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G.R. No.

L-6339

April 20, 1954

MANUEL LARA, ET AL., plaintiffs-appellants, vs. PETRONILO DEL ROSARIO,


JR., defendant-appellee.
MONTEMAYOR, J.:
In 1950 defendant Petronilo del Rosario, Jr., owner of twenty-five taxi cabs or cars, operated a
taxi business under the name of "Waval Taxi." He employed among others three mechanics and
49 chauffeurs or drivers, the latter having worked for periods ranging from 2 to 37 months. On
September 4, 1950, without giving said mechanics and chauffeurs 30 days advance notice, Del
Rosario sold his 25 units or cabs to La Mallorca, a transportation company, as a result of which,
according to the mechanics and chauffeurs above-mentioned they lost their jobs because the La
Mallorca failed to continue them in their employment. They brought this action against Del
Rosario to recover compensation for overtime work rendered beyond eight hours and on Sundays
and legal holidays, and one month salary (mesada) provided for in article 302 of the Code of
Commerce because the failure of their former employer to give them one month notice.
Subsequently, the three mechanics unconditionally withdrew their claims. So only the 49 drivers
remained as plaintiffs. The defendant filed a motion for dismissal of the complaint on the ground
that it stated no cause of action and the trial court for the time being denied the motion saying
that it will be considered when the case was heard on the merits. After trial the complaint was
dismissed. Plaintiffs appealed from the order of dismissal to the Court of Appeals which Tribunal
after finding only questions of law are involved, certified the case to us.
The parties are agreed that the plaintiffs as chauffeurs received no fixed compensation based on
the hours or the period of time that they worked. Rather, they were paid on the commission
basis, that is to say, each driver received 20 per cent of the gross returns or earnings from the
operation of his taxi cab. Plaintiffs claim that as a rule, each drive operated a taxi 12 hours a day
with gross earnings ranging from P20 to P25, receiving therefrom the corresponding 20 per cent
share ranging from P4 to P5, and that in some cases, especially during Saturdays, Sundays, and
holidays when a driver worked 24 hours a day he grossed from P40 to P50, thereby receiving a
share of from P8 to P10 for the period of twenty-four hours.
The reason given by the trial court in dismissing the complaint is that the defendant being
engaged in the taxi or transportation business which is a public utility, came under the exception
provided by the Eight-Hour Labor Law (Commonwealth Act No. 444); and because plaintiffs did
not work on a salary basis, that is to say, they had no fixed or regular salary or remuneration
other than the 20 per cent of their gross earnings "their situation was therefore practically similar
to piece workers and hence, outside the ambit of article 302 of the Code of Commerce."
For purposes of reference we are reproducing the pertinent provisions of the Eight-Hour Labor
Law, namely, sections 1 to 4.
SECTION 1. The legal working day for any person employed by another shall not be more than
eight hours daily. When the work is not continuous, the time during which the laborer is not
working and can leave his working place and can rest completely shall not be counted.
SEC. 2. This Act shall apply to all persons employed in any industry or occupation, whether public
or private, with the exception of farm laborers, laborers who prefer to be paid on piece work
basis, domestic servants and persons in the personal service of another and members of the
family of the employer working for him.
SEC. 3. Work may be performed beyond eight hours a day in case of actual or impending
emergencies, caused by serious accidents, fire flood, typhoon, earthquakes, epidemic, or other
disaster or calamity in order to prevent loss of life and property or imminent danger to public
safety; or in case of urgent work to be performed on the machines, equipment, or installations in

