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G.R. No.

L-34395 May 19, 1981


BEATRIZ L. GONZALES, petitioner,
vs.
COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE OF MANILA (BRANCH V), BENITO F. LEGARDA,
ROSARIO L. VALDEZ, ALEJANDRO LEGARDA, TERESA LEGARDA, JOSE
LEGARDA, BENITO LEGARDA Y FERNANDEZ, CARMEN LEGARDA Y
FERNANDEZ, FILOMENA LEGARDA Y HERNANDEZ, CARMEN LEGARDA Y
HERNANDEZ, ALEJANDRO LEGARDA Y HERNANDEZ, RAMON LEGARDA Y
HERNANDEZ, FILOMENA LEGARDA Y LOBREGAT, JAIME LEGARDA Y
LOBREGAT, CELSO LEGARDA Y LOBREGAT, ALEJANDRO LEGARDA Y
LOBREGAT, MA. TERESA LEGARDA Y LOBREGAT, MA. ANTONIA LEGARDA Y
LOBREGAT, JOSE LEGARDA Y LOBREGAT, ROSARIO LEGARDA Y LOBREGAT,
BENITO LEGARDA Y LOBREGAT, EDUARDO LEGARDA Y LOBREGAT, TRINIDAD
F. LEGARDA, and the ESTATE OF DONA FILOMENA ROCES DE
LEGARDA, respondents.

AQUINO, J.:1wph1.t
Beatriz Legarda Gonzales appealed from the decision of the Court of First Instance
of Manila, dismissing her complaint for partition, accounting, reconveyance and
damages and holding, as not subject to reserve troncal, the properties which her
mother Filomena Races inherited in 1943 from Filomena Legarda (Civil Case No.
73335). The facts are as follows:
Benito Legarda y De la Paz, the son of Benito Legarda y Tuason, died [Manila] on
June 17, 1933. He was survived by his widow, Filomena Races, and their seven
children: four daughters named Beatriz, Rosario, Teresa and Filomena and three
sons named Benito, Alejandro and Jose.
On July 12, 1939, the real properties left by Benito Legarda y Tuason were
partitioned in three equal portions by his daughters, Consuelo and Rita, and the
heirs of his deceased son Benito Legarda y De la Paz who were represented by
Benito F. Legarda.
Filomena Legarda y Races died intestate and without issue on March 19, 1943. Her
sole heiress was her mother, Filomena Races Vda. de Legarda.
Mrs. Legarda executed on May 12, 1947 an affidavit adjudicating extrajudicially to
herself the properties which she inherited from her deceased daughter, Filomena
Legarda. The said properties consist of the following: 1wph1.t
(a) Savings deposit in the National City Bank of New York with a credit balance of
P3,699.63.

(b) 1,429 shares of the Benguet Consolidated Mining Company and a 1/7 interest in
certain shares of the San Miguel Brewery, Tuason & Legarda, Ltd., Philippine
Guaranty Company, Insular Life Assurance Company and the Manila Times.
(c) 1/7 of the properties described in TCT Nos. 80226, 80237 to 80243 (7 titles),
80260, 80261 and 57512 of the Manila registry of deeds.
1/21st of the properties covered by TCT Nos. 48164, 84714, 48201, 48202, 48205,
48203, 48206, 48160 and 48192 of the Manila registry of deeds;
1/21st of the property described in TCT No. 4475 of the registry of deeds of Rizal,
now Quezon City; 1/14th of the property described in TCT No. 966 of the registry of
deeds of Baguio;
1/7th of the lot and improvements at 127 Aviles described in TCT No. 41862 of the
Manila registry of deeds; 1/7th of the lots and improvements at 181 San Rafael
describe in TCT Nos. 50495 and 48161 of the Manila registry of deeds;
1/7th of the property described in TCT No. 48163 of the Manila registry of deeds
(Streets);
l/21st of the properties described in TCT Nos. 48199 and 57551 of the Manila
registry of deeds (Streets and Estero):
2/21st of the property described in TCT No. 13458 of tile registry of deeds of
T0ayabas.
These are the properties in litigation in this case. As a result of the affidavit of
adjudication, Filomena Races succeeded her deceased daughter Filomena Legarda
as co-owner of the properties held proindiviso by her other six children.
Mrs. Legarda on March 6, 1953 executed two handwritten Identical documents
wherein she disposed of the properties, which she inherited from her daughter, in
favor of the children of her sons, Benito, Alejandro and Jose (sixteen grandchildren
in all). The document reads: 1wph1.t
A mis hijos :
Dispongo que se reparta a todos mis nietos hijos de Ben, Mandu y Pepito, los bienes
que he heredado de mi difunta hija Filomena y tambien los acciones de la Destileria
La Rosario' recientemente comprada a los hermanos Values Legarda.
De los bienes de mi hija Filomena se deducira un tote de terreno que yo he 0donada
a las Hijas de Jesus, en Guipit
La case No. 181 San Rafael, la cede a mi hijo Mandu solo la casa; proque ella esta
construida sobre terreno de los hermanos Legarda Races. 1wph1.t

(Sgd.) FILOMENA ROCES LEGARDA


6 Marzo 1953
During the period from July, 1958 to February, 1959 Mrs. Legarda and her six
surviving children partitioned the properties consisting of the one-third share in the
estate of Benito Legarda y Tuason which the children inherited in representation of
their father, Benito Legarda y De la Paz.
Mrs. Legarda died on September 22, 1967. Her will was admitted to probate as a
holographic will in the order dated July 16, 1968 of the Court of First Instance of
Manila in Special Proceeding No. 70878, Testate Estate of Filomena Races Vda. de
Legarda. The decree of probate was affirmed by the Court of Appeals in Legarda vs.
Gonzales, CA-G.R. No. 43480-R, July 30,1976.
In the testate proceeding, Beatriz Legarda Gonzales, a daughter of the testatrix,
filed on May 20, 1968 a motion to exclude from the inventory of her mother's estate
the properties which she inherited from her deceased daughter, Filomena, on the
ground that said properties are reservable properties which should be inherited by
Filomena Legarda's three sisters and three brothers and not by the children of
Benito, Alejandro and Jose, all surnamed Legarda. That motion was opposed by the
administrator, Benito F. Legarda.
Without awaiting the resolution on that motion, Mrs. Gonzales filed on June 20, 1968
an ordinary civil action against her brothers, sisters, nephews and nieces and her
mother's estate for the purpose of securing a declaration that the said properties
are reservable properties which Mrs. Legarda could not bequeath in her holographic
will to her grandchildren to the exclusion of her three daughters and her three sons
(See Paz vs. Madrigal, 100 Phil. 1085).
As already stated, the lower court dismissed the action of Mrs. Gonzales. ln this
appeal under Republic Act No. 5440 she contends in her six assignments of error
that the lower court erred in not regarding the properties in question as reservable
properties under article 891 of the Civil Code.
On the other hand, defendants-appellees in their six counter-assignments of error
contend that the lower court erred in not holding that Mrs. Legarda acquired the
estate of her daughter Filomena] Legarda in exchange for her conjugal and
hereditary shares in the estate of her husband Benito Legarda y De la Paz and in not
holding that Mrs. Gonzales waived her right to the reservable properties and that
her claim is barred by estoppel, laches and prescription.
The preliminary issue raised by the private respondents as to the timeliness of Mrs.
Gonzales' petition for review is a closed matter. This Court in its resolution of
December 16, 1971 denied respondents' motion to dismiss and gave due course to
the petition for review.

In an appeal under Republic Act No. 5440 only legal issues can be raised under
undisputed facts. Since on the basis of the stipulated facts the lower court resolved
only the issue of whether the properties in question are subject to reserva
troncal that is the only legal issue to be resolved in this appeal.
The other issues raised by the defendants-appellees, particularly those involving
factual matters, cannot be resolved in this appeal. As the trial court did not pass
upon those issues, there is no ruling which can be reviewed by this Court.
The question is whether the disputed properties are reservable properties under
article 891 of the Civil Code, formerly article 811, and whether Filomena Races Vda.
de Legarda could dispose of them in his will in favor of her grandchildren to the
exclusion of her six children.
Did Mrs. Legarda have the right to convey mortis causa what she inherited from her
daughter Filomena to the reservees within the third degree and to bypass the
reservees in the second degree or should that inheritance automatically go to the
reservees in the second degree, the six children of Mrs. Legarda?
As will hereinafter be shown that is not a novel issue or a question of first
impression. lt was resolved in Florentino vs. Florentino, 40 Phil. 480. Before
discussing the applicability to this case of the doctrine in the Florentino case and
other pertinent rulings, it may be useful to make a brief discourse on the nature
of reserve troncal, also called lineal, familiar, extraordinaria o semi-troncal.
Much time, effort and energy were spent by the parties in their five briefs in
descanting on the nature of reserve troncal which together with the reserva
viudal and reversion legal, was abolished by the Code Commission to prevent the
decedent's estate from being entailed, to eliminate the uncertainty in ownership
caused by the reservation (which uncertainty impedes the improvement of the
reservable property) and to discourage the confinement of property within a certain
family for generations which situation allegedly leads to economic oligarchy, and is
incompatible with the socialization of ownership.
The Code Commission regarded the reservas as remnants of feudalism which
fomented agrarian unrest. Moreover, the reserves, insofar as they penalize
legitimate relationship, is considered unjust and inequitable.
However, the lawmaking body, not agreeing entirely with the Code Commission,
restored the reserve troncal, a legal institution which, according to Manresa and
Castan Tobenas has provoked questions and doubts that are difficult to resolve.
Reserva troncal is provided for in article 811 of the Spanish Civil Code, now article
891, which reads: 1wph1.t
ART. 811. El ascendiente que heredare de su descendiente bienes que este hubiese
adquirido por titulo lucrative de otro ascendiente, o de un hermano, se halla

obligado a reservas los que hubiere adquirido por ministerio de la ley en favor de
los parientes que eaten dentro del tercer grade y pertenezcan a la linea de donde
los bienes proceden
ART. 891. The ascendant who inherits from his descendant any property which the
latter may have acquired by gratuitous title from another ascendant, or a brother or
sister, is obliged to reserve such property as he may have acquired by operation of
law for the benefit of relatives who are within the third degree and who belong to
the line from which said property came.
In reserve troncal (1) a descendant inherited or acquired by gratuitous title property
from an ascendant or from a brother or sister; (2) the same property is inherited by
another ascendant or is acquired by him by operation of law from the said
descendant, and (3) the said ascendant should reserve the said property for the
benefit of relatives who are within the third degree from the deceased descendant
(prepositus) and who belong to the line from which the said property came.
So, three transmissions are involved: (I) a first transmission by lucrative title
(inheritance or donation) from an ascendant or brother or sister to the deceased
descendant; (2) a posterior transmission, by operation of law (intestate succession
or legitime) from the deceased descendant (causante de la reserve) in favor of
another ascendant, the reservor or reservista, which two transmissions precede the
reservation, and (3) a third transmissions of the same property (in consequence of
the reservation) from the reservor to the reservees (reservatarios) or the relatives
within the third degree from the deceased descendant belonging to the line of the
first ascendant, brother or sister of the deceased descendant (6 Castan Tobenas
Derecho Civil, Part l, 1960, 6th Ed., pp. 198-9).
If there are only two transmissions there is no reserve. Thus, where one Bonifacia
Lacerna died and her properties were inherited by her son, Juan Marbebe, upon the
death of Juan, those lands should be inherited by his half-sister, to the exclusion of
his maternal first cousins. The said lands are not reservable property within the
meaning of article 811 (Lacerna vs. Vda. de Corcino, l l l Phil. 872).
The persons involved in reserve troncal are (1) the ascendant or brother or sister
from whom the property was received by the descendant by lucrative or gratuitous
title, (2) the descendant or prepositus (prepositus) who received the property, (3)
the reservor (reservista) the other ascendant who obtained the property from the
(prepositus) by operation of law and (4) the reserves (reservatario) who is within the
third degree from theprepositus and who belongs to the (line o tronco) from which
the property came and for whom the property should be reserved by the reservor.
The reservees may be half-brothers and sisters (Rodriguez vs. Rodriguez, 101 Phil.
1098; Chua vs. Court of First Instance of Negros Occidental, L-29901, August 31,
1977, 78 SCRA 412). Fourth degree relatives are not included (Jardin vs. Villamayor,
72 Phil. 392).

The rationale of reserve troncal is to avoid "el peligro de que bienes poseidos
secularmente por una familia pasen bruscamente a titulo gratuito a manos extraas
por el azar de los enlaces y muertes prematuras or impeder que, por un azar de la
vide personas extranas a una familia puedan adquirir bienes que sin aquel hubieran
quedado en ella (6 Castan Tobenas Derecho Civil, Part l, 6th Ed., 1980, p. 203;
Padura vs. Baldovino, 104 Phil. 1065).
An illustration of reserve troncal is found in Edroso vs. Sablan, 25 Phil. 295. ln that
case, Pedro Sablan inherited two parcels of land from his father Victorians. Pedro
died in 1902, single and without issue. His mother, Marcelina Edroso, inherited from
him the two parcels of land.
It was held that the land was reservable property in the hands of Marcelina. The
reservees were Pablo Sablan and Basilio Sablan, the paternal uncles of Pedro
Sablan, the prepositus. Marcelina could register the land under the Torrens system
in her name but the fact that the land was reservable property in favor of her two
brothers-in-law, should they survive her, should be noted in the title.
In another case, it appears that Maria Aglibot died intestate in 1906. Her one-half
share of a parcel of conjugal land was inherited by her daughter, Juliana Maalac.
When Juliana died intestate in 1920, said one-half share was inherited by her father,
Anacleto Maalac who owned the other one-half portion.
Anacleto died intestate in 1942, survived by his second wife and their six children. lt
was held that the said one-half portion was reservable property in the hands of
Anacleto Maalac and, upon his death, should be inherited by Leona Aglibot and
Evarista Aglibot, sisters of Maria and materna aunts of Juliana Maalac, who
belonged to the line from which said one-half portion came (Aglibot vs. Maalac 114
Phil. 964).
Other illustrations of reserva troncal are found in Florentino vs Florentino, 40 Phil.
480; Nieva and Alcala vs. Alcala and Deocampo, 41 Phil. 915; Maghirang
and Gutierrez vs. Balcita 46 Phil. 551; Lunsod vs. Ortega, 46 Phil. 664;Dizon vs.
Galang, 48 Phil. 601; Riosa vs. Rocha, 48 Phil. 737; Centeno vs. Centeno 52 Phil.
322; Velayo Bernardo vs. Siojo, 58 Phil. 89; Director of Lands vs. Aguas, 63 Phil.
279; Fallorfina vs. Abille, CA 39 O.G. 1784.
The person from whom the degree should be reckoned is the descendant, or the one
at the end of the line from which the property came and upon whom the property
last revolved by descent. He is called the prepositus(Cabardo vs. Villanueva. 44 Phil.
186, 190).
In the Cabardo case, one Cornelia Abordo inherited property from her mother,
Basilia Cabardo. When Cornelia died, her estate passed to her father, Lorenzo
Abordo. ln his hands, the property was reservable property. Upon the death of

Lorenzo, the person entitled to the property was Rosa Cabardo, a maternal aunt of
Cornelia, who was her nearest relative within the third degree.
First cousins of the prepositus are in the fourth degree and are not reservees. They
cannot even represent their parents because representation is confined to relatives
within the third degree (Florentino vs. Florentino, 40 Phil. 480).
Within the third degree, the nearest relatives exclude the more remote subject to
the rule of representation. But the representative should be within the third degree
from the prepositus (Padura vs. Baldovino, 104 Phil. 1065).
Reserva troncal contemplates legitimate relationship. illegitimate relationship and
relationship by affinity are excluded.
Gratuitous title or titulo lucrativo refers to a transmission wherein the recipient
gives nothing in return such as donacion and succession (Cabardo vs. Villanueva, 44
Phil. 186, 189-190, citing 6 Manresa, Codigo Civil, 7th Ed., 195 l, p. 360).
The reserva creates two resolutory conditions, namely, (1) the death of the
ascendant obliged to reserve and (2) the survival, at the time of his death, of
relatives within the third degree belonging to the line from which the property
came
(Sienes vs. E Esparcia l l l Phil. 349, 353).
The reservor has the legal title and dominion to the reservable property but subject
to the resolutory condition that such title is extinguished if the reservor
predeceased the reservee. The reservor is a usufructuary of the reservable property.
He may alienate it subject to the reservation. The transferee gets the revocable and
conditional ownership of the reservor. The transferee's rights are revoked upon the
survival of the reservees at the time of the death of the reservor but become
indefeasible when the reservees predecease the reservor. (Sienes vs. Esparcia, 111
Phil. 349, 353; Edroso vs. Sablan, 25 Phil. 295; Lunsod vs. Ortega, 46 Phil. 664;
Florentino vs. Florentino, 40 Phil. 480: Director of Lands vs. Aguas, 63 Phil. 279.)
The reservor's title has been compared with that of the vendee a retro in a pacta de
retro sale or to a fideicomiso conditional.
The reservor's alienation of the reservable property is subject to a resolutory
condition, meaning that if at the time of the reservor's death, there are reservees,
the transferee of the property should deliver it to the reservees. lf there are no
reservees at the time of the reservor's death, the transferee's title would become
absolute. (Lunsod vs. Ortega, 46 Phil. 664; Gueco vs. Lacson, 118 Phil. 944; Mono
vs. Nequia 93 Phil. 120).
On the other hand, the reserves has only an inchoate, expectant or contingent right.
His expectant right would disappear if he predeceased the reservor. lt would
become absolute should the reservor predecease the reserves.

The reserves cannot impugn any conveyance made by the reservor but he can
require that the reservable character of the property be recognized by the
purchaser (Riosa vs. Rocha 48 Phil. 737; Edroso vs. Sablan, 25 Phil. 295, 312-3;
Gueco vs. Lacson, 118 Phil. 944).
There is a holding that the renunciation of the reservee's right to the reservable
property is illegal for being a contract regarding future inheritance (Velayo Bernardo
vs. Siojo, 58 Phil. 89, 96).
And there is a dictum that the reservee's right is a real right which he may alienate
and dispose of conditionally. The condition is that the alienation shall transfer
ownership to the vendee only if and when the reserves survives the reservor
(Sienes vs. Esparcia, 111 Phil. 349, 353). 1wph1.t
The reservatario receives the property as a conditional heir of the descendant
(prepositus) said property merely reverting to the line of origin from which it had
temporarily and accidentally stayed during the reservista's lifetime. The authorities
are all agreed that there being reservatarios that survive the reservists, the latter
must be deemed to have enjoyed no more than a than interest in the reservable
property. (J. J. B. L. Reyes in Cane vs. Director of Lands, 105 Phil. l5.)
Even during the reservista's lifetime, the reservatarios, who are the ultimate
acquirers of the property, can already assert the right to prevent the reservista from
doing anything that might frustrate their reversionary right, and, for this purpose,
they can compel the annotation of their right in the registry of property even while
the (reservista) is alive (Ley Hipotecaria de Ultramar, Arts. 168, 199; Edroso vs.
Sablan, 25 Phil. 295).
This right is incompatible with the mere expectancy that corresponds to the natural
heirs of the reservista lt is likewise clear that the reservable property is no part of
the estate of the reservista who may not dispose of them (it) by will, so long as
there are reservatarios existing (Arroyo vs. Gerona, 58 Phil. 226, 237).
The latter, therefore, do not inherit from the reservista but from the descendant
(prepositus) of whom the reservatarios are the heirs mortis causa, subject to the
condition that they must survive thereservista. (Sanchez Roman, Vol. VI Tomo 2, p.
286; Manresa, Commentaries, Vol. 6, 6th Ed., pp. 274, 310, cited by J. J.B.L. Reyes in
Padura vs. Baldovino, L-11960, December 27, 1958, 104 Phil. 1065).
Hence, upon the reservista's death, the reservatario nearest to
the prepositus becomes, "automatically and by operation of law, the owner of the
reservable property." (Cane vs. Director of Lands, 105 Phil. l5.)
In the instant case, the properties in question were indubitably reservable
properties in the hands of Mrs. Legarda. Undoubtedly, she was a reservor. The
reservation became a certainty when at the time of her death the reservees or

relatives within the third degree of the prepositus Filomena Legarda were living or
they survived Mrs. Legarda.
So, the ultimate issue in this case is whether Mrs. Legarda, as reservor, could
convey the reservable properties by will or mortis causa to the reservees within
the third degree (her sixteen grandchildren) to the exclusion of the reservees in
the second degree, her three daughters and three sons. As indicated at the outset,
that issue is alreadyres judicata or cosa juzgada.
We hold that Mrs. Legarda could not convey in her holographic will to her sixteen
grandchildren the reservable properties which she had inherited from her daughter
Filomena because the reservable properties did not form part of her estate (Cabardo
vs. Villanueva, 44 Phil. 186, 191). The reservor cannot make a disposition mortis
causa of the reservable properties as long as the reservees survived the reservor.
As repeatedly held in the Cano and Padura cases, the reservees inherit the
reservable properties from theprepositus, not from the reservor.
Article 891 clearly indicates that the reservable properties should be inherited by all
the nearest relatives within the third degree from the prepositus who in this case
are the six children of Mrs. Legarda. She could not select the reservees to whom the
reservable property should be given and deprive the other reservees of their share
therein.
To allow the reservor in this case to make a testamentary disposition of the
reservable properties in favor of the reservees in the third degree and,
consequently, to ignore the reservees in the second degree would be a glaring
violation of article 891. That testamentary disposition cannot be allowed.
We have stated earlier that this case is governed by the doctrine of Florentino vs.
Florentino, 40 Phil. 480, a similar case, where it was ruled: 1wph1.t
Reservable property left, through a will or otherwise, by the death of ascendant
(reservista) together with his own property in favor of another of his descendants as
forced heir, forms no part of the latter's lawful inheritance nor of the legitime, for
the reason that, as said property continued to be reservable, the heir receiving the
same as an inheritance from his ascendant has the strict obligation of its delivery to
the relatives, within the third degree, of the predecessor in interest (prepositus),
without prejudicing the right of the heir to an aliquot part of the property, if he has
at the same time the right of areservatario (reserves).
ln the Florentino case, it appears that Apolonio Florentino II and his second wife
Severina Faz de Leon begot two children, Mercedes and Apolonio III. These two
inherited properties from their father. Upon Apolonio III death in 1891, his properties
were inherited by his mother, Severina, who died in 1908. ln her will, she instituted

her daughter Mercedes as heiress to all her properties, including those coming from
her deceased husband through their son, Apolonio III.
The surviving children, begotten by Apolonio II with his first wife Antonia Faz de
Leon and the descendants of the deceased children of his first marriage, sued
Mercedes Florentino for the recovery of their share in the reservable properties,
which Severina de Leon had inherited from Apolonio III which the latter had
inherited from his father Apolonio II and which Severina willed to her daughter
Mercedes.
Plaintiff's theory was that the said properties, as reservable properties, could not be
disposed of in Severina's will in favor of Mercedes only. That theory was sustained
by this Court.
It was held that the said properties, being reservable properties, did not form part
of Severina's estate and could not be inherited from her by her daughter Mercedes
alone.
As there were seven reservees, Mercedes was entitled, as a reserves, to oneseventh of the properties. The other six sevenths portions were adjudicated to the
other six reservees.
Under the rule of stare decisis et non quieta movere, we are bound to follow in this
case the doctrine of theFlorentino case. That doctrine means that as long as during
the reservor's lifetime and upon his death there are relatives within the third degree
of the prepositus regardless of whether those reservees are common descendants
of the reservor and the ascendant from whom the property came, the property
retains its reservable character. The property should go to the nearest reservees.
The reservor cannot, by means of his will, choose the reserves to whom the
reservable property should be awarded.
The alleged opinion of Sanchez Roman that there is no reserva troncal when the
only relatives within the third degree are the common descendants of the
predeceased ascendant and the ascendant who would be obliged to reserve is
irrelevant and sans binding force in the light of the ruling in the Florentino case.
It is contended by the appellees herein that the properties in question are not
reservable properties because only relatives within the third degree from the
paternal line have survived and that when Mrs. Legarda willed the said properties to
her sixteen grandchildren, who are third-degree relatives of Filomena Legarda and
who belong to the paternal line, the reason for the reserva troncal has been
satisfied: "to prevent persons outside a family from securing, by some special
accident of life, property that would otherwise have remained therein".
That same contention was advanced in the Florentino case where the reservor
willed the reservable properties to her daughter, a full-blood sister of

the prepositus and ignored the other six reservors, the relatives of the half-blood of
the prepositus.
In rejecting that contention, this Court held that the reservable property bequeathed
by the reservor to her daughter does not form part of the reservor's estate nor of
the daughter's estate but should be given to all the seven reservees or nearest
relatives of the prepositus within the third degree.
This Court noted that, while it is true that by giving the reservable property to only
one reserves it did not pass into the hands of strangers, nevertheless, it is likewise
true that the heiress of the reservor was only one of the reservees and there is no
reason founded upon law and justice why the other reservees should be deprived of
their shares in the reservable property (pp. 894-5).
Applying that doctrine to this case, it results that Mrs. Legarda could not dispose of
in her will the properties in question even if the disposition is in favor of the
relatives within the third degree from Filomena Legarda. The said properties, by
operation of Article 891, should go to Mrs. Legarda's six children as reservees within
the second degree from Filomena Legarda.
It should be repeated that the reservees do not inherit from the reservor but
from the reservor but from the prepositus, of whom the reservees are the
heirs mortis causa subject to the condition that they must survive the reservor
(Padura vs. Baldovino, L-11960, December 27, 1958, 104 Phil. 1065).
The trial court said that the disputed properties lost their reservable character due
to the non-existence of third-degree relatives of Filomena Legarda at the time of the
death of the reservor, Mrs. Legarda, belonging to the Legarda family, "except thirddegree relatives who pertain to both" the Legarda and Races lines.
That holding is erroneous. The reservation could have been extinguished only by the
absence of reservees at the time of Mrs. Legarda's death. Since at the time of her
death, there were (and still are) reservees belonging to the second and third
degrees, the disputed properties did not lose their reservable character. The
disposition of the said properties should be made in accordance with article 891 or
the rule on reserva troncal and not in accordance with the reservor's holographic
will. The said properties did not form part of Mrs. Legarda's estate. (Cane vs.
Director of Lands, 105 Phil. l, 4).
WHEREFORE, the lower court's decision is reversed and set aside. lt is hereby
adjudged that the properties inherited by Filomena Roces Vda. de Legarda from her
daughter Filomena Legarda, with all the fruits and accessions thereof, are
reservable properties which belong to Beatriz, Rosario, Teresa, Benito, Alejandro and
Jose, all surnamed Legarda y Roces, as reservees. The shares of Rosario L. Valdes
and Benito F. Legarda, who died in 1969 and 1973, respectively, should pertain to
their respective heirs. Costs against the private respondents.

SO ORDERED.
Barredo, Guerrero, Abad Santos and De Castro, JJ., concur.1wph1.t
Justice Concepcion, Jr., is on leave.
Justice Guerrero was designated to sit in the Second Division.
Padura v. Baldovino
SV: Fortunato Padura without any heirs, hence the four parcels of land he received
from his father were transmitted to her mother. After her mother died, Fortunatos
nephews and nieces from his full sister and half-brother took possession of the
property. The court ruled that these nephews and nieces will have equal shares over
the property.
SC: Rule on Reserva troncal should be applied, meaning the relatives of Fortunato
up to the third degree will get the reservable property after his mother dies. The
children of such relatives (the reservatarios) can receive the property by way
of right of representation. But after applying the rule, the reservatarios and their
relationship will be considered in determining their shares. The rules on ordinary
intestate succession would be followed after the reservatarios have
beendetermined.
1.Agustin Padura married twice. His first wife was Gervacio Landig with whom
he had one child named Manuel Padura. His second wife was Benita Garing with
whom he had 2 children named Fortunato and CandelariaPadura
2.He died leaving a last will and testament duly probated wherein he
bequeathed his properties among his children, Manuel, CAndelaria andFortunato,
and his surviving spouse Benita (2nd wife). Fortunato was adjudicated 4 parcels of
land
a. Fortunato died unmarried and without having executed a will; and not
having any issue, the 4 parcels of land were inherited exclusively by Benita. Benita
applied for an later was issued a Torrens Certificate of Title in her name, BUT subject
to the condition that the properties were reservable in favor of relatives within the
3rd degree belonging to the line from which the property came(Fortunato)
b.Candelaria (Fortunatos full sister) died leaving as her heirs her 4
legitimate children (the appellants) Melania, Anicia and Pablo all surnamed
Baldovino
c.Manuel (Fortunatos half brother) also died. His heirs were his legitimate
children (the appellees) Dionisia, Felisa, Flora, Cornelio,Francisco, Juana and
Severino, all surnamed Padura

3.Benita Garing (the reservista) died. The children of Candelaria andFortunato


took possession of the 4 parcels of land (the reservableproperties).
a.CFI Laguna issued a resolution declaring the legitimate children of Manuel
and Candelaria are the rightful reserves and as suchentitled to the 4 parcels of land
4.The Baldovinos filed this present petition wherein they seek to have
theproperties partitioned suh that one-half of the same be adjudicated tothem, the
other half to the Paduras on the basis that they inherited byright of representation
from their respective parents, the original reserves.
5.The Paduras opposed, arguing that they should all (all 11 of them)
bedeemed inheriting in their own right hence, they should have equalshares.6.TC
rendered judgment declaring them all reservees without distinctionand have equal
shares over the properties as co-owners, pro indiviso.
ISSUE: should the properties be apportioned among the nephews of the wholeblood
and nephews of the hald-blood equally? Or should the nephews of the wholeblood
take a share twice as large as that of the nephews of the half-blood? Thenephews of
the whole blood get twice the share.
The Baldovinos contend that notwithstanding the rule on
Reservablecharacter of the property under Art. 891, the reservatarios nephews of
thewhole blood are entitled to a share twice as large as that of the otherspursuant
to Arts. 10063, 10084 on intestate succession.
The reserva troncal is a special rule designed primarily to assure the return
of the reservable property to the third degree relatives belonging to the linefrom
which the property originally came, and avoid its being dissipated intoand by
their relatives of the inheriting ascendant (reservista)

Article 891. The ascendant who inherits from his descendant


anyproperty which the latter may have acquired by gratuitous title
fromanother ascendant, or a brother or sister, is obliged to reserve
suchproperty as he may have acquired by operation of law for
the benefitof relatives who are within the third degree and who belong
to the linefrom which said property came. (871)

o The motives for such rule were explained by D. Manuel Alonso Martinezin his book
El Codigo Civil en sus relaciones con Las LegislacionesForales5
Summary of not so good translation: consider this sample case:father dies leaving
his wife and lone son as heirs. Wife remarriesand had children with 2 nd husband.
Lone son dies and his mother(wife) inherits whatever he got from the father. In case
the wifedies, the relatives of the lone son are prejudiced since the wifeschildren

from the second marriage will inherit the properties of the lone son as opposed to
his uncle (fathers brother)
The code commission chose to give more importance to linealsuccession than the
presumed affection of the deceased.
The commission settled with the suggestion of Manresa, amongothers, to reserve
the property in case the ascendants inherit infavor of relatives up to the third
degree. No reason was givenwhy 3rd degree.
Aside from the sample case, another reason why this rule wasadopted was to
make it the law more democratic (Democracywas becoming a trend when the civil
code was being made bythe Spaniards, so fetch).
The purpose of the reserva is accomplishedonce the property hasdevolved to the
specified relatives of the line of origin.
After that, Art.891 has nothing to do with the relations between one reservatario
andanother of the same degree. Their shares should be foverned by theordinary
rules of intestate succession
. Upon the death of the ascendantreservista, the reservable property should pass,
not to all reservatarios as aclass, but only to those nearest in degree to the
descendant (prepositus),excluding those reseravatarios more remote in degree.
o The right of representation cannot be alleged when the one claimingthe same as a
reservatario of the property is not among those relativeswithin the third degree
belonging to the line from which the propertycame. Relatives of the fourth and the
succeeding degrees can never beconsidered as reservatarios, since the law does
not recognize them assuch
oBut there is right of representation on the part of reservatarios who arewithin the
third degree mentioned by law as in the case of nephews of the deceased person
from whom the reservable property came
Proximity of degree and right of representation are basic principles of intestate
succession so is the rule that whole blood brothers and nephews areentitled to a
share double that of brothers and nephews of half-blood.

o In determining the rights of the reservatarios inter se, proximity of degree and the
right of representation of nephews are made to apply,the rule of double share for
immediate collaterals of the whole bloodshould likewise be operative.
Reserva Troncal merely determines the group pof relatives to whom theproperty
should be returned. Within the group, the individual right to theproperty should be

decided by applicable rules of ordinary intestatesuccession (since art. 891 is silent


on the matter).
Reserva Troncal is an exceptional case and its application should be limitedto what
is strictly needed to accomplish the purpose of the law
Even during the lifetime of the reservista, the reservatarios could compel
theannotation of their right (over the property) in the registry of property.
Thereservable property is no part of the estate of the reservista, who may
notdispose them by will so long as there are reservatarios existing. Thereservatarios
are in fact inheriting from the descendant prepositus fromwhom the reservista
inherited the property.
If the nephews of whole and half-blood inherited the prepositus directly, thewhole
bloods would receive a double share compared to those of the half-blood. Why then
should the half-bloods inherit equally just because of thedelay in the transmission of
the property (when it was with the reservista)? The hereditary portions should not
change
Philippine (and Spanish Jurisprudence) agrees with this despite the
contraryopinions of authors such as Sanchez Roman and Mucius Scaevola.Appealed
order REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Whole blood nephews will get twice theshare of
those who are nephews of Half-blood.

G.R. No. L-29901 August 31, 1977


IGNACIO FRIAS CHUA, DOMINADOR CHUA and REMEDIOS CHUA, petitioners,
vs.
THE COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE OF NEGROS OCCIDENTAL, BRANCH V and
SUSANA DE LA TORRE, in her capacity as Administratrix of the Intestate
Estate of Consolacion de la Torre, respondents.
Dominador G. Abaria and Primitivo Blanca for private respondent.
Rodrigo O. Delfinado for petitioners.

