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North by property of Felisa Belmonte; on the East by Sapang Dalagot; complaint filed in Civil Case No. 16 of the C.F.I.

of the C.F.I. of N.E. now pending for

EN BANC on the Southeast by Ines de Guzman; on the South by the property of action. Date of the instrument June 4, 1946; Date of the inscription
G.R. No. L-14127 August 21, 1962 Felisa Belmonte; and on then West by the property of Cirilo Acosta; June 6, 1946 at 3:18 (?) p.m. (Sgd.) F.C. Cuizon, Acting Register of
containing an area of THIRTY (30) HECTARES, more or less. Declared Deeds. (Exhibit A, p. 3.)
ISIDORO M. MERCADO, plaintiff-appellee, under tax No. 11313 in the name of Pilar Belmonte with an assessed
vs. value of P8,400.00. While the above-mentioned case was pending in the Court of First Instance
LEON C. VIARDO and PROVINCIAL SHERIFF OF NUEVA of Nueva Ecija, Pilar Belmonte, one of the plaintiffs, entered into the following
ECIJA, defendants-appellants. The highest bidder at the auction sale was the judgment creditor, Leon C. contracts involving her interest or rights over the parcel of land covered by
Viardo, who paid P2,125.64 for the interest sold and P83.15 for the land tax original certificate of title No. 3484:
----------------------------- corresponding to such interest (Exhibit B). When the judgment debtors failed
to redeem the property within the statutory period of one year from the date of (1) Entry No. 10984: Kind Sale; Executed in favor of Isidro M.
G.R. No. L-14128 August 21, 1962 sale (21 February 1941), the provincial sheriff of Nueva Ecija executed on 12 Mercado & Trinidad Isidro; Conditions--Pilar Belmonte sold a portion of
May 1943 a Final Bill of Sale of the property described in Exhibit B in favor of Seven and One-Half (7-) hectares of the property described in this title
LEON C. VIARDO, plaintiff-appellant, for the sum of P5,500.00 (D-126: P-90: B-11: S-1948, Herminio E.
vs. Leon C. Viardo (Exhibit C). On 3 May 1943 a co-owner's copy of the
certificate of title was issued to Leon C. Viardo (Exhibit A, p. 3). Algas, N. E.) Date of the Inst. June 28, 1948 at 1:30 p.m. (Sgd.) F.C.
MERCADO, On 28 December 1945 the Court of First Instance of Nueva Ecija, in Land
TRINIDAD ISIDRO, ZACARIAS BELMONTE, TERESITA FLORES, Registration Case No. 918, G.L.R.O. Record No. 17910, acting upon a (2) Entry No. 10985/0-3484: Kind Sale with right of repurchase:
PHILIPPINE AMERICAN GENERAL INSURANCE COMPANY, INC. and verified petition of Leon C. Viardo, ordered the Registrar of Deeds in and for Executed in favor of Federico Aquino; Conditions Pilar Belmonte
PHILIPPINE NATIONAL BANK, defendants-appellees. Nueva Ecija sold with a right of repurchase seven and one-half (7-) hectares of her
share, interest and participation in this title for the sum of P3,600.00 (D-
No. L-14127: to cancel Original Certificate of Title No. 3484 and to issue another in 127: P-90: B-11: S-48. H. Algas, N. E.) Date of the Inst. June 28,
Agustin C. Bagasao for plaintiff-appellee. lieu thereof in the name of and in the proportion as follows: LEONOR 1948; Date of the Inscription June 28, 1948 at 1:30 p.m. (Sgd.) F. C.
Manuel A. Concordia for defendants-appellants. BELMONTE share; FELISA BELMONTE, share; PILAR CUIZON, Register of Deeds.
No. L-14128: BELMONTE, /8 share; LEON C. VIARDO, /8 share; and INES DE
GUZMAN, share, upon the payment of the corresponding fees (3) Entry No. 15110/0-3484: Kind Resale: Executed in favor of
Manuel A. Concordia for plaintiff-appellant. Pilar Belmonte; Conditions Federico Aquino resold his share in this
E. A. Bello, M. Y. Macias and A. A. Reyes for defendant-appellee Philippine (Exhibit D).
title consisting of 7- Has. for the sum of P3,600.00 (D-63: P-15: B-6: S-
American General Insurance Company, Inc. However, it appears from Original Certificate of Title No. 3484 (Exhibit A) that 1949, Jose E. Castaeda, Manila) Date of the Inst. March 8, 1958:
Cecilio F. Wycoco for defendants-appellees Pilar Belmonte and Teresita the above-mentioned order was not carried out and that said original Date of the Inscription April 8, 1949 at 11:30 a.m. (Sgd.) F.C.
Flores. certificate of title was not cancelled. CUIZON, Register of Deeds.
Carlos M. Ferrer for defendants-appellees Patricia Driz, et al.
On 27 May 1946 Bartolome Driz and Pilar Belmonte filed in the Court of First (4) Entry No. 15111/0-3484: Kind Sale; Executed in favor of
PADILLA, J.: Instance of Nueva Ecija a complaint against Leon C. Viardo (civil case No. Dominador Asuncion and Tomasita Dansil: Pilar Belmonte sold a portion
In civil case No. 7611 of the Court of First Instance of Nueva Ecija, entitled 161) praying that judgment be rendered against the defendant: of seven (7) Has. of her share and participation in this title for the sum of
Leon C. Viardo vs. Bartolome Driz and Pilar Belmonte, a writ of execution P7,000.00. (D-64: P-15: B-6: S-1949, J. E. Castaeda, Manila) Date of
(a) Ordering the defendant to reconvey the property in question in favor the Inst. March 9, 1949; Date of the Inscription April 8, 1949 at
was issued and levy was made "upon all the rights, interest and participation of plaintiffs herein upon payment by the latter of the lawful redemption
which the spouses Bartolome Driz and Pilar Belmonte have or might have" in 11:30 a.m. (Sgd.) F.C. CUIZON, Register of Deeds. (Exhibit A, p. 4)
price in accordance with law, or the sum of P2,125.64 with interest at the
a parcel of land covered by original certificate of title No. 3484 of the rate of one per centum (1%) per month for twelve (12) months from On 11 April 1950 the Court of First Instance of Nueva Ecija rendered
Registrar of Deeds in and for the province of Nueva Ecija (Exhibit A, p.3). February 27, 1941 to February 27, 1942. (Exhibit E.) judgment in civil case No. 161, as follows:
This certificate of title covers a parcel of land (Lot No. 1, Psu-14371) in the
barrios of Nieves and Santo Rosario, municipality of Zaragoza, province of On 4 June 1946 Patricia Blando, attorney for the plaintiffs Bartolome Driz and IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the Court absolves the defendant from the
Nueva Ecija, containing an area of 1,192,775 square meters, more or less. Pilar Belmonte, requested the Registrar of Deeds in and for Nueva Ecija for complaint of the plaintiffs, in the same manner that plaintiffs are absolved
The land is registered in the names of "Leonor Belmonte, Felisa Belmonte, from the counter complaint of the defendant. Defendant is the legal owner of
Pilar Belmonte and Ines de Guzman, subject . . . to the condition that share the land in question and the right of redemption of the plaintiff of said land
[that] belongs to Ines de Guzman is usufructuary "correspondiendo la nuda the annotation of a Notice of LIS PENDENS on the back of ORIGINAL had already elapsed. With costs to the plaintiff. (Exhibit G.)
propiedad a sus tres hijas arriba citadas en participaciones iguales quienes CERTIFICATE OF TITLE NO. 3484 of the Office of the Register of
se consolidara el dominio despues del fallecimiento de su madre' " (Exhibit A, Deeds for the Province of Nueva Ecija, affecting the undivided one-half Not satisfied with the judgment dismissing his counter-claim, the defendant
p. 2). () portion of the property of the plaintiffs in the above-entitled cause, Leon C. Viardo appealed to the Court of Appeals. While the appeal was
situated in the Sitio of Valdez, Barrio of Sto. Rosario, Municipality of pending, the following transactions involving the interest or rights of Pilar
On 25 February 1941, by virtue of the writ of execution above mentioned, the Zaragoza, which is involved in the said controversy against the Belmonte over the parcel of land covered by original certificate of title No.
provincial sheriff of Nueva Ecija sold at public auction one-half () of the defendant LEON C. VIARDO, and which is more particularly described 3484 took place:
following property: under paragraph (4) of the plaintiffs' complaint a copy of which is hereby
presented, hereunto attached. (Exhibit F.) (1) Entry No. 7967/NT-15162: Kind Partition: Executed in favor of
TAX DECLARATION NO. 11313 OF THE MUNICIPALITY OF ZARAGOZA, Felisa Belmonte, et al.; Conditions By virtue of a deed of partition, the
PROVINCE OF NUEVA ECIJA AND COVERED BY ORIGINAL On 6 June 1946 the Registrar of Deeds made the following annotation on the share of the deceased Ines de Guzman and Isidro Belmonte has been
CERTIFICATE OF TITLE NO. 3484 OF THE LAND RECORDS OF NUEVA back of original certificate of title No. 3484: adjudicated in favor of the heirs of said deceased. (D-891: P-77: B-V: S-
ECIJA. 1948, Manuel E. Castaeda, Manila) Date of the Inst. March 31,
Entry No. 3347/0-3484: Kind Lis Pendens Executed in favor of 1948: Date of the Inscription Feb. 18, 1954 at 10:18 a.m. (Sgd.) F.C.
A parcel of land, situated in the sitio of Valdez, barrio Sto. Rosario, Bartolome Driz and Pilar Belmonte; Conditions Al the rights, interests, CUIZON, Register of Deeds.
municipality of Zaragoza, Province of Nueva Ecija. Bounded on the and participation of Leon C. Viardo in this title is the subject of a
(2) Entry No. 7968/NT-15162: Kind Agreement: Executed in favor of the sum of P2,000.00. See TCT No. NT-16546, Vol. 83. (D-172: P-36: the trial of the case, in view of the information by counsel for the defendant
Felisa Belmonte, et al; Conditions By virtue of an agreement of the BS-1954, Adolfo San Juan, Cab. City) Date of the Inst. Sept. 11, that his client Leon C. Viardo would file a complaint against all persons
parties concerned in the partition, Lots Nos. 1-D and 1-J, with an area of 1954; Date of the Inscription Sept. 13, 1954 at 8:20 am. (Sgd.) F.C. claiming ownership of or interest in the parcel of land covered by original
300,000 sq. m. and 80,000 sq.m., more or less, respectively in the CUIZON, Register of Deeds. (Exhibit A, pp. 4-5.) certificate of title No. 3484 (Record on Appeal, pp. 2-11).
subdivision plan Psd-36340, a portion of lot 1 described on plan Psu-
14371, of this title, have been adjudicated in favor of Felisa Belmonte On 22 September 1954, a few days after the last transactions mentioned On 5 December 1955 civil case No. 2004 was filed by Leon V. Viardo against
and Lot 1-G with an area of 75,000 sq.m., more or less, of the same above, the Court of Appeals passed a resolution granting the prayer of Pilar Belmonte, Patricia Driz, Joaquina Driz, Isidoro Mercado, Trinidad Isidro,
subdivision, has been adjudicated in favor of Isidoro Mercado, See TCT defendant-appellant Leon C. Viardo that the children and only heirs, namely, Zacarias Belmonte, Teresita Flores, Philippine American General Insurance
No. 15162 and 15163, Vol. No. 76. (D-211: P-44: B-IV: S-1952, P. Artemio, Patricia, Mario, Domingo, Joaquina and Catalina, surnamed Driz, Co., Inc. and the Philippine National Bank, as parties claiming some right,
Bautista, Cab. City) Date of the Inst. Jan. 22, 1952: Date of the who were all of age, be substituted for the deceased appellee Bartolome Driz participation, share or interest in the parcel of land covered by original
Inscription Feb. 18, 1954 at 10:18 a.m.(Sgd.) F.C. CUIZON, Register (the husband of Pilar Belmonte). (Exhibit H-1). certificate of title No. 3484 or by trader certificates of title derived therefrom.
of Deeds. The defendants filed their answers. After trial,1 on 24 August 1956 the trial
On 25 September 1954 the Court of Appeals rendered judgment awarding court rendered judgment in civil cases Nos. 1718 and 2004, the dispositive
(3) Entry No. 9715/NT-15746: Kind Sale; Executed in favor of Sp. damages prayed for in the counterclaim of Leon V. Viardo. The judgment part of which reads as follows:
Zacarias Belmonte and Teresita Flores; Conditions Dominador made the following findings and conclusions:
Asuncion and Tomasita Dansil sold all their rights and interest in this title IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING CONSIDERATIONS, in Civil Case
. . . The area of the contested property is 15 hectares. By computation, 2004, Leon C. Viardo, Isidoro M. Mercado, Zacarias Belmonte and
consisting of seven hectares for the sum of P6,000.00. (D-177: P-37: B- this is capable of producing 750 cavans of palay a year. On the basis of
IV: S-1952; R. S. Pengson, N.E.) Date of the Inst. Feb. 4, 1952; Date Patricia Driz are hereby declared CO-OWNERS PRO-INDIVISO of lots
70-30, defendant is entitled to 225 cavans of palay a year. Therefore, 1-A PSD-16864, which is the share of Pilar Belmonte in Lot 1, PSU
of Inscription May 13, 1954 at 10:08 a.m. (Sgd.) F.C. CUIZON, plaintiffs are under obligation to deliver to defendant this quantity of
Register of Deeds. 14371, OCT No. 3484 in the following proportions: ONE-HALF for LEON
palay every agricultural year from the filing of defendant's answer on C. VIARDO; 7 hectares for Isidoro M. Mercado; 7 hectares for
(4) Entry No. 12168/NT-15162: Kind Project of Partition Executed August 5, 1946, up to the time he vacates said land, or pay the Zacarias Belmonte, and the remainder for Patricia Driz, it being
in favor of Pilar Belmonte; Conditions By virtue of a project of partition equivalent value thereof at P12.00 a cavan. understood that whatever is adjudicated to Patricia Driz in the partition
re-estate of the late Ines de Guzman, a portion of 13.2775 hectares of Having been declared owner of the land in dispute, defendant is entitled shall be subject to the mortgage in favor of the Philippine National Bank;
the land described in this title has been adjudicated in favor of Pilar to its possession. Inasmuch as the court below did not order plaintiffs to the deeds of sale executed by Pilar Belmonte in favor of Patricia Driz,
Belmonte. (D-891: P-77: B-V: S-1948, Manuel E. Castaeda, Manila) restore the possession of the land in question, we hereby order them to Exhibits R and S are declared NULL AND VOID; the deeds of partition
Date of the Inst. March 31, 1948: Date of the Inscription Aug. 23, vacate the same and restore possession thereof to defendant. (Exhibit Exhibits L and N, are set aside, and the certificates of title issued in favor
1954 at 2:00 p.m. (Sgd.) F.C. CUIZON, Register of Deeds.1wph1.t H.) of Zacarias Belmonte, Isidoro M. Mercado and Patricia Driz, Exhibits P,
Q, R-1 and S-1 are ordered cancelled. And in civil case 1718 Isidoro M.
(5) Entry No. 12169/NT-16440: Kind Sale; Executed in favor of This judgment of the Court of Appeals became final and executory and the Mercado is hereby declared to be entitled to the products which had
Joaquin Driz: Conditions Pilar Belmonte sold Lot 1-B of the records were remanded to the lower court. On 16 December 1954 the Court been levied upon by the Provincial Sheriff. No damages are awarded.
subdivision plan of this title Psd-36340 a portion taken from her of First Instance of Nueva Ecija issued a writ of execution (Exhibit W). The The parties in civil case 2004 shall come to an amicable settlement with
undivided 13.2775 hectares with an area of 52,775 sq.m., more or less, return made by Chief of Police of the Municipality of Zaragoza on 14 respect to the partition. Upon their failure to arrive at an amicable
for the sum of P800.00. See TCT NT-16440, Vol. No. 83. (D-160: P-33: February 1955 states that Leon C. Viardo had been placed in possession of settlement, commissioner shall be appointed by this Court in accordance
B-I: S-1954, Adolfo San Juan, Cab. City) Date of the Inst. Aug. 23, the parcel of land referred to in the writ and that levy was made on a total of with a law to make the partition.
1954; Date of the Inscription Aug. 23, 1954 at 2:00 p.m. (Sgd.) F.C. 86 cavans and 74 kilos of palay, and that the same were deposited in a
CUIZON, Register of Deeds. warehouse (Exhibit X). With costs against the defendants in both cases.
(6) Entry No. 12370/NT-16488: Kind Sale; Executed in favor of On or about 4 January 1955 Isidoro M. Mercado filed a third party claim with Only Leon C. Viardo, plaintiff in civil case No. 2004 and defendant in civil
Patricia Driz: Conditions Pilar Belmonte sold Lot 1-A of the the Provincial Sheriff of Nueva Ecija (Exhibit Y). The affidavit attached to the case No. 1718, appealed to the Court of Appeals. On 21 May 1958 the latter
subdivision plan Psd-36340 being a portion of Lot 1 described in plan claim states that Isidoro M. Mercado and his wife purchased from Pilar certified and forwarded the appeals to this Court because the facts are not in
Psu-14371, G.L.R.O. Cad. Record No. 17910, of this title for the sum of Belmonte on 28 June 1948 seven and one-half hectares of her undivided dispute and "the questions raised by appellant in his brief are purely legal in
P1,000.00 with an area of 80,000 sq.m., with respect to her share of share in the land described in original certificate of title No. 3484, that on the nature."
13.2775 hectares. See TCT No. NT-16488, Vol. 83. (D-440: P-90: B-V: same day the deed of sale was registered, that a transfer certificate of title
S-1954, H. V. Garcia, Cab. City) Date of the Inst. Aug. 31, 1954: Date In his first assignment of error the appellant contends that the trial court
was issued in their names, and that since 1948 up to the time of the levy on "erred in not annulling the sale executed by Pilar Belmonte to Isidoro M.
of the Inscription Sept. 2, 1954 at 8:00 p.m. (Sgd.) F.C. CUIZON, execution he had been in actual possession of the parcel of land, paying the
Register of Deeds. Mercado, marked as Exhibit I, and to Dominador Asuncion and Teresita
corresponding taxes thereon and had exclusively benefited from the harvests Bansil (Exhibit J) and the sale by Dominador Asuncion to Zacarias Belmonte
(7) Entry No. 12512/NT-16546: Kind Sale; Executed in favor of therein, (Exhibit Y-1). The sheriff was requested not to continue with the levy and Teresita Flores in a Deed of Sale marked Exhibit M." In support thereof
Patricia Driz: Conditions Pilar Belmonte sold Lots Nos. 1-H and 1-I of on the harvest in the parcel of land they were claiming. he argues that the three sales took place and were registered after he had
the subdivision plan Psd-30340 of the property described in this title for On 2 February 1955 Isidoro M. Mercado filed in the Court of First Instance of become the absolute owner of an undivided one-half interest in the parcel of
the sum of P850.00. See TCT No. NT-16524, Vol. 83. (D-167: P-35: B-I: Nueva Ecija a complaint docketed as civil case No. 1718, against Leon C. land owned by Pilar Belmonte and after notice of lis pendens had been
S-1954, Adolfo San Juan, Cab. City) Date of the Inst. Sept. 9, 1954; Viardo and the Provincial Sheriff. The complaint alleged that improper levy recorded on the title of Pilar Belmonte.
Date of the Inscription Sept. 9, 1954 at 11:50 a.m. (Sgd.) F. C. had been made on the harvest in plaintiff's parcel of land and prayed that
CUIZON, Register of Deeds. The argument is without merit. It is true that the appellant became the
judgment be rendered ordering the defendants to return the palay levied absolute owner of an undivided one-half interest in the undivided one-fourth
(8) Entry No. 12569/NT-16546: Kind Sale; Executed favor of upon, together with damages. On 26 February 1955 the defendants interest owned by Pilar Belmonte in the parcel of land described in original
Patricia Driz; Conditions Pilar Belmonte sold Lot I-E of the subdivision answered that plaintiffs' purchase of the parcel of land in question from Pilar certificate of title No. 3484; that before Pilar Belmonte sold parts of her
plan Psd-30340 of the property described in this title, with an area of Belmonte was subject to whatever judgment the courts might render in civil undivided share in the parcel of land to Isidoro M. Mercado and Dominador
79,848 sq.m., more or less the subdivision plan of this title, was sold for case No. 161 between Pilar Belmonte and Leon C. Viardo. On 17 October Asuncion and the last in turn sold his part to Zacarias Belmonte, there was
1955 the Court of First Instance of Nueva Ecija entered an order suspending
notice of lis pendens recorded on the certificate of title; and that this notice is notice of lis pendens to be recorded to subject "all the rights, interests and another 13.2775 hectares. These 13.2775 hectares she sold to her two
binding upon all who should acquire an interest in the property subsequent to participation of Leon C. Viardo in this Title" to the result of the litigation in the daughters and the validity of the sales has been upheld by this Court. With
the record of the lis pendens. The notice of lis pendens (Exhibit A), however, aforesaid civil case No. 161. Pilar Belmonte did not thereby subject her the original 30 hectares, however, Pilar Belmonte did not act in good faith
was limited to one-half interest acquired by Leon C. Viardo from Pilar remaining one-eighth interest to the result of civil case No. 161 which she had when she sold more than 15 hectares to her daughter Patricia Driz. Knowing
Belmonte. The other one-half undivided interest of the latter was not in filed against Leon C. Viardo. If the latter wanted to subject the remaining one- that one-half of said 30 hectares or a total of 15 hectares belonged to the
litigation and therefore the trial court correctly held that Pilar Belmonte, as the eighth interest of Pilar Belmonte to the outcome of his counterclaim in civil appellant Leon C. Viardo, she nevertheless proceeded to enter into the
owner of this undivided one-half interest, had a right to sell it and could case No. 161, he should have asked for it. following transactions: (1) sale of seven and one-half hectares to Isidoro
convey absolute title thereto or to parts thereof. Of course, the deeds of sale Mercado, dated 28 June 1948, Exhibit A; (2) sale of seven hectares to
executed by Pilar Belmonte appears to convey definite or segregated parts of The view held by this Court in passing upon the third assignment of error Dominador Asuncion, who later sold the same parcel or interest to Zacarias
her remaining interest in the parcel of land described in original certificate of renders it unnecessary for the Court to discuss the respective rights and Belmonte, dated 9 March 1949, Exhibit A; (3) subdivision and partition of her
title No. 3484, which she could not do, because this one-fourth in interest had liabilities of co-owners when one co-owner, without the knowledge and/or lot 1-A, PSD-16864, into lots 1-E, 1-F, 1-G, 1-H and 1-I, without the
not yet been subdivided to show the interest acquired by Leon C. Viardo, consent of the other co-owners, plants or builds on the property owned in knowledge of her co-owner Leon C. Viardo, Plan PSD-36340, Exhibit O; (4)
amounting to one-half of the said one-fourth interest. This defect, however, common. sale in favor of her daughter Patricia Driz of lots 1-H and 1-I, Plan PSD-
does not result in the nullity of the deeds of sale she had executed relating to The appellant further contends that the trial court erred "in concluding that the 36340, containing an area of 20,000 and 55,152 sq. meters, respectively,
her remaining interest of one-eighth. The sales were valid, subject only to the heirs of Bartolome Driz could not be held personally liable for the judgment dated 9 September 1954, Exhibits R and A; and (5) sale in favor of her
condition that the interests acquired by the vendees were limited to the parts rendered against the plaintiffs in Civil Case No. 161 and therefore Lots 1-A daughter Patricia Driz of lot 1-E; Plan PSD-36340, containing an area of
which might be assigned to them in the division upon the termination of the and 1-B cannot be subject to the payment of the judgment in favor of Leon C. 79,848 sq. meters, dated 11 September 1954, Exhibits S and A.
co-ownership (Article 493, Civil Code). Viardo." It will thus be seen that on 9 March 1949, after Pilar Belmonte had sold seven
In the second assignment of error the appellant contends that the trial court The only ground of appellant for this contention is that the present owners of hectares to Dominador Asuncion, she had only one-half hectare left to
"erred in not annulling the sales executed by Pilar Belmonte in favor of her these lots are the children of the spouses Pilar Belmonte and Bartolome Driz, dispose of, since out of her original thirty hectares (Lot 1-A, PSD-16864) the
daughters Joaquina and Patricia Driz of lots 1-B and 1-A, Exhibits U and V of the plaintiffs in civil case No. 161, and that, upon the death of Bartolome Driz appellant Leon C. Viardo had acquired one-half or fifteen hectares, Isidoro
Plan PSD 36340." during the pendency of the appeal in civil case No. 161, these children were Mercado, seven and one-half hectares, and Dominador Asuncion, seven
substituted as parties. This assignment of error is without merit. The hectares.
Lots 1-B and 1-A of Plan PSD-36340 are taken, not from the original one-
fourth interest of Pilar Belmonte in the parcel of land covered by original substitution of parties was made obviously because the children of Bartolome Fully aware that one-half hectare remained her only property, Pilar Belmonte
certificate of title No. 3484, which interest was levied upon and thereafter Driz are his legal heirs and therefore could properly represent and protect nevertheless proceeded to sell to her daughter Patricia Driz three lots
acquired by Leon C. Viardo to the extent of one-half, but from another one- whatever interest he had in the case on appeal. But such a substitution did containing a combined area of more than fifteen hectares. It is obvious,
fourth interest in the same parcel of land, which belonged originally to Ines de not and cannot have the effect of making these substituted parties personally therefore, that the sales to Patricia Driz cannot be sustained, regardless of
Guzman, the mother of Pilar Belmonte. This one-fourth interest subsequently liable for whatever judgment might be rendered on the appeal against their whether Pilar Belmonte was aware or suspected that she would be held liable
devolved upon Pilar Belmonte and her two sisters. The three sisters deceased father. Article 774 of the Civil Code provides: for damages to Leon C. Viardo in civil case No. 161, as in fact she was held
partitioned this one-fourth interest among themselves and lots 1-A and 1-B Succession is a mode of acquisition by virtue of which the property, liable by the Court of Appeals about two weeks after she had executed the
were assigned to Pilar Belmonte who, in turn, sold them to her daughters. rights and obligations to the extent of the value of the inheritance, of a sales in favor of her daughter. The sales above referred to stand on a
These sales, the appellant contends, are fictitious and in fraud of his rights as person are transmitted through his death to another or others either by different footing from the sales made in favor of Isidoro Mercado and
creditor. his will or by operation of law. (Emphasis supplied.) Dominador Asuncion, because in the latter sales Pilar Belmonte still had
something to sell, namely, her remaining fifteen hectares. But after she had
The only evidence adduced by the appellant in support of this contention is The trial court, therefore, correctly ruled that the remedy of Leon C. Viardo, disposed of fourteen and one-half hectares to Mercado and Asuncion she
that the sales were made by the mother to her daughters. This is not enough the creditor, was to proceed against the estate of Bartolome Driz. had only one-half hectare left and therefore could not sell another fifteen
evidence to hold the sale fictitious and fraudulent. There is no evidence hectares.
whatsoever that Pilar Belmonte, at the time she sold the lots, had outstanding Moreover, it appears from the evidence that Bartolome Driz was only a formal
debts or was in an otherwise embarrasing financial position. Even the credit party to civil case No. 161, the real party in interest being his wife Pilar The trial court, however, did not completely annul the sales made by Pilar
of Leon C. Viardo, the appellant, was established only after the sales were Belmonte. The subject matter in litigation was Pilar Belmonte's interest in the Belmonte in favor of her daughter. It merely reduced the sale of fifteen
executed, when the Court of Appeals modified the judgment of the trial court parcel of land described in original certificate of title No. 3484, which appears hectares to a sale of one-half hectare, obviously in the belief that the sales
in civil case No. 161 by awarding damages to him. There is no merit, to be paraphernal property. should be sustained to the extent of Pilar Belmonte's remaining interest. The
therefore, in the second assignment of error. record shows that both Pilar Belmonte and her daughter Patricia Driz knew
The appellant's fifth and last assignment of error is that "the trial court erred in that one-half hectare only remained as the former's property, but they
In the third assignment of error the appellant contends that the trial court not awarding damages to the plaintiff Leon C. Viardo in Civil Case No. 2004." nevertheless proceeded to sell and purchase more than fifteen hectares.
"erred in declaring that the "product raised in the portion under the occupancy Obviously the appellant refers to the prayer in his complaint that P5,000 be When it is considered further that the final judgment in civil case No. 161
of Isidoro Mercado, therefore, pertains to him and was not subject to the levy awarded to him against Pilar Belmonte for attorney's fees. He maintains that awarded damages to Leon C. Viardo amounting to 225 cavans of palay from
or execution in favor of Leon C. Viardo in Civil Case No. 161." In support of appellee Pilar Belmonte had disposed of all her property with the intent of 1946 (Exhibit H) and that when this judgment was executed in 1954 no
this assignment the appellant again harps on the fact that the time Isidoro avoiding payment of her liability or debt to him. property of Pilar Belmonte could be found to satisfy the damages (p. 11,
Mercado acquired an interest in the property, there was notice of lis pendens, t.s.n.), it is evident that Pilar Belmonte and her daughter Patricia Driz had
and therefore Isidoro Mercado "is not a purchaser in good faith." A review of the record lends credence to the appellant's claim. Appellee Pilar
Belmonte had one-fourth interest in a parcel of land containing an area of conspired to dispose of all the property of Pilar Belmonte in order to frustrate
This contention has been overruled in the first assignment of error when the 119.2775 hectares. On 12 May 1943 Leon C. Viardo acquired one-half any award of damages the Court of Appeals might make in favor of Leon C.
notice of lis pendens (Exhibits A and F) was held to refer not to the remaining interest of Pilar Belmonte's one-fourth interest. In a partition, where the Viardo and that this conspiracy must have taken place at the latest on 9
one-eighth interest of Pilar Belmonte in the parcel of land described in original appellant did not participate but which he does not impugn, Pilar Belmonte's September 1954 when Pilar Belmonte proceeded to sell to her daughter
certificate of title No. 3484, but to the one-eighth interest which Leon C. original one-fourth interest was segregated and delimited. She was assigned Patricia Driz parcels of land which no longer belonged to her.
Viardo had acquired from Pilar Belmonte, and which the latter was trying to in that partition and subdivision, Lot 1-A of Plan PSD-16864, containing an The judgment appealed from is modified by holding and declaring that (1)
recover from him in civil case No. 161. It was Pilar Belmonte who caused the area of 30 hectares (Exhibit K). Upon the death of her mother, she acquired Leon C. Viardo, Isidoro M. Mercado, Zacarias Belmonte and Pilar Belmonte
(not Patricia Driz) are the co-owners pro-indiviso of lot 1-A, Plan PSD-16864,
which is the one-fourth share of Pilar Belmonte in lot 1, PSD-14371, original
certificate of title No. 3484, in the following proportion: one-half or fifteen
hectares owned by Leon C. Viardo, seven and one-half hectares by Isidoro
M. Mercado, seven hectares by Zacarias Belmonte, and one-half hectares by
Pilar Belmonte, subject to the rights of Leon C. Viardo to the balance of his
judgment credit against Pilar Belmonte; and (2) Leon C. Viardo is awarded
damages of P1,000 against Pilar Belmonte. In all other respects, the
judgment appealed from is affirmed, with costs against appellees Pilar
Belmonte and Patricia Driz.
Bengzon, C.J., Bautista Angelo, Labrador, Concepcion, Reyes, J.B.L.,
Barrera, Paredes, Dizon, Regala and Makalintal, JJ., concur.

1 On 30 June 1956 the complaint against the Philippine American
General Insurance Company. Inc. was dismissed because the
company no longer had any interest in the parcel of and in
dispute. It was made a defendant because it was the mortgagee
of a part of the land. When the mortgage debt was paid, it
released the mortgage.
FIRST DIVISION contained a description of lot No. 1495 as having an area of 781 square WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered for the plaintiffs
meters and covered by transfer certificate of title No. 14570 issued in the declaring the deed of absolute sale dated July 30, 1952
G.R. No. L-33187 March 31, 1980 name of Flaviano Moreto, married to Monica Maniega, although the lot was pertaining to the eastern portion of Lot 1496 covering an area of
CORNELIO PAMPLONA alias GEMINIANO PAMPLONA and APOLONIA acquired during their marriage. As a result of the sale, the said certificate of 781 square meters null and void as regards the 390.5 square
ONTE, petitioners, title was cancelled and a new transfer certificate of title No. T-5671 was meters of which plaintiffs are hereby declared the rightful owners
vs. issued in the name of Geminiano Pamplona married to Apolonia Onte (Exh. and entitled to its possession.
The sale is ordered valid with respect to the eastern one-half
MORETO, PAULINA MORETO, ROSARIO MORETO, MARTA MORETO, After the execution of the above-mentioned deed of sale (Exh. "1"), the (1/2) of 1781 square meters of Lot 1496 measuring 390.5 square
SEVERINA MENDOZA, PABLO MENDOZA, LAZARO MENDOZA, spouses Geminiano Pamplona and Apolonia Onte constructed their house on meters of which defendants are declared lawful owners and
VICTORIA TUIZA, JOSEFINA MORETO, LEANDRO MORETO and the eastern part of lot 1496 as Flaviano Moreto, at the time of the sale, entitled to its possession.
LORENZO MENDOZA, respondents. pointed to it as the land which he sold to Geminiano Pamplona. Shortly
thereafter, Rafael Pamplona, son of the spouses Geminiano Pamplona and After proper survey segregating the eastern one-half portion with
E.P. Caguioa for petitioners. an area of 390.5 square meters of Lot 1496, the defendants shall
Apolonia Onte, also built his house within lot 1496 about one meter from its
Benjamin C. Yatco for respondents. boundary with the adjoining lot. The vendor Flaviano Moreto and the vendee be entitled to a certificate of title covering said portion and
Geminiano Pamplona thought all the time that the portion of 781 square Transfer Certificate of Title No. 9843 of the office of the Register
meters which was the subject matter of their sale transaction was No. 1495 of Deeds of Laguna shall be cancelled accordingly and new titles
and so lot No. 1495 appears to be the subject matter in the deed of sale (Exh. issued to the plaintiffs and to the defendants covering their
GUERRERO, J.: respective portions.
"1") although the fact is that the said portion sold thought of by the parties to
This is a petition for certiorari by way of appeal from the decision of the Court be lot No. 1495 is a part of lot No. 1496. Transfer Certificate of Title No. 5671 of the office of the Register
of Appeals 1 in CA-G.R. No. 35962-R, entitled "Vivencio Moreto, et al., of Deeds of Laguna covering Lot No. 1495 and registered in the
Plaintiff-Appellees vs. Cornelio Pamplona, et al., Defendants-Appellants," From 1956 to 1960, the spouses Geminiano Pamplona and Apolonio Onte
enlarged their house and they even constructed a piggery corral at the back name of Cornelio Pamplona, married to Apolonia Onte, is by
affirming the decision of the Court of First Instance of Laguna, Branch I at virtue of this decision ordered cancelled. The defendants are
Bian. of their said house about one and one-half meters from the eastern boundary
of lot 1496. ordered to surrender to the office of the Register of Deeds of
The facts, as stated in the decision appealed from, show that: Laguna the owner's duplicate of Transfer Certificate of Title No.
On August 12, 1956, Flaviano Moreto died intestate. In 1961, the plaintiffs 5671 within thirty (30) days after this decision shall have become
Flaviano Moreto and Monica Maniega were husband and wife. During their demanded on the defendants to vacate the premises where they had their final for cancellation in accordance with this decision.
marriage, they acquired adjacent lots Nos. 1495, 4545, and 1496 of the house and piggery on the ground that Flaviano Moreto had no right to sell the
Calamba Friar Land Estate, situated in Calamba, Laguna, containing 781-544 lot which he sold to Geminiano Pamplona as the same belongs to the Let copy of this decision be furnished the Register of Deeds for
and 1,021 square meters respectively and covered by certificates of title conjugal partnership of Flaviano and his deceased wife and the latter was the province of Laguna for his information and guidance.
issued in the name of "Flaviano Moreto, married to Monica Maniega." already dead when the sale was executed without the consent of the plaintiffs With costs against the defendants. 2
who are the heirs of Monica. The spouses Geminiano Pamplona and
The spouses Flaviano Moreto and Monica Maniega begot during their Apolonia Onte refused to vacate the premises occupied by them and hence, The defendants-appellants, not being satisfied with said judgment, appealed
marriage six (6) children, namely, Ursulo, Marta, La Paz, Alipio, Pablo, and this suit was instituted by the heirs of Monica Maniega seeking for the to the Court of Appeals, which affirmed the judgment, hence they now come
Leandro, all surnamed Moreto. declaration of the nullity of the deed of sale of July 30, 1952 above-mentioned to this Court.
Ursulo Moreto died intestate on May 24, 1959 leaving as his heirs herein as regards one-half of the property subject matter of said deed; to declare the
plaintiffs as the rightful owners of the other half of said lot; to allow the The fundamental and crucial issue in the case at bar is whether under the
plaintiffs Vivencio, Marcelo, Rosario, Victor, Paulina, Marta and Eligio, all facts and circumstances duly established by the evidence, petitioners are
surnamed Moreto. plaintiffs to redeem the one-half portion thereof sold to the defendants. "After
payment of the other half of the purchase price"; to order the defendants to entitled to the full ownership of the property in litigation, or only one-half of the
Marta Moreto died also intestate on April 30, 1938 leaving as her heir plaintiff vacate the portions occupied by them; to order the defendants to pay actual same.