order to avoid a serious loss which the employer would otherwise suffer, or some other just
cause of a similar nature; but in all cases the laborers and the employees shall be entitled to
receive compensation for the overtime work performed at the same rate as their regular wages
or salary, plus at least twenty-five per centum additional.
In case of national emergency the Government is empowered to establish rules and regulations
for the operation of the plants and factories and to determine the wages to be paid the laborers.
SEC. 4. No person, firm, or corporation, business establishment or place or center of work shall
compel an employee or laborer to work during Sundays and legal holidays, unless he is paid an
additional sum of at least twenty-five per centum of his regular remuneration: Provided
however, That this prohibition shall not apply to public utilities performing some public service
such as supplying gas, electricity, power, water, or providing means of transportation or
communication.
Under section 4, as a public utility, the defendant could have his chauffeurs work on Sundays and
legal holidays without paying them an additional sum of at least 25 per cent of their regular
remuneration: but that with reference only to work performed on Sundays and holidays. If the
work done on such days exceeds 8 hours a day, then the Eight-Hour Labor Law would operate,
provided of course that plaintiffs came under section 2 of the said law. So that the question to be
decided here is whether or not plaintiffs are entitled to extra compensation for work performed in
excess of 8 hours a day, Sundays and holidays included.
It will be noticed that the last part of section 3 of Commonwealth Act 444 provides for extra
compensation for over-time work "at the same rate as their regular wages or salary, plus at least
twenty-five per centum additional'" and that section 2 of the same act excludes application
thereof laborers who preferred to be on piece work basis. This connotes that a laborer or
employee with no fixed salary, wages or remuneration but receiving as compensation from his
employer uncertain and variable amount depending upon the work done or the result of said
work (piece work) irrespective of the amount of time employed, is not covered by the Eight-Hour
Labor Law and is not entitled to extra compensation should he work in excess of 8 hours a day.
And this seems to be the condition of employment of the plaintiffs. A driver in the taxi business
of the defendant, like the plaintiffs, in one day could operate his taxi cab eight hours, or less than
eight hours or in excess of 8 hours, or even 24 hours on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays, with
no limit or restriction other than his desire, inclination and state of health and physical
endurance. He could drive continuously or intermittently, systematically or haphazardly, fast or
slow, etc. depending upon his exclusive wish or inclination. One day when he feels strong, active
and enthusiastic he works long, continuously, with diligence and industry and makes
considerable gross returns and receives as much as his 20 per cent commission. Another day
when he feels despondent, run down, weak or lazy and wants to rest between trips and works for
less number of hours, his gross returns are less and so is his commission. In other words, his
compensation for the day depends upon the result of his work, which in turn depends on the
amount of industry, intelligence and experience applied to it, rather than the period of time
employed. In short, he has no fixed salary or wages. In this we agree with the learned trial court
presided by Judge Felicisimo Ocampo which makes the following findings and observations of this
point.
. . . As already stated, their earnings were in the form of commission based on the gross receipts
of the day. Their participation in most cases depended upon their own industry. So much so that
the more hours they stayed on the road, the greater the gross returns and the higher their
commissions. They have no fixed hours of labor. They can retire at pleasure, they not being paid
a fixed salary on the hourly, daily, weekly or monthly basis.

It results that the working hours of the plaintiffs as taxi drivers were entirely characterized by its
irregularity, as distinguished from the specific regular remuneration predicated on specific and
regular hours of work of factories and commercial employees.
In the case of the plaintiffs, it is the result of their labor, not the labor itself, which determines
their commissions. They worked under no compulsion of turning a fixed income for each given
day. . . ..
In an opinion dated June 1, 1939 (Opinion No. 115) modified by Opinion No. 22, series 1940,
dated June 11, 1940, the Secretary of Justice held that chauffeurs of the Manila Yellow Taxicab
Co. who "observed in a loose way certain working hours daily," and "the time they report for
work as well as the time they leave work was left to their discretion.," receiving no fixed salary
but only 20 per cent of their gross earnings, may be considered as piece workers and therefore
not covered by the provisions of the Eight-Hour Labor Law.
The Wage Administration Service of the Department of Labor in its Interpretative Bulletin No. 2
dated May 28, 1953, under "Overtime Compensation," in section 3 thereof entitled Coverage,
says:
The provisions of this bulletin on overtime compensation shall apply to all persons employed in
any industry or occupation, whether public or private, with the exception of farm laborers, nonagricultural laborers or employees who are paid on piece work, contract, pakiao, task
or commission basis, domestic servants and persons in the personal service of another and
members of the family of the employer working for him.
From all this, to us it is clear that the claim of the plaintiffs-appellants for overtime compensation
under the Eight-Hour Labor Law has no valid support.
As to the month pay (mesada) under article 302 of the Code of Commerce, article 2270 of the
new Civil Code (Republic Act 386) appears to have repealed said Article 302 when it repealed the
provisions of the Code of Commerce governing Agency. This repeal took place on August 30,
1950, when the new Civil Code went into effect, that is, one year after its publication in
the Official Gazette. The alleged termination of services of the plaintiffs by the defendant took
place according to the complaint on September 4, 1950, that is to say, after the repeal of Article
302 which they invoke. Moreover, said Article 302 of the Code of Commerce, assuming that it
were still in force speaks of "salary corresponding to said month." commonly known as "mesada."
If the plaintiffs herein had no fixed salary either by the day, week or month, then computation of
the month's salary payable would be impossible. Article 302 refers to employees receiving a
fixed salary. Dr. Arturo M. Tolentino in his book entitled "Commentaries and Jurisprudence on the
Commercial Laws of the Philippines," Vol. 1, 4th edition, p. 160, says that article 302 is not
applicable to employees without fixed salary. We quote
Employees not entitled to indemnity. This article refers only to those who are engaged under
salary basis, and not to those who only receive compensation equivalent to whatever service
they may render. (1 Malagarriga 314, citing decision of Argentina Court of Appeals on
Commercial Matters.)
In view of the foregoing, the order appealed from is hereby affirmed, with costs against
appellants.
[G.R. Nos. L-11483-84. February 14, 1958.]
In the matter of the Testate Estate of the deceased Edward E. Christensen, ADOLFO
CRUZ AZNAR, Petitioner. MARIA LUCY CHRISTENSEN DANEY and ADOLFO CRUZ
AZNAR,Petitioners-Appellants, v. MARIA HELEN CHRISTENSEN GARCIA and BERNARDA
CAMPOREDONDO, Oppositors-Appellees.