MARTIN, J.:
Petition for review of the decision of the respondent Court which dismissed the
complaint of petitioners in Civil Case No. 7839-A, entitled "Ignacio Frias Chua, et al.
vs. Susana de la Torre, Administratrix of the Intestate Estate of Consolacion de la
Torre"

It appears that in the first marriage of Jose Frias Chua with Patricia S. Militar alias Sy
Quio he sired three children, namely: Ignacio, Lorenzo and Manuel, all surnamed
Frias Chua. When Patricia S. Militar died, Jose Frias Chua contracted a second
marriage with Consolacion de la Torre with whom he had a child by the name of
Juanita Frias Chua. Manuel Frias Chua died without leaving any issue. Then in 1929,
Jose Frias Chua died intestate leaving his widow Consolacion de la Torre and his son
Juanito Frias Chua of the second marriage and sons Ignacio Frias Chua and Lorenzo
Frias Chua of his first marriage. In Intestate Proceeding No. 4816, the lower court
issued an order dated January 15, 1931 1 adjudicating, among others, the one-half
(1/2,) portion of Lot No. 399 and the sum of P8,000.00 in favor of Jose Frias Chua's
widow, Consolacion de la Torre, the other half of Lot No. 399 in favor of Juanito Frias
Chua, his son in the second marriage; P3,000.00 in favor of Lorenze Frias chua; and
P1,550.00 in favor of Ignacio Frias, Chua, his sons of the first marriage. By virtue of
said adjudication, Transfer Certificate of Title No. TR-980 (14483) 2 dated April 28,
1932 was issued by the Register of Deeds in the names of Consolacion de la Torre
and Juanito Frias Chua as owners pro-indiviso of Lot No. 399.
On February 27, 1952, Juanito Frias Chua of the second marriage died intestate
without any issue. After his death, his mother Consolacion de la Torre succeeded to
his pro-indivisio share of Lot No. 399. In a week's time or on March 6, 1952,
Consolacion de la Torre executed a declaration of heirship adjudicating in her favor
the pro-indiviso share of her son Juanito as a result of which Transfer Certificate of
Title No. 31796 covering the whole Lot No. 399 was issued in her name. Then on
March 5, 1966, Consolacion de la Torre died intestate leaving no direct heir either in
the descending or ascending line except her brother and sisters.
In the "Intestate Estate of Consolacion de la Torre", docketed as Sp. Proc. No. 7839A, the petitioners herein, Ignacio Frias Chua, of the first marriage and dominador
and Remedios Chua, the supposed legitimate children of the deceased Lorenzo Frias
Chua, also of the first marriage filed the complaint a quo 3 (subseqently segregated
as a distinct suit and docketed as Civil Case No. 7839-A) on May 11, 1966 before the
respondent Court of First Instance of Negros Occidental, Branch V, praying that the
one-half (1/2) portion of Lot No. 399 which formerly belonged to Juanito Frias but
which passed to Consolacion de la Torre upon the latter's death, be declaredas a
reservable property for the reason that the lot in questionn was subject to reserval
troncal pursuant to Article 981 of the New Civil Code, Private respondent as
administratrix of the estate of individually the complaint of petitioners 4
On July 29, 1986, the respondent Court rendered a decision dismissing the
complaint of petitioner. Hence this instant.
The pertinent provision of reserva troncal under the New Civil Code provides:
ART. 891. The ascendant who inheritts from his descendant any property which the
latter may have acquired by gratuitous title from another ascendat, or a brother or

sister, is obliged to reserve such property as he may have acquired by operation of


law for the benefit of relatives who are within the third degree and belong to the line
from which said property came.
Persuant to the foregoing provision, in order that a property may be impressed with
a reservable character the following requisites must exist, to wit: (1) that the
property was acquired by a descendant from an asscendant or from a brother or
sister by gratuitous title; (2) that said descendant died without an issue; (3) that the
property is inherited by another ascendant by operation of law; and (4) that there
are relatives within the third degree belonging to the line from which said property
came. 5 In the case before Us, all of the foregoing requisites are present. Thus, as
borne out by the records, Juanoito Frias Chua of the second marriage died intestate
in 1952; he died withour leaving any issue; his pro-indiviso of 1/2 share of Lot No.
399 was acquired by his mother, Consolacion de la Torre died, Juannnito Frias Chua
who died intestate had relatives within the third degree. These relatives are Ignacio
Frias Chua and Dominador Chua and Remidios Chua, the suppose legitimate
children of the deceased Lorenzo Frias Chua, who are the petitioners herein.
The crux of the problem in instant petition is focused on the first requisit of reserva
troncal whether the property in question was acquired by Juanito Frias Chua from
his father Jose Frias Chua, gratuitously or not. In resolving this point, the respondent
Court said:
It appears from Exh. "3", which is part of Exh. "D", that the property in question was
not acquired by Consolacion de la Torre and Juanito Frias Chua gratuitously but for a
consideration, namely, that the legatees were to pay the interest and cost and other
fees resulting from Civil Case No. 5300 of this Court. As such it is undeniable that
the lot in question is not subject tot a reserva troncal, under Art. 891 of the New
Civil Code, and as such the plaintiff's complaint must fail.
We are not prepared to sustain the respondent Court's conclusion that the lot in
question is not subject to a reserva troncal under Art. 891 of the New Civil Code. It
is, As explained by Manresa which this Court quoted with approval inCabardo v.
Villanueva, 44 Phil. 186, "The transmission is gratuitous or by gratuitous title when
the recipient does not give anything in return." It matters not whether the property
transmitted be or be not subject to any prior charges; what is essential is that the
transmission be made gratuitously, or by an act of mere liberality of the person
making it, without imposing any obligation on the part of the recipient; and that the
person receiving the property gives or does nothing in return; or, as ably put by an
eminent Filipino commentator, 6 "the essential thing is that the person who
transmits it does so gratuitously, from pure generosity, without requiring from the
transferee any prestation." It is evident from the record that the transmission of the
property in question to Juanito Frias Chua of the second marriage upon the death of
his father Jose Frias Chua was by means of a hereditary succession and therefore

gratuitous. It is true that there is the order (Exh. "D") of the probate Court in
Intestate Proceeding No. 4816 which estates in express terms;
2. Se adjudicada pro el presente a favor de Consolacion de la Torre, viuda, mayor
de edad, y de su hiju, Juanito Frias Chua, menor de edad, todos residente de San
Enrique, Negros Occidental, I.F.,como herederos del finado Jose Frias Chua Choo,
estas propiadades:
14483
La parcela de terrenno concida por Lote No. 399 del Catsatro de la Carlota, Negros
Occidental, de 191.954 metros cuadddrados y cubierto por el Certificado de Titulo
No. 11759, en partes equales pro-indiviso; por con la obligscion de pagar a las
Standard Oil Co. of New York la deuda de P3971.20, sus intereses, costas y demas
gastos resultantes del asunto civil No. 5300de este jusgado
But the obligation of paying the Standard Oil Co. of New York the amount of
P3,971.20 is imposed upon Consolacion de la Torre and Juanito Frias Chua not
personally by the deceased Jose Frias Chua in his last will and testament but by an
order of the court in the Testate Proceeding No.4816 dated January 15, 1931. As
long as the transmission of the property to the heirs is free from any condition
imposed by the deceased himself and the property is given out of pure generosity,
itg is gratuitous. it does not matter if later the court orders one of the heirs, in this
case Juanito Frias Chua, to pay the Standare oil co. of New York the amount of
P3,971.20. This does not change the gratuitous nature of the transmission of the
property to him. This being the case the lot in question is subject to reserva
troncal under Art, 891 of the New Civil Code.
It is contented that the distribution of the shares of the estate of Jose Frias Chua to
the respondent heirs or legatees was agreed upon by the heirs in their project of
partition based on the last will and testament of Jose Frias Chua. But petitioners
claim that the supposed Last Will and Testament of Jose Frias Chua was never
probated. The fact that the will was not probated was admitted in paragraph 6 of
the respondents' answer. 7 There is nothing mentioned in the decision of the trial
court in Civil Case No. 7839 A which is the subject of the present appeal nor in the
order of January 15, 1931 of the trial court in the Testate Estate Proceeding No.
4816 nor in the private respondent's brief, that the Last Will and Testament of Jose
Frias Chua has ever been probated. With the foregoing, it is easy to deduce that if
the Last Will and Testament has in fact been probated there would have been no
need for the testamentary heirs to prepare a project of partition among themselves.
The very will itself could be made the basis for the adjudication of the estate as in
fact they did in their project of partition with Juanito Frias Chua getting one-half of
Lot 399 by inheritance as a sone of the deceased Jose Frias Chua by the latter's
second marriage.

According to the record, Juanito Frias Chua died on February 27, 1952 without any
issue. After his death his mother Consolation de la Torre succeeded to his one-half
pro-indiviso share of Lot 399. This was, however, subject to the condition that the
property was reservable in character under Art. 891 of the Civil Code in favor of
relatives within the third degree of Jose Frias Chua from whom the property came.
These relatives are the petitioner herein.
It is claimed that the complaint of petitioners to recover the one-half portion of Lot
399 which originally belonged to Juanito Frias Chua has already prescribed when it
was filed on May 11, 1966. We do not believe so. It must be remembered that the
petitioners herein are claiming as reservees did not arise until the time the reservor,
Consolacion de la Torre, died in March 1966. When the petitioners therefore filed
their complaint to recover the one-half (1/2) portion of Lot 399, they were very
much in time to do so.
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the decision appealed from is hereby set aside. The
petitioners Ignacio Frias Chua, Dominador Chua and Remedios Chua are declared
owners of 1/2 undivided portion of Lot 399; and the Register of Deeds of Negros
Occidental is hereby ordered to cancel. Transfer Certificate of Title No. 31796
covering Lot No. 399 issued in the name of Consolacion de la Torre and to issue a
new Certificate of Title in the names of Consolacion de la Torre, 1/2 undivided
portion; Ignacio Frias Chua, 1/4 undivided portion; and Dominador Chua and
Remedios Chua, 1/4 undivided portion, of said lot. Without pronouncement as to
costs.
SO ORDERED.
Teehankee (Chairman), Makasiar, Mu;oz Palma, Fernandez and Guerrero, JJ.,
concur.

G.R. No. L-19003 December 13, 1922


ROSA CABARDO, assisted by her husband Apolinario Zalameda, plaintiffappellee,
vs.
FRANCISCO VILLANUEVA, individually, and in his capacity as administrator
of the estate of Lorenzo Abordo, deceased, defendant-appellant.
O'Donovan, Muller and Tanner for appellant.
Recto, Casal and Ozaeta for appellee.

STREET, J.:

This action was instituted on September 3, 1921, in the Court of First Instance of the
Province of Laguna, by Rosa Cabardo (with whom is joined her husband, Apolinario
Zalameda) to establish her right as reservee, under article 811 of the Civil Code, to
certain property of considerable value, chiefly real property, now in the possession
of the defendant, Francisco Villanueva, executor of the estate of Lorenzo Abordo,
deceased. The trial judge having determined the case favorably to the plaintiff, the
defendant appealed.
It appears that the last owner of the property in question who held by descent was
one Cornelia Abordo, resident of Pagsanjan, in the Province of Laguna, who died on
October 30, 1918, intestate and without issue. Her mother, Basilia Cabardo, died as
far back as in February, of the year 1899; and as Cornelia left no brothers or sister,
the nearest living person qualified to take by inheritance from her was her own
father, Lorenzo Abordo, who accordingly succeeded to all of Cornelia's property.
The estate possessed by Cornelia at the time of her death, and which thus passed
to her father, Lorenzo Abordo, was derived by inheritance from two sources, that is,
in part from her mother Basilia Cabardo, and in part from Isabel Macaraya, the
mother of Basilia Cabardo (and therefore grandmother of Cornelia), who died in
November, 1912. Lorenzo Abordo, the father, having thus succeeded to the property
aforesaid by inheritance from his daughter, himself died in December, 1920. The
present claimant and plaintiff in this case, Rosa Cabardo, was a sister to Basilia
Cabardo in life, and therefore aunt to Cornelia Abordo. Rosa Cabardo had no
brothers or sisters living at the time of the death of Cornelia Abordo, though
formerly there were two, namely, Juan Cabardo and Guadalupe Cabardo, both of
whom left children who are still alive.
Upon the facts above stated, it is evident that the properties in question were, upon
the decease of Cornelia Abordo, impressed with the reservable character in the
hands of Lorenzo Abordo, and that upon his death the plaintiff was entitled to
succeed thereto, she being the only living person within the limits of the third
degree belonging to the line from which the property came. The case therefore falls
precisely under article 811 of the Civil Code, and the trial judge committed no error
in applying that article to the case.
The appellant's attorney in a lengthy brief have drawn in question several points
which, in the light of former decisions of this court and of the supreme court of
Spain, are clearly settled; and a few words of passing comment will suffice to
dispose of these contentions.
In the first place, it is evident that the property which Cornelia Abordo acquired from
her mother, Basilia Cabardo, upon the death of the latter in 1899, became
impressed with the character of reservable property in the hands of Lorenzo Abordo
when he succeeded to those properties by inheritance from his daughter Cornelia;
and the circumstance that said property originally pertained to the conjugal

partnership composed of Basilia Cabardo and Lorenzo Abordo is immaterial. It is


sufficient that Cornelia acquired it by inheritance from her mother, there being no
difference in this respect between property owned by the ancestor as member of
conjugal partnership and property owned by such ancestor in separate
right.lawphil.net
In the second place, it is no less evident that the property acquired by Cornelia
Abordo from her grandmother, Isabela Macaraya, upon the death of the latter in
1912 whether by testate or intestate succession is immaterial also pertains to
the reservable estate, notwithstanding the fact that a division of Isabel Macaraya's
estate was effected by a partition deed executed by the persons in interest. It is
sufficient that the property descended to Cornelia Abordo from her grandmother by
gratuitous title ( por titulo lucrativo), the meaning of which expression is explained
by the commentator Manresa as follows:
The transmission is gratuitous or by gratuitous title when the recipient does not give
anything in return. It matters not whether the property transmitted be or be not
subject to any prior charges; what is essential is that the transmission be made
gratuitously, or by an act of mere liberality of the person making it, without
imposing any obligation on the part of the recipient; and that the person receiving
the property transmitted deliver, give or do nothing in return.
The typical gratuitous titles, to which all imaginable sorts are reducible, are
donation and testate and intestate succession, which are specified as such in article
968.
In a case where the questions raised were as to the rights of a minor to the
inheritance of his grandmother, and which questions were settled by a compromise,
in a decision rendered November 8, 1894, the Supreme Court held that it was not
the document of compromise that determined the character of the title by virtue of
which the minor got the amounts awarded to him, but the thing which was the
subject-matter of the compromise, namely the hereditary rights, which import a
gratuitous title, and that, therefore, when said minor inherited the property from his
father, he was under obligation to reserve such as was included in the document, in
favor of the relatives of the line whence it came. (6 Manresa, 285, 3d ed.)
The third point drawn in question by the attorneys for the appellant is whether the
plaintiff is within the third degree belonging to the line from which the property was
derived; and in this connection it is suggested that Lorenzo Abordo should be
treated as the propositus or person from whom the degrees are to be reckoned, with
the consequence that the plaintiff would be in the fourth degree reckoning through
Cornelia Abordo, Basilia Cabardo, and Isabel Macaraya, successively, to the plaintiff.
This contention is in our opinion likewise untenable, as the person from whom the
degrees should here be reckoned is clearly Cornelia Abordo herself, since she was at
the end of the line from which the properly came and the person upon whom the

property last devolved by descent. Lorenzo Abordo was a stranger to that line and
not related by blood to those for whom the property is reserved. That the degrees
are to be thus reckoned is understood by Manresa; and our own decisions, as well
as those of the supreme court of Spain, are accordant. (Manresa, Civ. Code, 3d ed.,
vol. 6, p. 252; Florentino vs. Florentino, 40 Phil., 480.)
Still another point urged against the appealed judgment is the error supposed to
have been committed by the trial court in permitting this reivindicatory action to be
maintained against the defendant Francisco Villanueva in his capacity as
administrator; and it is insisted that an executor or administrator is not subject to be
sued with respect to the property which pertains to the estate in his possession. The
reply to this is, that, supposing the property in question to be of a reservable
character, all interest on the part of Lorenzo Abordo and his heirs therein terminated
with his death. Said property therefore does not pertain to his estate at all, and his
administrator is wrongfully withholding possession from the plaintiff. In this
connection the last clause of section 699 of the Code of Civil Procedure is pertinent,
where it is expressly declared that actions to recover the seisin and possession of
real estate and personal chattels claimed by the estate may be maintained against
the executor or administrator. In other words, the property here in question is not,
property speaking, a part of the estate in administration at all.
Various other considerations impugning the appealed judgment are adduced in the
appellant's brief, but apparently they are not such as to require refutation at our
hands.
Upon one additional point only will a few words be added, namely, with reference to
the action of the trial judge in reserving to the plaintiff the future right to require the
defendant to account for the rents and profits of the property during the time the
same has been in his charge. As to this we note that the petitory part of the
complaint contains no prayer either for an award of damages or for an accounting
for rents and profits. It follows that the right to recover damages, or rents and
profits, was never legitimately in issue in this action; and it was undoubtedly an act
of supererogation on the part of his Honor to reserve to the plaintiff the right to
require an accounting for rents and profits in another action. Whether such an
accounting can be had is a question that must be determined by the proper tribunal
when occasion arises, and no pronouncement thereon is here necessary except to
say that, so far as concerns the appealed judgment, the reservation therein
contained is mere surplusage.
With this explanation the judgment is affirmed; and it is so ordered with costs
against the appellant.
Araullo, C. J., Johnson, Malcolm, Avancea, Villamor, Ostrand, Johns, and Romualdez,
JJ., concur.

October 27, 1920


G.R. No. 13386
SEGUNDA MARIA NIEVA with her husband ANGEL ALCALA, plaintiffsappellants,
vs.
MANUELA ALCALA and JOSE DEOCAMPO, defendants-appellees.
Eduardo Gutierrez Repide for appellants.
Felipe Agoncillo for appellees.
JOHNSON, J.:
This is an appeal from a judgment of the Court of First Instance of the Province of
Tayabas, absolving the defendants from all liability under the plaintiff's complaint,
without any finding as to costs.
Juliana Nieva, the alleged natural mother of the plaintiff Segunda Maria Nieva,
married Francisco Deocampo. Of said marriage Alfeo Deocampo was born.
Julian Nieva died intestate on April 19, 1889, and her said son, Alfeo Deocampo,
inherited from her, ab intestate, the parcels of land described in Paragraphs V and X
of the complaint.
Alfeo Deocampo died intestate and without issue on July 7, 1890. Thereupon the
two parcels of land above-mentioned passed to his father, Francisco Deocampo, by
intestate succession. Thereafter Francisco Deocampo married the herein defendant
Manuela Alcala, of which marriage was born Jose Deocampo, the other defendant
herein.
Francisco Deocampo died on August 15, 1914, whereupon his widow and son, the
defendants herein, took possession of the parcels of land in question, under the
claim that the said son, the defendant Jose Deocampoo (a minor) had inherited the
same, ab intestate, from his deceased father.
On September 30, 1915, the plaintiff herein, claiming to be an acknowledged
natural daughter of the said Juliana Nieva, instituted the present action for the
purposes of recovering from the defendants the parcels of land in question,
particularly described in Paragraphs V and X of the complaint, invoking the
provisions of article 811 of the Civil Code.
The lower court held that, even granting, without deciding, that the plaintiff was an
acknowledged natural daughter of Juliana Nieva, she was not entitled to the
property here in question because, in its opinion, an illegitimate relative has no right
to the reserva troncal under the provisions of article 811 of the Civil Code.

The first question presented by this appeal is, whether or not the plaintiff is an
acknowledged natural daughter of the deceased Juliana Nieva. It appears from the
record that the said Juliana Nieva, while unmarried, gave birth to the plaintiff on
March 29, 1882, and that the plaintiff was duly baptized as her natural daughter, of
unknown father (Exhibit C, baptismal certificate); that the said Juliana Nieva
nourished and reared her said child, the plaintiff herein; that the plaintiff lived with
her said mother until the latter was married to Francisco Deocampo; that the said
mother treated the plaintiff, and exhibited her publicly, as a legitimate daughter.
(See testimony of Antero Gala, pp. 5-6; Prudencio de la Cuesta, pp. 16-17; and
Mamerto Palabrica, pp. 26-27, sten. notes.)
The foregoing facts, which are not controverted, are analogous to the facts in the
case of Llorente vs. Rodriguez (3 Phil., 697, 699). Under the decision of this court in
that case we are of the opinion and so decide, without rediscussing here the law
and legal principles involved, that the plaintiff Segunda Maria Nieva is an
acknowledged natural daughter of Juliana Nieva. (See also In re estate of Enriquez
and Reyes, 29 Phil., 167.)
The other and more important question presented by this appeal is, whether or not
an illegitimate relative within the third degree is entitled to the reserva
troncalprovided for by article 811 of the Civil Code. That article reads as follows:
Any ascendant who inherits from his descendant any property acquired by the latter
gratuitously from some other ascendant, or from a brother or sister, is obliged to
reserve such of the property as he may have acquired by operation of law for the
benefit of relatives within the third degree belonging to the line from which such
property came.
The property here in question was inherited, by operation by law, by Francisco
Deocampo from his son Alfeo Deocampo, who, in turn, had inherited it, in the same
manner, from his mother Juliana Nieva, the natural mother of the plaintiff. The
plaintiff is the natural sister of Alfeo Deocampo, and she belongs to the same line
from which the property in question came. Was Francisco Deocampo obliged by law
to reserve said property for the benefit of the plaintiff, an illegitimate relative within
the third degree of Alfeo Deocampo? If he was, then, upon his death, the plaintiff,
and not his son the defendant Jose Deocampo, was entitled to the said property; if
he was not, the plaintiff's action must fail.
There can be no question whatever but that, under said article 811 of the Civil
Code, the plaintiff would be entitled to the property in question if she were a
legitimate daughter of Julian Nieva. (Edroso vs. Sablan, 25 Phil., 295.) But in said
article 811 the legislator uses the generic terms "ascendant," "descendant," and
"relatives," without specifying whether or not they have to be legitimate. Does the
legislator, then, refer to legitimate as well as to illegitimate relatives? Counsel for

the appellant, in a lengthy and carefully prepared brief, attempts to maintain the
affirmative.
This question, so far as our investigation shows, has not been decided before by any
court or tribunal. However, eminent commentators on the Spanish Civil Code, who
have devoted their lives to the study and solution of the intricate and difficult
problems that may arise under the provisions of that Code, have dealt with the very
question now before us, and are unanimous in the opinion that the provision of
article 811 of the Civil Code apply only to legitimate relative. One of such
commentators, undoubtedly the best known of them all, is Manresa. We believe we
can do no better than to adopt his reasons and conclusions, in deciding the question
before us. In determining the persons who are obliged to reserve under article 811,
he says:
Is every ascendant, whether legitimate or not, obliged to reserve? Should the
natural father or grandfather reserve the properties proceeding from the mother or
other natural ascendant? Article 811 does not distinguish; it speaks of the
ascendant, without attaching the qualification of legitimate, and, on the other hand,
the same reason that exists for applying the provision to the natural family exists
for applying it to the legitimate family. Nevertheless, the article in referring to the
ascendant in an indeterminate manner shows that it imposes the obligation to
reserve only upon the legitimate ascendant.
Let us overlook for the moment the question whether the Code recognizes or does
not recognize the existence of the natural family, or whether it admits only the bond
established by acknowledgement between the father or mother who acknowledges
and the acknowledged children. However it may be, it may be stated as an
indisputable truth, that in said Code, the legitimate relationship forms the general
rule and the natural relationship the exception; which is the reason why, as may be
easily seen, the law in many articles speaks only of children or parents, of
ascendants or descendants, and in them reference is of course made of those who
are legitimate; and when it desires to make a provision applicable only to natural
relationship, it does not say father or mother, but natural father or natural mother;
it does not say child, but natural child; it does not speak of ascendants, brothers or
parents in the abstract, but of natural ascendants, natural brothers or natural
parents. (See, for example, articles 294, 302, 809, 810, 846, 935, to 938, 944 and
945 and 946 to 955.)
Articles 809 and 810 themselves speak only of ascendants. Can it in any way be
maintained that they refer to legitimate as well as to natural ascendants? They
evidently establish the legitime of the legitimate ascendants included as forced
heirs in number 2 of article 807. And article 811, - and as we will see also article
812, - continues to treat of this same legitime. The right of the natural parents and
children in the testamentary succession in wholly included in the eighth section and
is limited to the parents, other ascendants of such class being excluded in articles

807, No. 3, and 846. Therefore, the place which article 811 occupies in the Code of
proof that it refers only to legitimate ascendants. And if there were any doubt, it
disappears upon considering the text of article 938, which states that the provisions
of article 811 applies to intestate succession, which is just established in favor of
the legitimate direct ascending line, the text of articles 939 to 945, which treat of
intestate succession of natural parents, as well as that of articles 840 to 847,
treating of their testamentary succession, which do not allude directly or indirectly
to that provision.
Lastly, the principle which underlies the exception which article 811 creates in the
right to succeed neither admits of any other interpretation. Whether the provision is
due to the desire that the properties should not pass, by reason of new marriage,
out of the family to which they belonged, or is directly derived from the system of
the so-called "reserva troncal," and whether the idea of reservation or that of lineal
rights (troncalidad) predominate the patrimony which is intended to be preserved is
that of the legitimate family. Only to legitimate ascendants and descendants do
article 968 et seq. of the Code refer, arising as they do from the danger of second or
subsequent marriage; only to legitimate parents do the special laws of Navarra,
Aragon, Vizcaya and Catalu?a concede the right to succeed with respect to lineal
properties (bienes troncales); only to the legitimate ascendants does article 811
impose the duty to reserve.
The convenience of amplifying the precept to natural parents and ascendants may
be raised just as the question whether it would be preferable to suppress it
altogether may be raised; but in the realm of the statute law there is no remedy but
to admit that article 811, the interpretation of which should on the other hand be
strict was drafted by the legislator with respect only to legitimate ascendants.
(Manresa, Codigo Civil, vol. 6, 3d ed., pp. 249-250.)
The same jurist, in determining the persons in whose favor the reservation is
established, says:
Persons in whose favor the reservation is established. - This is one of the most
delicate points in the interpretation of article 811. According to this article, the
reservation is established in favor of the parents who are within the third degree
and belong to the line from which the properties came.
It treats of blood, relationship, which is applicable to questions on succession,
according to articles 915 to 920. It could not be otherwise, because relationship by
affinity is established between each spouse and the family of the other, by
marriage, and to admit it, would be to favor the transmission of the properties of
the family of one spouse to that of the other, which is just what this article intends
to prevent.
It also treats of legitimate relationship. The person obliged to reserve it a legitimate
ascendant who inherits from a descendant property which proceeds from the same

legitimate family, and this being true, there can be no question, because the line
from which the properties proceed must be the line of that family and only in favor
of that line is the reservation established. Furthermore, we have already said, the
object is to protect the patrimony of the legitimate family, following the precedents
of the foral law. And it could not be otherwise. Article 943 denies to legitimate
parents the right to succeed the natural child and viceversa, from which it must be
deduced that natural parents neither have the right to inhering from legitimate
ones; the law in the article cited established a barrier between the two families;
properties of the legitimate family shall never pass by operation of law to the
natural family. (Ibid. pp. 251-252.)
Scvola, after a very extended discussion of this same subject, arrives at the same
conclusion as Manresa. "La reserva del articulo 811 es privilegio de la familia
legitima. (The reservation in article 811 is a privilege of the legitimate family.)" (See
Scvola, Codigo Civil, Vol. 14, pp. 211-224, 3401-305.)
Article 943, above referred to by Manresa, provides as follows:
A natural or legitimated child has no right to succeed ab intestate the legitimate
children and relatives of the father or mother who has acknowledged it; nor shall
such children or relatives so inherit from the natural or legitimated child.
To hold that the appellant is entitled to the property left by her natural brother,
Alfeo Deocampo, by operation of law, would be a fragrant violate of the express
provision of the foregoing article (943).
For all of the foregoing reasons, the judgment of the lower court is hereby affirmed,
without any finding as to costs. So ordered.
Mapa, C.J., Araullo, Malcolm, Avancea and Villamor, JJ., concur.
Lacerna v. Corcino, 1 S 1226
FACTS: Valentine Marbebe begot a daughter, Jacoba Marbebe, before his marriage
with Bonifacia Lacerna. Valentine andBonificia had an only son, Juan.
Valentine and Bonifacia died leaving three parcels of land to their only son
Juan. Juan, then, executed a power ofattorney authorizing the sister of his mother or
his aunt, Agatona Vda. de Corcino take care of the disputed land.Eventually, Juan
died intestate and without any issue. The Court of First Instance declared that the
land is property ofJacoba being the half sister of Juan. Agatona Vda. de Corcino and
the nephews and nieces of Bonifacia questioned thedecision of the court. According
to them, the case should be based upon Article 891 of the Civil Code of the
Philippines which establishes what is known as "reserva troncal." According to them,
under this principle, the properties in disputeshould pass to the heirs of the
deceased within the third degree, who belong to the line from which said properties
came.Thus, since Juan Marbebe inherited the land from his mother, they should go

to his nearest relative within the thirddegree on the maternal line or to his aunt and
cousins and not to Jacoba Marbebe for she belongs to the paternal line.This,
however, was protested by Jacoba Marbebe. She contends that pursuant to Articles
1003 to 1009 of the Civil Codeof the Philippines, brothers and sisters exclude all
other collateral relatives in the order of intestate succession, and that,as Juan
Marbebe's half-sister, she has, accordingly, a better right than plaintiffs herein to
inherit his properties.
ISSUE: Who has the better right to succeed Juan?
RULING: The provision on reserve troncal cannot be applied in this case. In reserve
troncal, the ascendant who inherits fromhis descendant any property which the
latter may have acquired by gratuitous title from another ascendant, or a brotheror
sister, is obliged to reserve such property as he may have acquired by operation of
law for the benefit of relatives whoare within the third degree and who belong to the
line from which said property came. (Emphasis supplied.) This articleapplies only to
properties inherited, under the conditions therein set forth, by an ascendant from a
descendant, and this isnot the scenario in the given case, for the lands in dispute
were inherited by a descendant, Juan Marbebe, from anascendant , his mother,
Bonifacia Lacerna. Said legal provision is, therefore, not applicable in this case.
Furthermore, the Trial Judge, correctly awarded the land to Jacoba Marbebe. The
said decision is in accordance withthe order prescribed for intestate succession,
particularly Articles 1003 to 1009 of the Civil Code of the Philippines,pursuant to
which a sister, even if only a half-sister, in the absence of other sisters or brothers,
or of children of brothersor sisters, excludes all other collateral relatives, regardless
of whether or not the latter belong to the line from which theproperty of the
deceased came.
Based on the foregoing, Jacoba Marbebe has the better right to succeed Juan.

[G.R. No. 28265. November 5, 1928.]


NATIVIDAD CENTENO, ET AL., plaintiffs and appellants, v. MARTINA
CENTENO, ET AL., defendants and appellees. NICOLAS CENTENO, ET
AL., Appellants.
Vicente Singson Pablo for Appellants.
Antonio Belmonte for intervenors.
Vicente de Vera, Julio Borbon and Maximino Mina for Appellees.
SYLLABUS

1. DESCENT AND DISTRIBUTION; ACTION TO ANNUL PARTITION. More than six


years having elapsed from the date the order of the court approving the
extrajudicial agreement of partition among those interested in the inheritance
became final until the filing of the first complaint praying for the annulment of said
partition, there is absolutely no legal reason for setting aside said order, which must
therefore be considered irrevocable, and the partition made in accordance with the
agreement valid.
2. ID.; ACTION FOR PARTITION; RECOVERY OF PROPERTY. When the action is for
the recovery of property based upon the annulment of a partition and at the same
time for the partition of the property declared to be undivided common property, it
is not improper to order the partition of the estate which has been declared to be
undivided common property, since there is no incompatibility between the action for
the recovery of property and for partition of an inheritance, once the court has held
that the property, the recovery of which is sought, belongs to the parties in common
and pro indiviso.
3. ID.; ACKNOWLEDGED NATURAL CHILDREN; THEIR SHARE IN THEIR PARENTS
HEREDITARY ESTATE. Articles 843 and 941 specifically provide that the portion
corresponding to natural children in the hereditary estate of the parents who
acknowledged them, is transmitted upon the death of these children to their
legitimate or natural descendants. The latters right, however, to represent their
natural father in the hereditary estate of their grandfather is not admitted, because
they are not called by law to participate in their grandfathers estate. (Decision of
Supreme Court of Spain, June 16, 1918.)
4. PLEADING AND PRACTICE; MOTION TO ADMIT ANSWER. Since the defendants
made the motion for the admission of their answer to the second amended
complaint in open court and in the presence of all the parties, the trial court did not
err in granting it and admitting said answer and in not declaring them in default, in
accordance with section 110 of the Code of Civil Procedure.

DECISION

VILLA-REAL, J.:

This is an appeal taken by the plaintiffs Natividad Centeno in her own behalf and as
administratrix of the estate of her deceased father, Valentin Centeno, Jesus Centeno
First, Rosalia and Rosario Centeno, and by the intervenors Nicolas, Emilio, Isaac and
Jesus Centeno Second, from the judgment of the Court of First Instance of Ilocos Sur,
of which the following is the dispositive part:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"The agreement of partition in question is hereby upheld, with the adjudications to
the parties thereto, and therefore the partition prayed for in this civil case by
plaintiffs and intervenors respecting the realty described in the sixth paragraph of
the original complaint is denied. The other petition that said partition be held void
and of no effect in so far as it refers only to the said portion adjudicated to
defendants, is also denied.
"It is held that parcels Nos. 70, 86, and 95, described in the aforementioned sixth
paragraph of the original complaint, are held by defendants pro indiviso; and the
others, Nos. 53, 54, 55, 60, 62, and 69, with the metes and bounds given in the said
sixth paragraph, which are in possession of the plaintiff Jesus Centeno First, as well
as the others, Nos. 82, 85, and 99, which are in the possession of the defendant
Telesforo Centeno.
"The defendants" petition that the first 51 parcels of land described in the said sixth
paragraph of the original complaint, reproduced in the last amendatory complaint,
be partitioned in this case and parcel No. 116 described in the inventory Exhibit F of
the plaintiffs, and 6 of the defendants, as well as the said parcels Nos. 53, 54, 55,
60, 62, and 69, and the credits is denied; all of which are considered and declared
to be pro indiviso (Exhibit 7 of the defendants), without prejudice to said partition
being made in such manner as they may agree upon.
"It is ordered that the plaintiffs deliver to defendants the two parcels of land
described in the latters crosscomplaint in their second cause of action, and said two
mares and harness cannot be ordered delivered, because they are not formally
detailed and difficulties would arise in the execution of such an order.
"As Fabian Cabanilla and Simplicio Gaberto possessors of parcels Nos. 76, 77, 59,
and 100 claimed by plaintiffs and intervenors, were not made defendants in this
case, no pronouncement is here made against them, nor as to parcels Nos. 52, 66,
94, and 61, the possessors of which are unknown.
"Defendants are absolved from the claims with respect to parcels Nos. 105, 106,
107, 11, 57, 75, 93, 102, 112, 115, 56, 58, 63, 64, 65, 67, 68, 71, 72, 73, 74, 78, 79,
80, 81, 83, 84, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 96, 97, 98, 101, 103, 108, 109, 110, 113, and
114 (43) described in the complaint.
"The pious legacy of parcel No. 104 made by the testatrix Melchora Arroyo, is

upheld.
"It is ordered that each of the parties, plaintiffs, intervenors, and defendants, pay a
third part of the costs of the trial.
"It is so ordered."cralaw virtua1aw library
Plaintiffs support their appeal by assigning nineteen alleged errors, and the
intervenors another nineteen, to the trial court in its judgment, which we shall
discuss hereinafter:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
In their second and last amended complaint, the plaintiffs pray for judgment on the
causes of action therein set forth: (a) Ordering the partition between plaintiffs and
intervenors in accordance with the law and the wills of Isaac Centeno and Melchora
Arroyo of all properties described in the sixth paragraph of the original complaint,
together with the property constituting the portion then adjudicated to the
defendants in the said partition; (b) holding the said partition to be void and of no
effect, only insofar as it refers to the portion adjudicated to the defendants and
ordering the latter to deliver the property in their possession numbered from 52 to
115, with all its fruits, and to return what they have unduly received in said
erroneous partition; (c) ordering the defendants to pay the costs of the action; and
(d) granting plaintiffs such further remedy not herein prayed for as may be just and
equitable.
In their second amended complaint the intervenors pray for the causes of action
therein set forth that the voluntary partition of the property left by the deceased
spouses Isaac Centeno and Melchora Arroyo be declared null and void, in so far as it
respects the portion adjudicated to the defendants, ordering the latter to return to
said plaintiffs and intervenors what they have unduly received in said partition.
In their amended answer, the defendants generally and specifically deny each and
every one of the allegations of the complaints of the plaintiffs and the intervenors,
with a special defense and cross- complaint and pray the court: (a) To absolve the
said defendants from the complaint entirely; (b) to order the partition of the
property under Nos. 1 to 51,. 53, 54, 55, 60, 61, 62, 69, 116. 119 and 120, with their
corresponding fruits or their equivalent in money, and that their respective portions
be adjudicated and delivered to these defendants, and that the credits of the
deceased so far collected be equally distributed among the heirs; (c) that the
plaintiff Valentin Centeno be ordered to deliver to said defendants Martina Jose and
Telesforo Centeno, the property specified in paragraph 3 of the crosscomplaint, with
all the fruits they produced or should have produced from 1911 up to present date,
or in default thereof, to pay the value of said fruits with the proper legal interest; (d)
that the plaintiff Valentin Centeno be ordered to pay the costs of this action; and (e)
grant said defendants all such further remedies with respect to their rights as may

be just and equitable.