Victoria Tuiza. and moral damages and attorney's fees to the plaintiffs; to order the There is no question that when the petitioners purchased the property on July
defendants to pay plaintiffs P120.00 a year from August 1958 until they have 30, 1952 from Flaviano Moreto for the price of P900.00, his wife Monica
La Paz Moreto died intestate on July 17, 1954 leaving the following heirs,
vacated the premises occupied by them for the use and occupancy of the Maniega had already been dead six years before, Monica having died on
namely, herein plaintiffs Pablo, Severina, Lazaro, and Lorenzo, all surnamed
same. May 6, 1946. Hence, the conjugal partnership of the spouses Flaviano
The defendants claim that the sale made by Flaviano Moreto in their favor is Moreto and Monica Maniega had already been dissolved. (Article 175, (1)
Alipio Moreto died intestate on June 30, 1943 leaving as his heir herein New Civil Code; Article 1417, Old Civil Code). The records show that the
valid as the lot sold is registered in the name of Flaviano Moreto and they are
plaintiff Josefina Moreto. conjugal estate had not been inventoried, liquidated, settled and divided by
purchasers believing in good faith that the vendor was the sole owner of the
lot sold. the heirs thereto in accordance with law. The necessary proceedings for the
Pablo Moreto died intestate on April 25, 1942 leaving no issue and as his liquidation of the conjugal partnership were not instituted by the heirs either in
heirs his brother plaintiff Leandro Moreto and the other plaintiffs herein. the testate or intestate proceedings of the deceased spouse pursuant to Act
After a relocation of lots 1495, 1496 and 4545 made by agreement of the
On May 6, 1946, Monica Maniega died intestate in Calamba, Laguna. parties, it was found out that there was mutual error between Flaviano Moreto 3176 amending Section 685 of Act 190. Neither was there an extra-judicial
and the defendants in the execution of the deed of sale because while the partition between the surviving spouse and the heirs of the deceased spouse
On July 30, 1952, or more than six (6) years after the death of his wife said deed recited that the lot sold is lot No. 1495, the real intention of the nor was an ordinary action for partition brought for the purpose. Accordingly,
Monica Maniega, Flaviano Moreto, without the consent of the heirs of his said parties is that it was a portion consisting of 781 square meters of lot No. 1496 the estate became the property of a community between the surviving
deceased wife Monica, and before any liquidation of the conjugal partnership which was the subject matter of their sale transaction. husband, Flaviano Moreto, and his children with the deceased Monica
of Monica and Flaviano could be effected, executed in favor of Geminiano Maniega in the concept of a co-ownership.
Pamplona, married to defendant Apolonia Onte, the deed of absolute sale After trial, the lower court rendered judgment, the dispositive part thereof
(Exh. "1") covering lot No. 1495 for P900.00. The deed of sale (Exh. "1") being as follows:
The community property of the marriage, at the dissolution of this of his deceased wife, Monica Maniega. Article 493 of the New Civil Code is sold, which is transmitted on his death to his heirs, the herein private
bond by the death of one of the spouses, ceases to belong to the applicable and it provides a follows: respondents. The articles cited provide, thus:
legal partnership and becomes the property of a community, by
operation of law, between the surviving spouse and the heirs of Art. 493. Each co-owner shall have the full ownership of his part Art. 1458. By the contract of sale one of the contracting parties
the deceased spouse, or the exclusive property of the widower or and of the fruits and benefits pertaining thereto, and he may obligates himself to transfer the ownership of and to deliver a
the widow, it he or she be the heir of the deceased spouse. therefore alienate, assign or mortgage it, and even substitute determinate thing, and the other part to pay therefore a price
Every co-owner shall have full ownership of his part and in the another person in its enjoyment, except when personal rights are certain in money or its equivalent.
fruits and benefits derived therefrom, and he therefore may involve. But the effect of the alienation or the mortgage, with
respect to the co-owners, shall be limited to the portion which A contract of sale may be absolute or conditionial.
alienate, assign or mortgage it, and even substitute another
person in its enjoyment, unless personal rights are in question. may be allotted to him in the division upon the termination of the Art. 1495. The vendor is bound to transfer the ownership of and
(Marigsa vs. Macabuntoc, 17 Phil. 107) co-ownership. deliver, as well as warrant the thing which is the object of the
We agree with the petitioner that there was a partial partition of the co- sale.
In Borja vs. Addision, 44 Phil. 895, 906, the Supreme Court said that "(t)here
is no reason in law why the heirs of the deceased wife may not form a ownership when at the time of the sale Flaviano Moreto pointed out the area Under Article 776, New Civil Code, the inheritance which private respondents
partnership with the surviving husband for the management and control of the and location of the 781 sq. meters sold by him to the petitioners-vendees on received from their deceased parents and/or predecessors-in-interest
community property of the marriage and conceivably such a partnership, or which the latter built their house and also that whereon Rafael, the son of included all the property rights and obligations which were not extinguished
rather community of property, between the heirs and the surviving husband petitioners likewise erected his house and an adjacent coral for piggery. by their parents' death. And under Art. 1311, paragraph 1, New Civil Code,
might be formed without a written agreement." In Prades vs. Tecson, 49 Phil. Petitioners point to the fact that spouses Flaviano Moreto and Monica the contract of sale executed by the deceased Flaviano Moreto took effect
230, the Supreme Court held that "(a)lthough, when the wife dies, the Maniega owned three parcels of land denominated as Lot 1495 having an between the parties, their assigns and heirs, who are the private respondents
surviving husband, as administrator of the community property, has authority area of 781 sq. meters, Lot 1496 with an area of 1,021 sq. meters, and Lot herein. Accordingly, to the private respondents is transmitted the obligation to
to sell the property withut the concurrence of the children of the marriage, 4545 with an area of 544 sq. meters. The three lots have a total area of 2,346 deliver in full ownership the whole area of 781 sq. meters to the petitioners
nevertheless this power can be waived in favor of the children, with the result sq. meters. These three parcels of lots are contiguous with one another as (which was the original obligation of their predecessor Flaviano Moreto) and
of bringing about a conventional ownership in common between the father each is bounded on one side by the other, thus: Lot 4545 is bounded on the not only one-half thereof. Private respondents must comply with said
and children as to such property; and any one purchasing with knowledge of northeast by Lot 1495 and on the southeast by Lot 1496. Lot 1495 is obligation.
the changed status of the property will acquire only the undivided interest of bounded on the west by Lot 4545. Lot 1496 is bounded on the west by Lot
those members of the family who join in the act of conveyance. The records reveal that the area of 781 sq. meters sold to and occupied by
4545. It is therefore, clear that the three lots constitute one big land. They are petitioners for more than 9 years already as of the filing of the complaint in
It is also not disputed that immediately after the execution of the sale in 1952, not separate properties located in different places but they abut each other. 1961 had been re-surveyed by private land surveyor Daniel Aranas.
the vendees constructed their house on the eastern part of Lot 1496 which This is not disputed by private respondents. Hence, at the time of the sale, Petitioners are entitled to a segregation of the area from Transfer Certificate
the vendor pointed out to them as the area sold, and two weeks thereafter, the co-ownership constituted or covered these three lots adjacent to each of Title No. T-9843 covering Lot 1496 and they are also entitled to the
Rafael who is a son of the vendees, also built his house within Lot 1496. other. And since Flaviano Moreto was entitled to one-half pro-indiviso of the issuance of a new Transfer Certificate of Title in their name based on the
Subsequently, a cemented piggery coral was constructed by the vendees at entire land area or 1,173 sq. meters as his share, he had a perfect legal and relocation survey.
the back of their house about one and one-half meters from the eastern lawful right to dispose of 781 sq. meters of his share to the Pamplona
boundary of Lot 1496. Both vendor and vendees believed all the time that the spouses. Indeed, there was still a remainder of some 392 sq. meters WHEREFORE, IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the judgment appealed from
area of 781 sq. meters subject of the sale was Lot No. 1495 which according belonging to him at the time of the sale. is hereby AFFIRMED with modification in the sense that the sale made and
to its title (T.C.T. No. 14570) contains an area of 781 sq. meters so that the executed by Flaviano Moreto in favor of the petitioners-vendees is hereby
We reject respondent Court's ruling that the sale was valid as to one-half and declared legal and valid in its entirely.
deed of sale between the parties Identified and described the land sold as Lot invalid as to the other half for the very simple reason that Flaviano Moreto,
1495. But actually, as verified later by a surveyor upon agreement of the the vendor, had the legal right to more than 781 sq. meters of the communal Petitioners are hereby declared owners in full ownership of the 781 sq.
parties during the proceedings of the case below, the area sold was within estate, a title which he could dispose, alienate in favor of the vendees- meters at the eastern portion of Lot 1496 now occupied by said petitioners
Lot 1496. petitioners. The title may be pro-indiviso or inchoate but the moment the co- and whereon their houses and piggery coral stand.
Again, there is no dispute that the houses of the spouses Cornelio Pamplona owner as vendor pointed out its location and even indicated the boundaries
over which the fences were to be erectd without objection, protest or The Register of Deeds of Laguna is hereby ordered to segregate the area of
and Apolonia Onte as well as that of their son Rafael Pamplona, including the 781 sq. meters from Certificate of Title No. 9843 and to issue a new Transfer
concrete piggery coral adjacent thereto, stood on the land from 1952 up to complaint by the other co-owners, on the contrary they acquiesced and
tolerated such alienation, occupation and possession, We rule that a factual Certificate of Title to the petitioners covering the segregated area of 781 sq.
the filing of the complaint by the private respondents on July 25, 1961, or a meters.
period of over nine (9) years. And during said period, the private respondents partition or termination of the co-ownership, although partial, was created,
who are the heirs of Monica Maniega as well as of Flaviano Moreto who also and barred not only the vendor, Flaviano Moreto, but also his heirs, the No costs.
died intestate on August 12, 1956, lived as neighbors to the petitioner- private respondents herein from asserting as against the vendees-petitioners
vendees, yet lifted no finger to question the occupation, possession and any right or title in derogation of the deed of sale executed by said vendor SO ORDERED.
ownership of the land purchased by the Pamplonas, so that We are Flaiano Moreto.
persuaded and convinced to rule that private respondents are in estoppel by Equity commands that the private respondents, the successors of both the
laches to claim half of the property, in dispute as null and void. Estoppel by deceased spouses, Flaviano Moreto and Monica Maniega be not allowed to
laches is a rule of equity which bars a claimant from presenting his claim impugn the sale executed by Flaviano Moreto who indisputably received the
when, by reason of abandonment and negligence, he allowed a long time to consideration of P900.00 and which he, including his children, benefitted from
elapse without presenting the same. (International Banking Corporation vs. the same. Moreover, as the heirs of both Monica Maniega and Flaviano
Yared, 59 Phil. 92) Moreto, private respondents are duty-bound to comply with the provisions of
We have ruled that at the time of the sale in 1952, the conjugal partnership Articles 1458 and 1495, Civil Code, which is the obligation of the vendor of
was already dissolved six years before and therefore, the estate became a the property of delivering and transfering the ownership of the whole property
co-ownership between Flaviano Moreto, the surviving husband, and the heirs
THIRD DIVISION the Fourth paragraph of his testament, to Maria Marlina Coscolluela y Belleza On February 26, 1990, the defendant-heirs were declared in default but on
on the month of December of each year. March 28, 1990 the Order of Default was lifted, with respect to defendant
G.R. No. 113725 June 29, 2000 Johnny S. Rabadilla, who filed his Answer, accordingly.
JOHNNY S. RABADILLA,1 petitioner, During the pre-trial, the parties admitted that:
vs. I command, in this my addition (Codicil) that the Lot No. 1392, in the event
COURT OF APPEALS AND MARIA MARLENA2 COSCOLUELLA Y that the one to whom I have left and bequeathed, and his heir shall later sell, On November 15, 1998, the plaintiff (private respondent) and a certain Alan
BELLEZA VILLACARLOS, respondents. lease, mortgage this said Lot, the buyer, lessee, mortgagee, shall have also Azurin, son-in-law of the herein petitioner who was lessee of the property and
the obligation to respect and deliver yearly ONE HUNDRED (100) piculs of acting as attorney-in-fact of defendant-heirs, arrived at an amicable
DECISION sugar to Maria Marlina Coscolluela y Belleza, on each month of December, settlement and entered into a Memorandum of Agreement on the obligation
PURISIMA, J.: SEVENTY FIVE (75) piculs of Export and TWENTY FIVE (25) piculs of to deliver one hundred piculs of sugar, to the following effect:
Domestic, until Maria Marlina shall die, lastly should the buyer, lessee or the
This is a petition for review of the decision of the Court of Appeals,3 dated mortgagee of this lot, not have respected my command in this my addition "That for crop year 1988-89, the annuity mentioned in Entry No. 49074 of
December 23, 1993, in CA-G.R. No. CV-35555, which set aside the decision (Codicil), Maria Marlina Coscolluela y Belleza, shall immediately seize this TCT No. 44489 will be delivered not later than January of 1989, more
of Branch 52 of the Regional Trial Court in Bacolod City, and ordered the Lot No. 1392 from my heir and the latter's heirs, and shall turn it over to my specifically, to wit:
defendants-appellees (including herein petitioner), as heirs of Dr. Jorge near desendants, (sic) and the latter shall then have the obligation to give the 75 piculs of 'A' sugar, and 25 piculs of 'B' sugar, or then existing in any of our
Rabadilla, to reconvey title over Lot No. 1392, together with its fruits and ONE HUNDRED (100) piculs of sugar until Maria Marlina shall die. I further names, Mary Rose Rabadilla y Azurin or Alan Azurin, during December of
interests, to the estate of Aleja Belleza. command in this my addition (Codicil) that my heir and his heirs of this Lot each sugar crop year, in Azucar Sugar Central; and, this is considered
No. 1392, that they will obey and follow that should they decide to sell, lease, compliance of the annuity as mentioned, and in the same manner will
The antecedent facts are as follows: mortgage, they cannot negotiate with others than my near descendants and compliance of the annuity be in the next succeeding crop years.
In a Codicil appended to the Last Will and Testament of testatrix Aleja my sister."4
Belleza, Dr. Jorge Rabadilla, predecessor-in-interest of the herein petitioner, That the annuity above stated for crop year 1985-86, 1986-87, and 1987-88,
Pursuant to the same Codicil, Lot No. 1392 was transferred to the deceased, will be complied in cash equivalent of the number of piculs as mentioned
Johnny S. Rabadilla, was instituted as a devisee of 511, 855 square meters Dr. Jorge Rabadilla, and Transfer Certificate of Title No. 44498 thereto issued
of that parcel of land surveyed as Lot No. 1392 of the Bacolod Cadastre. The therein and which is as herein agreed upon, taking into consideration the
in his name. composite price of sugar during each sugar crop year, which is in the total
said Codicil, which was duly probated and admitted in Special Proceedings
No. 4046 before the then Court of First Instance of Negros Occidental, Dr. Jorge Rabadilla died in 1983 and was survived by his wife Rufina and amount of ONE HUNDRED FIVE THOUSAND PESOS (P105,000.00).
contained the following provisions: children Johnny (petitioner), Aurora, Ofelia and Zenaida, all surnamed That the above-mentioned amount will be paid or delivered on a staggered
Rabadilla. cash installment, payable on or before the end of December of every sugar
On August 21, 1989, Maria Marlena Coscolluela y Belleza Villacarlos brought crop year, to wit:
I give, leave and bequeath the following property owned by me to Dr. Jorge a complaint, docketed as Civil Case No. 5588, before Branch 52 of the
Rabadilla resident of 141 P. Villanueva, Pasay City: For 1985-86, TWENTY SIX THOUSAND TWO HUNDRED FIFTY
Regional Trial Court in Bacolod City, against the above-mentioned heirs of (P26,250.00) Pesos, payable on or before December of crop year 1988-89;
(a) Lot No. 1392 of the Bacolod Cadastre, covered by Transfer Dr. Jorge Rabadilla, to enforce the provisions of subject Codicil. The
Certificate of Title No. RT-4002 (10942), which is registered in Complaint alleged that the defendant-heirs violated the conditions of the For 1986-87, TWENTY SIX THOUSAND TWO HUNDRED FIFTY
my name according to the records of the Register of Deeds of Codicil, in that: (P26,250.00) Pesos, payable on or before December of crop year 1989-90;
Negros Occidental. 1. Lot No. 1392 was mortgaged to the Philippine National Bank For 1987-88, TWENTY SIX THOUSAND TWO HUNDRED FIFTY
(b) That should Jorge Rabadilla die ahead of me, the and the Republic Planters Bank in disregard of the testatrix's (P26,250.00) Pesos, payable on or before December of crop year 1990-91;
aforementioned property and the rights which I shall set forth specific instruction to sell, lease, or mortgage only to the near and
hereinbelow, shall be inherited and acknowledged by the descendants and sister of the testatrix.
children and spouse of Jorge Rabadilla. 2. Defendant-heirs failed to comply with their obligation to deliver (P26,250.00) Pesos, payable on or before December of crop year 1991-92."5
xxx one hundred (100) piculs of sugar (75 piculs export sugar and 25
piculs domestic sugar) to plaintiff Maria Marlena Coscolluela y However, there was no compliance with the aforesaid Memorandum of
FOURTH Belleza from sugar crop years 1985 up to the filing of the Agreement except for a partial delivery of 50.80 piculs of sugar corresponding
complaint as mandated by the Codicil, despite repeated to sugar crop year 1988 -1989.
(a)....It is also my command, in this my addition (Codicil), that should I die and demands for compliance.
Jorge Rabadilla shall have already received the ownership of the said Lot No. On July 22, 1991, the Regional Trial Court came out with a decision,
1392 of the Bacolod Cadastre, covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. 3. The banks failed to comply with the 6th paragraph of the dismissing the complaint and disposing as follows:
RT-4002 (10942), and also at the time that the lease of Balbinito G. Guanzon Codicil which provided that in case of the sale, lease, or "WHEREFORE, in the light of the aforegoing findings, the Court finds that the
of the said lot shall expire, Jorge Rabadilla shall have the obligation until he mortgage of the property, the buyer, lessee, or mortgagee shall action is prematurely filed as no cause of action against the defendants has
dies, every year to give to Maria Marlina Coscolluela y Belleza, Seventy (75) likewise have the obligation to deliver 100 piculs of sugar per as yet arose in favor of plaintiff. While there maybe the non-performance of
(sic) piculs of Export sugar and Twenty Five (25) piculs of Domestic sugar, crop year to herein private respondent. the command as mandated exaction from them simply because they are the
until the said Maria Marlina Coscolluela y Belleza dies. children of Jorge Rabadilla, the title holder/owner of the lot in question, does
The plaintiff then prayed that judgment be rendered ordering defendant-heirs
FIFTH to reconvey/return-Lot No. 1392 to the surviving heirs of the late Aleja not warrant the filing of the present complaint. The remedy at bar must fall.
Belleza, the cancellation of TCT No. 44498 in the name of the deceased, Dr. Incidentally, being in the category as creditor of the left estate, it is opined
(a) Should Jorge Rabadilla die, his heir to whom he shall give Lot No. 1392 of Jorge Rabadilla, and the issuance of a new certificate of title in the names of that plaintiff may initiate the intestate proceedings, if only to establish the
the Bacolod Cadastre, covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. RT-4002 the surviving heirs of the late Aleja Belleza. heirs of Jorge Rabadilla and in order to give full meaning and semblance to
(10492), shall have the obligation to still give yearly, the sugar as specified in her claim under the Codicil.
In the light of the aforegoing findings, the Complaint being prematurely filed is that the private respondent had a cause of action against the petitioner. The conditions imposed in the Codicil, the property referred to shall be seized and
DISMISSED without prejudice. disquisition made on modal institution was, precisely, to stress that the turned over to the testatrix's near descendants.
private respondent had a legally demandable right against the petitioner
SO ORDERED."6 pursuant to subject Codicil; on which issue the Court of Appeals ruled in Neither is there a fideicommissary substitution here and on this point,
accordance with law. petitioner is correct. In a fideicommissary substitution, the first heir is strictly
On appeal by plaintiff, the First Division of the Court of Appeals reversed the mandated to preserve the property and to transmit the same later to the
decision of the trial court; ratiocinating and ordering thus: It is a general rule under the law on succession that successional rights are second heir.15 In the case under consideration, the instituted heir is in fact
"Therefore, the evidence on record having established plaintiff-appellant's transmitted from the moment of death of the decedent10 and compulsory heirs allowed under the Codicil to alienate the property provided the negotiation is
right to receive 100 piculs of sugar annually out of the produce of Lot No. are called to succeed by operation of law. The legitimate children and with the near descendants or the sister of the testatrix. Thus, a very important
1392; defendants-appellee's obligation under Aleja Belleza's codicil, as heirs descendants, in relation to their legitimate parents, and the widow or element of a fideicommissary substitution is lacking; the obligation clearly
of the modal heir, Jorge Rabadilla, to deliver such amount of sugar to plaintiff- widower, are compulsory heirs.11 Thus, the petitioner, his mother and sisters, imposing upon the first heir the preservation of the property and its
appellant; defendants-appellee's admitted non-compliance with said as compulsory heirs of the instituted heir, Dr. Jorge Rabadilla, succeeded the transmission to the second heir. "Without this obligation to preserve clearly
obligation since 1985; and, the punitive consequences enjoined by both the latter by operation of law, without need of further proceedings, and the imposed by the testator in his will, there is no fideicommissary
codicil and the Civil Code, of seizure of Lot No. 1392 and its reversion to the successional rights were transmitted to them from the moment of death of the substitution."16 Also, the near descendants' right to inherit from the testatrix is
estate of Aleja Belleza in case of such non-compliance, this Court deems it decedent, Dr. Jorge Rabadilla. not definite. The property will only pass to them should Dr. Jorge Rabadilla or
proper to order the reconveyance of title over Lot No. 1392 from the estates his heirs not fulfill the obligation to deliver part of the usufruct to private
Under Article 776 of the New Civil Code, inheritance includes all the property, respondent.
of Jorge Rabadilla to the estate of Aleja Belleza. However, plaintiff-appellant rights and obligations of a person, not extinguished by his death.
must institute separate proceedings to re-open Aleja Belleza's estate, secure Conformably, whatever rights Dr. Jorge Rabadilla had by virtue of subject Another important element of a fideicommissary substitution is also missing
the appointment of an administrator, and distribute Lot No. 1392 to Aleja Codicil were transmitted to his forced heirs, at the time of his death. And here. Under Article 863, the second heir or the fideicommissary to whom the
Belleza's legal heirs in order to enforce her right, reserved to her by the since obligations not extinguished by death also form part of the estate of the property is transmitted must not be beyond one degree from the first heir or
codicil, to receive her legacy of 100 piculs of sugar per year out of the decedent; corollarily, the obligations imposed by the Codicil on the deceased the fiduciary. A fideicommissary substitution is therefore, void if the first heir is
produce of Lot No. 1392 until she dies. Dr. Jorge Rabadilla, were likewise transmitted to his compulsory heirs upon not related by first degree to the second heir.17 In the case under scrutiny, the
Accordingly, the decision appealed from is SET ASIDE and another one his death. near descendants are not at all related to the instituted heir, Dr. Jorge
entered ordering defendants-appellees, as heirs of Jorge Rabadilla, to Rabadilla.
In the said Codicil, testatrix Aleja Belleza devised Lot No. 1392 to Dr. Jorge
reconvey title over Lot No. 1392, together with its fruits and interests, to the Rabadilla, subject to the condition that the usufruct thereof would be The Court of Appeals erred not in ruling that the institution of Dr. Jorge
estate of Aleja Belleza. delivered to the herein private respondent every year. Upon the death of Dr. Rabadilla under subject Codicil is in the nature of a modal institution and
SO ORDERED."7 Jorge Rabadilla, his compulsory heirs succeeded to his rights and title over therefore, Article 882 of the New Civil Code is the provision of law in point.
the said property, and they also assumed his (decedent's) obligation to Articles 882 and 883 of the New Civil Code provide:
Dissatisfied with the aforesaid disposition by the Court of Appeals, petitioner deliver the fruits of the lot involved to herein private respondent. Such
found his way to this Court via the present petition, contending that the Court obligation of the instituted heir reciprocally corresponds to the right of private Art. 882. The statement of the object of the institution or the application of the
of Appeals erred in ordering the reversion of Lot 1392 to the estate of the respondent over the usufruct, the fulfillment or performance of which is now property left by the testator, or the charge imposed on him, shall not be
testatrix Aleja Belleza on the basis of paragraph 6 of the Codicil, and in ruling being demanded by the latter through the institution of the case at bar. considered as a condition unless it appears that such was his intention.
that the testamentary institution of Dr. Jorge Rabadilla is a modal institution Therefore, private respondent has a cause of action against petitioner and That which has been left in this manner may be claimed at once provided that
within the purview of Article 882 of the New Civil Code. the trial court erred in dismissing the complaint below. the instituted heir or his heirs give security for compliance with the wishes of
The petition is not impressed with merit. Petitioner also theorizes that Article 882 of the New Civil Code on modal the testator and for the return of anything he or they may receive, together
institutions is not applicable because what the testatrix intended was a with its fruits and interests, if he or they should disregard this obligation.
Petitioner contends that the Court of Appeals erred in resolving the appeal in substitution - Dr. Jorge Rabadilla was to be substituted by the testatrix's near
accordance with Article 882 of the New Civil Code on modal institutions and Art. 883. When without the fault of the heir, an institution referred to in the
descendants should there be noncompliance with the obligation to deliver the preceding article cannot take effect in the exact manner stated by the
in deviating from the sole issue raised which is the absence or prematurity of piculs of sugar to private respondent.
the cause of action. Petitioner maintains that Article 882 does not find testator, it shall be complied with in a manner most analogous to and in
application as there was no modal institution and the testatrix intended a Again, the contention is without merit. conformity with his wishes.
mere simple substitution - i.e. the instituted heir, Dr. Jorge Rabadilla, was to The institution of an heir in the manner prescribed in Article 882 is what is
be substituted by the testatrix's "near descendants" should the obligation to Substitution is the designation by the testator of a person or persons to take
the place of the heir or heirs first instituted. Under substitutions in general, the known in the law of succession as an institucion sub modo or a modal
deliver the fruits to herein private respondent be not complied with. And since institution. In a modal institution, the testator states (1) the object of the
the testatrix died single and without issue, there can be no valid substitution testator may either (1) provide for the designation of another heir to whom the
property shall pass in case the original heir should die before him/her, institution, (2) the purpose or application of the property left by the testator, or
and such testamentary provision cannot be given any effect. (3) the charge imposed by the testator upon the heir.18 A "mode" imposes an
renounce the inheritance or be incapacitated to inherit, as in a simple
The petitioner theorizes further that there can be no valid substitution for the substitution,12 or (2) leave his/her property to one person with the express obligation upon the heir or legatee but it does not affect the efficacy of his
reason that the substituted heirs are not definite, as the substituted heirs are charge that it be transmitted subsequently to another or others, as in a rights to the succession.19 On the other hand, in a conditional testamentary
merely referred to as "near descendants" without a definite identity or fideicommissary substitution.13 The Codicil sued upon contemplates neither of disposition, the condition must happen or be fulfilled in order for the heir to be
reference as to who are the "near descendants" and therefore, under Articles the two. entitled to succeed the testator. The condition suspends but does not
8438 and 8459 of the New Civil Code, the substitution should be deemed as obligate; and the mode obligates but does not suspend.20 To some extent, it
not written. In simple substitutions, the second heir takes the inheritance in default of the is similar to a resolutory condition.21
first heir by reason of incapacity, predecease or renunciation.14 In the case
The contentions of petitioner are untenable. Contrary to his supposition that under consideration, the provisions of subject Codicil do not provide that From the provisions of the Codicil litigated upon, it can be gleaned unerringly
the Court of Appeals deviated from the issue posed before it, which was the should Dr. Jorge Rabadilla default due to predecease, incapacity or that the testatrix intended that subject property be inherited by Dr. Jorge
propriety of the dismissal of the complaint on the ground of prematurity of renunciation, the testatrix's near descendants would substitute him. What the Rabadilla. It is likewise clearly worded that the testatrix imposed an obligation
cause of action, there was no such deviation. The Court of Appeals found Codicil provides is that, should Dr. Jorge Rabadilla or his heirs not fulfill the on the said instituted heir and his successors-in-interest to deliver one
hundred piculs of sugar to the herein private respondent, Marlena WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DISMISSED and the decision of the
Coscolluela Belleza, during the lifetime of the latter. However, the testatrix did Court of Appeals, dated December 23, 1993, in CA-G.R. No. CV-35555
not make Dr. Jorge Rabadilla's inheritance and the effectivity of his institution AFFIRMED. No pronouncement as to costs
as a devisee, dependent on the performance of the said obligation. It is clear,
though, that should the obligation be not complied with, the property shall be SO ORDERED.
turned over to the testatrix's near descendants. The manner of institution of
Dr. Jorge Rabadilla under subject Codicil is evidently modal in nature
because it imposes a charge upon the instituted heir without, however,
affecting the efficacy of such institution.
Then too, since testamentary dispositions are generally acts of liberality, an
obligation imposed upon the heir should not be considered a condition unless
it clearly appears from the Will itself that such was the intention of the
testator. In case of doubt, the institution should be considered as modal and
not conditional.22
Neither is there tenability in the other contention of petitioner that the private
respondent has only a right of usufruct but not the right to seize the property
itself from the instituted heir because the right to seize was expressly limited
to violations by the buyer, lessee or mortgagee.
In the interpretation of Wills, when an uncertainty arises on the face of the
Will, as to the application of any of its provisions, the testator's intention is to
be ascertained from the words of the Will, taking into consideration the
circumstances under which it was made.23 Such construction as will sustain
and uphold the Will in all its parts must be adopted.24
Subject Codicil provides that the instituted heir is under obligation to deliver
One Hundred (100) piculs of sugar yearly to Marlena Belleza Coscuella. Such
obligation is imposed on the instituted heir, Dr. Jorge Rabadilla, his heirs, and
their buyer, lessee, or mortgagee should they sell, lease, mortgage or
otherwise negotiate the property involved. The Codicil further provides that in
the event that the obligation to deliver the sugar is not respected, Marlena
Belleza Coscuella shall seize the property and turn it over to the testatrix's
near descendants. The non-performance of the said obligation is thus with
the sanction of seizure of the property and reversion thereof to the testatrix's
near descendants. Since the said obligation is clearly imposed by the
testatrix, not only on the instituted heir but also on his successors-in-interest,
the sanction imposed by the testatrix in case of non-fulfillment of said
obligation should equally apply to the instituted heir and his successors-in-
Similarly unsustainable is petitioner's submission that by virtue of the
amicable settlement, the said obligation imposed by the Codicil has been
assumed by the lessee, and whatever obligation petitioner had become the
obligation of the lessee; that petitioner is deemed to have made a substantial
and constructive compliance of his obligation through the consummated
settlement between the lessee and the private respondent, and having
consummated a settlement with the petitioner, the recourse of the private
respondent is the fulfillment of the obligation under the amicable settlement
and not the seizure of subject property.
Suffice it to state that a Will is a personal, solemn, revocable and free act by
which a person disposes of his property, to take effect after his death.25 Since
the Will expresses the manner in which a person intends how his properties
be disposed, the wishes and desires of the testator must be strictly followed.
Thus, a Will cannot be the subject of a compromise agreement which would
thereby defeat the very purpose of making a Will.
EN BANC of a contract nor can it be renounced (1 Manresa, 123, sixth edition; Tolentino
on Civil Code, p. 12; Osorio vs. Osorio and Ynchausti Steamship Co., 41
G.R. No. L-4963 January 29, 1953 Phil., 531).
MARIA USON, plaintiff-appellee, But defendants contend that, while it is true that the four minor defendants
vs. are illegitimate children of the late Faustino Nebreda and under the old Civil
MARIA DEL ROSARIO, CONCEPCION NEBREDA, CONRADO NEBREDA, Code are not entitled to any successional rights, however, under the new
DOMINADOR NEBREDA, AND FAUSTINO NEBREDA, Jr., defendants- Civil Code which became in force in June, 1950, they are given the status
appellants. and rights of natural children and are entitled to the successional rights which
Priscilo Evangelista for appellee. the law accords to the latter (article 2264 and article 287, new Civil Code),
Brigido G. Estrada for appellant. and because these successional rights were declared for the first time in the
new code, they shall be given retroactive effect even though the event which
BAUTISTA ANGELO, J.: gave rise to them may have occurred under the prior legislation (Article 2253,
new Civil Code).
This is an action for recovery of the ownership and possession of five (5)
parcels of land situated in the Municipality of Labrador, Province of There is no merit in this claim. Article 2253 above referred to provides indeed
Pangasinan, filed by Maria Uson against Maria del Rosario and her four that rights which are declared for the first time shall have retroactive effect
children named Concepcion, Conrado, Dominador, and Faustino, surnamed even though the event which gave rise to them may have occurred under the
Nebreda, who are all of minor age, before the Court of First Instance of former legislation, but this is so only when the new rights do not prejudice any
Pangasinan. vested or acquired right of the same origin. Thus, said article provides that "if
a right should be declared for the first time in this Code, it shall be effective at
Maria Uson was the lawful wife of Faustino Nebreda who upon his death in once, even though the act or event which gives rise thereto may have been
1945 left the lands involved in this litigation. Faustino Nebreda left no other done or may have occurred under the prior legislation, provided said new
heir except his widow Maria Uson. However, plaintiff claims that when right does not prejudice or impair any vested or acquired right, of the same
Faustino Nebreda died in 1945, his common-law wife Maria del Rosario took origin." As already stated in the early part of this decision, the right of
possession illegally of said lands thus depriving her of their possession and ownership of Maria Uson over the lands in question became vested in 1945
enjoyment. upon the death of her late husband and this is so because of the imperative
Defendants in their answer set up as special defense that on February 21, provision of the law which commands that the rights to succession are
1931, Maria Uson and her husband, the late Faustino Nebreda, executed a transmitted from the moment of death (Article 657, old Civil Code). The new
public document whereby they agreed to separate as husband and wife and, right recognized by the new Civil Code in favor of the illegitimate children of
in consideration of their separation, Maria Uson was given a parcel of land by the deceased cannot, therefore, be asserted to the impairment of the vested
way of alimony and in return she renounced her right to inherit any other right of Maria Uson over the lands in dispute.
property that may be left by her husband upon his death (Exhibit 1). As regards the claim that Maria Uson, while her deceased husband was lying
After trial, at which both parties presented their respective evidence, the court in state, in a gesture of pity or compassion, agreed to assign the lands in
rendered decision ordering the defendants to restore to the plaintiff the question to the minor children for the reason that they were acquired while
ownership and possession of the lands in dispute without special the deceased was living with their mother and Maria Uson wanted to assuage
pronouncement as to costs. Defendants interposed the present appeal. somewhat the wrong she has done to them, this much can be said; apart
from the fact that this claim is disputed, we are of the opinion that said
There is no dispute that Maria Uson, plaintiff-appellee, is the lawful wife of assignment, if any, partakes of the nature of a donation of real property,
Faustino Nebreda, former owner of the five parcels of lands litigated in the inasmuch as it involves no material consideration, and in order that it may be
present case. There is likewise no dispute that Maria del Rosario, one of the valid it shall be made in a public document and must be accepted either in
defendants-appellants, was merely a common-law wife of the late Faustino the same document or in a separate one (Article 633, old Civil Code).
Nebreda with whom she had four illegitimate children, her now co- Inasmuch as this essential formality has not been followed, it results that the
defendants. It likewise appears that Faustino Nebreda died in 1945 much alleged assignment or donation has no valid effect.
prior to the effectivity of the new Civil Code. With this background, it is
evident that when Faustino Nebreda died in 1945 the five parcels of land he WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is affirmed, without costs.
was seized of at the time passed from the moment of his death to his only
heir, his widow Maria Uson (Article 657, old Civil Code).As this Court aptly
said, "The property belongs to the heirs at the moment of the death of the
ancestor as completely as if the ancestor had executed and delivered to them
a deed for the same before his death" (Ilustre vs. Alaras Frondosa, 17 Phil.,
321). From that moment, therefore, the rights of inheritance of Maria Uson
over the lands in question became vested.
The claim of the defendants that Maria Uson had relinquished her right over
the lands in question because she expressly renounced to inherit any future
property that her husband may acquire and leave upon his death in the deed
of separation they had entered into on February 21, 1931, cannot be
entertained for the simple reason that future inheritance cannot be the subject
EN BANC entitled, "Testate Estate of Francisco de Borja, Tasiana O. Vda. de de Borja, the assets as well as liabilities of the estates of
Special Administratrix". Francisco de Borja and Josefa Tangco, first spouse
of Francisco de Borja.
And Case No. L-28611 is an appeal by administrator Jose de Borja from the
G.R. No. L-28040 August 18, 1972 decision of the Court of First Instance of Rizal, Branch X, in its Civil Case No. THAT with this end in view, the parties herein have
TESTATE ESTATE OF JOSEFA TANGCO, JOSE DE BORJA, 7452, declaring the Hacienda Jalajala Poblacion, which is the main object of agreed voluntarily and without any reservations to
administrator-appellee; JOSE DE BORJA, as administrator, CAYETANO the aforesaid compromise agreement, as the separate and exclusive property enter into and execute this agreement under the
DE BORJA, MATILDE DE BORJA and CRISANTO DE BORJA (deceased) of the late Francisco de Borja and not a conjugal asset of the community with following terms and conditions:
as Children of Josefa Tangco, appellees, his first wife, Josefa Tangco, and that said hacienda pertains exclusively to
his testate estate, which is under administrator in Special Proceeding No. 832 1. That the parties agree to sell the Poblacion
vs. portion of the Jalajala properties situated in Jalajala,
TASIANA VDA. DE DE BORJA, Special Administratrix of the Testate of the Court of First Instance of Nueva Ecija, Branch II.