BERNARDA CAMPOREDONDO, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. ADOLFO CRUZ AZNAR, as Executor


of the Deceased EDWARD E. CHRISTENSEN, Defendant-Appellant.
SYLLABUS
1. NATIONAL CHILDREN; ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF; FACTORS TO BE CONSIDERED IN DETERMINING
THE STATUS OF THE CHILD. Where, as in the recent case, the child had established that she
had been in continuous possession of the status of natural child of the deceased, the latters act
in disavowing his paternity to the child cannot be made the criterion in determining whether the
child was his or not, for human frailty and parental arrogance sometimes may draw a person to
adopt unnatural or harsh measures against an erring child or one who displeases him just so the
weight of his authority could be felt. In the consideration of a claim that one is a natural child,
the attitude or direct acts of the person against them whom such motion is directed or that of his
family before the controversy arose or during his lifetime if he predeceases the claimant, and not
at a single opportunity or on isolated occasions but as a whole, must be taken into account. The
possession of such status is one of the cases that gives rise to the right in favor of the child of
compulsory recognition. (Art. 2833, Civil Code).
2. ID.; ID.; ID.; EFFECT OF COURTS DECLARATION THAT THE CHILD HAS ACQUIRED STATUS OF
NATURAL CHILD. In cases of compulsory recognition, as in the case at bar, it would be
sufficient that a competent court, after taking into account all the evidence on record, would
declare that under any of the circumstances specified by Article 283 of the Civil ode, a child has
acquired the status of a natural child of the presumptive parent and as such is entitled to all the
rights granted to it by law, for such declaration is by itself already a judicial recognition of the
paternity of the parent concerned which the heirs of the latter against whom the action is
directed, are bound to respect.
3. INFORMAL CIVIL PARTNERSHIP; REQUISITE BEFORE A PARTY MAY BE ENTITLED TO SHARE IN
THE PROPERTIES ACQUIRED DURING THE COHABITATION; CASE AT BAR. Before Republic Act
No. 386 (Civil Code of the Philippines) went into operation on August 30, 1950, this court had
already that where a man and a woman, not suffering from any impediment to contract
marriage, live together as husband and wife, an informal civil partnership exists, and each of
them has an equal interest in the properties acquired during said union and is entitled to
participate therein if said properties were the product of their JOINT effort (Marata v. Diono G.R.
No. 24449, December 31, 1925; Lecasa v. Felix Vda. de Lesaca, 91 Phil., 135; Flores v.
Rehabilitation Finance Corporation, 94 Phil., 451, 50 Off. Gaz. 1029). In the case at bar, aside
from the observation of the trial court that appellee was an illiterate woman, there appears no
evidence to prove appellees contribution or participation in the acquisition of the properties
involved; therefore, following the aforecited ruling of this Court, appellees claim for 1/2 of the
properties cannot be granted. Even assuming for the sake of argument that this case falls under
the provisions of Article 144 of the Civil Code which recognizes the parties as co-owners of the
properties acquires during the union, the law would be applicable only as far as properties
acquired after the Act are concerned and to no other, for such law cannot be given retroactive
effect to govern those already possessed before August 30, 1950.
FELIX, J.:
From the records of the above-entitled cases, it appears that as of 1913,Edward E. Christensen,
an American citizen, was already residing in Davao and on the following year became the
manager of Mindanao Estates located in the municipality of Padada of the same province. At a
certain time, which the lower court placed at 1917, a group of laborers recruited from Argao,
Cebu, arrived to work in the said plantation. Among the group was a young girl, Bernarda
Camporendondo, who became an assistant to the cook. Thereafter, the girl and Edward E.