The case having passed through all the proper proceeding and after hearing the
evidence presented by the parties in support of their respective claims, the lower
court rendered judgment, the dispositive part of which is quoted above.
The preponderance of the evidence establishes the following pertinent facts
necessary to the solution of the questions of fact and of law raised in the present
appeal.
Isaac Centeno and Melchora Arroyo were husband and wife who brought no
property to the marriage but acquired much property during their married life.
Isaac Centeno died on October 7, 1905, and was survived by his wife Melchora
Arroyo, and their three sons, Valentin, Faustino and Antonio Centeno. Before his
death, that is, on June 30, 1904, Isaac Centeno executed a will, one of the clauses of
which contained the following provision: "I hereby named and institute as my sole
and universal heirs my three sons Antonio, Valentin and Faustino Centeno or their
heirs, if any, to one-half of the above-named property, provided, that the same be
divided equally among my three said sons." (Exhibit D of plaintiffs and Exhibit 4 of
defendants.) The will having been admitted to probate and his widow Melchora
Arroyo, appointed administratrix of the property left by him, said Melchora Arroyo,
as such administrator, filed with the court a detailed inventory of all the property
left by her deceased husband which had come into her possession. (Exhibit F of
plaintiffs and Exhibit 6 of defendants.)
On October 30, 1907, Antonio Centeno died leaving a widow, Gabriela Fernandez,
and a will executed on October 9, 1907, clauses 3 and 8 of which are as
follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"Third. I declare that I was married once, being still married to Da. Gabriela
Fernandez y Bribiesca, and during our union we had not a single child; I also declare
that although I said I have no child, the God of pity has given me eight, who are my
children by another woman, three of whom are called natural, who are Martina, Jose
(alias Pepe), and Telesforo Centeno, because they were born even before I married
my aforesaid wife, Da. Gabriela; the five are Sisenando, Antonina, Gregorio, Jose
(alias Peping), and Gabriel Centeno, and are called illegitimate, because they were
born after my marriage; nevertheless I acknowledge them all for I have had them
since their birth supporting and bringing all of them, up until now.
"Eighth. Of my portion from my deceased father Isaac Centeno Purugganan, and of
my future portion from my mother Da. Melchora Arroyo, I institute as my universal
heirs my three children called natural, to have and to hold in fee simple during their
lives, under Gods blessing and my own." (Exhibit 9-b of defendants.)

This will was probated on petition of his mother Melchora Arroyo de Centeno, and
his widow, Gabriela Fernandez de Centeno.
Melchora Arroyo de Centeno died on December 8, 1909, leaving one son named
Valentin Centeno, and a will executed on November 3, 1909, clause 3 of which
provides:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"(c) The third part shall be divided equally, neither more nor less, among my sons
Antonio and Faustino Centeno, may they rest in peace, and Valentin Centeno."
(Exhibit E of plaintiffs and Exhibit 5 of defendants.)
This will was probated upon petition of Valentin Centeno, one of the executors
named therein.
While testamentary proceedings for the settlement of the estates of Isaac Centeno
and Melchora Arroyo were being had, the heirs of both, desiring a just and lawful
partition in accordance with the wills of both, submitted for its approval to the Court
of First Instance of Ilocos Sur, in November, 1910 an agreement of partition
executed in October, 1910 wherein Valentin Centeno, Gabriela Fernandez de
Centeno widow of Antonio Centeno, and the latters acknowledged natural children,
Martina and Emilio A. Centeno, and Asuncion Arcebal, widow of Faustino Centeno,
for herself and in behalf of her minor son Jesus Centeno, jr., intervened as parties.
(Exhibit 7 of defendants.)
On March 10, 1911, the court, acting on the motion presented by said heirs, ordered
the publication in newspaper of the largest circulation in the locality once a week for
three consecutive weeks, of a notice of the filing in said court of the agreement of
partition of the testate estate of the deceased spouses, Isaac Centeno and Melchora
Arroyo, so that each and every person interested in said property and those who
might have claims thereto may present themselves before the court on the day
appointed and show cause if any, why said agreement of partition should not be
approved or why said estates should not be declared closed. (Exhibit 8-b of
defendants.) On March 8, 19119 in pursuance of said order, the clerk of the Court of
First Instance of Ilocos Sur set the 8th of April 1911 for the hearing of the approval
of the said agreement of partition. On April 20, 1911, the Court of First Instance of
Ilocos Sur issued the following order:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"All the heirs in this case and in No. 264 having bound themselves to answer for all
just claims against the estates the subject matter of the aforesaid two cases, and
having complied with the order of March 10, 1911 issued in the present case with.
respect to the publication in the newspapers of the proper notification to those
interested in the estate or those holding any claim against said estate, for the
approval of the scheme of partition filed by the heirs, the court, notwithstanding the

opposition of Pedro Arroyo to such approval, hereby approves said scheme of


partition declaring said two cases closed, without prejudice to the oppositor, Pedro
Arroyo, claiming his rights and legal fees from said heirs.
"It is so ordered." (Exhibit FF of plaintiffs and Exhibit 8-c of defendants.)
On October 22, 1913 the said Court of First Instance of Ilocos Sur issued also the
following order:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"The present case being called for trial for the approval of the account presented by
the administratrix Gabriela F. de Centeno, the latter appeared with the heirs named
Telesforo and Sisenando Centeno, and the legatee Antonina Centeno, minor.
"Inasmuch as said administratrix declares that the aforesaid heirs Telesforo and
Sisenando, as well as the other heirs not present, Martina and Jose Centeno, have
already received their corresponding share of the inheritance; and as the said
present heirs confirm this declaration of the administratrix; and as the latter further
declares that she holds the legacy corresponding to said Antonina and her three
brothers Gregorio, Jose (alias Peping), and Gabriel, all surnamed Centeno, the court
orders that Mr. Sisenando Centeno be appointed guardian of the said minors with
his consent, and with the acquiescence of the said minor Antonio Centeno.
"It is likewise ordered that the said heirs file a statement showing those who have
already received their proper share of the inheritance.
"The administratrix is also ordered to present the inventory of the property given as
a legacy to said minors, which will be turned over to the guardian appointed upon
his giving bond, the amount of which is to be fixed according to the aforementioned
inventory. So ordered."cralaw virtua1aw library
In the partition agreement submitted by the heirs to the court and approved by the
latter, the property mentioned in plaintiffs account Exhibit G, was adjudicated to
Antonio Centeno, said exhibit being signed by all the heirs who took part in said
agreement of partition.
Besides the property left by the deceased spouses, Isaac Centeno and Melchora
Arroyo, which was partitioned among the heirs, 115 parcels of land described in the
sixth paragraph of plaintiffs complaint remained undistributed, of which fifty-one,
marked Nos. 1 to 51, were in the possession of the plaintiff Valentin Centeno and is
now held by his sons, the herein plaintiffs, who took his place after his death which
occurred in the course of the present proceeding in the lower court; two, designated
Nos. 76 and 77 were in the power and possession of Fabian Cabanilla who has had
them in his possession as owner for more than ten years previous to the filing of the
complaint having inherited them from his father, who, in turn, inherited them from

his father, having paid the land tax on the same; two others, designated Nos. 59
and 100, are held by Simplicio Gaberto, who has been in possession thereof from
time immemorial without any interruption of any kind, having inherited them from
his father.
As to those marked Nos. 52, 66 and 94, there is no evidence showing who holds and
possesses them. Moreover, the two alleged possessors named are not parties in the
present suit.
The parcel of land marked No. 104, tax No. 10318, is the same parcel bearing the
same tax number included in the partition made in October, 1910 (Exhibit 7),
destined to pious purposes by the deceased Melchora Arroyo, according to her will
(Exhibit E of the plaintiffs).
The four parcels of land marked Nos. 105, 106, 107 and 111, and identified by
sworn declarations of ownership Nos. 10328, 10329, 10330 and 10335,
respectively, are the same parcels of land referred to in the said partition made in
the month of October, 1910 (Exhibit 7 of defendants), designated as the legacy of
Martina Centeno one of the defendants according to the will of the deceased Isaac
Centeno (Exhibit D of plaintiffs).
The parcels of land marked Nos. 57, 75, 93, 102, 112 and 115 and identified by
sworn declarations of ownership Nos. 10374, 10474, 10533, 10549, 10388 and
10429, respectively, were adjudicated to the defendants in the said partition made
in October, 1910 (Exhibit G of defendants, who hold them).
The parcels of land marked Nos. 53, 54, 55, 60, 62 and 69, and identified by sworn
declarations of ownership Nos. 10333, 10337, 10367, 10410, 10425 and 10459,
respectively, and mentioned in defendants answer, are held by Jesus Centeno First.
The declarations of ownership in the name of Melchora Arroyo de Centeno of the
parcels designated by Nos. 82, 85 and 99, in the complaint were cancelled and
substituted by those numbered 37522, 39333 and 21058, respectively (Exhibit 1 of
the defendants) . It does not appear in whose possession said parcels are, but it is
to be presumed that they are held by Telesforo Centeno in whose name the new
declarations were made. Neither does it appear how the latter acquired them. As
they are not included in the partition they should be considered as part of the
undivided share of Melchora Arroyo de Centeno in the estate.
The parcels of land designated by Nos. 56, 58, 101 and 103 in the complaint have
been in possession of the herein defendants Telesforo and Martina Centeno since
the death of the deceased spouses Isaac Centeno and Melchora Arroyo, which took
place on October 7, 1905 and December 8, 1909, respectively, who have been
gathering their products and enjoying their fruits exclusively. These four parcels of

land are not included in the inventory of the conjugal property left by said deceased
spouses, which gives rise to the presumption that said four parcels do not belong to
their share in the estate; otherwise, Melchora Arroyo, who must have known all the
property of the conjugal partnership, would have included them in said inventory
which she submitted to the court.
The parcels of land bearing Nos. 70, 86 and 95, are the same ones designated by
Nos. 145, 132 and 135 in said inventory, but which were not included in the
partition agreement. These three parcels of land are in possession of the herein
defendants, but it does not appear that said possession meets all the requirements
prescribed by law in order that it may ripen into title.
The parcels of land Nos. 113 and 114, which are also enumerated in the said
inventory, have been in possession of the herein defendants since the death of the
spouses Isaac Centeno and Melchora Arroyo, who have been gathering their fruits
and enjoying them exclusively.
The parcels of land designated in the complaint by Nos. 63,64,65, 67, 68,71,72,
73,74, 78, 79,80, 81, 83, 84, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 96, 97, 98, 108, 109 and 110
also are not mentioned in the aforesaid inventory and are possessed by the
defendants, who have been enjoying their products exclusively.
As to the parcels of land Nos. 116, 119 and 120, which are the subject matter of the
defendants cross-complaint said three parcels belonged to the spouses Isaac
Centeno and Melchora Arroyo during their lifetime and are now in the possession of
the plaintiffs. Two of said parcels, those designated by Nos. 116 and 120 are
identified with Nos. 57 and 251 in the inventory of the estate of Isaac Centeno. The
parcel of land No. 120 is the same parcel No. 60 mentioned in the complaint. The
parcel of land 119 is the same parcel No. 23 in the same complaint. The parcel of
land No. 116 must be added to the one hundred and fifteen parcels claimed in the
complaint as having belonged to the deceased spouses Isaac Centeno and Melchora
Arroyo and is pro indiviso.
There are two more parcels of land with sworn declarations of ownership Nos. 10375
and 10386, which appear in the list of the properties adjudicated to Antonio
Centeno (Exhibit G of plaintiffs) and which are in the possession of the plaintiffs.
The chattels and cattle adjudicated to Antonio Centeno in the scheme of partition
and which were in the possession of Valentin Centeno have not yet been delivered
to the defendants.
With respect to the uncollected credits which amount to P8,950 according to the
partition agreement, Exhibit 7 of the defendants, and the collection of which was
intrusted to Valentin Centeno, the latter collected P300 owed by Pedro Biloria,

leaving P8,650 uncollected, which is pro indiviso, as well as the house and lot
valued at P300 and adjudicated in part payment of said credit.
To summarize, then, it appears that the only parcels of land which may be the
subject matter of the partition among the parties are the following: Those
designated in the original complaint by Nos. 1 to 51, and which are in possession of
the plaintiffs; those designated in said original complaint by Nos. 53, 54, 55, 60, 62
and 69 which are in possession of Jesus Centeno First; those designated in said
original complaint by Nos. 82, 85 and 99, which are in the possession of Telesforo
Centeno; those designated in said original complaint by Nos. 70, 86 and 95, which
are in the possession of the defendants; and those designated in the crosscomplaint by Nos. 116, 119 and 120, which are in the possession of the plaintiffs,
the two last of which are designated in the complaint as Nos. 23 and 60,
respectively.
The credits should also be partitioned.
Before entering fully into a discussion of the questions of law raised by the plaintiffs
and the intervenors in their respective briefs, it is well to decide the legal question
of procedure raised by said parties as to whether or not the trial court erred in not
declaring the defendants in default for not having answered the plaintiffs second
amended complaint and in permitting said defendants to present their answer on
the day of the trial, upon oral motion made in open court.
In maintaining the affirmative, the plaintiffs-appellants invoke the provisions of
articles 10 and 11 of the Rules of Courts of First Instance, which require that all
motions shall be in writing and shall be filed with the proper court making it appear
that the adverse party had notice thereof three days before the time set for the
hearing thereof, and providing that unless it so appears, no action shall be taken on
them.
The purpose of requiring such conditions is doubtless to give sufficient time and
opportunity to the adverse party to become informed of any motion which may be
presented in which he may be interested, and may interpose his objection should he
so desire. When a motion is made in open court and in the presence of all the
parties, it is not necessary to make it in writing nor that the adverse party be
notified thereof, since proceedings in Courts of First Instance as courts of record, are
reduced to writing by the official court stenographer, and the adverse party has an
opportunity to become informed of said motion and of its nature and may object to
it at once if he so desires, or may ask the court for a period within which to file his
opposition.
Since the defendants made the motion for the admission of their answer to the
second amended complaint in open court and in the presence of all the parties, the

trial court did not err in granting it and admitting said answer and in not declaring
them in default, in accordance with section 110 of the Code of Civil Procedure.
Entering now upon the discussion of the questions on the merit, we may say at the
outset that with respect to the questions of fact raised by the plaintiffs-appellants
and intervenors-appellants in their respective briefs, we have examined the
evidence, both documentary and oral, adduced at the trial by the respective parties
in support of their respective contentions, and have found the preponderance of the
evidence fully justifies the findings of fact made by the trial court in its judgment,
and they are the same as set forth above.
Touching the questions of law raised also by the plaintiffs-appellants and
intervenors-appellants in their respective briefs, they may be reduced to the
following:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
1. Are the defendants entitled, as acknowledged natural children of Antonio
Centeno, to inherit by will the hereditary portion which the latter might inherit from
his legitimate father Isaac Centeno?
2. Are said defendants entitled, as such acknowledged natural children of Antonio
Centeno, to the reservation of one-half of said hereditary portion which Melchora
Arroyo inherited from her legitimate son Antonio Centeno, which hereditary portion
the latter had inherited from his likewise legitimate father Isaac Centeno?
3. Are the defendants entitled, as such acknowledged natural children of Antonio
Centeno, to represent their natural father Antonio Centeno in the inheritance of
their natural grandmother Melchora Arroyo, legitimate mother of Antonio Centeno?
4. Is the partition made among the plaintiffs, intervenors and defendants, and duly
approved by the court, of the conjugal property left by the deceased spouses Isaac
Centeno and Melchora Arroyo, valid?
5. Did the defendants acquire by prescription the ownership of the parcels of land
adjudicated to them in the partition, and of the parcels of land included in the
inventory of the properties left by Isaac Centeno and not adjudicated to them in the
partition but which are in the possession of said defendants?
6. Are the defendants entitled, as acknowledged natural children of Antonio
Centeno, to recover from the heirs of Valentin Centeno the personal and real
property, cattle and credits which were adjudicated to them in said partition and
which remained in the possession of said Valentin Centeno?
7. Are said defendants entitled, as such acknowledged natural children of Antonio
Centeno, to participate in the conjugal property left by Isaac Centeno and Melchora

Arroyo included in the inventory but not included in the partition?


8. May the partition of the conjugal property left by the spouses Isaac Centeno and
Melchora Arroyo and still remaining pro indiviso be ordered in these proceedings?
With regard to the first question, the defendants-appellees did not inherit from their
natural grandfather Isaac Centeno by intestate succession, but from their natural
father Antonio Centeno, who acknowledged them in his will and named them heirs
to the property he had inherited from his deceased father Isaac Centeno, who had
died before him. The fact that the inheritance left by Isaac Centeno remained pro
indiviso when Antonio Centeno died, did not prevent him from acquiring during his
lifetime, a right to inherit from his deceased father, since article 657 plainly
provides that the rights to succession of any person are transmitted from the
moment of his death.
As to the second question, the defendants, as acknowledged natural children of
Antonio Centeno, are not entitled to more than the half of the part of the inheritance
which could be freely disposed of by their natural father, the latter not having left
any legitimate descendants, but a legitimate ascendant, who is his mother Melchora
Arroyo, without prejudice to the legitime of his widow Gabriela Fernandez, in
accordance with article 841 in connection with article 836 of the Civil Code, the
other half of his estate going to his mother Melchora Arroyo as her legitime, as
provided in article 809 of the same Code. Melchora Arroyo having died, said
defendants, as acknowledged natural children of Antonio Centeno, are not entitled
to the reservation of the hereditary portion which said Melchora Arroyo acquired
gratuitously from her legitimate son Antonio Centeno who, in turn, also acquired it
gratuitously, from his legitimate father Isaac Centeno, according to the doctrine laid
down by this court in the case of Nieva and Alcala v. Alcala and Deocampo ([1920],
41 Phil., 915), as follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"RESERVABLE RIGHTS IN PROPERTY; INHERITANCE BY RELATIVES WITHIN THE THIRD
DEGREE; ILLEGITIMATE RELATIVES. Article 811 of the Civil Code which provides
that any ascendant who inherits from his descendant any property acquired by the
latter gratuitously from some other ascendant, or from a brother or sister, is obliged
to reserve such of the property as he may have acquired by operation of law for the
benefit of relatives within the third degree belonging to the line from which such
property came, does not apply to illegitimate relatives." (See also the decision of
the Supreme Court of Spain rendered on June 10,1918.)
Passing now to the third question, while it is true that in his will Antonio Centeno
named the herein defendants as his heirs, not only with respect to the hereditary
portion given him in the will of his father Isaac Centeno, but also with respect to the
hereditary portion of the property left by his mother Melchora Arroyo, which he
would inherit, nevertheless said testamentary disposition with regard to the

property of his mother is void and of no effect, because, since his mother still lived,
he had not acquired any right to her inheritance and therefore could not dispose of
said property, since it is a rule of law that no one can dispose of anything that does
not belong to him. (Sy Joc Lieng v. Encarnacion, 16 Phil., 137.)
Although Melchora Arroyo in her will named her son Antonio Centeno as one of her
heirs, since he died before her, the herein defendants, as acknowledged natural
children of said Antonio Centeno have no right to represent their deceased father,
according to the doctrine laid down by the Supreme Court of Spain, in the judgment
rendered on June 10, 1918, supra, which is as follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"Considering that the truth of this doctrine, and that the judgment appealed from
has not violated the laws cited in the fifth, sixth, and seventh assignments of errors,
is shown, besides the text of article 807 already cited, by that of articles 836 and
944 of the same Code, in comparison with articles 808, 843, and 941 thereof,
because while the first of these, in dealing with the legitime due to legitimate
children includes the legitimate descendants thereof, articles 843 and 941 in
connection with natural children specifically provide that the portion corresponding
to them in the hereditary estate of the parents who acknowledged them is
transmitted upon the death of these children to their legitimate or natural
descendants. The latters right, however, to represent their natural father in the
hereditary estate of their grandfather is not admitted because the law does not call
them to participate in the latters estate, and for a like reason, in default of parents
acknowledging the natural child, the grandfather, according to article 945, cannot
inherit from the grandchild, the doctrine laid down by this court in its decision of
February 13,1903, to the effect that a natural child whose deceased father was
legitimate, has no right to inherit from his grandfather, even if the latter should die
without any surviving legitimate descendant is a necessary consequence of the
aforecited legal provisions, because, as children inherit in their own right and
grandchildren by representation, it is clear that such representation of the
grandchildren only refers to and includes those who are in the same legal status as
the person represented, and never those who are in a different legal status." (M.
Ruiz, Civil Code, vol. 7, p. 175.)
Touching the fourth question, "the heirs of the deceased Isaac Centeno and his wife
Melchora Arroyo de Centeno, also deceased, desiring to make a just and lawful
partition, and in accord with the wills of both," submitted to the consideration and
approval of the Court of First Instance of Ilocos Sur an agreement of partition of the
pro indiviso conjugal property left by the deceased spouses as appearing in
instrument Exhibit 7 of the defendants. Said partition agreement having been
submitted to the court, the latter ordered the fixing of a day for the hearing of the
accompanying motion, and the publication of a notice for the appearance of all who
might have an interest therein, and the presentation of the claims and objections
they might have. The day for the hearing having arrived, and all the parties having

been heard, who stated that they bound themselves to answer for all the just claims
against the two estates of Isaac Centeno and Melchora Arroyo, the court approved
the partition and declared said two testamentary proceedings closed by its order
dated April 20, 1911.
While it is true that the partition agreement was made by all the heirs
extrajudicially, in submitting it to the court for approval, and in being approved by
the latter after having announced the hearing through publication in the
newspapers, said extrajudicial agreement of partition became judicial, and the order
of the court approving it and declaring the respective testamentary proceedings
involving the estates of the deceased spouses closed, became final and absolute,
and binding upon all the parties who took part in the said partition agreement, and
acquiesced therein. More than six years having elapsed from the date the order of
the court approving the extrajudicial agreement of partition became final until the
filing of the first complaint praying for the annulment of said partition, there is
absolutely no legal reason for setting aside said order which must therefore be
considered irrevocable, and the partition made in accordance with the agreement
valid.
The fact that Jesus Centeno Second was a minor at the time said agreement of
partition was entered into, does not render it void with respect to him, because he
was represented by his mother Asuncion Arcebal, who was his natural guardian by
law, although without the right to the custody of his property unless so authorized
by the court (sec. 553, Act No. 190), and when the court approved said agreement,
said representation was impliedly approved and the acts of the mother were
validated.
Neither does the fact that the defendants were mere acknowledged natural
children, and therefore without the right of equal participation with the legitimate
children, render said partition void. Article 1081 of the Civil Code provides that a
partition made with the inclusion of any person who was believed, but was not, an
heir shall be void. The herein defendants-appellees were not strangers to the
inheritance for they were named as heirs by their natural father, whom they
succeeded in his rights to the hereditary portion which should have gone to him
from the unsettled estate left by his deceased father Isaac Centeno.
Furthermore, the plaintiffs and intervenors cannot allege ignorance of the condition
of the defendants-appellees as acknowledged natural children, for this condition
appeared from the will of Antonio Centeno, and in making the partition in the form
in which they made it, they desired to do so, in a just, lawful manner, in accordance
with the wills of the deceased spouses Isaac Centeno and Melchora Arroyo, and they
made it appear so in the preamble to the scheme of partition, Exhibit 7 of the
defendants.

It follows, then, that the defendants-appellees not only were not strangers to the
inheritance, but that, with full knowledge of their status of acknowledged natural
children, the plaintiffs and intervenors adjudicated to them the property appearing
in the agreement of partition, deeming it just, legal, and in conformity with the wills
of their predecessors in interest, and said partition is therefore legal and valid.
As to the fifth question, having arrived at the conclusion that the partition made
among the plaintiffs, the intervenors, and the defendants is valid and irrevocable, it
is needless to discuss whether, in addition, said defendants acquired rights of
ownership to the goods adjudicated to them and appearing in Exhibit G of the
plaintiffs, by acquisitive prescription, and we shall limit ourselves to considering the
conjugal property left by the deceased spouses Isaac Centeno and Melchora Arroyo,
included in inventory Exhibit F of the plaintiffs, and 6 of the defendants, and not
included in the scheme of partition, Exhibit 7 of the defendants, but which is in the
latters possession.
It cannot be doubted that if the defendants have been in possession of said
property adversely, continuously, publicly and as owners thereof for a period of ten
years, they have acquired the ownership thereof by prescription. (Sec. 41, Act No.
190; Casanas v. Rosello [1927], 50 Phil., 97.)
Taking up now the sixth question after the fourth has been solved by holding that
the partition among the plaintiffs, intervenors, and defendants is legal and valid,
and since the personal and real property, the cattle, and credits claimed by the
defendants in their cross-complaint are included in said partition, they are entitled
to claim them from the plaintiffs who now have them in their possession.
With respect to the seventh question, the defendants, as natural children of Antonio
Centeno, acknowledged by the latter as such and named as his heirs in his will, are
entitled to one-half of the hereditary portion belonging to their natural father from
the estate of the deceased Isaac Centeno, which was included in the inventory of
the property left by the latter and which was not included in the agreement of
partition, the other half of said hereditary portion of Antonio Centeno belonging to
his mother Melchora Arroyo who survived him, with said natural children.
As to the eighth question, the plaintiffs and intervenors in their respective
complaints pray for the annulment and setting aside of the agreement of partition
entered into by and between them and the defendants in October, 1910, in so far
only as it refers to the portion adjudicated to the latter; that it be ordered that said
defendants return to said plaintiffs and intervenors what they have received in
excess; and that it be ordered likewise that in accordance with the wills of Isaac
Centeno and Melchora Arroyo, the property mentioned in paragraph six of the
original complaint be partitioned between the plaintiffs and intervenors, together
with the property constituting the portion adjudicated to the defendants in the said

partition.
The defendants in their cross-complaint pray that the property designated by Nos. 1
to 51, 63, 54, 60, 62, 69,116, 117, 118, 119 and 120, and their corresponding fruits
or their equivalent in money, be partitioned, and that plaintiff Valentin Centeno be
ordered to deliver to said defendants the property specified in paragraph three of
the cross-complaint, with all the fruits produced, or which it should have produced
from the year 1911 up to the present time, or in its default thereof to pay the value
of said fruits, plus the proper legal interest thereon, and the costs of the action.
As will be seen, the action instituted by the plaintiffs and the intervenors,
respectively, is for the recovery of property through the annulment of the partition,
and to have another partition made. The defendants cross-complaint is for the
recovery and partition of undivided property. The ownership of the property which is
the subject matter of the action for recovery having been settled, and its delivery to
the proper party ordered, and the property belonging in common and pro indiviso to
the parties determined, there is no bar in law, either positive or adjective, to the
partition thereof.
In the case of Africa v. Africa (42 Phil., 934), this court enunciated the following
doctrine:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"1. PARTITION; RECOVERY OF PROPERTY; ACTION FOR. An action cannot be
considered as one for the partition of an inheritance, even though it is so entitled
and the prayer of the complaint is to this effect, if any party to the suit denies the
pro indiviso character of the estate whose partition is sought, and claims exclusive
title thereto, or to any part thereof. In such case the action becomes one for the
recovery of property in so far as the property claimed exclusively by any of the
parties is concerned."cralaw virtua1aw library
What this court meant in saying that an action cannot be considered as one for the
partition of an inheritance, even though it is so entitled and the prayer of the
complaint is to this effect, if any party to the suit, denies the pro indiviso character
of the estate whose partition is sought, is that when the existence of coownership is
not recognized by all the parties, but that some claim to be exclusive owners
thereof, and it is found that there is no property to partition, the action for partition
loses its character as such and becomes one for the recovery of property; but when
the action is for the recovery of property based upon the annulment of a partition
and at the same time for the partition of the property declared to be undivided
common property, it is not improper to order the partition of the estate which has
been declared to be undivided common property, since there is no incompatibility
between the action for the recovery of property and for partition of an inheritance,
once the court has declared that the property, the recovery of which is sought,
belongs to the parties in common and pro indiviso.

The conjugal property which has just been declared to be pro indiviso, and which
must be divided into two equal parts for the purpose of ascertaining the
participation of the defendants separating the one-half which corresponds to Isaac
Centeno from the other half that belongs to Melchora Arroyo. The defendants, as we
have said, are only entitled to the one-half of the hereditary portion which belonged
to their natural father Antonio Centeno of the conjugal property left by Isaac
Centeno, and not to the conjugal property left by Melchora Arroyo. There being
three children who survived Isaac Centeno, namely, Valentin, Faustino, and Antonio
Centeno, said one-half of the conjugal property which still remains undivided, left by
Isaac Centeno, must be divided into three parts, one-third pertaining pro indiviso to
the children of Valentin Centeno, and Faustino Centeno, respectively. Of the onethird which belongs to Antonio Centeno, one-half, that is, one-sixth of the whole, is
what belongs to the defendants, and the other half, or the other sixth part, to his
legitimate mother Melchora Arroyo, who inherited from her legitimate son Antonio
Centeno, because he died before her, saving always the rights of Gabriela
Fernandez, as surviving spouse of Antonio Centeno.
As to the one-half of the undivided conjugal property which belongs to Melchora
Arroyo, the only ones entitled to it are the plaintiffs and intervenors.
Summarizing all the above, we are of the opinion, and so hold: (l) That the
defendants, as acknowledged natural children and named heirs of Antonio Centeno
in his will, are entitled to inherit the one- half of the hereditary portion which their
deceased natural father had inherited from his legitimate father by will; (2) that said
defendants, though they are acknowledged natural children of Antonio Centeno, are
not entitled to the reservation of the one-half which Melchora Arroyo received as her
ligitime from the hereditary portion which her son had received from his father,
Isaac Centeno also legitimate; (3) that the defendants, though they are
acknowledged natural children of Antonio Centeno, are not entitled to represent the
latter in the inheritance of his legitimate mother Melchora Arroyo; (4) that the fact
that defendants, as acknowledged natural children of Antonio Centeno, took part,
together with Valentin Centeno, legitimate brother of said Antonio Centeno, and
with the children of Faustino Centeno, another legitimate brother of said deceased
Antonio Centeno, in the partition of the estates left by Isaac Centeno and Melchora
Arroyo, father and mother of Antonio, Valentin and Faustino Centeno, does not make
the partition void; (5) that the partition made between the heirs, while extrajudicial
at the beginning became judicial on being approved by the court after complying
with the proper requirements prescribed by the law, and once all the periods have
elapsed within which the law permits its revocation for any reason, it became final
and irrevocable; (6) that the fact that Jesus Centeno Second, son of Faustino
Centeno, was a minor at the time the agreement of partition was entered into, does
not make said agreement void, since he was represented by his mother Asuncion
Arcebal, and when said agreement was approved by the court, said representation

was impliedly approved, and all her acts became validated ipso facto; (7) that in the
absence of a preponderance of evidence to the contrary, the defendants are
exclusive owners of the parcels of land designated by Nos. 113 and 114, which are
included in the inventory of the estate of Isaac Centeno, having acquired title
thereto by prescription; (8) that the defendants, as cross-complainants, are entitled
to the ownership and possession of the two parcels of land described in the third
paragraph of the second cause of action of the cross-complaint, as well as the two
mares and the harness which are in possession of the plaintiffs; (9) that the
defendants are entitled to one-sixth part of the undivided conjugal property left by
Isaac Centeno, which is yet to be partitioned; (10) that the action for the recovery of
the undivided property is not incompatible with the action for partition, once the
existence of the community of the property of the estate whose recovery and
partition are sought, has been declared.
For the foregoing, and with the sole modification of ordering the partition of the
conjugal property left by the deceased spouses Isaac Centeno and Melchora Arroyo
declared by the lower court to be pro indiviso, the judgment appealed from is
affirmed in all other respects, without special pronouncement as to costs. So
ordered.
Johnson, Street, Malcolm, Ostrand and Romualdez, JJ., concur.