Rizal, presently under administration in the Testate
Estate of Francisco de Borja, appellant. . It is uncontested that Francisco de Borja, upon the death of his wife Josefa Estate of Josefa Tangco (Sp. Proc. No. 7866, Rizal),
G.R. No L-28568 August 18, 1972 Tangco on 6 October 1940, filed a petition for the probate of her will which more specifically described as follows:
was docketed as Special Proceeding No. R-7866 of the Court of First
TESTATE ESTATE OF THE LATE FRANCISCO DE BORJA, TASIANA O. Instance of Rizal, Branch I. The will was probated on 2 April 1941. In 1946, Linda al Norte con el Rio
VDA. DE DE BORJA, special Administratrix appellee, Francisco de Borja was appointed executor and administrator: in 1952, their Puwang que la separa de la
vs. son, Jose de Borja, was appointed co-administrator. When Francisco died, on jurisdiccion del Municipio
JOSE DE BORJA, oppositor-appellant. 14 April 1954, Jose became the sole administrator of the testate estate of his de Pililla de la Provincia de
mother, Josefa Tangco. While a widower Francisco de Borja allegedly took Rizal, y con el pico del
G.R. No. L-28611 August 18, 1972 unto himself a second wife, Tasiana Ongsingco. Upon Francisco's death, Monte Zambrano; al Oeste
Tasiana instituted testate proceedings in the Court of First Instance of Nueva con Laguna de Bay; por el
TASIANA 0. VDA. DE BORJA, as Administratrix of the Testate Estate of Sur con los herederos de
the late Francisco de Borja, plaintiff-appellee, Ecija, where, in 1955, she was appointed special administratrix. The validity
of Tasiana's marriage to Francisco was questioned in said proceeding. Marcelo de Borja; y por el
vs. Este con los terrenos de la
JOSE DE BORJA, as Administrator of the Testate Estate of the late The relationship between the children of the first marriage and Tasiana Familia Maronilla
Josefa Tangco, defendant-appellant. Ongsingco has been plagued with several court suits and counter-suits;
including the three cases at bar, some eighteen (18) cases remain pending with a segregated area of approximately 1,313
L-28040 hectares at the amount of P0.30 per square meter.
determination in the courts. The testate estate of Josefa Tangco alone has
Pelaez, Jalandoni & Jamir for administrator-appellee. been unsettled for more than a quarter of a century. In order to put an end to 2. That Jose de Borja agrees and obligates himself
all these litigations, a compromise agreement was entered into on 12 October to pay Tasiana Ongsingco Vda. de de Borja the total
Quiogue & Quiogue for appellee Matilde de Borja. 1963, 2 by and between "[T]he heir and son of Francisco de Borja by his first amount of Eight Hundred Thousand Pesos
Andres Matias for appellee Cayetano de Borja. marriage, namely, Jose de Borja personally and as administrator of the (P800,000) Philippine Currency, in cash, which
Testate Estate of Josefa Tangco," and "[T]he heir and surviving spouse of represent P200,000 as his share in the payment and
Sevilla & Aquino for appellant. Francisco de Borja by his second marriage, Tasiana Ongsingco Vda. de P600,000 as pro-rata shares of the heirs Crisanto,
Borja, assisted by her lawyer, Atty. Luis Panaguiton Jr." The terms and Cayetano and Matilde, all surnamed de Borja and
conditions of the compromise agreement are as follows: this shall be considered as full and complete
Sevilla & Aquino for special administratrix-appellee. payment and settlement of her hereditary share in
the estate of the late Francisco de Borja as well as
Pelaez, Jalandoni & Jamir for oppositor-appellant.
THIS AGREEMENT made and entered into by and the estate of Josefa Tangco, Sp. Proc. No. 832-
L-28611 between Nueva Ecija and Sp. Proc. No. 7866-Rizal,
respectively, and to any properties bequeathed or
Sevilla & Aquino for plaintiff-appellee. The heir and son of Francisco de Borja by his first devised in her favor by the late Francisco de Borja
marriage, namely, Jose de Borja personally and as by Last Will and Testament or by Donation Inter
Pelaez, Jalandoni & Jamir and David Gueverra for defendant-appellant. administrator of the Testate Estate of Josefa Vivos or Mortis Causa or purportedly conveyed to
Tangco, her for consideration or otherwise. The funds for this
AND payment shall be taken from and shall depend upon
REYES, J.B.L., J.:p the receipt of full payment of the proceeds of the
The heir and surviving spouse of Francisco de Borja sale of Jalajala, "Poblacion."
Of these cases, the first, numbered L-28040 is an appeal by Tasiana
by his second marriage, Tasiana Ongsingco Vda. de
Ongsingco Vda. de de Borja, special administratrix of the testate estate of 3. That Tasiana Ongsingco Vda. de de Borja hereby
Borja, assisted by her lawyer, Atty. Luis Panaguiton
Francisco de Borja, 1 from the approval of a compromise agreement by the assumes payment of that particular obligation
Court of First Instance of Rizal, Branch I, in its Special Proceeding No. R- incurred by the late Francisco de Borja in favor of
7866, entitled, "Testate Estate of Josefa Tangco, Jose de Borja, WITNESSETH the Rehabilitation Finance Corporation, now
Administrator". Development Bank of the Philippines, amounting to
THAT it is the mutual desire of all the parties herein approximately P30,000.00 and also assumes
Case No. L-28568 is an appeal by administrator Jose Borja from the terminate and settle, with finality, the various court payment of her 1/5 share of the Estate and
disapproval of the same compromise agreement by the Court of First litigations, controversies, claims, counterclaims, etc., Inheritance taxes on the Estate of the late Francisco
Instance of Nueva Ecija, Branch II, in its Special Proceeding No. 832, between them in connection with the administration, de Borja or the sum of P3,500.00, more or less,
settlement, partition, adjudication and distribution of
which shall be deducted by the buyer of Jalajala, otherwise, the non-fulfillment of the said sale will shall be considered as full complete payment
"Poblacion" from the payment to be made to Tasiana render this instrument NULL AND VOID AND settlement of her hereditary share in the estate of
Ongsingco Vda. de Borja under paragraph 2 of this WITHOUT EFFECT THEREAFTER. the late Francisco de Borja as well as the estate of
Agreement and paid directly to the Development Josefa Tangco, ... and to any properties bequeathed
Bank of the Philippines and the heirs-children of IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the parties hereto have or devised in her favor by the late Francisco de Borja
Francisco de Borja. her unto set their hands in the City of Manila, by Last Will and Testament or by Donation Inter
Philippines, the 12th of October, 1963. Vivos or Mortis Causa or purportedly conveyed to
4. Thereafter, the buyer of Jalajala "Poblacion" is her for consideration or otherwise.
hereby authorized to pay directly to Tasiana On 16 May 1966, Jose de Borja submitted for Court approval the agreement
Ongsingco Vda. de de Borja the balance of the of 12 October 1963 to the Court of First Instance of Rizal, in Special This provision evidences beyond doubt that the ruling in the Guevara case is
payment due her under paragraph 2 of this Proceeding No. R-7866; and again, on 8 August 1966, to the Court of First not applicable to the cases at bar. There was here no attempt to settle or
Agreement (approximately P766,500.00) and issue Instance of Nueva Ecija, in Special Proceeding No. 832. Tasiana Ongsingco distribute the estate of Francisco de Borja among the heirs thereto before the
in the name of Tasiana Ongsingco Vda. de de Borja, Vda. de de Borja opposed in both instances. The Rizal court approved the probate of his will. The clear object of the contract was merely the
corresponding certified checks/treasury warrants, compromise agreement, but the Nueva Ecija court declared it void and conveyance by Tasiana Ongsingco of any and all her individual share and
who, in turn, will issue the corresponding receipt to unenforceable. Special administratrix Tasiana Ongsingco Vda. de de Borja interest, actual or eventual in the estate of Francisco de Borja and Josefa
Jose de Borja. appealed the Rizal Court's order of approval (now Supreme Court G.R. case Tangco. There is no stipulation as to any other claimant, creditor or legatee.
No. L-28040), while administrator Jose de Borja appealed the order of And as a hereditary share in a decedent's estate is transmitted or vested
5. In consideration of above payment to Tasiana disapproval (G.R. case No. L-28568) by the Court of First Instance of Nueva immediately from the moment of the death of such causante or predecessor
Ongsingco Vda. de de Borja, Jose de Borja Ecija. in interest (Civil Code of the Philippines, Art. 777) 3 there is no legal bar to a
personally and as administrator of the Testate Estate successor (with requisite contracting capacity) disposing of her or his
of Josefa Tangco, and Tasiana Ongsingco Vda. de The genuineness and due execution of the compromised agreement of 12
October 1963 is not disputed, but its validity is, nevertheless, attacked by hereditary share immediately after such death, even if the actual extent of
de Borja, for themselves and for their heirs, such share is not determined until the subsequent liquidation of the
successors, executors, administrators, and assigns, Tasiana Ongsingco on the ground that: (1) the heirs cannot enter into such
kind of agreement without first probating the will of Francisco de Borja; (2) estate. 4 Of course, the effect of such alienation is to be deemed limited to
hereby forever mutually renounce, withdraw, waive, what is ultimately adjudicated to the vendor heir. However, the aleatory
remise, release and discharge any and all manner of that the same involves a compromise on the validity of the marriage between
Francisco de Borja and Tasiana Ongsingco; and (3) that even if it were valid, character of the contract does not affect the validity of the transaction; neither
action or actions, cause or causes of action, suits, does the coetaneous agreement that the numerous litigations between the
debts, sum or sums of money, accounts, damages, it has ceased to have force and effect.
parties (the approving order of the Rizal Court enumerates fourteen of them,
claims and demands whatsoever, in law or in equity, In assailing the validity of the agreement of 12 October 1963, Tasiana Rec. App. pp. 79-82) are to be considered settled and should be dismissed,
which they ever had, or now have or may have Ongsingco and the Probate Court of Nueva Ecija rely on this Court's decision although such stipulation, as noted by the Rizal Court, gives the contract the
against each other, more specifically Sp. in Guevara vs. Guevara. 74 Phil. 479, wherein the Court's majority held the character of a compromise that the law favors, for obvious reasons, if only
Proceedings Nos. 7866 and 1955, CFI-Rizal, and view that the presentation of a will for probate is mandatory and that the because it serves to avoid a multiplicity of suits.
Sp. Proc. No. 832-Nueva Ecija, Civil Case No. 3033, settlement and distribution of an estate on the basis of intestacy when the
CFI Nueva Ecija and Civil Case No. 7452-CFI, Rizal, decedent left a will, is against the law and public policy. It is likewise pointed It is likewise worthy of note in this connection that as the surviving spouse of
as well as the case filed against Manuel Quijal for out by appellant Tasiana Ongsingco that Section 1 of Rule 74 of the Revised Francisco de Borja, Tasiana Ongsingco was his compulsory heir under article
perjury with the Provincial Fiscal of Rizal, the Rules explicitly conditions the validity of an extrajudicial settlement of a 995 et seq. of the present Civil Code. Wherefore, barring unworthiness or
intention being to completely, absolutely and finally decedent's estate by agreement between heirs, upon the facts that "(if) the valid disinheritance, her successional interest existed independent of
release each other, their heirs, successors, and decedent left no will and no debts, and the heirs are all of age, or the minors Francisco de Borja's last will and testament and would exist even if such will
assigns, from any and all liability, arising wholly or are represented by their judicial and legal representatives ..." The will of were not probated at all. Thus, the prerequisite of a previous probate of the
partially, directly or indirectly, from the Francisco de Borja having been submitted to the Nueva Ecija Court and still will, as established in the Guevara and analogous cases, can not apply to the
administration, settlement, and distribution of the pending probate when the 1963 agreement was made, those circumstances, case of Tasiana Ongsingco Vda. de de Borja.
assets as well as liabilities of the estates of it is argued, bar the validity of the agreement.
Francisco de Borja and Josefa Tangco, first spouse Since the compromise contract Annex A was entered into by and between
of Francisco de Borja, and lastly, Tasiana Ongsingco Upon the other hand, in claiming the validity of the compromise agreement, "Jose de Borja personally and as administrator of the Testate Estate of
Vda. de de Borja expressly and specifically Jose de Borja stresses that at the time it was entered into, on 12 October Josefa Tangco" on the one hand, and on the other, "the heir and surviving
renounce absolutely her rights as heir over any 1963, the governing provision was Section 1, Rule 74 of the original Rules of spouse of Francisco de Borja by his second marriage, Tasiana Ongsingco
hereditary share in the estate of Francisco de Borja. Court of 1940, which allowed the extrajudicial settlement of the estate of a Vda. de de Borja", it is clear that the transaction was binding on both in their
deceased person regardless of whether he left a will or not. He also relies on individual capacities, upon the perfection of the contract, even without
6. That Tasiana Ongsingco Vda. de de Borja, upon the dissenting opinion of Justice Moran, in Guevara vs. Guevara, 74 Phil. previous authority of the Court to enter into the same. The only difference
receipt of the payment under paragraph 4 hereof, 479, wherein was expressed the view that if the parties have already divided between an extrajudicial compromise and one that is submitted and approved
shall deliver to the heir Jose de Borja all the papers, the estate in accordance with a decedent's will, the probate of the will is a by the Court, is that the latter can be enforced by execution proceedings. Art.
titles and documents belonging to Francisco de useless ceremony; and if they have divided the estate in a different manner, 2037 of the Civil Code is explicit on the point:
Borja which are in her possession and said heir Jose the probate of the will is worse than useless.
de Borja shall issue in turn the corresponding 8. Art. 2037. A compromise has upon the parties the
receive thereof. The doctrine of Guevara vs. Guevara, ante, is not applicable to the case at effect and authority of res judicata; but there shall be
bar. This is apparent from an examination of the terms of the agreement no execution except in compliance with a judicial
7. That this agreement shall take effect only upon between Jose de Borja and Tasiana Ongsingco. Paragraph 2 of said compromise.
the fulfillment of the sale of the properties mentioned agreement specifically stipulates that the sum of P800,000 payable to
under paragraph 1 of this agreement and upon It is argued by Tasiana Ongsingco that while the
Tasiana Ongsingco agreement Annex A expressed no definite period for
receipt of the total and full payment of the proceeds
of the sale of the Jalajala property "Poblacion", its performance, the same was intended to have a
resolutory period of 60 days for its effectiveness. In she owned from the time of Francisco's death and the Court of Nueva Ecija invalidate the original compromise (Annex "A") and justifies the act of Jose de
support of such contention, it is averred that such a could not bar her selling it. As owner of her undivided hereditary share, Borja in finally seeking a court order for its approval and enforcement from
limit was expressly stipulated in an agreement in Tasiana could dispose of it in favor of whomsoever she chose. Such the Court of First Instance of Rizal, which, as heretofore described, decreed
similar terms entered into by said Ongsingco with alienation is expressly recognized and provided for by article 1088 of the that the agreement be ultimately performed within 120 days from the finality
the brothers and sister of Jose de Borja, to wit, present Civil Code: of the order, now under appeal.
Crisanto, Matilde and Cayetano, all surnamed de
Borja, except that the consideration was fixed at Art. 1088. Should any of the heirs sell his hereditary We conclude that in so doing, the Rizal court acted in accordance with law,
P600,000 (Opposition, Annex/Rec. of Appeal, L- rights to a stranger before the partition, any or all of and, therefore, its order should be upheld, while the contrary resolution of the
28040, pp. 39- 46) and which contained the following the co-heirs may be subrogated to the rights of the Court of First Instance of Nueva Ecija should be, and is, reversed.
clause: purchaser by reimbursing him for the price of the
sale, provided they do so within the period of one In her brief, Tasiana Ongsingco also pleads that the time elapsed in the
III. That this agreement shall take effect only upon month from the time they were notified in writing of appeal has affected her unfavorably, in that while the purchasing power of the
the consummation of the sale of the property the sale of the vendor. agreed price of P800,000 has diminished, the value of the Jalajala property
mentioned herein and upon receipt of the total and has increased. But the fact is that her delay in receiving the payment of the
full payment of the proceeds of the sale by the If a sale of a hereditary right can be made to a stranger, then a fortiori sale agreed price for her hereditary interest was primarily due to her attempts to
herein owner heirs-children of Francisco de Borja, thereof to a coheir could not be forbidden. nullify the agreement (Annex "A") she had formally entered into with the
namely, Crisanto, Cayetano and Matilde, all advice of her counsel, Attorney Panaguiton. And as to the devaluation de
Tasiana Ongsingco further argues that her contract with Jose de Borja facto of our currency, what We said in Dizon Rivera vs. Dizon, L-24561, 30
surnamed de Borja; Provided that if no sale of the (Annex "A") is void because it amounts to a compromise as to her status and
said property mentioned herein is consummated, or June 1970, 33 SCRA 554, that "estates would never be settled if there were
marriage with the late Francisco de Borja. The point is without merit, for the to be a revaluation with every subsequent fluctuation in the values of
the non-receipt of the purchase price thereof by the very opening paragraph of the agreement with Jose de Borja (Annex "A")
said owners within the period of sixty (60) days from currency and properties of the estate", is particularly opposite in the present
describes her as "the heir and surviving spouse of Francisco de Borja by his case.
the date hereof, this agreement will become null and second marriage, Tasiana Ongsingco Vda. de de Borja", which is in itself
void and of no further effect. definite admission of her civil status. There is nothing in the text of the Coming now to Case G.R. No. L-28611, the issue is whether the Hacienda de
Ongsingco's argument loses validity when it is considered that Jose de Borja agreement that would show that this recognition of Ongsingco's status as the Jalajala (Poblacion), concededly acquired by Francisco de Borja during his
was not a party to this particular contract (Annex 1), and that the same surviving spouse of Francisco de Borja was only made in consideration of the marriage to his first wife, Josefa Tangco, is the husband's private property (as
appears not to have been finalized, since it bears no date, the day being left cession of her hereditary rights. contended by his second spouse, Tasiana Ongsingco), or whether it forms
blank "this day of October 1963"; and while signed by the parties, it was part of the conjugal (ganancial) partnership with Josefa Tangco. The Court of
It is finally charged by appellant Ongsingco, as well as by the Court of First First Instance of Rizal (Judge Herminio Mariano, presiding) declared that
not notarized, although plainly intended to be so done, since it carries a Instance of Nueva Ecija in its order of 21 September 1964, in Special
proposed notarial ratification clause. Furthermore, the compromise contract there was adequate evidence to overcome the presumption in favor of its
Proceedings No. 832 (Amended Record on Appeal in L-28568, page 157), conjugal character established by Article 160 of the Civil Code.
with Jose de Borja (Annex A), provides in its par. 2 heretofore transcribed that the compromise agreement of 13 October 1963 (Annex "A") had been
that of the total consideration of P800, 000 to be paid to Ongsingco, abandoned, as shown by the fact that, after its execution, the Court of First We are of the opinion that this question as between Tasiana Ongsingco and
P600,000 represent the "prorata share of the heirs Crisanto, Cayetano and Instance of Nueva Ecija, in its order of 21 September 1964, had declared that Jose de Borja has become moot and academic, in view of the conclusion
Matilde all surnamed de Borja" which corresponds to the consideration of "no amicable settlement had been arrived at by the parties", and that Jose de reached by this Court in the two preceding cases (G.R. No. L-28568),
P600,000 recited in Annex 1, and that circumstance is proof that the duly Borja himself, in a motion of 17 June 1964, had stated that the proposed upholding as valid the cession of Tasiana Ongsingco's eventual share in the
notarized contract entered into wit Jose de Borja under date 12 October 1963 amicable settlement "had failed to materialize". estate of her late husband, Francisco de Borja, for the sum of P800,000 with
(Annex A), was designed to absorb and supersede the separate unformalize the accompanying reciprocal quit-claims between the parties. But as the
agreement with the other three Borja heirs. Hence, the 60 days resolutory It is difficult to believe, however, that the amicable settlement referred to in question may affect the rights of possible creditors and legatees, its
term in the contract with the latter (Annex 1) not being repeated in Annex A, the order and motion above-mentioned was the compromise agreement of 13 resolution is still imperative.
can not apply to the formal compromise with Jose de Borja. It is moreover October 1963, which already had been formally signed and executed by the
manifest that the stipulation that the sale of the Hacienda de Jalajala was to parties and duly notarized. What the record discloses is that some time after It is undisputed that the Hacienda Jalajala, of around 4,363 hectares, had
be made within sixty days from the date of the agreement with Jose de its formalization, Ongsingco had unilaterally attempted to back out from the been originally acquired jointly by Francisco de Borja, Bernardo de Borja and
Borja's co-heirs (Annex 1) was plainly omitted in Annex A as improper and compromise agreement, pleading various reasons restated in the opposition Marcelo de Borja and their title thereto was duly registered in their names as
ineffective, since the Hacienda de Jalajala (Poblacion) that was to be sold to to the Court's approval of Annex "A" (Record on Appeal, L-20840, page 23): co-owners in Land Registration Case No. 528 of the province of Rizal,
raise the P800,000 to be paid to Ongsingco for her share formed part of the that the same was invalid because of the lapse of the allegedly intended G.L.R.O. Rec. No. 26403 (De Barjo vs. Jugo, 54 Phil. 465). Subsequently, in
estate of Francisco de Borja and could not be sold until authorized by the resolutory period of 60 days and because the contract was not preceded by 1931, the Hacienda was partitioned among the co-owners: the Punta section
Probate Court. The Court of First Instance of Rizal so understood it, and in the probate of Francisco de Borja's will, as required by this Court's Guevarra went to Marcelo de Borja; the Bagombong section to Bernardo de Borja, and
approving the compromise it fixed a term of 120 days counted from the vs. Guevara ruling; that Annex "A" involved a compromise affecting the part in Jalajala proper (Poblacion) corresponded to Francisco de Borja (V.
finality of the order now under appeal, for the carrying out by the parties for Ongsingco's status as wife and widow of Francisco de Borja, etc., all of which De Borja vs. De Borja 101 Phil. 911, 932).
the terms of the contract. objections have been already discussed. It was natural that in view of the
widow's attitude, Jose de Borja should attempt to reach a new settlement or The lot allotted to Francisco was described as
This brings us to the plea that the Court of First Instance of Rizal had no novatory agreement before seeking judicial sanction and enforcement of
jurisdiction to approve the compromise with Jose de Borja (Annex A) because Una Parcela de terreno en Poblacion, Jalajala: N.
Annex "A", since the latter step might ultimately entail a longer delay in Puang River; E. Hermogena Romero; S. Heirs of
Tasiana Ongsingco was not an heir in the estate of Josefa Tangco pending attaining final remedy. That the attempt to reach another settlement failed is
settlement in the Rizal Court, but she was an heir of Francisco de Borja, Marcelo de Borja O. Laguna de Bay; containing an
apparent from the letter of Ongsingco's counsel to Jose de Borja quoted in area of 13,488,870 sq. m. more or less, assessed at
whose estate was the object of Special Proceeding No. 832 of the Court of pages 35-36 of the brief for appellant Ongsingco in G.R. No. 28040; and it is
First Instance of Nueva Ecija. This circumstance is irrelevant, since what was P297,410. (Record on Appeal, pages 7 and 105)
more than probable that the order of 21 September 1964 and the motion of
sold by Tasiana Ongsingco was only her eventual share in the estate of her 17 June 1964 referred to the failure of the parties' quest for a more On 20 November 1962, Tasiana O. Vda. de Borja, as Administratrix of the
late husband, not the estate itself; and as already shown, that eventual share satisfactory compromise. But the inability to reach a novatory accord can not Testate Estate of Francisco de Borja, instituted a complaint in the Court of
First Instance of Rizal (Civil Case No. 7452) against Jose de Borja, in his which amount P25,100 was contributed by Bernardo de Borja and P15,000. weight than the self-serving statement of Francisco (Exhibit "F"). Plainly, the
capacity as Administrator of Josefa Tangco (Francisco de Borja's first wife), by Marcelo de Borja; that upon receipt of a subsequent demand from the legal presumption in favor of the conjugal character of the Hacienda de
seeking to have the Hacienda above described declared exclusive private provincial treasurer for realty taxes the sum of P17,000, Marcelo told his Jalajala (Poblacion) now in dispute has not been rebutted but actually
property of Francisco, while in his answer defendant (now appellant) Jose de brother Bernardo that Francisco (son of Marcelo) wanted also to be a co- confirmed by proof. Hence, the appealed order should be reversed and the
Borja claimed that it was conjugal property of his parents (Francisco de Borja owner, and upon Bernardo's assent to the proposal, Marcelo issue a check Hacienda de Jalajala (Poblacion) declared property of the conjugal
and Josefa Tangco), conformably to the presumption established by Article for P17,000.00 to pay the back taxes and said that the amount would partnership of Francisco de Borja and Josefa Tangco.
160 of the Philippine Civil Code (reproducing Article 1407 of the Civil Code of represent Francisco's contribution in the purchase of the Hacienda. The
1889), to the effect that: witness further testified that No error having been assigned against the ruling of the lower court that
claims for damages should be ventilated in the corresponding special
Art. 160. All property of the marriage is presumed to Marcelo de Borja said that that money was entrusted proceedings for the settlement of the estates of the deceased, the same
belong to the conjugal partnership, unless it be to him by Francisco de Borja when he was still a requires no pro announcement from this Court.
proved that it pertains exclusively to the husband or bachelor and which he derived from his business
to the wife. transactions. (Hearing, 2 February 1965, t.s.n., IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the appealed order of the Court of First
pages 13-15) (Emphasis supplied) Instance of Rizal in Case No. L-28040 is hereby affirmed; while those
Defendant Jose de Borja further counterclaimed for damages, compensatory, involved in Cases Nos. L-28568 and L-28611 are reversed and set aside.
moral and exemplary, as well as for attorney's fees. The Court below, reasoning that not only Francisco's sworn statement Costs against the appellant Tasiana Ongsingco Vda. de Borja in all three (3)
overweighed the admissions in the inventories relied upon by defendant- cases.
After trial, the Court of First Instance of Rizal, per Judge Herminio Mariano, appellant Jose de Borja since probate courts can not finally determine
held that the plaintiff had adduced sufficient evidence to rebut the questions of ownership of inventoried property, but that the testimony of Concepcion, C.J., Makalintal, Zaldivar, Castro, Teehankee, Barredo,
presumption, and declared the Hacienda de Jalajala (Poblacion) to be the Gregorio de Borja showed that Francisco de Borja acquired his share of the Makasiar, Antonio and Esguerra, JJ., concur.
exclusive private property of the late Francisco de Borja, and his original Hacienda with his private funds, for which reason that share can not
Administratrix, Tasiana Ongsingco Vda. de Borja, to be entitled to its Fernando, J., took no part.
be regarded as conjugal partnership property, but as exclusive property of the
possession. Defendant Jose de Borja then appealed to this Court. buyer, pursuant to Article 1396(4) of Civil Code of 1889 and Article 148(4) of
The evidence reveals, and the appealed order admits, that the character of the Civil Code of the Philippines.
the Hacienda in question as owned by the conjugal partnership De Borja- The following shall be the exclusive property of each spouse:
Tangco was solemnly admitted by the late Francisco de Borja no less than Footnotes
two times: first, in the Reamended Inventory that, as executor of the estate of xxx xxx xxx
his deceased wife Josefa Tangco, he filed in the Special Proceedings No. 1 She died during the pendency of these appeals,
7866 of the Court of First Instance of Rizal on 23 July 1953 (Exhibit "2"); and (4) That which is purchased with exclusive money of being substituted by Atty. Luis Panaguiton Jr.,
again, in the Reamended Accounting of the same date, also filed in the the wife or of the husband. administrator of the estate (S.C. Resolution, 27
proceedings aforesaid (Exhibit "7"). Similarly, the plaintiff Tasiana O. Vda. de February 1970).
We find the conclusions of the lower court to be untenable. In the first place,
Borja, herself, as oppositor in the Estate of Josefa Tangco, submitted therein witness Gregorio de Borja's testimony as to the source of the money paid by 2 Annex A, Record on Appeal, G.R. No. L-28040,
an inventory dated 7 September 1954 (Exhibit "3") listing the Jalajala property Francisco for his share was plain hearsay, hence inadmissible and of no pp. 16-21.
among the "Conjugal Properties of the Spouses Francisco de Borja and probative value, since he was merely repeating what Marcelo de Borja had
Josefa Tangco". And once more, Tasiana Ongsingco, as administratrix of the told him (Gregorio). There is no way of ascertaining the truth of the 3 Also: Osorio vs. Osorio Steamship Co., 41 Phil.
Estate of Francisco de Borja, in Special Proceedings No. 832 of the Court of statement, since both Marcelo and Francisco de Borja were already dead 531; Baun vs. Heirs of Baun, 53 Phil. 654; Barretto
First Instance of Nueva Ecija, submitted therein in December, 1955, an when Gregorio testified. In addition, the statement itself is improbable, since vs. Tuason, 59 Phil. 845; Cuevas vs. Abesamis, 71
inventory wherein she listed the Jalajala Hacienda under the heading there was no need or occasion for Marcelo de Borja to explain to Gregorio Phil. 147; Jayme vs. Gamboa, 75 Phil. 479; Iballe vs.
"Conjugal Property of the Deceased Spouses Francisco de Borja and Josefa how and when Francisco de Borja had earned the P17,000.00 entrusted to Po.
Tangco, which are in the possession of the Administrator of the Testate Marcelo. A ring of artificiality is clearly discernible in this portion of Gregorio's
Estate of the Deceased Josefa Tangco in Special Proceedings No. 7866 of 4 Garcia vs. David, 67 Phil. 279; Jakosalem vs.
testimony. Rafols, 73 Phil. 628.
the Court of First Instance of Rizal" (Exhibit "4").
As to Francisco de Borja's affidavit, Exhibit "F", the quoted portion thereof
Notwithstanding the four statements aforesaid, and the fact that they are plain (ante, page 14) does not clearly demonstrate that the "mi terreno personal y
admissions against interest made by both Francisco de Borja and the exclusivo (Poblacion de Jalajala, Rizal) " refers precisely to the Hacienda in
Administratrix of his estate, in the course of judicial proceedings in the Rizal question. The inventories (Exhibits 3 and 4) disclose that there were two real
and Nueva Ecija Courts, supporting the legal presumption in favor of the properties in Jalajala owned by Francisco de Borja, one of 72.038 sq. m.,
conjugal community, the Court below declared that the Hacienda de Jalajala assessed at P44,600, and a much bigger one of 1,357.260.70 sq. m., which
(Poblacion) was not conjugal property, but the private exclusive property of is evidently the Hacienda de Jalajala (Poblacion). To which of these lands did
the late Francisco de Borja. It did so on the strength of the following the affidavit of Francisco de Borja (Exhibit "F") refer to? In addition,
evidences: (a) the sworn statement by Francis de Borja on 6 August 1951 Francisco's characterization of the land as "mi terreno personal y exclusivo"
(Exhibit "F") that is plainly self-serving, and not admissible in the absence of cross
He tomado possession del pedazo de terreno ya examination.
delimitado (equivalente a 1/4 parte, 337 hectareas) It may be true that the inventories relied upon by defendant-appellant
adjunto a mi terreno personal y exclusivo (Poblacion (Exhibits "2", "3", "4" and "7") are not conclusive on the conjugal character of
de Jalajala, Rizal). the property in question; but as already noted, they are clear admissions
and (b) the testimony of Gregorio de Borja, son of Bernardo de Borja, that the against the pecuniary interest of the declarants, Francisco de Borja and his
entire Hacienda had been bought at a foreclosure sale for P40,100.00, of executor-widow, Tasiana Ongsingco, and as such of much greater probative
FIRST DIVISION The Court reverses the respondent Court and sets aside its order dismissing her counsel has not only asked that the minor children be substituted for her
the complaint in Civil Case No. 856 and its orders denying the motion for but also suggested that their uncle be appointed as guardian ad litem for
G.R. No. L-41715 June 18, 1976 reconsideration of said order of dismissal. While it is true that a person who is them because their father is busy in Manila earning a living for the family. But
ROSALIO BONILLA (a minor) SALVACION BONILLA (a minor) and dead cannot sue in court, yet he can be substituted by his heirs in pursuing the respondent Court refused the request for substitution on the ground that
PONCIANO BONILLA (their father) who represents the the case up to its completion. The records of this case show that the death of the children were still minors and cannot sue in court. This is another grave
minors, petitioners, Fortunata Barcena took place on July 9, 1975 while the complaint was filed error because the respondent Court ought to have known that under the
vs. on March 31, 1975. This means that when the complaint was filed on March same Section 17, Rule 3 of the Rules of Court, the court is directed to appoint
LEON BARCENA, MAXIMA ARIAS BALLENA, ESPERANZA BARCENA, 31, 1975, Fortunata Barcena was still alive, and therefore, the court had a guardian ad litem for the minor heirs. Precisely in the instant case, the
MANUEL BARCENA, AGUSTINA NERI, widow of JULIAN TAMAYO and acquired jurisdiction over her person. If thereafter she died, the Rules of counsel for the deceased plaintiff has suggested to the respondent Court that
HON. LEOPOLDO GIRONELLA of the Court of First Instance of Court prescribes the procedure whereby a party who died during the the uncle of the minors be appointed to act as guardian ad litem for them.
Abra, respondents. pendency of the proceeding can be substituted. Under Section 16, Rule 3 of Unquestionably, the respondent Court has gravely abused its discretion in not
the Rules of Court "whenever a party to a pending case dies ... it shall be the complying with the clear provision of the Rules of Court in dismissing the
Federico Paredes for petitioners. duty of his attorney to inform the court promptly of such death ... and to give complaint of the plaintiff in Civil Case No. 856 and refusing the substitution of
the name and residence of his executor, administrator, guardian or other parties in the case.
Demetrio V. Pre for private respondents. legal representatives." This duty was complied with by the counsel for the
deceased plaintiff when he manifested before the respondent Court that IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the order of the respondent Court
Fortunata Barcena died on July 9, 1975 and asked for the proper substitution dismissing the complaint in Civil Case No. 856 of the Court of First Instance
MARTIN, J: of parties in the case. The respondent Court, however, instead of allowing the of Abra and the motions for reconsideration of the order of dismissal of said
substitution, dismissed the complaint on the ground that a dead person has complaint are set aside and the respondent Court is hereby directed to allow
This is a petition for review 1 of the Order of the Court of First Instance of no legal personality to sue. This is a grave error. Article 777 of the Civil Code the substitution of the minor children, who are the petitioners therein for the
Abra in Civil Case No. 856, entitled Fortunata Barcena vs. Leon Barcena, et provides "that the rights to the succession are transmitted from the moment of deceased plaintiff and to appoint a qualified person as guardian ad litem for
al., denying the motions for reconsideration of its order dismissing the the death of the decedent." From the moment of the death of the decedent, them. Without pronouncement as to costs.
complaint in the aforementioned case. the heirs become the absolute owners of his property, subject to the rights SO ORDERED.
On March 31, 1975 Fortunata Barcena, mother of minors Rosalio Bonilla and and obligations of the decedent, and they cannot be deprived of their rights
Salvacion Bonilla and wife of Ponciano Bonilla, instituted a civil action in the thereto except by the methods provided for by law. 3 The moment of death is Teehankee (Chairman), Makasiar, Esguerra and Muoz Palma, JJ., concur.