Christensen, who was also unmarried staring living together as husband and wife and although
the records failed to establish the exact date when such relationship commenced, the lower
court found the same to have been continuous for over 30 years until the death of Christensen
occurred on April 30, 1953. Out of said relations, 2 children, Lucy and Helen Christensen, were
allegedly born.
G. R. NO. L-11484.
Upon the demise of the American, who had left a considerable amount of properties his will
naming Adolfo Cruz Aznar as executor was duly presented for probate in court and became the
subject of Special Proceedings No. 622 of the Court of First Instance of Davao. Said will contains,
among others, the following provisions:
xxx

xxx

xxx.

3. I declare . . . that I have but one (1) child, named MARIA LUCY CHRISTENSEN (now Mrs.
Bernard Daney), who was born in the Philippines about twenty-eight years ago, and who is now
residing at No. 665 Rodger Young Village, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
4. I further declare that I have no living ascendants, andno descendantsexcept my above named
daughter, MARIA LUCY CHRISTENSEN DANEY.
xxx

xxx

xxx.

7. I give, devise and bequeath unto MARIA LUCY CHRISTENSEN, now married to Eduardo Garcia,
about eighteen years of age and who, notwithstanding the fact that she was baptized
Christensen, is not in any way related to me, nor has she been at any time adopted to me, and
who, from all information I have now resides in Egipt, Digos, Davao, Philippines, the sum of
THREEE THOUSAND SIXHUNDRED PESOS (P3,600) Philippine Currency, the same to be deposited
in trustfor said Maria Lucy Christensen with the Davao Branch of the Philippine National Bank,
and paid to her at the rate of One Hundred Pesos (P100), Philippine Currency per month until the
principal thereof as well as any interest which may have accrued thereon, is exhausted.
8. I give devise and bequeath unto BERNARDA CAMPORENDONDO, now residing in Padada,
Davao, Philippines, the sum of One Thousand Pesos (P1,000), Philippine Currency.
xxx

xxx

xxx.

12. I hereby give, devise and bequeath, unto my well-beloved daughter, the said MARIA Lucy
CHRISTENSEN DANEY (Mrs. Bernard Daney), now residing as aforesaid at No. 665 Rodger Young
Village Los Angeles, California, U.S.A., all the income from the rest, remainder, and residue of my
property and estate, real, personal and/or mixed, of whatsoever kind or character, and
wheresover situated; of which I may be possessed at any death and which may have come to me
from any source whatsoever, during her lifetime, Provided, however, that should the said MARIA
LUCY CHRISTENSEN DANEY at any time prior to her decease having living issue, then, and in that
event, the life interest herein given shall terminate, and if so terminated, then I give, devise, and
bequeath to my said daughter, the said MARIA LUCY CHRISTENSEN DANEY, the rest remainder
and residue of my property, with the same force and effect as if I had originally so given, devised
and bequeathed it to her; and provided, further, that should be said Maria Lucy Christensen
Daney die without living issue then, and in that event, I give, devise and bequeath all the rest,
remainder and residue of my property, one-half (1/2) to my well-beloved sister, Mrs. CARRIE
LOIUSE C. BORTON, now residing at No. 2124 Twentieth Street, Bakersfield, California, U.S.A. and
one-half (1/2) to the children of my deceased brother, JOSEPH C. CRISTENSEN, . . .
13. I hereby nominate and appoint Mr Adolfo Cruz Aznar, of Davao City, Philippines, my executor,
and the executor of this, my last will and testament.