August 11, 1936


G.R. No. 42737
THE DIRECTOR OF LANDS, applicant,
vs.
PEDRO AGUAS, ET AL., claimants.
TEODORO SANTOS, ET AL., appellants,
and CAYETANO GUESA, appellee.
Vicente T. David and Eduardo D. Gutierrez for appellants.
Filemon Cajator for appellee.
No appearance for applicant-claimants.
RECTO, J.:
This appeal was taken by Teodoro Santos, Amado L. Santos, Mercedes Santos and
Bartola Santos from an order of the Court of First Instance of Pampanga in cadastral
case No. 4, G. L. R, O. Cadastral Record No. 127, ordering the cancellation of
transfer certificate of title No. 4811 of the deceased Lucina Guesa to the land
designated as lot No. 2450-B of the cadastral case in question, and the issuance of
another certificate in favor of the appellee Cayetano Guesa. The appellants'
petition, which was denied by the court, sought the issuance of the new certificate

in their name, alleging that they were the ones favored by the reservation to which
the land described in said certificate of title was subject.
The land in question had belong to Isidro Santos. He donated it to Tomas Santos
upon whose death, which took place on April 29, 1927, the property was inherited
by the latter's legitimate son, Romeo Santos. Upon the death of Romeo Santos on
April 23, 1928, it passed to his legitimate mother Lucina Guesa to whom transfer
certificate of title No. 4811 was issued with the notation that the property was
subject to the provisions of article 811 of the Civil Code. Lucina Guesa died on April
14, 1933, and was succeeded by her legitimate father Cayetano Guesa as sole heir.
Tomas Santos was an adulterous son, and the appellants and petitioners are the
legitimate children of Isidro Santos. Therefore, the appellants are not legitimate
relatives of Romeo Santos, although, with relation to him, they are within the third
degree and belong to the same line.
The above-stated facts are not disputed by the parties. The principal question raised
in this appeal is whether or not the reservation established by article 811 of the Civil
Code, for the benefit of the relatives within the third degree belonging to the line of
the descendant from whom the ascendant reservor received the property, should be
understood as made in favor of all the relatives within said degree and belonging to
the line above-mentioned, without distinction between legitimate, natural and
illegitimate ones not having the legal status of natural children.
Such question has already been settled this jurisdiction as well as in the country of
origin of the legal provision in question. The Supreme Court of Spain, in one of the
findings of its decision dated June 10, 1918, stated:
It appears, with respect to the second question raised and referred to in the first
finding, that both the extraordinary reservation of article 811 of the Civil Code and
the ordinary reservation of article 968 thereof are established in favor of legitimate
relatives; and furthermore, with respect to the extraordinary reservation, the
petitioner cannot allege that she belongs to the line from which the property
claimed by her came because said line is formed by generations from validly
celebrated marriages, and said petitioner is not a legitimate granddaughter
descendant of the person who contracted the first marriage; and with respect to the
second reservation, it ceased upon the death of said petitioner's natural father, in
accordance with article 971 of the Civil Code, and in so holding, the branch of the
court which rendered the decision has not violated the laws cited in the other
grounds of the appeal.
In Maria Nieva and Alcala vs. Alcala and Deocampo (41 Phil., 915), decided on
October 27,1920, this court, without having the aforesaid decision of the Supreme
Court of Spain before it, decided the question in the same terms, accepting the view
stated thereon by the eminent commentators of the Civil Code, Manresa and
Scvola. This court then said:

There can be no question whatever but that, under said article 811 of the Civil
Code, the plaintiff would be entitled to the property in question if she were
alegitimate daughter of Juliana Nieva. (Edroso vs. Sablan, 25 Phil., 295.) But in said
article 811 the legislator uses the generic terms "ascendant," "descendant," and
"relatives," without specifying whether or not they have to be legitimate. Does the
legislator, then, refer to legitimate as well as to illegitimate relatives? Counsel for
the appellant, in a lengthy and carefully prepared brief, attempts to maintain the
affirmative.
This question, so far as our investigation shows, has not been decided before by any
court or tribunal. However, eminent commentators on the Spanish Civil Code, who
have devoted their lives to the study and solution of the intricate and difficult
problems that may arise under the provisions of that Code, have dealt with the very
question now before us, and are unanimous in the opinion that the provisions of
article 811 of the Civil Code apply only to legitimaterelatives. One of such
commentators, undoubtedly the best known of them all, is Manresa. We believe we
can do no better than to adopt his reasons and conclusions, in deciding the question
before us. In determining the persons who are obliged to reserve under article 811,
he says:
"Is every ascendant, whether legitimate or not, obliged to reserve? Should the
natural father or grandfather reserve the properties proceeding from the mother or
other natural ascendant? Article 811 does not distinguish; it speaks of the
ascendant, without attaching the qualification of legitimate, and, on the other hand,
the same reason that exists for applying the provision to the natural family exists
for applying it to the legitimate family. Nevertheless, the article in referring to the
ascendant in an indeterminate manner shows that it imposes the obligation to
reserve only upon the legitimate ascendant.
"Let us overlook for the moment the question whether the Code recognizes or does
not recognizes the existence of the natural family, or whether it admits only the
bond established by acknowledgment between the father or mother who
acknowledges and the acknowledged children. However it may be, it may be stated
as, an indisputable truth, that in said Code, the legitimate relationship forms the
general rule and the natural relationship the exception; which is the reason why, as
may be easily seen, the law in many articles speaks only of children or parents, of
ascendants or descendants, and in them reference is of course made to those who
are legitimate; and when it desire to make a provision applicable only to natural
relationship, it does not say father or mother, but natural father or natural mother;
it does say child, but natural child; it does not speak of ascendants, brothers or
parents in the abstract, but of natural ascendants, natural brothers or natural
parents. (See, for example, articles 294, 302, 809, 810, 846, 935 to 938, 944 and
945 and 946 to 955.)

"Articles 809 and 810 themselves speak only of ascendants. Can it in any way be
maintained that they refer to legitimate as well as to natural ascendants? They
evidently establish the legitime of the legitimate ascendants included as forced
heirs in number 2 of article 807. And article 811, and as we will see also article
812, continues to treat of this same legitime. The right of the natural parents and
children in the testamentary succession is wholly included in the eighth section and
is limited to the parents, other descendants of such class being excluded in articles
807, No. 3, and 846. Therefore, the place which article 811 occupies in the Code is
proof that it refers only to legitimate ascendants. And if there were any doubt, it
disappears upon considering the text of articles 938, which states that the provision
of article 811 applies to intestate succession which is just established in favor of
the legitimate direct ascending line, the text of articles 939 to 945, which treat of
intestate succession of natural parents, as well as that of articles 840 to 847,
treating of their testamentary succession, which do not allude directly or indirectly
to that provision.
"Lastly, the principle which underlies the exception which article 811 creates in the
right to succeed neither admits of any other interpretation. Whether the provision is
due to the desire that the properties should not pass, by reason of new marriages,
out of the family to which they belonged, or is directly derived from the system of
the so-called reserva troncal, and whether the idea of reservation or that lineal
rights (troncalidad) predominate the patrimony which is intended to be preserved is
that of the legitimate family. Only to legitimate ascendants and descendants do
articles 968 et seq. of the Code refer, arising as they do from danger of second or
subsequent marriage; only to legitimate parents do the special laws of Navarra,
Aragon, Vizcaya and Catalua concede the right to succeed with respect to lineal
properties (bienes troncales); only to the legitimate ascendants does article 811
impose the duty to reserve.
"The convenience of amplifying the precept to natural parents and ascendants may
be raised just as the question whether it would be preferable to suppress it
altogether may be raised; but in realm of the statute law there is no remedy but to
admit that article 811, the interpretation of which should on the other hand be strict
was drafted by the legislator with respect only to legitimate ascendants." (Manresa,
Codigo, vol. 6, 3d ed., pp. 249, 250.)
The same jurist, in determining the persons in whose favor the reservation is
established, says:
"Persons in whose favor the reservation is established. This is one of the most
delicate points in the interpretation of article 811. According to this article, the
reservation is established in favor of the parents who are within the third degree
and belong to the line from which the properties came.

"It treats of blood relationship, which is applicable to questions on succession,


according to articles 915 to 920. It could not be otherwise, because relationship by
affinity is established between each spouse and the family of the other, by
marriage, and to admit it, would be to favor the transmission of the properties of
the family of one spouse to that of the other, which is just what this article intends
to prevent.
"It also treats of legitimate relationship. The person obliged to reserve is a
legitimate ascendant who inherits from a descendant property which proceeds from
the same legitimate family, and this being true, there can be no question, because
the line from which the properties proceed must be the line of that family and only
in favor of that line is the reservation established. Furthermore, we have already
said, the object is to protect the patrimony of the legitimate family, following the
precedents of the foral law. And it could not be otherwise. Article 943 denies to
legitimate parents the right to succeed the natural child and vice versa from which
it must be deduced that natural parents neither have the right to inherit from
legitimate ones; the law in the article cited established a barrier between the two
families; of the legitimate family shall never pass by operation of law to the natural
family." (Ibid., pp. 251, 252.)
Scvola, after a very extended discussion of this same subject, arrives at the same
conclusion as Manresa. "La reserva del articulo 811 es privilegio de lafamilia
legitima. (The reservation in article 811 is a privilege of the legitimate family.)"
(See Scvola, Codigo Civil, vol. 14, pp. 211-224, 301-305.)
Sanchez Roman and Valverde are of the same opinion:
As article 811 uses the words ascendant and descendant without any qualification,
one might think, that, as the law makes no distinction it applies to legitimate or
natural relationship. There is no doubt that only the former refers to the obligation
to reserve and consequently it applies only to the legitimateascendant who inherits
from a legitimate descendant. The same thing may be said of the preceding articles
809 and 810 which likewise lack the qualificationlegitimate ones as the following
article 811 which is exception and limitation.
Furthermore, it is so affirmed by the said foundation of
this lineal or familiarreservation, taking into consideration the fact that the Code's
concept of the line and of the family is nothing more than that it refers to legitimate
relationship, no to the illegitimate, as all juridical relationships, whether lineal or
familiar, limiting itself to recognizing rights proceeding from illegitimate relationship
in favor of the persons of the natural son, father, mother or brothers and sisters but
not in favor of the line of descendants or ascendants, and when it so names them it
always adds the qualification natural thereto (art. 945), because once it speaks of
the representation of the natural child by the descendants, as in article 843 (1), it
requires that the latter be legitimate; neither does it equalize legitimate and

illegitimate relationships, generally, in civil cases and, absolutely, in


successions mortis causa, nor is the only doctrine similar to that of article 811, that
is the reservation by the surviving spouse who contracts a second marriage, in favor
of the children of the first marriage or legitimate relationship, applicable to
illegitimate relationship, it being clear that said article 968 declares the
homogeneity of the juridical character of a reservation with article 811.
Another argument in favor of this interpretation as an expression of the general
spirit of the Code, is inferred from article 943 which prohibits all successory
reciprocity mortis causa between legitimate and illegitimate relatives, and it even
carries the prohibition further in providing that the natural and legitimated children
have no rights to succeed, ab intestato the legitimate children and relatives of the
father or mother who has acknowledged it, nor shall such children or relatives so
inherit from the natural or legitimated children. Therefore, as stated by a learned
jurist, the reservation of article 811 has not been established in favor of the natural
brother of a legitimate child, that, is, of the descendant from whom his ascendants
inherited which is the case with article 811, because collateral natural relatives are
not entitled to succeed legitimate relatives. (Sanchez Roman, Civil Code, vol. 996,
997.)
The persons in whose favor the reservation is established are the relatives within
the third degree, who must be legitimate and of the same blood, as may be inferred
from the general principles of succession and the spirit pervading article 811.
(Valverde, Spanish Civil Law, vol. 5, pp. 235, 236.)
In volume 8, page 395, of the Spanish edition of Colin and Capitant's book on the
Civil Code, amplified with notes on the Spanish Civil Code by Demofilo de Buen,
Professor of Civil Law of the University of Seville, appears the brief commentary:
The prevailing doctrine has considered the reservation of article 811 applicable only
to legitimate relatives; and it was so held by the Supreme Court. (Decision of June
10, 1918.)
Said professor De Buen, treating this matter in volume XXVII, page 349, of
theEnciclopedia Juridica Espaola, says:
Personal elements. The reservation of article 811 presupposes a great complexity
of personal elements. Those that enter therein as follows: 1. The reservor or an
ascendant who inherits certain property. 2. The descendant from whom the reservor
has inherited said property. 3. The ascendant or the brother from whom the
descendant reffered to in the preceding number, in turn, has inherited the property
transmitted by him to the descendant. 4. The reservees.
As a general question applicable to all the preceding personal elements, it may be
asked: Is it necessary that they all be joined by the bonds of legitimate relationship,
or will the reservation be applied also to natural relatives? The question is important

and has been the a subject of careful consideration by authors. On our part, as we
have always been inclined to associate the bonds of blood relationship with those of
legitimacy as far as the law permits, we feel like giving an answer favorable to the
application of article 811 also to the natural family. We must confess however,
guided by an objective examination of the prevalent doctrine and by the principle
underlying our Civil Code that article 811 seems to have been written exclusively for
the legitimate family. Two reasons specially support this point of view; the inclusion
of article 811 where the Code treats of the legitime of legitimate parents and
ascendants, and the traditional interpretation of the doctrine of the lineal rights
which inspired this article, as such doctrine always favored legitimate relationship
alone. Furthermore, says Mucius Scvola (op. cit. XIV, p. 2207), it is sufficient to
read what constitutes the exposition of the purposes of article 811, that is, the book
of Alonso Martinez, The Civil Code in its relation to foral legislation, to acquire such
conviction. See also the reason given by Sanchez Roman in favor of said opinion
(pp. cita., pp. 996, 997), now affirmed by the decision of June 10, 1919.
In fact we know of no legal doctrine or of any opinion of a competent commentator
that might support the appellants' contention that the benefits of the reservation
created by article 811 are not limited to legitimate relationship but extend to
natural relationship.
After all, as these applicants are illegitimate relatives, not having the legal status of
natural ones, of the descendant from whom the reservor ascendant acquired the
land in question, their position is even more untenable than if their relationship with
said descendant, though illegitimate, were at least natural in character. In intestate
succession, the Civil Code recognizes certain successory rights although limited,
among natural relatives. Thus, in the absence of legitimate descendants and
ascendants the natural children legally acknowledged succeed to the entire estate
of the deceased (art. 939); the hereditary rights granted to a natural child is
transmitted upon its death to its (legitimate) descendants who inherit by right of
representation from their deceased grandparent (art. 941); if an acknowledged
natural child dies without issue, either legitimate or acknowledged by it, the father
or mother who acknowledged such child succeeds to its entire estate; and if both
acknowledged it and are alive, they inherit from it, share and share alike (art. 944).
However, a natural child has no right to succeed ab intestato the legitimate children
and relatives of the father or mother who has acknowledged it, nor do such children
or relatives so inherit from said natural child (art. 943). On the other hand, such
successory rights are denied by the Code to the parents and illegitimate children
not having the legal status of natural children, their rights and obligation being
limited to owing each other by way of support all the help necessary for their
subsistence and the duty of such parents to defray the expenses necessary to give
such children an elementary education and teach them some profession, art or
trade (art. 139,143). As to illegitimate brothers and sisters not having said status,

they not only do not succeed each other but also do not owe each other anything
even by way of support.
It being undisputed that Tomas Santos, father of Romeo Santos. the descendant
from whom the ascendant reservor received the land in question by operation of
law, was an adulterous child of Isidro Santos, the legitimate father of the appellants,
it appears that the latter are merely said descendant's illegitimate relatives not
having the legal status of natural relatives, or vice versa, and therefore they cannot
claim any right to the reservation. After the death of the ascendant reservor Lucina
Guesa, with no legitimate relatives within the degree and belonging to the line
prescribed by article 811 existing at the time of her death, the property in question
ceased to be reservable property and should pass to the person or persons entitled
to it in accordance with the natural order of succession established by law, as the
provision of article 811 is a case of successory reversion, a rule of exception
adopted by the legislator as an equitable solution of the conflict between the
system of lineal rights and that of proximity in degree. It appears that Lucina Guesa
died intestate having no descendants but an ascendant, the appellee Cayetano
Guesa, and the inheritance in question should be surrendered to him as provided in
article 935 and 936 of the Civil Code.
The sentimental rather than juridical argument is also advanced that since the Civil
Code is hard on the illegitimate family, it is but just to moderate the rigor of its
provision by adopting a liberal interpretation of article 811 so that the fate of the
illegitimate relatives may thereby be rendered less cruel. This argument refutes and
answers itself. It being admitted by the appellants that the criterion of the Code is
implacable, so to speak, to the illegitimate family, and taking for granted that there
exists organic unity and absolute harmony throughout the Code, the interpreters
thereof have no other recourse than to examine all its provision in the light of such
criterion, unit may be reasonably inferred from the language of some of said
provision that the legislator has decided to establish an exception in some particular
case. In matters of succession the general rule is that the same takes place among
legitimate relatives, and when the Code has seen it fit to recognize the existence of
rights outside said relationship, as in the case of natural relationship, it has been
careful enough to so express in plain language.
In other respects, the appellant's defense of the illegitimate family does not seem to
be consistent with their position within the family of Tomas Santos. They are the
legitimate children and Tomas Santos is the adulterous son of Isidro Santos. Strictly
speaking, Tomas Santos and his son Romeo Santos were the illegitimate relatives of
the appellants, although the legal effect, for purposes of article 811, is the same as
if the appellants were the illegitimate descendants of Isidro Santos and the former
the legitimate ones. Neither the appellants nor their legitimate father Isidro Santos
could have been succeeded, by operation of law, by their adulterous brother Tomas
Santos and their adulterous nephew Romeo Santos by reason of the insurmountable
legal barrier of illegitimate relationship. The juridical situation created by such

relationship was such that in order that Isidro Santos might transfer the lucrative
title to the land in question to his adulterous son Tomas Santos, he had to make a
donation in favor of the latter within the limits of the law because there was no way
by which Tomas Santos could succeed him by operation of law. Therefore under
what rule of equity or natural justice may the appellants now seek reciprocity?
We find no merit in the argument advanced by the appellants in the lower court and
reiterated by them in this instance regarding the legal effect of the continuous
notation in the certificate of title of the land in question, which notation subjected
Lucina Guesa's right of ownership to the provisions of article 811 of the Civil Code.
The appellants contend that said notation could have reffered to no other persons
except them both at the time of said notation and of Lucina Guesa's death and they
should therefore be considered as having a vested right to the reservation in
question which now stand indisputable, The innocuousness of this reasoning is selfevident. The fact that Lucina Guesa's ownership of the land in question was
conditioned by the provisions of article 811 and it was so stated in the transfer
certificate of title issued in her name, could not perform the miracle of creating the
person in whose favor the reservation in question has been established by law, that
is, relatives within the third degree belonging to the line of the descendant from
whom the ascendant reservor has received the reservable property, who must also
be legitimate relatives, in accordance with the legal doctrine interpreting this
provision. Person who, like the appellants herein are not so related to said
descendant cannot claim themselves alluded to by terms of such notation. They are
in no better position than a stranger to claim any right, if any, derived therefrom.
The reservable character of a property is but a resolutory condition of the ascendant
reservor's right of ownership. If the condition is fulfilled, that is, if upon the
ascendant death there are relatives having the status provided in article 811, the
property passes, in accordance with this special order of succession, to said
relatives, or to the nearest of kin among them, which question, not being pertinent
to this case, need not now be determined. But if this condition is not fulfilled, the
property is released and will be adjudicated in accordance with the regular order of
succession. The fulfillment of the resolutory condition, the efficacy or cessation of
the reservation, the acquisition of rights or loss of the vested ones, are phenomena
which have nothing to do with whether the reservation has noted or not in the
certificate of title to the property. The purpose of the notation is nothing more than
to afford to the persons entitled to the reservation, if any, due protection against
any act of the reservor, which may make it ineffective. In the absence of such
persons, the notation produces no effect whatsoever and the result is the same as if
the notation has been made. In obligations, it is like the condition of not doing an
impossible thing which, under article 1116 of the Civil Code, is to be disregarded. A
right, which is in existence depended upon the realization of a fact which has not
been realized, neither arises nor is created just because it has been noted in the
registry.

The appealed order is affirmed with costs to the appellants.


Avancea, C. J., Abad Santos, Imperial, Diaz, and Laurel, JJ., concur.

G.R. No. L-47889

June 17, 1941

Intestado de la finada Leoncia Filomena Jardin. ANDRES JARDIN Y


OTRO, Solicitantes y apelantes,
vs.
SEVERINA VILLAMAYOR, opositora y apelada.
D. German Boncan en representacion de los apelantes.
D. Godofredo Reyes en representacion de la apelada.
PER CURIAM:
Apelacion interpuesta por los solictantes contra el auto auto del Juzgado de Primera
Instancia de Tayabas que denego su solicitud enmendada y sobreseyo el asunto, sin
costas. La apelacion se curso al Tribunal de Apelacion el cual la elevo a este Tribunal
Supremo por tratarse unicamente de cuestiones de derecho (art. 138 (6) y 145-H
del Codigo Administrativo Revisado, conforme han sido enmendados por el articulo
2 de la Ley No. 3 del Commonwealth).
Los solicitantes incoaron en el Juzgado de Primera Instancia de Tayabas el Intestado
de la finada Leoncia Filomena Jardin y en la solicitud enmendada que presentaron
pidieron que uno de ellos, Andres Jardin, sea nombrado administrador judicial. Por
orden del 18 de octubre de 1938 el Juzgado accedio a la solictud original, nombro
administrador especial a Andres Jardin mediante fianza de P1,000 y sealo a vista el
asunto para el 7 del mes siguiente, a las 8:30 a.m., para la declaracion de
herederos y la determinacion de si procedia la distribucion sumaria de los bienes de
la difunta. En la vista parece que se presento oposicion a la solicitud original por
algunas personas por cuyo motivo y depues de practicadas las pruebas de ambas
partes el Juzgado, con fecha 7 de noviembre de 1939, dicto otra orden concediendo
5 dias a los solictantes para enmendar su solicitud y 15 dias a cada parte para
discutir, tal vez por escrito, la cuestion de si los bienes que dejo la finada tenian el
caracter de reservables, en vista de que Severina Villamyor, una de los opositores
segun la orden, alego que dichos bienes los habia heredado de la finada Leoncia
Filomena Jardin. Decimos que parece que se presento oposicion, porque en el
expediente de apelacion no se menciona ni se tanscribe el escrito de oposicion. El
11 de diciembre de 1939 el Juzgado dicto el auto apelado en el que declaro que los
bienes relictos por la difunta habian dejado de ser reservables poque no le
sobrevive ningun pariente dentro del tercer grado y que Canuto Jardin es pariente
de la finada dentro del cuarto grado y Andres Jardin dentro del quinto grado, y
denego la solicitud enmendada y sobreseyo el asunto, sin costas.

Esta admitido por las partes que todos los bienes que dejo la difunta Leoncia
Filomena Jardin se hallan en poder de la opositora Severina Villamayor, quen alega
ser ahora duea absoluta de los mismos por haberlos herddo de su hija, la finada
Leoncia Filomena Jardin, quieren a su vez fallecio sin descendencia y cuando solo
tenia 10 aos de edad; que Juan Jardin era el bisabuelo de la difunta; que Canuto
Jardin, que ya fallecio durante la apelacion, era tio abuelo de la finada por ser
hermano del abuelo de esta llamado Vicente; y que Andres Jardin, es tio de la
difunta por ser hermano del padre de esta llamado Januario Jardin, ya difunto.
El siguiente cuadro genealogico que ha preparado el abogado de la opositora ilustra
graficamente el parentesco de las partes con la difunta:
Juan Jardin
Hijos :
Victor
ia

Just
o

Feliciano

Canuto

Vicente

(fallecid casado
o
con
durante
la
apelacio
n)
Andres
Jardin
(apelante)
y otros
siete.

Ignacia
Camposagrado

Juanario Jardin
casado con
Severina Villamayor

Catali
na

(apelada)

Leoncia Jardin
fallecida en 1925
a los 10 aos de edad
La cruz quiere decir que ya ha fallecido
Los articulos del Codigo Civil que son aplicables a la cuestion suscitada de si los
bienes que se tratan de administrar continuan siendo reservables, o no, son los
siguientes:
Art. 811. El ascendiente que heredare de su descendiente bienes que este hubiese
adquirido por tutilo lucrativo de otro ascendiente o de un hermano, se halla
obligado a reservar los que hubiere adquirido por ministerio de la leyen favor de los
parientes que esten dentro del tercer grado y pertenezcan a linea de donde los
bienes proceden.
Art. 918. En las lineas se cuentan tantos grados como generaciones o como
personas, descontando la del progenitor.
En la recta se sube unicamente hasta el tronco. Asi, el hijo dista del padre un grado,
dos del abuelo y tres del bisabuelo.
En la colateral se sube hasta el tronco comun y despues se baja hasta la persona
con queien se hace la computacion. Por esto, el hermano dista dos grados del
hermano, tres del tio, hermano de su padre o madre, cuatro del primo hermano, y
asi en adelante.
Segun el articulo 811 tienen el caracter de reservables los bienes que un
ascendiente hereda de su descendiente, cuando este lo haya adquirido de otro
ascendiente, o de un hermano, a titulo lucrativo; y provee que en tal caso el
reservista se halla obligado a reservar dichos bienes en favor de los parientes que
esten dentro del tercer grado y pertenezcan a la misma linea de donde los bienes
proceden.Como quiera de acuerdo con lo que dispone el articulo 918 Canuto Jardin
era pariente pariente dentro del cuarto grado de la finada Leoncia Filomena Jardin y
Andres Jardin dentro del quinto grado, salta a la vista que los bienes disputados han
dejado de ser reservables y los solictantes no tienen derecho a ellos, siendo la

verdadero duea actual de los mismos la opositora Severina Villamayor por ser la
heredera forzosa de su hija Leoncia Filomena Jardin (articulo 807, 2., Codigo Civil).
Se confirma el auto apelado, con las costas de esta instancia al solictante-apelante
Andres Jardin. Asi se ordena.
Avancea, Pres., Diaz, Laurel, Moran y Horrileno, MM.

G.R. No. L-14530

April 25, 1962

LEONA AGLIBOT, ET AL., plaintiffs-appellees,


vs.
ANDREA ACAY MAALAC, ET AL., defendants-appellants.
Nemesio Balonso for plaintiff-appellees.
Ruperto G. Martin and Associates for dependants-appellants.
DIZON, J.:
Leona and Evarista Aglibot commenced the present action (Civil Case No. 1482) in
the Court of First Instance of Zambales on July 31, 1952 to recover from Andrea
Acay Maalac and her children Ramona, Gregorio, Felix, Angela, Juanita and
Purisima, all surnamed Maalac the ownership and possession of a parcel of land
situated in barrio Namanaan, Municipality of San Antonio, Zambales, more
particularly described in paragraph 2 of their complaint, and damages.
Briefly stated, the allegations of the complaint are that the Aglibots inherited the
property subject matter thereof from their deceased niece Juliana Maalac; that
upon the death of Anacleto Maalac, father of Juliana, the defendants took
possession of said property, claimed it as their own and had since then appropriated
for themselves all the palay annually harvested therefrom amounting to 30
cavanes; that nothwithstanding demands made upon said defendants by the
Aglibots, they had refused to surrender the property to the latter.1wph1.t
In their answer, after denying some material averments of the complaint, appellants
alleged substantially the following as affirmative defense: that the land in question
was purchased from Esteban Garcia by the spouses Anacleto Maalac and Maria
Aglibot for P1,000.00; that when Maria Aglibot died, only P300.00 of this amount
had been paid; that the remaining P700.00 was paid to the vendor during the
marriage of Anacleto Maalac and appellant Andrea Acay; that Juliana Maalac, the
only daughter of Anacleto and his first wife, died in 1920, while Anacleto died in
1942; that upon his death, his widow, Andrea Acay, and their children acquired the
property in question as his sole legal heirs. Their answer likewise claimed the sum
of P1,000.00 as attorney's fees by way of counterclaim. After due trial, upon the
issue thus joined, the lower court rendered judgement as follows: .

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING CONSIDERATIONS, the Court hereby renders judgment


declaring the plaintiffs owners pro-indiviso of one half (1/2) of the land covered by
Original Certificate No. 10 described in paragraph 2 of the amended complaint,
ordering the defendants to deliver to the plaintiffs the possession of the said onehalf (1/2) of the property covered by said title; ordering the defendants jointly and
severally to deliver to the plaintiffs 15 cavanes of palay yearly as the share of the
plaintiffs from the produce of the land or its equivalent value at P10.00 a cavan from
the date of the filing of the complaint until the said one-half (1/2) portion of the
property described in Original Certificate No. 10 is delivered to the plaintiffs and
ordering the defendants to pay the costs.
From the above judgment Andrea Acay and her children took the present appeal.
The evidence shows that, originally, the land in question belonged to the conjugal
partnership of the spouses Anacleto Maalac and Maria Aglibot, and was covered by
Original Certificate of Title No. 10 of the Register of Deeds of Zambales in the name
of Anacleto Maalac, married to Maria Aglibot; that said spouses had an only child
named Juliana Maalac; that Maria Aglibot died on October 2, 1906; that on April 25,
1910, Anacleto Maalac married appellant Andrea Acay with whom he had six
children (the other appellants herein); that Juliana Maalac died intestate on
October 22, 1920, leaving no other relatives except her father, Anacleto Maalac,
and her half brothers and sisters already mentioned; that upon the death of
Anacleto on June 2, 1942, his widow, Andrea Acay, and her six children took
possession of the parcel of land in controversy and since then have refused to
surrender the ownership and possession thereof to the appellees; that the land
produces thirty cavanes of palay yearly.
On May 18, 1951, appellees Leona and Evarista Aglibot filed a verified petition in
the Court of First Instance of Zambales for the summary partition or distribution of
the properties left by the deceased Juliana Maalac among her rightful heirs
(Special Proceeding No. 594). The court, after proper proceedings, issued an order
dated October 30, 1951, the dispositive part of which reads as follows: .
Wherefore, the Court declares that the applicant Leona Aglibot and Evarista Aglibot
are the only heirs within the third degree of Juliana Maalac, and belonging to the
same line from which these properties originally belonged, that is, from Maria
Aglibot, being the sisters of the latter; that the value of these properties does not
exceed six thousand pesos (P6,000); and that each of the applicants is entitled to
receive and enter into possession of one-half of the first five parcels and one-fourth
of the last two, after paying such debts of the estate if there be any and the
proportionate expenses of this special proceedings, subject to the provisions of Rule
74 of the Rules of Court. (Page 10, Rec. on App.).

After securing the decision abovequoted appellees made the unsuccessful demands
upon appellants for the surrender of the property in question to them, and
subsequently filed the present action.
The main question to be resolved now is: Who is entitled to the land which Anacleto
Maalac inherited from his daughter, Juliana, as between appellees(sisters of Maria
Aglibot, first wife of Anacleto Maalac), on the one hand, and appellants (Anacleto's
second wife and their children), on the other?.
It is clear from the facts of the case that the land in question is reservable property
in accordance with the provisions of Article 811 of the Spanish Civil Code (Art. 891
of the New Civil Code). Both parties now admit that the entire parcel covered by
Original Certificate of Title No. 10 belonged to the conjugal partnership of the
spouses Anacleto Maalac and Maria Aglibot; that upon the death of the latter on
October 2, 1906, their only daughter, Juliana Maalac, inherited one-half of the
property, the other pertaining to her father as his share in the conjugal partnership;
that upon the death of Juliana Maalac on October 2, 1920 without leaving any
descendant, her father inherited her one-half portion of said property. In accordance
with law, therefore, Anacleto Maalac was obliged to reserve the portion he had
thus inherited from his daughter, for the benefit of appellees, Leona and Evarista
Aglibot, aunts of Juliana on the maternal side and who are, therefore, her relative
within the third degree belonging to the line from which said property came.
Appellants' contention that the major portion of the purchase price of the land in
question was paid to the original owner, Esteban Garcia, after the death of Maria
Aglibot is rendered clearly untenable not only by the lack of sufficient evidence to
this effect but also by the very significant circumstance that the property was titled
in the name of Anacleto Maalac "married to Maria Aglibot" circumstance that
strongly indicates that said spouses had acquired full ownership thereof during the
lifetime of Maria Aglibot.
A Secondary question raised by appellants is to the effect that the lower court erred
in ordering them, jointly and severally, to deliver to appellees fifteen cavanes of
palay yearly or pay their equivalent value of P10.00 a cavan, from the date of the
filing of the complaint. Considering the belief of appellants that the property in
controversy formed part of the estate of Anacleto Maalac and that upon the latter's
death ownership thereof was transmitted to all his heirs, subject to the usufructuary
rights of the surviving spouse, Maria Acay, their contention not sufficiently
rebutted that only the latter enjoyed possession of the property since her
husband's death and received the annual share pertaining to the landlord seems to
be reasonable and logical. She should be the only one, therefore, sentenced to pay
the fifteen cavanes of palay yearly from the date of the filing of the complaint.
The remaining contention of appellants that the lower court should have ordered
appellees to refund to them 50% of the annual realty tax paid on the property

cannot be sustained, this matter having been raised by them for the first time on
appeal.
WHEREFORE, modified as above indicated, the decision appealed from is affirmed,
with costs.
Bengzon, C.J., Padilla, Bautista Angelo, Labrador, Concepcion, Reyes, J.B.L., Barrera
and Paredes, JJ., concur.

Florentino vs Florentino digest


Doctrine: Reservable property left, through a will or otherwise, by the death of
ascendants (reservista) together with his own property in favor of another of his
descendants as forced heir, forms no part of the latters lawful inheritance nor of
the legitime, for the reasonthat, as said property continued to be reservable, the
heir receiving same as an inheritance from his ascendant has the strict obligationof
its delivery to the relatives, within the third degree, of the predecessor in interest,
without prejudicing the right of the heir to analiquot part of property, if he has at
the same time the right of reservatorio.
Note: Following the order prescribed by law in legitimate succession, when there ar
e relatives of the descendant within the thirddegree, the right of the nearest
relative, called reservatario, over the property which the reservista (person holding
it subject toreservation) should return to him, excludes that of the one more remote.
Facts: Apolonio Florentino II married Antonia Faz de leon, they have 11 children.
One of the children is Encarnacion, plaintiff in thiscase. Apolonio became a widower
and married again, he married Severina Faz de leon, they had 2 children, Mercedez
Florentino andApolinio III. Mercedez was the defendant in this case. Apolinio
Florentino died. That on January 17 and February 13, 1890, Apolonio Isabelo
Florentino executed a will before the notary public of Ilocos Sur,instituting as his
universal heirs his aforementioned 11 children, the posthumos Apolonio III and his
widow Severina Faz de Leon;that he declared, in one of the paragraphs of said will,
all his property should be divided among all of his children of both marriages.
That, in the partition of the said testator's estate, there was given to Apolonio
Florentino III, his posthumos son, the property markedwith the letters A, B, C, D, E,
and F in the complaint, a gold rosary, pieces of gold, of silver and of table service,
livestock, palay,some personal property and other objects mentioned in the
complaint.