Court of First Instance of Abra, to quiet title over certain parcels of land the determining factor when the heirs acquire a definite right to the
inheritance whether such right be pure or contingent. 4 The right of the heirs Footnotes
located in Abra.
to the property of the deceased vests in them even before judicial declaration 1 Which this Court treats as special civil action as per its Resolution
On May 9, 1975, defendants filed a written motion to dismiss the complaint, of their being heirs in the testate or intestate proceedings. 5 When Fortunata dated February 11, 1976.
but before the hearing of the motion to dismiss, the counsel for the plaintiff Barcena, therefore, died her claim or right to the parcels of land in litigation in
moved to amend the complaint in order to include certain allegations therein. Civil Case No. 856, was not extinguished by her death but was transmitted to 2 Section 16. Duty of Attorney upon which death, incapacity or
The motion to amend the complaint was granted and on July 17, 1975, her heirs upon her death. Her heirs have thus acquired interest in the incompetency of party. - Whenever a party to a pending case dies,
plaintiffs filed their amended complaint. properties in litigation and became parties in interest in the case. There is, becomes incapacitated or incompetent, it shall be the duty of his
therefore, no reason for the respondent Court not to allow their substitution as attorney to inform the court promptly of such death, incapacity or
On August 4, 1975, the defendants filed another motion to dismiss the incompetency, and to give the name and residence of his executor,
parties in interest for the deceased plaintiff.
complaint on the ground that Fortunata Barcena is dead and, therefore, has administrator, guardian or other legal representative.
no legal capacity to sue. Said motion to dismiss was heard on August 14, Under Section 17, Rule 3 of the Rules of Court "after a party dies and the
1975. In said hearing, counsel for the plaintiff confirmed the death of claim is not thereby extinguished, the court shall order, upon proper notice, Section 17. Death of party.After a party dies and the claim is not
Fortunata Barcena, and asked for substitution by her minor children and her the legal representative of the deceased to appear and be substituted for the thereby extinguished, the court shall order, upon proper notice, the legal
husband, the petitioners herein; but the court after the hearing immediately deceased, within such time as may be granted ... ." The question as to representative of the deceased to appear and to be substituted for
dismissed the case on the ground that a dead person cannot be a real party whether an action survives or not depends on the nature of the action and the deceased, within a period of thirty (30) days, or within such time as may
in interest and has no legal personality to sue. damage sued for. 6 In the causes of action which survive the wrong be granted. If the legal representative fails to appear within said time, the
complained affects primarily and principally property and property rights, the court may order the opposing party to procure the appointment of a legal
On August 19, 1975, counsel for the plaintiff received a copy of the order representative of the within a time to be specified by the court, and the
injuries to the person being merely incidental, while in the causes of action
dismissing the complaint and on August 23, 1975, he moved to set aside the representative shall immediately appear for and on behalf of the interest
which do not survive the injury complained of is to the person, the property
order of the dismissal pursuant to Sections 16 and 17 of Rule 3 of the Rules of the deceased. The court charges involved in procuring such
and rights of property affected being incidental. 7 Following the foregoing
of Court. 2 appointment, if defrayed by the opposing party, may be recovered as
criterion the claim of the deceased plaintiff which is an action to quiet title
On August 28, 1975, the court denied the motion for reconsideration filed by over the parcels of land in litigation affects primarily and principally property costs. The heirs of the deceased may be allowed to be substituted for
counsel for the plaintiff for lack of merit. On September 1, 1975, counsel for and property rights and therefore is one that survives even after her death. It the deceased, without requiring the appointment of an executor or
deceased plaintiff filed a written manifestation praying that the minors Rosalio is, therefore, the duty of the respondent Court to order the legal administrator and the court may appoint guardian ad litem for the minor
Bonilla and Salvacion Bonilla be allowed to substitute their deceased mother, representative of the deceased plaintiff to appear and to be substituted for heirs.
but the court denied the counsel's prayer for lack of merit. From the order, her. But what the respondent Court did, upon being informed by the counsel
counsel for the deceased plaintiff filed a second motion for reconsideration of for the deceased plaintiff that the latter was dead, was to dismiss the
the order dismissing the complaint claiming that the same is in violation of complaint. This should not have been done for under the same Section 17,
Sections 16 and 17 of Rule 3 of the Rules of Court but the same was denied. Rule 3 of the Rules of Court, it is even the duty of the court, if the legal
representative fails to appear, to order the opposing party to procure the
Hence, this petition for review. appointment of a legal representative of the deceased. In the instant case the
respondent Court did not have to bother ordering the opposing party to
procure the appointment of a legal representative of the deceased because
SECOND DIVISION Documents with Damages against petitioners, the Rural Bank of Mangaldan, the discretion of the Court", apart from the retention of the word "may" in
Inc. and the Register of Deeds of Dagupan City before the Regional Trial Section 6,24 in Rule 16 thereof.
G.R. No. 129008 January 13, 2004 Court, Branch 42, Dagupan City.9
Just as no blame of abuse of discretion can be laid on the lower courts
TEODORA A. RIOFERIO, VERONICA O. EVANGELISTA assisted by her On February 5, 1996, petitioners filed their Answer to the aforesaid complaint doorstep for not hearing petitioners affirmative defense, it cannot likewise be
husband ZALDY EVANGELISTA, ALBERTO ORFINADA, and ROWENA interposing the defense that the property subject of the contested deed of faulted for recognizing the legal standing of the respondents as heirs to bring
O. UNGOS, assisted by her husband BEDA UNGOS, petitioners, extra-judicial settlement pertained to the properties originally belonging to the the suit.
vs. parents of Teodora Riofero10 and that the titles thereof were delivered to her
COURT OF APPEALS, ESPERANZA P. ORFINADA, LOURDES P. as an advance inheritance but the decedent had managed to register them in Pending the filing of administration proceedings, the heirs without doubt have
ORFINADA, ALFONSO ORFINADA, NANCY P. ORFINADA, ALFONSO his name.11 Petitioners also raised the affirmative defense that respondents legal personality to bring suit in behalf of the estate of the decedent in
JAMES P. ORFINADA, CHRISTOPHER P. ORFINADA and ANGELO P. are not the real parties-in-interest but rather the Estate of Alfonso O. accordance with the provision of Article 777 of the New Civil Code "that (t)he
ORFINADA, respondents. Orfinada, Jr. in view of the pendency of the administration proceedings.12 On rights to succession are transmitted from the moment of the death of the
April 29, 1996, petitioners filed a Motion to Set Affirmative Defenses for decedent." The provision in turn is the foundation of the principle that the
DECISION property, rights and obligations to the extent and value of the inheritance of a
Hearing13 on the aforesaid ground.
TINGA, J.: person are transmitted through his death to another or others by his will or by
The lower court denied the motion in its Order14 dated June 27, 1996, on the operation of law.25
Whether the heirs may bring suit to recover property of the estate pending the ground that respondents, as heirs, are the real parties-in-interest especially in
appointment of an administrator is the issue in this case. the absence of an administrator who is yet to be appointed in S.P. Case No. Even if administration proceedings have already been commenced, the heirs
5118. Petitioners moved for its reconsideration15 but the motion was likewise may still bring the suit if an administrator has not yet been appointed. This is
This Petition for Review on Certiorari, under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, denied.16 the proper modality despite the total lack of advertence to the heirs in the
seeks to set aside the Decision1 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. rules on party representation, namely Section 3, Rule 326 and Section 2, Rule
42053 dated January 31, 1997, as well as its Resolution2 dated March 26, This prompted petitioners to file before the Court of Appeals their Petition for 8727 of the Rules of Court. In fact, in the case of Gochan v. Young,28 this
1997, denying petitioners motion for reconsideration. Certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court docketed as CA G.R. S.P. No. Court recognized the legal standing of the heirs to represent the rights and
42053.17 Petitioners averred that the RTC committed grave abuse of properties of the decedent under administration pending the appointment of
On May 13, 1995, Alfonso P. Orfinada, Jr. died without a will in Angeles City discretion in issuing the assailed order which denied the dismissal of the case an administrator. Thus:
leaving several personal and real properties located in Angeles City, on the ground that the proper party to file the complaint for the annulment of
Dagupan City and Kalookan City.3 He also left a widow, respondent the extrajudicial settlement of the estate of the deceased is the estate of the The above-quoted rules,29 while permitting an executor or administrator
Esperanza P. Orfinada, whom he married on July 11, 1960 and with whom he decedent and not the respondents.18 to represent or to bring suits on behalf of the deceased, do not prohibit
had seven children who are the herein respondents, namely: Lourdes P. the heirs from representing the deceased. These rules are easily
Orfinada, Alfonso "Clyde" P. Orfinada, Nancy P. Orfinada-Happenden, The Court of Appeals rendered the assailed Decision19 dated January 31, applicable to cases in which an administrator has already been
Alfonso James P. Orfinada, Christopher P. Orfinada, Alfonso Mike P. 1997, stating that it discerned no grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack appointed. But no rule categorically addresses the situation in
Orfinada (deceased) and Angelo P. Orfinada.4 or excess of jurisdiction by the public respondent judge when he denied which special proceedings for the settlement of an estate have
petitioners motion to set affirmative defenses for hearing in view of its already been instituted, yet no administrator has been appointed. In
Apart from the respondents, the demise of the decedent left in mourning his discretionary nature. such instances, the heirs cannot be expected to wait for the appointment
paramour and their children. They are petitioner Teodora Riofero, who of an administrator; then wait further to see if the administrator appointed
became a part of his life when he entered into an extra-marital relationship A Motion for Reconsideration was filed by petitioners but it was would care enough to file a suit to protect the rights and the interests of
with her during the subsistence of his marriage to Esperanza sometime in denied.20 Hence, the petition before this Court. the deceased; and in the meantime do nothing while the rights and the
1965, and co-petitioners Veronica5, Alberto and Rowena.6 properties of the decedent are violated or dissipated.
The issue presented by the petitioners before this Court is whether the heirs
On November 14, 1995, respondents Alfonso James and Lourdes Orfinada have legal standing to prosecute the rights belonging to the deceased Even if there is an appointed administrator, jurisprudence recognizes two
discovered that on June 29, 1995, petitioner Teodora Rioferio and her subsequent to the commencement of the administration proceedings.21 exceptions, viz: (1) if the executor or administrator is unwilling or refuses to
children executed an Extrajudicial Settlement of Estate of a Deceased Person bring suit;30 and (2) when the administrator is alleged to have participated in
with Quitclaim involving the properties of the estate of the decedent located in Petitioners vehemently fault the lower court for denying their motion to set the
case for preliminary hearing on their affirmative defense that the proper party the act complained of31 and he is made a party defendant.32 Evidently, the
Dagupan City and that accordingly, the Registry of Deeds in Dagupan issued necessity for the heirs to seek judicial relief to recover property of the estate
Certificates of Titles Nos. 63983, 63984 and 63985 in favor of petitioners to bring the action is the estate of the decedent and not the respondents. It
must be stressed that the holding of a preliminary hearing on an affirmative is as compelling when there is no appointed administrator, if not more, as
Teodora Rioferio, Veronica Orfinada-Evangelista, Alberto Orfinada and where there is an appointed administrator but he is either disinclined to bring
Rowena Orfinada-Ungos. Respondents also found out that petitioners were defense lies in the discretion of the court. This is clear from the Rules of
Court, thus: suit or is one of the guilty parties himself.
able to obtain a loan of P700,000.00 from the Rural Bank of Mangaldan Inc.
by executing a Real Estate Mortgage over the properties subject of the extra- SEC. 5. Pleadings grounds as affirmative defenses.- Any of the All told, therefore, the rule that the heirs have no legal standing to sue for the
judicial settlement.7 grounds for dismissal provided for in this rule, except improper venue, recovery of property of the estate during the pendency of administration
may be pleaded as an affirmative defense, and a preliminary proceedings has three exceptions, the third being when there is no appointed
On December 1, 1995, respondent Alfonso "Clyde" P. Orfinada III filed administrator such as in this case.
a Petition for Letters of Administration docketed as S.P. Case No. 5118 hearing may be had thereon as if a motion to dismiss had been
before the Regional Trial Court of Angeles City, praying that letters of filed.22 (Emphasis supplied.) As the appellate court did not commit an error of law in upholding the order of
administration encompassing the estate of Alfonso P. Orfinada, Jr. be issued Certainly, the incorporation of the word "may" in the provision is clearly the lower court, recourse to this Court is not warranted.
to him.8 indicative of the optional character of the preliminary hearing. The word WHEREFORE, the petition for review is DENIED. The assailed decision and
On December 4, 1995, respondents filed a Complaint for the denotes discretion and cannot be construed as having a mandatory resolution of the Court of Appeals are hereby AFFIRMED. No costs.
Annulment/Rescission of Extra Judicial Settlement of Estate of a Deceased effect.23Subsequently, the electivity of the proceeding was firmed up beyond
Person with Quitclaim, Real Estate Mortgage and Cancellation of Transfer cavil by the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure with the inclusion of the phrase "in SO ORDERED.
Certificate of Titles with Nos. 63983, 63985 and 63984 and Other Related
THIRD DIVISION assets of the conjugal partnership of gains between her and the at Barrio Santolan, Municipality of Pasig, Province of
deceased, to wit: Rizal, with a total assessed value of P1,190.00.
G.R. No. 149017 November 28, 2008
(a) Half (1/2) interest and participation in the parcel (f) A parcel of land, being Lot No. 6, Block 269 of the
VALENTE RAYMUNDO,petitioner, of land covered by Tax Declaration No. 6938, subdivision plan pos-112, being a portion of Lot 2,
vs. situated at Sitio Pantayan, Municipality of Taytay, Block 348, Psd-3188, G.L.R.O. Record Nos.
TEOFISTA ISAGON VDA. DE SUAREZ, DANILO I. SUAREZ, EUFROCINA Province of Rizal; 375,699 and 917, situated at San Felipe Neri,
SUAREZ, MARCELO I. SUAREZ, JR, EVELYN SUAREZ, ET Province of Rizal, with an assessed value
AL., respondents. (b) Half (1/2) interest and participation in the parcel of P6,340.00.
of land covered by Tax Declaration No. 6939,
DECISION situated at Sitio Pantayan, Municipality of Taytay, (g) A parcel of land covered by OCT No. 391,
NACHURA, J.: Province of Rizal; situated in the Municipality of Taytay, Province of
Rizal, with an assessed value of P1,840.00.
This petition, filed under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, assails the Court of (c) Half (1/2) interest and participation in the parcel
Appeals (CA) Decision1and Resolution2 in CA-G.R. SP No. 58090 which of land covered by TCT No. 38291, situated at Barrio (h) TWELVE THOUSAND (12,000) shares of stock
reversed, set aside and recalled the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Orders3 in Rosario, Municipality of Pasig, Province of Rizal; of the Consolidated Mines, Inc. represented by
Civil Case No. 51203. Certificate No. 71-5-B (for 1,000 shares) and
(d) Half (1/2) interest and participation in the parcel Certificate No. 12736 (for 11,000 shares).
First, the long settled facts. of land covered by TCT No. 38290, situated at Barrio
Rosario, Municipality of Pasig, Province of Rizal; PROVIDED, that their title to the properties hereinabove
Marcelo and Teofista Isagon Suarez'4 marriage was blessed with both mentioned shall be in common and the share of each heir
material wealth and progeny in herein respondents, namely, (e) TWELVE THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED THIRTY being pro indiviso.
Danilo,5 Eufrocina, Marcelo Jr., Evelyn, and Reggineo,6 all surnamed Suarez. PESOS AND NINETY (P12,530.90) deposited with
During their marriage, governed by the conjugal partnership of gains regime, the Commercial Bank and Trust Company of the Curiously, despite the partition, title to the foregoing properties, explicitly
they acquired numerous properties, which included the following: (1) a parcel Philippines, and THIRTY-NINE PESOS (P39.00) identified in the Extrajudicial Settlement of Estate as forming part of Marcelo's
of land situated in Barrio Caniogan, Pasig with an area of 348 square meters deposited with Prudential Bank. and Isagon's property regime, remained in the couple's name. Not
covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. 30680; (2) property located surprisingly, Teofista continued to administer and manage these properties.
2. That the Parties TEOFISTA ISAGON, EUFROCINA S. On the whole, apart from those now owned exclusively by Teofista, all the
in Pinagbuhatan, Pasig, with an area of 1,020 square meters under Tax ANDRES, ELPIDIO SUAREZ, DANILO SUAREZ, EVELYN
Declaration No. A-016-01003; and (3) Lot Nos. 5, 6 & 7, Block 2 covered by properties were held pro indiviso by Teofista and her children; and respective
SUAREZ, MARCELO SUAREZ, JR. and REGGINEO SUAREZ, titles thereto were not changed, with Teofista as de facto administrator
Tax Declaration No. A-01700723 (subject properties). shall each and all receive and be entitled to a share equivalent to thereof.
After the death of Marcelo Sr. in 1955, Teofista and herein respondents, as one-seventh (1/7) of the estate of the deceased MARCELO
well as Elpidio Suarez,7executed an Extrajudicial Settlement of SUAREZ, which estate is comprised of the following properties, In 1975, Rizal Realty Corporation (Rizal Realty) and Teofista, the latter
Estate,8 partitioning Marcelo Sr.'s estate, thus: to wit: owning ninety percent (90%) of the former's shares of stock, were sued by
petitioner Valente Raymundo, his wife Violeta, Virginia Banta and Maria
WHEREAS, the said deceased is survived by the parties hereto (a) A parcel of land covered by TCT No. 30680, Concepcion Vito (plaintiffs) in consolidated cases for Rescission of Contract
who are his only legal heirs: TEOFISTA ISAGON, being the situated at Barrio Kaniogan, Municipality of Pasig, and Damages, docketed as Civil Case Nos. 21736 to 21739. Thereafter, in
surviving spouse, and EUFROCINA S. ANDRES, ELPIDIO Province of Rizal, with an assessed value 1975, the then Court of First Instance (CFI) of Rizal, Branch 1, rendered
SUAREZ, DANILO SUAREZ, EVELYN SUAREZ, MARCELO of P4,150.00. judgment: (1) rescinding the respective contracts of plaintiffs with Rizal Realty
SUAREZ, JR. and REGGINEO SUAREZ, being the legitimate (b) Three (3) parcels of land covered by TCT Nos. and Teofista, and (2) holding the two defendants solidarily liable to plaintiffs
children of the deceased with the said TEOFISTA ISAGON; 33982, 33983 and 33984, situated at Barrio Pineda, for damages in the aggregate principal amount of about P70,000.00.9
WHEREAS, the minors ELPIDIO, SUAREZ, DANILO SUAREZ, Municipality of Pasig, Province of Rizal, with an When the judgment of the CFI became final and executory, herein subject
EVELYN SUAREZ, MARCELO SUAREZ, JR. and REGGINEO assessed value of P560.00. properties were levied and sold on execution on June 24, 1983 to satisfy the
SUAREZ are represented herein by EUFROCINA S. ANDRES, (c) A parcel of land covered by TCT 33986, situated judgment against Teofista and Rizal Realty. The aforementioned plaintiffs
in her capacity as the guardian and legal administrator of the at Barrio Pineda, Municipality of Pasig, Province of were the highest bidder, and bought the levied properties for the amount
property of the said minors; Rizal, with an assessed value of P440.00. of P94,170.00. As a result, a certificate of sale was issued to them and
registered in their favor on August 1, 1983. On July 31, 1984, the Provincial
WHEREAS, there are no known debts or financial obligations of (d) Two (2) parcels of land, being Lots Nos. 42 and Sheriff of Rizal issued a final deed of sale over the subject properties.
whatever nature and amount against the estate of the deceased; 44 of the amendment-subdivision plan TY-4653-
Amd., being a portion of Lot 2 described on the Parenthetically, before expiration of the redemption period, or on June 21,
NOW, THEREFORE, in consideration of the foregoing premises, 1984, herein respondents filed a revindicatory action against petitioner
the Parties have agreed to settle and liquidate the assets of the original plan II-4653, G.L.R.O. Record No. _____,
situated at Barrio Santolan, Municipality of Pasig, Valente, Violeta, Virginia and Maria Concepcion, docketed as Civil Case No.
conjugal partnership between the deceased and TEOFISTA 51203, for the annulment of the auction sale and recovery of ownership of the
ISAGON, and to settle and adjudicate the estate of the said Province of Rizal, with a total assessed value
of P590.00. levied properties. Essentially, respondents alleged in their complaint that they
deceased, by and pursuance to these presents, in the following cannot be held liable for the judgment rendered against their mother,
manner, to wit: (e) Two parcels of land, being Lots Nos. 43 and 45 Teofista, not having been impleaded therein; and consequently, the subject
1. That TEOFISTA ISAGON, as the surviving spouse and partner of the amendment-subdivision plan TY-4653-Amd., properties, which they own pro indiviso with their mother, can neither be
of the deceased, shall receive in absolute and exclusive being a portion of Lot 2 described on the original levied nor be sold on execution.
ownership the following properties as her lawful share in the plan II-4653, G.L.R.O. Record No. _______, situated
Meanwhile, the RTC, Branch 151, formerly the CFI, Branch 1, in Civil Case On the other litigation front concerning Civil Case No. 51203, a writ of Article 888 further provides:
Nos. 21376 to 21379, issued an Order10 directing Teofista: (1) to vacate the preliminary injunction was issued by the RTC Pasig, Branch 155, on February
subject properties, (2) to desist from despoiling, dismantling, removing or 25, 1985, enjoining petitioner Valente, Violeta, Virginia and Maria Concepcion "The legitime of the legitimate children and
alienating the improvements thereon, (3) to place petitioner Valente, Violeta, from transferring to third parties the levied properties based on its preliminary descendants consists of one-half of the hereditary
Virginia and Maria Concepcion in peaceful possession thereof, and (4) to finding that the auctioned properties are co-owned by Teofista and herein estate of the father and of the mother.
surrender to them the owner's duplicate copy of the torrens title and other respondents. Subsequently, however, Civil Case No. 51203 was dismissed The latter may freely dispose of the remaining half, subject to the
pertinent documents. Herein respondents, joined by their mother, Teofista, by the RTC, Branch 155, at the instance of petitioner Valente for failure of rights of illegitimate children and of the surviving spouse as
filed a Motion for Reconsideration arguing that the subject properties are co- herein respondents to prosecute. But in yet another turn of events, the RTC, hereinafter provided."
owned by them and further informing the RTC of the filing and pendency of Branch 155, lifted its previous order of dismissal and directed the issuance of
Civil Case No. 51203. Nonetheless, the trial court denied Teofista's and alias summons. Article 892, par. 2 likewise provides:
herein respondents' motion, reiterated its previous order, which included,
among others, the order for Teofista and all persons claiming right under her, Thus, it was now petitioner Valente's, Violeta's, Virginia's and Maria "If there are two or more legitimate children or
to vacate the lots subject of the judicial sale. Concepcion's turn to file a petition for certiorari with the CA, assailing the descendants, the surviving spouse shall be entitled
various orders of the RTC, Branch 155, which all rejected their bid to dismiss to a portion equal to the legitime of each of the
Undaunted, Teofista and herein respondents filed a petition Civil Case No. 51203. The CA granted their petition, thus: legitimate children or descendants."
for certiorari before the CA to annul the foregoing orders. The appellate court,
on July 6, 1987, dismissed Teofista's and herein respondents' petition, thus: And the fact that herein private respondents, as the legal heirs of Thus, from the foregoing, the legitime of the surviving spouse is
Teofista Vda. de Suarez and supposedly not parties in Civil Case equal to the legitime of each child.
We believe this petition cannot prosper for two reasons. First, as Nos. 21376 - 21379 does not preclude the application of the
purported case for certiorari it fails to show how the respondent doctrine of res judicata since, apart from the requisites The proprietary interest of petitioners [herein respondents] in the
judge had acted without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave constitutive of this procedural tenet, they were admittedly the levied and auctioned property is different from and adverse to
abuse of discretion. The two orders being assailed were children of Teofista Suarez, who is the real party-in-interest in the that of their mother [Teofista]. Petitioners [herein respondents]
preceded by a final judgment, a corresponding writ of execution, previous final judgment. As successors-in-interest of Teofista became co-owners of the property not because of their mother
a levy on execution and a judicial sale, all of which enjoy a strong Suarez, private respondents merely stepped into the shoes of [Teofista] but through their own right as children of their
sense presumption of regularity. their mother in regard to the levied pieces of property. Verily, deceased father [Marcelo Sr.]. Therefore, petitioners [herein
there is identity of parties, not only where the parties in both respondents] are not barred in any way from instituting the action
Secondly, as far as [petitioner] Teofista Suarez is concerned, she actions are the same, but where there is privity with them as in to annul the auction sale to protect their own interest.
cannot complain about the levy because she was a party in the the cases of successors-in-interest by title subsequent to the
consolidated cases where judgment was rendered against her in WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals dated July
commencement of the action or where there is substantial 27, 1990 as well as its Resolution of August 28, 1990 are hereby
her personal capacity. Since she did not appeal from the identity.
decision, she cannot say that the judgment is erroneous for an REVERSED and set aside; and Civil Case No. 51203 is
obligation that belong to the corporation. And with respect to the Finally, the action to annul the judicial sale filed by herein private reinstated only to determine that portion which belongs to
children of Teofista Suarez, who are co-petitioners in this respondents is not the reinvindicatory suit, much less the third petitioners and to annul the sale with regard to said portion.
proceedings [herein respondents], suffice it to point out that not party claim contemplated by Section 17 of Rule 39. It was at this point when another series of events transpired, culminating in
being parties in the consolidated cases, what they should have the present petition.
done was to immediately file a third party claim. The moment WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari is hereby granted and
levy was made on the parcels of land, which they claim are theirs the questioned orders dated February 25, 1985, May 19, 1989 Upon our reinstatement of Civil Case No. 51203, each and every pleading
by virtue of hereditary succession, they should have seasonably and February 26, 1990 issued in Civil Case No. 51203 are filed by herein respondents, as plaintiffs therein, was hotly contested and
filed such claim to protect their rights. As the record discloses, hereby annulled; further respondent judge is ordered to dismiss opposed by therein defendants, including petitioner Valente. Moreover, even
however, the children chose to remain silent, and even allowed Civil Case No. 51203.12 at that stage, when the case had been remanded with a directive to
the auction sale to be held, filing almost a year later a half- From this ruling, herein respondents appealed to the Supreme Court. In "determine that portion which belongs to [herein respondents] and to annul
hearted complaint to annul the proceedings which they allowed Suarez v. Court of Appeals,13we reversed the appellate court, thus: the sale with regard to said portion," Civil Case No. 51203 had to be re-raffled
to be dismissed by not diligently prosecuting it. and transferred, for varied reasons, to the different court branches in Pasig
Even without touching on the incidents and issues raised by both City. In between all these, petitioner Valente, along with the other defendants,
In Santos v. Mojica (10 SCRA 318), a partition case with third- petitioner [herein respondents] and private respondents repeatedly filed a Motion to Dismiss Civil Case No. 51203 for the purported
party claimants, the Supreme Court came out with the following [petitioner Valente, Violeta, Virginia and Maria Concepcion] and failure of herein respondents to prosecute the case. Most of these Motions to
ruling: "The procedure (a petition for certiorari) followed by him (a the developments subsequent to the filing of the complaint, [w]e Dismiss were denied.
petitioner not party to the original partition case) in vindicating his cannot but notice the glaring error committed by the trial court.
right is not the one sanctioned by law, for he should have filed a With each transfer of Civil Case No. 51203, the judge to which the case was
separate and independent action making parties therein the It would be useless to discuss the procedural issue on the raffled had to study the records anew. Expectedly, part of the records went
sheriff and the plaintiffs responsible for the execution xxx. It can, validity of the execution and the manner of publicly selling en missing and were lost. On April 12, 1993, the Clerk of Court of RTC, Branch
therefore, be said that (he) acted improperly in filing the present masse the subject properties for auction. To start with, only one- 71, to which Civil Case No. 51203 was remanded, filed a report on the
petition because his remedy was to file a separate and half of the 5 parcels of land [subject properties] should have records of the case, to wit:
independent action to vindicate his ownership over the land. been the subject of the auction sale.
1. The first volume of the record in the above-entitled case was
WHEREFORE, the petition is denied and the restraining order The law in point is Article 777 of the Civil Code, the law recorded as received on June 20, 1990, by Sheriff Alejandro O.
previously issued is DISSOLVED, with costs against applicable at the time of the institution of the case: Loquinario;
The rights to the succession are transmitted from the moment of 2. That the staff of Branch 71 at this time was sharing a small
the death of the decedent." room with Branch 161 at the First Floor of the Justice Hall, and
as the Branch was newly formed, it had no equipment or 1. A Motion for Leave to File and Admit Supplemental Complaint18 filed by Court of September 4, 1992, being the final arbiter in any judicial
furniture of its own, and was still undermanned; herein respondents. The Supplemental Complaint additionally prayed that the dispute, should be implemented for the following reasons:
levy and sale at public auction of the subject properties be annulled and set
3. That sometime in August 1990, Branch 71 moved to the aside, as the bid price was unconscionable and grossly inadequate to the xxxx
staffroom of Branch 159 at the Second Floor of the Justice Hall; current value of the subject properties. The Supplemental Complaint further On the request for Answers to Written Interrogatories filed by the
4. That on October 25, 1990, this Court received a Notice of sought a re-bidding with respect to Teofista's share in the subject properties. defendants, it is obvious that at this stage of the proceedings
Judgment dated October 22, 1990 from the Court of Appeals that Finally, it prayed that TCT No. 6509 in the name of petitioner Valente, Violeta, where the Supreme Court had already pronounced the
ruled the dismissal of the above-entitled case, and as per Virginia and Maria Concepcion be cancelled and TCT No. 30680 in the name undisputed facts, which binds this court, the answer sought to be
standing instructions of Judge Graduacion A. Reyes-Claravall, of Marcelo Suarez, married to Teofista Isagon, be reinstated. elicited through written interrogatories, therefore, are entirely
the same was bound as volume 2 of the case; 2. A Manifestation and Motion (to Execute/Enforce Decision dated September irrelevant, aside from having been filed way out of time.
5. That just before the Christmas vacation in 1991, the branch 4, 1992 of the Supreme Court)19 filed by herein respondents pointing out that WHEREFORE, premises considered, this court, implements the
was forced to hastily move all of its records and equipment to the Supreme Court itself had noted the current increased value of the subject decision of the Supreme Court dated September 4, 1992 which
branch 69, because of the unexpected notice we received that properties and that petitioner Valente, Violeta, Virginia and Maria Concepcion mandates that:
the room we were occupying was to be demolished in order to unjustly enriched themselves in appropriating the subject properties worth
meet the schedule for the renovation of the building; millions then, for a measly bid price of P94,170.00, for a judgment obligation "xxx and Civil Case No. 51203 is reinstated only to
worth only P70,000.00. determine that portion which belongs to petitioner
6. That unfortunately, the room was demolished before the and to annul the sale with regard to said portion."
undersigned could make a last check to see if everything was 3. An Urgent Motion [to direct compliance by plaintiffs (herein respondents)
transferred; with Supreme Court Decision or to consider the matter submitted without In order to enforce such mandate of the Supreme
evidence on the part of plaintiffs]20 filed by therein defendants, including Court, this court orders that:
7. That it was only later on that this office discovered that herein petitioner Valente, pointing out that plaintiffs (herein respondents)
important documents were indeed lost, including transcripts of have yet to comply with the RTC, Branch 67 Order commanding them to a. The auction sale of the five (5) parcels of land and
stenographic notes in a case that was submitted for decision; submit (to the RTC) any evidence showing settlement of the estate of the all prior and subsequent proceedings in relation
deceased Marcelo Suarez, in order for the court to determine the portion in thereto are declared null and void.
8. That sometime in May 1992, the branch moved its Office to its the estate which belongs to Teofista. The Urgent Motion stated in paragraph
present location; b. Transfer Certificate of Title No. 6509 in the name
2, thus: of defendant Valente Raymundo is also declared null
9. That on March 8, 1993, this Court received a copy of a 2. The defendants [including herein petitioner Valente] did and void, and the Register of Deeds of Rizal, Pasig
Decision of the Supreme Court reversing the earlier ruling of the everything possible to expedite the disposition of this case while City, is ordered to issue a new one in the name of
Court of Appeals; the plaintiffs [herein respondents] did everything possible to the deceased Marcelo Suarez or to reinstate
DELAY the disposition of the same obviously because the Transfer Certificate of Title No. 30680 in the name of
10. That it was at this time that the first volume of this case, Marcelo Suarez.
which was bundled along with other cases which were decided plaintiffs [herein respondents] are in full possession and
and/or archived, was reported as missing; enjoyment of the property in dispute. In its decision of September c. Teofista Suarez is ordered to reimburse the
4, 1992, the SUPREME COURT nullified TWO final and amount of P94,170.00, plus legal interest from the
11. That from the time the same was found to be missing, Judge executory DECISIONS of the Court of Appeals in an date of issuance of this order, and failing which, the
Claravall ordered that a search for the same be made in all of the unprecedented action. In said decision, the Supreme Court portion of the estate of Marcelo Suarez belonging to
offices wherein this branch was forced to share a room with, as ordered the plaintiffs [herein respondents] to establish with the surviving spouse, Teofista Suarez, may be levied
well as the Court of Appeals, in the event that the same was evidence their personality as heirs of Marcelo Suarez, and after on execution.
transmitted to said Court; being able to do so, to adduce evidence that would determine
what portion belongs to plaintiffs hence the above matters need d. [Herein respondents], including Teofista Suarez,
12. That all the efforts were in vain, as said record could not be be litigated upon before the RTC can "annul the sale with regard are hereby ordered to submit to this court any
located anywhere; to said portion" (belonging to the plaintiffs alleged heirs). evidence showing settlement of the estate of the
13. That the undersigned now concludes that the first volume of deceased, Marcelo Suarez, in order for this court to
On these incidents, the records reveal the following Orders issued by the determine the portion in the estate which belongs to
the above-entitled case was probably lost during the renovation different branches of the RTC:
of the Justice Hall Building, and will have to be reconstituted with Teofista Suarez.
the use of documents in the possession of the parties, or 1. Order dated March 17, 1995, issued by Presiding Judge Rodrigo B. Therein defendants, including petitioner Valente, filed a Motion for
documents entered as exhibits in other Courts.14 Lorenzo of Branch 266, Pasig City, admitting herein respondents' Reconsideration which the trial court denied on May 29, 1996.
Supplemental Complaint.21
In this regard, herein respondents filed a Motion for Reconstitution of 3. Order dated September 10, 1996, issued by Judge Santos denying the
Records15 of the case. Initially, petitioner Valente, and the other defendants -- 2. Order dated January 22, 1996, issued by Judge Apolinario B. Santos appeal interposed by petitioner Valente from the January 22, 1996 and May
Violeta, Virginia and Maria Concepcion -- opposed the motion.16 However, the resolving: (a) herein respondents' Manifestation and Motion (to 29, 1996 Orders, ruling that these are interlocutory orders, and, therefore, not
trial court eventually granted the motion for reconstitution, and ordered execute/enforce Decision dated September 4, 1992 of the Supreme Court), appealable.23
petitioner Valente and the other defendants to submit a copy of their Answer and (b) therein defendants' (including herein petitioner Valente's) Request for
filed thereat and copies of other pleadings pertinent to the case.17 Answer to Written Interrogatories.22 The RTC, Branch 67, resolved the 4. Order dated April 8, 1999, issued by Pairing Judge Santiago Estrella which
incidents, thus: declared, thus:
Thereafter, three (3) incidents, among numerous others, set off by the parties'
pleadings, are worth mentioning, to wit: From the foregoing uncontroverted facts, this Court is convinced Considering that counsel for the plaintiffs does not have the birth certificates
beyond a shadow of doubt that the Decision of the Supreme of the heirs of the plaintiff to prove their affiliation with the deceased which is
one of the matters written in the decision of the higher court which must be
complied with, and in order for counsel for the plaintiffs [herein respondents] "one by which a party sues another for the The denial of petitioner Valente's Motion for Reconsideration prompted the
to have the opportunity to complete all documentary evidence and in view of enforcement or protection of a right, or the filing of this present petition for certiorari.
abbreviating the proceedings and as prayed for, today's scheduled pre-trial is prevention or redress of a wrong" while a special
re-set for the last time to May 19, 1999 at 8:30 a.m. proceeding is "a remedy by which a party seeks to Petitioner Valente posits that the appellate court committed grave abuse of
establish a status, a right, or a particular fact." It is discretion in recalling and setting aside the Orders of Judge Estrella and
In this connection, counsel for plaintiffs [herein respondents] is then decisively clear that the declaration of heirship reinstating those of Judge Santos because:
advised to secure all the documentary evidence she needs can be made only in a special proceeding inasmuch
material to this case which will expedite the disposition of this 1. The CA ruled that the Orders dated May 29, 1996 and
as the petitioners here are seeking the September 6, 1996 issued by Judge Santos were final and
case.24 establishment of a status or right. executory, and yet the latter did not allow an appeal to be taken
This last Order and therein defendants' Urgent Motion spawned another In as much as the leading case on the matter is that of "Heirs of therefrom ratiocinating that the questioned orders were
contentious issue between the parties. In this connection, Judge Estrella Yaptinchay v. Del Rosario, G.R. No. 124320, March 2, 1999" it is interlocutory, and therefore, not appealable; and
issued an Order25 requiring the parties to file their respective position papers left with no choice but to obey said latter doctrine.
due to the "divergent views on the nature of the hearing that should be 2. The CA ignored and violated the Supreme Court's ruling in
conducted in compliance with" our decision in Suarez. Both parties duly filed WHEREFORE, the foregoing premises considered, this Court Heirs of Yaptinchay v. Del Rosario28 which held that a declaration
their position papers, with herein respondents attaching thereto a copy of the holds that in the light of the doctrine laid down in the case of of heirship must be made in a special proceeding and not in a
Extrajudicial Settlement of Estate executed by the heirs of Marcelo Suarez in "Heirs of Yaptinchay vs. Del Rosario, G.R. No. 124320, March 2, civil action.
1957. 1999" this case is dismissed without prejudice to the plaintiffs' We find the petition bereft of merit.