. . . (Exh. A).
Oppositions to the probate of this will were separately filed by Maria Helen Christensen Garcia
and Bernarda Camporendondo, the first contending that the will lacked the formalities required
by law; that granting that he had, the dispositions made therein were illegal because although
she and Lucy Christensen were both children had by the deceased with Bernarda
Camporendondo, yet she was given only a meager sum of P3,600 out of an estate valued at
$485,000 while Lucy would get the rest of the properties; and that the petitioner Adolfo Cruz
Aznar was not qualified to be appointed as administrator of the estate because he had an
interest adverse to that of the estate. It was therefore prayed by his oppositor that the
application for probate be denied and the will disallowed; that the proceeding be declared
intestate and that another disinterested person be appointed as administrator.
Bernarda Camporedondo, on the other hand, claimed ownership over one-half of the entire
estate in virtue of her relationship with the deceased, it being alleged that she and the testator
having lived together as husband and wife continuously for a period of over 30 years, the
properties acquired during such cohabitation should be governed by the rules on co-ownership.
This opposition was dismissed by the probate court on the ground that she had no right to
intervene in said proceeding, for as such common-law wife she had no successional right that
might be affected by the probate of the will, and likewise, she could not be allowed to establish
her title and co-ownership over the properties therein for such questions must be ventilated in a
court of general jurisdiction. In view of this ruling of the Court and in order to attain the purpose
sought by her overruled opposition Bernarda Camporedondo had to institute, as she did institute
Civil Case No. 1076 of the Court of First Instance of Davao (G.R. No. L-11483) which we will
consider and discuss hereinafter.
In the meantime, Adolfo Cruz Aznar was appointed special administrator of the estate after filing
a bond for P5,000 pending the appointment of a regular one, and letters of special administration
were correspondingly issued to him on May 21, 1953.
The records further show that subsequent to her original opposition. Helen Christensen Garcia
filed a supplemental opposition and motion to declare her an acknowledged natural child of
Edward E. Christensen, alleging that she was conceived during the time when her mother
Bernarda Camporendondo was living with the deceased as his common-law wife; that she had
been in continuous possession of the status of a natural child of the deceased; that he had in her
favor evidence and/or proof that Edward Christensen was her father; and that she and Lucy had
the same civil status as children of the decedent and Bernarda Camporedondo. This motion was
opposed jointly by the executor and Maria Lucy Christensen Daney asserting that before, during
and after the conception and birth of Helen Christensen Garcia, her mother was generally known
to be carrying relations with 3 different men; that during the lifetime of the decedent and even
years before his death, Edward Christensen verbally as well as in writing disavowed relationship
with said oppositor; that oppositor appropriated and used the surname Christensen illegally and
without permission from the deceased. Thus they prayed the Court that the will be allowed; that
Maria Helen Christensen Garcia be declared not in any way related to the deceased; and that the
motion of said oppositor be denied.
After due hearing, the lower court in a decision dated February 28, 1953, found that oppositor
Maria Helen Cristensen had been in continuous possession of the status of a natural child of the
deceased Edward Christensen notwithstanding the fact that she was disowned by him in his will,
for such action must have been brought about by the latter's disaproval of said oppositor's
marriage to a man he did not like. But taking into consideration that such possession of the
status of a natural child did not itself constitute acknowledgment but may only be availed of to
compel acknowledgment, the lower Court directed Maria Lucy Christensen Daney to
acknowledge the oppositor as a natural child of Edward E. Christensen. The will was, however,