That Apolonio Florentino III, the posthumos son of the second marriage, died in
1891; that his mother, Severina Faz de Leon,succeeded to all his property described

in the complaint; that the widow, Severina Faz de Leon died on November 18, 1908,
leaving awill instituting as her universal heiress her only living daughter, Mercedes
Florentino
Issue: whether the property left at the death of Apolonio III, the posthumos son of
Apolonio Isabelo II, was or was not invested withthe character of reservable
property when it was received by his mother, Severina Faz de Leon?
Held: Was invested with the character of reservable property.
The property enumerated by the plaintiffs in paragraph 5 of their complaint came,
without any doubt whatsoever, from the commonancestor Apolonio Isabelo II, and
when, on the death of Apolonio III without issue the same passed by operation of
law into the handsof his legitimate mother, Severina Faz de Leon, it became
reservable property, in accordance with the provision of article 811 of theCode, with
the object that the same should not fall into the possession of persons other than
those comprehended within the order of person other than those comprehended
within the order of succession traced by the law from Apolonio Isabelo II, the
source of said property.
Reservable property neither comes, nor falls under, the absolute dominion of the
ascendant who inherits and receives same from hisdescendant, therefore it does
not form part of his own property nor become the legitimate of his forced heirs. It
becomes his own property only in case that all the relatives of his descendant
shall have died (reservista) in which case said reservable property lossessuch
character.
With full right Severina Faz de Leon could have disposed in her will of all her own
property in favor of her only living daughter,Mercedes Florentino, as forced heiress.
But whatever provision there is in her will concerning the reservable property
received fromher son Apolonio III, or rather, whatever provision will reduce the
rights of the other reservatarios, the half brothers and nephews ofher daughter
Mercedes, is unlawful, null and void, inasmuch as said property is not her own and
she has only the right of usufruct orof fiduciary, with the obligation to preserve and
to deliver same to the reservatarios, one of whom is her own daughter,
MercedesFlorentino.
For the foregoing reasons it follows that with the reversal of the order of decision
appealed from we should declare, as we hereby do,that the aforementioned
property, inherited by the deceased Severina Faz de Leon from her son Apolonio
Florentino III, is
reservable property; that the plaintiffs, being relatives of the deceased
Apolonio III within the third degree, are entitled to six-sevenths of saidreservable
property; that the defendant Mercedes is entitled to the remaining seventh part
thereof.

Maria Cano v. Director of Lands (1959)


Doctines: the reservatario receives the property as a conditional heir of the
descendant (prepositus), said property merely reverting to the line of origin from
which it had temporarily and accidentally strayed during the reservista's lifetime
Reserved property is no part of the estate of the reservista, and does not even
answer for thedebts of the latter
reservable property can not be transmitted by a reservista to her or his
own successors mortiscausa,(like appellants herein) so long as a reservatario within
the third degree from the prepositusand belonging to the line whence the property
came, is in existence when the reservista dies
Facts: CFI Sorsogon approved registration of 2 parcels of land in Juban, Sorsogon
with theirimprovements, in the name of Maria Cano, Filipina, 71 years of age, widow
and resident ofJuban, province of Sorsogon
With the understanding that Lot No. 1799 shall be subject to the right of
reservation in favorof Eustaquia Guerrero
Certificate of Title were issued in the name of Maria Cano, subject to reserva
troncal in favor of Eustaquia Guerrero.
Counsel for the reserve (reservatorio) Guerrero filed a motion with the Cadastral
Court, allegingthe death of the original registered owner and reservista, Maria Cano,
on September 8, 1955
Cancel OCT and TCT be issued in favor of Guerrero
The motion was opposed by the sons of reservista Maria Cano, Jose and Teotimo
Fernandez
contended that the application and operation of the reserva troncal should be
ventilated inan ordinary contentious proceeding
Registration Court did not have jurisdiction to grant the motion.
Lower Court:death of the reservista vested the ownership of the property in the
petitioner as thesole reservatorio troncal. Hence, the TCT was issued in the name of
Eustaquia Guerrero
WON: The title was validly issued to Eustaquia Guerrero, the reservatorio? -YES
HELD: From thestipulation of facts, it is evident that Lot No. 1799 was acquired by
the Appellant MariaCano by inheritance from her deceased daughter, Lourdes
Guerrero
Lourdes in turn, inherited the same from her father Evaristo Guerrero

Hence, falls squarely under the provisions of Article 891 of the Civil Code; and that
each andeveryone of the private oppositors are within the third degree of
consaguinity of the decedentEvaristo Guerrero, and who belonging to the same line
from which the property came
The only requisites for the passing of the title from the reservista to the appellee,
Eustaquia are: 1.the death of the reservista; and 2.the fact that the reservatario has
survived the reservista.
Both facts are admitted, and their existence is nowhere questioned.

G.R. No. L-23002

July 31, 1967

CONCEPCION FELIX VDA. DE RODRIGUEZ, plaintiff-appellant,


vs.
GERONIMO RODRIGUEZ., ET AL., defendants-appellees.
Ozaeta, Gibbs and Ozaeta for plaintiff-appellant.
Sycip, Salazar, Luna and Associates and Carolina C. Grio-Aquino for defendantsappellees.
REYES, J.B.L., J.:
This is an appeal by Concepcion Felix Vda. de Rodriguez from the decision of the
Court of First Instance of Bulacan in Civil Case No. 2565, which she commenced on
May 28, 1962, to secure declaration, of nullity of two contracts executed on January
24, 1934 and for recovery of certain properties.
The facts of this case may be briefly stated as follows:
Concepcion Felix, widow of the late Don Felipe Calderon and with whom she had one
living child, Concepcion Calderon, contracted a second marriage on June 20, 1929,
with Domingo Rodriguez, widower with four children by a previous marriage, named
Geronimo, Esmeragdo, Jose and Mauricio, all surnamed Rodriguez. There was no
issue in this second marriage.
Prior to her marriage to Rodriguez, Concepcion Felix was the registered owner of 2
fishponds located in the barrio of Babagad, municipality of Bulacan, Bulacan
province. with a total area of 557,711 square meters covered by OCT Nos. 605 and
807. Under date of January 24, 1934, Concepcion Felix appeared to have executed a
deed of sale conveying ownership of the aforesaid properties to her daughter,
Concepcion Calderon, for the sum of P2,500.00, which the latter in turn appeared to
have transferred to her mother and stepfather by means of a document dated
January 27, 1934. Both deeds, notarized by Notary Public Jose D. Mendoza, were

registered in the office of the Register of Deeds of Bulacan on January 29, 1934, as a
consequence of which, the original titles were cancelled and TCT Nos. 13815 and
13816 were issued in the names of the spouses Domingo Rodriguez and Concepcion
Felix.
On March 6, 1953, Domingo Rodriguez died intestate, survived by the widow,
Concepcion Felix, his children Geronimo Esmeragdo and Mauricio and grandchildren
Oscar, Juan and Ana, surnamed Rodriguez, children of a son, Jose, who had
predeceased him.
On March 16, 1953, the above-named widow, children and grandchildren of the
deceased entered into an extra-judicial settlement of his (Domingo's) estate,
consisting of one-half of the properties allegedly belonging to the conjugal
partnership. Among the properties listed as conjugal were the two parcels of land in
Bulacan, Bulacan, which, together with another piece of property, were divided
among the heirs in this manner:
WHEREAS, the parties have furthermore agreed that the fishpond covered by TCT
Nos. 13815, 13816 and 24109 of the Office of the Register of Deeds of Bulacan,
containing an area of 557,971 sq. m., which is likewise the conjugal property of the
deceased and his surviving spouse; 1/2 of the same or 278,985.5 sq. m. belongs to
said Concepcion Felix Vda. de Rodriguez, as her share in the conjugal property; and
3/4 of the remaining half or 209,239.125 sq. m. are transferred in full ownership to
Geronimo Rodriguez, Esmeragdo Rodriguez and Mauricio Rodriguez, share and
share alike, while the other 1/4 or 69,746.375 sq. m. of the said remaining half goes
in equal shares to Oscar Rodriguez, Juan Rodriguez and Ana Rodriguez.
As a result of this partition, TCT Nos. 13815 and 13816 were cancelled and TCT Nos.
T-11431 and T-14432 were issued in the names of the said heirs of the deceased.
On March 23, 1953, in a power of attorney executed by the children and
grandchildren of Domingo Rodriguez, Concepcion Felix Vda. de Rodriguez was
named their attorney in-fact, authorized to manage their shares in the fishponds
(Exh. 4).
On July 2, 1954, the heirs ended their co-ownership by executing a deed of partition,
dividing and segregating their respective shares in the properties, pursuant to a
consolidation and subdivision plan (PCS-3702), in accordance with which,
Concepcion Felix Vda. de Rodriguez obtained TCT No. T-12910, for the portion
pertaining to her (Exh. L), while TCT No. T-12911 was issued to the other heirs, for
their shares. This latter title was subsequently replaced by TCT No. 16660 (Exh. M).
On October 12, 1954, the Rodriguez children executed another document granting
unto the widow lifetime usufruct over one-third of the fishpond which they received
as hereditary share in the estate of Domingo Rodriguez, which grant was accepted
by Concepcion Felix Vda. de Rodriguez.

Then, in a contract dated December 15, 1961, the widow appeared to have leased
from the Rodriguez children and grandchildren the fishpond (covered by TCT No.
16660) for a period of 5 years commencing August 16, 1962, for an annual rental of
P7,161.37 (Exh. 5).1wph1.t
At about this time, it seemed that the relationship between the widow and her
stepchildren had turned for the worse. Thus, when she failed to deliver to them the
balance of the earnings of the fishponds, in the amount of P3,000.00, her
stepchildren endorsed the matter to their lawyer who, on May 16, 1962, sent a
letter of demand to the widow for payment thereof. On, May 28, 1962, Concepcion
Felix Vda. de Rodriguez filed the present action in the Court of First Instance of
Manila naming as defendants, Geronimo Rodriguez, Esmeragdo Rodriguez, Oscar
Rodriguez, Concepcion Bautista Vda. de Rodriguez, as guardian of the minors Juan
and Ana Rodriguez, and Antonio Diaz de Rivera and Renato Diaz de Rivera, as
guardians of the minors Maria Ana, Mercedes, Margarita, Mauricio, Jr. and Domingo
(Children of Mauricio Rodriguez who had also died).
The action to declare null and void the deeds of transfer of plaintiff's properties to
the conjugal partnership was based on the alleged employment or exercise by
plaintiff's deceased husband of force and pressure on her; that the conveyances of
the properties from plaintiff to her daughter and then to the conjugal partnership
of plaintiff and her husband are both without consideration; that plaintiff
participated in the extrajudicial settlement of estate (of the deceased Domingo
Rodriguez) and in other subsequent deeds or instruments involving the properties in
dispute, on the false assumption that the said properties had become conjugal by
reason of the execution of the deeds of transfer in 1934; that laboring under the
same false assumption, plaintiff delivered to defendants, as income of the
properties from 1956 to 1961, the total amount of P56,976.58. As alternative cause
of action, she contended that she would claim for her share, as surviving widow, of
1/5 of the properties in controversy, should such properties be adjudged as
belonging to the conjugal partnership. Thus, plaintiff prayed that the deeds of
transfer mentioned in the complaint be declared fictitious and simulated; that the
"Extrajudicial Settlement of Estate" be also declared null and void; that TCT No.
16660 of the Registry of Deeds of Bulacan be cancelled and another one be issued
in the name of plaintiff, Concepcion Felix Vda. de Felix; that defendants be ordered
to pay plaintiff the sum of P56,976.58, with legal interest thereon from the date of
the filing of the complaint, and for appropriate relief in connection with her
alternative cause of action.
In their separate answers, defendants not only denied the material allegations of
the complaint, but also set up as affirmative defenses lack of cause of action,
prescription, estoppel and laches. As counterclaim, they asked for payment by the
plaintiff of the unpaid balance of the earnings of the land up to August 15, 1962 in
the sum of P3,000.00, for attorney's fees and expenses of litigation.

On October 5, 1963, judgment was rendered for the defendants. In upholding the
validity of the contracts, the court found that although the two documents, Exhibits
A and B, were executed for the purpose of converting plaintiff's separate properties
into conjugal assets of the marriage with Domingo Rodriguez, the consent of the
parties thereto was voluntary, contrary to the allegations of plaintiff and her
witness. The court also ruled that having taken part in the questioned transactions,
plaintiff was not the proper party to plead lack of consideration to avoid the
transfers; that contracts without consideration are not inexistent, but are only
voidable, following the ruling in the case ofConcepcion vs. Sta. Ana (87 Phil. 787);
that there was ratification or confirmation by the plaintiff of the transfer of her
property, by her execution (with the other heirs) of the extrajudicial settlement of
estate; that being a voluntary party to the contracts, Exhibits A and B, plaintiff
cannot recover the properties she gave thereunder. Plaintiff's alternative cause of
action was also rejected on the ground that action for rescission of the deed of
extrajudicial settlement should have been filed within 4 years from its execution (on
March 16, 1953).
From the decision of the Court of First Instance, plaintiff duly appealed to this Court,
insisting that the conveyances in issue were obtained through duress, and were
inexistent, being simulated and without consideration.
We agree with the trial Court that the evidence is not convincing that the contracts
of transfer from Concepcion Felix to her daughter, and from the latter to her mother
and stepfather were executed through violence or intimidation. The charge is
predicated solely upon the improbable and biased testimony of appellant's
daughter, Concepcion C. Martelino, whom the trial court, refused to believe,
considering that her version of violence and harassment was contradicted by
Bartolome Gualberto who had lived with the Rodriguez spouses from 1917 to 1953,
and by the improbability of Rodriguez threatening his stepdaughter in front of the
Notary Public who ratified her signature. Furthermore, as pointed out by the
appealed decision, the charge of duress should be treated with caution considering
that Rodriguez had already died when the suit was brought, for duress, like fraud, is
not to be lightly paid at the door of men already dead. (Cf. Prevost vs. Gratz, 6
Wheat. [U.S.] 481, 498; Sinco vs. Longa, 51 Phil. 507).
What is more decisive is that duress being merely a vice or defect of consent, an
action based upon it must be brought within four years after it has ceased; 1 and the
present action was instituted only in 1962, twenty eight (28) years after the
intimidation is claimed to have occurred, and no less than nine (9) years after the
supposed culprit died (1953). On top of it, appellant entered into a series of
subsequent transactions with appellees that confirmed the contracts that she now
tries to set aside. Therefore, this cause of action is clearly barred.

Appellant's main stand in attacking the conveyances in question is that they are
simulated or fictitious, and inexistent for lack of consideration. We shall examine
each purported defect separately.
The charge of simulation is untenable, for the characteristic of simulation is the fact
that the apparent contract is not really desired or intended to produce legal effects
or in way alter the juridical situation of the parties. Thus, where a person, in order to
place his property beyond the reach of his creditors, simulates a transfer of it to
another, he does not really intend to divest himself of his title and control of the
property; hence, the deed of transfer is but a sham. But appellant contends that the
sale by her to her daughter, and the subsequent sale by the latter to appellant and
her husband, the late Domingo Rodriguez, were done for the purpose of converting
the property from paraphernal to conjugal, thereby vesting a half interest in
Rodriguez, and evading the prohibition against donations from one spouse to
another during coverture (Civil Code of 1889, Art. 1334). If this is true, then the
appellant and her daughter must have intended the two conveyance to be real and
effective; for appellant could not intend to keep the ownership of the fishponds and
at the same time vest half of them in her husband. The two contracts of sale then
could not have been simulated, but were real and intended to be fully operative,
being the means to achieve the result desired.
Nor does the intention of the parties to circumvent by these contracts the law
against donations between spouses make them simulated ones.
Ferrara, in his classic book, "La Simulacion de los Negocios Juridicos" (Sp. trans,
1926), pp. 95, 105, clearly explains the difference between simulated transactions
and transactions in fraudem legis:
Otra figura que debe distinguirse de la simulacion es el fraus legis. Tambien aqui se
da una gran confusion que persiste aun en la jurisprudencia, apegada tenazmente a
antiguos errores. Se debe a Bahr el haber defendido con vigor la antitesis teorica
que existe entre negocio fingido y negocio fraudulento y haber atacado la doctrina
comun que hacia una mescolanza con los dos conceptos.
Se confunde dice (2) , el negocio in fraudem legis con el negocio simulado;
aunque la naturaleza de ambos sea totalmente diversa. El negocio fraudulento no
es, en absolute, un negocio aparente. Es perfectamente serio: se quiere realmente.
Es mas, se quiere tal como se ha realizado, con todas las consecuencias que
correspondent a la forma juridica elegida. Muchas veces, estas consecuencias con
incomodas para una u otra de las partes, aunque serian mucho mas incomodas las
consecuencias que lievaria consigo el acto prohibido.
xxx

xxx

xxx

El resultado de las precedentes investigaciones es el siguiente el negocio simulado


quiere producir una apariencia; el negocio fraudulente, una realidad; los negocios

simulados son ficticios, no queridos; los negocios in fraudem son serios, reales, y
realizados en tal forma por las partes para consequir un resultado prohibido: la
simulacion nunca es un medio para eludir la ley sino para ocultar su violation. La
transgresion del contenido verbal e inmediato de la norma se encubre bajo el manto
de un negocio licito, lo cual no altera el caracter del contra legem agere. Tan verdad
es, que si se ha redactado una contra-escritura que documentary y declara la
verdadera naturaleza del negocio realizado, no queda mas que aplicar pura y
simplementela prohibicion.
Tambien el fraude quiere perjudicar la ley, pero emplea para ello medios diversos y
sigue distintos caminus. No oculta el acto exterior, sino que lo deja claro y visible,
tratando de huir sesgadamente de la aplicacion de la ley merced a una artistica y
sabia combinacion de varios medios juridicos no reprobados.
Appellant invokes our decision in Vasquez vs. Porta, 98 Phil. 490, but to no purpose.
The mortgage and foreclosure sale involved in that case were typical simulations
merely apparent but not really intended to produce legal effects, as approved by
the Court's finding that the alleged creditor and buyer at the foreclosure sale "Porta
himself ostensibly acknowledged by his inertia in allowing the doctor (alleged
mortgagor debtor) to exercise dominical power thereon without any protest on his
part." (cas. cit., p. 495). Not only this, but the mortgagor's wife, when her husband
died, "found among his papers Porta's cancellation of the mortgage in his favor and
the draft of the complaint for foreclosure." Plainly, the precedent cited is here
inapplicable.
Were the two conveyances from appellant to her daughter and from the latter to the
spouses Rodriguez void ab initio or inexistent for lack of consideration? We do not
find them to be so. In the first transaction, the price of P2,500.00 is recited in the
deed itself (Exh. A); in the second (Exh. B), the consideration set forth is P3,000.00.
Now, Article 1274 of the Civil Code of 1889 (in force when the deeds were executed)
provided that
In onerous contracts the cause is understood to be, for each contracting party, the
prestation or promise of a thing or service by the other. (emphasis supplied.)
Since in each conveyance the buyer became obligated to pay a definite price in
money, such undertaking constituted in themselves actual causa or consideration
for the conveyance of the fishponds. That the prices were not paid (assuming ad
arguendo that Concepcion Martelino's testimony, to this effect is true) does not
make the sales inexistent for want of causa. As ruled in Enriquez de la Cavada vs.
Diaz, 37 Phil. 982, "the consideration (causa) need not pass from one (party) to the
other at the time the contract is entered into x x x . The consideration need not be
paid at the time of the promise. The one promise is a consideration for the other."
What would invalidate the conveyances now under scrutiny is the fact that they
were resorted to in order to circumvent the legal prohibition against donations

between spouses contained in Article 1334, paragraph 1, of the Civil Code of 1889,
then prevailing. That illegal purpose tainted the contracts, for as held by the
Spanish Tribunal Supreme in its decision of 2 April 1941.
ha de ser reputado ineficaz, por exigencias includibles del caracter social y moral
del Derecho, todo contrato que persiga un fin ilicito o immoral, sea cualquiera el
medio empleado por los contratantes para lograr esa finalidad, no justificada por un
interes digno de ser socialmente protegido.
The illicit purpose then becomes illegal causa within the terms of the old Civil Code,
for as declared by the same Spanish Court in its decision of 14 December 1940
toda vez que lo que caracteriza fundamentalmente la ilicitud de la causa es la lesion
de un interos general juridica 6 moral.
a ruling reiterated in the decision of 2 April 1941 when the Court ruled:
El concepto de la causa ilicita, tal como la desenvuelve y aplica con gran amplitud y
flexibilidad la doctrina moderna, permite cobijar, no solo las convenciones ilicitas
por razon de su objeto o de su motivo ... sino tambien multiples convenciones que
no encerrando en si ningun elemento de directa antijuricidad son ilicitas por el
matiz immoral que reviste la operation en su conjunto x x x .
Unfortunately for herein appellant, in contracts invalidated by illegal subject matter
or illegal causa, Articles 1305 and 1306 of the Civil Code then in force apply
rigorously the rule in pari delicto non oritur action, denying all recovery to the guilty
parties inter se. And appellant is clearly as guilty as her husband in the attempt to
evade the legal interdiction of Article 1334 of the Code, already cited. Wherefore,
her present action to reivindicate the, conveyed properties was correctly repulsed
by the Court below.
Art. 1306. If the act which constitutes the illicit consideration is neither a crime nor
a misdemeanor, the following rules shall be observed:
1. When both parties are guilty, neither of them can recover what he may have
given by virtue of the contract, or enforce the performance of the undertaking of
the other party;
xxx

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That Article 1306 applies to cases where the nullity arises from the illegality of the
consideration or the purpose of the contract was expressly recognized by this
Supreme Court in Gustilo vs. Maravilla, 48 Phil. 449-450.2
Finally, it cannot be denied that plaintiff-appellant had knowledge of the nullity of
the contract for the transfer of her properties in 1934, because she was even a
party thereto. And yet, her present action was filed only on May 28, 1962 and after

the breaking up of friendly relations between her and defendants-appellees.


Appellant's inaction to enforce her right, for 28 years, cannot be justified by the
lame excuse that she assumed that the transfer was valid. Knowledge of the effect
of that transaction would have been obtained by the exercise of diligence.
Ignorance which is the effect of inexcusable negligence, it has been said, is no
excuse for laches. (Go Chi Gun, etc., et al. vs. Co Cho, et al., G.R. No. L-5208, Feb.
28, 1955). Even assuming for the sake of argument that appellant held her peace,
during the lifetime of her husband, out of legitimate fear for her life, there is no
justification for her future to bring the proper action after his death in 1953. Instead,
she entered into a series of agreements with herein appellees, the children of her
husband by a prior marriage, of partition, usufruct and lease of their share in the
fishponds, transactions that necessarily assumed that Rodriguez had acquired onehalf of the litigated fishponds. In the circumstances, appellant's cause has become a
stale demand and her conduct placed her in estoppel to question the Validity of the
transfer of her properties. (Manila, et al. vs. Galvan, et al., G.R. No. L-23507, May
24, 1967; Perez vs. Herranz, 7 Phil. 695-696).
In view of the foregoing, the decision appealed from is affirmed. Costs against
appellant Concepcion Felix Vda. de Rodriguez. So ordered.
Makalintal, Bengzon, J.P., Zaldivar, Sanchez, Castro, Angeles and Fernando, JJ.,
concur.
Concepcion, C.J. and Dizon, J., are on leave.

EDROSO vs. SABLANFACTS:


Marcelina Edroso was married to Victoriano Sablan until his death on September
22,1882. In this marriage they had a son named Pedro, who was born on August
1,1881, and who at his father's death inherited the two said parcels. Pedro also died
on July 15, 1902, unmarried and without issue and by this decease the two parcels
of land passed through inheritance to his mother, Marcelina Edroso.. Hence thehere
ditary title whereupon is based the application for registration of her
ownership. Two legitimate brothers of Victoriano Sablan that is, two
uncles german of PedroSablan appeared in the case to oppose the registration,
claiming one of two things:Either that the registration be denied, "or that if granted
to her the right reserved bylaw to the opponents be recorded in the registration of
each parcel." The Court of Land Registration denied the registration and the
application appealed through a billof exceptions.
Appellants Contention:
The applicant acquired said lands from her descendant Pedro Sablan
by inheritance;(2) Pedro Sablan had acquired them from his ascendant Victoriano
Sablan, likewiseby inheritance; (3) Victoriano Sablan had likewise acquired them by

inheritance
fromhis ascendants, Mariano Sablan and Maria Rita Fernandez, they having beenadj
udicated to him in the partition of hereditary property had between him and
hisbrothers. These are admitted
facts. The appellant also contends that it is not proven that the two parcels of land i
nquestion have been acquired by operation of law, and that only property
acquiredwithout a valuable consideration, which is by operation of law, is required
by law toreserved.
Appellees Contention:
Argue that the appellants defense was not alleged or discussed in first instance,
butonly herein. Certainly, the allegation in first instance was merely that "Pedro
Sablanacquired the property in question in 1882, before the enforcement of the Civil
Code,which establishes the alleged right required by law to be reserved, of which
theopponents speak; hence, prescription of the right of action; and finally,
opponents'renunciation of their right, admitting that it existed and that they had it"
RTC Ruling:
The trial court held that the parcels of land in question partake of the nature of pro
perty required by law to be reserved and that in such a case application couldonly
be presented jointly in the names of the mother and the said two uncles
of PedroSablan.
ISSUE
Whether or not the lands which are the subject matter of the application are
requiredby law to be reserved
HELD
YES. The hereditary title is one without a valuable consideration [gratuitous title].
He whoacquires by inheritance gives nothing in return for what he receives and
a very definite conclusion of law also is that the uncles german are within the third
degreeof blood relationship.Art. 811, OCC provides:
The ascendant who inherits from his descendant property which the latter
acquiredwithout a valuable consideration from another ascendant, or from a brother
or sister,is under obligation to reserve what he has acquired by operation of law for
therelatives who are within the third degree and belong to the line whence the
property proceeded.
Marcelina Edroso, ascendant of Pedro Sablan, inherited from him these two parcels
of land which he acquired without a valuable consideration that is, by inheritance
fromanother ascendant, his father Victoriano. Having acquired them by operation of
law,she is obligated to reserve them intact for the claimants, who are uncles or

relativeswithin the third degree and belong to the line of Mariano Sablan and Maria
RitaFernandez, whence the lands proceeded. The trial court's ruling that they
partake of the nature of property required by law to be reserved is therefore in
accordance withthe law.If Pedro Sablan had instituted his mother in a will as the
universal heiress of hisproperty, all he left at death would not be required by law to
be reserved, but onlywhat he would have perforce left her as the legal portion of a
legitimate ascendant.[Art. 809, OCC.] In such case only the half constituting the
legal portion would berequired by law to be reserved, because it is what by
operation of law would fall tothe mother from her son's inheritance; the other half at
free disposal would not haveto be reserved.Proof of testate succession devolves
upon the heir or heiress who alleges it. It mustbe admitted that a half of Pedro
Sablan's inheritance was acquired by his mother byoperation of law. The law
provides that the other half is also presumed to be acquiredby operation of law
that is, by intestate succession. Otherwise, proof to offset thispresumption must be
presented by the interested party, that is, that the other half was acquired by the
man's wish and not by operation of law. In this case, theinterested party has not
proved that either of the lots became Marcelinas inheritancethrough the free
disposal of her son. Two kinds of property required by law to be reserved
are distinguished in the CivilCode.Article 968 provides:
"Besides the reservation imposed by article 811, the widow or widower contracting
asecond marriage shall be obliged to set apart for the children and descendants
of thefirst marriage the ownership of all the property he or she may have acquired
fromthe deceased spouse by will, by intestate succession, by gift, or other transfer
w/out a valuable consideration."
From principles of jurisprudence laid down by the Supreme Court of Spain, it isinferr
ed that if from December, 1889, to July, 1893, a case had occurred of a
rightrequired to be reserved by article 811, the persons entitled to such right would
havebeen able to institute, against the ascendants who must make
the reservation,proceedings for the assurance and guaranty that articles 977 and
978 grant to thechildren of a first marriage against their father or mother who has
married again. Theproceedings for assurance, under article 977, are: Inventory of
the property subject to the right reserved, annotation in the property registry of
such right reserved in thereal property and appraisal of the personal property; and
the guaranty, under article978, is the assurance by mortgage, in the case of realty,
of the value of what isvalidly alienated.Article 199 of amended Mortgage Law: "The
special mortgage for guaranteeing theright reserved by article 811 of the Civil Code
can only be required by the relatives inwhose favor the property is to be reserved, if
they are of age; if minors, it will berequired by the persons who should legally
represent them. In either case the right of the persons in whose favor the property
must be reserved will be secured by thesame requisites as set forth in the
preceding articles (relative to the right reserved byarticle 968 of
the Civil Code), applying to the person obligated to reserve the rightthe provisions

with respect to the father." The lapse of the ninety days is not the expiration by
prescription of the period for theexercise of this right of action by the persons in
whose favor the right must bereserved, but really the commencement thereof, and
enables them to exercise it atany time, since no limit is set in the law. So, if the
annotation of the right required bylaw to be reserved in the two parcels of land in
question must be made in theproperty registry of the Mortgage Law, the persons
entitled to it may now instituteproceedings to that end, and an allegation of
prescription against the exercise of such right of action cannot be sustained.
What are the rights in the property of the person who holds it subject
tothe reservation of article 811 of the Old Civil Code?
The person required by article 811 to reserve the right has, beyond any doubt at
all,the rights of use and usufruct. He has, moreover,
the legal title and dominion,although under a condition subsequent. Clearly he has,
under an express provision of the law, the right to dispose of the property reserved,
and to dispose of is to alienate,although under a condition. He has the right
to recover it, because he is the one whopossesses or should possess it and have
title to it, although a limited and revocableone. In a word, the legal title and
dominion, even though under a condition, reside inhim while he lives. After the right
required by law to be reserved has been assured,he can do anything that a genuine
owner can do.On the other hand, the relatives within the third degree in whose
favor the right isreserved cannot dispose of the property, first because it is no way,
either actually,constructively or formally, in their possession; and, moreover,
because they have notitle of ownership or of fee
simple which they can transmit to another, on thehypothesis that only when the
person who must reserve the right should die beforethem will they acquire it, thus
creating a fee simple, and only then will they take theirplace in the succession of
the descendant of whom they are relatives within the thirddegree, that is to say, a
second contingent place in said legitimate succession in thefashion of aspirants to a
possible future legacy. If any of the persons in whose favorthe right is reserved
should, after their right has been assured in the registry, dare todispose of even
nothing more than the fee simple of the property to be reserved hisact would be
null and void, for it is impossible to determine the part "that mightpertain therein to
the relative at the time he exercised the right, because in view of the nature and
scope of the right required by law to be reserved the extent of
hisright cannot be foreseen, for it may disappear by his dying before
the personrequired to reserve it, just as it may even become absolute should that
person die."No act of disposal inter vivos of the person required by law to reserve
the right canbe impugned by him in whose favor it is reserved, because such person
has all, absolutely all, the rights inherent in ownership, except that the legal title
is burdenedwith a condition that the third party acquirer may ascertain from the
registry in orderto know that he is acquiring a title subject to a condition
subsequent. In conclusion, itseems to us that only an act of disposal mortis causa in

favor of persons other thanrelatives within the third degree of the descendant from
whom he got the property tobe reserved must be prohibited to him, because this
alone has been the object of thelaw: "To prevent persons outside a family from
securing, by some special accident of life, property that would otherwise have
remained therein."
Can the heir of the property required by law to be reserved himself
aloneregister the ownership of the property he has inherited?
YES. When the persons in whose favor the reservation must be made agree
theretoand provided that the right reserved to them in the two parcels of land is
recorded,as the law provides.
September 19, 1921
G.R. No. 14904
FRANCISCO D. LUNSOD, ET AL., plaintiffs-appellants,
vs.
SINFOROSO ORTEGA, ET AL., defendants-appellees.
Pascual and Bernardo etc. Cecilio for appellants.
Benito Gimenez Zoboli for appellees.
ARAULLO, J.:
On June 3, 1915, Rufina Medel, widow, resident of the municipality of San Pablo,
Province of Laguna, in a public document executed and acknowledged on the same
day before Felix Esconde, notary public for and in said municipality, sold to
Francisco Lunsod, husband of Gabina Peyamonte, for the sum of P2,000 and with
the right to repurchase for two years, three parcel of land planted with coconut
trees, situated in the barrio of Sta. Catalina of said municipality, described in said
document and in the complaint to which reference is hereafter made, it being a
condition of the sale that the vendor could not exercise the right to repurchase until
after the expiration of said two years from the date of the document and that twothirds of the fruits produced by said land would belong to the purchaser and onethird to the vendor, as compensation for the work of cleaning and taking care of the
parcels of land during said period.
On September 19, 1916, Francisco Lunsod filed in the justice of the peace court of
San Pablo a complaint against Sinforoso Ortega and Candido Cariaga, the case
being docketed there as civil case No. 861. In said complaint the description of the
parcels in question was given and the plaintiff alleged that he was the owner of the
three parcels of land mentioned in the aforementioned document and that on or
about June 4, 1916, he was illegally, and by means of strategy and stealth, turned
out of the possession thereof by Sinforoso Ortega and Candido Cariaga, who have
been collecting the fruits, thereby injuring him in the sum of P150. The plaintiff,

therefore, prayed that judgment be rendered against the defendants, ordering them
to deliver the possession to the plaintiff, and compelling them to pay to the plaintiff
the sum of P150, the value of the coconuts taken and the damages occasioned to
the latter, and further, that a writ of preliminary injunction be issued enjoining the
defendants from continuing to perform acts of possession upon the land and from
gathering the fruits.
The defendants having answered the complaint, judgment was rendered on October
26, 1916, by the justice of the peace court in favor of the plaintiff, sentencing
Sinforoso Ortega to restore the possession of the property in question to the plaintiff
and to pay the sum of P150, as damages sustained by the latter, with the costs. The
case was dismissed as to the defendant Cariaga. From this judgment an appeal was
taken to the Court of First Instance by the defendant Ortega. In the Court of First
Instance an incidental question was raised by the plaintiff concerning the
irregularity and insufficiency of the bond filed by the defendant for the purpose of
the appeal and it was asked that the appeal be declared improperly taken and
dismissed. This motion was overruled in said court and due exception was taken by
the plaintiff, who thereupon reproduced his complaint in said court against the
defendant Sinforoso Ortega only, but without the allegation that he was the owner
of said parcels, it being only alleged that prior to the month of June, 1916, he was in
the quiet and peaceful possession and enjoyment thereof, and, in addition to what
was alleged in his complaint in the justice of the peace court, that the defendant
Sinforoso Ortega has used force and intimidation in turning him out of said
possession and that until said day, March 9, 1917, said defendant illegally detained
said parcels. The plaintiff prayed that the injunction mentioned in his previous
complaint be issued against the defendant, that he be sentenced to restore the
possession of said three parcels to the plaintiff, and to pay the sum of P150 as
damages and whatever other damages may have been suffered by him from the
month of September, 1916, the date of the filing of the complaint, until the final
disposition of the case, and the costs.
In answer to said complaint, the defendant Ortega denied generally and specifically
each and every allegation thereof, and alleged, as a special defense, that he was in
possession of said parcels because he was, together with his sister Francisca
Ortega, a pro indiviso owner thereof, and that his possession was not obtained
illegally, nor by the means mentioned in the complaint. The defendant, therefore,
prayed that he be absolved from the complaint and the injunction denied.
To this answer the plaintiff filed a reply, denying generally and specifically all the
facts alleged therein, and further stating that said three parcels were his exclusive
property, having acquired them by purchase from Rufina Medel, deceased, the sole
and absolute owner thereof.
Said Rufina Medel having died on April 10, 1916, intestate proceedings, docketed as
case No. 2218, were instituted in the same Court of First Instance of Laguna by

Cipriano Medel, brother of said deceased, for the appointment of an administrator of


the property left by her, and Cipriano Medel himself was appointed administrator.
An inventory of the property of said deceased having been submitted on October
31, 1916, in which the three parcels of land in question were included, with the
statement that they had been sold to Francisco Lunsod with the right to repurchase
for the sum of P2,000, Sinforoso Ortega and Francisca Ortega appeared in said
proceedings and filed a motion asking that said parcels be excluded from the
inventory on the ground that said parcels were their exclusive property and were
then in their exclusive possession, having inherited the same from their first cousin,
Anacleta Ortega, who died in the municipality of San Pablo on or about June 8, 1903.
This petition was opposed by said administrator and denied by the court on
November 25, 1916, reserving to Sinforoso Ortega and Francisca Ortega the right to
institute the proper action against the administrator of the property, on the ground
that the question as to the ownership of those parcels could not be raised in said
proceedings.
By virtue of said resolution, Sinforoso Ortega and Francisca Ortega filed, on the
same day that the order was issued, a complaint in the Court of First Instance,
which was afterwards amended and docketed as case No. 2286, against said
administrator of the estate of Rufina Medel, deceased, and Francisco Lunsod, the
plaintiff in the case for unlawful entry and detainer. It was there alleged that
through inheritance from their deceased father Mariano Ortega and their niece
Anacleta Ortega, deceased, they, Sinforoso Ortega and Francisca Ortega, were the
absolute owners thereof, and had been in possession of said parcels in question;
that the defendants, by common accord, without any legal right, in an attempt to
dispossess them of said parcels, had decided to molest and interrupt them in the
possession and enjoyment thereof. In support of this claim it was alleged that
Francisco Lunsod had presented a criminal complaint against them for theft of
coconuts in the justice of the peace court of San Pablo, which was dismissed, as
appeared from the certained copy attached to the complaint as a part thereof, and
Cipriano Medel had included said parcels of land in the inventory submitted by him,
as administrator of the estate of said deceased in the intestate proceeding No.
2218, and both had filed numberless charges against them for theft of coconuts
all this in addition to the other acts performed by said defendants which restricted
the rights of the plaintiffs as owners of said property from the death of Rufina Medel
on April 10, 1916, who, during her lifetime, had only the usufruct of said parcels.
The plaintiffs pray: (1) That said parcels be excluded by said administrator of the
estate from the inventory; (2) that they, the plaintiffs, be declared the sole owners
of said parcels and the improvements thereon; (3) that a preliminary injunction be
issued and that it be made absolute, enjoining the defendants, their agents or
representatives from disturbing the plaintiffs in their possession and the exercise of
their rights as owners, which they had been exercising upon said parcels, and from
intervening in the gathering of the fruits thereof.

