothers; and that Teodora had nothing to do with the case as she was not married to Gregorio so she did not have propriety interest. They prayed for the reconveyance of the land and damages. 5.) Petitioners said that in their amended complaint that earnest efforts have been made but it was unsuccessful. Respondents denied this. 6.) RTC dismissed the complaint on the ground that complaint was not verified as required by ART 151 of the Family Code so it did not believe that earnest efforts have been made; further, that Teodora was not proven to be the wife of Gregorio, that she has not acquired right or interest, and that she was not a part-awardee of the land. CA also dismissed the case. Hence the case. ISSUE: Whether or not the complaint on the ground does not allege under oath that earnest efforts toward compromise were made. RULE: Petition was granted. The inclusion of private respondent Ayson as defendant and petitioner Maria Hontiveros as plaintiff takes the case out of the ambit of Art. 151 of the Family Code. Under this provision, the phrase"members of the same family" refers to the husband and wife, parents and children, ascendants and descendants, and brothers and sisters, whether full or half-blood. Religious relationship and relationship by affinity are not given any legal effect in this jurisdiction. Consequently, private respondent Ayson, who is described in the complaint as the spouse of respondent Hontiveros, and petitioner Maria Hontiveros, who is admittedly the spouse of petitioner Augusto Hontiveros, are considered strangers to the Hontiveros family. However, to say that there were no efforts on the part of the petitioner is erroneous. The absence of verification does not affect the jurisdiction of the court over the subject matter of the complaint. The verification is merely a formal requirement intended to secure an assurance that matters which are alleged are true and correct.