allowed the letters testamentary consequently issued to Adolfo Cruz Aznar, the executor named
therein. From the portion of the decision requiring Lucy Christensen to acknowledge Helen as a
natural child of the testator, the former and the executor interposed an appeal to the Court of
Appeals (CA-G. R. No. 13421-R), but the appellate tribunal elevated the same to Us on the
ground that the case involves an estate the value of which far exceeds P50,000.00 and thus falls
within the exclusive appellate jurisdiction of this Court pursuant to Section 17 (5), Republic Act
No. 296.
The principal issue in this litigation is whether the lower court erred in finding that the oppositor
Maria Helen Christensen Garcia had been in continuous possession of the status of a natural
child of the deceased Edward E. Christensen and in directing Maria Lucy Christensen Daney,
recognized daughter and instituted heirs of the decedent, to acknowledge the former as such
natural child.
Maria Lucy Christensen was born on April 25, 1922, and Maria Helen Christensen on July 2, 1934,
of the same mother, Bernarda Camporedondo, during the period when the latter was publicly
known to have been living as common-law wife of Edward E. Chrisiensen. From the facts of the
case there can be no question as to Lucy's parentage, but controversy arose when Edward
Christensen, in making his last will and testament, disavowed such paternity to Helen and gave
her only a legacy of P3,600. ln the course of the proceeding for the probate of the will (Exh, A),
Helen introduced documentary and testimonial evidence to support her claim that she, Lucy, was
a natural child of the deceased and, therefore, entitled to the hereditary share corresponding to
such descendant. Several witness testified in her favor, including the mother Bernarda
Camporendondo, her former teachers and other residents of the community, tending to prove
that she was known in the locality as a child of the testator and was introduced by the latter to
the circle of his friends and acquaintances as his daughter. Family portraits, greeting cards and
letters were likewise presented to bolster her assertion that she had always been treated by the
deceased and by Lucy herself as a member of the family.
Lucy Christensen and Adolfo Cruz Aznar, as executor, tried to repudiate her claim by introducing
evidence to prove that on or about the period when she was conceived and born, her mother was
carrying an affair with another man, Zosimo Silva, a former laborer in her Paligue plantation.
Silva executed an affidavit and even took the witness stand to testify to this effect. Appellants
also strived to show that the defendant's solicitations for Helen's welfare and the help extended
to her merely sprang out generosity and hammered on the fact that on several occasions, the
deceased disclaimed any relationship with her (Exh. O-Daney, Exh. Q-Daney, Exh. Z-Daney, Exh.
8-Helen).
Going over the evidence adduced during the trial, it appears indubitable that on or about the
period when Helen was born, Bernarda Camporendondo had established residence at her
plantation at Paligue, Davao, and that although Edward Christensen stayed in Davao City to
manage his merchandising business, he spent the weekends with the former and their child Lucy
in the Christensenplantation. Even granting that Zosimo Silva at his stage fitted himself intot he
picture, it cannot be denied that Helen's mother and the deceased were generally and publicly
known to be living together as husband and wife. This must have been the reason why
Christensen from Helen's birth in 1934 provided for her maintenance; shouldered the expenses
for her education to the extent that she was even enrolled as an intern in an exclusive college for
girls in Manila; tolerated or allowed her carrying the surname "Christensen", and in effect gave
her the attention and care that a father would only do to this offspring. We should take note that
nothing appears on record to show that Christensen ever entertained any doubt or disputed
Helen's paternity. His repudations of her relationship with him came about only after he and
Bernarda Comperodondo parted ways in March, 1950, and apparently after Helen took sides with
her mother. Furthermore, it seems that despite that decedent's desire that she continue her
studies, Helen ignored the same and got married to a man for Christensen held no high esteem.

We may state at his juncture that while it is true that herein appellants introduced witnesses to
disprove oppositor's claim, the lower Court that had the opportunity to observe the conduct of
the witnesses while testifying and could better gauge their credibility and impartiality in the
case, arrived at the conclusion that Maria Helen Christensen had established that she had been
in continuous possessions of the status of a natural child of the deceased. Considering the
preponderant evidence on record, We see no reason to reverse said ruling. The testator' last acts
cannot be made the criterion in determining whether oppositor was his child or not, for human
frailty and parental arrogance may draw a person to adopt unnatural or harsh measures against
an erring child or one who displeases just so the weight of his authority could be felt. In the
consideration of a claim that one is a natural child, the attitude or direct acts of the person
against whom such action is directed or that of his family before the controversy arose or during
his lifetime if he predeceases the claimant, and not a single opportunity or an isolated occasions
but as a whole, must be taken into account. The possession of such status is one of the cases
that gives rise to the right, in favor of the child, of compulsory recognition. (Art. 283, Civil Code).
The lower Court, however, after making its finding directed Maria Lucy Christensen Daney, an
heir of the decedent, to recognize oppositor as a natural child of the deceased. This seems
improper. The Civil Code for 2 kinds of acknowledgement of a natural child: voluntary and
compulsory. In the first instance, which may be effected in the record of birth, a will, a statement
before a court of record or in an authentic writing (Art. 278,Civil Code), court intervention is very
nil and not altogether wanting, whereas in the second, judicial pronouncement is essential, and
while it is true that the effect of a voluntary and a compulsory acknowledgment on the right of
the child so recognized is the same, to maintain the view of the lower Court would eliminate the
distinction between voluntary acts and those brought about by judicial dicta. And if We consider
that in the case, where, the presumed parent dies ahead of the child and action for compulsory
recognition is brought against the heirs of the deceased, as in the instant case, the situation
would take absurd turn, for the heirs would be compelled to recognize such child as a natural
child of the deceased without a proper provision of the law, for as it now stands, the Civil Code
only requires a declaration by the court of the child's status as a natural child of the parent who,
if living, would be compelled to recognize his offspring as such. Therefore, We hold that in cases
of compulsory recognition, as in the case at bar, it would be sufficient that a competent court,
after taking into account all the evidence on record, would declare that under any of the
circumstances specified by Article 283 of the Civil Code, a child has acquired the status of a
natural child of the presumptive parent and as such is entitled to all rights granted it by law, for
such declaration is by itself already a judicial recognition of the paternity of the parent concerned
which is her against whom the action is directed, are bound to respect.
G.R. No. L-11483
Coming now to Civil Case No. 1076 of the Court of First Instance of Davao, Bernarda
Camporendondo claimed in her complaint 1/2 of the properties of the deceased as co-owner
thereof in virtue of her relations with the deceased. She alleged as basis for action that she and
the deceased Edward E. Christensen had lived and cohabitated as husband and wife,
continuously and openly for a period for more than 30 years; that within said period, plaintiff and
the deceased acquired real and personal properties through their common effort and industry;
and that in virtue of such relationship, she was a co-owner of said properties. As the executor
refused to account for and deliver the share allegedly belonging to her despite her repeated
demands, she prayed the court that said executor be ordered to submit an inventory and render
an accounting of the entire estate of the deceased; to divide the same into 2 equal parts and
declare that one of them lawfully belonged to plaintiff; and for such other reliefs as may be
deemed just and equitable in the premises. In his answer, the executor denied the averments of
the complaint, contending that the decedent was the sole owner of the properties left by him as
they were acquired through his own efforts; that plaintiff had never been a co-owner of any
property acquired or possessed by the late Edward Christensen during his lifetime; that the