[herein respondents'] filing a special proceeding consistent with
In resolving this latest crossfire between the parties, the RTC, Branch 67, said latest ruling.26 At the outset, we note that petitioner Valente incorrectly filed a petition
issued an Order dated January 11, 2000, which reads, in part: for certiorari to appeal the CA decision. Petitioner should have filed a petition
Herein respondents moved for reconsideration thereof which, however, was for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. Simply imputing
This Court is of the view that the Honorable Supreme Court is denied by the RTC, Branch 67 on March 14, 2000.27
not a trier of facts, precisely it directed that the records of this in a petition that the decision sought to be reviewed is tainted with grave
case be remanded to the Regional Trial Court for further Consequently, herein respondents filed a petition for certiorari before the CA abuse of discretion does not magically transform a petition into a special civil
proceedings. alleging grave abuse of discretion in the trial court's order dismissing Civil action for certiorari. The CA decision disposed of the merits of a special civil
Case No. 51203 without prejudice. All the defendants in the trial court were action, an original petition, filed thereat by herein respondents. That
xxxx impleaded as private respondents in the petition. Yet, curiously, only disposition is a final and executory order, appealable to, and may be
petitioner Valente filed a Comment thereto. The appellate court granted the questioned before, this Court by persons aggrieved thereby, such as
It is a matter of record that there was no trial on the merits petitioner Valente, via Rule 45.
completed in the Regional Trial Court. xxx The Supreme Court petition, recalled and set aside RTC, Branch 67's Orders dated January 11,
reversed the judgment of the Court of Appeals and ordered the 2000 and March 14, 2000, and reinstated Judge Santos' Orders dated May On this score alone, the petition should have been dismissed outright.
reinstatement of Civil Case No. 51203. Naturally, there was no 29, 1996 and September 6, 1996. It disposed of the petition, thus: However, we have disregarded this procedural flaw and now resolve this
trial on the merits before this Court that allowed the parties to We agree with [herein respondents]. case based on the merits or lack thereof.
adduce evidence to establish their respective claims in the
plaintiffs' [herein respondents] complaint and in the defendants' On September 4, 1992, the Supreme Court (G.R. No. 94918) Petitioner asseverates that the assailed CA ruling "is unfair and it amounts to
[including petitioner Valente] counter-claim, respectively. It is in reversed the decision of the Court of Appeals and mandates that a trickery to prevent an appeal against a final order by claiming that the
this context that the Honorable Supreme Court reinstated the Civil Case No. 51203 be reinstated in order to determine the appealed order is merely interlocutory and later maintain that the same order
"action [of herein respondents] to annul the auction sale to portion in the estate which belongs to Teofista Suarez. The sale has become final after declaring it to be interlocutory."
protect their [herein respondents] own interest. of the parcels of land was declared null and void. Necessarily, We reject petitioner's paltry contention. Petitioner apparently does not
the title (TCT No. 5809) in the name of respondents was also comprehend the distinction between an interlocutory order which is final and
While this Court is of the view that trial on the merits is necessary declared null and void. xxx
for the purpose of giving the plaintiffs [herein respondents] a executory, and a final order which disposes of the controversy or case; much
chance to adduce evidence to sustain their complaint and the xxxx less, understand the available remedies therefrom.
defendants [including petitioner Valente] to prove their defense, We have defined an interlocutory order as referring to something between the
consistent with the directive of the Honorable Supreme Court (in Hon. Apolinario Santos of Br. 67, Regional Trial Court, Pasig
City, on January 22, 1996 and on motion of [herein respondents], commencement and the end of the suit which decides some point or matter
its Decision promulgated on September 4, 1992), the Court is, but it is not the final decision on the whole controversy.29 It does not terminate
however, confronted with the very recent decision of the issued an order to execute/enforce the decision of the Supreme
Court xxx. or finally dismiss or finally dispose of the case, but leaves something to be
Honorable Supreme Court in "Heirs of Guido Yaptinchay, et al. done by the court before the case is finally decided on the merits.30 Upon the
vs. Del Rosario, et al., G.R. No. 124320, March 2, 1999" where it xxxx other hand, a final order is one which leaves to the court nothing more to do
held that - to resolve the case.31
[Petitioner Valente, Violeta, Virginia and Maria Concepcion] filed
The declaration of heirship must be made in an a notice of appeal on the order of Judge Santos. The appeal, on On more than one occasion, we laid down the test to ascertain whether an
administration proceeding, and not in an motion of [herein respondents] was denied on September 10, order is interlocutory or final i.e., "Does it leave something to be done in the
independent civil action. This doctrine was reiterated 1996. Obviously, the decision of the Supreme Court had become trial court with respect to the merits of the case?" If it does, it is interlocutory;
in Solve vs. Court of Appeals (182 SCRA 119, 128). final and executory. Likewise, both orders of Judge Santos dated if it does not, it is final. The key test to what is interlocutory is when there is
The trial court cannot make a declaration of heirship May 29, 1996 denying the motion for reconsideration and the something more to be done on the merits of the case.32 The Orders dated
in the civil action for the reason that such a denial of the notice of appeal dated September 6, 1996 had also May 29, 1996 and September 6, 1996 issued by Judge Santos are
declaration can only be made in a special become final and executory. interlocutory, and therefore, not appealable, as they leave something more to
proceeding. Under Section 3, Rule 1 of the 1997 be done on the merits of the case. In fact, in paragraph (d) of Judge Santos'
Revised Rules of Court, a civil action is defined as
Order dated May 29, 1996, herein respondents were directed to submit As a rule, the remedy from a judgment or final order of the CA is of res judicata.39 We subsequently reversed this ruling on the wrong
evidence showing settlement of the estate of the deceased Marcelo Sr. appeal via petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules. application of res judicata in the conclusive case of Suarez. We retained and
affirmed, however, the CA's factual finding of herein respondents' status as
Contrary to petitioner Valente's stance, there is no trickery or chicanery in the Under Rule 45, decisions, final orders or resolutions of the CA in heirs of Marcelo Sr. We categorically held therein that "the proprietary interest
CA's distinction between an interlocutory and a final order. Indeed, as ruled any case, i.e., regardless of the nature of the action or of [herein respondents] in the levied and auctioned [properties] is different
by the CA, the RTC Order denying petitioner Valente's Notice of Appeal proceedings involved, may be appealed to the Court by filing a from and adverse to that of [Teofista]. [Herein respondents] became co-
attained finality when he failed to file a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of petition for review, which would be but a continuation of the owners of the property not because of [Teofista] but through their own right
the Rules of Court. appellate process over the original case. It seeks to correct as children of their deceased father [, Marcelo Sr.]."
errors of judgment committed by the court, tribunal, or officer. In
We cannot overemphasize the rule that the correct identification of the nature contrast, a special civil action for certiorari under Rule 65 is an Clearly, herein respondents' long possessed status of legitimate children of
of an assailed order determines the remedies available to an aggrieved party. independent action based on the specific grounds therein Marcelo Sr. and Teofista cannot be indirectly or directly attacked by petitioner
The old Rules of Court in Section 2, Rule 41 reads, thus: provided and proper only if there is no appeal or any plain, Valente in an action to annul a judicial sale.
SEC. 2. Judgments or orders subject to appeal.-Only final speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law. It is
an extraordinary process for the correction of errors of Articles 262,40 263,41 265 and 26642 of the Civil Code, the applicable law at
judgments or orders shall be subject to appeal. No interlocutory the time of Marcelo's death, support the foregoing conclusion, to wit:
or incidental judgment or order shall stay the progress of an jurisdiction and cannot be availed of as a substitute for the lost
action, nor shall it be the subject of appeal until final judgment or remedy of an ordinary appeal. Art. 262. The heirs of the husband may impugn the legitimacy of
order is rendered for one party or the other. Independently of this procedural infirmity, even on the merits of the case, the the child only in the following cases:
xxxx petition does not fare otherwise. It must be dismissed for lack of merit. (1) If the husband should die before the expiration of
Petitioner Valente insists that, following our ruling in Heirs of Yaptinchay v. the period fixed for bringing his action;
With the advent of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, Section 1, Rule 41 now
provides for the appropriate remedy to be taken from an interlocutory order, Del Rosario,34 herein respondents must first be declared heirs of Marcelo Sr. (2) If the husband should die after the filing of the
thus: before they can file an action to annul the judicial sale of what is, complaint, without having desisted from the same;
undisputedly, conjugal property of Teofista and Marcelo Sr.
SECTION 1. Subject of appeal. - An appeal may be taken from a (3) If the child was born after the death of the
judgment or final order that completely disposes of the case, or We disagree. Our ruling in Heirs of Yaptinchay is not applicable. husband.
of a particular matter therein when declared by these Rules to be Herein respondents' status as legitimate children of Marcelo Sr. and Teofista
appealable. Art. 263. The action to impugn the legitimacy of the child shall be
and thus, Marcelo Sr.'s heirs has been firmly established, and brought within one year from the recording of birth in the Civil
No appeal may be taken from: confirmed by this Court in Suarez v. Court of Appeals.35 True, this Court is not Register, if the husband should be in the same place, or in a
a trier of facts,36 but as the final arbiter of disputes,37 we found and so ruled proper case, any of his heirs.
xxx that herein respondents are children, and heirs of their deceased father,
Marcelo Sr. This having been settled, it should no longer have been a If he or his heirs are absent, the period shall be eighteen months
(c) An interlocutory order; litigated issue when we ordered a remand to the lower court. In short, if they should reside in the Philippines; and two years if abroad. If
xxx petitioner Valente's, Violeta's, Virginia's, and Maria Concepcion's the birth of the child has been concealed, the term shall be
representation in the RTC that our ruling in Suarez required herein counted from the discovery of the fraud.
In all the above instances where the judgment or final order is respondents to present evidence of their affiliation with the deceased,
not appealable, the aggrieved party may file an appropriate Marcelo Sr., is wrong. Art. 265. The filiation of legitimate children is proved by the
special civil action under Rule 65. record of birth appearing in the Civil Register, or by an authentic
As was set forth in the dispositive portion of Suarez, "Civil Case No. 51203 is document or a final judgment.
Clearly, the denial of therein defendants' (including petitioner Valente's) reinstated only to determine that portion which belongs to [herein
appeal from the Orders dated May 29, 1996 and September 6, 1996 was in respondents] and to annul the sale with regard to said portion." There is Art. 266. In the absence of the titles indicated in the preceding
order. Thus, the CA decision affirming the RTC's denial was correct. clearly no intimation in our decision for the RTC to have to determine an article, the filiation shall be proved by the continuous possession
already settled issue i.e., herein respondents' status as heirs of Marcelo Sr. of status of a legitimate child.
Further, on this crucial distinction as applied to this case, petitioner Valente
filed a petition for certiorari from the CA decision in CA-G.R. SP No. 58090, Moreover, petitioner Valente cannot assail, directly or indirectly, the status of In Heirs of Yaptinchay, the complaint for annulment and/or declaration of
which is not an interlocutory order. It is a final order which completely herein respondents as legitimate children of Marcelo Sr. and Teofista, and nullity of certain TCT's was dismissed for failure of the petitioners to
disposed of the merits of the case with nothing more left to be done therein. likewise demand that herein respondents first prove their filiation to Marcelo demonstrate "any proof or even a semblance of it" that they had been
The correct and available remedy available to petitioner Valente was, as Sr. The following records bear out Marcelo, Sr.'s and Teofista's paternity of declared the legal heirs of the deceased couple, the spouses Yaptinchay. In
previously discussed, a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the herein respondents, and the latter's status as legitimate children: stark contrast, the records of this case reveal a document, an Extrajudicial
Rules of Court. Settlement of Marcelo Sr.'s estate, which explicitly recognizes herein
1. The CA decision in CA-G.R. SP Nos. 10646 to 10649 where Teofista, respondents as Marcelo Sr.'s legitimate children and heirs. The same
In fine, petitioner Valente erroneously sought relief through reversed along with herein respondents, questioned the RTC, Branch 151's Orders document settles and partitions the estate of Marcelo Sr. specifying Teofista's
remedies. He tried to appeal the interlocutory orders of the RTC which are dated October 10, 1984 and October 14, 1986. Although the CA ruled against paraphernal properties, and separates the properties she owns in common
unappealable. Thus, the RTC properly denied his Notice of Appeal, and the Teofista and herein respondents, it explicitly recognized the latter's status as with her children, herein respondents. Plainly, there is no need to re-declare
CA correctly upheld the RTC. He should have filed a petition for certiorari; legitimate children of Teofista and Marcelo Sr.; and38 herein respondents as heirs of Marcelo Sr., and prolong this case
under Rule 65. On the other hand, from the final order of the CA, he comes interminably.
before this Court on a petition for certiorari under Rule 65, when the proper 2. The CA decision in CA-G.R. SP No. 20320 which incorrectly ruled that
remedy is an appeal by certiorari under Rule 45. herein respondents were, as children of Teofista, merely successors-in- Petitioner Valente, along with Violeta, Virginia and Maria Concepcion,
interest of the latter to the property and by virtue thereof, bound by the became owners of the subject properties only by virtue of an execution sale
In the recent case of Jan-Dec Construction Corporation v. Court of judgment in Civil Case Nos. 21376 to 21379 consistent with the doctrine to recover Teofista's judgment obligation. This judgment obligation is solely
Appeals33 we ruled in this wise:
Teofista's, and payment therefor cannot be made through an execution sale Court. Said rule is an exception to the general rule that when a
of properties not absolutely owned by her. These properties were evidently person dies leaving property, it should be judicially administered
conjugal properties and were, in fact, even titled in the name of Marcelo, Sr. and the competent court should appoint a qualified administrator,
married to Teofista. Thus, upon Marcelo Sr.'s death, by virtue of compulsory in the order established in Sec. 6, Rule 78 in case the deceased
succession, Marcelo Sr.'s share in the conjugal partnership was transmitted left no will, or in case he did, he failed to name an executor
by operation of law to his compulsory heirs. therein.
Compulsory succession is a distinct kind of succession, albeit not categorized xxx
as such in Article 77843of the Civil Code. It reserves a portion of the net estate
of the decedent in favor of certain heirs, or group of heirs, or combination of It appearing, however, that in the present case the only property
heirs, prevailing over all kinds of succession.44 The portion that is so reserved of the intestate estate of Portugal is the Caloocan parcel of land,
is the legitime. Article 886 of the Civil Code defines legitime as "that part of to still subject it, under the circumstances of the case, to a
the testator's property which he cannot dispose of because the law has special proceeding which could be long, hence, not expeditious,
reserved it for certain heirs who are, therefore, called compulsory heirs." just to establish the status of petitioners as heirs is not only
Herein respondents are primary compulsory heirs,45 excluding secondary impractical; it is burdensome to the estate with the costs and
compulsory heirs,46 and preferred over concurring compulsory heirs in the expenses of an administration proceedings. And it is superfluous
distribution of the decedent's estate.47 in light of the fact that the parties to the civil case-subject of the
present case, could and had already in fact presented evidence
Even without delving into the Extrajudicial Settlement of Marcelo Sr.'s estate before the trial court which assumed jurisdiction over the case
in 1957, it must be stressed that herein respondents' rights to the succession upon the issues it defined during pre-trial.
vested from the moment of their father's death.48 Herein respondents'
ownership of the subject properties is no longer inchoate; it became absolute In fine, under the circumstances of the present case, there
upon Marcelo's death, although their respective shares therein remained pro being no compelling reason to still subject Portugal's estate
indiviso. Ineluctably, at the time the subject properties were sold on execution to administration proceedings since a determination of
sale to answer for Teofista's judgment obligation, the inclusion of herein petitioners' status as heirs could be achieved in the civil
respondents' share therein was null and void. case filed by petitioners xxx.53

In fine, Teofista's ownership over the subject properties is not absolute. All told, under the circumstances, in addition to the already settled status of
Significantly, petitioner Valente does not even attempt to dispute the conjugal herein respondents as heirs of Marcelo Sr., there is no need to dismiss Civil
nature of the subject properties. Since Teofista owns only a portion of the Case No. 51203 and require herein respondents to institute a separate
subject properties, only that portion could have been, and was actually, levied special proceeding for a declaration of their heirship.
upon and sold on auction by the provincial sheriff of Rizal. Thus, a separate WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is DENIED. The Decision of
declaration of heirship by herein respondents is not necessary to annul the the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 58090 is AFFIRMED. The Orders
judicial sale of their share in the subject properties. dated May 29, 1996 and September 6, 1996 issued by Judge Santos
We note the recent case of Portugal v. Portugal-Beltran,49 where we are REINSTATED. Costs against the petitioner.
scrutinized our rulings in Heirs of Yaptinchay and the cited cases of Litam v. SO ORDERED.
Rivera50 and Solivio v. Court of Appeals,51 and Guilas v. CFI Judge of
Pampanga52 cited in Solivio. We ruled thus:
The common doctrine in Litam, Solivio and Guilas in which
the adverse parties are putative heirs to the estate of a decedent
or parties to the special proceedings for its settlement is that if
the special proceedings are pending, or if there are no special
proceedings filed but there is, under the circumstances of the
case, a need to file one, then the determination of, among other
issues, heirship should be raised and settled in said special
proceedings. Where special proceedings had been instituted but
had been finally closed and terminated, however, or if a putative
heirs has lost the right to have himself declared in the special
proceedings as co-heir and he can no longer ask for its re-
opening, then an ordinary civil action can be filed for his
declaration as heir in order to bring about the annulment of the
partition or distribution or adjudication of a property or properties
belonging to the estate of the deceased.
In the case at bar, respondent, believing rightly or wrongly that
she was the sole heir to Portugal's estate, executed on February
15, 1988 the questioned Affidavit of Adjudication under the
second sentence of Rule 74, Section of the Revised Rules of
On June 21, 1984 before the expiration of the redemption period, petitioners "WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari is hereby granted and the
[G.R. No. 94918. September 2, 1992.] filed a reinvindicatory action 2 against private respondents and the Provincial questioned orders dated February 25, 1985, May 19, 1989 and February 26,
Sheriff of Rizal, thereafter docketed as Civil Case No. 51203, for the 1990 issued in Civil Case No. 51203 are hereby annulled, further respondent
DANILO I. SUAREZ, EUFROCINA SUAREZ-ANDRES, MARCELO I. annulment of the auction sale and the recovery of the ownership of the levied Judge is ordered to dismiss Civil Case No. 51203." 11
SUAREZ, JR., EVELYN SUAREZ-DE LEON and REGINIO I. pieces of property. Therein, they alleged, among others, that being strangers
SUAREZ, Petitioners, v. THE COURT OF APPEALS, VALENTE to the case decided against their mother, they cannot be held liable therefor Hence, this appeal.
RAYMUNDO, VIOLETA RAYMUNDO, MA. CONCEPCION VITO and and that the five (5) parcels of land, of which they are co-owners, can neither
VIRGINIA BANTA, Respondents. be levied nor sold on execution. Even without touching on the incidents and issues raised by both petitioner
and private respondents and the developments subsequent to the filing of the
Villareal Law Offices, for Petitioners. On July 31, 1984, the Provincial Sheriff of Rizal issued to private respondents complaint, We cannot but notice the glaring error committed by the trial court.
a final deed of sale 3 over the properties.
Nelson Loyola for Private Respondent. It would be useless to discuss the procedural issue on the validity of the
On October 22, 1984, Teofista Suarez joined by herein petitioners filed with execution and the manner of publicly selling en masse the subject properties
Branch 151 a Motion for Reconsideration 4 of the Order dated October 10, for auction. To start with, only one-half of the 5 parcels of land should have
SYLLABUS 1984, claiming that the parcels of land are co-owned by them and further been the subject of the auction sale.
informing the Court the filing and pendency of an action to annul the auction
1. CIVIL LAW; WILLS AND SUCCESSION; LEGITIME; PROPRIETARY sale (Civil Case No. 51203), which motion however, was The law in point is Article 777 of the Civil Code, the law applicable at the time
INTEREST OF THE CHILDREN, DIFFERENT AND ADVERSE FROM THEIR denied.chanrobles.com:cralaw:red of the institution of the case.
MOTHER. The legitime of the surviving spouse is equal to the legitime of
each child. The proprietary interest of petitioners in the levied and auctioned On February 25, 1985, a writ of preliminary injunction was issued enjoining "The rights to the succession are transmitted from the moment of the death of
property is different from and adverse to that of their mother. Petitioners private respondents from transferring to third parties the levied parcels of land the decedent."cralaw virtua1aw library
became co-owners of the property not because of their mother but through based on the finding that the auctioned lands are co-owned by petitioners.
their own right as children of their deceased father. Therefore, petitioners are Article 888 further provides:chanrobles.com.ph : virtual law library
not barred in any way from instituting the action to annul the auction sale to On March 1, 1985, private respondent Valente Raymundo filed in Civil Case
protect their own interest. No. 51203 a Motion to Dismiss for failure on the part of the petitioners to "The legitime of the legitimate children and descendants consists of one-half
prosecute, however, such motion was later denied by Branch 155, Regional of the hereditary estate of the father and of the mother.
DECISION Trial Court, Pasig.
The latter may freely dispose of the remaining half, subject to the rights of
NOCON, J.: On December 1985, Raymundo filed in Civil Case No. 51203 an Ex-Parte illegitimate children and of the surviving spouse as hereinafter
Motion to Dismiss complaint for failure to prosecute. This was granted by provided."cralaw virtua1aw library
Branch 155 through an Order dated May 29, 1986, notwithstanding
The ultimate issue before Us is whether or not private respondents can petitioners pending motion for the issuance of alias summons to be served Article 892 par. 2 likewise provides:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
validly acquire all the five (5) parcels of land co-owned by petitioners and upon the other defendants in the said case. A motion for reconsideration was
registered in the name of petitioners deceased father. Marcelo Suarez, filed but was later denied. "If there are two or more legitimate children or descendants, the surviving
whose estate has not been partitioned or liquidated, after the said properties spouse shall be entitled to a portion equal to the legitime of each of the
were levied and publicly sold en masse to private respondents to satisfy the On October 10, 1984, RTC Branch 151 issued in Civil Case Nos. 21736- legitimate children or descendants."cralaw virtua1aw library
personal judgment debt of Teofista Suarez, the surviving spouse of Marcelo 21739 an Order directing Teofista Suarez and all persons claiming right
Suarez, mother of herein petitioners.chanrobles law library under her to vacate the lots subject of the judicial sale; to desist from Thus, from the foregoing, the legitime of the surviving spouse is equal to the
removing or alienating improvements thereon; and to surrender to private legitime of each child.
The undisputed facts of the case are as follows:chanrob1es virtual 1aw respondents the owners duplicate copy of the torrens title and other pertinent
library documents. The proprietary interest of petitioners in the levied and auctioned property is
different from and adverse to that of their mother. Petitioners became co-
Herein petitioners are brothers and sisters. Their father died in 1955 and Teofista Suarez then filed with the then Court of Appeals a petition owners of the property not because of their mother but through their own right
since then his estate consisting of several valuable parcels of land in Pasig, for certiorari to annul the Orders of Branch 151 dated October 10, 1984 and as children of their deceased father. Therefore, petitioners are not barred in
Metro Manila has lot been liquidated or partitioned. In 1977, petitioners October 14, 1986 issued in Civil Case Nos. 21736-21739. any way from instituting the action to annul the auction sale to protect their
widowed mother and Rizal Realty Corporation lost in the consolidated cases own interest.
for rescission of contract and for damages, and were ordered by Branch 1 of On December 4, 1986 petitioners filed with Branch 155 a Motion for
the then Court of First Instance of Rizal (now Branch 151, RTC of Pasig) to reconsideration of the Order 5 dated September 24, 1986. In an Order dated WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals dated July 27, 1990 as
pay, jointly and severally, herein respondents the aggregate principal amount June 10, 1987, 6 Branch 155 lifted its previous order of dismissal and well as its Resolution of August 28, 1990 are hereby REVERSED and set
of about P70,000 as damages. 1 directed the issuance of alias summons.chanrobles law library : red aside; and Civil Case No. 51203 is reinstated only to determine that portion
which belongs to petitioners and to annul the sale with regard to said
The judgment against petitioners mother and Rizal Realty Corporation Respondents then appealed to the Court of Appeals seeking to annul the portion.chanrobles law library
having become final and executory, five (5) valuable parcel of land in Pasig, orders dated February 25, 1985, 7 May 19, 1989 8 and February 26, 1990 9
Metro Manila, (worth to be millions then) were levied and sold on execution issued in Civil Case No. 51203 and further ordering respondent Judge to SO ORDERED.
on June 24, 1983 in favor of the private respondents as the highest bidder for dismiss Civil Case No. 51203. The appellate court rendered its decision on
the amount of P94,170.000. Private respondents were then issued a July 27, 1990, 10 the dispositive portion of which
certificate of sale which was subsequently registered or August 1, 1983. reads:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
EN BANC deliberately fictitious, a fact not found by the Court of Appeals. The situation this mistake, the testator's intention, as may be clearly inferred from his will,
contemplated in the above provision is one in which the purpose to disinherit would have been to divide his property equally among all his children.
G.R. No. L-47799 June 13, 1941 is clear, but upon a cause not stated or not proved, a situation which does not
obtain in the instant case. Judgment of the Court of Appeals is reversed and that of the trial court
Administration of the estate of Agripino Neri y Chavez. ELEUTERIO affirmed, without prejudice to the widow's legal usufruct, with costs against
NERI, ET AL., petitioners, The Court of Appeals quotes Manresa thus: respondents.
IGNACIA AKUTIN AND HER CHILDREN, respondents. En el terreno de los principios, la solucion mas justa del
problema que hemos hecho notar al comentar el articulo, seria
Ozamiz & Capistrano for petitioners. distinguir el caso en que el heredero omitido viviese al otorgarse
Gullas, Leuterio, Tanner & Laput for respondents. el testamento, siendo conocida su existencia por el testador, de
MORAN, J.: aquel en que, o naciese despues, o se ignorase su existencia,
aplicando en el primer caso la doctrina del articulo 851, y en el
Agripino Neri y Chavez, who died on December 12, 1931, had by his first segundo la del 814. (6 Manresa, 354-355.)
marriage six children named Eleuterio, Agripino, Agapito, Getulia, Rosario
and Celerina; and by his second marriage with Ignacia Akutin, five children But it must be observed that this opinion is founded on mere principles (en el
named Gracia, Godofredo, Violeta, Estela Maria, and Emma. Getulia, terreno de los principios) and not on the express provisions of the law.
daughter in the first marriage, died on October 2, 1923, that is, a little less Manresa himself admits that according to law, "no existe hoy cuestion alguna
than eight years before the death of said Agripino Neri y Chavez, and was en esta materia: la pretericion produce siempre los mismos efectos, ya se
survived by seven children named Remedios, Encarnacion, Carmen, refiera a personas vivas al hacer el testamento o nacidas despues. Este
Trinidad, Luz, Alberto and Minda. In Agripino Neri's testament, which was ultimo grupo solo puede hacer relacion a los descendientes legitimos,
admitted to probate on March 21, 1932, he willed that his children by the first siempre que ademas tengan derecho a legitima." (6 Manresa, 381.)
marriage shall have no longer any participation in his estate, as they had Appellants, on the other hand, maintain that the case is one of voluntary
already received their corresponding shares during his lifetime. At the hearing preterition of four of the children by the first marriage, and of involuntary
for the declaration of heirs, the trial court found, contrary to what the testator preterition of the children by the deceased Getulia, also of the first marriage,
had declared in his will, that all his children by the first and second marriages and is thus governed by the provisions of article 814 of the Civil Code, which
intestate heirs of the deceased without prejudice to one-half of the read in part as follows:
improvements introduced in the properties during the existence of the last
conjugal partnership, which should belong to Ignacia Akutin. The Court of The preterition of one or all of the forced heirs in the direct line,
Appeals affirmed the trial court's decision with the modification that the will whether living at the time of the execution of the will or born after
was "valid with respect to the two-thirds part which the testator could freely the death of the testator, shall void the institution of heir; but the
dispose of. "This judgment of the Court of Appeals is now sought to be legacies and betterments shall be valid, in so far as they are not
reviewed in this petition for certiorari. inofficious.
The decisive question here raised is whether, upon the foregoing facts, the Preterition consists in the omission in the testator's will of the forced heirs or
omission of the children of the first marriage annuls the institution of the anyone of them, either because they are not mentioned therein, or, though
children of the first marriage as sole heirs of the testator, or whether the will mentioned, they are neither instituted as heirs nor are expressly
may be held valid, at least with respect to one-third of the estate which the disinherited.(Cf. 6 Manresa, 346.) In the instant case, while the children of the
testator may dispose of as legacy and to the other one-third which he may first marriage were mentioned in the will, they were not accorded any share in
bequeath as betterment, to said children of the second marriage. the heriditary property, without expressly being disinherited. It is, therefore, a
clear case of preterition as contended by appellants. The omission of the
The Court of Appeals invoked the provisions of article 851 of the Civil Code, forced heirs or anyone of them, whether voluntary or involuntary, is a
which read in part as follows: preterition if the purpose to disinherit is not expressly made or is not at least
Disinheritance made without a statement of the cause, or for a manifest.
cause the truth of which, if contradicted, is not proven, ... shall Except as to "legacies and betterments" which "shall be valid in so far as they
annul the institution of the heir in so far as it prejudices the are not inofficious" (art. 814 of the Civil Code), preterition avoids the
person disinherited; but the legacies, betterments, and other institution of heirs and gives rise to intestate succession. (Art. 814, Civil
testamentary dispositions, in so far as they do no encroach upon Code; Decisions of the Supreme Court of Spain of June 17, 1908 and
the legitime, shall be valid. February 27, 1909.) In the instant case, no such legacies or betterments have
The appellate court thus seemed to have rested its judgment upon the been made by the testator. "Mejoras" or betterments must be expressly
impression that the testator had intended to disinherit, though ineffectively, provided, according to articles 825 and 828 of the Civil Code, and where no
the children of the first marriage. There is nothing in the will that supports this express provision therefor is made in the will, the law would presume that the
conclusion. True, the testator expressly denied them any share in his estate; testator had no intention to that effect. (Cf. 6 Manresa, 479.) In the will here in
but the denial was predicated, not upon the desire to disinherit, but upon the question, no express betterment is made in favor of the children by the
belief, mistaken though it was, that the children by the first marriage had second marriage; neither is there any legacy expressly made in their behalf
already received more than their corresponding shares in his lifetime in the consisting of the third available for free disposal. The whole inheritance is
form of advancement. Such belief conclusively negatives all inference as to accorded the heirs by the second marriage upon the mistaken belief that the
any intention to disinherit, unless his statement to that effect is prove to be heirs by the first marriage have already received their shares. Were it not for
FIRST DIVISION Interests) stating that he "has been able to verify the veracity thereof (of the The petition for relief was set for hearing but the petitioner failed to appear.
will) and now confirms the same to be truly the probated will of his daughter He made several motions for postponement until the hearing was set on May
G.R. No. L-54919 May 30, 1984 Adoracion." Hence, an ex-parte presentation of evidence for the reprobate of 29, 1980.
POLLY CAYETANO, petitioner, the questioned will was made.
On May 18, 1980, petitioner filed another motion entitled "Motion to Vacate
vs. On January 10, 1979, the respondent judge issued an order, to wit: and/or Set Aside the Order of January 10, 1979, and/or dismiss the case for
HON. TOMAS T. LEONIDAS, in his capacity as the Presiding Judge of lack of jurisdiction. In this motion, the notice of hearing provided:
Branch XXXVIII, Court of First Instance of Manila and NENITA CAMPOS At the hearing, it has been satisfactorily established
PAGUIA, respondents. that Adoracion C. Campos, in her lifetime, was a Please include this motion in your calendar for
citizen of the United States of America with a hearing on May 29, 1980 at 8:30 in the morning for
Ermelo P. Guzman for petitioner. permanent residence at 4633 Ditman Street, submission for reconsideration and resolution of the
Armando Z. Gonzales for private respondent. Philadelphia, PA 19124, (Exhibit D) that when alive, Honorable Court. Until this Motion is resolved, may I
Adoracion C. Campos executed a Last Will and also request for the future setting of the case for
Testament in the county of Philadelphia, hearing on the Oppositor's motion to set aside
Pennsylvania, U.S.A., according to the laws thereat previously filed.
GUTIERREZ, JR., J.: (Exhibits E-3 to E-3-b) that while in temporary
sojourn in the Philippines, Adoracion C. Campos The hearing of May 29, 1980 was re-set by the court for June 19, 1980.
This is a petition for review on certiorari, seeking to annul the order of the When the case was called for hearing on this date, the counsel for petitioner
respondent judge of the Court of First Instance of Manila, Branch XXXVIII, died in the City of Manila (Exhibit C) leaving property
both in the Philippines and in the United States of tried to argue his motion to vacate instead of adducing evidence in support of
which admitted to and allowed the probate of the last will and testament of the petition for relief. Thus, the respondent judge issued an order dismissing
Adoracion C. Campos, after an ex-parte presentation of evidence by herein America; that the Last Will and Testament of the late
Adoracion C. Campos was admitted and granted the petition for relief for failure to present evidence in support thereof.
private respondent. Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration but the same was denied. In the
probate by the Orphan's Court Division of the Court
On January 31, 1977, Adoracion C. Campos died, leaving her father, of Common Pleas, the probate court of the same order, respondent judge also denied the motion to vacate for lack of
petitioner Hermogenes Campos and her sisters, private respondent Nenita C. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, County of merit. Hence, this petition.
Paguia, Remedios C. Lopez and Marieta C. Medina as the surviving heirs. As Philadelphia, U.S.A., and letters of administration Meanwhile, on June 6,1982, petitioner Hermogenes Campos died and left a
Hermogenes Campos was the only compulsory heir, he executed an Affidavit were issued in favor of Clement J. McLaughlin all in will, which, incidentally has been questioned by the respondent, his children
of Adjudication under Rule 74, Section I of the Rules of Court whereby he accordance with the laws of the said foreign country and forced heirs as, on its face, patently null and void, and a fabrication,
adjudicated unto himself the ownership of the entire estate of the deceased on procedure and allowance of wills (Exhibits E to E- appointing Polly Cayetano as the executrix of his last will and testament.
Adoracion Campos. 10); and that the petitioner is not suffering from any Cayetano, therefore, filed a motion to substitute herself as petitioner in the
disqualification which would render her unfit as instant case which was granted by the court on September 13, 1982.
Eleven months after, on November 25, 1977, Nenita C. Paguia filed a petition administratrix of the estate in the Philippines of the
for the reprobate of a will of the deceased, Adoracion Campos, which was late Adoracion C. Campos. A motion to dismiss the petition on the ground that the rights of the petitioner
allegedly executed in the United States and for her appointment as Hermogenes Campos merged upon his death with the rights of the
administratrix of the estate of the deceased testatrix. WHEREFORE, the Last Will and Testament of the respondent and her sisters, only remaining children and forced heirs was
late Adoracion C. Campos is hereby admitted to and denied on September 12, 1983.
In her petition, Nenita alleged that the testatrix was an American citizen at the allowed probate in the Philippines, and Nenita
time of her death and was a permanent resident of 4633 Ditman Street, Campos Paguia is hereby appointed Administratrix Petitioner Cayetano persists with the allegations that the respondent judge
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.; that the testatrix died in Manila on of the estate of said decedent; let Letters of acted without or in excess of his jurisdiction when:
January 31, 1977 while temporarily residing with her sister at 2167 Leveriza, Administration with the Will annexed issue in favor of
Malate, Manila; that during her lifetime, the testatrix made her last wig and said Administratrix upon her filing of a bond in the 1) He ruled the petitioner lost his standing in court
testament on July 10, 1975, according to the laws of Pennsylvania, U.S.A., amount of P5,000.00 conditioned under the deprived the Right to Notice (sic) upon the filing of
nominating Wilfredo Barzaga of New Jersey as executor; that after the provisions of Section I, Rule 81 of the Rules of the Motion to Dismiss opposition with waiver of
testatrix death, her last will and testament was presented, probated, allowed, Court. rights or interests against the estate of deceased
and registered with the Registry of Wins at the County of Philadelphia, Adoracion C. Campos, thus, paving the way for the
U.S.A., that Clement L. McLaughlin, the administrator who was appointed Another manifestation was filed by the petitioner on April 14, 1979, confirming hearing ex-parte of the petition for the probate of
after Dr. Barzaga had declined and waived his appointment as executor in the withdrawal of his opposition, acknowledging the same to be his voluntary decedent will.
favor of the former, is also a resident of Philadelphia, U.S.A., and that act and deed.
therefore, there is an urgent need for the appointment of an administratrix to 2) He ruled that petitioner can waive, renounce or
administer and eventually distribute the properties of the estate located in the On May 25, 1979, Hermogenes Campos filed a petition for relief, praying that repudiate (not made in a public or authenticated
Philippines. the order allowing the will be set aside on the ground that the withdrawal of instrument), or by way of a petition presented to the
his opposition to the same was secured through fraudulent means. According court but by way of a motion presented prior to an
On January 11, 1978, an opposition to the reprobate of the will was filed by to him, the "Motion to Dismiss Opposition" was inserted among the papers order for the distribution of the estate-the law
herein petitioner alleging among other things, that he has every reason to which he signed in connection with two Deeds of Conditional Sales which he especially providing that repudiation of an
believe that the will in question is a forgery; that the intrinsic provisions of the executed with the Construction and Development Corporation of the inheritance must be presented, within 30 days after it
will are null and void; and that even if pertinent American laws on intrinsic Philippines (CDCP). He also alleged that the lawyer who filed the withdrawal has issued an order for the distribution of the estate
provisions are invoked, the same could not apply inasmuch as they would of the opposition was not his counsel-of-record in the special proceedings in accordance with the rules of Court.
work injustice and injury to him. case.