The prayer for the preliminary injunction was denied on the ground that the
question whether or not the death of Rufina Medel gave an end to the usufruct and
possession of said parcels, which apparently were in the possession of the intestate
estate, as they were included in said inventory, would have to be finally determined
in the very case initiated by said complaint; and a demurrer to the complaint having
been presented by the defendants and overruled by the court, the defendants
answered the complaint, denying generally and specifically all the facts alleged
therein, and alleging as special defense, besides those stated as grounds of the
demurer, that one of them, Cipriano Medel, and his sister, Jacoba Medel, acquired
said three parcels of land by inheritance from their deceased sister Rufina Medel,
the same being a property belonging to the intestate estate of said deceased, the
record of which was made an integral part of the answer; that therefore it was
against the law and improper to sue the administrator of said estate before the
debts were paid and the liquidation and adjudication affected by the court; that said
deceased was at any event the sole heir in the direct line of her deceased daughter
Anacleta Ortega, the latter having died before her mother while still young and long
after her father Estanislao Ortega; that there was no will, and as Rufina Medel left
neither legitimate descendants nor ascendants, nor acknowledged or legitimated
children, her brother and sister who survived her, the defendant Cipriano Medel and
the latter's sister Jacoba, succeeded her directly, in all her obligations, rights and
choses in action affecting said three parcels of land, according to said intestate
proceeding No. 2218, and that Rufina Medel, together with her predecessors and
heirs, had been exercising the absolute right of ownership over said parcels and had
been possessing them as owners quietly and peacefully, without any interruption,
for many years until July 4, 1916, when they were usurped by the plaintiffs. As a
counterclaim the defendants also alleged that Rufina Medel in her lifetime, to wit,
on June 3, 1915, sold said three parcels and others with right of repurchase to one
of them the defendant Francisco Lunsod, for the sum of P2,000, as appears in a
public instrument, also made a part of the answer, and that on the same date said
Francisco Lunsod took possession thereof, having been in the quiet and peaceful
possession and enjoyment of the same until the plaintiffs by means of force,
strategy and fraud, illegally deprived them of said possession, said plaintiffs having
been since then gathering the fruits of the lands, notwithstanding the protest and
demands made by said Lunsod, who by reason of said detention had suffered
damages in the sum of P1,140, the value of the coconuts gathered. Said defendants
therefore prayed that they be absolved from the complaint and that the deceased
Rufina Medel be declared to be the sole owner of said three parcels of land, as the
sole intestate heirs of her deceased daughter Anacleta Ortega and successor of the
latter in all her rights and obligations and that Cipriano Medel and his sister Jacoba
were equally intestate heirs with respect to the properties left by the deceased
Rufina and that the acts and contracts executed by the latter should be considered
subsisting; and, finally, that the plaintiffs be sentenced to return said three parcels
to the defendant Francisco Lunsod and to pay P1,440, ad damages caused said
defendant, plus the sum of P90, as the value of the crop for every two months until

said restitution is effected, and that, if the plaintiffs should not pay said sum to the
defendant Lunsod, they be ordered, pending the trial and until final judgment, to
deposit said crop as the average product for every two succeeding months.
In answer to said counterclaim, the plaintiffs denied all the allegation thereof,
setting up as a special defense that the sale of the lands in question with the right
to repurchase, made by Rufina Medel in favor of Francisco Lunsod, was absolutely
null and void because the vendor was not the true and exclusive owner of said
parcels of land at the time of said sale, for which reason it did not have any effect,
and the plaintiffs asked that they be absolved from the counterclaim.
After the institution of intestate proceedings for the settlement of the estate of the
deceased Rufina Medel, to wit, on November 6, 1916, which was one and one-half
month after the filing by Francisco Lunsod of the complaint for unlawful detainer
and six days after the inventory of the properties left by said deceased had been
made and submitted, the administrator of the estate, Cipriano Medel, and his sister
Jacoba presented in the same Court of First Instance of Laguna an application, which
was later amended, for the registration in their name, in accordance with the Land
Registration Act, of said three parcels with the improvements thereon, described in
the plans attached thereto. In said application it was alleged that they acquired the
absolute title thereof through inheritance from their deceased sister Rufina Medel,
and that said parcels were occupied since the year 1915 by Francisco Lunsod to
whom they had been sold with the right to repurchase by their sister Rufina. The
applicants finally invoked the benefits of chapter 6 of Act No. 926, on the ground
that they had been in continuous, open and peaceful possession of the land for
more than 21 years including that of their predecessors in interest.
The application, which was docketed as case No. 219, was opposed on the one hand
by Francisco Lunsod, and on the other, by Sinforoso Ortega and Francisca Ortega.
The first named person alleged that, the period for the repurchase of said parcels,
stipulated in the document of June 3, 1915, having already expired, without any of
those believing themselves entitled thereto having made use of the right of
redemption, he was the sole and exclusive owner thereof. The last two named
persons, in turn, claimed that they were the absolute owners and were in
possession thereof, having acquired them by inheritance from their deceased father
Mariano Ortega and their deceased niece Anacleta Ortega.
The three civil suits respectively mentioned, to wit, case No. 2322, for unlawful
entry and detainer, case No. 2286, for the recovery of title, and exclusion of the
land from the inventory of the intestate estate of the deceased Rufina Medel and
the issuance of a preliminary injunction against the defendants, and finally case No.
219, that is to say, the proceedings instituted by Cipriano Medel and his sister
Jacoba Medel for the registration of said three parcels, were jointly tried, by
common consent of the parties; and it was agreed between the parties that the
evidence introduced in case No. 2286, should be considered as evidence in the

other two cases. After said trial the Court of First Instance of Laguna rendered
judgment as follows: In case No. 219, which is the land registration case, it was
declared that Cipriano and Jacoba Medel had no right to a decree of registration and
the application was therefore dismissed, with costs. In the other tow civil cases,
Nos. 2286 and 2322, it was held that the three parcels of land in question belonged
to Sinforoso Ortega and Francisca Ortega, and it was therefore ordered that the
defeated party should pay the costs and that said three parcels should be excluded
from the inventory submitted by Cipriano Medel, administrator of the estate of the
deceased Rufina Medel in civil case No. 2218, the intestate proceeding. To this
judgment the plaintiff Francisco Lunsod and the administrator of the intestate
estate, Cipriano Medel, and his sister Jacoba Medel excepted, and filed a motion for
new trial, which was denied with their exception, and took an appeal by the proper
bill of exceptions, which was transmitted to this court.
In their brief the appellants assign various errors to the judgment of the trial court.
Some of these errors refer to the allowance of the appeal from the judgment
rendered by the justice of the peace court, notwithstanding the alleged irregularity
of the bond filed; to the consequent lack of jurisdiction of the Court of First Instance
to take cognizance of the case on account thereof and for the reason that an
original complaint asking for the issuance of a preliminary injunction as to said three
parcels had been filed, although said complaint had no connection with any other
case pending before said court; and lastly, to the overruling by said court of the
demurrer to said complaint presented by the defendants-appellants. The other
errors relate to the merits of the case.
The defendant Ortega was not sentenced by the justice of the peace in the case for
unlawful entry and detainer to pay any sum as rent in arrears of the land or as the
reasonable value of the use and occupation of the same, for the judgment did not
fix any amount, and the bond filed by him was in the sum of P500, (not P150, for
this was merely the amount which the defendant was sentenced to pay as
damages, and which was, by order of the court dated September 27, 1917,
substituted by P500), to answer to damages and costs, not with only one surety, as
claimed by the appellants, but with two sureties. Therefore said bond was in
accordance with the provisions of section 88 of the Code of Civil Procedure, as
amended by Acts Nos. 1776 and 2588; and the defendant is not obliged, in order to
secure a stay of the execution of said judgment, to make any monthly payment, as
required by Act No. 2588, for the reason that there was in the judgment no order for
the payment of rent in arrears nor for any amount for the use and occupation of
said parcels. The result is that the appeal interposed by the defendant against said
judgment was properly admitted and the Court of First Instance acquired jurisdiction
to take cognizance of said case.
It is not true that the complaint filed by Sinforoso and Francisca Ortega against
Francisco Lunsod and Cipriano Medel, administrator of the intestate estate of the
deceased Rufina Medel, docketed in the Court of First Instance as case No. 2286,

had for its sole object the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction against said
defendants, prohibiting them from performing acts of ownership and possession
upon said parcels. Neither is it true that said complaint is not related to any other
original action instituted in said court, fro in the same complaint, as already stated,
allegations were made relative to the title of the plaintiffs to said parcels and to the
acts performed by the defendants violative of plaintiffs' right over said parcels and
of their possession, use and enjoyment thereof; and by virtue of these allegations, it
was prayed not only that the plaintiffs be declared the only owners of said parcels
with the improvements thereon, as though the proper action to recover the title
were instituted, but also that said parcels be excluded and stricken out from the
inventory presented in the intestate proceedings for the settlement of the estate of
said deceased, and, lastly, that said writ of preliminary injunction be issued. It is,
therefore, evident that there is no force in the arguments advanced by the
appellants to show that the trial court committed errors Nos. 4 and 5, assigned in
their brief, in taking cognizance of said action in spite of its lack of jurisdiction, and
in overruling the demurrer to the complaint on the ground that the facts therein
stated did not constitute a cause of action.
Neither does the claim or allegation, made by the appellants, of another action
pending, justify the filing of said demurrer for two reasons: First, in case No. 2322,
instituted by Francisco Lunsod against Sinforoso Ortega and Candido Cariaga in the
justice of the peace court, the only question in issue was as to the actual possession
of said three parcels of land, and, although in said case for unlawful entry and
detainer judgment was rendered by said court in favor of the plaintiff, from which
appeal was taken by the defendant Ortega, said judgment, according to the positive
provisions of section 87 of the Code of Civil Procedure and the repeated doctrines of
this Court, construing said section, is no obstacle to the institution by the same
parties in the Court of First Instance of another action respecting the title to said
real property, nor is it conclusive evidence, in another case between the same
parties, of the facts established therein. Second, with respect to the petition of the
plaintiffs Ortega in case No. 2286, for the recovery of title, and exclusion of said
parcels from the inventory of the intestate estate of the deceased Rufina Medel, on
the ground that the same belong to them in fee simple and they are entitled to the
possession thereof, since the court held in said intestate proceedings that the
question of title to said property was a matter of another action, for it was not
proper to raise it in said proceedings, and the administrator of the intestate did not
appeal from said decision, said ruling became final. Besides, in said motion the
defendant Francisco Lunsod and Jacoba Medel were not parties in said petition while
they were parties defendant, together with Cipriano Medel, in the case for recovery
of title No. 2286. Furthermore, it is an established doctrine of this court that the
mere fact that one of the parties is the executor or administrator of the estate of a
deceased person does not confer upon the probate court, in which the proceedings
for the distribution and settlement of said estate are pending, exclusive jurisdiction
to decide all questions that may arise between said executor or administrator and

third persons as to the title to a specific property (Bauermann vs. Casas. 10 Phil.,
386), which doctrine the trial court undoubtedly had in mind in reserving to the
plaintiffs in said proceedings the right to institute the proper action against the
administrator of the intestate estate with respect to the ownership of said property.
Lastly, neither could the demurrer be sustained on the ground that the plaintiffs had
no capacity to bring such action docketed as case No. 2286, for the recovery of title,
because a plaintiffs lacks capacity to sue in two cases, to wit, when he does not
have the necessary qualifications to appear at the trial, or when he does not have
the character or representation he claims; and, in the present case, it does not
appear from the complaint that the plaintiffs were not in the full exercise of their
civil rights, nor was it necessary that they should first have proved their character
as heirs of their deceased father Mariano Ortega and their deceased niece Anacleta
Ortega, for, it having been alleged that they were absolute owners of the parcels in
question by inheritance from them, this should be, as in fact it was, a matter to be
proved at the trial. If it should be accepted that for this reason the plaintiffs had no
capacity to institute the action, it necessarily follows that the defendants Cipriano
Medel and Jacoba Medel would also lack the capacity to exercise, as they did in their
answer to said complaint, their rights as owners of said parcels by inheritance from
the deceased sister Rufina Medel, or the right to ask for the registration of said
parcels in the registry of property in their name because of their character as such
heirs, as they did in the application docketed as case No. 219, which was presented
when the proceedings relating to the administration of the intestate estate of the
same deceased were not yet terminated, the inventory of the respective properties
was not yet approved, and no declaration had as yet been made in favor of said
defendants.
The questions raised by the parties in the three cases aforesaid by their respective
allegations reduced themselves to one the resolution of which will determine the
appeal interposes by the defendants. This question relates to the title to the three
parcels which were sold with the rights to repurchase by Rufina Medel to Francisco
Lunsod in the documents of June 3, 1915.
Considering the documents in connection with the testimony of the appellees
Ortega, Prudencio Baldovino and Aguedo Reyes, it appears from the evidence
beyond question: (1) That upon the death of Mariano Ortega, resident of the
municipality of San Pablo, Province of Laguna, which took place about 27 years ago,
he left three children, named Sinforoso, Francisca and Estanislao Ortega; (2) that
Estanislao Ortega was married on May 8, 1895, to Rufina Medel and died on
September 26, 1902, leaving a daughter born of said marriage, named Anacleta
Ortega, who also died on June 17, 1903, at the age of six years, she and Estanislao
Ortega having been survived by said Rufina Medel, who died on April 10, 1916.
The plaintiff Sinforoso Ortega presented two witnesses, Prudencio Baldovino and
Aguedo Reyes, who are residents of the same municipality of San Pablo, 65 years

old, and well informed about the three parcels of land in question, situated in the
barrio of Sta. Catalina of said municipality, because the first, for about forty years or
more, and the second, since he could remember, had possessed lands in the same
place besides the latter being an adjoining owner of the third parcel. From their
testimony it also appears that the person whom they first saw in possession of said
three parcels, cleaning and sowing and planting palay and coconut trees upon them
was, according to one of them, Mariano Ortega, father of Sinforoso Ortega,
Francisca Ortega and Estanislao Ortega, said possession having been quiet and
peaceful; that upon the death of Mariano Ortega, he was succeeded in the
possession of said parcels by the three brothers, children of said deceased, named
Sinforoso, Francisca and Estanislao Ortega, who used to help their father in the
cultivation of the land and continued to cultivate it, as was seen by the same
witnesses; that upon the death of Estanislao Ortega, husband of Rufina Medel, the
latter and her brother and sister-in-law Sinforoso and Francisca, respectively, that is
to say, the appellees in this case, continued in possession, aiding one another,
according to Sinforoso Ortega, in the cultivation of the land, and dividing the fruits
collected therefrom between them; that upon the death of Rufina Medel on April 10,
1916, said Sinforoso and Francisca Ortega, and no other, took, or continued in,
possession, according to the second of said witnesses, Aguedo Reyes, one of the
appellees, Sinforoso Ortega being at present, that is to say, at the time the witness
was testifying, in possession of the land, although in the month of October, 1916,
Rufina Medel being already dead, Catalino Alaguilan Segundo collected the coconuts
by order, according to them, of Francisco Lunsod, that is, the plaintiff in the case for
unlawful entry and detainer, No. 2322, but after that event Sinforoso Ortega
continued in possession. The same witnesses Baldovino and Reyes described the
different parcels in their declarations, the first having described the boundaries of
each of the three parcels and stated the number of trees planted on them, and the
second having given the boundaries of the second parcel about which he was
examined, and also stated the number of coconut trees planted thereon, as well as
the fact that Mariano Ortega had a house on said parcel, which was between the
other two parcels; and, finally, the first, who had been cabeza de barangay and
lieutenant of the barrio of Sta. Catalina, as well as the second who, as aforesaid,
possessed lands in that barrio, testified that they did not know that the Medel family
had any land in the same barrio, the last named witness stating that the lands of
the Medel family were in the barrio of San Lorenzo, near that of Sta. Catalina.
Lastly, the attorney for the plaintiffs and appellees Ortega having stated that he still
had two witnesses, named Basilia Balcita, adjoining owner of the third parcel on the
west, and Pantaleon Esconde on the north, and another witness Cirilo Escaba,
adjoining owner of the first parcel on the west, who testify to the same effect as the
witness Aguedo Reyes, the attorney for the appellants accepted their testimony
without objection.

On the other hand, from the evidence offered by the defendants it appears,
according to Francisco Lunsod, that he was in possession of said three parcels since
June, 1915, the date of the deed of sale executed by Rufina Medel in his favor, two
which reference was made in the beginning of this decision, as shown by his having
ordered the collection of the fruits every two months by his overseer, who was
Cipriano Medel; that his watchman on said lands was Catalino Alaguilan Segundo;
that he held said possession until June, 1916, when the land was taken by Sinforoso
Ortega who prohibited his overseer (Lunsod's) from collecting the fruits on the
ground that the property belonged to him (Ortega): that by reason thereof he filed a
complaint in the justice of the peace court for theft, which was dismissed, and
another for forcible entry and detainer; that he collected fruits six times a year,
sometimes personally and sometimes through his overseer, although he could not
exactly say how many times he had been on the land; that he also placed Rufina
Medel herself in charge of that work in her lifetime, she having been succeeded in
the possession by her brother Cipriano; that he knew Rufina Medel to be the true
owner of said parcels, because in the real estate tax declarations, Exhibits 2, 3, and
4, presented by her in the municipality of San Pablo for the purposes of the
payment of the taxes, and introduced at the trial, he saw the name of said Rufina
Medel, the witness identifying the receipt Exhibit 5, also presented by said
defendants, dated May 31, 1917, issued in favor of the same Rufina Medel and
evidencing the payment of the land taxes of 5 parcels of land, two of which,
according to the same document, are situated in said barrio of Sta. Catalina.
Cipriano Medel, testifying as witnesses, declared that he knew that Francisco
Lunsod had property in the barrio of Sta. Catalina because he (Lunsod) had
purchased such property in the year 1915 from his sister Rufina Medel, who before
that year was in possession thereof; that the parcel in the sitio of Ma-ancel in said
barrio was bought by his parents (the witness') from Mariano Ortega, but he did not
then remember the boundaries thereof nor could be say how many coconut trees
there were on the land because he had not seen them; that the other parcel in the
sitio of Duhat was bought by Rufina Medel from one Julio Bajalaldia, deceased, but
the witness does not remember when because Rufina Medel told him only that she
had bought that land; that the other parcel in the sitio of Lacdawen had not been
bought by Rufina Medel from anybody; that the sitio of Ma-ancel is in the barrio of
Sta. Catalina and that the other parcel is in the sitio of Catmon; that since 1915,
when said lands were conveyed to Francisco Lunsod by Rufina Medel the former
took possession thereof, but in the year 1916, Sinforoso Ortega seized (so says the
witness) the possession thereof from the former, prohibiting Lunsod from collecting
the coconuts on the land and from interfering in any way with them on the ground
that he, Ortega, was its owner.
Francisco Baldonado, another witness for the defendants, 28 years old and laborer
by occupation, also stated that he knew that Lunsod had a coconut grove in the
barrio of Sta. Catalina, because he had been several times upon said land since

1915 and had bought coconuts from the overseer, named Cipriano Medel, about
four times, and thrice from Lunsod himself, although it is true that the third time,
which took place in the first days of June, 1916, the purchase was not carried into
effect because Sinforoso Ortega suspended the collection of the fruits, telling them
that if they should not do so they would settle the matter by force. The witness also
declared that he did not remember the boundaries of the land on which the
gathering of the fruits was suspended, nor the number of coconut trees or fruits that
were in the land, and that when the event occurred Francisco Lunsod was not
present.
The parties stipulated that Mateo Ticson would declare in the same terms as the
preceding witness.
Catalino Alaguilan Segundo, a laborer 50 years old, also testifying for the
defendants, stated that he knew that Francisco Lunsod had three parcels of land in
said barrio of Sta. Catalina, municipality of San Pablo, one in the sitio of Lacdawen,
another in Ma-ancel, and the third in Catmon, of which parcels he was the owner
and possessor since 1915 by acquisition from Rufina Medel, who in turn acquired
the land in the sitio of Lacdawen from her father-in-law Mariano Ortega as dowry
when she married, that in the sitio of Ma-ancel by inheritance from her mother (that
of Rufina Medel), and that in the sitio of Catmon, the boundaries of which were
mentioned but not the respective cardinal points, by purchase from Julio Bajalaldia
about twenty years ago, said Medel being then newly married, this fact being also
known to the witness because he had been working with them and Medel had
requested him to gather the coconuts in order to pay to Bajalaldia the price of the
said parcel, and he himself, who was then a laborer working for Rufina Medel,
personally delivered the price of the vendor, the first delivery being for P20 and the
second for P15, without any receipt having been given by Bajalaldia for he stated
that he did not know how to write; that from the time of the possession of Rufina
Medel he himself took care of said land and gathered the coconuts thereon, and
since 1915 Francisco Lunsod put him in charge thereof ordering him to gather the
fruits which he had done six times; that the parcel in Lacdawen was, during the
lifetime of Mariano Ortega, in the latter's possession and they gathered the fruits
thereon; that from the very first time that he knew the parcel in Ma-ancel he saw
Rufina Medel and her husband in possession thereof, the witness also naming the
boundaries but not the respective cardinal points; that the owner of the parcel in
Lacdawen was the father of Sinforoso Ortega and the person taking care of the
three parcels on the date on which he testified was the same Sinforoso Ortega since
June, 1916, when he seized the lands from Francisco Lunsod; and finally that he, the
witness, as the overseer or watchman of Lunsod, had a share of one-fifth in the
fruits gathered on said parcels and was interested in securing the possession of the
land for Lunsod.
The evidence adduced by both parties being considered, we arrive at the conclusion
that there is no reason why we should not give credit to the testimony of the

witnesses for the plaintiffs, relative to the statements in the documents presented
by them, with respect to the relationship between said plaintiffs Sinforoso Ortega
and Francisca Ortega and the deceased Mariano Ortega, Estanislao Ortega and his
daughter, Anacleta Ortega, born of the marriage with Rufina Medel, who also died at
a tender age, one year after her father Estanislao, as well as with respect to the
quiet, peaceful, and uninterrupted possession which they enjoyed since about thirty
years ago of the three parcels in question, first, through Mariano Ortega and later,
upon his death, through his children Sinforoso, Francisca and Estanislao, and upon
the latter's death through Rufina Medel, mother of Anacleta Ortega, together with
her brother and sister-in-law Sinforoso and Francisca, respectively, which possession
was, upon the death of Anacleta, held by said three persons until June 3, 1915,
when the mother of the latter, Rufina Medel, sold said three parcels to Francisco
Lunsod with the right to repurchase. Said witnesses, two of whom are 65 years of
age and adjoining owners with respect to said lands, had shown complete
knowledge of those facts and explained the reasons why they respectively knew
what they had testified to.
On the other hand, while it is true that from the testimony given by the witnesses
for the defendants it appears that they had attempted to prove the sole and
exclusive title of Rufina Medel to said three parcels and her possession thereof as
owner when she sold them on said date, June 3, 1915, to Francisco Lunsod, said
witnesses tracing said possession to an original different from that claimed by the
plaintiffs, yet the following facts must be observed in analyzing said declarations:
(1) Francisco Lunsod himself did not know from whom Rufina Medel acquired said
parcels. He knew that she owned them only from the real estate tax declaration
presented by her in the municipality of San Pablo for the purposes of taxation and
by the real estate tax receipts issued to her on May 31, 1917, on which date she
was already dead, and in which receipt the two parcels situated in the barrio of Sta.
Catalina, municipality of San Pablo, are only vaguely and generally mentioned.
These documents, as may be seen, are not and cannot be considered as evidence of
title, as has repeatedly been held by this court in similar cases. Besides, it must also
be remembered that in 1915 said lands had been placed in the assessment list in
her own name by Rufina Medel after the death of her daughter Anacleta Ortega,
who was the owner thereof, as heir of her deceased father Estanislao Ortega, when,
according to the testimony of the witnesses for the plaintiffs, she and the plaintiffs,
her brother and sister-in-law, were in joint possession of said real property. This fact
also explains why Rufina Medel in June of said year was able to effect the sale of
those three parcels, with the right to repurchase, in favor of Francisco Lunsod as if
she were the lawful and exclusive owner thereof, although with the condition
inserted in the corresponding documents that she, the vendor, would take care and
clean said parcels in consideration of a third party of the coconuts that might be
gathered during the term of the repurchase, a circumstance which may have caused

the Ortega brother, who participated with her in the possession thereof, not to note
that she had conveyed said parcels with pacto de retro to said Lunsod.
(2) Rufina Medel being in charge of the cleaning and watching of said parcels at said
compensation it is strange that Cipriano Medel should also be the overseer of
Lunsod, as stated by the latter, and this is particularly so, because said Cipriano
Medel in his testimony was not asked by the attorney for the defendants on this
point and did not make any statement whatever about it; on the other hand it is not
strange that Catalino Alaguilan Segundo should have declared that he was the
watchman of Lunsod and furthermore, that he participated to the extent of one-fifth
of the fruits collected on said parcels, for the reason that said person, according to
his testimony, had been working for Rufina Medel and had taken care of said parcels
and gathered the fruits thereon since the time of Rufina Medel; the result, therefore,
is that, although it may be true that Rufina Medel on June 3, 1915, had sold the
lands with pacto de retro to Francisco Lunsod, as appears from the document
already mentioned, the testimony of said Alaguilan Segundo does not prove that the
plaintiffs were not, jointly with Rufina Medel, in possession of said parcels on the
date when according to Francisco Lunsod, he was turned out of said possession by
Sinforoso Ortega and this is the more so when it is considered that, according to
Lunsod himself, the person who gathered the coconuts on said parcels was his
representative, Cipriano Medel, and his watchman Alaguilan Segundo, he (Lunsod)
having gone to the land only a few times, which he could not exactly determine,
and that he also left that work to Rufina Medel during her lifetime. It is thus seen
quite clearly why the plaintiffs Sinforoso and Francisca Ortega were completely
ignorant of the fact that Rufina Medel had sold said parcels to Francisco Lunsod, and
were unable to know that said Lunsod claimed to be in possession of said lands.
(3) Cipriano Medel did not remember the boundaries of the parcel in Ma-ancel and
could not state how many coconut trees there were on it, because he had not seen
it although he stated that parcel was purchased from Mariano Ortega by his parents
and sisters Jacoba and Rufina Medel; and as he must have known everything
relative to the three parcels for, according to him and his sister Jacoba, they
inherited them from their other sister, now deceased, Rufina Medel, he mentioned a
parcel in the sitio of Duhat as the parcel by her from Julio Bajalaldia, about which
parcel nothing was said by the other witness Catalino Alaguilan Segundo or appears
in the record, said Alaguilan Segundo having, in turn, stated that what was
purchased by Rufina Medel from Julio Bajalaldia was the parcel in the sitio of
Catmon. The result s that as these two witnesses contradict themselves upon this
point nothing certain is proved as to the acquisition of said parcels; and said
Alaguilan Segundo being, according to his own statement, the overseer of said
parcel of Rufina Medel since the latter was married and prior to the year 1915, he
having succeeded Francisco Lunsod, and having about twenty years ago, as laborer
of Rufina Medel, taken to Julio Bajalaldia the payment of the price of the parcel in
Catmon and having, furthermore, as overseer and watchman of Lunsod with a right

to a share of one-fifth of the fruits, collected six times, as stated by him, the fruit of
the coconut trees planted thereon, it is at the same time strange that he was the
owner of the lands adjoining the parcels in Catmon and Lacdawen about which he
has been examined, not having been asked with respect to the boundaries and
owners of the properties adjoining the land at Ma-ancel.
(4) The same parcel in the sitio of Ma-ancel was, according to Alaguilan Segundo,
acquired by Rufina Medel from her mother through inheritance, which is contrary to
the testimony of Cipriano Medel, who testified, as already stated, that said parcel
was purchased by her parents from Mariano Ortega; and said Alaguilan Segundo
has also said that Rufina Medel acquired the parcel in Lacdawen from her father-inlaw Mariano Ortega as dowry when she married, while Cipriano Medel only stated
that parcel was not purchased by Rufina Medel from anybody but did not state how
she acquired it, notwithstanding that he and his sister Jacoba claimed that they
acquired the ownership thereof by inheritance from their deceased sister Rufina.
(5) Francisco Baldonado being a laborer, as stated by him, it is likewise strange that
he had four times purchased coconuts, gathered on said parcels, from the overseer
Cipriano Medel, and twice from Lunsod himself, that is, six times in all, as if he were
a merchant or business man. It is also doubtful that said witness was present when
Sinforoso Ortega suspended the operation of the collection of the fruits on the first
days of June, 1916, threatening to wound those who were engaged in that work,
because he did not remember the boundaries of the land as to which said
suspension was ordered or the number or coconuts gathered or that of the coconut
trees planted upon the land, and, on the other hand, Cipriano Medel himself in his
testimony did not state anything about his having sold at any time the coconut
gathered on said lands, as overseer of Francisco Lunsod, nor about Sinforoso Ortega
having threatened to injure those who were engaged in the gathering of the fruits;
said witness only stated that in 1916 Ortega seized said parcels from Lunsod,
prohibited the latter from gathering the coconuts on the land or from interfering
with them on the ground that he (Ortega) was their owner, which statement
indicates that Lunsod was present when said prohibition was made, and this is aside
from the fact that what has been stated by Alaguilan Segundo clearly leads to the
inference that he, and not Cipriano Medel, was the person who, as overseer and
watchman of the land of Lunsod, for he was entitled to a share of one-fifth of the
fruits, gathered the coconuts by order of Lunsod himself, an operation which
according to him, was effected about six times, which must be the same occasions
refereed to by the witness Baldonado when, according to him, he bought coconuts
from Cipriano Medel, for according to Lunsod himself he had gathered fruits six
times a year and that year was from June, 1915, when he bought the parcels from
Rufina Medel, to June, 1916, when according to the complaint, he was distributed in
the possession thereof. Alaguilan Segundo also did not state that when Sinforoso
Ortega seized said parcels in June , 1916, from Lunsod, he threatened to attack with

his bolo those who were gathering the fruits, nor did he testify that they were then
engaged in that task.
What has been said constitutes sufficient ground for not giving any credence to the
allegation of the defendants and appellants and the testimony of their witnesses
that said defendants owned and possessed the parcels in question. Upon the same
ground it can also be held that the trial court did not err in finding that the weight of
the evidence markedly preponderates in favor of the theory that the lands in
question passed, through inheritance, upon the death of Mariano Ortega, father of
Sinforoso, Francisca and Estanislao Ortega, to the last named person who, with his
wife Rufina Medel, took possession thereof, and that, therefore said couple having
had a daughter named Anacleta Ortega, who inherited said three parcels upon the
death of her father; upon the death of said daughter on June 17, 1903, said three
parcels of land passed by inheritance to her mother Rufina Medel. To this it must
also be added that it is likewise proven that Rufina Medel continued in possession of
said parcels jointly with the brother and sister of her deceased husband, who are
uncle and aunt, respectively, of her deceased daughter Anacleta, and who are the
appellees Sinforoso Ortega and Francisca Ortega, and that she was in such joint
possession on June 3, 1915, when she sold said parcels with pacto de retro to
Francisco Lunsod who, notwithstanding said sale, was not in possession thereof in
June, 1916, the date when, according to him he was turned out of said possession
by Sinforoso Ortega, by reason of which facts we cannot hold that the acts
indicative of that possession and testified to by Lunsod himself and his witnesses
and the witnesses of the other plaintiffs and appellees were duly proven.
Now, according to article 811 of the Civil Code an ascendant who inherits from a
descendant any property acquired by the latter gratuitously from some other
ascendant, or from a brother or sister is obliged to reserve such property as he may
have acquired by operation of law in favor of the relatives within the third degree
belonging to the line from which such property came. In the decision rendered in
the case of Edroso vs. Sablan and Sablan (25 Phil., 295), in which the former, as heir
of her son, asked for the registration of certain property classified as reservable, the
application having been opposed by two legitimate uncles in their capacity as heirs
of their nephew entitled to the reservable property, and in which it was at the same
time asked that, in case the application be granted, the reservable character of the
property in their favor be noted, this court, speaking through the illustrious Chief
Justice, Cayetano S. Arellano, now deceased, laid down the following:
ESTATE; DUTY OF ASCENDANT, WHO INHERITS THROUGH A DESCENDANT, TO
RESERVE THE PROPERTY IN ACCORDANCE WITH LAW; ARTICLE 811, CIVIL CODE.
Property which an ascendant inherits by operation of law from his descendant and
which was inherited by the latter from another ascendant of his, must be reserved
by the ascendant heir in favor of uncles of the descendant from whom the
inheritance proceeded, who are his father's brother, because they are relatives

within the third degree, if they belong to the line whence the property proceeded
according to the provisions of article 811 of the Civil Code.
In the case at bar, Rufina Medel inherited by operation of law from her daughter
Anacleta Ortega, who died at the age of six years, the three parcels of land in
question situated in the barrio of Sta. Catalina in the municipality of San Pablo
Province of Laguna, which parcels had been acquired by said Anacleta Ortega
gratuitously, that is to say, also by inheritance from an ascendant, who was her
father Estanislao Ortega, and said three parcels having come from Mariano Ortega,
father of the deceased Estanislao Ortega and the appellees Sinforoso and Francisco
Ortega, who are therefore relatives within the third degree of the child Anacleta
Ortega, daughter of Estanislao Ortega, then according to the provisions of said
article 811, these pieces of land constitute reservable property in favor of said
Sinforoso and Francisca Ortega, uncle and aunt of the descendant's predecessor in
interest with respect to the property.
With respect to the rights and obligations of the person obliged to reserve in
connection with the reservable property mentioned in the same article, the
discussion made by this court in the same decision in quite clear and explicit, to wit:
It must be remembered that absolute title consists of the rights to use, enjoy,
dispose of, and recover. The person who has in himself all these rights has the
absolute or complete ownership of the thing; otherwise, the person who has the
rights to use and enjoy will have the usufruct, and the person who has the rights of
disposal and recovery the direct title. The person who by law, act, or contract is
granted the right of usufruct has the first two rights of using and enjoying, and then
he is said not to have the fee simple that is, the rights of disposal and recovery,
which pertain to another who, after the usufruct expires, will come into full
ownership.
The question set up in the first assignment of error of the appellant's brief is this:
"What are the rights in the property of the person who holds it subject to the
reservation of article 811 of the Civil Code?"
There are not lacking writers who say, only those of a usufructuary, the ultimate
title belonging to the persons in whose favor the reservation is made. If that were
so, the person holding the property could not apply for registration of title, but the
person in whose favor it must be reserved, with the former's consent. This opinion
does not seem to be admissible, although it appears to be supported by decisions of
the supreme court of Spain of May 21, 1861, and June 18, 1880, prior to the Civil
Code, and of June 22, 1895, somewhat subsequent to the enforcement thereof.
Another writer says: "This opinion only looks at two salient points the usufruct
and the fee simple; the remaining features of the arrangement are not perceived,
but become obscured in the presence of that deceptive emphasis which only brings

out two things: that the person holding the property will enjoy it and that he must
keep what he enjoys for other persons." (Manresa, VII, 189.)
In another place he says: "We do not believe that the third opinion can now be
maintained that is, that the surviving spouse (the person obligated by article 968
to make the reservation) can be regarded as a mere usufructuary and the
descendants immediately as the owner; such theory has no serious foundation in
the Code." (Ibid., 238.)
The ascendant who inherits from a descendant, whether by the latter's wish or by
operation of law, acquires the inheritance by virtue of a title perfectly transferring
absolute ownership. All the attributes of the right of ownership belong to him
exclusively use, enjoyment, disposal, and recovery. This absolute ownership,
which is inherent in the hereditary title, is not altered in the least, if there be no
relatives within the third degree in the line whence the property proceeds or they
die before the ascendant heir who is the possessor and absolute owner of the
property. If there should be relatives within the third degree who belong to the line
whence the property proceeded, then a limitation to that absolute ownership would
arise. The nature and scope of this limitation must be determined with exactness in
order not to vitiate rights that the law wishes to be effective. The opinion which
makes this limitation consists in reducing the ascendant heir to the condition of a
mere usufructuary, depriving him of the right of disposal and recovery, does not
seem to have any support in the law, as it does not have, according to the opinion
that has been expressed in speaking of the rights of the father or mother who has
married again. There is a marked difference between the case where a man's wish
institutes two persons as his heirs, one as usufructuary and the other as owner of
his property, and the case of the ascendant in article 811 or of the father or mother
in article 968. In the first case, there is not the slightest doubt that the title to the
hereditary property resides in the hereditary owner and only he can dispose of and
recover it, while the usufructuary can in no way perform any act of disposal of the
hereditary property (except that he may dispose of the right of usufruct in
accordance with the provisions of article 480 of the Civil Code), or any act of
recovery thereof except the limited one in the form prescribed in article 486 of the
Code itself, because he totally lacks the fee simple. But the ascendant who holds
the property required by article 811 to be reserved, and the father or mother
required by article 968 to reserve the right, can dispose of the property they inherit
itself, the former from his descendant and the latter from his or her child in first
marriage, and recover it from anyone who may unjustly detain it, while the persons
in whose favor the right if required to be reserved in either case cannot perform any
act whatsoever of disposal or of recovery.
Article 975 states explicitly that the father or mother required by article 968 to
reserve the right may dispose of the property itself:

"Alienation of the property required by law to be reserved which may be made by


the surviving spouse after contracting a second marriage shall be valid only if at his
or her death no legitimate children or descendants of the first marriage survive,
without prejudice to the provisions of the Mortgage Law."
It thus appears that the alienation is valid, although not altogether effective, but
under a condition subsequent, to wit: "If at his or her death no legitimate children or
descendants of the first marriage survive."
If the title did not reside in the person holding the property to be reserved, his
alienation thereof would necessarily be null and void, as executed without a right to
do so and without a right which he could transmit to the acquirer. The law says that
the alienation subsists (to subsist is to continue to exist) "without prejudice to the
provisions of the Mortgage Law." Article 109 of this Law says:
"The possessor of property subject to conditions subsequent that are still
pending may mortgage or alienate it, provided always that he preserve the right of
the parties interested in said conditions by expressly reserving that right in the
registration."
In such case, the child or legitimate descendant of the first marriage in whose favor
the rights is reserved cannot impugn the validity of the alienation so long as the
condition subsequent is pending, that is, so long as the remarried spouse who must
reserve the right is alive, because it might easily happen that the person who must
reserve the right should outlive all the persons in whose favor the right is reserved
and then there would be no reasons for the condition subsequent that they survive
him, and, the object of the law having disappeared, the right required to be
reserved would disappear, and the alienation would not only be valid but also in
every way absolutely effective. Consequently, the alienation is valid when the right
required by law to be reserved to the children is respected; while the effects of the
alienation depend upon a condition, because it will or will not become definite, it will
continue to exist or cease to exist, according to circumstances. This is what the law
establishes with reference to the reservation of article 968, wherein the legislator
expressly directs that the surviving spouse who contracts a second marriage shall
reserve to the children or descendants of the first marriage ownership. Article 811
says nothing more than that the ascendant must make the reservation.
Manresa, with his recognized ability, summarizes the subject under the heading,
"Rights and obligations during the existence of the right required by law to be
reserved," in these words:
"During the whole period between the constitution in legal form of the right required
by law to be reserved and the extinction thereof, the relatives within the third
degree, after the right that in their turn may pertain to them has been assured,
have only an expectation, and therefore they do not even have the capacity to
transmit that expectation to their heirs.

"The ascendant is in the first place a usufructuary who should use and enjoy the
things according to their nature, in the manner and form already set forth in
commenting upon the articles of the Code referring to use and usufruct.
"But since in addition to being the usufructuary he is, even though conditionally, the
owner in fee simple of the property, he can dispose of it in the manner provided in
article 974 to 976 of the same Code. Doubt arose also on this point, but
the Direccion General of the registries, in an opinion of June 25, 1892, declared that
articles 974 and 975, which are applicable by analogy, for they refer to property
reserved by law, reveal in the clearest manner the attitude of the legislator on this
subject, and the relatives within the third degree ought not to be more privileged in
the right reserved in article 811 than the children in the right reserved by article
975, chiefly for the reason that the right required to be reserved carries with it a
condition subsequent, and the property subject to those conditions can validly be
alienated in accordance with article 109 of the Mortgage Law, such alienation to
continue, pending fulfillment of the condition." (Civil Code, VI, 270.)
Another commentator corroborates the foregoing in every way. He says:
"The ascendant acquires that property with a condition subsequent, to wit, whether
or not there exist at the time of his death relatives within the third degree of the
descendant from whom they inherit in the line whence the property proceeds. If
such relatives exist, they acquire ownership of the property at the death of the
ascendant. If they do not exist, the ascendant can freely dispose thereof. If this is
true, since the possessor of property subject to conditions subsequent can alienate
and encumber it, the ascendant may alienate the property required by law to be
reserved, but he will alienate what he has and nothing more because no one can
give that does not belong to him, and the acquirer will therefore receive a limited
and revocable title. The relatives within the third degree will in their turn have an
expectation to the property while the ascendant lives, an expectation that cannot
be transmitted to their heirs, unless these are also within the third degree. After the
person who is required by law to reserve the right has died, the relatives may
rescind the alienation of the realty required by law to be reserved and they will
acquire it and all the rest that has the same character in complete ownership, in fee
simple, because the condition and the usufruct have been terminated by the death
of the usufructuary." (Morell, Estudios sobre bienes reservables, 304, 305.)
The conclusion is that the person required by article 811 to reserve the right has,
beyond any doubt at all, the rights of use and usufruct. He has, moreover, for the
reasons set forth, the legal title and dominion, although under a condition
subsequent. Clearly he has, under an express provision of the law, the right to
dispose of the property reserved, and to dispose of his to alienation, although under
a condition. He has the right to recover it, because he is the one who possesses or
should possess it and have title to it, although a limited and revocable one. In a
word, the legal title and dominion, even though under a condition, reside in him

while he lives. After the right required by law to be reserved has been assured, he
can do anything that a genuine owner can do.
On the other hand, the relatives within the third degree in whose favor the right is
reserved cannot dispose of the property, first because it is in no way, either
actually, constructively, or formally, in their possession; and, moreover, because
they have no title of ownership or of fee simple which they can transmit to another,
on the hypothesis that only when the person who must reserve the right should die
before them will they acquire it, thus creating a fee simple, and only then will they
take their place in the succession of the descendant of whom they are relatives
within the third degree, that is to say, a second contingent place in said legitimate
succession in the fashion of aspirants to a possible future legacy. If any of the
persons in whose favor the right is reserved should, after their rights has been
assured in the registry, dare to dispose of even nothing more than the fee simple of
the property to be reserved his act would be null and void, for, as was definitely
decided in the decision on appeal of December 30, 1897, it is impossible to
determine the part "that might pertain therein to the relative at the time he
exercised the right, because in view of the nature and scope of the right required by
law to be reserved the extent of his right cannot be foreseen, for it may disappear
by his dying before the person required to reserve it, just as it may even become
absolute should that person die."
Careful consideration of the matter forces the conclusion that no act to disposal
inter vivos of the person required by law to reserve the right can be impugned by
him in whose favor it is reserved, because such person has all, absolutely all, the
rights inherent in ownership, except that the legal title is burdened with a condition
that the third party acquirer may ascertain from the registry in order to know that
he is acquiring a title subject to a condition subsequent. In conclusion, it seems to
us that only an act of disposal mortis causa in favor of persons other than relatives
within the third degree of the descendant from whom he got the property to be
reserved must be prohibited to him, because this alone has been the object of the
law: "To prevent persons outside a family from securing, by some special accident of
life, property that would otherwise have remained therein." (Decision of December
30, 1897.)
Practically, even in the opinion of those who reduce the person reserving the right
to the condition of a mere usufructuary, the person in whose favor it must be
reserved cannot attack the alienation that may be absolutely made of the property
the law requires to be reserved, in the present case, that which the applicant has
made of the two parcels of land in question to a third party, because the conditional
alienation that is permitted her is equivalent to an alienation of the usufruct, which
is authorized by article 480 of the Civil Code, and, practically, use and enjoyment of
the property required by law to be reserved are all that the person who must
reserve it has during his lifetime, and in alienation the usufruct all the usefulness of
the thing would be transmitted in an incontrovertible manner. The question as to

whether or not she transmits the fee simple is purely academic, sine re, for it is not
real, actual and positive, as is the case of the institution of two heirs, one a
usufructuary and the other the owner, by the express wish of the predecessor in
interest.
If the person whom article 811 requires to reserve the rights has all the rights
inherent in ownership, he can use, enjoy, dispose of and recover it; and if, in
addition to usufructuary, he is in fact and in law the real owner and can alienate it,
although under a condition. . . .
It is, therefore, indisputable, in view of the preceding discussion made in the
decision of this court just cited, that the person obliged to reserve, that is, Rufina
Medel, heir of her daughter Anacleta Ortega, was not only a usufructuary but also
the owner in fee simple of the three parcels of land in question, notwithstanding the
fact that they have the character of reservable property in favor of Sinforoso and
Francisca Ortega, relatives within the third degree of said Anacleta Ortega and
belonging to the line from which such property came, and, in her capacity as such,
she could have, as she did, sold with the right to repurchase on June 3, 1915, said
three parcels to Francisco Lunsod; but it is also indisputable that Rufina Medel
acquired these parcels subject to a resolutory condition, that is to say, her
ownership of said property was subject to said condition, to wit, that there should or
should not exist at the time of her death relatives of Anacleta Ortega from whom
she inherited said property, included within the third degree and belonging to the
line from which said property came, by virtue of which condition said property was
impressed with the reservable character, according to the provision of article 811 of
the Civil Code, and therefore she could not have effected said sale without saving
the rights of the persons entitled to have the property reserved to them, by
securing to the latter the value thereof, according to the provision of article 974 and
975 of the Civil Code in connection with article 109 of the Mortgage Law and in the
manner established in this article, the provisions of the first two articles being
applicable by analogy to reservable property mentioned in article 811 of the Civil
Code to which reference has already been made.
Rufina Medel not having complied with the provisions of said article in effecting the
sale of said parcels in favor of Francisco Lunsod, inasmuch as the document
executed for the purpose was not recorded in the registry of property, and she could
not, therefore, have made in the corresponding record the express reservation of
the right of Sinforoso and Francisca Ortega over said property, and said Rufina
Medel not having even mentioned in said document the fact that said property was
reservable, said alienation is void and can have no effect as against the persons
entitled to have such property reserved, who are Sinforoso and Francisca Ortega.
And Rufina Medel having died on April 10, 1916, leaving as her survivors the
persons already mentioned and entitled to have the property reserved in their favor,
and the condition attached to the title to said parcels having thus been resolved,
said parcels became the absolute and exclusive property of the same persons

entitled to have said property reserved as relatives within the third degree of
Anacleta Ortega and belonging to the line from which said property came.
Rufina Medel not having acquired said parcels before her death in fee simple and
without the limitation which characterizes them as reservable property, for the
reason that Sinforoso and Francisca Ortega, who were entitled to have such parcels
reserved, survived her, it is obvious that the brother and sister of the former,
Cipriano and Jacoba Medel did not, as they claim acquire said parcels by inheritance
from said deceased, and, consequently, they have no right to have said property
registered in the registry of deeds in their name and the opposition to said
registration presented by Francisco Lunsod in said case No. 219 is, therefore,
groundless.
The three parcels referred to not being, therefore property of the conjugal
partnership of the deceased Estanislao Ortega and Rufina Medel, but the separate
and exclusive property of the former, since he acquired them gratuitously from his
father Mariano Ortega, the title thereof passing afterwards to their daughter
Anacleta Ortega, and, upon the latter's death, to Rufina Medel by inheritance from
Anacleta, with the character of reservable property in favor of Sinforoso and
Francisca Ortega, who acquired the absolute title thereto by virtue of said character,
the exclusion, ordered by the court, of said property from the inventory presented
by the administrator Cipriano Medel in the intestate proceedings for the settlement
of the estate of Rufina Medel, case No. 2218, was proper.
With respect to the possession of said parcels claimed by Francisco Lunsod of which,
he alleges, he was deprived by Sinforoso Ortega in June or July, 1916, these facts
were nor proved at the trial, as already stated, but, on the contrary, it was proven
that Rufina Medel continued in said possession in which, in some way or another,
her brother and sister-in-law, Sinforoso and Francisca Ortega, the persons entitled to
have the property reserved in their favor, participated, although Rufina Medel,
according to the document of June 3, 1915, had already sold said parcels to Lunsod
with the right to repurchase, and therefore the remedy prayed for by the latter in
his complaint in the Court of First Instance, which is a reproduction of the one
previously filed in the court of the justice of the peace of San Pablo, and docketed
there as case No. 2322, is improper and groundless.
What has been said knows that the trial court did not commit errors Nos. 6, 8, and 9
assigned by the appellants in their brief; neither did the court below commit the 7th
error, for the judgment appealed from, there are set forth the conclusions arrived at
by the trial judge with respect to the points in issue and which his Honor considered
proved, it being there stated, at the same time, that the preponderance of the
evidence is notably in favor of the theory maintained by the appellees Sinforoso and
Francisca Ortega.

For the foregoing reasons the judgment appealed from is affirmed with the addition
that Sinforoso Ortega is absolved from the complaint filed against him by Francisco
Lunsod on May 9, 1917, and docketed as case No. 2322, for unlawful entry and
detainer; and the opposition of said Lunsod to the application of Cipriano and Jacoba
Medel for registry of deeds is dismissed, and the opposition entered by Sinforoso
and Francisca Ortega to said registration is sustained, with the costs of first instance
as ordered in the judgment appealed from, and the costs of this instance against
the appellants. So ordered.
Johnson, Street, Avancea and Villamor, JJ., concur.

G.R. No. L-32260

December 29, 1930

THE PHILIPPINE NATIONAL BANK, plaintiff-appellant,


vs.
PABLO ROCHA, defendant. MAGIN RIOSA, intervenor-appellant, and
CONSOLACION RIOSA, defendant in intervention and appellant.
Camus and Delgado for plaintiff-appellant.
Andres C. Aguilar for defendant in intervention-appellant.
Domingo Imperial for intervenor-appellant.

AVANCEA, C.J.:
The plaintiff has brought this action to foreclose a mortgage against the defendant
Pablo Rocha. Magin Riosa and Consolacion Riosa intervened as third-party claimants
.The lower court sentenced the defendant to pay the plaintiff the sum due, and in
default thereof, the mortgaged property described in the first cause of action should
be sold at public auction and the proceeds applied to the amount of the judgment;
provided, that said mortgaged property shall be subject to the reserved right of
Magin Riosa and Consolacion Riosa, and any person who may acquire said property
shall do so subject to his lien. Both the plaintiff and the intervenors Magin Riosa and
Consolacion Riosa appealed from this judgment.
The present case is related to that of Riosa vs. Rocha, decided by this court on
February 18, 1926 (48 Phil., 737).
Maria Corral was married only once, and her husband was the late Mariano Riosa,
by whom she had three children, named Santiago, Jose, and Severina. The last
named died during infancy, while the other two survived their father Mariano Riosa.
Santiago Riosa, now deceased, married Francisca Villanueva, who bore him two
children, named Magin Riosa and Consolacion Riosa. Jose Riosa, also deceased

married Marcelina Casas, who bore him a son who died before him without leaving
any heir.
The lands mortgaged to the plaintiff originally belonged to Mariano Riosa and upon
his death, they were inherited by will by his son Jose Riosa. When the latter died, his
mother, Maria Corral, inherited the lands, and the court adjudicated them to her by
the resolution of November 12, 1920, in the probate proceedings of Jose Riosa's will.
In the case of Riosa vs. Rocha mentioned above, this court held that the lands in
question having been inherited by Maria Corral from her son Jose Riosa, who had
received them gratuitously from his father Mariano Riosa, were reservable in favor
of Magin Riosa and Consolacion Riosa, being the relatives within the third degree
belonging to the line from which such property came.
On the 26th of October, 1920, Maria Corral sold that property to Marcelina Casas,
who, on November 3d, of the same year, transferred it to Pablo Rocha. Therefore,
when Maria Corral sold this property to Marcelina Casas, and when the latter
transferred it to Pablo Rocha, it had not yet been adjudicated to Maria Corral and
she was not yet the owner thereof.
On November 6, 1920, the defendant Pablo Rocha mortgaged this property to the
plaintiff, and the mortgage was registered, under Act No. 2873, on the 10th of the
same month and this mortgage constitutes the cause of the present action.
According to this, the mortgage of said property was executed by Pablo Rocha in
favor of the plaintiff before the property passed to the ownership of Maria Corral,
and when the latter had no right as yet to dispose of it to Marcelina Casas, nor the
latter to transfer it to Pablo Rocha. Wherefore, the mortgage of the property to the
bank was executed by one who was not the owner thereof at the time, and the
mortgage is, for that reason, without legal existence.
It is true that Maria Corral having afterwards acquired the property, her sale thereof
to Marcelina Casas, and the latter's transfer to Pablo Rocha, as well as the mortgage
executed by Rocha in favor of the plaintiff, were all ratified; nevertheless, this
should be understood, in connection with the extent and condition in which the
acquisition was effected .Since Maria Corral acquired the property subject to the
reservation in favor of Magin Riosa and Consolacion Riosa, said property passed first
to Marcelina Casas and later to Pablo Rocha, as reservable property, and,
consequently, the mortgage thereof to the bank must also be subject to the same
reservation. In this sense we find the judgment appealed from to be correct, in so
far as it is ordered that should Pablo Rocha be unable to pay his debt to the plaintiff,
this property was to be sold subject to this reservation.lawphi1>net
But since Maria Corral has died, the property has, in consequence of this
reservation, passed to the full and absolute ownership of Magin Riosa and
Consolacion Riosa, and can no longer be sold to satisfy the judgment rendered
against Pablo Rocha in favor of the plaintiff.

We find no merit in the plaintiff's contention that Consolacion Riosa is under


estoppel in this case, on account of having opposed, as defendant, in the case of
Riosa vs .Rocha, the holding that this property was subject to reservation; for, if it is
true that such an answer was indeed filed in that case, Consolacion Riosa denied
that she had authorized it, and her statement has not been contradicted.
Furthermore, while we was included as defendant in that case, it was precisely for
the purpose of having the holding of reservation extend to her in the proper
proportion.
Neither do we find any merit in the contention that said Consolacion Riosa shared in
P7,000 of the P20,000 received by Pablo Rocha from the plaintiff, for we find that
while she received this amount, she did so not as a share, but as a deposit, having
returned it to Maria Corral, according to receipts signed by the latter, which we
consider genuine.
It has been proved that the plaintiff paid the land tax upon the property in question
in the amount of P2,698.22 .This amount was paid for the benefit of the property,
which otherwise would have been forfeited. The intervenors Magin Riosa and
Consolacion Riosa must reimburse the plaintiff for this sum.
In view of the stand we have taken in deciding this case, we deem it unnecessary to
pass upon the other questions raised by both parties on appeal.
For the foregoing, the judgment appealed from is modified, and it is held that in
case of failure to satisfy the amount of the judgment rendered against Pablo Rocha
in favor of the plaintiff, the mortgaged property cannot be sold. The intervenors
Magin Riosa and Consolacion Riosa are hereby ordered to reimburse the plaintiff in
the amount of P2,698.22, and it is held that this obligation is a lien upon the
property in question. We make no special pronouncement as to costs. So ordered.
Johnson, Street, Malcolm, Villamor, Ostrand, Johns, Romualdez and Villa-Real, JJ.,
concur.

G.R. No. 33023

September 16, 1930

Intestate estate of Concepcion Gerona. IGNACIO ARROYO, petitionerappellee,


vs.
JACOB GERONA, ET AL., movants-appellants.
Zulueta and Zulueta for appellants.
William E. Greenbaum for appellee.
VILLAMOR, J.:

In the course of the intestate proceedings of the estate of Concepcion Gerona,


Ignacio Arroyo filed an application on September 5, 1928, alleging that Victor,
Jacoba, Patricia, Ciriaca, and Clara, surnamed Gerona, being all of age, executed an
agreement of partition and adjudication of the estate of Concepcion Gerona by
virtue of which they assigned to the applicant all the estate of the late Concepcion
Gerona, renouncing whatever rights they had or might have thereafter to said
property in favor of the applicant, in consideration of other property ceded to them
by said agreement. For which reason Ignacio Arroyo prayed the court to declare him
to be the sole assignee or successor and heir of the late Concepcion Gerona.
On October 8, 1928, the court issued an order declaring the following as sole heirs
of the late Concepcion Gerona: Ignacio Arroyo, Victor, Jacoba, Patricia, Ciriaca, and
Clara, also surnamed Gerona; and in view of the agreement of partition and
adjudication of the estate, Exhibit A, executed by said heirs who were all of age,
together with the express waiver made in favor of Ignacio Arroyo with respect to the
property assigned thereby, particularly one-half of lot No. 2255 and lot No. 1175,
and, furthermore, in view of the fact that the late Concepcion Gerona left no debts
nor claims against her estate, the court ratified and approved said agreement
Exhibit A, in respect to the adjudication made therein in favor of each of said heirs
who signed it, and particularly that of lot No. 1175 and one-half of lot No. 255 in
favor of the heir Ignacio Arroyo, according to the terms therein set forth; and, lastly,
the court declared the proceeding closed and at an end pursuant to section 596 of
the Code of Civil Procedure.
On December 1, 1928, Ignacio Arroyo submitted to the court the receipt of the
"Inheritance Tax Returns" together with the communication of the Collector of
Internal Revenue, annexes A and B.
On July 6, 1929, the court, considering that Maria Gerona had not signified her
acquiescene in the ratification of the deed of partition of June 13, 1913, stayed the
approval of that stipulation pending the personal acquiescene of said interested
party Maria Gerona.
The stipulation referred to by the court reads as follows:
Come now Ignacio Arroyo, in his own behalf, and the heirs of Victor Gerona, through
the undersigned counsel, and to the honorable court respectfully states:
That on October 8, 1928, this court declared the following to be the sole heirs of the
late Concepcion Gerona: Ignacio Arroyo, Victor, Jacoba, Patricia, Ciriaca, and Clara,
surnamed Gerona.
That in accordance with the agreement of partition and adjudication dated June 13,
1913, Ignacio Arroyo paid Victor Gerona, in addition to certain parcels of land, the
sum of one thousand pesos (P1,000).

That when Victor Gerona died, his children Maria and Blas Gerona inherited his
estate.
That in consideration of the amount of ten thousand pesos (P10,000) paid to them
by the other heir, Ignacio Arroyo, in three installments, to wit:
Four thousand pesos (P4,000) at the time this agreement is signed, three thousand
pesos (P3,000) on the 1st of July, 1930; and the remaining three thousand pesos
(P3,000) on July 1st, 1931.
In consideration, them, of ten thousand pesos (P10,000) paid as described in the
foregoing paragraph, and of the amount of money which their late father Victor
received of Ignacio Arroyo, together with some parcels of land in virtue of the
agreement of June 13, 1913, Maria and Blas, surnamed Gerona, do hereby renounce
whatever right, title, and interest they have or might have in the estate of
Concepcion Gerona.
That both parties do hereby ratify the deeds executed on June 13, 1913, and on the
27th of September, 1928.
That both parties accept this agreement as executed and signed by Ignacio Arroyo
and the attorney for the heirs of Victor Gerona.
Iloilo, July 5, 1929.
(Sgd.) IGNACIO ARROYO
(Sgd.) JOSE C. ZULUETA
Attorney for the heirs of Victor Gerona
We agree:
(Sgd.) BLAS GERONA
(Sgd.) MARIA GERONA
(Sgd.) TORIBIO GARINGALAO
On the 9th of July, 1929, counsel for Jacoba, Ciriaca, Clara, and Patricia, surnamed
Gerona, petitioned the court, for the reasons stated, to annul the deed of June 13,
1913, as being contrary to the law, and that of September 27, 1928, as having been
surreptitiously and fraudulently executed, thereby rendering nugatory the order
issued on October 8, 1928, permitting the summary partition of the estate of the
deceased Maria Concepcion Gerona; and that a judicial administrator be appointed
for said estate of the late Maria Concepcion Gerona, the supplicants proposing Luis
Servando, upon furnishing a bond, the amount of which to be fixed by the court,
taking into consideration the fact that all the estate is in the form of realty, and that
Ignacio Arroyo claims an interest therein adverse to the heirs of the decedent
Concepcion Gerona.

Counsel of Ignacio Arroyo objected to the petition upon the grounds set forth in a
memorandum filed on July 19, 1929.
On September 18, 1929, the court ruled itself incompetent to grant petition filed by
Ciriaca, Jacoba, Clara, and Patricia, surnamed Gerona, and dismissed the motion
without passing upon the validity of the agreements entered into on June 13, 1913,
and on September 27, 1928, which were left for decision in an ordinary suit.
On October 12, 1929, counsel for the movants petitioned for the reconsideration of
the former ruling, which the attorney for Ignacio Arroyo opposed on the 17th of
October, 1929. On October 29, 1929, the court denied the motion for
reconsideration. Exception was taken to the orders of September 18, and October
29, 1929, and, upon filing a five-hundred bond, the record on appeal was submitted
for approval.
The only question raised by this appeal is: Can the court that approved the
agreement of partition dated June 13, 1913, annul said agreement and vacate the
order approving it on the ground of fraud?
The court below held that in the course of the intestate proceedings of Concepcion
Gerona, it could not entertain a petition for the annulment of the agreements made
on June 13, 1913, and on September 27, 1928, attached as annexes A and B to the
appellee's brief, for the reason that the question of the nullity of the deed of
partition comes within the jurisdiction of the ordinary and not the probate court.
We are of opinion that the court which possessed jurisdiction to approve said
agreement of partition may disapprove or annul it. An agreement of partition made
by heirs who are all of age, certainly binds all of them, especially when judicially
approved. This court so held in Centeno vs. Centeno (52 Phil., 322, 339):
While it is true that the partition agreement was made by all the heirs
extrajudicially, in submitting it to the court for approval, and in being approved by
the latter after having announced the hearing through publication in the
newspapers, said extrajudicial agreement of partition became judicial, and the order
of the court approving it and declaring the respective testamentary proceedings
involving the estates of the deceased spouses closed, became final and absolute,
and binding upon all the parties who took part in the said partition agreement, and
acquiesced therein. . . . . (Text of the decision.)
But this does not mean that none of the participants may thereafter ask for the
annulment or rescission of the agreement upon discovering that fund, deceit,
mistake, or some other defect has vitiated the consent given, provided the action is
brought within the statutory period. Of course, if the estate has passed to the heirs
by virtue of the agreement of partition, there is nothing to administer and the
intestate proceedings must be deemed terminated. But if the agreement of partition
be successfully impugned, if it be shown that fraud was practiced in the

compromise between the parties, then an administrator may properly be appointed


to take charge of the estate with a view to its just distribution in accordance with
the law.
Section 598 of the Code of Civil Procedure provides:
SEC. 598. Liability of Distributes. But if it appear, at any time within two years
after the settlement and distribution of an estate in accordance with the provisions
of either of the proceeding sections of this chapter, that there are debts outstanding
against the estate which have not been paid, or that an heir or other persons has
been unduly deprived of his lawful participation in the estate, any creditor, heir, or
other such person, may compel the settlement of the estate in the courts in the
manner hereinafter provided, unless his credit or lawful participation in the estate
shall be paid, with interest. The court shall then appoint an administrator who may
recover the assets of the estate for the purpose of paying such credit or lawful
participation; and the real estate belonging to the deceased shall remain charged
with the liability to creditors, heirs or other persons for the full period of two years
after such distribution, notwithstanding any transfer thereof that may have been
made. (As amended by Act No. 2331.)
It should be borne in mind that the appellee was appointed guardian of the person
and estate of the late Concepcion Gerona, and was by law deemed the
administrator of said estate, the subject matter of the agreements in question
which, it is alleged, were fraudulently procured. On October 8, 1928, the court
issued an order closing the intestate proceedings of the late Concepcion Gerona,
pursuant to section 596 of the code of Civil Procedure. But the record shows that on
the 6th of July, 1929, the court withheld its approval of the stipulation ratifying the
partition agreed upon dated June 13, 1913, pending the consent of the interested
party, Maria Gerona, which was given on the 5th of said month of July. Up to this
date, then, the court had control of the proceedings. Three days later, on July 9,
1929, the instant motion was filed by the appellants, which originated this appeal.
The motion, the, was filed within the statutory period prescribed in section 598 of
the Code of Civil Procedure.
Taking up the question of jurisdiction of the court to entertain the appellants' motion
filed on July 9, 1929, it must be remembered that in Benedicto vs. Javellana (10
Phil., 197), this court held that all demands and claims filed by any heir, legatee, or
party in interest to a testate or intestate succession, shall be acted upon and
decided in the same special proceedings, and not in a separate action, and the
judge who has jurisdiction over the administration of the inheritance, and who,
when the time comes, will be called upon to divide and adjudicate it to the
interested parties, shall take cognizance of all such questions.
In our opinion, the court that approved the partition and the agreement in
ratification thereof may annul both whenever, as it is here alleged, the approval was

obtained by deceit or fraud, and the petition must be filed in the course of the
intestate proceedings, for it is generally admitted that probate courts are authorized
to vacate any decree or judgment procured by fraud, not only while he proceedings
in the course of which it was issued are pending, but even, as in this case, within a
reasonable time thereafter.
In 11 Cyc., page 799, we come upon the following:
. . . where equitable powers are possessed in probate matters orders for allowances
may be set aside, after the term, for fraud or mistake (Schlink vs. Maxton, 48 Ill.
App., 471). So the court may pass upon the nullity or rescission of its own decrees
or judgments (Darse vs. Leaumont, 5 Rob. [La.], 248; Harty vs. Harty, 8 Mart., N. S.
[La.], 518) and may within a reasonable time revoke or correct an order of
ratification of a sale procured by honest mistake or by deceit (Montgomery vs.
Williamson, 37 Md., 421). so the power exists independent of the statute to revoke
letters testamentary or of administration when issued without jurisdiction, or
irregularly, illegally, or for a special cause which has ceased to exist. (Morgan vs.
Dodge, 44 N. H., 255; 82 Am. Dec., 213.) And the surrogate, in court or out of court,
has power to open, vacate, modify, or set aside, or to enter as of a former time, a
decree or order of his court; or to grant a new trial or a new hearing for fraud, newly
discovered evidence, clerical error, or other sufficient cause.
In the case of Estate of Leavens (65 Wis., 440) the Supreme Court of Wisconsin
held:
"The county court, sitting as a probate court, may at any time, in furtherance of
justice, revoke an order which has been irregularly made or procured by fraud." The
propriety o that determination by this court, as limited in the case of Betts vs.
Shotton, supra, has never been questioned, and it has been reiterated in the
opinions of this court in the several cases above cited. (See In re Fisher, 15 Wis.,
511; Betts vs. Shotton, 27 Wis., 667; Archer vs. Meadows, 33 Wis., 166; Baker vs.
Baker, 51 Wis., 538, 548; Brooks vs. Chappell, 34 Wis., 405.) A like rule has been
adopted for the probate courts of New York (see Campbell vs. Thatcher, 54 BArb.,
382,386; Pew vs. Hastings, 1 Barb. Ch., 452;Proctor vs. Wanmaker, 1 Barb. Ch.,
302; Sipperly Vs. Baucus, 24 N. Y., 46; Vreedenburgh vs. Calf, 9 Paige, 128;Skidmore
vs. Davies, 10 Paige, 316); also by the courts of Massachusetts (see Waters vs.
Stickney, 12 Allen, 1;Richardson vs. Hazelton, 101 mass., 108). In some courts this
proceeding to set aside an order of the probate court which has been irregularly or
fraudulently made, is treated as a bill of review in such court. (See Mauro vs.
Ritchie, 3 Cranch, C. C., 167.)
. . . The court, under the authorities cited, certainly has the power to vacate the
order procured by the fraud of the administrator; and when that is vacated, there
would seem to be no reason why the administrator may not be required to again
render his account, and, when such account is rendered, why another order of

distribution may not be made to such persons as shall appear to be entitled to the
same.
Justice Cassoday, concurring, said:
The enlarged jurisdiction given to county courts by our statute, in matters of
probate and the settlement of estates, seems to be sufficient to authorize them to
grant relief of the nature here sought.
Justice Lyon said:
I concur in the judgment of the court on the grounds that the county court has
ample power to grant the petitioner substantial relief, and that his petition shows he
is in a position to attack the validity of the order of distribution, and is entitled to
some relief. . . .
In the case of the City of Chicago vs. Nodeck (202 Ill., 257), the Supreme Court of
Illinois rule as follows:
. . . the rule, that a court has no power to set aside its judgment at a subsequent
term, is subject to several exceptions. . . . Another exception to the rule is that,
where a judgment has been obtained through fraud, such fact constitutes a
sufficient reasons for vacating it after the term at which it was rendered. (17 A. &
Eng. Ency. of Law, 2d ed., p. 827; Walker vs. Shreve, 87 Ill., 474; Chicago Building
Society vs. Haas, 11 id., 176;Ward vs. Durham, 134 id., 195; Mitchell vs. Shaneberg,
149 id., 420; Wright vs. Simpson, 22 id., 56.)
. . . But, even if there are any doubt as to the question whether or not the court had
jurisdiction to enter the judgment, there can be no doubt that the making of the
estimate, which included the paving of these approaches to the viaduct, and the
passage of the ordinance, which required the property owners to pay for such part
of the pavement, amounted to a fraud against the property owners. This element of
fraud entered so largely into the judgment itself, that it justified the court in
vacating the judgment at a term subsequent to the term, at which it was entered.
In Montgomery vs. Williamson (37 Md., 421), the Supreme Court of Maryland stated
as follows:
It seems to have been supposed that as there is no express authority to be found in
the statute, the rescinding of the order of ratification would be the exercise of
constructive authority which the court is forbidden to exercise. But his objection is
fully answered by the Court of Appeals, in the case of Raborg vs. Hammond (2 H. &
G., 42, 51), in considering the power of the Orphans' Court to revoke letters of
administration, when improvidently granted, and where to exercise of the power,
the same objection was urged as to the jurisdiction in this case. The court said: "But
to this it may be answered that we deem the power of revocation, under such
circumstances, as necessarily inherent in the Orphans' Courts, and a part and of the

essence of the power delegated to them, of granting administration." In


confirmation of which, see3 Bac. Ab., 50, where speaking of the ecclesiastic
tribunals of England, in reference to this power, it is stated that "it would be absurd
to allow a court jurisdiction herein, and at the same time deprive them of the liberty
of vacating and setting aside an act of their own, which was obtained from them by
deceit and imposition."
In view of the foregoing, the orders appealed from are reversed, and let the record
be remanded to the court below with instructions to proceed to try the claims set up
by the appellants, and thereafter let the proper order be issued in accordance with
law and the evidence. Without any pronouncement as to costs. So ordered.
Street, Malcolm, Ostrand, Johns, Romualdez and Villa-Real, JJ., concur.