personal relationship between plaintiff and the deceased was purely clandestine because the
former habitually lived in her plantation at Paligue, Davao, from the time she acquired the same
in 1928; that she also maintained relations with 2 other men; and that the claim of plaintiff would
violate the provisions of Article 2253 of the Civil Code as the vested rights of the compulsory
heirs of the deceased would be impaired. Defendant thus prayed for the dismissal of the
complaint and as counterclaim demanded the sum ofP70.000.00 representing actual, moral and
exemplary damages.
Due hearing was conducted thereon and after the parties had submitted their respective
memoranda, the lower Court on August 25, 1954, rendered judgment finding that the deceased
Edward Christensen and Bernarda Camporendondo, not otherwise suffering from any
impediment to contract marriage, lived together as husband and wife without marital ties
continuously for over 30years until the former's death in 1953; that out of such relations 2
children were born; and that the properties in controversy were acquired by either or both of
them through their work or industry. Relying on Section 144 of the Civil Code which said court
considered to have created another mode of acquiring ownership, plaintiff was held to be entitled
to one-half of said properties as co-owner thereof in view of her relationship with the deceased
and ordered the executor to account for and deliver the same by her. From this decision,
defendant Aznar, as Executor of the will, perfected an appeal to the Court of Appeals, but as the
property involved in the litigation exceeds P50,000.00 said tribunal elevated the case to Us for
consideration.
It is not controverted that at the time of his death, Edward Christensen was the owner of certain
properties, including shares of stock in the plantation bearing his name and a general
merchandising store in Davao City. It is also undeniable that the deceased and appellee, both
capacitated to enter into the married state, maintained relations as husband and wife,
continuously and publicly for a considerable number of years which the lower Court declared to
be until the death of Christensen in 1953. While as a general rule appellate courts do not usually
disturb the lower court's findings of fact, unless said finding is not supported by or totally devoid
of or inconsistent with the evidence on record, such finding must of necessity be modified to
conform with the evidence if the reviewing tribunal were to arrive at the proper and just solution
of the controversy. In the instant case, the court a quo overlooked or failed to consider the
testimonies of both Lucy and Helen Christensen to the effect that the deceased and their mother
Bernarda Camporendondo had some sort of quarrel or misunderstanding and parted ways as of
March, 1950, a fact which appellee was not able to overcome. Taking into account the
circumstances of this case as found by the trial court, with the modification that the cohabitation
should appear as continuous from the early 20's until March, 1950, the question left for our
determination is whether Bernarda Camporedondo, by reason of such relationship, may be
considered as a co-owner of the properties acquired by the deceased during said period and thus
entitled to one-half thereof after the latter's death.
Presumably taking judicial notice of the existence in our society of a certain kind of relationship
brought about by couples living together as husbands and wives without the benefit of marriage,
acquiring and bringing properties unto said union, and probably realizing that while same may
not be acceptable from the moral point of view they are as much entitled to the protection of the
laws as any other property owners, the lawmakers incorporated Article 144 in Republic Act No.
386 (Civil Code of the Philippines) to govern their property relations. Said article read as follows:
ART. 114. When a man and a woman live together as husband and wife, but they are not married,
or their marriage is void from the beginning, the property acquired by either or both of them
through their work or industry or their wages and salaries shall be governed by the rules of coownership.