3) He ruled that the right of a forced heir to his
On December 1, 1978, however, the petitioner through his counsel, Atty. legitime can be divested by a decree admitting a will
Franco Loyola, filed a Motion to Dismiss Opposition (With Waiver of Rights or to probate in which no provision is made for the
forced heir in complete disregard of Law of However, intestate and testamentary successions, Finally, we find the contention of the petition as to the issue of jurisdiction
Succession both with respect to the order of succession and to utterly devoid of merit. Under Rule 73, Section 1, of the Rules of Court, it is
the amount of successional rights and to the intrinsic provided that:
4) He denied petitioner's petition for Relief on the validity of testamentary provisions, shall be
ground that no evidence was adduced to support the regulated by the national law of the person whose SECTION 1. Where estate of deceased persons
Petition for Relief when no Notice nor hearing was succession is under consideration, whatever may be settled. If the decedent is an inhabitant of the
set to afford petitioner to prove the merit of his the nature of the property and regardless of the Philippines at the time of his death, whether a citizen
petition a denial of the due process and a grave country wherein said property may be found. or an alien, his will shall be proved, or letters of
abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction. administration granted, and his estate settled, in the
Art. 1039. Court of First Instance in the province in which he
5) He acquired no jurisdiction over the testate case, resided at the time of his death, and if he is an
the fact that the Testator at the time of death was a Capacity to succeed is governed by the law of the inhabitant of a foreign country, the Court of First
usual resident of Dasmarias, Cavite, consequently nation of the decedent. Instance of any province in which he had estate. The
Cavite Court of First Instance has exclusive court first taking cognizance of the settlement of the
jurisdiction over the case (De Borja vs. Tan, G.R. the law which governs Adoracion Campo's will is the law of Pennsylvania,
U.S.A., which is the national law of the decedent. Although the parties admit estate of a decedent, shall exercise jurisdiction to
No. L-7792, July 1955). the exclusion of all other courts. The jurisdiction
that the Pennsylvania law does not provide for legitimes and that all the
The first two issues raised by the petitioner are anchored on the allegation estate may be given away by the testatrix to a complete stranger, the assumed by a court, so far as it depends on the
that the respondent judge acted with grave abuse of discretion when he petitioner argues that such law should not apply because it would be contrary place of residence of the decedent, or of the location
allowed the withdrawal of the petitioner's opposition to the reprobate of the to the sound and established public policy and would run counter to the of his estate, shall not be contested in a suit or
will. specific provisions of Philippine Law. proceeding, except in an appeal from that court, in
the original case, or when the want of jurisdiction
We find no grave abuse of discretion on the part of the respondent judge. No It is a settled rule that as regards the intrinsic validity of the provisions of the appears on the record.
proof was adduced to support petitioner's contention that the motion to will, as provided for by Article 16(2) and 1039 of the Civil Code, the national
withdraw was secured through fraudulent means and that Atty. Franco Loyola law of the decedent must apply. This was squarely applied in the case Therefore, the settlement of the estate of Adoracion Campos was correctly
was not his counsel of record. The records show that after the firing of the of Bellis v. Bellis (20 SCRA 358) wherein we ruled: filed with the Court of First Instance of Manila where she had an estate since
contested motion, the petitioner at a later date, filed a manifestation wherein it was alleged and proven that Adoracion at the time of her death was a
he confirmed that the Motion to Dismiss Opposition was his voluntary act and It is therefore evident that whatever public policy or citizen and permanent resident of Pennsylvania, United States of America
deed. Moreover, at the time the motion was filed, the petitioner's former good customs may be involved in our system of and not a "usual resident of Cavite" as alleged by the petitioner. Moreover,
counsel, Atty. Jose P. Lagrosa had long withdrawn from the case and had legitimes, Congress has not intended to extend the petitioner is now estopped from questioning the jurisdiction of the probate
been substituted by Atty. Franco Loyola who in turn filed the motion. The same to the succession of foreign nationals. For it court in the petition for relief. It is a settled rule that a party cannot invoke the
present petitioner cannot, therefore, maintain that the old man's attorney of has specifically chosen to leave, inter alia, the jurisdiction of a court to secure affirmative relief, against his opponent and
record was Atty. Lagrosa at the time of filing the motion. Since the withdrawal amount of successional rights, to the decedent's after failing to obtain such relief, repudiate or question that same jurisdiction.
was in order, the respondent judge acted correctly in hearing the probate of national law. Specific provisions must prevail over (See Saulog Transit, Inc. vs. Hon. Manuel Lazaro, et al., G. R. No. 63 284,
the will ex-parte, there being no other opposition to the same. general ones. April 4, 1984).

The third issue raised deals with the validity of the provisions of the will. As a xxx xxx xxx WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari and prohibition is hereby dismissed
general rule, the probate court's authority is limited only to the extrinsic for lack of merit.
The parties admit that the decedent, Amos G. Bellis,
validity of the will, the due execution thereof, the testatrix's testamentary was a citizen of the State of Texas, U.S.A., and SO ORDERED.
capacity and the compliance with the requisites or solemnities prescribed by under the law of Texas, there are no forced heirs or
law. The intrinsic validity of the will normally comes only after the court has legitimes. Accordingly, since the intrinsic validity of
declared that the will has been duly authenticated. However, where practical the provision of the will and the amount of
considerations demand that the intrinsic validity of the will be passed upon, successional rights are to be determined under
even before it is probated, the court should meet the issue. (Maninang vs. Texas law, the Philippine Law on legitimes cannot
Court of Appeals, 114 SCRA 478). be applied to the testacy of Amos G. Bellis.
In the case at bar, the petitioner maintains that since the respondent judge As regards the alleged absence of notice of hearing for the petition for relief,
allowed the reprobate of Adoracion's will, Hermogenes C. Campos was the records wig bear the fact that what was repeatedly scheduled for hearing
divested of his legitime which was reserved by the law for him. on separate dates until June 19, 1980 was the petitioner's petition for relief
This contention is without merit. and not his motion to vacate the order of January 10, 1979. There is no
reason why the petitioner should have been led to believe otherwise. The
Although on its face, the will appeared to have preterited the petitioner and court even admonished the petitioner's failing to adduce evidence when his
thus, the respondent judge should have denied its reprobate outright, the petition for relief was repeatedly set for hearing. There was no denial of due
private respondents have sufficiently established that Adoracion was, at the process. The fact that he requested "for the future setting of the case for
time of her death, an American citizen and a permanent resident of hearing . . ." did not mean that at the next hearing, the motion to vacate would
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. Therefore, under Article 16 par. (2) and be heard and given preference in lieu of the petition for relief. Furthermore,
1039 of the Civil Code which respectively provide: such request should be embodied in a motion and not in a mere notice of
Art. 16 par. (2).
xxx xxx xxx
SECOND DIVISION Teologio, y ordenado de Sacerdote, hasta su (including the sum of P3,132.26 due to the church of the Victoria parish) the
muerte; pero que pierde el legatario este derecho de administratrix should deliver to the devisees their respective shares.
G.R. No. L-22036 April 30, 1979 administrar y gozar de este legado al dejar de
continuar sus estudios para ordenarse de It may be noted that the administratrix and Judge Cruz did not bother to
TESTATE ESTATE OF THE LATE REVEREND FATHER PASCUAL analyze the meaning and implications of Father Rigor's bequest to his
nearest male relative who would study for the priesthood. Inasmuch as no
VICTORIA, TARLAC, petitioner-appellant, Que el legatario una vez Sacerdote ya estara nephew of the testator claimed the devise and as the administratrix and the
vs. obligado a celebrar cada ao VEINTE (20) Misas legal heirs believed that the parish priest of Victoria had no right to administer
BELINA RIGOR, NESTORA RIGOR, FRANCISCA ESCOBAR DE RIGOR rezadas en sufragio de mi alma y de mis padres the ricelands, the same were not delivered to that ecclesiastic. The testate
and JOVITA ESCOBAR DE FAUSTO, respondents-appellees. difuntos, y si el actual legatario, quedase proceeding remained pending.
D. Taedo, Jr. for appellants. excomulgado, IPSO FACTO se le despoja este
legado, y la administracion de esto pasara a cargo About thirteen years after the approval of the project of partition, or on
J. Palanca, Sr. for appellee. del actual Parroco y sus sucesores de la Iglecia February 19, 1954, the parish priest of Victoria filed in the pending testate
Catolica de Victoria, Tarlac. proceeding a petition praying for the appointment of a new administrator
(succeeding the deceased administration Florencia Rigor), who should
Y en intervalo de tiempo que no haya legatario deliver to the church the said ricelands, and further praying that the
AQUINO, J.: acondicionado segun lo arriba queda expresado, possessors thereof be ordered to render an accounting of the fruits. The
This case is about the efficaciousness or enforceability of a devise of pasara la administracion de este legado a cargo del probate court granted the petition. A new administrator was appointed. On
ricelands located at Guimba, Nueva Ecija, with a total area of around forty- actual Parroco Catolico y sus sucesores, de Victoria, January 31, 1957 the parish priest filed another petition for the delivery of the
four hectares That devise was made in the will of the late Father Pascual Tarlac. ricelands to the church as trustee.
Rigor, a native of Victoria Tarlac, in favor of his nearest male relative who El Parroco administrador de estate legado, The intestate heirs of Father Rigor countered with a petition dated March 25,
would study for the priesthood. acumulara, anualmente todos los productos que 1957 praying that the bequest be d inoperative and that they be adjudged as
The parish priest of Victoria, who claimed to be a trustee of the said lands, puede tener estate legado, ganando o sacando de the persons entitled to the said ricelands since, as admitted by the parish
appealed to this Court from the decision of the Court of Appeals affirming the los productos anuales el CINCO (5) por ciento para priest of Victoria, "no nearest male relative of" the testator "has ever studied
order of the probate court declaring that the said devise was inoperative su administracion, y los derechos correspondientes for the priesthood" (pp. 25 and 35, Record on Appeal). That petition was
(Rigor vs. Parish Priest of the Roman Catholic Church of Victoria, Tarlac, CA- de las VEINTE (20) Misas rezadas que debiera el opposed by the parish priest of Victoria.
G.R. No. 24319-R, August 1, 1963). Parroco celebrar cada ao, depositando todo lo
restante de los productos de estate legado, en un Finding that petition to be meritorious, the lower court, through Judge
The record discloses that Father Rigor, the parish priest of Pulilan, Bulacan, banco, a nombre de estate legado. Bernabe de Aquino, declared the bequest inoperative and adjudicated the
died on August 9, 1935, leaving a will executed on October 29, 1933 which ricelands to the testator's legal heirs in his order of June 28, 1957. The parish
was probated by the Court of First Instance of Tarlac in its order of December To implement the foregoing bequest, the administratix in 1940 submitted a priest filed two motions for reconsideration.
5, 1935. Named as devisees in the will were the testators nearest relatives, project containing the following item:
Judge De Aquino granted the respond motion for reconsideration in his order
namely, his three sisters: Florencia Rigor-Escobar, Belina Rigor-Manaloto 5. LEGACY OF THE CHURCH of December 10, 1957 on the ground that the testator had a grandnephew
and Nestora Rigor-Quiambao. The testator gave a devise to his cousin, named Edgardo G. Cunanan (the grandson of his first cousin) who was a
Fortunato Gamalinda. That it be adjudicated in favor of the legacy seminarian in the San Jose Seminary of the Jesuit Fathers in Quezon City.
purported to be given to the nearest male relative The administrator was directed to deliver the ricelands to the parish priest of
In addition, the will contained the following controversial bequest who shall take the priesthood, and in the interim to
(paragraphing supplied to facilitate comprehension of the testamentary Victoria as trustee.
be administered by the actual Catholic Priest of the
provisions): Roman Catholic Church of Victoria, Tarlac, The legal heirs appealed to the Court of Appeals. It reversed that order. It
Doy y dejo como legado CUATRO (4) PARCELAS Philippines, or his successors, the real properties held that Father Rigor had created a testamentary trust for his nearest male
de terreno palayeros situados en el municipiooo de hereinbelow indicated, to wit: relative who would take the holy orders but that such trust could exist only for
Guimba de la provinciaaa de NUEVA ECIJA, cuyo twenty years because to enforce it beyond that period would violate "the rule
num. de CERTIFICADO DE TRANSFERENCIA DE Title No. Lot No. Area in Has. Tax Dec. Ass. Value against perpetuities. It ruled that since no legatee claimed the ricelands within
TITULO SON; Titulo Num. 6530, mide 16,249 m. twenty years after the testator's death, the same should pass to his legal
cuadrados de superficie Titulo Num. 6548, mide heirs, citing articles 888 and 912(2) of the old Civil Code and article 870 of
T-6530 3663 1.6249 18740 P 340.00 the new Civil Code.
242,998 m. cuadrados de superficie y annual 6525,
mide 62,665 m. cuadrados de superficie; y Titulo The parish priest in this appeal contends that the Court of Appeals erred in
Num. 6521, mide 119,251 m. cuadrados de T-6548 3445-C 24.2998 18730 7,290.00
not finding that the testator created a public charitable trust and in not liberally
superficie; a cualquier pariente mio varon mas construing the testamentary provisions so as to render the trust operative and
cercano que estudie la carrera eclesiatica hasta T-6525 3670 6.2665 18736 1,880.00 to prevent intestacy.
ordenarse de Presbiterado o sea Sacerdote; las
condiciones de estate legado son; As refutation, the legal heirs argue that the Court of Appeals d the bequest
T-6521 3666 11.9251 18733 3,580.00
inoperative because no one among the testator's nearest male relatives had
(1.a) Prohibe en absoluto la venta de estos terrenos studied for the priesthood and not because the trust was a private charitable
arriba situados objectos de este legado; Total amount and value 44.1163 P13,090.00 trust. According to the legal heirs, that factual finding is binding on this Court.
(2.a) Que el legatario pariente mio mas cercano They point out that appellant priest's change of theory cannot be
Judge Roman A. Cruz in his order of August 15, 1940, approving the project
tendra derecho de empezar a gozar y administrar de countenanced in this appeal .
of partition, directed that after payment of the obligations of the estate
este legado al principiar a curzar la Sagrada
In this case, as in cases involving the law of contracts and statutory been ordained a priest, he was excommunicated, and who would be was based on the ground that the testator's grandnephew, Edgardo, was
construction, where the intention of the contracting parties or of the obligated to say annually twenty masses with prayers for the repose of the studying for the priesthood at the San Jose Seminary.
lawmaking body is to be ascertained, the primary issue is the determination souls of the testator and his parents.
of the testator's intention which is the law of the case (dicat testor et erit lex. Parenthetically, it should be stated at this juncture that Edgardo ceased to be
Santos vs. Manarang, 27 Phil. 209, 215; Rodriguez vs. Court of Appeals, L- On the other hand, it is clear that the parish priest of Victoria would a seminarian in 1961. For that reason, the legal heirs apprised the Court of
28734, March 28, 1969, 27 SCRA 546). administer the ricelands only in two situations: one, during the interval of time Appeals that the probate court's order adjudicating the ricelands to the parish
that no nearest male relative of the testator was studying for the priesthood priest of Victoria had no more leg to stand on (p. 84, Appellant's brief).
The will of the testator is the first and principal law in the matter of and two, in case the testator's nephew became a priest and he was
testaments. When his intention is clearly and precisely expressed, any excommunicated. Of course, Mrs. Gamalinda's affidavit, which is tantamount to
interpretation must be in accord with the plain and literal meaning of his evidence aliunde as to the testator's intention and which is hearsay, has no
words, except when it may certainly appear that his intention was different What is not clear is the duration of "el intervalo de tiempo que no haya probative value. Our opinion that the said bequest refers to the testator's
from that literally expressed (In re Estate of Calderon, 26 Phil. 333). legatario acondicionado", or how long after the testator's death would it be nephew who was living at the time of his death, when his succession was
determined that he had a nephew who would pursue an ecclesiastical opened and the successional rights to his estate became vested, rests on a
The intent of the testator is the cardinal rule in the construction of wills." It is vocation. It is that patent ambiguity that has brought about the controversy judicious and unbiased reading of the terms of the will.
"the life and soul of a will It is "the first greatest rule, the sovereign guide, the between the parish priest of Victoria and the testator's legal heirs.
polestar, in giving effect to a will". (See Dissent of Justice Moreland in Santos Had the testator intended that the "cualquier pariente mio varon mas cercano
vs. Manarang, 27 Phil. 209, 223, 237-8.) Interwoven with that equivocal provision is the time when the nearest male que estudie la camera eclesiatica" would include indefinitely anyone of his
relative who would study for the priesthood should be determined. Did the nearest male relatives born after his death, he could have so specified in his
One canon in the interpretation of the testamentary provisions is that "the testator contemplate only his nearest male relative at the time of his will He must have known that such a broad provision would suspend for an
testator's intention is to be ascertained from the words of the wilt taking into death? Or did he have in mind any of his nearest male relatives at anytime unlimited period of time the efficaciousness of his bequest.
consideration the circumstances under which it was made", but excluding the after his death?
testator's oral declarations as to his intention (Art. 789, Civil Code of the What then did the testator mean by "el intervalo de tiempo que no haya
Philippines). We hold that the said bequest refers to the testator's nearest male legatario acondicionado"? The reasonable view is that he was referring to a
relative living at the time of his death and not to any indefinite time thereafter. situation whereby his nephew living at the time of his death, who would like to
To ascertain Father Rigor's intention, it may be useful to make the following "In order to be capacitated to inherit, the heir, devisee or legatee must be become a priest, was still in grade school or in high school or was not yet in
re-statement of the provisions of his will. living at the moment the succession opens, except in case of representation, the seminary. In that case, the parish priest of Victoria would administer the
when it is proper" (Art. 1025, Civil Code). ricelands before the nephew entered the seminary. But the moment the
1. that he bequeathed the ricelands to anyone of his nearest male relatives testator's nephew entered the seminary, then he would be entitled to enjoy
who would pursue an ecclesiastical career until his ordination as a priest. The said testamentary provisions should be sensibly or reasonably and administer the ricelands and receive the fruits thereof. In that event, the
construed. To construe them as referring to the testator's nearest male trusteeship would be terminated.
2. That the devisee could not sell the ricelands. relative at anytime after his death would render the provisions difficult to
3. That the devisee at the inception of his studies in sacred theology could apply and create uncertainty as to the disposition of his estate. That could not Following that interpretation of the will the inquiry would be whether at the
enjoy and administer the ricelands, and once ordained as a priest, he could have been his intention. time Father Rigor died in 1935 he had a nephew who was studying for the
continue enjoying and administering the same up to the time of his death but priesthood or who had manifested his desire to follow the ecclesiastical
In 1935, when the testator died, his nearest leagal heirs were his three sisters career. That query is categorically answered in paragraph 4 of appellant
the devisee would cease to enjoy and administer the ricelands if he or second-degree relatives, Mrs. Escobar, Mrs. Manaloto and Mrs.
discontinued his studies for the priesthood. priest's petitions of February 19, 1954 and January 31, 1957. He
Quiambao. Obviously, when the testator specified his nearest male relative, unequivocally alleged therein that "not male relative of the late (Father)
4. That if the devisee became a priest, he would be obligated to celebrate he must have had in mind his nephew or a son of his sister, who would be his Pascual Rigor has ever studied for the priesthood" (pp. 25 and 35, Record on
every year twenty masses with prayers for the repose of the souls of Father third-degree relative, or possibly a grandnephew. But since he could not Appeal).
Rigor and his parents. prognosticate the exact date of his death or state with certitude what category
of nearest male relative would be living at the time of his death, he could not Inasmuch as the testator was not survived by any nephew who became a
5. That if the devisee is excommunicated, he would be divested of the legacy specify that his nearest male relative would be his nephew or grandnephews priest, the unavoidable conclusion is that the bequest in question was
and the administration of the riceland would pass to the incumbent parish (the son of his nephew or niece) and so he had to use the term "nearest male ineffectual or inoperative. Therefore, the administration of the ricelands by the
priest of Victoria and his successors. relative". parish priest of Victoria, as envisaged in the wilt was likewise inoperative.
6. That during the interval of time that there is no qualified devisee as It is contended by the legal heirs that the said devise was in reality intended The appellant in contending that a public charitable trust was constituted by
contemplated above, the administration of the ricelands would be under the for Ramon Quiambao, the testator's nephew and godchild, who was the son the testator in is favor assumes that he was a trustee or a substitute devisee
responsibility of the incumbent parish priest of Victoria and his successors, of his sister, Mrs. Quiambao. To prove that contention, the legal heirs That contention is untenable. A reading of the testamentary provisions
and presented in the lower court the affidavit of Beatriz Gamalinda, the maternal regarding the disputed bequest not support the view that the parish priest of
grandmother of Edgardo Cunanan, who deposed that after Father Rigor's Victoria was a trustee or a substitute devisee in the event that the testator
7. That the parish priest-administrator of the ricelands would accumulate death her own son, Valentin Gamalinda, Jr., did not claim the devise, was not survived by a nephew who became a priest.
annually the products thereof, obtaining or getting from the annual produce although he was studying for the priesthood at the San Carlos Seminary,
five percent thereof for his administration and the fees corresponding to the because she (Beatriz) knew that Father Rigor had intended that devise for his It should be understood that the parish priest of Victoria could become a
twenty masses with prayers that the parish priest would celebrate for each nearest male relative beloning to the Rigor family (pp. 105-114, Record on trustee only when the testator's nephew living at the time of his death, who
year, depositing the balance of the income of the devise in the bank in the Appeal). desired to become a priest, had not yet entered the seminary or, having been
name of his bequest. ordained a priest, he was excommunicated. Those two contingencies did not
Mrs. Gamalinda further deposed that her own grandchild, Edgardo G. arise, and could not have arisen in this case because no nephew of the
From the foregoing testamentary provisions, it may be deduced that the Cunanan, was not the one contemplated in Father Rigor's will and that testator manifested any intention to enter the seminary or ever became a
testator intended to devise the ricelands to his nearest male relative who Edgardo's father told her that he was not consulted by the parish priest of priest.
would become a priest, who was forbidden to sell the ricelands, who would Victoria before the latter filed his second motion for reconsideration which
lose the devise if he discontinued his studies for the priesthood, or having
The Court of Appeals correctly ruled that this case is covered by article 888 of
the old Civil Code, now article 956, which provides that if "the bequest for any
reason should be inoperative, it shall be merged into the estate, except in
cases of substitution and those in which the right of accretion exists" ("el
legado ... por qualquier causa, no tenga efecto se refundira en la masa de la
herencia, fuera de los casos de sustitucion y derecho de acrecer").
This case is also covered by article 912(2) of the old Civil Code, now article
960 (2), which provides that legal succession takes place when the will "does
not dispose of all that belongs to the testator." There being no substitution nor
accretion as to the said ricelands the same should be distributed among the
testator's legal heirs. The effect is as if the testator had made no disposition
as to the said ricelands.
The Civil Code recognizes that a person may die partly testate and partly
intestate, or that there may be mixed succession. The old rule as to the
indivisibility of the testator's win is no longer valid. Thus, if a conditional
legacy does not take effect, there will be intestate succession as to the
property recovered by the said legacy (Macrohon Ong Ham vs. Saavedra, 51
Phil. 267).
We find no merit in the appeal The Appellate Court's decision is affirmed.
Costs against the petitioner.
SECOND DIVISION 3) ordering the issuance of letters testamentary in favor of Lucia Respondent, for her part, argues in her Memorandum11 that the petition for
Abena. review raises questions of fact, not of law and as a rule, findings of fact of the
G.R. No. 145545 June 30, 2008 Court of Appeals are final and conclusive and cannot be reviewed on appeal
So ordered.4 to the Supreme Court. She also points out that although the Court of Appeals
vs. Petitioner appealed the RTC decision to the Court of Appeals. But the Court at the outset opined there was no compelling reason to review the petition,
LUCIA D. ABENA, respondent. of Appeals, in a decision dated October 13, 2000, affirmed in toto the RTC the Court of Appeals proceeded to tackle the assigned errors and rule that
ruling. The dispositive portion of the Court of Appeals decision states: the will was validly executed, sustaining the findings of the trial court that the
DECISION formalities required by law were duly complied with. The Court of Appeals
WHEREFORE, foregoing premises considered, the appeal also concurred with the findings of the trial court that the testator, Margarita,
QUISUMBING, J.: having no merit in fact and in law, is hereby ORDERED was of sound mind when she executed the will.
This is a petition for review under Rule 45 of the 1997 Rules of Civil DISMISSED and the appealed Decision of the trial
court AFFIRMED IN TOTO, with cost to oppositors-appellants. After careful consideration of the parties contentions, we rule in favor of
Procedure seeking to reverse the Decision1dated October 13, 2000 of the respondent.
Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 41756, which affirmed the SO ORDERED.5
Decision2 dated March 2, 1993 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 66, We find that the issues raised by petitioner concern pure questions of fact,
Makati City. The RTC had declared the last will and testament of Margarita S. Hence, the instant petition citing the following issues: which may not be the subject of a petition for review on certiorari under Rule
Mayores probated and designated respondent Lucia D. Abena as the 45 of the Rules of Civil Procedure.
executor of her will. It also ordered the issuance of letters testamentary in I.
favor of respondent. The issues that petitioner is raising now i.e., whether or not the will was
WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED signed by the testator in the presence of the witnesses and of one another,
The facts are as follows: A REVERSIBLE ERROR IN NOT INVALIDATING THE WILL whether or not the signatures of the witnesses on the pages of the will were
SINCE IT DID NOT CONFORM TO THE FORMALITIES signed on the same day, and whether or not undue influence was exerted
Petitioner Paz Samaniego-Celada was the first cousin of decedent Margarita REQUIRED BY LAW; upon the testator which compelled her to sign the will, are all questions of
S. Mayores (Margarita) while respondent was the decedents lifelong fact.
companion since 1929. II.
WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED This Court does not resolve questions of fact in a petition for review under
On April 27, 1987, Margarita died single and without any ascending nor Rule 45 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. Section 112 of Rule 45 limits this
descending heirs as her parents, grandparents and siblings predeceased her. ERROR IN NOT INVALIDATING THE WILL BECAUSE IT WAS
PROCURED THROUGH UNDUE INFLUENCE AND Courts review to questions of law only.
She was survived by her first cousins Catalina Samaniego-Bombay,
Manuelita Samaniego Sajonia, Feliza Samaniego, and petitioner. PRESSURE[;] AND Well-settled is the rule that the Supreme Court is not a trier of facts. When
III. supported by substantial evidence, the findings of fact of the Court of Appeals
Before her death, Margarita executed a Last Will and Testament3 on are conclusive and binding on the parties and are not reviewable by this
February 2, 1987 where she bequeathed one-half of her undivided share of a WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY Court, unless the case falls under any of the following recognized exceptions:
real property located at Singalong Manila, consisting of 209.8 square meters, ERRED IN NOT DECLARING PETITIONER, HER SIBLINGS
and covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. 1343 to respondent, AND COUSIN AS THE LEGAL HEIRS OF MARGARITA S. (1) When the conclusion is a finding grounded entirely on
Norma A. Pahingalo, and Florentino M. Abena in equal shares or one-third MAYORES AND IN NOT ISSUING LETTERS OF speculation, surmises and conjectures;
portion each. She likewise bequeathed one-half of her undivided share of a ADMINISTRATION TO HER.6
real property located at San Antonio Village, Makati, consisting of 225 square (2) When the inference made is manifestly mistaken, absurd or
meters, and covered by TCT No. 68920 to respondent, Isabelo M. Abena, Briefly stated, the issues are (1) whether the Court of Appeals erred in not impossible;
and Amanda M. Abena in equal shares or one-third portion each. Margarita declaring the will invalid for failure to comply with the formalities required by (3) Where there is a grave abuse of discretion;
also left all her personal properties to respondent whom she likewise law, (2) whether said court erred in not declaring the will invalid because it
designated as sole executor of her will. was procured through undue influence and pressure, and (3) whether it erred (4) When the judgment is based on a misapprehension of facts;
in not declaring petitioner and her siblings as the legal heirs of Margarita, and
On August 11, 1987, petitioner filed a petition for letters of administration of in not issuing letters of administration to petitioner. (5) When the findings of fact are conflicting;
the estate of Margarita before the RTC of Makati. The case was docketed as
SP Proc. No. M-1531. Petitioner, in her Memorandum,7 argues that Margaritas will failed to comply (6) When the Court of Appeals, in making its findings, went
with the formalities required under Article 8058 of the Civil Code because the beyond the issues of the case and the same is contrary to the
On October 27, 1987, respondent filed a petition for probate of the will of will was not signed by the testator in the presence of the instrumental admissions of both appellant and appellee;
Margarita before the RTC of Makati. The case was docketed as SP Proc. No. witnesses and in the presence of one another. She also argues that the
M-1607 and consolidated with SP Proc. No. M-1531. (7) When the findings are contrary to those of the trial court;
signatures of the testator on pages A, B, and C of the will are not the same or
On March 2, 1993, the RTC rendered a decision declaring the last will and similar, indicating that they were not signed on the same day. She further (8) When the findings of fact are conclusions without citation of
testament of Margarita probated and respondent as the executor of the will. argues that the will was procured through undue influence and pressure specific evidence on which they are based;
The dispositive portion of the decision states: because at the time of execution of the will, Margarita was weak, sickly,
jobless and entirely dependent upon respondent and her nephews for (9) When the facts set forth in the petition as well as in the
In view of the foregoing, judgment is hereby rendered: support, and these alleged handicaps allegedly affected her freedom and petitioners main and reply briefs are not disputed by the
willpower to decide on her own. Petitioner thus concludes that Margaritas respondents; and
1) declaring the will as probated; total dependence on respondent and her nephews compelled her to sign the (10) When the findings of fact of the Court of Appeals are
2) declaring Lucia Abena as the executor of the will who will will. Petitioner likewise argues that the Court of Appeals should have premised on the supposed absence of evidence and
serve as such without a bond as stated in paragraph VI of the declared her and her siblings as the legal heirs of Margarita since they are contradicted by the evidence on record.13
probated will; her only living collateral relatives in accordance with Articles 10099 and
101010 of the Civil Code.
We find that this case does not involve any of the abovementioned the oppositors. The picture (Exhibit "H-3") shows that the testator
exceptions. was affixing her signature in the presence of the instrumental
witnesses and the notary. There is no evidence to show that the
Nonetheless, a review of the findings of the RTC as upheld by the Court of first signature was procured earlier than February 2, 1987.
Appeals, reveal that petitioners arguments lack basis. The RTC correctly
held: Finally, the court finds that no pressure nor undue influence was
exerted on the testator to execute the subject will. In fact, the
With [regard] to the contention of the oppositors [Paz picture reveals that the testator was in a good mood and smiling
Samaniego-Celada, et al.] that the testator [Margarita Mayores] with the other witnesses while executing the subject will (See
was not mentally capable of making a will at the time of the Exhibit "H").
execution thereof, the same is without merit. The oppositors
failed to establish, by preponderance of evidence, said allegation In fine, the court finds that the testator was mentally capable of
and contradict the presumption that the testator was of sound making the will at the time of its execution, that the notarial will
mind (See Article 800 of the Civil Code). In fact, witness for the presented to the court is the same notarial will that was executed
oppositors, Dr. Ramon Lamberte, who, in some occasions, and that all the formal requirements (See Article 805 of the Civil
attended to the testator months before her death, testified that Code) in the execution of a will have been substantially complied
Margarita Mayores could engage in a normal conversation and with in the subject notarial will.14 (Emphasis supplied.)
he even stated that the illness of the testator does not warrant
hospitalization. Not one of the oppositors witnesses has Thus, we find no reason to disturb the abovementioned findings of the RTC.
mentioned any instance that they observed act/s of the testator Since, petitioner and her siblings are not compulsory heirs of the decedent
during her lifetime that could be construed as a manifestation of under Article 88715 of the Civil Code and as the decedent validly disposed of
mental incapacity. The testator may be admitted to be physically her properties in a will duly executed and probated, petitioner has no legal
weak but it does not necessarily follow that she was not of sound right to claim any part of the decedents estate.
mind. [The] testimonies of contestant witnesses are pure WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The assailed Decision dated October
aforethought. 13, 2000 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 41756 is AFFIRMED.
Anent the contestants submission that the will is fatally defective Costs against petitioner.
for the reason that its attestation clause states that the will is
composed of three (3) pages while in truth and in fact, the will SO ORDERED.
consists of two (2) pages only because the attestation is not a
part of the notarial will, the same is not accurate. While it is true
that the attestation clause is not a part of the will, the court, after
examining the totality of the will, is of the considered opinion that
error in the number of pages of the will as stated in the
attestation clause is not material to invalidate the subject will. It
must be noted that the subject instrument is consecutively
lettered with pages A, B, and C which is a sufficient safeguard
from the possibility of an omission of some of the pages. The
error must have been brought about by the honest belief that the
will is the whole instrument consisting of three (3) pages
inclusive of the attestation clause and the acknowledgement.
The position of the court is in consonance with the "doctrine of
liberal interpretation" enunciated in Article 809 of the Civil Code
which reads:
"In the absence of bad faith, forgery or fraud, or
undue [and] improper pressure and influence,
defects and imperfections in the form of
attestation or in the language used therein shall
not render the will invalid if it is proved that the
will was in fact executed and attested in
substantial compliance with all the requirements
of Article 805."
The court also rejects the contention of the oppositors that the
signatures of the testator were affixed on different occasions
based on their observation that the signature on the first page is
allegedly different in size, texture and appearance as compared
with the signatures in the succeeding pages. After examination of
the signatures, the court does not share the same observation as
EN BANC daughter and on January 21, 1922, he issued in favor of the for the unpaid balance of the amount of the promissory note should no have
plaintiff Socorro Ledesma a promissory note (Exhibit C), of the been presented in the intestate of Eusebio Quitco, the said deceased not
G.R. No. L-44837 November 23, 1938 following tenor: being the one who executed the same, but in the intestate of Lorenzo M.
SOCORRO LEDESMA and ANA QUITCO LEDESMA, plaintiffs-appellees, Quitco, which should have been instituted by the said Socorro Ledesma as
P2,000. For value received I promise to pay Miss Socorro provided in section 642 of the Code of Civil Procedure, authorizing a creditor
vs. Ledesma the sum of two thousand pesos (P2,000). Philippine
CONCHITA MCLACHLIN, ET AL., defendants-appellants. to institute said case through the appointment of an administrator for the
currency under the following terms: Two hundred and fifty pesos purpose of collecting his credit. More than ten years having thus elapsed from
Adriano T. de la Cruz for appellants. (P250) to be paid on the first day of March 1922; another two the expiration of the period for the payment of said debt of P1,500, the action
Simeon Bitanga for appellees. hundred and fifty pesos (P250)to be paid on the first day for its recovery has prescribed under section 43, No. 1, of the Code of Civil
of November 1922; the remaining one thousand and five Procedure.
hundred (P1,500) to be paid two years from the date of the
execution of this note. San Enrique, Occ. Negros, P. I., Jan. 21, The first assignment of alleged error is, therefore, well-founded.
VILLA-REAL, J.: 1922.
As to the second assignment of alleged error, consisting in that the trial court
This case is before us by virtue of an appeal taken by the defendants Subsequently, Lorenzo M. Quitco married the defendant erred in holding that the properties inherited by the defendants from their
Conchita McLachlin, Lorenzo Quitco, Jr., Sabina Quitco, Rafael Quitco and Conchita McLachlin, with whom he had four children, who are deceased grandfather by representation are subject to the payment of debts
Marcela Quitco, from the decision of the Court of First Instance of Occidental the other defendants. On March 9, 1930, Lorenzo M. Quitco died and obligations of their deceased father, who died without leaving any
Negros, the dispositive part of which reads: (Exhibit 5), and, still later, that is, on December 15, 1932, his property, while it is true that under the provisions of articles 924 to 927 of the
For the foregoing considerations, the court renders judgment in father Eusebio Quitco also died, and as the latter left real and Civil Code, a children presents his father or mother who died before him in
this case declaring Ana Quitco Ledesma an acknowledged personal properties upon his death, administration proceedings the properties of his grandfather or grandmother, this right of representation
natural daughter of the deceased Lorenzo M. Quitco, for legal of said properties were instituted in this court, the said case does not make the said child answerable for the obligations contracted by his
purposes, but absolving the defendants as to the prayer in the being known as the "Intestate of the deceased Eusebio Quitco," deceased father or mother, because, as may be seen from the provisions of
first cause of action that the said Ana Quitco Ledesma be civil case No. 6153 of this court. the Code of Civil Procedure referring to partition of inheritances, the
declared entitled to share in the properties left by the deceased inheritance is received with the benefit of inventory, that is to say, the heirs
Upon the institution of the intestate of the deceased Eusebio only answer with the properties received from their predecessor. The herein
Eusebio Quitco. Quitco and the appointment of the committee on claims and defendants, as heirs of Eusebio Quitco, in representation of their father
As to the second cause of action, the said defendants are appraisal, the plaintiff Socorro Ledesma, on August 26, 1935, Lorenzo M. Quitco, are not bound to pay the indebtedness of their said father
ordered to pay to the plaintiff Socorro Ledesma, jointly and filed before said committee the aforequoted promissory note for from whom they did not inherit anything.
severally, only the sum of one thousand five hundred payment, and the commissioners, upon receipt of said
pesos(P1,500), with legal interest thereon from the filing of this promissory note, instead of passing upon it, elevated the same to The second assignment of alleged error is also well-founded.
complaint until fully paid. No pronouncement is made as to the this court en consulta (Exhibit F), and as the Honorable Jose
Lopez Vito, presiding over the First Branch, returned said Being a mere sequel of the first two assignments of alleged errors, the third
costs. So ordered. assignment of error is also well-founded.
consulta and refrained from giving his opinion thereon (Exhibit
In support of their appeal, the appellants assign the following errors allegedly C), the aforesaid commissioners on claims and appraisal, For the foregoing considerations, we are of the opinion and so hold: (1) That
committed by the trial court in its aforesaid decision: alleging lack of jurisdiction to pass upon the claim, denied he the filing of a claim before the committee on claims and appraisal, appointed
same (Exhibit H). in the intestate of the father, for a monetary obligation contracted by a son
1. That the trial court erred in holding, that the action for the
recovery of the sum of P1,500, representing the last installment On November 14, 1933 (Exhibit I), the court issued an who died before him, does not suspend the prescriptive period of the judicial
of the note Exhibit C has not yet prescribed. order of declaration of heirs in the intestate of the deceased action for the recovery of said indebtedness; (2) that the claim for the
Eusebio Quitco, and as Ana Quitco Ledesma was not included payment of an indebtedness contracted by a deceased person cannot be
2. That the trial court erred in holding that the property inherited among the declared heirs, Socorro Ledesma, as mother of Ana filed for its collection before the committee on claims and appraisal,
by the defendants from their deceased grandfather by the right of Quitco Ledesma, asked for the reconsideration of said order, a appointed in the intestate of his father, and the propertiesinherited from the
representation is subject to the debts and obligations of their petition which the court denied. From the order denying the said latter by the children of said deceased do not answer for the payment of the
deceased father who died without any property petition no appeal was taken, and in lieu thereof there was filed indebtedness contracted during the lifetime of said person.
whatsoever.lawphi1.net the complaint which gives rise to this case. Wherefore, the appealed judgment is reversed, and the defendants are
3. That the trial court erred in condemning the defendants to pay The first question to be decided in this appeal, raised in the first assignment absolved from the complaint, with the costs to the appellees. So ordered.
jointly and severally the plaintiff Socorro Ledesma the sum of of alleged error, is whether or not the action to recover the sum of P1,500,
P1,500. representing the last installment for the payment of the promissory note
The only facts to be considered in the determination of the legal questions Exhibit C, has prescribed.
raised in this appeal are those set out in the appealed decision, which have According to the promissory note Exhibit C, executed by the deceased
been established at the trial, namely: Lorenzo M. Quitco, on January 21, 1922, the last installment of P1,500
In the year 1916, the plaintiff Socorro Ledesma lived maritally should be paid two years from the date of the execution of said promissory
with Lorenzo M. Quitco, while the latter was still single, of which note, that is, on January 21, 1924. The complaint in the present case was
relation, lasting until the year 1921, was born a daughter who is filed on June 26, 1934, that is, more than ten years after he expiration of the
the other plaintiff Ana Quitco Ledesma. In 1921, it seems hat the said period. The fact that the plaintiff Socorro Ledesma filed her claim, on
relation between Socorro Ledesma and Lorenzo M. Quitco came August 26, 1933, with the committee on claims and appraisal appointed in the
to an end, but the latter executed a deed (Exhibit A), intestate of Eusebio Quitco, does not suspend the running of the prescriptive
acknowledging the plaintiff Ana Quitco Ledesma as his natural period of the judicial action for the recovery of said debt, because the claim
SECOND DIVISION parcel of land together with all the improvements found thereon and which Comandante alleged that she reminded petitioner that she was not the
property is more particularly described as follows: registered owner of the subject property and that although her parents
G.R. No. 165300 April 23, 2010 granted her SPA, same only pertains to her authority to mortgage the
TRANSFER CERTIFICATE OF TITLE property to banks and other financial institutions and not to individuals.