Riosa v. Rocha, 48 Phil 737


Facts:
Jose Riosa inherited 11 parcels of land from his father.
Parcels Nos. 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11.
When Jose died, he instituted his wife, Marcelina Casas (Respondent) as his only
heir.
Since Joses mother Maria Corral (Respondent), was preterited, she and Marcelina
entered into a contract,wherein they divided the Joses property between
themselves.
The 11 parcels of land were assigned to Maria.
Maria then sold parcels 2,3,4,5,6,10 and 11 to Marcelina. Marcelina then in
turn sold it to Pablo Rocha(Respondent).
Pablo Rocha however, returned all the parcels, except 10 and 11, stating that the
other parcels wereerroneously included in the sale. Pablo only kept parcels 10 and
11.
Magin Riosa (Petitioner) is the daughter of Joses brother, the one of the nearest
relatives within the third degree of the line from which the property came from.
Magin filed a complaint praying that parcels 10 and 11 be declared reservable
property, that the sale be declaredvalid only in so far as it saves the right of
reservation in favor of Magin and her sister, Consolacion, and that suchbe noted on
the deeds of sale.

Issue: Whether Pablo can be compelled to cause the reservable character of the
properties be noted in the registry ofdeeds?
Ruling: Yes.
Reservation imposes obligations upon the reservor (reservista) and creates rights
in favor of the reservee (reservatarios).
Maria (reservor) is obliged to have the reservation noted in the registry of deeds
in accordance with theprovisions of the Mortgage Law which fixes the period of 90
days for accomplishing it.
After the expiration of this period the reservees may demand compliance with
this obligation.
If Maria Corral had not transferred parcels 10 and 11 to another there would be
no doubt that she could becompelled to cause the reservable character of this
property to be noted in the registry of deeds.
Acquisition by Pablo Rocha took place when it was the duty of Maria Corral to
make the notation of thereservation in the registry and at the time when the
reservees had no right to compel Maria Corral to make suchnotation, because this
acquisition was made before the expiration of the period of ninety days from
November 12,1920, the date of the adjudication by the court, after which the right
of the reservees to commence an action forthe fulfillment of the obligation arose.
But the land first passed to Marcelina Casas and later to Pablo Rochatogether with
the obligation that the law imposes upon Maria Corral.
They could not have acquired a better title than that held by Maria Corral and if
the latter's title waslimited by the reservation and the obligation to note it in the
registry of deeds, this same limitation isattached to the right acquired by Marcelina
Casas and Pablo Rocha.
In the transmission of reservable property the law imposes the reservation as a
resolutory condition for thebenefit of the reservees.
The fact that the resolvable character of the property was not recorded in
the registry of deed at the timethat it was acquired by Marcelina Casas and Pablo
Rocha cannot affect the right of the reservees, for thereason that the transfers were
made at the time when it was the obligation of the reservor to note onlysuch
reservation and the reservees did not them have any right to compel her to fulfill
such an obligation.
Marcelina Casas, as well as Pablo Rocha, Knew of the reservable character of
the property when they bought it.They had knowledge of the provisions of the last
will and testament of Mariano Riosa by virtue of which theseparcels were
transferred to Jose Riosa. Pablo Rocha was one of the legatees in the will. Marcelina

Casas wasthe one who entered into the contract of partition with Maria Corral,
whereby these parcels were adjudicated tothe latter, as a legitimate heir of Jose
Riosa. Pablo Rocha was the very person who drafted the contracts of saleof these
parcels of land by Maria Corral to Marcelina Casas and by the latter to himself.
These facts, togetherwith the relationship existing between Maria Corral and
Marcelina Casas and Pablo Rocha, the former adaughter-in-law and the latter a
nephew of Maria Corral, amply support the conclusion that both of them knewthat
these parcels of land had been inherited by Maria Corral, as her legitime from her
son Jose Riosa who hadinherited them, by will, from his father Mariano Riosa, and
were reservable property. Wherefore, the duty of MariaCorral of recording the
reservable character of lots 10 and 11 has been transferred to Pablo Rocha and
thereservees have an action against him to compel him to comply with this
obligation.

G.R. No. L-12957

March 24, 1961

CONSTANCIO SIENES, ET AL., plaintiffs-appellants,


vs.
FIDEL ESPARCIA, ET AL., defendants-appellees.
Proceso R. Remollo for plaintiffs-appellants.
Leonardo D. Mancao for defendants-appellees.
DIZON, J.:
Appellants commenced this action below to secure judgment (1) declaring null and
void the sale executed by Paulina and Cipriana Yaeso in favor of appellees, the
spouses Fidel Esparcia and Paulina Sienes; (2) ordering the Esparcia spouses to
reconvey to appellants Lot 3368 of the Cadastral Survey of Ayuquitan (now Amlan),
Oriental Negros; and (3) ordering all the appellees to pay, jointly and severally, to
appellants the sum of P500.00 as damages, plus the costs of suit. In their answer
appellees disclaimed any knowledge or information regarding the sale allegedly
made on April 20, 1951 by Andrea Gutang in favor of appellants and alleged that, if
such sale was made, the same was void on the ground that Andrea Gutang had no
right to dispose of the property subject matter thereof. They further alleged that
said property had never been in possession of appellants, the truth being that
appellees, as owners, had been in continuous possession thereof since the death of
Francisco Yaeso. By way of affirmative defense and counterclaim, they further
alleged that on July 30, 1951, Paulina and Cipriana Yaeso, as the only surviving heirs
of Francisco Yaeso, executed a public instrument of sale in favor of the spouses Fidel
Esparcia and Paulina Sienes, the said sale having been registered together with an
affidavit of adjudication executed by Paulina and Cipriana on July 18, 1951, as sole
surviving heirs of the aforesaid deceased; that since then the Esparcias had been in
possession of the property as owners.

After trial upon the issues thus joined, the lower court rendered judgment as
follows:
IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING, judgment is hereby rendered declaring (1) that
the sale of Lot No. 3368 made by Andrea Gutang to the plaintiff spouses Constancio
Sienes and Genoveva Silay is void, and the reconveyance prayed for by them is
denied; (2) that the sale made by Paulina and Cipriana Yaeso in favor of defendants
Fidel Esparcia and Paulina Sienes involving the same lot is also void, and they have
no valid title thereto; and (3) that the reservable property in question is part of and
must be reverted to the estate of Cipriana Yaeso, the lone surviving relative and heir
of Francisco Yaeso at the death of Andrea Gutang as of December 13, 1951. No
pronouncement as to the costs.
From the above decision the Sienes spouse interposed the present appeal, their
principal contentions being, firstly, that the lower court erred in holding that Lot
3368 of the Cadastral Survey of Ayuquitan was a reservable property; secondly, in
annulling the sale of said lot executed by Andrea Gutang in their favor; and lastly, in
holding that Cipriana Yaeso, as reservee, was entitled to inherit said land.
There is no dispute as to the following facts:
Lot 3368 originally belonged to Saturnino Yaeso. With his first wife, Teresa Ruales,
he had four children named Agaton, Fernando, Paulina and Cipriana, while with his
second wife, Andrea Gutang, he had an only son named Francisco. According to the
cadastral records of Ayuquitan, the properties left by Saturnino upon his death
the date of which does not clearly appear of record were left to his children as
follows: Lot 3366 to Cipriana, Lot 3367 to Fernando, Lot 3375 to Agaton, Lot 3377
(southern portion) to Paulina, and Lot 3368 (western portion) to Francisco. As a
result of the cadastral proceedings, Original Certificate of Title No. 10275 covering
Lot 3368 was issued in the name of Francisco. Because Francisco was a minor at the
time, his mother administered the property for him, declared it in her name for
taxation purposes (Exhs A & A-1), and paid the taxes due thereon (Exhs. B, C, C-1 &
C-2). When Francisco died on May 29, 1932 at the age of 20, single and without any
descendant, his mother, as his sole heir, executed the public instrument Exhibit F
entitled EXTRAJUDICIAL SETTLEMENT AND SALE whereby, among other things, for
and in consideration of the sum of P800.00 she sold the property in question to
appellants. When thereafter said vendees demanded from Paulina Yaeso and her
husband Jose Esparcia, the surrender of Original Certificate of Title No. 10275
which was in their possession the latter refused, thus giving rise to the filing of
the corresponding motion in the cadastral record No. 507. The same, however, was
denied (Exhs. 8 & 9).
Thereafter, or more specifically, on July 30, 1951, Cipriana and Paulina Yaeso, the
surviving half-sisters of Francisco, and who as such had declared the property in
their name, on January 1, 1951 executed a deed of sale in favor of the spouses Fidel

Esparcia and Paulina Sienes (Exh. 2) who, in turn, declared it in their name for tax
purposes and thereafter secured the issuance in their name of Transfer Certificate of
Title No. T-2141 (Exhs. 5 & 5-A).
As held by the trial court, it is clear upon the facts already stated, that the land in
question was reservable property. Francisco Yaeso inherited it by operation of law
from his father Saturnino, and upon Francisco's death, unmarried and without
descendants, it was inherited, in turn, by his mother, Andrea Gutang. The latter
was, therefore, under obligation to reserve it for the benefit of relatives within the
third degree belonging to the line from which said property came, if any survived
her. The record discloses in this connection that Andrea Gutang died on December
13, 1951, the lone reservee surviving her being Cipriana Yaeso who died only on
January 13, 1952 (Exh. 10).
In connection with reservable property, the weight of opinion is that the reserve
creates two resolutory conditions, namely, (1) the death of the ascendant obliged to
reserve and (2) the survival, at the time of his death, of relatives within the third
degree belonging to the line from which the property came (6 Manresa 268-269; 6
Sanchez Roman 1934). This Court has held in connection with this matter that the
reservista has the legal title and dominion to the reservable property but subject to
a resolutory condition; that he is like a life usufructuary of the reservable property;
that he may alienate the same but subject to reservation, said alienation
transmitting only the revocable and conditional ownership of the reservists, the
rights acquired by the transferee being revoked or resolved by the survival of
reservatarios at the time of the death of the reservista (Edroso vs. Sablan, 25 Phil.
295; Lunsod vs. Ortega, 46 Phil. 664; Florentino vs. Florentino, 40 Phil. 480; and
Director of Lands vs. Aguas, 65 Phil. 279).
The sale made by Andrea Gutang in favor of appellees was, therefore, subject to the
condition that the vendees would definitely acquire ownership, by virtue of the
alienation, only if the vendor died without being survived by any person entitled to
the reservable property. Inasmuch much as when Andrea Gutang died, Cipriana
Yaeso was still alive, the conclusion becomes inescapable that the previous sale
made by the former in favor of appellants became of no legal effect and the
reservable property subject matter thereof passed in exclusive ownership to
Cipriana.
On the other hand, it is also clear that the sale executed by the sisters Paulina and
Cipriana Yaeso in favor of the spouses Fidel Esparcia and Paulina Sienes was subject
to a similar resolutory condition. The reserve instituted by law in favor of the heirs
within the third degree belonging to the line from which the reservable property
came, constitutes a real right which the reservee may alienate and dispose of,
albeit conditionally, the condition being that the alienation shall transfer ownership
to the vendee only if and when the reservee survives the person obliged to reserve.
In the present case, Cipriana Yaeso, one of the reservees, was still alive when

Andrea Gutang, the person obliged to reserve, died. Thus the former became the
absolute owner of the reservable property upon Andrea's death. While it may be
true that the sale made by her and her sister prior to this event, became effective
because of the occurrence of the resolutory condition, we are not now in a position
to reverse the appealed decision, in so far as it orders the reversion of the property
in question to the Estate of Cipriana Yaeso, because the vendees the Esparcia
spouses did not appeal therefrom.
WHEREFORE, the appealed decision as above modified is affirmed, with costs,
and without prejudice to whatever action in equity the Esparcia spouses may have
against the Estate of Cipriana Yaeso for the reconveyance of the property in
question.
Bengzon, Actg. C.J., Padilla, Bautista Angelo, Labrador, Concepcion, Reyes, J.B.L.,
Barrera and Paredes, JJ.,concur.

G.R. No. L-22066

December 2, 1924

FRANCISCA MAGHIRANG and SERGIA GUTIERREZ, plaintiffs-appellants,


vs.
ATILANO BALCITA, ET AL., defendants-appellees.
--------------------------------G.R. No. L-22067

December 2, 1924

GREGORIO EMPALMADO, petitioner-appellee,


vs.
SERGIA GUTIERREZ, opponent-appellant.
Francisco & Lualhati for appellants.
Ramon Diokno for appellees.
STREET, J.:
By the appeal in civil cause No. 2643 of the Court of First Instance of Laguna, Sergia
Gutierrez seeks to reverse a decision of said court, whereby two parcels of land
were declared to be the exclusive property of Gregorio Empalmado and of Esteban
Reyes, respectively, free from the claim of Sergia Gutierrez that said lots are held by
said defendants subject to a contingent reservable interest in her favor. Connected
with the action above mentioned is the proceeding in the second appeal, wherein
the trial court declared that the first of the two lots in controversy should be
registered in the name of Gregorio Empalmado, free from the same claim. Because
of the intimate relation between the action instituted in behalf of the appellant,
Sergia Gutierrez, as reservee, and the registration proceeding in which she is

opponent, the two causes were heard together in the trial court and will be here
disposed of in a single opinion.
The basis of the claim put forth by the plaintiff Gutierrez is the same as to both
parcels, but the facts constituting the respective defenses of the two defendants are
different. It will therefore be convenient to state first the points pertaining to the
two parcels in common and then such as pertain especially to the controversy over
each.
It appears that the original owner of both parcels was one Bonifacio Gutierrez, who
died about the year 1902, after having been thrice married. The first wife left no
children, but the second wife left a daughter, Zoila Gutierrez, who intermarried with
Atilano Balcita, one of the defendants herein. To this pair was born a daughter,
Gertrudis Balcita. Zoila Gutierrez predeceased her father; and upon the death of the
latter, the two parcels of land with which we are concerned passed by inheritance
directly from Bonifacio to his granddaughter Gertrudis, then a mere child. Gertrudis
Balcita herself died on December 9, 1912, at the age of 16, leaving no heir except
her father, Atilano Balcita. The plaintiff, Sergia Gutierrez, is a daughter of Bonifacio
Gutierrez by his third wife, one Francisca Maghirang. Sergia was therefore the aunt
of Gertrudis Balcita, on her mother's side, and as reservee under article 811 of the
Civil Code she should succeed to the title of the two parcels which Atilano Balcita
inherited, or should have inherited, from Gertrudis, provided all the conditions
necessary to the assertion of the reservation right are fulfilled.
GUTIERREZ VS. EMPALMADO
Parcel A. In the year 1905 Atilano Balcita sold the parcel A to one Vicente
Almario. As the land belonged to Gertrudis, a lawsuit was instituted in her behalf in
1912 with a view to recovering it. The litigation was compromised by the
reconveyance of the land by Almario to Gertrudis and the payment to him of
P1,200, which was the amount that he had paid for the property. The money
necessary to effect this compromise had to be borrowed by Gertrudis, or those
representing her; and although the point is subject to discussion, the preponderance
of the testimony is to the effect that the money was obtained from Gregorio
Empalmado under an agreement by which Gertrudis Balcita undertook to convey
the land to him for the sum of P2,100. The document, Exhibit B, constituting the
evidence of this agreement is dated November 28, 1912. In addition to the
signature of Gertrudis Balcita, which is questioned, it bears the signature of Atilano
Balcita and two subscribing witnesses. Gertrudis Balcita died of dysentery on
December 9, 1912, and on December 12 thereafter her father, Atilano Balcita,
executed the document Exhibit C, whereby he conveyed, or purported to convey,
the same parcel to Gregorio Empalmado, it being recited that he had inherited the
land from his daughter Gertrudis. Gregorio Empalmado immediately entered into
possession, and he has subsequently maintained possession under claim of
ownership.

For the plaintiff, Gutierrez, it is insisted that the document, Exhibit b, is not
authentic and that the name of Gertrudis Balcita subscribed thereto is a forgery. The
trial judge was of the opinion that the due execution of this instrument had been
proved by a preponderance of the evidence; and although the question is
debatable, and the point not altogether free from doubt, we are of the opinion that
the trial court's conclusion on this point should be affirmed. The two subscribing
witnesses both say that they saw the girl sign the document upon the date stated
therein, and this is corroborated not only by the testimony of Gregorio Empalmado,
who was present at the execution of the instrument, but also by Atilano Balcita
himself. The only testimony to the contrary is that of Sergia Gutierrez, who says that
the girl was too sick for some time prior to her death to admit the possibility of her
having signed the instrument. It is true that the questioned signature appears
somewhat suspicious, but we have not sufficient data upon which to pronounce it a
forgery, considered as a mere question of penmanship. Certainly, the instrument
expresses the agreement that would naturally have been drawn upon under the
proven circumstances which gave rise to the transaction.
Upon the foregoing state of facts the trial judge found as a matter of law that the
title to parcel A passed out of Gertrudis Balcita and became vested in Gregorio
Empalmado before her death; and although Gertrudis was then a minor, the
conveyance was only voidable and not void. Moreover, as his Honor pointed out, the
contract was evidently advantageous to the minor because she thereby obtained
the money necessary to get the property back from Vicente Almario, with the
consequent saving of P900.
These conclusions of the trial court seem to us well founded, and the result is that,
as to this parcel, the inchoate reservable right asserted by Sergia Gutierrez never
came into existence. In this view the conveyance executed by Atilano Balcita a few
days after the death of his daughter Gertrudis operated as a mere quit-claim from
him, as title had already vested in Empalmado under the prior agreement with her.
No error was therefore committed by the trial judge in dismissing the complaint in
case No. 2643 in so far as it affects parcel A and the right of the defendant
Empalmado thereto; nor did his Honor err in ordering the registration of the same
parcel in the name of Empalmado and his wife Felipa Brion, regardless of the
opposition of the plaintiff Gutierrez.
GUTIERREZ VS. REYES
Parcel B. As already stated, this parcel comes from the same source as the parcel
A, that is, from the estate of Bonifacio Gutierrez. With respect to this parcel it
appears that on May 28, 1906, Atilano Balcita, being then in possession and
asserting a claim of ownership, sold the same by a contract of sale with pacto de
retro for the sum of P200 to the defendant Esteban Reyes. In the document
constituting the evidence of this sale Atilano Balcita falsely declared that he was

owner by virtud of having inherited the property from his parents and that he had
been in quiet and pacific possession for fifteen years. Esteban Reyes was a
purchaser for value and bought in belief that the land really belonged to his vendor.
The period for repurchase under this contract was ten years, which passed in 1916
without redemption having been effected. It is not clear whether the purchaser
under this contract entered into possession during the time stipulated for
redemption or not; but it is agreed that, with this exception, the defendant Reyes
had, until the institution of this action on May 10, 1918, exercised actual and
adverse possession, to the exclusion of all other persons.lawphi1.net
Upon the facts above stated the trial judge gave Reyes the benefit of prescription
under the ten years statute (sec. 41, Code of Civ. Proc.) and held that the right of
Sergia Gutierrez, as reservee, had been thereby destroyed.
We are of the opinion that the conclusion thus reached is erroneous. We may accept
the legal proposition that occupancy by Esteban Reyes, pursuant to the contract of
sale with pacto de retro by which he acquired the property, and prior to the
expiration of the period for redemption, may be considered an adverse possession
as against everybody having a prescriptible interest, notwithstanding the existence
of the stipulation for repurchase. As was said by this court in Santos vs. Heirs of
Crisostomo and Tiongson (41 Phil., 342, 352), the insertion of a stipulation for
repurchase by the vendor in a contract of sale does not necessarily create a right
inconsistent with the right of ownership in the purchaser. Such a stipulation is in the
nature of an option, and the possible exercise of its rests upon contingency. It
creates no subsisting right whatever in the property, and so far from being
inconsistent with the idea of full ownership in the purchaser, it really rests upon the
assumption of ownership in him.
But it must be borne in mind that the true owner of this property was Gertrudis
Balcita, a minor, and the period of limitation did not begin to run against her or any
person claiming in her right until the date of her death, which was December 9,
1912. It must furthermore be remembered that the plaintiff does not claim in the
character of an ordinary successor to the rights of Gertrudis Balcita; her claim is
based upon a positive provision of law, which could no operate in any wise until the
death of Gertrudis Balcita, when the reservable character first attached to the
property in question. From this it is obvious that the right of the plaintiff which
even yet is of a purely contingent nature could not be affected by anything that
had occurred prior to the death of Gertrudis Balcita; and as this action was begun in
May, 1918, the ten-year period necessary to confer a complete prescriptive title had
not then elapsed.
What has been said makes it unnecessary to express any opinion upon he more
recondite question whether Sergia Gutierrez really has a prescriptive interest in the
parcel B, but we may observe that the position of the reservee under the Spanish
law is very much like that of the ordinary remainderman at common law, who is

entitled to take after the termination of a particular life estate; and it is generally
accepted doctrine in common law jurisdictions that if the life tenant loses his life
estate by adverse possession the interest of the remainderman is not thereby
destroyed. (17 R. C. L., 982; 21 C. J., 972, 975, 1013.) The reason for the rule is said
to be that, during the existence of the life estate, the remainderman has no right to
possession and consequently cannot bring an action to recover it. (21 C. J., 974.) As
was said by the Supreme Court of Ohio in Webster vs. Pittsburg, etc., Railroad Co.
(15 L. R. A. [N. S.], 1154), "No possession can be deemed adverse to a party who
has not at the time the right of entry and possession."
From what has been said it is apparent that the judgment must be affirmed in so far
as concerns the registration of parcel A in expediente No. 409, G. L. R. O., record No.
14769, and in so far as relates to the dismissal of the complaint against Gregorio
Empalmado in case No. 2643; but the judgment in the same case must be reversed
in so far as relates to parcel B, now in the possession of Esteban Reyes, and it is
hereby declared that said parcel is reservable property and upon the death of
Atilano Balcita will pass to Sergia Gutierrez, if she be then living. Let a certified copy
of this pronouncement be filed with the register of deeds of the Province of Laguna
for record pursuant to the provisions of Act No. 2837 of the Philippine Legislature.
So ordered, without special pronouncement as to costs.
Johnson, Malcolm, Avancea, Villamor, Ostrand, Johns and Romualdez, JJ., concur.

G.R. No. L-10580

March 27, 1916

TEODORO DE LOS REYES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
MAXIMINO PATERNO, administrator of the estate of Tomas G. del Rosario
deceased, defendant-appellant.
A. Cruz Herrera and Ramon Muyot for appellant.
Ramon Salinas for appellee.
JOHNSON, J.:
This action was commenced in the Court of First Instance of the city of Manila on the
7th of February, 1914. The purpose of the action on the part of the plaintiff was to
be declared the owner of one-half of two lots or parcels of land located in the district
of Santa Cruz in the city of Manila, to require the defendant to render an account of
the administration of said lots or parcels of land, and to obtain a judgment in favor
of the plaintiff and against the defendant for whatever amount said rendition of
accounts shows the plaintiff was entitled to.
To the petition the defendant filed a general and special answer. In his general
answer he denied each and all of the material allegations alleged in the complaint.

In his special defense he alleged that the said Tomas G. Del Rosario, at the time of
his death, was the sole and only owner of said lots or parcels of land.
Upon the issue thus presented and after hearing the evidence adduced during the
trial of the cause, the court a quorendered a judgment in which he ordered the
defendant to deliver to the plaintiff one-half of one of said parcels of land, together
with the one-half of the rent which it produced or might produce until the delivery of
the same, and to pay to the plaintiff the sum of P8,000 and the half of the rent
which the other piece of property may have produced or may produce up to the
time of the death of the deceased, Tomas G. del Rosario.
From that conclusion the defendant appealed to this court and made several
assignments of error the most important of which, and the one which is our
judgment shows that the lower court committed an error in its conclusions, is
assignment No. 5. Said assignment is that the lower court "erred in not holding that
the decree of the Court of Land Registration, copied in plaintiff's Exhibit C, is res
judicata against the plaintiff; and that the two certificates of title of the properties
that are the subject matter of the complaint, issued in behalf of Tomas G. de Rosario
by virtue of said decree, are conclusive and decisive proof against the plaintiff."
If it is true that during the lifetime of Tomas G. del Rosario he obtained a Torrens title
for the lots or parcels of land in question, and if that judgment or decree of the
Court of Land Registration became final, or if more than one year had elapsed after
the decree then his title is unimpeachable and can not be annulled or set aside,
even for fraud.
As was noted above, the present action was commenced on the 7th of February,
1914. During the trial of the cause the defendant presented as proof Exhibit C. An
examination of Exhibit C shows the following facts:
First. That the said Tomas G. del Rosario presented a petition in the Court of Land
Registration on the 24th of April, 1909, for the registration under the Torrens system
of two parcels of land. There is no dispute that the two parcels of land described in
said petition for registration are exactly the same parcels of land in litigation in the
present action.
Second. Said Exhibit C further shows that on the 21st of September, 1909, the judge
of the Court of Land Registration, after considering the petition, rendered the
following decree, ordering said parcels of land to be registered in the name of Tomas
G. del Rosario, in accordance with the provisions of Act No. 496:
Two properties are described in the application, both urban; the first is a parcel of
land situated on Calle Curtidor, district of Santa Cruz, city of Manila, and includes
the building thereon constructed of strong materials; and the other is a piece of land
on Calle Asuncion, district of San Nicolas, city of Manila, which includes the building,
also of strong materials, thereon.

The applicant has presented documentary and parol evidence, the former consisting
of the documents, all of which are public, on file in this case, and the latter, of the
testimony of witnesses. From the said documents and from the certified copy issued
by the register of deeds of Manila on July 17, 1907, of the entry made in the old
property registry, it is deduced that these properties have been the subject of
successive and legal conveyances since the year 1879, until they were acquired by
the applicant in August and September, 1891, by purchase, during his conjugal
partnership, now dissolved, with his wife, Juana Reyes y Reyes, and that the
ownership of both properties was recorded in the said property registry in the name
of the aforementioned Tomas G. del Rosario, as the representative of the said
partnership.
Upon the death of Juana Reyes y Reyes, who died intestate, Concepcion Crispina
Dorotea Severina del Rosario y Reyes, a daughter of the marriage of the deceased
with the applicant, Tomas G. del Rosario, was declared to be the sold heir of
decedent by the Court of First Instance of the district of Quiapo in a decree of
February 20, 1892.
On June 3, 1900, the said Concepcion del Rosario y Reyes also died, at the age of
nine years, according to the death certificate Exhibit F, and was succeeded in all her
rights and actions, and in respect to one-half of the property, by the said applicant,
Tomas G. del Rosario, who was already the owner of the other half of the property.
After general notice of default, the adjudication and registration of the property in
question is decreed (10 a. m.) in the name of the applicant, Tomas G. del Rosario.
Let a translation be made of the stenographic notes taken of the testimony of the
witnesses, and attached to the record of the proceedings.
In the margin of the entries of registration, which, on folio 34 of volume 4 of the
section of Quiapo, and 9 of the register, property No. 131, registration No. 3, and
folio 115 of volume 7 of the section of Binondo, property No. 314, appears in the
names of Tomas G. del Rosario y Tongco and his daughter, Concepcion Crispina
Dorotea Severina del Rosario y Reyes, let record be made by the register of deeds of
the city of Manila, that the properties to which said entries refer have been
adjudicated to Tomas G. del Rosario, in accordance with Act No. 496.
MANILA, September 21, 1909.
From the 21st of September, 1909, until the 7th of February, 1914, much more than
one year elapsed. The title, therefore, of Tomas G. del Rosario was absolute and
complete. The failure of the plaintiff, if he ever had any interest or title in said land,
to appear and oppose the registration of the same in the name of Tomas G. del
Rosario or to question the registration in his name during a period of one year after
the certificate of title had been issued, operates to exclude him forever from
questioning the title granted under the Torrens system. (Sec. 38, Act No. 496;

Cuyugan and Lim Tuico vs. Sy Quia, 24 Phil. Rep., 567; Maloles vs. Director of Lands,
25 Phil. Rep., 548.)
The plaintiff having lost his right to claim any interest in the lots or parcels of land in
question, by virtue of his (a) failure to present any opposition to the registration of
the same under the Torrens system in favor of Tomas G. del Rosario, or (b) to
question the validity of such registration within a period of one year thereafter he
has forever lost his right therein, if he ever had any.
Therefore the judgment of the lower court is hereby reversed and the defendant is
absolved from all liability under the complaint, and without any finding as to costs,
it is so ordered.
Torres, Moreland, and Trent, JJ., concur.
Araullo, J., dissents.
July 22, 1916.
JOHNSON, J.:
On the 27th of March, 1916, a decision was rendered in the above entitled cause, in
which the decision of the lower court was revoked. The purpose of the action was to
recover a portion of certain parcels of land "como un derecho reservable" (as a
reservable right). In the decision the court held that by virtue of the provisions of
section 38 of Act No. 496, the plaintiff had lost his right to the property by reason of
his failure to present any opposition to the registration thereof under the Torrens
system, and had presented no objection to the registration of the same within a
period of one year after the decree of registration had been entered.
On the 1st of April, 1916, the attorney for the appellee presented a motion for a
rehearing. In his motion for a rehearing he calls our attention to the provisions of
article 811 of the Civil Code, the commentaries thereon by Manresa, as well as to
the decision of this court in the case of Edroso vs. Sablan (25 Phil. Rep., 295).
It is true that in said cause (Edroso vs. Sablan) we held that the owners of "el
derecho reservable" were entitled to have said right noted in the certificate of
registration as a valid lien against the property. In that case (Edroso vs. Sablan) the
persons holding the reservable right presented their opposition to the registration of
the land in question during the pendency of the action in the Court of Land
Registration. In the present case the land in question was registered in the month of
September, 1909. No objection was presented to the registration of the property.
The property in question was registered without objection. No question is now raised
that the proceedings for the registration of the land in question were not regular
and in accordance with the provisions of the Land Registration Act. Moreover, the
plaintiff presented no claim whatever for a period of six years and not then until

after the death of the person in whose name the same had been registered under
the Torrens system. The provisions of section 38 of Act No. 496 seem to prohibit
absolutely the raising of any question concerning the validity of a title of land
registered under the Torrens system, after the expiration of one year. We are of the
opinion that the prohibitions contained in said section apply to every claim, of
whatever nature, which persons may have had against registered land.
In the case of Edroso vs. Sablan (supra) the parties interested went to the Court of
Land Registration during the pendency of the action there and fully protected their
rights. In the present case the plaintiff did not, thereby losing his right given him
under the law to the land in question. Whether he has any other remedy for the
purpose of recovering damages to cover his loss is a question which we do not now
discuss or decide. The appellee apparently has the idea that the decision in the
present case destroys "el derecho reservable." That was not the purpose of the
decision. The effect of the decision simply is that unless such right is protected
during the pendency of the action for the registration of the land, or within a period
of one year thereafter, such right is lost forever. We are of the opinion that there is
no conflict between the decision in the present case and that in the case of Edroso
vs. Sablan (supra).
For the foregoing reasons the motion for a rehearing is hereby denied. So ordered.
Torres, and Trent, JJ., concur.
Moreland, J., concurs in the result.
Araullo, J., dissents.