It must be noted that such form of co-ownership requires that the man and the woman thus
living together must not in any way be incapacitated to contract marriage and that the
properties realized during their cohabitation be acquired through the work, industry, employment
or occupation of both or either of them. And the same thing may be said of whose marriages are
by provision of law declared void ab intio. While it is true that these requisites are fully met and
satisfied in the case at bar, We must remember that the deceased and herein appellee were
already estranged as of March, 1950. There being no provision of law governing the cessation of
such informal civil partnership, if ever existed, same may be considered terminated upon their
separation or desistance to continue said relations. The Spanish Civil Code which was then
enforce contains to counterpart of Article 144 and as the records in the instant case failed to
show show that a subsequent reconciliation ever took place and considering that Republic Act
No. 386 which recognized such form of co-ownership went into operation only on August 30,
1950, evidently, this later enactment cannot be invoked as basis for appellee's claim.
In determining the question posed by this action, we may look upon the jurisprudence then
obtaining on the matter. As early as 1925, this Court already declared that where a man and a
woman, not suffering from any impediment to contract marriage, live together as husband and
wife, an informal civil partnership exists and made the pronouncement that each of them has an
interest in the properties acquired during said union and is entitled to participate therein if said
properties were the product of their JOINT efforts (Marata vs. Dionio G.R. No. 24449, Dec. 31,
1925). In another case, this Court similarly held that although there is no technical marital
partnership between person living maritally without being lawfully married, nevertheless there is
between them an informal civil partnership, and the parties would be entitled to an equal
interest where the property is acquired through their JOINT efforts (Lesaca vs. FelixVda. de
Lesaca, 91 Phil., 135).
Appellee, claiming that the properties in controversy were the product of their joint industry
apparently in her desire to tread on the doctrine laid down in the aforementioned cases, would
lead Us to believe that her help was solicited or she took a hand in the management of and/or
acquisition of the same. But such assertion appears incredible if We consider that she was
observed by the trial Court as an illiterate woman who cannot even remember simple things as
the date when she arrived at the Mindanao Estate, when she commenced relationship with the
deceased, not even her approximate age or that of her children. And considering that aside from
her own declaration, which We find to be highly improbable, there appears no evidence to prove
her alleged contribution or participation in the acquisition of the properties involved therein, and
that in view of the holding of this Court that for a claim to one-half of such property to be allowed
it must be proved that the same was acquired through their joint efforts and labor (Flores vs.
Rehabilitation Finance Corporation, * 50 Off. Gaz. 1029), We have no recourse but reverse the
holding of the lower Court and deny the claim of Bernarda Campredondo. We may further state
that even granting, for the sake of argument, that this case falls under the provisions of Article
144 of the Civil Code, same would be applicable only as far as properties acquired after the
effectivity of Republic Act 386 are concerned and to no other, for such law cannot be given
retroactive effect to govern those already possessed before August 30, 1950. It may be argued,
however, that being a newly created right, the provisions of Section 144 should be made to
retroact if only to enforce such right. Article 2252 of the same Code is explicit in this respect
when it states:
SEC. 2252. Changes made and new provisions and rules laid down by this Code which may
prejudice or impair vested or acquired rights in accordance with the old legislation, shall have no
retroactive effect.
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As it cannot be denied that the rights and legitimes of the compulsory heirs of the deceased
Edward Christensen would be impaired or diminished if the claim of herein appellee would
succeed, the answer to such argument would be simply obvious.
With regard to appellant Aznar's contention that the lower Court erred in admitting the testimony
of appellee Bernarda Camporedondo dealing with facts that transpired before the death of
Edward Christensen on the ground that it is prohibited by Section 26-(c), Rule 123 of the Rules of
Court. We deem it unnecessary to delve on the same because even admitting that the court a
quo committed the error assigned, yet it will not affect anymore the outcome of the case in view
of the conclusion We have already arrived at on the main issue.
On the strength of the foregoing considerations, We affirm the decision of the lower Court in case
G.R. No. L-11484, with the modification that Maria Lucy Christensen Daney need not be
compelled to acknowledge her sister Maria Helen Christensen Garcia as a natural child of her
father Edward E. Christensen, the declaration of the Court in this respect being sufficient to
enable her to all the rights inherent to such status.
The decision appealed from in case G.R. No. L-11483 is hereby reversed and another one
rendered, dismissing plaintiff's complaint.