ATTY. PEDRO M. FERRER, Petitioner, NO. RT-6604 (82020) PR-18887
vs. Petitioner nonetheless assured Comandante that the SPA was also
SPOUSES ALFREDO DIAZ and IMELDA DIAZ, REINA COMANDANTE xxxx applicable to their transaction. As Comandante was still hesitant, petitioner
and SPOUSES BIENVENIDO PANGAN and ELIZABETH and his wife threatened to foreclose the formers taxi units and present the
PANGAN, Respondents. and which property is titled and registered in the name of my parents Alfredo postdated checks she issued to the bank for payment. For fear of losing her
T. Diaz and Imelda G. Diaz, as evidenced by Transfer Certificate of Title No. taxi units which were the only source of her livelihood, Comandante was thus
DECISION RT 6604 (82020) PR-18887. constrained to sign the mortgage agreement as well as the promissory note.
Petitioner, however, did not furnish her with copies of said documents on the
DEL CASTILLO, J.: (sgd.) pretext that they still have to be notarized, but, as can be gleaned from the
REINA D. COMANDANTE records, the documents were never notarized. Moreover, Comandante
The basic questions to be resolved in this case are: Is a waiver of hereditary Affiant
rights in favor of another executed by a future heir while the parents are still claimed that the SPA alluded to by petitioner in his complaint was not the
living valid? Is an adverse claim annotated on the title of a property on the On the basis of said waiver, petitioner executed an Affidavit of Adverse same SPA under which she thought she derived the authority to execute the
basis of such waiver likewise valid and effective as to bind the subsequent Claim12 which he caused to be annotated at the back of TCT No. RT-6604 on mortgage contract.
owners and hold them liable to the claimant? May 26, 1999. Comandante likewise alleged that on September 29, 1999 at 10:00 o clock in
This Petition for Review on Certiorari1 under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court The Diazes, however, reneged on their obligation as the checks issued by the morning, she executed an Affidavit of Repudiation/Revocation of Waiver
assails the December 12, 2003 Decision2 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA- Comandante were dishonored upon presentment. Despite repeated of Hereditary Rights and Interests Over A (Still Undivided) Real
G.R. CV No. 70888.3 Said Decision modified the June 14, 2001 Summary demands, said respondents still failed and refused to settle the loan. Thus, Property,16 which she caused to be annotated on the title of the subject
Judgment4 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Quezon City in Civil Case No. petitioner filed on September 29, 1999 a Complaint13 for Collection of Sum of property with the Registry of Deeds of Quezon City on the same day.
Q-99-38876 by holding respondents Spouses Bienvenido and Elizabeth Money Secured by Real Estate Mortgage Contract against the Diazes and Interestingly, petitioner filed his complaint later that day too.
Pangan (the Pangans) not solidarily liable with the other respondents, Comandante docketed as Civil Case No. Q-99-38876 and raffled to Branch By way of special and affirmative defenses, Comandante asserted in her
Spouses Alfredo and Imelda Diaz (the Diazes) and Reina Comandante 224 of RTC, Quezon City. Answer to the amended complaint17 that said complaint states no cause of
(Comandante), to petitioner Atty. Pedro M. Ferrer (Atty. Ferrer). Likewise action against her because the Real Estate Mortgage Contract and the
assailed is the CA Resolution5 dated September 10, 2004 which denied Petitioner twice amended his complaint. First, by including as an alternative
relief the Judicial Foreclosure of Mortgage14 and, second, by impleading as waiver referred to by petitioner in his complaint were not duly, knowingly and
petitioners as well as respondents Spouses Diaz and Comandantes validly executed by her; that the Waiver of Hereditary Rights and Interests
respective motions for reconsideration. additional defendants the Pangans as the mortgaged property covered by
TCT No. RT-6604 was already transferred under their names in TCT No. N- Over a Real Property (Still Undivided) is a useless document as its execution
The parties respective versions of the factual antecedents are as follows: 209049. Petitioner prayed in his second amended complaint that all the is prohibited by Article 1347 of the Civil Code,18 hence, it cannot be the
respondents be ordered to jointly and solidarily pay him the sum source of any right or obligation in petitioners favor; that the Real Estate
Version of the Petitioner of P1,118,228.00, exclusive of interests, and/or for the judicial foreclosure of Mortgage was of doubtful validity as she executed the same without valid
the property pursuant to the Real Estate Mortgage Contract. authority from her parents; and, that the prayer for collection and/or judicial
Petitioner Atty. Ferrer claimed in his original Complaint6 that on May 7, 1999, foreclosure was irregular as petitioner cannot seek said remedies at the same
the Diazes, as represented by their daughter Comandante, through a Special Version of the Respondents time.
Power of Attorney (SPA),7 obtained from him a loan of P1,118,228.00. The
loan was secured by a Real Estate Mortgage Contract8 by way of second In her Answer15 to petitioners original complaint, Comandante alleged that Apart from executing the affidavit of repudiation, Comandante also filed on
mortgage over Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. RT-66049 and a petitioner and his wife were her fellow members in the Couples for Christ October 4, 1999 a Petition for Cancellation of Adverse Claim (P.E. 2468)
Promissory Note10 payable within six months or up to November 7, 1999. Movement. Sometime in 1998, she sought the help of petitioner with regard Under The Memorandum of Encumbrances of TCT No. RT-6604 (82020) PR-
Comandante also issued to petitioner postdated checks to secure payment of to the mortgage with a bank of her parents lot located at No. 6, Rd. 20, 1888719 docketed as LRC Case No. Q-12009 (99) and raffled to Branch 220
said loan. Project 8, Quezon City and covered by TCT No. RT-6604. She also sought of RTC, Quezon City. Petitioner who was impleaded as respondent therein
financial accommodations from the couple on several occasions which moved for the consolidation of said case20 with Civil Case No. Q-99-38876.
Petitioner further claimed that prior to this or on May 29, 1998, Comandante, totaled P500,000.00. Comandante, however, claimed that these loans were On June 24, 2000, Branch 220 of RTC, Quezon City ordered the
for a valuable consideration of P600,000.00, which amount formed part of the secured by chattel mortgages over her taxi units in addition to several consolidation of LRC Case No. Q-12009 (99) with Civil Case No. Q-99-
abovementioned secured loan, executed in his favor an instrument entitled postdated checks she issued in favor of petitioner. 38876. Accordingly, the records of the former case was forwarded to Branch
Waiver of Hereditary Rights and Interests Over a Real Property (Still 224.
Undivided),11 the pertinent portions of which read: As she could not practically comply with her obligation, petitioner and his
wife, presented to Comandante sometime in May 1998 a document For their part, the Diazes asserted that petitioner has no cause of action
I, REINA D. COMANDANTE, of legal age, Filipino, married, with residence denominated as Waiver of Hereditary Rights and Interests Over a Real against them. They claimed that they do not even know petitioner and that
and postal address at No. 6, Road 20, Project 8, Quezon City, Metro Manila, Property (Still Undivided) pertaining to a waiver of her hereditary share over they did not execute any SPA in favor of Comandante authorizing her to
Philippines, for a valuable consideration of SIX HUNDRED THOUSAND her parents abovementioned property. Purportedly, the execution of said mortgage for the second time the subject property. They also contested the
PESOS (P600,000.00) which constitutes my legal obligation/loan to Pedro M. waiver was to secure Comandantes loan with the couple which at that time due execution of the SPA as it was neither authenticated before the
Ferrer, likewise of legal age, Filipino, married to Erlinda B. Ferrer, with had already ballooned to P600,000.00 due to interests. Philippine Consulate in the United States nor notarized before a notary public
residence and postal address at No. 9, Lot 4, Puerto Rico Street, Loyola in the State of New York where the Diazes have been residing for 16 years.
Grand Villas, Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines, by virtue of these A year later, the couple again required Comandante to sign the following They claimed that they do not owe petitioner anything. The Diazes also
presents, do hereby WAIVE, and/or REPUDIATE all my hereditary rights and documents: (1) a Real Estate Mortgage Contract over her parents property; pointed out that the complaint merely refers to Comandantes personal
interests as a legitimate heir/daughter of Sps. Alfredo T. Diaz and Imelda G. and, (2) an undated Promissory Note, both corresponding to the amount obligation to petitioner with which they had nothing to do. They thus prayed
Diaz in favor of said Pedro M. Ferrer, his heirs and assigns over a certain of P1,118,228.00, which petitioner claimed to be the total amount of that the complaint against them be dismissed.21
Comandantes monetary obligation to him exclusive of charges and interests.
At the Pangans end, they alleged that they acquired the subject property by After the filing of the parties respective Oppositions to the said motions for 1. Ordering defendants-appellants Comandante and Spouses
purchase in good faith and for a consideration of P3,000,000.00 on summary judgment, the trial court, in an Order dated May 31, 2001,26 deemed Diaz to jointly and severally pay plaintiff the sum of Php 1,118,
November 11, 1999 from the Diazes through the latters daughter both motions for summary judgment submitted for resolution. Quoting 228.00; and
Comandante who was clothed with SPA acknowledged before the Consul of substantially petitioners allegations in his Motion for Summary Judgment, it
New York. The Pangans immediately took actual possession of the property thereafter rendered on June 14, 2001 a Summary Judgment27 in favor of 2. Ordering defendants-appellants Comandante and Spouses
without anyone complaining or protesting. Soon thereafter, they were issued petitioner, the dispositive portion of which reads: Diaz to jointly and severally pay plaintiff the amount of
TCT No. N-209049 in lieu of TCT No. RT-6604 which was cancelled. 22 Php10,000.00 plus cost of suit.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, summary judgment is hereby rendered
However, on December 21, 1999, they were surprised upon being informed in favor of plaintiff and against defendants by: SO ORDERED.31
by petitioner that the subject land had been mortgaged to him by the Diazes. Petitioners Motion for Reconsideration32 having been denied by the CA in its
Upon inquiry from Comandante, the latter readily admitted that she has a a) ORDERING all defendants jointly and solidarily to pay plaintiff
the sum of ONE MILLION ONE HUNDRED EIGHTEEN Resolution33 dated September 10, 2004, he now comes to us through this
personal loan with petitioner for which the mortgage of the property in petition for review on certiorari insisting that the Pangans should, together
petitioners favor was executed. She admitted, though, that her parents were THOUSAND TWO HUNDRED TWENTY EIGHT PESOS
(P1,118,228.00) which is blood money of plaintiff; with the other respondents, be held solidarily liable to him for the amount
not aware of such mortgage and that they did not authorize her to enter into of P1,118,228.00.
such contract. Comandante also informed the Pangans that the signatures of b) ORDERING the Honorable Registrar of Deeds of Quezon City
her parents appearing on the SPA are fictitious and that it was petitioner who that the rights and interest of the plaintiff over subject property be Our Ruling
prepared such document. annotated at the back of T.C.T. No. N-209049; The petition lacks merit.
As affirmative defense, the Pangans asserted that the annotation of c) SENTENCING all defendants to pay plaintiffs expenses of
petitioners adverse claim on TCT No. RT-6604 cannot impair their rights as Petitioner merely reiterates his contentions in the Motion for Summary
TEN THOUSAND PESOS (P10,000.00) and to pay the costs of Judgment he filed before the trial court. He insists that his Adverse Claim
new owners of the subject property. They claimed that the Waiver of suit.
Hereditary Rights and Interests Over a Real Property (Still Undivided) upon annotated at the back of TCT No. RT-6604 is not merely anchored on
which petitioners adverse claim is anchored cannot be the source of any IT IS SO ORDERED.28 Comandantes Waiver of Hereditary Rights and Interests Over A Real
right or interest over the property considering that it is null and void under Property (Still Undivided) but also on her being the attorney-in-fact of the
paragraph 2 of Article 1347 of the Civil Code. The Pangans, the Diazes, and Comandante appealed to the CA.29 The Diazes when she executed the mortgage contract in favor of petitioner. He
Pangans faulted the trial court in holding them jointly and severally liable with avers that his adverse claim is not frivolous or invalid and is registrable as the
Moreover, the Pangans asserted that the Real Estate Mortgage Contract the Diazes and Comandante for the satisfaction of the latters personal Registrar of Deeds of Quezon City even allowed its annotation. He also
cannot bind them nor in any way impair their ownership of subject property obligation to petitioner in the total amount of P1,118,228.00. The Diazes and claims that even prior to the sale of subject property to the Pangans, the latter
because it was not registered before the Register of Deeds.23 Comandante, on the other hand, imputed error upon the trial court in already knew of his valid and existing adverse claim thereon and are,
rendering summary judgment in favor of petitioner. They averred that therefore, not purchasers in good faith. Thus, petitioner maintains that the
All the respondents interposed their respective counterclaims and prayed for assuming the summary judgment was proper, the trial court should not have Pangans should be held, together with the Diazes and Comandante, jointly
moral and exemplary damages and attorneys fees in varying amounts. considered the Real Estate Mortgage Contract and the Promissory Note as and severally liable to him in the total amount of P1,118,228.00.
After the parties have submitted their respective pre-trial briefs, the Diazes they were defective, as well as petitioners frivolous and non-registrable
adverse claim. Petitioners contentions are untenable.
filed on March 29, 2001 a Motion for Summary Judgment24 alleging that: first,
since the documents alluded to by petitioner in his complaint were defective, In its Decision30 dated December 12, 2003, the CA declared Comandantes The Affidavit of Adverse Claim executed by petitioner reads in part:
he was not entitled to any legal right or relief; and, second, it was clear from waiver of hereditary rights null and void. However, it found the Real Estate
the pleadings that it is Comandante who has an outstanding obligation with xxxx
Mortgage executed by Comandante on behalf of her parents as binding
petitioner which the latter never denied. With these, the Diazes believed that between the parties thereto. 1. That I am the Recipient/Benefactor of compulsory heirs share
there is no genuine issue as to any material fact against them and, hence, over an undivided certain parcel of land together with all the
they were entitled to summary judgment. As regards the Pangans, the CA ruled that the mortgage contract was not improvements found therein x x x as evidenced by Waiver of
binding upon them as they were purchasers in good faith and for value. The Hereditary Rights and Interests Over A Real Property, executed
On May 7, 2001, petitioner also filed a Motion for Summary property was free from the mortgage encumbrance of petitioner when they
Judgment,25 claiming that his suit against the respondents is meritorious and by REINA D. COMANDANTE (a compulsory/legitimate heir of
acquired it as they only came to know of the adverse claim through Sps. Alfredo T. Diaz and Imelda G. Diaz), x x x.
well-founded and that same is documented and supported by law and petitioners phone call which came right after the formers acquisition of the
jurisprudence. He averred that his adverse claim annotated at the back of property. The CA further ruled that as Comandantes waiver of hereditary 2. That in order to protect my interest over said property as a
TCT No. RT-6604, which was carried over in TCT No. 209049 under the rights and interests upon which petitioners adverse claim was based is a Recipient/Benefactor, for the registered owners/parents might
names of the Pangans, is not merely anchored on the Waiver of Hereditary nullity, it could not be a source of any right in his favor. Hence, the Pangans dispose (of) and/or encumber the same in a fraudulent manner
Rights and Interests Over a Real Property (Still Undivided) executed by were not bound to take notice of such claim and are thus not liable to without my knowledge and consent, for the owners duplicate title
Comandante, but also on the Real Estate Mortgage likewise executed by her petitioner. was not surrendered to me, it is petitioned that this Affidavit of
in representation of her parents and in favor of petitioner. Petitioner insisted Adverse Claim be ANNOTATED at the back of the said title
that said adverse claim is not frivolous and invalid and is registrable under Noticeably, the appellate court did not rule on the propriety of the issuance of particularly on the original copy of Transfer Certificate of Title No.
Section 70 of Presidential Decree (PD) No. 1529. In fact, the Registrar of the Summary Judgment as raised by the Diazes and Comandante. In the RT-6604 (82020) PR-18887 which is on file with the Register of
Deeds of Quezon City had already determined the sufficiency and/or validity ultimate, the CA merely modified the assailed Summary Judgment of the trial Deeds of Quezon City.
of such registration by annotating said claim, and this, respondents failed to court by excluding the Pangans among those solidarily liable to petitioner, in
question. Petitioner further averred that even before the sale and transfer to effect affirming in all other respects the assailed summary judgment, viz: 3. That I am executing this Affidavit in order to attest (to) the truth
the Pangans of the subject property, the latter were already aware of the of the foregoing facts and to petition the Honorable Registrar of
existence of his adverse claim. In view of these, petitioner prayed that his WHEREFORE, foregoing premises considered, the Decision of the Regional Deeds, Quezon City, to annotate this Affidavit of Adverse Claim
Motion for Summary Judgment be granted. Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 224 in Civil Case No. Q-99-38876 is at the back of the said title particularly the original copy of
hereby MODIFIED, as follows: Transfer Certificate of Title No. RT-6604 (82020) PR-18887
Ruling of the Regional Trial Court
which is on file with the said office, so that my interest as by filing with the Register of Deeds a sworn petition to that effect. (Emphasis (2) That the object of the contract forms part of the inheritance;
Recipient/Benefactor of the said property will be protected ours) and,
especially the registered owner/parents, in a fraudulent manner
might dispose (of) and/or encumber the same without my Pursuant to the third paragraph of the afore-quoted provision, it has been (3) That the promissor has, with respect to the object, an
knowledge and consent. (Emphasis ours) held that the validity or efficaciousness of an adverse claim may only be expectancy of a right which is purely hereditary in nature.38
determined by the Court upon petition by an interested party, in which event,
Clearly, petitioners Affidavit of Adverse Claim was based solely on the waiver the Court shall order the immediate hearing thereof and make the proper In this case, there is no question that at the time of execution of
of hereditary interest executed by Comandante. This fact cannot be any adjudication as justice and equity may warrant. And, it is only when such Comandantes Waiver of Hereditary Rights and Interest Over a Real Property
clearer especially so when the inscription of his adverse claim at the back of claim is found unmeritorious that the registration of the adverse claim may be (Still Undivided), succession to either of her parents properties has not yet
TCT No. RT-6604 reads as follows: cancelled.36 been opened since both of them are still living. With respect to the other two
requisites, both are likewise present considering that the property subject
P.E. 2468/T-(82020)RT-6604 - - AFFIDAVIT OF ADVERSE CLAIM - - As correctly pointed out by respondents, the records is bereft of any showing matter of Comandantes waiver concededly forms part of the properties that
Executed under oath by PEDRO M. FERRER, married to Erlinda B. that the trial court conducted any hearing on the matter. Instead, what the trial she expect to inherit from her parents upon their death and, such expectancy
Ferrer, claiming among others that they have a claim, the interest over court did was to include this material issue among those for which it has of a right, as shown by the facts, is undoubtedly purely hereditary in nature.
said property as Recipient/Benefactor, by virtue of a waiver of rendered its summary judgment as shown by the following portion of the
Hereditary Rights and Interest over a real property x x x34 (Emphasis judgment: From the foregoing, it is clear that Comandante and petitioner entered into a
ours) contract involving the formers future inheritance as embodied in the Waiver
x x x it will be NOTED that subject Adverse Claim annotated at the back of of Hereditary Rights and Interest Over a Real Property (Still Undivided)
Therefore, there is no basis for petitioners assertion that the adverse claim Transfer Certificate of Title No. RT-6604 (82020) PR-18887, and carried over executed by her in petitioners favor.
was also anchored on the mortgage contract allegedly executed by to defendants-Sps. Pangans Title No. N-20909, is not merely anchored on
Comandante on behalf of her parents. defendant Reina Comandantes "Waiver of Hereditary Rights and Interest In Taedo v. Court of Appeals,39 we invalidated the contract of sale between
Over a Real Property" but also on her being the Attorney-In-Fact of the Lazaro Taedo and therein private respondents since the subject matter
The questions next to be resolved are: Is Comandantes waiver of hereditary previous registered owners/parents/defendants Sps. Alfredo and Imelda Diaz thereof was a "one hectare of whatever share the former shall have over Lot
rights valid? Is petitioners adverse claim based on such waiver likewise valid about the Real Estate Mortgage Contract for a loan of P1,118,228.00 which is 191 of the cadastral survey of Gerona, Province of Tarlac and covered by
and effective? a blood money of the plaintiff. Moreover, subject Adverse Claim in LRC Case Title T-13829 of the Register of Deeds of Tarlac." It constitutes a part of
No. Q-12009 (99) is NOT frivolous and invalid and consequently, Taedos future inheritance from his parents, which cannot be the source of
We note at the outset that the validity of petitioners adverse claim should any right nor the creator of any obligation between the parties.
have been determined by the trial court after the petition for cancellation of REGISTRABLE by virtue of Section 110 of the Land Registration Act (now
petitioners adverse claim filed by Comandante was consolidated with Civil Section 70 of Presidential Decree No. 1529). 37 (Emphasis ours) Guided by the above discussions, we similarly declare in this case that the
Case No. Q-99-38876.35 This is in consonance with Section 70 of PD 1529 It does not escape our attention that the trial court merely echoed the claim of Waiver of Hereditary Rights and Interest Over a Real Property (Still
which provides: petitioner that his adverse claim subject of LRC Case No. Q-12009 (99) is not Undivided) executed by Comandante in favor of petitioner as not valid and
frivolous, invalid and is consequently registrable. We likewise lament the that same cannot be the source of any right or create any obligation between
Section 70. Adverse Claim. Whoever claims any part or interest in them for being violative of the second paragraph of Article 1347 of the Civil
registered land adverse to the registered owner, arising subsequent to the apparent lack of effort on the part of said court to make even a short
ratiocination as to how it came up with said conclusion. In fact, what followed Code.
date of the original registration, may, if no other provision is made in this
Decree for registering the same, make a statement in writing setting forth fully the above-quoted portion of the summary judgment are mere recitals of the Anent the validity and effectivity of petitioners adverse claim, it is provided in
his alleged right or interest, and how or under whom acquired, a reference to arguments raised by petitioner in his motion for summary judgment. And in Section 70 of PD 1529, that it is necessary that the claimant has a right or
the number of the certificate of title of the registered owner, the name of the the dispositive portion, the trial court merely casually ordered that petitioners interest in the registered land adverse to the registered owner and that it must
registered owner, and a description of the land in which the right or interest is adverse claim be inscribed at the back of the title of the Pangans. What is arise subsequent to registration. Here, as no right or interest on the subject
claimed. worse is that despite this glaring defect, the CA manifestly overlooked the property flows from Comandantes invalid waiver of hereditary rights upon
matter even if respondents vigorously raised the same before it. petitioner, the latter is thus not entitled to the registration of his adverse claim.
The statement shall be signed and sworn to, and shall state the adverse Therefore, petitioners adverse claim is without any basis and must
claimants residence, and a place at which all notices may be served upon Be that as it may, respondents efforts of pointing out this flaw, which we find
significant, have not gone to naught as will be hereinafter discussed. consequently be adjudged invalid and ineffective and perforce be cancelled.
him. This statement shall be entitled to registration as an adverse claim on
the certificate of title. The adverse claim shall be effective for a period of thirty All the respondents contend that the Waiver of Hereditary Rights and Interest Albeit we have already resolved the issues raised by petitioner, we shall not
days from the date of registration. After the lapse of said period, the Over a Real Property (Still Undivided) executed by Comandante is null and stop here as the Diazes and Comandante in their Comment40 call our
annotation of adverse claim may be cancelled upon filing of a verified petition void for being violative of Article 1347 of the Civil Code, hence, petitioners attention to the failure of the CA to pass upon the issue of the propriety of the
therefor by the party in interest: Provided, however, That after cancellation, adverse claim which was based upon such waiver is likewise void and cannot issuance by the trial court of the Summary Judgment in favor of petitioner
no second adverse claim based on the same ground shall be registered by confer upon the latter any right or interest over the property. despite the fact that they have raised this issue before the appellate court.
the same claimant. They argue that summary judgment is proper only when there is clearly no
We agree with the respondents. genuine issue as to any material fact in the action. Thus, where the defendant
Before the lapse of thirty days aforesaid, any party in interest may file a presented defenses tendering factual issue which call for presentation of
petition in the Court of First Instance where the land is situated for the Pursuant to the second paragraph of Article 1347 of the Civil Code, no evidence, as when he specifically denies the material allegations in the
cancellation of the adverse claim, and the court shall grant a speedy hearing contract may be entered into upon a future inheritance except in cases complaint, summary judgment cannot be rendered.
upon the question of validity of such adverse claim, and shall render expressly authorized by law. For the inheritance to be considered "future", the
judgment as may be just and equitable. If the adverse claim is adjudged to be succession must not have been opened at the time of the contract. A contract The Diazes and Comandante then enumerate the genuine issues in the case
invalid, the registration thereof shall be ordered cancelled. If, in any case, the may be classified as a contract upon future inheritance, prohibited under the which they claim should have precluded the trial court from issuing a
court, after notice and hearing, shall find that the adverse claim thus second paragraph of Article 1347, where the following requisites concur: summary judgment in petitioners favor. First, the execution of the SPA in
registered was frivolous, it may fine the claimant in an amount not less than favor of Comandante referred to by petitioner in his complaint was never
one thousand pesos nor more than five thousand pesos, in its discretion. (1) That the succession has not yet been opened. admitted by the Diazes. They assert that as such fact is disputed, trial should
Before the lapse of thirty days, the claimant may withdraw his adverse claim have been conducted to determine the truth of the matter, same being a
genuine issue. Despite this, the trial court merely took the word of the plaintiff (2) the Real Estate Mortgage Contract pertaining to the amount
and assumed that said document was indeed executed by them. Second, of P1,118,228.00; and, (3) a Promissory Note.
although Comandante acknowledges that she has a personal obligation with
petitioner, she nevertheless, did not admit that it was in the amount Comandante, in her Answer to petitioners Amended Complaint, assailed the
of P1,118,228.00. Instead, she claims only the amount of P500,000.00 validity and due execution of the abovementioned documents. She asserted
or P600,000.00 (if inclusive of interest) as her obligation. Moreover, the that the same were not duly, knowingly and validly executed by her and that it
Diazes deny borrowing any money from petitioner and neither did the was petitioner who prepared all of them. Also, although she admitted owing
Pangans owe him a single centavo. Thus, the true amount of the obligation petitioner, same was not an absolute admission as she limited herself to an
due the petitioner and how each of the respondents are responsible for such obligation amounting only to P600,000.00 inclusive of charges and interests.
amount are genuine issues which need formal presentation of She likewise claimed that such obligation is her personal obligation and not of
evidence. Lastly, they aver that the trial court ignored factual and material her parents.
issues such as the lack of probative value of Comandantes waiver of The Diazes, for their part, also denied that they executed the SPA authorizing
hereditary rights as well as of the SPA; the fact that Comandante signed the their daughter to mortgage their property to petitioner as well as having any
mortgage contract and promissory note in her personal capacity; and, that all obligation to the latter.
such documents were prepared by petitioner who acted as a lawyer and the
creditor of Comandante at the same time. Clearly, there are genuine issues in this case which require the presentation
of evidence. For one, it is necessary to ascertain in a full blown trial the
Rule 35 of the Rules of Court provides for summary judgment, the pertinent validity and due execution of the SPA, the Real Estate Mortgage and the
provisions of which are the following: Promissory Notes because the determination of the following equally
Section 1. Summary Judgment for claimant. A party seeking to recover upon significant questions depends on them, to wit: (1) Are the Diazes obligated to
a claim, counterclaim, or cross-claim or to obtain a declaratory relief may, at petitioner or is the obligation a purely personal obligation of Comandante?
any time after the pleading in answer thereto has been served, move with and, (2) Is the sum of P1,118,228.00 as shown in the Real Estate Mortgage
supporting affidavits, depositions or admissions for a summary judgment in and the Promissory Note, the amount which is really due the petitioner?
his favor upon all or any part thereof. To stress, trial courts have limited authority to render summary judgments
Section 2. Summary Judgment for the defending party. A party against whom and may do so only when there is clearly no genuine issue as to any material
a claim, counterclaim or cross-claim is asserted or a declaratory relief is fact. When the facts as pleaded by the parties are disputed or contested,
sought may, at any time, move with supporting affidavits, depositions or proceedings for summary judgment cannot take the place of trial.42 From the
admissions for a summary judgment in his favor as to all or any part thereof. foregoing, it is apparent that the trial court should have refrained from issuing
the summary judgment but instead proceeded to conduct a full blown trial of
Section 3. Motion and proceedings thereon. The motion shall be served at the case. In view of this, the present case should be remanded to the trial
least ten (10) days before the time specified for the hearing. The adverse court for further proceedings and proper disposition according to the
party may serve opposing affidavits, depositions, or admissions at least three rudiments of a regular trial on the merits and not through an abbreviated
(3) days before the hearing. After the hearing, the judgment sought shall be termination of the case by summary judgment.
rendered forthwith if the pleadings, supporting affidavits, depositions and
admissions on file, show that, except as to the amount of damages, there is WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The assailed Decision of the Court of
no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled Appeals dated December 12, 2003 insofar as it excluded the respondents
to a judgment as a matter of law. Spouses Bienvenido Pangan and Elizabeth Pangan from among those
solidarily liable to petitioner Atty. Pedro M. Ferrer, is AFFIRMED. The
As can be deduced from the above provisions, summary judgment is a inscription of the adverse claim of petitioner Atty. Pedro M. Ferrer on T.C.T.
procedural devise resorted to in order to avoid long drawn out litigations and No. N-209049 is hereby ordered CANCELLED. Insofar as its other aspects
useless delays. When the pleadings on file show that there are no genuine are concerned, the assailed Decision is SET ASIDE and VACATED. The
issues of facts to be tried, the Rules of Court allows a party to obtain case is REMANDED to the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 224
immediate relief by way of summary judgment. That is, when the facts are not for further proceedings in accordance with this Decision.
in dispute, the court is allowed to decide the case summarily by applying the
law to the material facts. Conversely, where the pleadings tender a genuine SO ORDERED
issue, summary judgment is not proper. A genuine issue is such fact which
requires the presentation of evidence as distinguished from a sham, fictitious,
contrived or false claim.41
Here, we find the existence of genuine issues which removes the case from
the coverage of summary judgment. The variance in the allegations of the
parties in their pleadings is evident.
Petitioner anchors his complaint for sum of money and/or judicial foreclosure
on the alleged real estate mortgage over the subject property allegedly
entered into by Comandante in behalf of her parents to secure payment of a
loan amounting to P1,118,228.00. To support this claim, petitioner attached
to his complaint (1) the SPA alleged to have been executed by the Diazes;
THIRD DIVISION panahon ay may tutuluyan kung magnanais na mag-aral sa RTC-Branch 17 decided Civil Case No. 562-M-90 (for completion of legitime)
Maynila o kalapit na mga lunsod x x x. in favor of the oppositors-heirs of the first marriage.
G.R. No. 179859 August 9, 2010
f) Ang bigasan, mga makina at pagawaan ng pagkain ng hayop On appeal (docketed as CA G.R. No. 45801), the Court of Appeals, by
IN RE: PETITION FOR PROBATE OF LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT OF ay ipinamamana ko sa aking asawa, Cecilia Lomotan, at mga Decision of January 25, 2002,14 annulled the decision of RTC-Branch 17,
BASILIO SANTIAGO, anak na Zoilo, Ma. Pilar, Ricardo, Cipriano, Felicidad, Eugenia, holding that the RTC Branch 17 dismissal of the Complaint-in-Intervention in
MA. PILAR SANTIAGO and CLEMENTE SANTIAGO, Petitioners, Clemente, at Cleotilde nang pare-pareho. Ngunit, sa loob ng SP No. 1549-M and its August 14, 1978 Order approving the probate of the
vs. dalawampong (20) taon mula sa araw ng aking kamatayan, hindi will constitute res judicata with respect to Civil Case No. 562-M-90.15 Thus the
ZOILO S. SANTIAGO, FELICIDAD SANTIAGO-RIVERA, HEIRS OF nila papartihin ito at pamamahalaan ito ni Clemente at ang appellate court disposed:
RICARDO SANTIAGO, HEIRS OF CIPRIANO SANTIAGO, HEIRS OF maghahawak ng salaping kikitain ay si Ma. Pilar na siyang
magpaparte. Ang papartihin lamang ay ang kita ng mga iyon WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Appeal is hereby GRANTED. The
TOMAS SANTIAGO, Respondents. Decision in Civil Case No. 562-M-90 is hereby ANNULLED on the ground of
FILEMON SOCO, LEONILA SOCO, ANANIAS SOCO, URBANO SOCO, matapos na ang gugol na kakailanganin niyon, bilang reparacion,
pagpapalit o pagpapalaki ay maawas na. Ninais ko ang ganito sa res judicata. Let the Decree of Distribution of the Estate of Basilio Santiago
aking pagmamahal sa kanila at pagaaring ibinubuhay ko sa
DECISION kanila lahat, bukod sa yaon ay sa kanila ding kapakinabangan at SO ORDERED.16 (emphasis in the original; underscoring supplied)
CARPIO MORALES, J.: Oppositors-heirs of the first marriage challenged the appellate courts
g) Ang lahat ng lupa, liban sa lupat bahay sa Lunsod ng decision in CA G.R. No. 45801 by petition for review, docketed as G.R. No.
Basilio Santiago (Basilio) contracted three marriagesthe first to Bibiana Maynila, ay ipinapamana ko sa aking nasabing asawa, Cecilia
Lopez, the second to Irene Santiago, and the third to Cecilia Lomotan. Basilio 155606, which this Court denied.17 The denial became final and executory on
Lomotan, at mga anak na Tomas, Zoilo, Ma. Pilar, Ricardo, April 9, 2003.18
and his first wife bore two offsprings, Irene and Marta, the mother of herein Cipriano, Felicidad, Eugenia, Clemente at Cleotilde nang pare-
oppositors Felimon, Leonila, Consolacion, Ananias, Urbano, and Gertrudes, pareho. Datapwat, gaya din ng mga bigasan, makina at gawaan In the interregnum, or on October 17, 2000, respondent-heirs of the second
all surnamed Soco. ng pagkain ng hayop, ito ay hindi papartihin sa loob ng marriage filed before the probate court (RTC-Branch 10) a Motion for
Basilio and his second wife had six offsprings, Tomas, Cipriano, Ricardo, dalawampong (20) taon mula sa aking pagpanaw, at Termination of Administration, for Accounting, and for Transfer of Titles in the
respondents Zoilo and Felicidad, and petitioner Ma. Pilar, all surnamed pamamahalaan din nila Ma. Pilar at Clemente. Ang mapaparte Names of the Legatees.19 Citing the earlier quoted portions of Basilios will,
Santiago. lamang ay ang kita o ani ng nasabing mga pag-aari matapos they alleged that:
bayaran ang buwis at/o patubig at iba pang mga gugol na
Basilio and his third wife bore three children, Eugenia herein petitioner kailangan. Si Ma. Pilar din ang hahawak ng ani o salaping x x x x the twenty (20) year period within which subject properties should be
Clemente, and Cleotilde, all surnamed Santiago.1 manggagaling dito. (emphasis and underscoring supplied)3 under administration of [Ma.] Pilar Santiago and Clemente Santiago expired
on September 16, 1993.
