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Padilla, J.
NCC 42: Effects of Deaths on Rights and Obligations

DOCTRINE: Civil personality is extinguished by death. The effect of death upon the rights and obligations of the
deceased is determined by law, by contract and by will.

CASE SUMMARY: Before learning of her death, Vitalianas brothers and sisters filed for habeas corpus against
Tomas Eugenio, Sr. who was alleged to have forcibly taken Vitaliana and kept her in his residence where she
eventually died. Refusing to surrender Vitalianas body, Eugenio claimed that the court had no jurisdiction over
Vitalianas body and that he, as her common law husband, had the right to bury her. After a review of facts, the RTC
was found to have jurisdiction over the proceedings by virtue of BP 192 and that Vitalianas siblings were the rightful
custodians of her remains by virtue of Article 294 of the Civil Code.

On September 27, 1988, unaware of her death, Vitalianas brothers and sisters filed for a petition of habeas
corpus before the RTC of Misamis Oriental, alleging that:
o Vitaliana was forcibly taken from her residence by petitioner Eugenio and brought to petitioners
residence where she has held and deprived of her liberty
RTC issued writ but was returned unsatisfied as Eugenio refused to surrender the body of Vitaliana, who
was alleged to have died of heart failure because of toxemia of pregnancy on died August 28, 1988
Petitioner filed for a Motion to Dismiss, claiming that the court had a lack of jurisdiction over the nature of the
action; and that habeas corpus was applicable only to illegal confinement or detention of a living person and
not a deceaseds body
o Petitioner also claimed to have legal custody of the body by virtue of his being her common law
Vitalianas brothers and sisters alleged that petitioner was not in any way related to the deceased and that
petitioner was interfering with their duty as the deceaseds siblings to properly bury her body

1. W/N court had jurisdiction to issue writ of habeas corpus over the deceased; and
2. W/N custody of the deceaseds body should be given to the deceaseds siblings

1. Yes Court did not lose jurisdiction over the nature and matter of the case because it could entertain the
case through allegations of the petition as to who should be given the custody of the deceaseds body by
virtue of Batas Pambansa Bld. 129.
2. Yes Article 294 used as basis; Since the deceased had no surviving spouse, children, or ascendants,
custody of the body fell onto her siblings because Philippine law does not recognize common law marriages.
While there exist laws that govern such, the man and woman living together must not be in any way
incapacitated to contract marriage for such laws to affect them
o Eugenio was in a subsisting marriage with another womana legal impediment that would not
have in any case let him and Vitaliana get married

DISPOSITION: SC affirms decision appealed from. October 5, 1988 Petition for Certiorari (G.R. No. 851470) and
Petition for Review and Application of Restraining Order (G.R. No. 86470) DISMISSED. No costs.

- BP Bld. 129 Section 19(5): RTCs shall exercise exclusive original jurisdiction [over]: (5) in all actions
involving the contract of marriage and marital relations.
- Article 294: The claim for support, when proper and two or more persons are obliged to give it, shall be
made in the following order: Among descendants and ascendants the order in which they are called to the
intestate succession of the person who has a right to claim support shall be observed.