After Basilio died testate on September 16, 1973, his daughter by the second The oppositors-children of Marta, a daughter of Basilio and his first wife,
marriage petitioner Ma. Pilar filed before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of were, on their motion, allowed to intervene.4 Consequently, [Ma.] Pilar Santiago and Clemente Santiago should have
Bulacan2 a petition for the probate of Basilios will, docketed as SP No. 1549- ceased as such administrator[s] way back on September 16, 1993 and they
M. The will was admitted to probate by Branch 10 of the RTC and Ma. Pilar After the executrix-petitioner Ma. Pilar filed a "Final Accounting, Partition and should have transferred the above said titles to the named legatees in the
was appointed executrix. Distribution in Accordance with the Will,"5 the probate court approved the will Last Will and Testament of the testator by then. Said named legatees in the
by Order of August 14, 1978 and directed the registers of deeds of Bulacan Last Will and Testament are no[ne] other than the following:
The will contained the following provisions, among others: and Manila to register the certificates of title indicated therein.6 Accordingly,
the titles to Lot Nos. 786, 837, 7922, 836 and 838 in Malolos, Bulacan and xxxx
4. Ang mga ari-arian ko na nasasaysay sa itaas ay INIWAN, Lot No. 8-C in Manila were transferred in the name of petitioners Ma. Pilar
IPINAGKAKALOOB, IBINIBIGAY, at IPINAMAMANA ko sa aking mga Said [Ma.] Pilar Santiago and Clemente Santiago should have also rendered
and Clemente.7 an accounting of their administration from such death of the testator up to the
nasabing tagapagmana sa ilalim ng gaya ng sumusunod:
The oppositors thereafter filed a Complaint-in-Intervention8 with the probate present or until transfer of said properties and its administration to the said
xxxx court, alleging that Basilios second wife was not Irene but a certain Maria legatees.
c) ang aking anak na si Ma. Pilar ang magpapalakad at Arellano with whom he had no child; and that Basilios will violates Articles x x x x20
mamamahala ng balutan na nasa Santiago, Malolos, Bulacan, 979-981 of the Civil Code.9
na nasasaysay sa itaas na 2(y); Respondents prayed that petitioners be ordered:
The probate court dismissed the Complaint-in-Intervention, citing its previous
d) Sa pamamahala ng bigasan, pagawaan ng pagkain ng hayop approval of the "Final Accounting, Partition, and Distribution in Accordance 1) To surrender the above-enumerated titles presently in their
at lupat bahay sa Maynila, ang lahat ng solar sa danay ng daang with the Will."10 names to [the] Honorable Court and to transfer the same in the
Malolos-Paombong na nasa Malolos, Bulacan, kasali at kasama names of the designated legatees in the Last Will and
The oppositors-heirs of the first marriage thereupon filed a complaint for Testament, to wit:
ang palaisdaan na nasa likuran niyon, ay ililipat sa pangalan nila completion of legitime before the Bulacan RTC, docketed as Civil Case No.
Ma. Pilar at Clemente; ngunit ang kita ng palaisdaan ay siyang 562-M-90,11 against the heirs of the second and third marriages. 1) asawa, Cecilia Lomotan, at mga anak na
gagamitin nila sa lahat at anomang kailangang gugol, maging
majora o roperacion [sic], sa lupat bahay sa Lunsod ng Maynila In their complaint, oppositors-heirs of the first marriage essentially maintained 2) Tomas
na nasasaysay sa itaas na 2(c); that they were partially preterited by Basilios will because their legitime was
reduced.12 They thus prayed, inter alia, that an inventory and appraisal of all 3) Zoilo
e) Ang lupat bahay sa Lunsod ng Maynila na nasasaysay sa the properties of Basilio be conducted and that Ma. Pilar and Clemente be
itaas na 2(c) ay ililipat at ilalagay sa pangalan nila Ma. Pilar at 4) Ma. Pilar
required to submit a fresh accounting of all the incomes of the properties from
Clemente hindi bilang pamana ko sa kanila kundi upang the time of Basilios death up to the time of the filing of Civil Case No. 562-M- 5) Ricardo
pamahalaan at pangalagaan lamang nila at nang ang sinoman 90.13
sa aking mga anak sampu ng apo at kaapuapuhan ko sa habang 6) Cipriano
7) Felicidad Further, the Register of Deeds of Bulacan are hereby DIRECTED to cancel A. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT BINDING
and consider as no force and effects Transfer Certificates of Title Nos. T- ITSELF WITH ITS PREVIOUS DECISION INVOLVING THE
8) Eugenia 249177 (RT-46294) [Lot No. 786], T-249175 (RT-46295) [Lot No. 837], T- SAME PARTIES AND SAME PROPERTIES;
9) Clemente at 249174 (RT-46296) [Lot No. 7922], T-249173 (RT-46297) [Lot No. 836], and
T-249176 (RT-46293) [Lot No. 838] in the names of Ma. Pilar Santiago and B. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE
10) Cleotilde Clemente Santiago and to issue new ones in the lieu thereof in the names of RTC AS IT AGREED WITH THE RTC THAT THIS CASE IS NOT
Cecilia Lomotan-Santiago, Tomas Santiago, Zoilo Santiago, Ma. Pilar BARRED BY RES JUDICATA;
(all surnamed SANTIAGO) Santiago, Ricardo Santiago, Cipriano Santiago, Felicidad Santiago, Eugenia C. IN C.A.-G.R. NO. 45801, THE HONORABLE COURT OF
2) To peacefully surrender possession and administration of Santiago, Clemente Santiago, and Cleotilde Santiago. APPEALS HELD THAT THERE WAS RES JUDICATA; IN C.A.-
subject properties, including any and all improvements thereon, Moreover, the Register of Deeds of Manila is hereby DIRECTED to cancel G.R. CV NO. 83094, THERE WAS NO RES JUDICATA.
to said legatees. and consider as no force and effect Transfer Certificate of Title No. 131044 II.
3) To render an accounting of their administration of said [Lot No. 8-C] in the names of Ma. Pilar Santiago and Clemente Santiago and
properties and other properties of the testator under their to issue new ones in lieu thereof in the names of the Heirs of Bibiana Lopez, "GRANTING THAT THE COURT OF APPEALS HAS ALL THE
administration, from death of testator Basilio Santiago on the Heirs of Irene Santiago, and the Heirs of Cecilia Lomotan. COMPETENCE AND JURISDICTION TO REVERSE ITSELF, STILL THE
September 16, 1973 up to the present and until possession and COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE RTCS ORDER TO
The Motion to Suspend Proceedings filed by Filemon, Leonila, Ma. TRANSFER THE MANILA PROPERTY COVERED BY TCT NO. 131004 TO
administration thereof is transferred to said legatees.21 Concepcion, Ananias, Urbano and Gertrudes, all surnamed Soco, dated THE NAMES OF CECILIA LOMOTAN, TOMAS, ZOILO, MA. PILAR,
Opposing the motion, petitioners argued that with the approval of the Final December 3, 2002, is hereby DENIED for lack of merit.24 RICARDO, CIPRIANO FELICIDAD, EUGENIA, CLEMENTE AND
Accounting, Partition and Distribution in Accordance with the Will, and with Respecting petitioners argument that the case had long been closed and CLEOTILDE, ALL SURNAMED SANTIAGO."29 (emphasis in the original)
the subsequent issuance of certificates of title covering the properties terminated, the trial court held:
involved, the case had long since been closed and terminated.22 The petition lacks merit.
x x x x [I]t is clear from the Last Will and Testament that subject properties Petitioners argument that the decision of the appellate court in the earlier
The probate court, finding that the properties in question would be transferred cannot actually be partitioned until after 20 years from the death of the
to petitioners Ma. Pilar and Clemente for purposes of administration only, CA-G.R. NO. 45801 (upheld by this Court in G.R. No. 155606) constitutes res
testator Basilio Santiago x x x x. It is, therefore, clear that something more judicata to the subsequent CA G.R. No. 83094 (the subject of the present
granted the motion, by Order of September 5, 2003,23 disposing as follows: has to be done after the approval of said Final Accounting, Partition, and petition for review) fails.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Motion for Termination of Distribution. The testator Basilio Santiago died on September 16, 1973,
Administration, for Accounting, and for Transfer of Titles in the Names of the hence, the present action can only be filed after September 16, 1993. Res judicata has two aspects, which are embodied in Sections 47 (b) and 47
Legatees dated October 3, 2000 filed by some heirs of the testator Basilio Movants cause of action accrues only from the said date and for which no (c) of Rule 39 of the Rules of Civil Procedure.30 The first, known as "bar by
Santiago xxx is hereby GRANTED. Accordingly, the administratrix [sic] Ma. prescription of action has set in. prior judgment," proscribes the prosecution of a second action upon the same
Pilar Santiago and Mr. Clemente Santiago are hereby DIRECTED, as follows: claim, demand or cause of action already settled in a prior action.31 The
The principle of res judicata does not apply in the present probate proceeding second, known as "conclusiveness of judgment," ordains that issues actually
a.) To surrender the above-enumerated titles presently in their which is continuing in character, and terminates only after and until the final and directly resolved in a former suit cannot again be raised in any future
names to this Honorable Court and to transfer the same in the distribution or settlement of the whole estate of the deceased in accordance case between the same parties involving a different cause of action.32
names of the designated legatees in the Last Will and with the provision of the will of the testator. The Order dated August 14, 1978
Testament, to wit: 1.) asawa, Cecilia Lomotan at mga anak na 2.) refers only to the accounting, partition, and distribution of the estate of the Both aspects of res judicata, however, do not find application in the present
Tomas 3). Zoilo 4.) Ma. Pilar 5.) Ricardo 6.) Cipriano 7.) deceased for the period covering from the date of the filing of the petition for case. The final judgment regarding oppositors complaint on the reduction of
Felicidad 8.) Eugenia 9.) Clemente and 10.) Cleotilde all named probate on December 27, 1973 up to August 14, 1978. And in the said their legitime in CA-G.R. NO. 45801 does not dent the present petition, which
SANTIAGO. August 14, 1978 order it does not terminate the appointment of petitioner[s] solely tackles the propriety of the termination of administration, accounting
Ma. Pilar Santiago and Clemente Santiago as executrix and administrator, and transfer of titles in the names of the legatees-heirs of the second and
b.) To peacefully surrender possession and administration of respectively, of the estate of the deceased particularly of those properties third marriages. There is clearly no similarity of claim, demand or cause of
subject properties including any and all improvements thereon, to which were prohibited by the testator to be partitioned within 20 years from action between the present petition and G.R. No. 155606.
said legatees; and his death. Since then up to the present, Ma. Pilar Santiago and Clemente
Santiago remain the executor and administrator of the estate of the deceased While as between the two cases there is identity of parties, "conclusiveness
c.) To render an accounting of their administration of subject and as such, they are required by law to render an accounting thereof from of judgment" cannot likewise be invoked. Again, the judgment in G.R. No.
properties, including any and all improvements thereon, to said August 14, 1978 up to the present; there is also now a need to partition and 155606 would only serve as an estoppel as regards the issue on oppositors
legatees; and distribute the aforesaid properties as the prohibition period to do so has supposed preterition and reduction of legitime, which issue is not even a
elapsed. (emphasis and underscoring supplied)25 subject, or at the very least even invoked, in the present petition.
d.) To submit an accounting of their administration of the above-
mentioned estate of the testator or all the above said lots Petitioners, together with the oppositors, filed a motion for What is clear is that petitioners can invoke res judicata insofar as the
including the rice mill, animal feeds factory, and all improvements reconsideration,26 which the probate court denied, drawing them to appeal to judgment in G.R. No. 155606 is concerned against the oppositors only. The
thereon from August 14, 1978 up to the present. the Court of Appeals which docketed it as CA G.R. No. 83094. records reveal, however, that the oppositors did not appeal the decision of
the appellate court in this case and were only impleaded pro forma parties.
e.) To submit a proposed Project of Partition, indicating how the The Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the probate court,27 hence, the
parties may actually partition or adjudicate all the above said petition28 which raises the following grounds: Apparently, petitioners emphasize on the directive of the appellate court in
properties including the properties already in the name of all the CA G.R. No. 45801 that the decree of distribution of the estate of Basilio
said legatees xxx. I. should remain undisturbed. But this directive goes only so far as to prohibit
the interference of the oppositors in the distribution of Basilios estate and
x x x x. "CAN THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS REVERSE ITSELF" does not pertain to respondents supervening right to demand the termination
of administration, accounting and transfer of titles in their names.
Thus, the Order of September 5, 2003 by the probate court granting
respondents Motion for Termination of Administration, for Accounting, and for
Transfer of Titles in the Names of the Legatees is a proper and necessary
continuation of the August 14, 1978 Order that approved the accounting,
partition and distribution of Basilios estate. As did the appellate court, the
Court notes that the August 14, 1978 Order was yet to become final pending
the whole settlement of the estate. And final settlement of the estate, in this
case, would culminate after 20 years or on September 16, 1993, when the
prohibition to partition the properties of the decedent would be lifted.
Finally, petitioners object to the inclusion of the house and lot in Manila,
covered by TCT No. 131044, among those to be transferred to the legatees-
heirs as it would contravene the testators intent that no one is to own the
The Court is not persuaded. It is clear from Basilios will that he intended the
house and lot in Manila to be transferred in petitioners names for
administration purposes only, and that the property be owned by the heirs in
common, thus:
e) Ang lupat bahay sa Lunsod ng Maynila na nasasaysay sa
itaas na 2(c) ay ililipat at ilalagay sa pangalan nila Ma. Pilar at
Clemente hindi bilang pamana ko sa kanila kundi upang
pamahalaan at pangalagaan lamang nila at nang ang sinoman
sa aking mga anak sampu ng apo at kaapuapuhan ko sa habang
panahon ay may tutuluyan kung magnanais na mag-aral sa
Maynila o kalapit na mga lunsod sa medaling salita, ang bahay
at lupang itoy walang magmamay-ari bagkus ay gagamitin
habang panahon ng sinomang magnanais sa aking
kaapuapuhan na tumuklas ng karunungan sa paaralan sa
Maynila at katabing mga lunsod x x x x33 (emphasis and
underscoring supplied)
But the condition set by the decedent on the propertys indivisibility is subject
to a statutory limitation. On this point, the Court agrees with the ruling of the
appellate court, viz:
For this Court to sustain without qualification, [petitioners]s contention, is to
go against the provisions of law, particularly Articles 494, 870, and 1083
of the Civil Code, which provide that the prohibition to divide a property in a
co-ownership can only last for twenty (20) years x x x x
x x x x Although the Civil Code is silent as to the effect of the indivision of a
property for more than twenty years, it would be contrary to public policy to
sanction co-ownership beyond the period expressly mandated by the Civil
Code x x x x34
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED.
Costs against petitioners.
SECOND DIVISION did not, however, immediately terminate it's A-300 pilots. It reviewed SIN$154,742.00, or its equivalent in Philippine currency at the current
their qualifications for possible promotion to the B-747 fleet. Among the rate of exchange at the time of payment; and the further amounts of
G.R. No. 114776 February 2, 2000 17 excess Airbus pilots reviewed, twelve were found qualified. P67,500.00 as consequential damages with legal interest from the filing
MENANDRO B. LAUREANO, petitioner, Unfortunately, plaintiff was not one of the twelve. of the complaint until fully paid;
vs. On October 5, 1982, defendant informed plaintiff of his termination P1,000,000.00 as and for moral damages; P1,000,000.00 as and for
COURT OF APPEALS AND SINGAPORE AIRLINES effective November 1, 1982 and that he will be paid three (3) months exemplary damages; and P100,000.00 as and for attorney's fees.
LIMITED, respondents. salary in lieu of three months notice (Annex "I", pp. 41-42, Rec.).
Because he could not uproot his family on such short notice, plaintiff Costs against defendant.
requested a three-month notice to afford him time to exhaust all possible SO ORDERED.2
This petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court avenues for reconsideration and retention. Defendant gave only two (2)
seeks to reverse the Decision of the Court of Appeals, dated October 29, months notice and one (1) month salary. (t.s.n., Nov. 12, 1987. p. 25). Singapore Airlines timely appealed before the respondent court and raised
1993, in C.A. G.R. No. CV 34476, as well as its Resolution dated February the issues of jurisdiction, validity of termination, estoppel, and damages.
28, 1994, which denied the motion for reconsideration. Aggrieved, plaintiff on June 29, 1983, instituted a case for illegal
dismissal before the Labor Arbiter. Defendant moved to dismiss on On October 29, 1993, the appellate court set aside the decision of the trial
The facts of the case as summarized by the respondent appellate court are jurisdiction grounds. Before said motion was resolved, the complaint was court, thus,
as follows: withdrawn. Thereafter, plaintiff filed the instant case for damages due to
illegal termination of contract of services before the court a . . . In the instant case, the action for damages due to illegal termination
Sometime in 1978, plaintiff [Menandro B. Laureano, herein petitioner], quo (Complaint, pp. 1-10, Rec.). was filed by plaintiff-appellee only on January 8, 1987 or more than four
then Director of Flight Operations and Chief Pilot of Air Manila, applied (4) years after the effectivity date of his dismissal on November 1, 1982.
for employment with defendant company [herein private respondent] Again, defendant on February 11, 1987 filed a motion to dismiss Clearly, plaintiff-appellee's action has already prescribed.
through its Area Manager in Manila. alleging inter alia: (1) that the court has no jurisdiction over the subject
matter of the case, and (2) that Philippine courts have no jurisdiction WHEREFORE, the appealed decision is hereby REVERSED and SET
On September 30, 1978, after the usual personal interview, defendant over the instant case. Defendant contends that the complaint is for illegal ASIDE. The complaint is hereby dismissed.
wrote to plaintiff, offering a contract of employment as an expatriate B- dismissal together with a money claim arising out of and in the course of
707 captain for an original period of two (2) years commencing on SO ORDERED.3
plaintiffs employment "thus it is the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC who
January 21, 1978. Plaintiff accepted the offer and commenced working have the jurisdiction pursuant to Article 217 of the Labor Code" and that, Petitioner's and Singapore Airlines' respective motions for reconsideration
on January 20, 1979. After passing the six-month probation period, since plaintiff was employed in Singapore, all other aspects of his were denied.
plaintiffs appointment was confirmed effective July 21, 1979. (Annex "B", employment contract and/or documents executed in Singapore. Thus,
p. 30, Rollo). defendant postulates that Singapore laws should apply and courts Now, before the Court, petitioner poses the following queries:
On July 21, 1979, defendant offered plaintiff an extension of his two-year thereat shall have jurisdiction. (pp. 50-69, Rec.). 1. IS THE PRESENT ACTION ONE BASED ON CONTRACT WHICH
contract to five (5) years effective January 21, 1979 to January 20, 1984 In traversing defendant's arguments, plaintiff claimed that: (1) where the PRESCRIBES IN TEN YEARS UNDER ARTICLE 1144 OF THE NEW CIVIL
subject to the terms and conditions set forth in the contract of items demanded in a complaint are the natural consequences flowing CODE OR ONE FOR DAMAGES ARISING FROM AN INJURY TO THE
employment, which the latter accepted (Annex "C" p. 31, Rec.). from a breach of an obligation and not labor benefits, the case is RIGHTS OF THE PLAINTIFF WHICH PRESCRIBES IN FOUR YEARS
intrinsically a civil dispute; (2) the case involves a question that is UNDER ARTICLE 1146 OF THE NEW CIVIL CODE?
During his service as B-707 captain, plaintiff on August 24, 1980, while
in command of a flight, committed a noise violation offense at the Zurich beyond the field of specialization of labor arbiters; and (3) if the 2. CAN AN EMPLOYEE WITH A FIXED PERIOD OF EMPLOYMENT BE
Airport, for which plaintiff apologized.(Exh. "3", p. 307, Rec.). complaint is grounded not on the employee's dismissal per se but on the RETRENCHED BY HIS EMPLOYER?
manner of said dismissal and the consequence thereof, the case falls
Sometime in 1980, plaintiff featured in a tail scraping incident wherein under the jurisdiction of the civil courts. (pp. 70-73, Rec.) 3. CAN THERE BE VALID RETRENCHMENT IF AN EMPLOYER MERELY
the tail of the aircraft scraped or touched the runway during landing. He FAILS TO REALIZE THE EXPECTED PROFITS EVEN IF IT WERE NOT, IN
was suspended for a few days until he was investigated by board On March 23, 1987, the court a quo denied defendant's motion to FACT, INCURRING LOSSES?
headed by Capt. Choy. He was reprimanded. dismiss (pp. 82-84, Ibid). The motion for reconsideration was likewise
denied. (p. 95 ibid.) At the outset, we find it necessary to state our concurrence on the
On September 25, 1981, plaintiff was invited to take a course of A-300 assumption of jurisdiction by the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 9.
conversion training at Aeroformacion, Toulouse, France at dependant's On September 16, 1987, defendant filed its answer reiterating the The trial court rightly ruled on the application of Philippine law, thus:
expense. Having successfully completed and passed the training grounds relied upon in its motion to dismiss and further arguing that
course, plaintiff was cleared on April 7, 1981, for solo duty as captain of plaintiff is barred by laches, waiver, and estoppel from instituting the Neither can the Court determine whether the termination of the plaintiff is
the Airbus A-300 and subsequently appointed as captain of the A-300 complaint and that he has no cause of action . (pp. 102-115)1 legal under the Singapore Laws because of the defendant's failure to
fleet commanding an Airbus A-300 in flights over Southeast Asia. show which specific laws of Singapore Laws apply to this case. As
On April 10, 1991, the trial court handed down its decision in favor of plaintiff. substantially discussed in the preceding paragraphs, the Philippine
(Annexes "D", "E" and "F", pp. 34-38, Rec.). The dispositive portion of which reads: Courts do not take judicial notice of the laws of Singapore. The
Sometime in 1982, defendant, hit by a recession, initiated cost-cutting WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of plaintiff defendant that claims the applicability of the Singapore Laws to this case
measures. Seventeen (17) expatriate captains in the Airbus fleet were Menandro Laureano and against defendant Singapore Airlines Limited, has the burden of proof. The defendant has failed to do so. Therefore,
found in excess of the defendant's requirement (t.s.n., July 6, 1988. p. ordering defendant to pay plaintiff the amounts of the Philippine law should be applied.4
11). Consequently, defendant informed its expatriate pilots including
plaintiff of the situation and advised them to take advance leaves. (Exh. SIN$396,104.00, or its equivalent in Philippine currency at the current Respondent Court of Appeals acquired jurisdiction when defendant filed its
"15", p. 466, Rec.) rate of exchange at the time of payment, as and for unearned appeal before said court.5 On this matter, respondent court was correct when
compensation with legal interest from the filing of the complaint until fully it barred defendant-appellant below from raising further the issue of
Realizing that the recession would not be for a short time, defendant paid; jurisdiction.6
decided to terminate its excess personnel (t.s.n., July 6, 1988, p. 17). It
Petitioner now raises the issue of whether his action is one based on Article We base our conclusion not on Article 1144 of the Civil Code but on which ACCORDINGLY, the instant petition is DISMISSED. The decision of the
1144 or on Article 1146 of the Civil Code. According to him, his termination of sets the prescription period at three (3) years and which governs under this Court of Appeals in C.A. CV No. 34476 is AFFIRMED.
employment effective November 1, 1982, was based on an employment jurisdiction.
contract which is under Article 1144, so his action should prescribe in 10 SO ORDERED.
years as provided for in said article. Thus he claims the ruling of the appellate Petitioner claims that the running of the prescriptive period was tolled when
court based on Article 1146 where prescription is only four (4) years, is an he filed his complaint for illegal dismissal before the Labor Arbiter of the
error. The appellate court concluded that the action for illegal dismissal National Labor Relations Commission. However, this claim deserves scant
originally filed before the Labor Arbiter on June 29, 1983, but which was consideration; it has no legal leg to stand on. In Olympia International,
withdrawn, then filed again in 1987 before the Regional Trial Court, had Inc., vs., Court of Appeals, we held that "although the commencement of a
already prescribed. civil action stops the running of the statute of prescription or limitations, its
dismissal or voluntary abandonment by the plaintiff leaves in exactly the
In our view, neither Article 11447 nor Article 11468 of the Civil Code is here same position as though no action had been commenced at all."12
pertinent. What is applicable is Article 291 of the Labor Code, viz:
Now, as to whether petitioner's separation from the company due to
Art. 291. Money claims. All money claims arising from retrenchment was valid, the appellate court found that the employment
employee-employer relations accruing during the effectivity of contract of petitioner allowed for pre-termination of employment. We agree
this Code shall be filed within three (3) years from the time the with the Court of Appeals when it said,
cause of action accrued; otherwise they shall be forever barred.
It is a settled rule that contracts have the force of law between
xxx xxx xxx the parties. From the moment the same is perfected, the parties
are bound not only to the fulfillment of what has been expressly
What rules on prescription should apply in cases like this one has long been stipulated but also to all consequences which, according to their
decided by this Court. In illegal dismissal, it is settled, that the ten-year nature, may be in keeping with good faith, usage and law. Thus,
prescriptive period fixed in Article 1144 of the Civil Code may not be invoked when plaintiff-appellee accepted the offer of employment, he was
by petitioners, for the Civil Code is a law of general application, while the bound by the terms and conditions set forth in the contract,
prescriptive period fixed in Article 292 of the Labor Code [now Article 291] is among others, the right of mutual termination by giving three
a SPECIAL LAW applicable to claims arising from employee-employer months written notice or by payment of three months salary.
relations.9 Such provision is clear and readily understandable, hence, there
More recently in De Guzman vs. Court of Appeals,10 where the money claim is no room for interpretation.
was based on a written contract, the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the xxx xxx xxx
Court held:
Further, plaintiff-appellee's contention that he is not bound by the
. . . The language of Art. 291 of the Labor Code does not limit its provisions of the Agreement, as he is not a signatory thereto,
application only to "money claims specifically recoverable under deserves no merit. It must be noted that when plaintiff-appellee's
said Code" but covers all money claims arising from an employment was confirmed, he applied for membership with the
employee-employer relations" (Citing Cadalin v. POEA Singapore Airlines Limited (Pilots) Association, the signatory to
Administrator, 238 SCRA 721, 764 [1994]; and Uy v. National the aforementioned Agreement. As such, plaintiff-appellee is
Labor Relations Commission, 261 SCRA 505, 515 [1996]). . . . estopped from questioning the legality of the said agreement or
It should be noted further that Article 291 of the Labor Code is a any proviso contained therein.13
special law applicable to money claims arising from employer- Moreover, the records of the present case clearly show that respondent
employee relations; thus, it necessarily prevails over Article 1144 court's decision is amply supported by evidence and it did not err in its
of the Civil Code, a general law. Basic is the rule in statutory findings, including the reason for the retrenchment:
construction that "where two statutes are of equal theoretical
application to a particular case, the one designed therefore When defendant-appellant was faced with the world-wide
should prevail." (Citing Leveriza v. Intermediate Appellate Court, recession of the airline industry resulting in a slow down in the
157 SCRA 282, 294.) Generalia specialibus non derogant.11 company's growth particularly in the regional operation (Asian
Area) where the Airbus 300 operates. It had no choice but to
In the light of Article 291, aforecited, we agree with the appellate court's adopt cost cutting measures, such as cutting down services,
conclusion that petitioner's action for damages due to illegal termination filed number of frequencies of flights, and reduction of the number of
again on January 8, 1987 or more than four (4) years after the effective date flying points for the A-300 fleet (t.s.n., July 6, 1988, pp. 17-18).
of his dismissal on November 1, 1982 has already prescribed. As a result, defendant-appellant had to lay off A-300 pilots,
In the instant case, the action for damages due to illegal including plaintiff-appellee, which it found to be in excess of what
termination was filed by plaintiff-appelle only on January 8, 1987 is reasonably needed.14
or more than four (4) years after the effectivity date of his All these considered, we find sufficient factual and legal basis to conclude
dismissal on November 1, 1982. Clearly, plaintiff-appellee's that petitioner's termination from employment was for an authorized cause,
action has already prescribed. for which he was given ample notice and opportunity to be heard, by
respondent company. No error nor grave abuse of discretion, therefore, could
be attributed to respondent appellate court.1wphi1.nt
SECOND DIVISION Wherefore, premises considered, Civil Case No. 3736 is hereby is, as the Court of Appeals itself cited in its decision, when the negligence is
ordered DISMISSED for lack of merit; while in Civil Case No. 97- so gross that the client is deprived of his day in court.17
G.R. No. 159240 February 4, 2008 3750, defendant Gregorio Silot is hereby ordered to return the
amount of P191,525.02 to the plaintiff, Estrella de la Rosa; to In our considered view, however, that exception does not find any application
GREGORIO SILOT, JR., petitioner, in this case. As the records would plainly show, Silot was not deprived of his
vs. pay P100,000.00 for [a]ttorney's fees and P50,000.00 as nominal
damages. day in court. Also, as the appellate court observed, he could have introduced
ESTRELLA DE LA ROSA, respondent. evidence, testimonial or otherwise, in order to controvert or correct the
DECISION SO ORDERED.6 admission made by his counsel. Said the appellate court:

QUISUMBING, J.: On appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the lower court. As gleaned from the records, defendant-appellant Silot was
Hence, the instant petition wherein Silot assigned the following errors: not deprived of his day in court. He was given every opportunity
This is a petition for review of the Decision1 dated July 9, 2003 of the Court of to be heard through his pleadings and manifestations. He was
Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 68062 entitled "Estrella de la Rosa v. Gregorio I. also presented in open court to testify. As quoted earlier, Atty.
Silot, Jr." The appellate court had affirmed with modification the Joint The Honorable Court of Appeals erred in construing the Terbio, counsel for plaintiff-appellee de la Rosa, even repeatedly
Decision2 dated May 24, 2000 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 61, admission ma[d]e by Atty. San Jose on the purpose for the asked Atty. San Jose, defendant-appellant Silot's counsel, if he
Naga City, in Civil Case Nos. 97-3736 and 97-3750, and decreed as follows: testimony of witness Ariel [Goingo] as admission of evidence. would admit the purpose for which the witness Ariel Goingo will
testify to dispense with his testimony, and Atty. San Jose
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the assailed Joint Decision II. repeatedly answered that "We will admit that." And when asked
dated May 24, 2000 of the RTC, Branch 61, Naga City in Civil by the judge if he will admit it, he answered that they will
Cases Nos. 97-3736 and 97-3750 is hereby AFFIRMED WITH The Honorable Court of Appeals erred in deciding and ordering admit P2,504,000.00.18
MODIFICATION, deleting the award for nominal damages and petitioner-appellant to return the amount of P191,525.02 to
reducing the award of attorney's fees to Twenty Thousand respondent appellee and also to pay P20,000.00 attorney[']s More importantly, Silot's counsel clearly made admissions of the content of
(P20,000.00) Pesos. fees.7 the testimony of witness Goingo, whose presentation was dispensed with.
In People v. Hernandez,19 we held that admissions made for the purpose of
Other awards not otherwise modified or deleted stand. Simply stated, petitioner is raising the following issues to be resolved: (1) dispensing with proof of some facts are in the nature of judicial admissions, to
whether the admission by Atty. San Jose, counsel of petitioner Silot, wit:
SO ORDERED.3 constituted judicial admission of respondent's evidence; and (2) whether the
As culled from the records by the Court of Appeals, the antecedent facts of appellate court erred in ruling that Silot should return the claimed amount A stipulation of facts entered into by the prosecution and defense
this case are as follows: of P191,525.02 to de la Rosa. counsel during trial in open court is automatically reduced into
writing and contained in the official transcript of the proceedings
On January 19, 1996, petitioner Gregorio Silot, Jr. and respondent Estrella de Petitioner Silot contends that his counsel Atty. San Jose merely admitted that had in court. The conformity of the accused in the form of his
la Rosa entered into a contract for the construction of a dormitory-apartment the subject of Goingo's testimony was that stated in the offer of testimony, but signature affixed thereto is unnecessary in view of the fact that:
building on Lot 1-A-9-D, Bagumbayan Sur, Naga City. They expressly agreed he did not admit the truth or veracity of the testimony. Silot adds that Atty. "[] an attorney who is employed to manage a party's conduct of
that Silot shall supply the labor and de la Rosa shall pay 33% of the total San Jose could not and should not have admitted the testimony because he a lawsuit [] has prima facie authority to make relevant
value of the materials purchased for the project. Upon turnover in February had no special power of attorney to enter into such stipulations or to admissions by pleadings, by oral or written stipulation, [] which
1997 of the completed structure, the total cost of materials actually purchased compromise his client's right without the latter's direct intervention.8 unless allowed to be withdrawn are conclusive." (Italics
was P2,504,469.65, 33% of which is P826,474.98. Silot required de la Rosa Respondent de la Rosa counters that clients are bound by the admissions as supplied.) In fact, "judicial admissions are frequently those of
to pay a total of P1,018,000.00, or P191,525.02 more than the amount due. well as the negligence of their counsel. She enumerates several Court counsel or of the attorney of record, who is, for the purpose
Through her son-in-law, de la Rosa confronted Silot about the overpayment decisions to support her contention, among them the following cases: of the trial, the agent of his client. When such admissions
but the latter refused to return the overpayment. After her repeated demands are made [] for the purpose of dispensing with proof of
fell on deaf ears, de la Rosa filed a suit against Silot. (1) Ongson v. People,9 where petitioner was held bound by his unqualified some fact, [] they bind the client, whether made during, or
admission that he received private complainant's demand letter with notice of even after, the trial.20 (Emphasis supplied.)
Silot, in retaliation, sued de la Rosa for insufficient payment, claiming that he dishonor. The admission binds him considering that he never denied receipt
was supposed to receive P1,281,872.404 but was only paid P1,008,000.00, of the notice of dishonor. Worth stressing, in this connection, judicial admissions do not require proof
thus still leaving a balance of P273,872.40. and may not be contradicted in the absence of a prior showing that the
(2) Republic v. Sarabia,10 where the Court held that an admission made in the admissions had been made through palpable mistake.21
The two cases were consolidated by the trial court. pleading cannot be controverted by the party making such admission and are
conclusive as to him. Furthermore, in the case of Toh v. Court of Appeals,22 this Court emphasized
During trial, however, Atty. San Jose, counsel for Silot, dispensed with the the consequence of admitting and dispensing with the testimony of the
testimony of Ariel Goingo, a witness for de la Rosa. Atty. San Jose admitted (3) People v. Genosa,11 Arroyo, Jr. v. Taduran,12 Carandang v. Court of proposed witness, thus:
Goingo's proposed testimony to the effect that in consideration of the 33% as Appeals,13 in which cases the Court held that judicial admissions are
mentioned in the contract, all the material supplies during the making of the conclusive upon the party making it and may not be contradicted in the The Court sees no cogent reason why the said witness should
additional works mentioned were already accounted for; that Silot was paid absence of prior showing that the admission had been made through be examined any further since his testimony as summarized in
for all works that were performed as well as all materials supplied; that the palpable mistake, or no admission was in fact made. the offer made by counsel was expressly admitted by opposing
total sum was P2,504,469.65, so that 33% of which is only P826,474.98; that counsel. With the said admission, the testimony of said witness
de la Rosa paid the amount of P1,018,000.00; hence, there was an excess (4) People v. Razul14 and Lim v. Jabalde,15 where it was held that stipulations is uncontroverted and even admitted as fact by opposing
payment of P191,525.02; and that de la Rosa never received any demand are recognized as declarations constituting judicial admissions, hence, counsel.23
from nor was she confronted by Silot regarding an alleged balance.5 binding upon the parties.
On the issue of insufficient payment, Silot avers that he has rendered or
Consequently, after trial, the RTC ruled in favor of de la Rosa and ordered Moreover, well-entrenched is the rule that the client is bound by the mistakes provided labor for the total amount of P1,281,872.40, and that de la Rosa has
Silot to return the overpaid amount, decreeing as follows: arising from negligence of his own counsel.16 The only exception to this rule benefited and profited from these labors.24 Without the labors provided by
Silot, the constructed building would not have been painted, provided with
electrical works and other works which were additional works on the building,
and that to sanction de la Rosa's claim would be to allow unjust enrichment
on the part of de la Rosa.25 However, this claim has been belied by the
admission made by his own counsel, as plainly manifest in the transcript:
Atty. Terbio
The purpose for which this witness will testify are the
following: If admitted, we are willing to dispense the
testimony. He will testify that in consideration of
the 33% as mentioned in the contract, all the
material supplies during the making of the
additional works mentioned were all considered;
he will testify that Silot was paid of all works that
was performed as well as all materials supplied
were considered, and that the sum total of which
is P2,504,469.65 and 33% of which
is P826,474.98, and that De la Rosa paid the total
amount of P1,018,000.00, and therefore, there is
an excess payment of P191,525.00; he will testify
that De la Rosa never received the demand or
was confronted by Silot regarding an alleged
balance, now, if the counsel wish to admit this.
We admit that.
Because these are all evidentiary and this has not
been adequately covered.
We will admit that.26 (Emphasis supplied.)
Clearly, given the circumstances of this case, the Court of Appeals did not err
in ordering petitioner to return to respondent the amount of P191,525.02
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DENIED for lack of merit. The Decision
dated July 9, 2003 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 68062
is AFFIRMED. Petitioner Gregorio Silot, Jr. is hereby ordered to return the
amount of P191,525.02 to respondent Estrella de la Rosa, and to
pay P20,000.00 as attorney's fees. Costs against petitioner.